Argentina assumed the pro tempore presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) in a meeting of foreign ministers in which they opted for integration and consensus, and in which Colombia was the dissonant voice in criticizing the “silences” in the face of human rights violations in “at least three of the countries” of the region .
“We cannot have opportunistic silences in the face of fundamental values, which were and will always be everywhere, as the defense of democracy, freedoms and human rights “, said the Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs of Colombia María Carmelina Londoño, when reading a speech written by the vice president and foreign minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez, who was unable to attend this XXII meeting of foreign ministers held in Buenos Aires.
At the meeting, where Argentina was chosen by consensus to lead the organization in 2022, the Colombian official pointed out that States should be suspended where there is a breakdown of the democratic order or human rights violations, something that happens in “at least three of the countries ”of the Celac although without specifying which ones.
The Celac Made up of thirty countries and considered an intergovernmental mechanism for dialogue and political agreement, Brazil experienced the departure of Brazil in 2020 by decision of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro, who considered that the group supports “undemocratic regimes” such as those of Cuba. , Venezuela and Nicaragua, questioned in turn by the United States and the Organization of American States for alleged human rights violations.
Although without referring to that issue, the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, remarked when participating in the meeting, where the Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan foreign ministers were also present, that Celac was not born to confront “any of the existing institutions” or ” to interfere in the political and economic life of any country ”.
”La Celac was born as a forum in favor of ourselves, which always promoted consensus and plurality in a framework of democratic coexistence without any type of exclusions, “said the head of state, who considered that the” trust “given to Argentina is” an acknowledgment “that the country can articulate consensus.
“We are part of a large country that unites us, although many do the impossible to divide us and consequently submit us easily,” he declared, and opted for integration.
Argentina was the only candidate to preside over the group and finally managed to be elected by consensus after the summit of presidents held in 2021 in Mexico – where he has held the presidency since 2020 – failed to obtain the necessary support.
On that occasion, Nicaragua was the only one that publicly refused to support Argentina, accusing it of having become an “instrument of North American imperialism”, after the criticism that the Fernández government had made of the arrest of opposition politicians in the Central American country.
But Nicaragua overcame their reluctance and supported Argentina today.
In your program for 2022, Argentina proposes to work in Celac on 15 objectives, including health strategies, economic recovery, disaster risk management and food security.
But it will also focus on aerospace cooperation and science and technology applied to social innovation, the issue of climate change or the discussion of strategies to agree on positions before international financial organizations.
In this sense, Fernández thanked the support that Argentina has received from the foreign ministers in the negotiation that it is carrying out with the International Monetary Fund to refinance the debt that Argentina has for more than 40,000 million dollars.
Among other topics, the speeches also addressed the importance of the “post-covid” recovery, the need to promote equitable universal access to vaccines and improve international financing conditions.