Will the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States, the new organization that pointedly excludes the U.S. and Canada, prove to be more than a footnote of history? This news item from Venezuela’s El Universal, the first of a series of CELAC articles we are working on, covers the opening session of the event, which featured a speech by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. Chavez implored his guests from around the region not to allow CELAC to gather dust like so many previous Latin American efforts at integration have done.
“Let us lay the cornerstone of South American freedom without fear. He who hesitates is lost, as Bolivar said. For how many more years will we be the besmirched backyard? … unity, unity, unity, only unity and unity alone will set us free and make us independent. … There will be no more conflicts among us. Enough of them pitting us against one another, which they sometimes succeed in doing. … Either we build a grand fatherland or there will be no fatherland … The Monroe Doctrine was imposed here: America for Americans, the Yankees. They imposed their will during 200 years, but that’s enough.”
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