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The CELAC Summit ended with a strong internal discussion about the dictatorships in the region

The summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Buenos Aires ended on Tuesday as expected.

Alberto Fernandez should have passed the presidency pro tempore from this forum that he hoped to continue to lead the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.

And the leaders of the different countries could not agree their deep differences about how they conceive democracy. And in the so-called Final Declaration the interpretation was left open. “Democracy is a conquest of the region that does not admit interruptions or setbacks.”

Luis Lacalle Pou, in CELAC. Bloomberg photo.

The document calls for “free, periodic, transparent elections” but considered them an “expression of the sovereignty of the people”, something that despite what the document says It is not possible in Venezuela, Cuba or Nicaragua.

In this case, both Alberto Fernández and Lula da Silva, in any case the protagonists in this last summit avoided condemning the dictatorships in the region and, on the contrary, they focused their criticism on what they considered only a drift from the far right.

When opening what was the VII Summit, which was characterized by the last minute failure of Nicolás Maduro due to fear of judicial complaints at the national level and in the United States, Fernández said: “We believe in democracy and democracy is definitely at risk. After the pandemic we have seen ultra-right sectors standing up and threatening each of our towns. We cannot allow that recalcitrant and fascist right to put the security of our towns at risk,” he said.

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He said it in the framework of a speech in which he gave the note by confusing the CELAC summit with the one of the Americas, which caused laughter because it was a slip.

After criticism of the invitations to Maduro, the Cuban Miguel Díaz-Canel -the only one of the three present- and Ortega, whose regimes are harshly questioned for human rights violations and the arrests of political prisoners, Fernández highlighted the legitimacy of the members of the organism.

Maduro sent a recorded message on Tuesday, in which he continued to blame the “neofascist” right for preparing an attack against him. In addition to the Venezuelan leader, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Nicaraguan Ortega, the Ecuadorian Guillermo Lasso, the Peruvian Dina Boluarte and others did not arrive in Buenos Aires.

But also, to talk about “democracy at risk”, the head of state listed “the coup in Bolivia”, “the madness in the streets of Brasilia a week after Lula took office” and in Argentina, the assassination attempt Vice President Cristina Kirchner.

For his part, Lula later said in terms of Brazil’s domestic policy, and in reference to former President Jair Bolsonaro, his enemy, that “authoritarian temptations” continue to “defy” democracy in Latin America.

It called attention that at the end of this Tuesday, Lula, who early Wednesday travels to Uruguay to meet with Luis Lacalle Pou, in the end did not meet with Cristina Kirchner.

Sources in Brasilia echoed that the leader had warned that he would not mobilize until the Senate, so with the confrontation between Alberto and the vice president, she was not seen at the summit.

President Alberto Fernández poses with Chilean Gabriel Boric.  Photo EFE.

President Alberto Fernández poses with Chilean Gabriel Boric. Photo EFE.

Although the speeches of the presidents were closed to the press after being heard by Fernández and Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero at the inauguration, details of them became known over the hours and the only ones who broke the contemplative trend towards dictatorships They were the Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou and Gabriel Boric, from Chile.

The most forceful was Luis Lacalle Pou who warned this Tuesday that organizations such as CELAC cannot “have the character of a club of ideological friends.”

It was a direct criticism of the presence of representatives from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba in the forum that takes place in Buenos Aires. He said, in turn, that the “alternation” will be the strength of the forum. “We do it wrong to give CELAC an ideological tint,” he insisted.

Without making explicit reference to any country, the president pointed out that some of the nations that are part of CELAC do not respect human rights. “There is talk of respect for democracy, institutions and human rights (in the joint document that the members of the bloc will sign). But there are countries here that do not respect democracy, nor institutions, nor human rights.”deepened Lacalle Pou, who at the last CELAC summit, in Mexico, in 2021, did make a strong direct criticism of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Mario Abdo Benitez, the president of Paraguay followed the line of the oriental. “We cannot look the other way when seven million Venezuelans have left their homes” and spoke of the need for free elections no matter where.

Lacalle Pou later gave a press conference in which he defended the free trade agreements that he wants to sign with Mercosur or outside of it, such as with China, with the Trans-Pacific alliance, and proposed a free trade zone with the region.

He was not in favor of incorporating Uruguay into the common currency for bilateral trade that Argentina and Brazil are discussing and ironized a phrase from Economy Minister Sergio Massa in which he considered Uruguay as the “little brother” of Argentina and Brazil. That looks like Disneyland. he pointed.

The Chilean Gabriel Boric said that it was the “duty” of the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega -one of those absent from the summit- to move towards the freedom of political prisoners because, in his words, only with freedom and dignity can democracy and the well-being of the people be strengthened.

At the same time, he highlighted his speech in condemning the Peruvian drift. “We cannot be indifferent when today in our sister Republic of Peru, with the government under the command of Dina Boluarte, people who go out to march, to demand what they consider just, end up shot by whoever should defend them,” he said and with him López Obrador coincided from the Mexican capital -he sent a message- and the Colombian Gustavo Petro in Buenos Aires. Both are also accused of interference by the government of Dina Boluarte. .

Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s envoy, former Senator Christopher Dodd, said in his speech that “if there is one thing that unites the President of the United States and the democratic nations of this hemisphere, it is the firm belief that the power of any state it arises directly from its people. The United States will respect and seek to partner with any government across the political spectrum (left, center, right) that is elected and governs democratically, even if those have major disagreements with the United States.”

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