The forum is the fourth summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) – a regional bloc set up in 2010 to counter the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States (OAS).
“The CELAC should replace the OAS, we have no need to discuss our issues in Washington,” said Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa – pro tempore president of CELAC – and added that his country is not afraid to ”think, propose, dream and even get it wrong in this proposal because the OAS is now more “anachronic” than ever.
High on the CELAC meeting’s agenda, which was established at a meeting of foreign ministers on Tuesday, include the eradication of poverty and the reduction of inequality in the region – which continues to be the most unequal in the world. The goals form part of the 2016 Action Plan agreed by member states.
The heads of state and their delegations will discuss the five points of the 2020 Agenda during this fourth summit, which are the reduction of extreme poverty and inequality; the development of science, technology and innovation; a strategy against climate change; the establishment of infrastructure and connectivity and financing for development.
On Wednesday morning, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that the continent must “maintain the quality of life for our peoples” in spite of “economic turbulence” and explained that he would ask member states for their support in overcoming Venezuela’s current economic crisis.
On the eve of the presidential meeting, Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, also stressed the need for the region to create a different economic model to capitalism. He said Latin American countries should invest their wealth in their people to “advance social and economic development.”
During this summit, Correa will transfer the pro tempore chairmanship of the bloc to his Dominican counterpart Danilo Medina. The Ecuadorean head of state said his country is delivering a bloc that has all the ability to address conflicts like the one in Colombia.
“CELAC has the ability to support the verification of cease-fire and surrender of weapons in Colombia,” he said and recalled that the region was declared a “peace zone” in 2014.
Created in 2010 under the leadership of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, CELAC gathers 33 countries that represent 17 percent of the United Nations member states. The regional bloc was also created to resolve the differences regarding ideological conflicts in the area.
With 614.4 million people, the region represents 8.6 percent of the world’s population of which 28 percent live in poverty.
With additional information and editing by Venezuelanalysis