Alberto Fernández will participate in a CELAC seminar, called “Unity in diversity”

Alberto Fernandez Celac
Alberto Fernández together with Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero when he assumed the presidency of CELAC in January. Photo: Presidency. (MARIA EUGENIA CERUTTI/)

This Thursday, August 18, in the Sala Argentina of the Kirchner Cultural Center, a seminar called “Unity in diversity” will be held, which will be headed by President Alberto Fernández, in which the opportunities and challenges of the integration of Latin America and Caribbean. It will have several relevant politicians among the exhibitors and also representatives of civil society, the academic world and multilateral organizations. It will last for 5 hours. Among the participants are the current president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (he will be virtually), and the former presidents of Uruguay, José “Pepe” Mujica; from Colombia, Ernesto Samper, and from Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

The event will be part of the activities promoted by the Argentine head of state as head of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), which he has led since January 7. It still remains to be confirmed whether former Brazilian President Luis Inacio “Lula” Da Silva will be there for the closing, who is once again a candidate for the highest office in the elections to be held on October 2.

The seminar will take place after a complex week for the Argentine government in relations with Venezuela and Nicaragua, two of the countries that make up CELAC. To the statements of Oscar Laborde, ambassador in Caracas, about the Venezuelan-Iranian plane held in Ezeiza, with criticism of the Argentine Justice, was added the onslaught of Daniel Ortega against Alberto Fernández, on the same subject. “He is betraying the principles of CELAC, he is becoming an instrument of the Yankee empire,” fired the former Sandinista leader.

Recently, when the announcement of this activity was made, the Undersecretary for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, Gustavo Martínez Pandiani, stated that the assembly took more than a month and that the idea of ​​CELAC is “to include and not exclude”.

celac meeting
Martínez Pandiani, announcing the seminar that CELAC will hold this Thursday.

It will be divided into three panels. In the first, coordinated by Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, the axis will be “Latin America and the Caribbean – Diversities and consensus for integration”, with the intention of addressing the nature of integration in a region that includes diverse economic, social and political realities.

The panelists will be José “Pepe” Mujica (former president of Uruguay, for the Broad Front between 2010 and 2015); Ernesto Samper (former Colombian president between 1994 and 1998); the Brazilian Celso Amorim (twice Minister of Foreign Affairs of his country); Beatriz Paredes Rangel (one of the current senators of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and Didacus Jules (born on the island of Santa Lucía, educator influenced by Paulo Freire and Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States).

The triggers of the discussion will be, according to the organizers, “the challenges presented by the current international context”, “The region as a zone of peace: its contribution to the international system” and “Regional integration, the challenge of inequality and development opportunities”.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.  One is confirmed to participate virtually;  Lula, still in doubt.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. One is confirmed to participate virtually; Lula, still in doubt. (MEXICO PRESIDENCY/)

The second segment appears as “Economic and political integration in an international system in crisis”. And the intention is to discuss the challenges of the region in the face of a dynamic social, economic and political context, marked by the reality of the post-pandemic and the consequences of the current armed conflict.

With the Chilean Marco Enríquez Ominami, former candidate for the presidency of the neighboring country and personal friend of Aníbal Fernández, as moderator, the panelists will be José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (former Spanish president between 2004 and 2011); Sergio Díaz Granados (executive president of CAF, Development Bank of Latin America); Vinicio Cerezo (Deputy of Guatemala and General Secretary of the Central American Integration System); Alicia Bárcena (Mexican biologist and diplomat, former head of ECLAC) and José Miguel Insulza (Chilean senator for the Socialist Party and former Secretary General of the OAS).

“Opportunities and challenges for regional development models”, “Food and energy: can the region have a common agenda in the face of the crisis?” and “The obstacles to regional integration: political, social and economic”.

The former president of Uruguay José
Former Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica will be a member of one of the panels at the seminar. (ELISA COLELLA/)

The third panel will be titled “The role of multilateral organizations, civil society and academia in integration”. It will revolve around the “view of non-state actors on the problems and challenges of regional integration in the face of an international system in transformation and without strong leadership”.

Gustavo Martínez Pandiani, who works in the Argentine Foreign Ministry as Undersecretary for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, will be its moderator. And they will officiate as panelists Christian Asinelli (vice president of the Development Bank of Latin America); Mario Cimoli (Argentine economist, who is the Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC); Donna Forde (CARICOM Secretary General, Caribbean Community); Juan Tokatlian (full professor at Di Tella University) and Matías Capeluto (director of Casa Patria Grande).

Three topics will be discussed: 1) The region facing the uncertainty of an international system in transformation: the new role of global and regional powers; 2) The view of the academic world on integration: balance and perspectives and 3) The contribution of civil society organizations to strengthening regional integration.

To close, there will be a virtual dialogue between leaders on the future of integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. Alberto Fernández will close the day with Mia Mottley (Prime Minister of Barbados, whom the Argentine President visited in February, on a tour that also included Russia and China), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (President of Mexico) and is yet to be confirmed. to Luiz Inacio Lula DaSilva.


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