The new Latinamerican and Caribbean organization that would not include the United States, Canada and Spain could formally be launched on 5 July 2011, during a summit in Venezuela once the statute is drafted and approved, according to the ministerial meeting previous to the Rio Group two-day summit scheduled to begin Monday.
“We are going to commission a task group so that in one year and four months time they can prepare the statutes, and by July 2011 in Caracas we can proceed to approve them”, said Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs minister Ricardo Patiño in Cancún, Mexico where the discussions are being held.
Representatives of the 32 countries meeting for the unity summit of Latinamerica and Caribbean discussed behind closed doors possible names and procedures for the new organization which would leave out the US and Canada.
Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs minister Nicolas Maduro confirmed the summit that will see the birth of the new regional body will take place in Caracas “coincidentally with the 200 year independence celebration of Venezuela” and will not substitute any of the existing organizations.
The document will be presented to the regional leaders meeting Monday and Tuesday for the unit summit.
Over the weekend Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Brazil’s Lula da Silva and Haiti’s René Preval arrived in Mexico.
Top of the agenda for the summit is coordinating aid to the quake devastated Haiti and also a last minute request from Argentina in support of her claims over the Falkland Islands and criticism of the oil exploratory round that has begun in the South Atlantic Islands waters under British jurisdiction.
Patiño revealed that one of the issues which most delayed the discussions was whether the new organization can be considered a Community, Union or Organization of Latinamerican and Caribbean states.
“So far all foreign affairs ministers have agreed that the summit must decide on the creation of the new organization. We have some points still to be debated, that’s the delay, but we have a consensus on certain principles, functions and responsibilities”, pointed out Patiño.
What is most important is that the “significant, historic step of creating a block that should enable us to establish a dialogue mechanism for joint positions, as an only voice, regarding other world blocks”, added the Ecuadorian minister.
The Organization of American States created in 1948 includes the US and Canada. OAS summits usually under the heading of Ibero-American include Spain and Portugal.
Patiño revealed that it still has to be agreed how the statutes task force will be integrated since there are different positions.
Nevertheless the prevailing position is that it should be made up of Mexico, Brazil a representative from the Caribbean and one from Central America.
The two day summit is expected to end with two main documents: an official declaration and another with the decision to create the new block, plus “eight to ten resolutions” and the Rio Group position on migration, Haiti, Argentina/Falklands and the US embargo on Cuba.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet who will acting at the chair of the summit said that including Caribbean countries in the new organization is “correct” but in no way should it replace OAS.
“Chile believes that any organization, structure or expansion of this space (Rio Group) of convergence and dialogue, must never be seen as replacing OAS”, said Ms Bachelet.
She emphasized that the new organization must keep to the Rio Group very first objective and existence reason: “ensuring democracy in our region”.
However it should not be an international body but rather “an inter-government association, between governments, a space for political convergence and articulation” and must not be considered “synonymous of the OAS”.
Both organizations must have different functions and strategies and “therefore different categories”.