Leaders of Latin American and Caribbean governments gathered in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday and Saturday to forge a new regional organization that includes representatives from every country in the Western Hemisphere except the United States and Canada. According to socialist rulers backing the new scheme, it is aimed at providing a counterweight to U.S. “imperialism” in the region while promoting “integration.” The communist regime ruling mainland China celebrated the news and vowed to support the group.
The budding 33-member alliance — dubbed CELAC, the Spanish initials for “Community of Latin American and Caribbean States” — is reportedly the brainchild of Venezuelan socialist strongman Hugo Chavez. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who founded the shadowy but immensely powerful socialist cabal known as “Foro de Sao Paulo” with dictator Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas, also played a key role.
CELAC represents the most recent integration scheme in a region already plagued by a costly patchwork of expensive intergovernmental alliances, including the relatively new Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the socialist Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), Mercosur, the Caribbean Community, and many more. Among the most prominent is the largely U.S.-funded Organization of American States (OAS), which includes every nation in the hemisphere except Cuba.
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