Luis Lacalle Pou made a strong accusation to CELAC: “There are countries here that do not respect democracy or human rights”

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Uruguay's president responded to Alberto Fernández, who had previously defended the dictatorships of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela

Luis Lacalle Pou made a strong accusation of the CELAC:

Alberto Fernandez and Luis Lacalle Pou (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)

The President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, proposed this Tuesday that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) promote the creation of a regional free trade zone, and criticized to the countries of the group that “do not respect democracy or human rights”.

The president asked his peers in this forum that brings together 33 countries stop talking and move “to action”.

“Wouldn't it be time to open up these relations and for CELAC to promote a free trade zone (…) from Mexico to the south of South America? Can't we move in that direction?” he wondered.

“There we have the possibilities of free trade. Many of our economies are complementary, and I am sure that we could move forward,” said Lacalle Pou, when his country is under pressure in Mercosur after the decision to negotiate an FTA with China, which its partners Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay view with suspicion. .

Likewise, the Uruguayan president, one of the few center-right leaders to attend the Buenos Aires summit, criticized the “ideological temptation in international forums”, which ends up causing them to fade away.

“I've heard speeches that I fully agree with, others that I share half with, and others that I agree with almost nothing. But I understand that our nations have to be linked,” he said, before stating that some speeches bear “titles of solidarity and other concepts that are very nice but are sometimes not put into practice.”

“All of the countries that are here condemn these actions against democracy in Brazil,” Lacalle Pou remarked about the coup of supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro against the buildings of the public powers in Brasilia on January 8 in demand of a coup d'état. that caused the fall of the government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

And the declaration of the CELAC summit “speaks of respect for democracy, human rights and care for institutions”. But “clearly there are countries here (…) that do not respect institutions, democracy or human rights”, she launched. “Let's not have a hemiplegic vision (…) according to the ideological profile” , she asked.

During his speech, Lacalle Pou preferred not to refer to Mercosur in this forum, since, he commented, “this is not the time to mark coincidences and/or differences” and insisted that the countries of the region have their “duties”: adapt the ” national reality so that it is consistent with the discourses of this community”.

Earlier, the opening speech of the event held in Buenos Aires once again revealed the affinity that exists between the Argentine government, headed today by Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner, with the dictatorships of Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), Miguel Díaz-Canel (Cuba) and Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela).

Initially, Fernández urged his peers to fight against “the blockades” suffered by some countries in the region , by arguing that “they are a very perverse method of sanctioning, not governments but peoples.” Then, the Argentine president continued his speech, but more explicitly: Cuba has been under a blockade for more than six decades  and that's inexcusable. Venezuela suffers just as much and we have to raise our voices… We believe in democracy, which is definitely at risk. After the pandemic, the ultra-right has stood up and threatens each of our peoples. We must not allow this reluctant and fascist right-wing  to put the institutional framework of our peoples at risk.”

Alberto Fernández's ideological position deepened for moments later in his speech: “All those who are here have been chosen by their peoples and their peoples legitimize them as rulers. And therefore, beyond how each people decides, in diversity we must respect each other and in diversity we must grow together”.

The VII CELAC summit will end on the afternoon of this Tuesday after a closed session from which only a few speeches were released.

(With information from AFP)

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