Amid absences and fears of protests, the CELAC summit has begun in Buenos Aires

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Between a tight security operationthe heads of state and government of the region began to parade from 9 am this Tuesday at the Sheraton hotel in Buenos Aires to participate in the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). , which promises some ideological clashes and a handful of trade and cooperation agreements.

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Although noisy absences, Like that of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who canceled his trip at the last minute and sent his Foreign Minister Yván Gil Pinto as a representative, an intense day of debates and some ideological friction is expected, with criticisms of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba for the repression of dissident voices in their countries.

Neither the leader of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, nor that of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be there. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard also took his place. Another absentee is Guillermo Lasso, president of Ecuador, compared with the government of Alberto Fernández since a former government official Rafael Correa accused of corruption took refuge in the Argentine embassy in Quito.

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Another big mistake is that of Dina Boluarte, president of Peru, involved in a deep political crisis in her country, with violent demonstrations for more than a month and a half, after the removal of Pedro Castillo in December.

Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero has begun receiving the leaders who, according to plan, they will hold throughout the day at 9 in the morning a series of closed-door discussions. The official opening is entrusted to President Alberto Fernández, who holds the pro tempore presidency of the bloc of 33 nations.

Lula, central figure

One of the central figures of this summit will be the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has returned to power for the third time and marked his country’s return to CELAC, after the door slammed by his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. which was off the bat in 2019. The president arrived with his wifea, Rosangela Da Silva, Janja, minutes after 10.

Here too is Cuba’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, who will surely face harsh criticism for his country’s crackdown on dissent, especially during the 2021 anti-government protests.

Of those who entered, between fences and police cordonsthey were the presidents of Chile, Gabriel Boric, of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, and of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez.

Among the main items on the agenda for discussion are the consolidation of the region as a space of unity in diversity and its integration with higher levels of inclusion and development.

Outside the hotel, a huge operation with road closures and several police fences tries to control the protests announced for the day. Although tension seems to have abated after the announcement that the Venezuelan Maduro will finally not come, after denouncing plans “by the neo-fascist right” to attack the Venezuelan delegation.

Source: Clarin

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