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Raul Castro assumes CELAC chair calling for integration and independence from the US

Tuesday, January 29th 2013 - 06:05 UTC
Full article 42 comments

Cuba formally assumed Monday the presidency of the Community of Latinamerican and Caribbean States during the group’s summit in Chile calling for regional integration and independence from the United States. Read full article


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  • JoseAngeldeMonterrey

    Shame on Brazil and Argentina and all those other countries that allowed this autocratic dictator to be chairing this new organization. Shame on all those stupid ideologist who prefer dictators and repression in Cuba and elsewhere and abandon people´s plight for freedom and democracy. Shame on them, CELAC is nothing but a piece of garbage, horse manure, irrelevant, ridiculous, a poor circus showing the world how backward and insane Latin America is.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 08:49 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Room101

    There shouldn't be any worry: the possibility of “independence” from international trade is a profound contradiction; mere propaganda and illiterate spleen effect.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 08:54 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Gordo1

    The Bolivarian “revolution” led by Venezuela just cannot work. Like it or not, Latin America needs the rest of the world just as the rest of the world needs all of the world.

    This “call to arms” from Cuba is just “pura mierda”!

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 09:25 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Shed-time

    it's just another forum to allow poverty-stricken corruptly-led nations to rant on about how other non-corrupt nations are dreadful.

    These fora seem to be two a penny.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 09:37 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Anbar

    “”“””In another dig at Washington, he said ”our community will not be complete without Puerto Rico, a truly Latin American and Caribbean sister nation submitted to (US) colonial domination.“ Puerto Rico is a self-governing US possession.“”“”“”“”

    good luck with that boys, you'll need it. ;-0

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 10:04 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Anglotino

    Few regions of the world have so many overlapping and hence useless regional organisations.

    Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO)
    Andean Community of Nations (CAN)
    -Andean passport
    Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
    Bank of the South (BancoSur)
    Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA)
    Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
    -CARICOM Single Market and Economy
    -CARICOM passport Central American Integration System (SICA)
    -Caribbean Court of Justice
    Caribbean Development Bank
    Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA)
    Central America-4 Border Control Agreement
    Central America-4 passport
    Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF)
    Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
    Eastern Caribbean Currency Union
    Free Trade Area of the Americas
    G3 Free Trade Agreement
    Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA)
    Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
    Latin American Integration Association (ALADI)
    Latin American Economic System (SELA)
    Latin American Parliament (Parlatino)
    -Mercosur Parliament
    Organization of American States (OAS)
    Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
    Organisation of Ibero-American States (OEI)
    Pacific Alliance
    Rio Group
    Union of South American Nations (Unasur)
    -South American Parliament
    United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, CEPAL)

    So yeah Raul, this organisation is going to be different.

    “33 independent nations as a space of regional sovereignty to promote integration, dialogue, cooperation and solidarity”.

    Well by my counting this is the THIRTY NINTH promotion of ”integration, dialogue, cooperation and solidarity”.

    Does practice make perfect?

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 10:40 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • cornelius

    Poor paraguay antidemocratic the Latin American countries are insane Dilma Ck Pepe are all insane Correa Chavez the gorila and know Chile!

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 10:45 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Rufus


    You've got to admit that they like their TLAs and ETLAs.

    I hereby award them the honourary Alphabetti Spaghetti award for picking an acronym that actually fits with two of the three official languages that it has.

    Incidentally, given that the countries in CELAC have a total of five official languages and CELAC has three official languages, can anyone tell me why one of the official languages is spoken in only one country, while the one that is spoken in twelve of them isn't...

    Strikes me as an odd Carribean and South American block that only speaks the official language of one Carribean country.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 12:05 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    I'm curious about ”In another dig at Washington, he said ”our community will not be complete without Puerto Rico, a truly Latin American and Caribbean sister nation submitted to (US) colonial domination.“ Puerto Rico is a self-governing US possession.” The last time I looked the majority of Puerto Ricans were intent of retaining their association with the United States. According to the Puerto Rican status referendum 2012, they favour statehood.,_2012#Ballot
    So why is this Cuban trying to negate the wishes of the Puerto Rican people?

