The attendance of the Venezuelan president was the surprise of the last CELAC Summit held in Mexico over the weekend.
His presence at such an important event showed that despite the rejection of several countries, the recent electoral victories of the left have allowed him to have a less hostile international panorama. Photo: Wikimedia-EneasMx
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: AMLO ayuda a romper el cerco diplomático contra Maduro
After more than a year without official trips, Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, unexpectedly attended the VI CELAC summit. His presence at such an important event showed that despite the rejection of several countries, the recent electoral victories of the left have allowed him to have a less hostile international panorama.
Likewise, this fact shows that the diplomatic siege to the Venezuelan regime that at the time was raised by the Lima Group was forgotten and it no longer has sufficient diplomatic force in the region.
¡Fracasaron quienes intentaron sabotear la Cumbre de la CELAC! Frente a las provocaciones respondimos con altura, no han podido ni podrán detenernos en este camino de unidad que hemos emprendido en la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y del Caribe. ¡Vamos Hacia Adelante! pic.twitter.com/0PWuFC1Zxs— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) September 20, 2021
Andrés Manuel López Obrador opened the doors to Maduro, in his role as a facilitator of the negotiations between Chavismo and the opposition, who is looking for an alternative to the democratic crisis in Venezuela. In these difficult negotiations, they hope to reach relevant agreements for the opposition to actively participate in the elections to be held in November this year.
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However, the support is not complete. Several leaders, such as the presidents of Uruguay and Paraguay, made it clear that their attendance and participation is not a recognition of the Governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. Both countries accused the governments of Maduro, Daniel Ortega, and Manuel Díaz-Canel of going against democratic freedoms and of political persecution of opponents.
Maduro's attendance at the event may also put the government of President Manuel López Obrador in a bad position before Washington. Since March, the United States has offered a reward of 15 million dollars for the capture of the Venezuelan president for the crimes of terrorism, drug trafficking, and possession of weapons. But obviously, the diplomatic immunity that Maduro enjoys, especially when he attends an international summit in a country that has offered itself as neutral, maybe enough reasons for Joe Biden to ignore this event.
During the event, AMLO decided to bet on the inclusion of all the leaders, and, in a way, he succeeded. The presidential majority of regional leaders left this summit as an important step towards the integration of countries. However, the event left 3 large absent, the presidents of 3 of the 4 most populous countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Colombia). For various reasons, neither Jair Bolsonaro (retired from CELAC since 2020), nor Alberto Fernández (involved in a political crisis after the defeat of Peronism in the PASO), nor Iván Duque (on a diplomatic trip to Spain) attended the event.
The new faces
At this meeting, the participation of the recently elected leaders also drew attention. Among the rookies, the participation of Pedro Castillo stood out. The Peruvian president began his first international tour with CELAC since he will later attend the United States. Due to a complex discourse, many on social media compared Castillo's intervention to the Mexican comedy character "Cantinflas."
"Cantinflas" "CELAC":— ¿Por qué es Tendencia_Pe? (@TendenciaPe) September 19, 2021
Por la participación del presidente Pedro Castillo en la cumbre CELAC.pic.twitter.com/eEN9gE06ln
For his part, Guillermo Lasso, Ecuadorian president, completed his fourth international trip and left messages that also call for unity in the region. Lenin Moreno's successor assured that "in the end, it matters little that we meet here among presidents, what should matter to us is that it is our citizens who strengthen true ties of benefits and mutual benefit."
Lasso also expressed the importance of Ecuador signing an FTA with Mexico and joining the Pacific Alliance, an integration group between Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Colombia.