terça-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2015

UNASUR Sends Fact-Finding Mission to Venezuela

Ricardo Patiño said that the Venezuelan government contiues to seek to resolve the situation peacefully.

UNASUR previously expressed its support for democracy in Venezuela against extremists seeking to oust the government.

The Union of South American Nations will continue to monitor the internal situation involving the Venezuelan government and right-wing opposition, accused of seeking to overthrow the elected government, in order to help ensure both democracy in the country and peace in the region, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Monday.

In an interview with RTS television station, Patiño said that UNASUR already played a similar role in February last year when the organization supported efforts to bring an end to the wave of right-wing political violence in Venezuela in which 43 people were killed.

​“There is the will, the decision and the capacity of the Venezuelan government to face this and also of its people to defend democracy,” Patiño said.

Meanwhile, Uruguay, in its capacity of pro tempore presidency of UNASUR, has brought forward the fact-finding mission of members to Venezuela, “to evaluate the evolution of the facts in the country.” It follows revelations of a coup plot against the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro. 

The government of Uruguay's President Jose Mujica's released a statement confirming that it is “carrying out all efforts necessary so that the commission made up of councilors from Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador travel briefly to Caracas to meet with President Maduro, in agreement with the invitation that he offered in the meeting in Montevideo on Feb. 9, 2015, which was made with the aim of accompanying a process of dialogue.”

Fonte: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UNASUR-Sends-Fact-Finding-Mission-to-Venezuela-20150223-0014.html

segunda-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2015


Nuclear B61s on a bomb rack

Ahead of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) scheduled for April 27 to May 22, 2015 in New York, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has expressed a clear vision for the future of nuclear disarmament.

The 33-member CELAC formally endorsed at its third annual summit in San José on January 28-29 the ‘Austrian Pledge’ delivered at the close of the Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) last December in Vienna.

The Austrian Pledge, delivered by Secretary-General of Austria’s Foreign Ministry Michael Linhart on December 9, 2014 explained that the facts and findings of the Vienna Conference – as well as previous HINW conferences held in Oslo, Norway, on March 4-5, 2013 and Nayarit, Mexico, on February 13-14, 2014 – had shown that more diplomatic action was needed.

The Austrian Pledge recognised the existence of a “legal gap” in the international framework regulating nuclear weapons and called on all states to join in efforts to fill this legal gap by pursuing measures, which would stigmatise, prohibit and lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

While delivering the Austrian Pledge, Linhart also called on “nuclear weapons possessor states” to take “concrete interim measures to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons detonations, including reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons and moving nuclear weapons away from deployment into storage, diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in military doctrines, and rapid reductions of all types of nuclear weapons.”

The heads of state of CELAC countries issued a declaration at their third annual summit on January 28-29 in San José, Costa Rica, fully supporting the outcomes of the Vienna conference. In doing so, CELAC became the first regional group of states to recognise that a treaty banning nuclear weapons is the best option to fill the legal gap:

“As has been demonstrated by the testimonies of survivors and evidence and scientific data, nuclear weapons constitute a serious threat to security, development of peoples and civilization in general. Being consistent with our declarations, in this purpose we reiterate our strong support to call made in Vienna and Nayarit to initiate a diplomatic negotiation process of an internationally legally binding instrument for the prohibition nuclear weapons.”

Commenting the San José declaration, Carlos Umaña of the Costa Rican branch of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) said: “With the CELAC Declaration, Latin American and Caribbean states have recognised they intend to remain at the forefront of efforts which bring us closer to a world without nuclear weapons. The Treaty of Tlatelolco, which established a nuclear weapons free zone across the region, was the first multilateral treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in a region — now Latin American and Caribbean states intend to work to promote a similar process that bans nuclear weapons internationally.”

According to the Ploughshares Fund, Russia, United States, France, China, Britain (five permanent members of the UN Security Council) and Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea possess a total of 16,300 nuclear weapons. “Of these, around 4,100 warheads are considered operational, of which about 1,800 US and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice,” says the Federation of American Scientists.

