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Mexico to host summit of new Latin America ‘pink tide’ leaders

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Leaders will discuss the region’s response to the pandemic and the creation of a fund to respond to climate change.

The presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Peru among others will meet on Saturday at the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), for a gathering that will convene recently elected members of a “pink tide” of leftist leaders.

Mexico is set to host the fourth summit of the regional body, and 16 leaders have confirmed their attendance, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Friday.

CELAC will discuss the region’s response to the pandemic as well as the creation of a fund to respond to disasters derived from climate change.

Latin America’s left made its greatest strides with the first “pink tide” of socialist leaders in the early 2000s.

Along with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the new wave of leftist Latin leaders expected to be among the heads of state at CELAC include Peru’s Pedro Castillo, Bolivia’s Luis Arce and Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez.

It is also expected that Mexico, as president pro tempore of CELAC, will push for a unified proposal to replace or reform the Organization of American States (OAS). Some CELAC members see OAS as an “interventionist” instrument of the United States and a new body is needed to represent the region’s countries.

Lopez Obrador has previously said the OAS should be replaced by “a truly autonomous body, one that is nobody’s lackey”.

Ahead of the summit, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel attended a lavish military parade at Mexico’s 200th anniversary of independence on Thursday.

Diaz-Canel’s trip to Mexico is the Cuban leader’s first foreign visit since large protests swept the island in July, shaking the communist government as it struggles to manage the coronavirus pandemic and shortages of food, fuel and medicine.

Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel was one of the guests of honour at Mexico’s Independence Day military parade. Critics felt the showcasing of the Cuban leader on independence day was inappropriate [Marco Ugarte/AP Photo]

Mexico threw a lifeline to Havana during the demonstrations by sending ships loaded with fuel, food and oxygen tanks.

Diaz-Canel, who was one of the guests of honour at an Independence Day military parade in Mexico City, said the help came at a vital time as Cuba suffered “the ravages of a multidimensional war”, referring to the crippling US blockade of the island.

“Under the fire of that total war, the solidarity of Mexico with Cuba has awakened in our people greater admiration and the deepest gratitude,” he said in a speech after the parade.

Diaz-Canel thanked Mexico for its support.

Starting in July, huge swept across Cuba, shaking the government as it struggles to manage a deteriorating economy amid the coronavirus pandemic and shortages of food, fuel and medicine. [Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters]

Some felt the showcasing of the Cuban leader on Independence Day was inappropriate.

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon wrote on his Twitter account that “it is unacceptable to give such a prominent place at the country’s bicentennial independence celebration to a dictator who has imprisoned dozens of Cubans”.

However, Lopez Obrador has also made it a priority to maintain good relations with the US. Amid rising concern in the administration of President Joe Biden regarding surges of migrants at the US-Mexico border, Mexico has continued to block migrant caravans and receive those sent back.

On Thursday, Biden issued a statement congratulating Mexico on the anniversary, noting “Mexico is one of our most valued partners. Together, we are able to promote our many mutual interests and cooperate to address shared challenges.”



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