Washington, D.C.—On Tuesday, January 29, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, will join 33 Latin American heads of state at the Havana meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Their attendance signals the growing diplomatic importance of the regional body.
CELAC, founded in 2011, includes all of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean but, unlike the OAS, it does not include the United States or Canada. CELAC has held summit meetings in Venezuela, in Chile, and now in Cuba. While countries in the region have a variety of political disagreements and border disputes, every head of state will attend the meeting, reflecting a growing interest in regional integration and regional power.
The heads of state are expected to discuss measures to combat poverty and inequality, support greater regional economic integration, condemn the United States embargo on Cuba, and support the peace process in Colombia.
OAS Secretary General Insulza’s attendance has generated interest because of Cuba’s historical relationship with the OAS.
Joy Olson, WOLA’s executive director, is currently in Cuba. She can be reached at +53 5281 5255 for analysis on the significance of this meeting and the attendance of the OAS Secretary General.
Click here for further commentary on the significance of the CELAC meeting, including how it might improve relations between the OAS and Cuba and possibly explore creative solutions to the looming problem of Cuba’s participation in the 2015 Summit of the Americas.