Latin America and Caribbean Declared “Zone of Peace”
On Wednesday, the final day of a two-day summit of Latin American (middle and South America) and the Caribbean, the region declared itself a “zone of peace”, denouncing the use of violence and arms to resolve conflicts between each other, pledging to resolve any differences they might have between themselves.
The joint declaration was read by current CELAC (Community of Latin America and Caribbean States) President, and President of Cuba, Raul Castro, while the 33 nations were gathered for the third annual summit in Havana, capital of Cuba. Castro said: “I solemnly proclaim Latin America and the Caribbean as a ‘zone of peace’.”
The states agreed to respect the rights of each other by signing the resolution. The also agreed to respect the choices each region made in regards to economic, political and social system, as well as each other’s cultures, ultimately agreeing to be respectful neighbours to one another.
Thought out in February 2010 and put into action in December 2011, the summit is an attempt to seek “unity and diversity” by the state leaders and governments, without the intervention of the US. Each summit is hosted by another state, whose leader then becomes the President of CELAC for the following year.
Leaders also gave speeches that highlighted that urgent need to solve economic issues, among other discussions including immigration and the oppression of the business suit, as brought up by President Josè Mujica of Uruguay. “We have to dress like English gentlemen! That’s the suit that industrialisation imposed on the world,” he exclaimed with distaste. “Even the Japanese had to abandon their kimonos to have prestige in the world. We all have to dress up like monkeys with ties!”
The Uruguayan President was alluding to the leaders not giving up their cultural roots (for President Mujica himself lives on a small farm and is thought to give away around 90% of his own salary), and while he may have been wearing a crumpled white shirt and suit jacket himself, the man wore not tie.
Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos took the summit as an opportunity to thank everyone for signing the joint declaration, saying that free trade between the countries could also help boost the CELAC economies. “I want to thank in a special way the support of all of you to the peace process that we have been moving forward in Columbia,” he added, “to thank Cuba, because Cuba is helping us, and in what a manner, serving as host for this process.”
Sebastian Pinera, President of Chile where the summit took place last year, said that by signing the resolution “we will be able to enrich public policy in every one of our nations”, wholeheartedly agreed by all the states, even those who had some tensions bubbling beneath the surface between them.
As the summit closed for another year, President Castro handed the reins over to Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, where the summit will be held next year.