While the few nuclear-armed states have dominated the discussions on atomic weapons for decades, the humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons has prompted a fundamental change in this conversation, with non-nuclear armed states leading the way in a discussion on the actual effects of the weapons, notes the Iinternational Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

“The Austrian Pledge is a rallying call for states to demand action to fill an unacceptable legal gap. The momentum generated by the humanitarian initiative is paving the way for the commencement of a process to ban nuclear weapons. CELAC states have added their voices to the call. We expect other regions to do the same,” says Daniel Högsta of ICAN.

Growing support in Britain

There are indications of growing support for banning the bomb in Britain too. ICAN UK and the All Party Group on Weapons and the Protection of Civilians discussed in a parliamentary briefing on January 21 the implications for the UK’s own nuclear weapons.

The meeting came just a day after a parliamentary debate on the renewal of Trident. During the debate, called by the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, many members of parliament (MPs) pointed to the catastrophic risk of nuclear weapons due to intentional and accidental detonation.

The Labour Party’s Katy Clarke noted that the abandonment of Trident would not only be a significant symbolic step towards nuclear disarmament, but would also have a significant impact internationally.

Another Labour Party MP Paul Flynn pointed out that the continued possession of nuclear weapons by certain states also tacitly encourages other states to maintain and develop their own, thereby actively thwarting disarmament efforts.

Other speakers during the debate also noted that, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the UK has an obligation to pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith, and this obligation should be met by a nuclear weapons ban. “It is high time the Government stated their support for a new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons that would complement our disarmament commitment under Article 6 of the non-proliferation treaty”, said Scottish National Party MP Angus Robertson.

Many at the meeting agreed that now – after the Vienna Conference and before the NPT Review at the UN headquarters in New York – is the time to push through the agenda.

Article VI of the 1970 NPT obliges all Parties to the Treaty to undertake “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. This is the world’s only legally binding obligation on Nuclear Weapons States to reduce and ultimately eliminate their nuclear weapons. At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, State Parties to the Treaty agreed on ” 13 practical steps” to meet their disarmament commitments.

These include entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), moratorium on nuclear-weapon test explosions pending the CTBT taking effect, and negotiating in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) a non-discriminatory, multilateral and effectively verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) within five years. FMCT would prohibit the production of the two main components of nuclear weapons: highly-enriched uranium (HEU), and plutonium.Fonte: http://www.eurasiareview.com/15022015-growing-support-moving-away-nuclear-weapons-analysis/

domingo, 15 de fevereiro de 2015

Venezuela: Latin America unites against US attacks

A special commission of the two largest associations of Latin American nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC, which includes all of the Latin America and the Caribbean) and Union of South American Nations(UNASUR, which represents South American countries) met to discuss US attacks on Venezuelan democracy in a February 11 meeting.

Held in Montevideo, Uruguay, to analyse the relationship between the United States and Venezuela as well as the situation inside Venezuela, the joint commission was convened at the request of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

The commission includes the foreign ministers of Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil, as well as UNASUR secretary general Ernesto Samper.

Early indications are that this broad-based association is calling for the US to cease interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela; for the start of a US–Venezuela dialogue, and for Venezuela's government to resume a dialogue inside Venezuela.

This call is the latest in a series of statements of solidarity with Caracas and rejecting US meddling in the internal affairs of Latin American nations that have been issued by regional political and economic associations, as well as social movements.

On February 9, Council on Hemispheric Affairs Larry Birns noted: “Washington is basically being berated by Latin America for its campaign to pressure and to otherwise weigh-in against the region’s sovereignty and its inalienable right to conduct its own economic and political policies according to its own writ.

“It appears that Washington believes it can carve away, in silence, the rest of Latin America, including Cuba, from Venezuela. But the statements coming out of UNASUR and CELAC should serve as a strong reminder that Latin American unity remains intact.”

