Regional Organisation CELAC Forges Links with China and India

This week the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the emerging Asian powers China and India established diplomatic relations and new mechanisms of cooperation.

By Ewan Robertson

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Foreign ministers of the CELAC triumvirate countries Chile, Cuba and Venezuela, met with Chinese authorities on Thursday, after meeting with Indian representatives earlier this week (archive)
Foreign ministers of the CELAC triumvirate countries Chile, Cuba and Venezuela, met with Chinese authorities on Thursday, after meeting with Indian representatives earlier this week (archive)
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Mérida, 10th August 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – This week the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the emerging Asian powers China and India established diplomatic relations and new mechanisms of cooperation.

The new links were formed in a series of meetings this week held during visits to New Delhi and Beijing by foreign ministers of the three ambassador countries of the CELAC; Chile, Cuba and Venezuela, known as the Triumvirate.

The 33-member CELAC was founded in December 2011 in Caracas, and groups together all states in the Americas apart from the United States and Canada.

On Tuesday, the CELAC agreed to form a “strategic alliance” with India, including holding annual meetings between India and the CELAC presidency, working together in regional organisations, and increasing commercial exchange.

Indian foreign minister, S.M. Krishna, said after the meeting that both parties had affirmed their disposition to work together “on issues like the reform of the United Nations, climate change, and the global economic situation, in the interest of developing countries”.

Meanwhile Venezuela’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, confirmed that mechanisms agreed on for economic cooperation between the CELAC and India included the creation of a business economic development forum, an agricultural working group, and an energy forum.

“It’s extraordinary to see how regions like India, one of the great emerging powers, is articulating itself in a historic meeting with all Latin America and the Caribbean,” the minister added.

On Thursday, after a series of meetings between the Triumvirate and Chinese representatives in Beijing, diplomatic links were formalised between China and the CELAC group, in addition to agreeing on proposals for greater commercial exchange.

Chile’s foreign minister, Alfredo Moreno, said that Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao offered the CELAC US $5 billion in economic cooperation and US $10 billion in loans for infrastructural development.

The meetings also resulted in the decision to create a China – CELAC Cooperation Forum, to develop a working agenda for deepening relations between the two parties.

Multipolar world

During the Beijing stop of the Triumvirate’s tour, Venezuela’s Maduro spoke of the importance of forging links between CELAC and the emerging Asian powers for the creation of a ”multipolar world”, a term referring to the shift away from a “unipolar” world order dominated by the United States.

“We’re moving quickly towards the formation of a multipolar world, where China is already undertaking a very relevant role as a principle emerging power,” he said. “Latin America and the Caribbean is another emerging force, and both [China and CELAC] are configuring what is going to be the future world,” the minister continued.

Maduro also commented positively on the development of the CELAC regional organisation since last December, and argued that the organisation faces two key challenges, “integrating internally, respecting political and ideological diversity,” and at the same time “integrating ourselves with the emerging world”.

He further claimed that the manner in which the Triumvirate has worked together to develop the organisation, with leftist governments in Venezuela and Cuba cooperating with more conservative Chile, as evidence that the internal integration of CELAC countries was possible.

Cuba vice-foreign minister Rojelio Sierra confirmed on Tuesday that the agreements made by the Triumvirate in India and China would be brought to ministers of all CELAC countries soon for approval.

The Triumvirate have agreed to next meet in the Chilean capital Santiago de Chile at a date between December and January, where they will receive a delegation from the European Union.

In January the pro-tempore presidency of the CELAC, currently held by Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera, will pass to Cuba. 

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