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 01:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • reality check

    How many languages do you need?

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 01:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • LEPRecon

    @9 Conquerer

    “So why is this Cuban trying to negate the wishes of the Puerto Rican people?”

    That's because Cuba doesn't do freedom and democracy, so they can't understand why people want it.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 01:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • briton


    Is that really Raul
    Boy he looks old and ragged,
    And now its the turn of the Americans to be targeted.

    Perhaps Raul will get CFK to help
    Send her side skimming ships ha ha ha .

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 02:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • JohnN

    No doubt that with the Castrista regime at the head of CELAC, will be a challenging year of churning for not only the Falkland Islands community but also for the hemisphere as a whole.

    Castro's call for independence for Puerto Rico will probably hasten integration of Puerto Rico to full US statehood, and with Obama back, no doubt Congress will be moving PR statehood along rapidly.

    Human rights NGOs can help the OAS distinguish itself from the autocratic Cuban CELAC leadership by stressing democratic, freedom principles and actions.

    To the extent that Cuba pushes back against such principles will allow both CELAC members and non-regional actors to understand better to what extent CELAC is captured by the Castro-Chávez “Axis of Authoritarians”.

    “Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent.”



    Press Freedom Index:

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 02:06 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    reality check (#10)
    “How many languages do you need?”

    Two only

    There are only 5 'non-indigenous' or non-'tribal'/remnant Official Languages amongst The Community of LatinAmerican and Caribbean States (CELAC):

    16 English
    19 Spanish
    4 French
    2 Dutch
    1 Portuguese

    It seems self-evident that the Duch, French and Portuguese-speaking nations should Officially learn English and Spanish
    ... in the interests of Raul's ”integration, dialogue, cooperation and solidarity”.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 02:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • briton

    The Axis Of Evil Marches on,
    who will stop them.

    comming to a country near you, very soon.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 02:14 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GFace

    @6: So many organizations mean

    1) plenty of excuses not to get anything done at home because you are in meetings all the time

    2) so everyone can be king/queen for a day while being the chair/president/grand marshal.

    It's no different than do-nothin committees at the office....

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 02:16 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • briton

    In closing remarks at the EU-CELAC meeting, European Council President Herman van Rompuy said the ”discussions have given new energy and momentum to our strategic partnership.“

    And this European unknown president claims it as a partnership,
    Basically Against the British and Americans,

    And you wonder why we want out of this lunatic loony bin.

    Well its not in our interest,
    So shove off.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 02:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • rylang23

    Guys, allow me to paraphrase... “The commenters doth protest too much, methinks”. Either there is real fear among you all about the empires finally losing control over their colonies or your handlers just ordered too many comments from the many CIA and M5 trolls who post here. Either way, “the times are a changin' ”, “the Genie isn't going back in the bottle”, etc, etc, ....

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 03:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    I don't know about the US contributors but I am not being paid by the M5 motorway.

    With regards to the Falklands, nothing has changed and nothing will change.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 03:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • jakesnake

    Take a poll of the people of Puerto Rico and see what percentage of them want to be a completely independent country and “free” of the “colonial domination” of the U.S.A. It would become a Spanish-speaking Haiti and they all know it.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 03:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • andy65

    So just proves these old farts do not listen, also CFK supports SELF DETERMINATION on the issue with P.R,did Mr Castro not know the results from the vote back in 2012 as below.