The UNASUR commission has convened at a time of increasing US belligerency towards the Maduro administration in the form of sanctions, unsubstantiated bids to criminalise and delegitimise the government, and increases in soft-power funding to opposition groups inside Venezuela.

In response to the expanded sanctions imposed by Washington against Caracas, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said in a February 3 statement that Venezuela deplores US measures that “continue violating the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights and non-interference in the internal affairs inherent in international law”.

There is an urgent sense within the “Chavista” camp, as the mass revolutionary movement led by the Maduro government is known, that with a divided right-wing opposition inside Venezuela, foreign interference will be stepped up.

This view is shared by others. At a February 4 meeting between Maduro and Samper, the UNASUR secretary general said: “I want to reiterate publicly that the position of UNASUR that is in its charter … is absolutely clear and unequivocal in pointing out that any attempt at destabilisation that is brought about against a democracy or attempt to destabilise a government can count on the unanimous rejection of the countries of the South.”

At the Montevideo meeting, Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino said, on behalf of the commission: “[It is] absolutely illegal for the US to impose and activate new sanctions against officials of the Venezuelan government.”

The commission expressed concern that Washington’s attack against Venezuela would be perceived as giving the green light to the more violent elements of the Venezuelan opposition.

There was also a comparison made between the mounting assault on the state from both inside and outside the country and the events leading up to the 2002 US-backed coup that briefly ousted then-president Hugo Chavez.

The UNASUR commission meeting comes one year after the so called “exit now” strategy was waged by elements of the US-backed opposition. This campaign pushed for regime change and led to violent street demonstrations in some middle- and upper-class neighbourhoods.

The UNASUR meeting is being held just months before parliamentary elections in Venezuela that will help determine the future direction of the nation's political and economic policies.

The Maduro administration has been under huge pressure to resolve serious consumer product shortages, bring inflation under control, and address the erosion of salaries in the face of currency devaluation.

These problems are worsened by the fall in oil prices that has dramatically cut Venezuela’s export income. Maduro has stepped up enforcement of anti-hoarding laws and calls for the acceleration of domestic agricultural production.

The government says shortages are largely the result of an economic war being waged by some key elements of the business sector that would like to finish the Bolivarian socialist project. Speculators are also accused of diverting products from store shelves into warehouses or transporting goods into Colombia where they fetch much higher prices than governmental legal prices.

As Maduro pushes back against hoarding and speculation, and commits to continuing the social missions introduced by Chavez a decade earlier, a divided opposition is pushing for market-oriented reforms.

These include removing price controls on some basic goods, repealing pro-worker laws and a rise in provision of dollars for use in importing goods at preferential exchange rates.

Maduro, however, is holding firm to the legacy of Chavez in pushing the socialist project, though he has also faced criticism from the Chavista left, who sometimes charge him with moving too slowly in this direction.
Fonte: https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/58241

quinta-feira, 12 de fevereiro de 2015

Relevance of Puerto Rico at the CELAC Summit

On the international level there are many unknowns about the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico. This often leads to simplistic ideas and criticisms about the Puerto Rican struggle, at times even negative ones without any understanding of the complexity of a struggle that for over a century has been waged within the limits of life in a colony.

It is a struggle that has cost many lives in U.S.-perpetrated massacres and murders, long incarcerations in the prisons of the empire, frame-up charges, accusations and dossiers (collecting information about persons involved in political organizations related to independence), constant monitoring by local and federal agencies, along with the continuous harassment of pro-independence activists.

By imposing colonial status, the U.S. empire committed a crime against humanity, which not only robs Puerto Rico’s workforce, resources and sovereignty, but tries to strip its people of their own history and Afro-Taíno-Caribbean identity. Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence has been an uphill battle. It remains one.

