Ecuador President Rafael Correa says that a lack of consensus is hurting the effectiveness of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). He made his comments Wednesday at the opening session of the fourth CELAC summit in Quito, where the organization is headquartered.
The summit is attended by the presidents and prime ministers of Latin American and Caribbean nations
“Unfortunately, due to lack of common ground and the different views of CELAC members, we have not been able to translate the agenda into measurable goals and actions,” said Correa. “I urge the members to strengthen intra-community cooperation and reach consensus on the Agenda 2020 action plan,” he said. Ecuador holds the CELAC rotating presidency for 2016.
Agenda 2020 is a proposal submitted by Costa Rican President Guillermo Solis, whose country occupied the bloc’s presidency in 2014, supported by Correa. The agenda focuses on reducing poverty and inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also proposes coordination between countries in education, science, technology and innovation; environment and climate change; infrastructure and connectivity; and financing for development.
“We must intensify our efforts in the areas of inequality and poverty in the region without waiting for a supposed invisible hand,” Correa said, a veiled reference to the influence of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Correa and other Latin American leaders envision CELAC as a replacement for the Organization of American States (OAS), which they claim is dominated the U.S. and international banking interests.
Several leaders say that now is a difficult time for committing financial resources to major CELAC initiatives due to deteriorating regional and international economic conditions. Many Latin American nations are in recession or entering recession as a result of slumping oil prices and the strength of the U.S. dollar.
One of the projects that will probably have to wait is major funding for the Banco del Sur, envisioned by Correa and others as a regional alternative to the World Bank.