    On November 6, 2012, a fourth status plebicite took place. This one consisted of two questions. The first question asked voters whether they wanted to maintain the existing commonwealth status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution or whether they preferred a nonterritorial option. The second question asked voters which would be the preferred alternative if a non-territorial option was wanted and gave voters to choose between three non-territorial alternatives: statehood, independence, or free association.[94][95]

    Ten days after the 2012 plebiscite, on November 16, 2012, the Electoral Commission reported that 54 percent voted “no” on preserving Puerto Rico's territorial status, the first part of the referendum.[96] On the second part, where voters were asked to choose between statehood, independence and free association, 61.2 percent chose statehood, while 33.3 preferred free association and 5.5 percent voted for independence.[83][97] On December 11, 2012, Puerto Rico's legislature passed a concurrent resolution “[t]o request the President and the Congress of the United States to ... begin the process to admit Puerto Rico to the Union as a State.”[98]

    President Obama had pledged to respect the will of the people of Puerto Rico “if there was a clear majority.”[99] A December 2012 statement clarifying the Obama administration’s position on the status plebiscite results stated, “the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and a majority chose statehood.” A previous White House statement had said, ”Now is the time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them [with Congress] on that effort so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 03:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Rufus

    @18 rylang

    “M5 trolls” - would those be the ones between West Bromich and Exminster?

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 04:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Iron Man

    I was going to say 'do these idiots ever do anything other than sit in conferences all day passing irrelevant resolutions' and then Anglotino listed them all in post 6.

    So basically the answer is no, they don't.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 04:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @21 I was in Puerto Rico shortly after the vote so I was able to speak to a number of people there about the result and what they thought it meant for the future of the island. (Obviously this was by no means a thorough survey but a taste of opinion from a cross section of locals).

    I was informed that the actual number of people that voted was low because most people believe they will never become a US state. This is based on them having voted before and nothing happened. And it is by no means certain that the US would accept them.

    Overwhelmingly people were content with the status quo. They are economically reliant on the US and none expressed a desire for independence.

    Just a little feedback.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 05:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • andy65

    @ElaineB But Castros words makes it sound like P.R is being forced into being something that it's not,what is it with these people where they simply can not accept the will of the people

    ”our community will not be complete without Puerto Rico, a truly Latin American and Caribbean sister nation submitted to (US) colonial domination.“

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 05:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Raul

    To paraphrase Neil Armstrong
    It is a small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

    It is a small step today, but a big step for Latin American unity.

    Latin America stands up and raises his stature and talk as equals with Europe and the rest of the world.
    Abandoning U.S. colonialism and imperialism, colonialism beating English, step by step, Latin America unites to become a single continental country.
    Over time this country continental recover the Malvinas Islands to Argentina and Latin America peacefully and respecting the way of life of the islanders English.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 06:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @25 Yes, and that was far from the wishes expressed to me. They are proud of the fact that they have representation in DC - though no vote - and they can travel freely there. They garner almost all of their income from free association with the US.

    One look at the mess in Cuba would be enough to deter anyone from joining their club.

    No really on topic but I liked Puerto Rico more than I thought I would.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 06:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • andy65

    Raul (#) So how are you going to “recover” The Falkland Islands they were never Argentine , very difficult to recover something that was never yours

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 06:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • briton

    [ history ]

    18 rylang23
    There is real fear among you all about the empires finally losing control over their colonies=
    [ do you still have empire where you come from then !
    There are no empires here on earth, and has not been for Decades.
    To paraphrase CFK
    It is a small step for them,
    And one giant leap for me.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 07:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • reality check

    Latin america unites to become a single continental country! Did I read that correctly? Yeah, sure and tell me, where will the capital of this brave new world be located? Somewhere in Argentina? BA perhaps. Have your neighbours been appraised of these ambitions? Chile's gonna luv it! I can predict that now.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 09:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Ayayay

    Yeayyyyy!!! Independence from the U.S. This also sounds good hey can spend the billions they spend on food & sanitation for those LatAm on fun stuff here.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 10:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Forgetit87

    “Shame on Brazil and Argentina and all ...”

    Shut up already, you self-righteous propagandist bore.

    No doubt you'd feel better at having a country more similar to Britain leading the continent, it's innumerable crimes, ones far bloodier than those of the Castro brothers, notwithstanding.

