Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Spanish: Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, CELAC; Portuguese: Comunidade de Estados Latino-Americanos e Caribenhos; French: Communauté des États latino-américains et caribéens; Dutch: Gemeenschap van Latijns-Amerikaanse en Caraïbische Staten) is a regional bloc of Latin American and Caribbean states thought out on February 23, 2010, at the Rio Group–Caribbean Community Unity Summit, and created on December 3, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela, with the signature of The Declaration of Caracas. It consists of 33 sovereign countries in the Americas representing roughly 600 million people. Due to the focus of the organization on Latin American and Caribbean countries, other countries and territories in the Americas, Canada and the United States, as well as the overseas territories in the Americas of France (Overseas departments and territories of France), the Netherlands (Dutch Caribbean), Denmark (Greenland) and the United Kingdom (British Overseas Territories) are not included.
CELAC is an example of a decade-long push for deeper integration within Latin America. CELAC was created to deepen Latin American integration and by some to reduce the significant influence of the United States on the politics and economics of Latin America. It is seen as an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS), the regional body that was founded by United States and 21 other Latin American nations originally as a countermeasure to potential Soviet influence in the region.
CELAC is the successor of the Rio Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC). In July 2010, CELAC selected President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez and President of Chile Sebastián Piñera, as co-chairs of the forum to draft statutes for the organization.
2008–2010: Brazil and Mexico initiatives
The immediate predecessor of the CELAC is the Rio Group. Formed in 1986, it gathered 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries around summits to cooperate regional policy issue independently of the United States.
On 16–17 December 2008, the I Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC) took place in , Bahia, Brazil. It was organized at the initiative of the Lula administration with the goal of building cooperation mechanism with greater autonomy from the United States and Canada. Most heads of state from Latin America and the Caribbean states attended, with the exception of President of Colombia Álvaro Uribe and President of Peru Alan García. The summit finished with the signing of the Bahia Declaration, a common agenda establishing the following priorities: cooperation between mechanism of regional and subregional integration, the global financial crisis, energy, infrastructures, social development and eradication of hunger and poverty, food security, sustainable development, natural disasters, human rights promotion, migration, South–South cooperation and Latin America and Caribbean projection.
In 2008, the Calderón administration of Mexico proposed the creation of the Latin American and the Caribbean Union (Spanish: Unión Latinoamericana y del Caribe, ULC). The proposal was formalized on 27 March 2009 at Rio Group meeting. At the initiative of Mexico, the XXI Rio Summit and the II CALC summit were held together on 22–23 February 2010 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The joint summit was named the Latin American and Caribbean Unity Summit and the 32 attending states decided to create the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which would be formally established in 2011.
Prominent left-wing leaders in the bloc praised the founding of the organization as a step towards separating Latin America from the United States with Evo Morales, President of Bolivia saying “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. … it is the best time for prime ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean to gestate this great new organization without the United States to free our peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Hugo Chávez, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Rafael Correa were among the other prominent left-wing leaders who praised the creation of CELAC 
Raúl Zibechi, writing for Mexico’s center-left La Jornada newspaper said, “The creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is part of a global and continental shift, characterized by the decline of U.S. hegemony and the rise of a group of regional blocs that form part of the new global balance.”
An editorial in Brazil’s conservative Estadão newspaper said, “CELAC reflects the disorientation of the region’s governments in relation to its problematic environment and its lack of foreign policy direction, locked as it is into the illusion that snubbing the United States will do for Latin American integration what 200 years of history failed to do.”
CELAC’s inaugural summit was due to be held in mid-2011, but was postponed because of the ill-health of Hugo Chávez, president of the host nation, Venezuela. The summit was instead held on December 2 and 3, 2011 in Caracas. It primarily focused on the global economic crisis and its effects on the region. Several leaders, including presidents Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Dilma Rousseff and Juan Manuel Santos, encouraged an increase in regional trade, economic development, and further economic cooperation among members in order to defend their growing economies.
Chavez, and other leaders such as Rafael Correa and Daniel Ortega, expressed hope that the bloc would work to further Latin American integration, end U.S. hegemony and consolidate control over regional affairs. Chavez, citing the Monroe Doctrine as the original confirmation of U.S. interference in the region, openly called for CELAC to replace the OAS: “As the years go by, CELAC is going to leave behind the old and worn-out OAS.” Correa called for a new human rights commission to replace the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Other leaders argued that the organisation should be used as a tool to resolve regional disagreements and uphold democratic values, but not as a replacement of the OAS. Santos stated that he would like to see dialogue within the group over whether existing counter-drug regulations should be revised. The president of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) said he expects that Parlatino will become the main legislative institution of CELAC. Amongst the key issues on the agenda were the creation of a “new financial architecture,” sanction for maintaining the legal status of coca in Bolivia and the rejection of the Cuban embargo by the U.S.
