President Alberto Fernandez inaugurated the CELAC summit that brought together in Buenos Aires, for the first time, representatives of the 33 member countries and He assured that “democracy is at risk” due to “far-right sectors that have stood up and threaten our peoples”. “What we must not allow is that this recalcitrant and fascist right puts the institutionality of our peoples at risk,” he affirmed. Along these lines, he opined that all member countries must work “to strengthen the institutional framework of the region.” In addition, before starting, he asked for applause for Brazil, represented by its president, Inácio Lula da Silva, because he was once again part of the organization after being left by decision of the former president, Jair Bolsonaro.
The Argentine president explained that when he spoke of democracies being at risk, he was referring “to what happened in Bolivia, with a coup that lasted a year, until Arce was able to return; to what happened a few days ago when the madness invaded the streets of Brasilia a week after Lula took office and we suffer it systematically in our towns”. Here in Argentina, he explained, “it also happened to us when someone tried to kill our vice president (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner).” We must not allow that. We need to work together and be categorical in defending democracies and institutions“, he assured.
From 9 and 10 in the morning the different presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers began to arrive at the Sheraton hotel, located in downtown Buenos Aires, who were received by the Argentine foreign minister, Santiago Cafiero. Among them it was possible to see, in addition to Fernández and da Silva –who arrived minutes after ten o’clock–; a Gustavo Petro, from Colombia; a gabriel boric, From Chile; a Luis Arce, from Bolivia; a Xiomara Castro, from Honduras; a Mia Mottley, from Barbados; a Mario Abdo Benitez, from Paraguay; a Luis Lacalle Poufrom Uruguay, already Miguel Diaz-Canel, from Cuba. Also present is the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, who, if he manages to unanimously accompany him, will become CELAC’s new pro tempore president.
Fernandezduring his speech, also questioned the blockades“I took care to demand respect from all our nations. The blockades are a very perverse method of sanctioning the peoples and we cannot continue allowing it,” he said, mentioning the blockade that Cuba has suffered for more than six decades, under the watchful eye of Díaz Canel who nodded with his head. He also mentioned the case of Venezuela. What Nicolás Maduro could not come, the Foreign Minister, Yván Gil, attended.
Lastly, the President reviewed his year in charge of the organization’s protempore presidency. “I have the peace of mind of having told the north that the missiles fired in the north harm the south; of having demanded in all forums that the war between Russia and Ukraine end; of having participated in the contact group promoted by Mexico, together with the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro and that of France, to be able to call Venezuela back to dialogue and that democratic coexistence be a reality and I took care of bringing vaccines to the peoples who needed it. With that tranquility I receive them today ” , said. Once he finished with his speech, Minister Santiago Cafiero presented the management report to all the leaders.
Throughout the day there was a security operation in downtown Buenos Aires that interrupted traffic in the vicinity of the Sheraton hotel. The second plenary session began at 2:00 p.m., the first was at 10:30 a.m., and at 5:00 p.m. the press conference to close the summit in which Argentina and the country that takes the presidency will participate.
The Celac was for President Fernández a place of support and construction during his administration. Given the internal problems that he experienced throughout his term with the different sectors that are part of the pro-government front, the international arena helped him put together a powerful agenda. The idea, once the presidency is in the hands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, is to begin another stage, which will be more focused on regional construction from Mercosur and UNASUR, a project promoted by Lula da Silva.
According to sources from the Foreign Ministry, the summit between the members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and the European Union (EU) will be held on July 27 in Brussels, Belgium. June 17while, The Mercosur Summit will take place in Buenos Aires, when the presidency will pass from Argentina to Brazil.