    Not only has Britain a bloody past, it has a bloody present too. Its ethnic cleansing of the Chagos islands, for example -- which will soon be put under magnifying glasses at the UN:

    It's not even a crime under international law to live under a non-democratic regime. The recent history of East Asian development shows, moreover, that such regimes can be pragmatic, nationalistic, well-managed and serve the interests of the people to an extent liberal Western democracies are utterly unable to nowadays. I'd add Cuba to the list of such countries - those that, though not democratic, do pursue the interests of the people. Its socialist and well-developed health care system - superior to that of your country or mine - shows that well.

    It's far more of a crime to invade weaker countries without provocation and expel natives from their ancestral homelands. Britain has done both - the latter to make room for a foreign country's military bases. Britain is not only a criminal, but also - in contrast to China or Cuba - an unpatriotic one at that; a country that will violate the interests of its own people to promote those of another.

    Jan 29th, 2013 - 11:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Rufus

    @32 “It's far more of a crime to invade weaker countries without provocation and expel natives from their ancestral homelands.”

    And of course on the one chance that Argentina had, they wouldn't deport anyone who had been overly critical of the Junta, would they?

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 12:15 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Ayayay

    It is easy to tell if people don't feel they have personal power-are all their.points negative, or do they offer a positive example on that particular point through action they themselves have taken :)

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 12:29 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • malicious bloke

    @32 “It's far more of a crime to invade weaker countries without provocation and expel natives from their ancestral homelands.”

    yeah, horrible crime. And to brag about it by printing celebrations of it on your money:

    You argies should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 12:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • JoseAngeldeMonterrey

    32 Forgetit87 (#),

    Nobody´s talking about Britain or the US here. What you´re doing is justifying dictatorship, populism, crony capitalism in the name of some outdate anti-imperialism.
    Please grow up at once, stop victimizing Latin America, we are no victims of anyone here, we are just countries plagued by populism, authoritarianism, demagoguery and obsolete ideologies that ultimately lead to more poverty and backwardness.
    What Britain did to Latin America, Argentina and Brazil did it a hundred times more to Paraguay and the Cuban regime has donde a hundred times to its own people.
    Electing Castro to chair CELAC is nothing but another stab on the back of the Cuban people who want freedom and democracy, just like brazilians, mexicans and argentinians and everyone else in this world.

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 01:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • reality check

    Forgitit 87
    When was the blast time British invaded a weaker country and ethnically cleansed the population. Put up or shut the f×××k up!

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 03:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Raul

    28 Andy65

    They can not be English in Argentina.

    Remember that the specificity of the Malvinas is that the United Kingdom occupied the islands by force in 1833, expelled the original population and did not allow their return, thus violating the territorial integrity Argentina causing the destruction of the national unity and territorial integrity Argentina. In this regard it should be noted that Resolution 1514 (XV) “Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

    Here the list of governors appointed by the government SPANISH Buenos Aires SPANISH:
    1767-1773 F. Ruiz Puente
    1773-1774 D. Chauri
    1774-1777 F. Gil y Lemos and Taboada
    1777-1779 R. Carassa and Souza
    1779-1781 S. Medina and Juan
    1781-1783 JM del Carmen Altolaguirre
    1783-1784 Montemayor
    1784-1785 A. Figueroa
    1785-1786 R. Clairac and Villalonga
    1786-1787 Table and Castro
    1787-1788 R. Clairac and Villalonga
    1788-1789 Table and Castro
    1789-1790 R. Clairac and Villalonga
    1790-1791 JJ de Elizalde and Ustáriz
    1791-1792 Sanguineto
    1792-1793 JJ de Elizalde and Ustáriz
    1793-1794 Sanguineto
    1794-1795 J. Aldana and Ortega
    1795-1796 Sanguineto
    1796-1797 J. Aldana and Ortega
    1797-1798 Medina and Torres
    Viana and FX
    1798-1799 Alzaibar
    1799-1800 Medina and Torres
    Viana and FX
    1800-1801 Alzaibar
    1801-1802 R. Fernández de Villegas
    1802-1803 B. of 1803-1804 Bonavía Ibarra and Oxinando
    1804-1805 B. of 1805-1806 Bonavía Ibarra and Oxinando
    1806-1808 B. of Bonavía
    1809-1810 G. Bondas
    1810-1811 PG Martinez

