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Lula’s Brazil will regain regional leadership by returning to the Latin American and Caribbean summit.

Brazil is back this Tuesday Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (Celac), the largest regional integration mechanism for Latin America and the Caribbean. It does so following former president Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to suspend participation in January 2020, deeming it an ineffective field. After the establishment of the regional coordination body in 2010, this is the first time that representatives of 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are present.

The VII Celiac Summit convenes in Buenos Aires to discuss the next steps in regional policy. “We live in the most unequal continent in the world. For this reason, we must once and for all face a process that will lead us to equality and social justice in our nations,” said Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. Opening of the summit in Buenos Aires, in which he determined the match “completely” thanks to the return of Brazil. “For this, we must work together, because it is much easier to achieve these results by working together, in a world where globalization exists, than to continue doing it separately,” Fernandez continued.

For the Argentine president, the importance of the summit lies in solving the threats facing democracy in the region. “Democracy is in danger. Since the pandemic, we have seen how far-right sectors have risen and are threatening each and every one of our cities. We must not allow these insolent and fascist right-wing people to endanger the institutional framework of our peoples,” he said. President of Argentina with welcoming words.

The meeting will be attended by the White House representative, Christopher Dodd, the special adviser to the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the observers of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who will do so through a recorded video. This was reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina. According to the information of the Argentine news agency Telam, the members of Selac and the European Union are planning a meeting on July 27, in Brussels, Belgium.

Return of Brazil

At the opening of the summit, Argentina’s president asked for applause to celebrate Brazil’s return. “Celaque without Brazil is a much emptier Celac,” Fernandez summed up. Luis Inacio Lula da Silva arrived in Buenos Aires this week on his first visit abroad as Brazil’s president. After a bilateral meeting with Alberto Fernandez, which included the signing of two agreements, a joint declaration and congratulations on the World Cup, the Brazilian president assured that the common currency is “something that will happen”.

“Brazil’s return shows that there will be a different diplomatic spirit, one of peaceful conflict resolution and mediation in the region,” says Bernabe Malacalza, Ph.D. and professor of international cooperation in the Graduate Program in International Studies. University of Torquato di Tela. For Malacalza, the return of Brazil, which he defines as the “starting point”, has an important symbolic meaning: “It is the resurrection of the regional multilateral spirit.”

Brazil’s foreign minister during the Bolsonaro years, Ernesto Araujo, even said in January 2020 that his country was leaving the organization because it had become a place for countries with authoritarian governments such as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. “CELAC has not had results in protecting democracy or in any field. On the contrary, it gave birth to such non-democratic regimes as Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua,” said the former foreign minister three years ago.

For Alejandro Frankel, PhD in social sciences and professor at the National University of San Martin, Brazil’s return would hierarchize the mechanism, but raises the question of how Brazil will integrate regional policy in relation to South America and Latin America. and the Caribbean. “Brazil has always prioritized South America over Latin America or the Southern Cone as a regional geopolitical space. Luna was no exception. In this sense, Mexico played a leading role in Selac, and Brazil’s policy was to withdraw Mexico from the region,” Frankel explains.

Three years later, on January 12, the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs received an official letter from Brazil’s ambassador to the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC), Reinaldo José de Almeida Salgado, to officially return. “The return of Brazil means leaving self-inflicted isolation and returning to regional diplomacy that should not have been abandoned,” explains Malacalza. “This is the end of Bolsonaro’s absolutely unprecedented foreign policy, which marked the regional apostasy of Brazil, a country that, due to its specific weight, is destined to be the protagonist of the regional space.”

common currency

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Alberto Fernandez have said they plan to move forward with the common currency project. “I think it will happen and I think it should happen. Because there are countries that sometimes find it difficult to buy dollars and agreements can be established that later the central banks set the exchange rate to carry out commercial exchanges,” said the Brazilian president.

But beyond the will, there are still no details on its implementation. “We don’t know how a common currency will work between Argentina and Brazil and we don’t know how a common currency will work in the region, but we know how the economy works on foreign currencies and we know how harmful it all is,” said the Argentine president.

The president of Venezuela, suspended from Mercosur, which consists of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, assured this Monday that he supports the creation of a single currency. “Venezuela is ready and we support the initiative to create a Latin American and Caribbean currency,” the Venezuelan president said after marching against sanctions from his Miraflores palace. For Maduro, this project promotes “the independence, unification and liberation of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The common currency for Malacalza is the idea of ​​a “big leap” for the region, which today is very fragmented and has lost weight in the international system. “Thinking about the common currency project is something that should be done in an integrative organization, not in a multilateral space like Celac.” A common currency involves giving up sovereignty and a supranational central bank. Although this can be solved in the Mercosur space, today it is too ambitious”, explains Malacalza.

Ambitions for both Brazil and Argentina are more limited than the announcements promise. This statement is a bilateral cooperation agreement to guarantee foreign trade at a time when Argentina does not have sufficient dollar reserves. “This is an extension of the credit line that already exists and extends the term to 366 days. This benefits Brazilian companies, which automatically have access to imports from Argentina, and favors Argentine companies, which will be able to avoid financing complications,” said Argentina’s Economy Minister Sergio Massa at a joint press conference with his counterpart on Monday. Fernando Haddad from Brazil.

For Frankel, the common currency proposal will strengthen integration not only in economic matters, but also in the consolidation of a common identity, it will reduce dependence on the dollar and help to solve Argentina’s macroeconomic instability, especially in relation to money. “The contract would mean that countries would lose their monetary sovereignty, as is already the case with the euro, which could cause problems, especially in the smallest economies. This can end up reproducing already existing asymmetries,” Frenkel explains.

Mature, absent

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who confirmed his participation in the meeting, had to stop attending because of an alleged “plan of aggression” against his delegation.

“In the last few hours, we have received solid information about a plan developed within the neo-fascist right to carry out a series of attacks against our delegation led by the president,” the executive branch said in a statement. Venezuela. In any case, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivan Gil will attend the meeting held in Buenos Aires.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship assured this publication that Maduro’s presence was never officially confirmed. Neither the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, nor the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. These three countries will be represented by the ministers of foreign affairs. Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel will participate in the meeting.

At the 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, Alberto Fernández, as President Pro Tempore of Celac, launched a petition from a group of countries questioning the White House’s decision not to invite the presidents of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

Maduro’s hypothetical participation in the Selac summit has sparked controversy in some sectors of Argentina and other delegations amid complaints of human rights abuses in the country.

Source: El Diario





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