The summit is in full swing, and the topics are being put on the table. The focal point of the conference, poverty, is an issue that representatives from all over Latin America are looking to find solutions. One representative of indigenous people from Guatemala, José Luis Siguil, believes that CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños in Spanish) denotes a great opportunity for Latin America to address issues of the economy with a fresh approach.
CELAC was originally formed as of December 3rd, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela and consists of 33 sovereign countries. There are eighteen Spanish speaking countries, one Portuguese speaking country, one French speaking country and twelve English speaking countries. The organization was formed at the exclusion of the United States and Canada from North America, and France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom from Europe. The alliance of Latin American and Caribbean states is considered the main forum for political dialogue without the inclusion of Canada and the United States.
The White House has responded to the formation of CELAC by stating that the US government will “watch and see what direction CELAC takes.”
The formation of the organization and the recent summit have been looking to solve problems that have originated in the Latin American and Caribbean states free from the influence of the United States, Canada and the European powers. The central theme of the current summit seeks to address the issue of poverty as well as 22 different topics that have been placed on an agenda of talking points. Some of the other topics for discussion include violence, fiscal policies and hunger.
Representatives such as Mr. Siguil, who represents Tzuk Kim-Pop (Highland Peoples Interwoven) indigenous group of Guatemala, see CELAC as not being competition with OAS (the Organization of American States), but rather an opportunity for the political organizations involved to represent People’s Sovereignty. They also see it as an opportunity to solve problems interdependent of outside stimulus, and to address issues of the economy from the unique perspective of the pertinent area.
The summit taking place in Costa Rica as of January 28th and 29th of 2015 has been described as the biggest international event in the country’s history.