This is true even within the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), an organization whose goal is to unite in action every country of the Americas and isolate them from the interference of U.S. and Canadian imperialism. It was not until CELAC’s recent Jan. 28 summit, its third since CELAC was founded in 2011 at the initiative of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, that there was an active presence of Puerto Rican independence fighters.

We remember that at the CELAC Summit of 2011 in Caracas, the Puerto Rican band Calle 13, along with famous Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, opened the conference with the Puerto Rican song “Latinoamérica.” However, there was no seat at the summit then for the Puerto Rican nation.

U.S. strategy has always been to isolate Puerto Rico and its struggles from its neighbors. For decades, Puerto Rico was seen as a U.S. appendage, separated from the Latin American and Caribbean context. That’s what makes what happened on Jan. 28, the first day of the meeting of heads of state, so important.

The theme of this year’s summit, held in Costa Rica, was “Latin America, free of extreme poverty.” Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega emphasized that CELAC should continue its progressive policies and stay alert against U.S. conspiracies. He gave as an example the continuing blockade of Cuba and the destabilization plans against Venezuela. Then Ortega used his platform to call upon the leader of the Puerto Rican Independence party, Rubén Berrios, saying: “Come, Rubén, finish my talk!”

Berrios then explained the need for CELAC to act in solidarity with Puerto Rico’s independence and for the release of pro-independence political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who has spent 34 years in prison.

When Berrios finished, the president of Costa Rica and host of the event, Luis Guillermo Solís, reprimanded Ortega for not following the “procedures” of the summit. Ortega replied, “You bring up procedures,” but “you decided to give the floor to the OAS, the instrument of Yankee colonialism.” Ortega then said, “Puerto Rico’s voice is Nicaragua’s voice.” A few days later, Ortega appointed Berrios as advisor to Nicaragua on decolonization.

This incident, together with disagreements among some countries over whether to support independence for Puerto Rico, reveals the hidden hand of U.S. imperialism trying to intervene in this forum. In fact, as there was no mandatory consensus, the final declaration adopted regarding Puerto Rico was the same as at the 2014 summit in Havana: “To reiterate the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico and to take note of the resolutions on Puerto Rico adopted by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United Nations, we reiterate that this is a matter of interest for CELAC.”

However, the wall of silence about Puerto Rico was broken, at least partially, when the discussion between Ortega and Solís was widely covered by international media — in the United States only CNN reported something. The struggle for independence is now part of the tasks of CELAC, when Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador — whose President Rafael Correa will preside in CELAC the next year — endorsed the proposal to include the demand for sovereignty for Puerto Rico.

Crisis in Puerto Rico

The reality of the great social, financial and economic crisis the Puerto Rican government is undergoing right now gives this incident a special meaning. This crisis has been caused not by the misguided policies of the current government, which are in fact enormous, but by Puerto Rico’s colonial status, with the consequent lack of sovereignty to solve problems for the benefit of its people.

The list of the huge problems facing the country is long; prominent among them is privatization of public agencies and services, the high cost of living, rising unemployment, violence caused mostly by the increase in illicit drug commerce, and a huge public debt, which according to a lengthy report in the Feb. 5 El Nuevo Día, exceeds $160 billion. Add to this the bleeding of the population, which is migrating to the United States, most of them at the most productive ages, that is, 20 to 44 years old. According to El Nuevo Día, in 2013 some 73,000 people left Puerto Rico, mostly migrating to southern states in the U.S. At the same time, the government of Puerto Rico is giving incentives to wealthy U.S. businessmen to move to Puerto Rico.

The Feb. 6 New York Times article entitled, “While the middle class flees, Puerto Rico tries to attract rich people,” illustrates one of the erroneous policies of the local government. Using the pretext that its policy will bring in investors and jobs, the government’s steps basically will result in the replacement of the population — very similar to what happened in Hawai’i. This article arouses great anger among those who know that thousands of Puerto Ricans are driven to leave the island precisely by the lack of jobs and the high cost of living. This substitution has already caused extremely negative political and social outcomes in Culebra, Vieques and the Big Island (Puerto Rico).