United States President Barack Obama’s senior adviser on Latin America, Daniel Restrepo, informed reporters from Miami that the U.S. government would “watch and see what direction CELAC takes”.
2013 Summit – Chile
The EU-LAC Foundation chose CELAC to be the main organization representative of the relationship between European and Latin American and Caribbean countries.
2014 Summit – Cuba
During the summit, the region was declared a “peace zone”. After three days and with the approval of participating representatives, a document with 83 focus points was created. It emphasized that, despite cultural and regional differences, unity between the participating countries is necessary in order to create progress. “Unity and the integration of our region must be gradually constructed, with flexibility, with respect to differences, diversity, and the sovereign right of each of our countries to choose our own forms of political and economic organization” stated the document. It also states which countries have been developing the best and how they are doing it in order for them to be a model for other countries.
The issue of poverty was widely discussed. Cuba’s Raul Castro pointing out that throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, people want a fairer distribution of wealth, access to affordable education, employment, better salaries, and the eradication of illiteracy. He argued that CELAC countries can work together, support each other, to create new plans and solutions for these problems.
2015 Summit – Costa Rica
Countries discussed plans to eradicate hunger by 2025. Venezuela would host a follow up meeting in late 2015 to review the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organizations plan for their region. They called for the U.S to stop meddling in regional affairs, for Puerto Rico to be able to participate in future summits, and for the embargo against Cuba to be lifted. Statements in support of Cuba and Venezuela were widely heard. CELAC rejected U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. It was decided that a monument would be built in memory of victims of the slave trade. Member countries also supported Argentina’s right to the Falkland Islands and peace negotiations in Colombia.
2016 Summit – Ecuador
2017 Summit – Dominican Republic
The CELAC has six organs:
- The summit of Heads of State and Government.
- The meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
- The meeting of National Coordinators.
- The pro tempore presidency.
- The Troika.
|Summit||Year||Host country||Host city|
|*||2010||Mexico||Playa del Carmen|
|III||January 28–29, 2015||Costa Rica||Belén, Heredia|
|IV||January 27, 2016||Ecuador||Quito|
|V||January 24–25, 2017||Dominican Republic||Punta Cana|
CELAC comprises 33 countries, speaking five different languages:
Eighteen Spanish-speaking countries (56% of the area, 63% of the population)
One Portuguese-speaking country (42% of the area, 34% of the population)
One French-speaking country (0.1% of the area, 1.6% of the population)
Twelve English-speaking countries (1.3% of the area, 1.1% of the population)
One Dutch-speaking country (0.8% of the area, 0.1% of the population)
Twelve countries are in South America, which accounts for 87% of the area and 68% of the population.
The following table shows various data for CELAC member states, including area, population, economic output and income inequality, as well as various composite indices, including human development, viability of the state, rule of law, perception of corruption, economic freedom, state of peace, freedom of the press and democratic level.
|Antigua and Barbuda||440||91,818||2,117,532,266||23,062||N/A||0.786||56.2||0.67||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||260||55,572||1,394,199,261||25,088||N/A||0.765||N/A||0.66||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||390||109,462||1,219,366,997||11,140||N/A||0.722||N/A||0.61||60||65.2||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Trinidad and Tobago||5,130||1,360,088||45,302,518,908||33,309||40.27||0.780||57.8||0.57||35||61.2||2.056||23.29||7.10|
|Note: The colors indicate the country’s global position in the respective indicator. For example, a green cell indicates that the country is ranked in the upper 25% of the list (including all countries with available data).|
|Highest quartile||Upper-mid (3rd quartile)||Lower-mid (2nd quartile)||Lowest quartile|
- Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)
- Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
- EU–LAC Foundation
- Lima Group
- Rio Group
- Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)
- Bolivia recibe presidencia pro tempore de la CELAC ABI – Agencia Boliviana de Información. January 14, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
- CEREMONIA DE TRASPASO DE LA PRESIDENCIA PRO TÉMPORE DE LA COMUNIDAD DE ESTADOS LATINOAMERICANOS Y CARIBEÑOS (CELAC) A BOLIVIA Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bolivia). January 14, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
- El Salvador realiza traspaso de la presidencia pro témpore de la CELAC al Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia www.presidencia.gob.sv. January 14, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
- “World Development Indicators”. World Bank. July 9, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- “Population of Latin America and the Caribbean (2019) – Worldometers”.
- . International Monetary Fund
- “Mexidata (English) March 1, 2010″. Mexidata.info. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- Acuerdan crear Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, Associated Press, February 23, 2010.
- América Latina crea una OEA sin Estados Unidos, El País, February 23, 2010.
- “L. American leaders officially sign CELAC into effect as new bloc”. news.xinhuanet.com. December 4, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- Gooding, Kerri. “IVCC encouraging bilingualism and cultural integration”. The Barbados Advocate. Advocate Co. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
However, at present much of the integration occurs at the governmental, political and policy level as opposed to the personal, individual level, hence Tutor Jamal Henry added his voice to the plea by the Ambassador to have more persons embracing the culture and learning Spanish. CELAC comprises 33 nations making up an estimated population of 600 million people with five official languages. United and integrated the countries of CELAC can be powerful, “together [the 33 nations of CELAC] are the number one food exporter on the planet,” further commented Ambassador Febres.
