The mission of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is to deepen regional integration, while explicitly excluding the United States, Canada, and European nations with regional interests such as Holland, France, and the UK.
Representing 600 million people speaking five different major languages, the bloc is made up of 33 member nations in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Founded in December of 2011, the bloc is the culmination of years of failed attempts to unify the region.
There is concern that the CELAC is becoming a mouthpiece for leftists influences in Latin America.
While the statutes for the organization were partially drawn up by Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, the body also selected Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez (one of the region’s most extreme rulers) as co-chair to set the CELAC’s foundation in 2010. In February of 2010, Boliva’s president, Evo Morales, explicitly admitted the extent to which some members hoped to instill an antagonistic nature in the union, stating that “a union of Latin American countries is the weapon against ‘imperialism.’ It is necessary to create a regional body that excludes the United States and Canada.”
At the end of this month, there will be little doubt about the extent to which member states are willing to disregard fundamental human rights for the sake of consolidating regional power, as the bloc will be placing Cuban dictator, General Raúl Castro, as its new chairman for a 12 month tenure.
Cuba’s record on human rights is abysmal by any standard. The nation consistently ranks as one of the most corrupt, and least free nations in the world, and only bests North Korea in the most recent Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation. 1
His responsibilities will include trade negotiations with the 27-country European Union, as well as acting as Latin America and the Caribbean’s official spokesman for political matters.