    Then Argentine governors appointed by the Argentine government of Buenos Aires.
    1820-1821 D. Jewett
    1821-1823 W. Mason
    1824-1824 Areguati
    1829-1832 Vernet
    1832-1832 JF Mestivier
    1832-1833 Pinedo
    We show that the Malvinas has always depended on the government of Buenos Aires. During all these years (66) had no English in the Falkland Islands to Argentina in 1833 expulsion.

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 03:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    Hi Forgetit, welcome back;
    and to JoseAngeldeMonterrey.

    Both making good points.
    Leaving Britain and the US out of the argument … it is the South American way to make new associations if they perceive something deficient about previous associations – hence CELAC *as well as* OAS and the variety of other associations. Pragmatically, OAS is retained, but CELAC is created to develop a widely embracing Latin psychological coherence, whether one exists in practice or not.
    What is necessary in the process is to accept South America and the Caribbean *as it is*. You know, with democracies and dictatorships sitting side by side.
    I don’t hold out a lot of hope for it to achieve very much, but I defend the two Continent’s right to create such associations and to try to make them work … as long as they do not try to thrust a conformity of either democracy or dictatorship, Left or Right, over the Continents.

    I observe the EU has attempted this, and it is not going well.

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 03:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • briton

    No matter how much CFK tries , or how many times she throws her toys out of her pram, and UN members,
    You cannot have, what you never owned, before you ever existed,

    So as long as the Falklands wish to remain British, [referendum shortly]
    Then they have that right, and we will protect them,

    So= Soddy offy ..

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 07:39 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Forgetit87


    It *is* about the US and Britain. It is, because your consistently selective indignation about the political scene in certain countries (that is, Cuba and Venezuela) has as a counterpart a blind love for everything Western. Even Western war crimes are less unsavory to your tastes because they're Western.

    And I wasn't saying that Latin America is anyone's victim. That's not what my post is about. But that I don't care whether a country is a democracy is correct. Voting isn't the end of our existence; per se, it means nothing about a nation's health and the possibilities of its economic development. Voting is nothing but a means to an end. The end being to enable the people to push their governments' policies to their own best interests by placing the power to elect a nation's leaders on their hands. Latin America's history proves that democracy hasn't fulfilled its purpose. Same about the West: there too, it's increasingly clear that politics are skewed to favor the interests of an elite. So why should I care whether a country is a democracy or not? I'd rather worry about whether it promotes the interests of its people - whether it can provide for their basic needs. Why should I condemn Cuba for failing to live up to an ideal no other Latin American country has attained? You speak of crony capitalism -- but no one in our continent is less guilty of this sin than Cuba.

    I believe you're able to grasp that point. You just feign naivete to appear righteous. After all, at the time of the Egyptian revolution, I distinctly remember you were one of the few bloggers offering up a defense of Mubarak's rule, itself authoritarian and riddled by crony capitalism to an extent unseen even in Latin America. But perhaps because of his closeness to the Clinton family, you considered him trustworthy, which just goes to prove my point about your sycophancy towards everything Western. Your faith in democracy, just like your indignation , is quite selective.

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 09:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Forgetit86

    Hi, Geoff! I'm surprised (and positively so) that, this time around, you didn't uncritically embrace the stereotypically Western position, the naive liberalism that José represented above. :-)

    You're right, Latin America is putting its concrete needs (that of unity, for example) above any purely ideological, abstract, moral, unreal concerns. It should be commended for its maturity. But it's a pity that some take this show of realism on Latin America's part as just another opportunity to parade their 'righteousness'.

    Jan 30th, 2013 - 09:38 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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