- “Mexico gives birth to the Community of Latinamerican and Caribbean States – MercoPress”. En.mercopress.com. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- “uake Overshadows Clinton Tour of Region”. The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- “_ Nuestro Norte es el SUR”. Telesurtv.net. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- Presidentes constituyen la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, EFE, February 23, 2010.
- CounterPunch, August 3, 2010, Behind the Colombia / Venezuela Tensions Archived August 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Rojas Aravena, Altmann Borbón & Beirute Brealey 2012, pp. 25-27.
- Rojas Aravena, Altmann Borbón & Beirute Brealey 2012, p. 27.
- Rojas Aravena, Altmann Borbón & Beirute Brealey 2012, p. 28.
- “Declaración de Salvador, Bahía” (PDF) (in Spanish). December 17, 2008.
- Rojas Aravena, Altmann Borbón & Beirute Brealey 2012, pp. 29-30.
- TeleSURtv.net – Chávez afirma que con nuevo organismo latinoamericano renace el proyecto de Bolívar Archived July 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- In Latin America, Rhetoric Triumphs Over Reality Estadao, Brazil, via translation by WorldMeets.US (English) February 25, 2010.
- TeleSURtv.net – Correa confía en la recién creada Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Rueda, Jorge; James, Ian; Toothaker, Christopher (December 3, 2011). “Leaders at Americas talks: world economy top worry”. Seattle pi. Hearst Communications Inc. Associated Press.
- “Venezuela hosts first CELAC summit”. PressTV. December 3, 2011.
- Raúl Zibechi Latin America’s Inexorable March Toward ‘Autonomy from the Imperial Center’ La Jornada, Mexico, via translation by WorldMeets.US (English) February 26, 2010
- “Latin American summit re-run to test Chavez health”. Reuters. November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
- “Parlatino Interested in Being CELAC Legislative Organization”. Prensa Latina. December 2, 2011.
- “Obama in Cartagena: No change, dwindling hope – Opinion”. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- Christopher Toothaker (December 2, 2011). “CELAC, Community of Latin American And Caribbean States, New Organization Aims To Strengthen Regional Integration”. Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
- “ESO exhibition area at the CELAC–EU summit in Santiago”. ESO Press Release. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- “Conclusiones de la Cumbre de la CELAC 2014 en Cuba : AGRO Noticias”. Fao.org. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- “5 Things That Happened at the CELAC Summit in Costa Rica”. Telesurtv.net. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- Bernal-Meza, Raúl. Modelos o esquemas de integración y cooperación en curso en América Latina (UNASUR, Alianza del Pacífico, ALBA, CELAC): una mirada panorámica (PDF) (in Spanish). Ibero-American Institute. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-3-935656-53-X Check
|isbn=value: invalid character (help).
- “CELAC-EU summit opens in Chile – Business News”. SINA English. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
- “Dilma viaja a Cuba para segunda Cúpula da Celac e inaugurar Muriel – Notícias – R7 Internacional”. Noticias.r7.com. August 23, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- “Equipos técnicos preparan los primeros documentos para Cumbre de la CELAC”. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- En 3 claves: Lo que debes saber de la IV Cumbre de la CELAC teleSUR. January 24, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- “Compromiso de hermanos” reúne a mandatarios de Celac en Ecuador ANDES. January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- V Cumbre CELAC teleSUR. January 23, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- Comienza hoy en República Dominicana la V Cumbre de la CELAC teleSUR. January 24, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- “World Development Indicators”. World Bank. March 23, 2017.
- “Human Development Report 2016” (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. March 21, 2017.
- “Fragile States Index 2016”. The Fund for Peace. June 28, 2016. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- “Rule of Law Index 2016”. World Justice Project. October 20, 2016.
- “Corruption Perceptions Index 2016”. Transparency International. January 25, 2017.
- “Country Rankings: World & Global Economy Rankings on Economic Freedom”. Heritage Foundation. February 15, 2017.
- “Global Peace Index 2016”. Vision of Humanity. June 8, 2016.
- “2016 World Press Freedom Index”. Reporters Without Borders. April 20, 2016.
- “Democracy Index 2016” (PDF). Economist Intelligence Unit. January 25, 2017.
- Rojas Aravena, Francisco; Altmann Borbón, Josette; Beirute Brealey, Tatiana (2012). “Integración Política: Un nuevo camino hacia la Integración Latinoamericana” (PDF). In Altmann Borbón, Josette (ed.). América Latina: Caminos de la integración regional (in Spanish). Latin American Social Sciences Institute. pp. 11–48. ISBN 978-9977-68-240-2.
- CELAC Parlament (in Spanish)