That is why the anti-colonial struggle needs international solidarity more than ever. Berrios said, as he finished: “It is the Puerto Ricans’ responsibility to bring about independence; to Latin America and the Caribbean, however, belongs the task of showing solidarity with our right to independence and our demand to the U.S. to put an end to colonialism.”

Long live a free Puerto Rico!pan>

Fonte: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/02/11/relevance-of-puerto-rico-at-the-celac-summit/

CELAC and EU Meet to Combat Drug Trafficking

Cocaine seized by police in Huanchaco, Peru earlier this year

CELAC and the EU are holding a two-day meeting to review the social and economic impact of narcotics in their respective regions.

The European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) began high-level meetings Wednesday where 142 representatives will participate in the two-day conference in order to discuss recent developments of the drug situation in their respective regions. 

Policy makers will also meet to examine the social and economic impact of drug use and nacrotrafficking in their respective regions. They will palso propose policies such as alternative development models and prevention programs for vulnerable groups. 

Meanwhile, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) officially committed Tuesday to create a South American drug observatory, which will act as a regional database system containing information on drug trafficking.

UNASUR General-Secretary Ernesto Samper highlighted the importance of the Observatory for South America and for UNASUR stating, “The network will function as a platform through which all countries can be informed regarding narcotic activity in the region.”

Samper, who attended a meeting of the South American Drug Council in Montevideo, Uruguay, indicated the legal reforms would not be of a radical nature, saying, "We cannot leap from prohibition to legalization."

During the meeting, Unasur proposed several initiatives, which included a crop substitution program to replace the current policy, added Samper.  

Fonte: telesur

UNASUR and CAF Announce Plans for Latin American Fiber Optic Cable

The Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (The Union of South American Nations—UNASUR) and the Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (Latin American Development Bank—CAF) announced plans on Tuesday to develop the first fiber optic cable exclusively financed by Latin American institutions.

The creation of the proposed Red de Conectividad Suramericana para la Integración(South American Connectivity Network for Integration) could reduce South America’s reliance on foreign businesses for the infrastructure needed to connect to the Internet, subsequently lowering costs of access as well as increasing connectivity speeds.

UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper explained in a press conference in Montevideo, Uruguay, that Internet speed in South America is significantly slower than in other countries because of the challenges of broadband connectivity in the region, causing prices to surge up to 20 times higher than in developed countries.

There are an estimated 22.3 million Internet users in Latin America, accounting for 54.7 percent of the region’s population. Samper expressed concern about the digital divide in South America, stating that “one who is not connected is lost” and that Latin America “needs to generate value added processes and create autonomous communications highways to strengthen its independence and cyber defenses.” 

CAF has pledged an initial investment of 1.5 million dollars for the first phase of the project, which will involve an in-depth analysis of the current Internet technologies in each South American country to determine how they will incorporate existing cables into the future fiber optic grid. The vice president of CAF, Antonio Sosa, stated that the study would focus on demographics, technical issues and institutional framework in each country.

Fonte: http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/7047

Latin America Stands Firm with Venezuela against US Sanctions

Latin American and Carribbean leaders at the 2015 ALBA summit

Latin American regional bodies back the oil-rich nation against U.S. tactics; some warn they are designed to provoke regime change.

The U.S. Department of State imposed a second round of financial sanctions in February. These included visa restrictions on Venezuelan government officials, whom the U.S. accuses of human rights violations in relation to last year’s wave of right-wing violent protests.

The U.S. went ahead with the sanctions, despite a unanimous declarationrejecting U.S interference in the region at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Heads of State Summit in Costa Rica in January.

CELAC, which brings together all 33 Latin America and Caribbean nations and is, in many ways, an alternative to the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States, expressed its “strong repudiation of the application of unilateral coercive measures that are contrary to international law.”

Similarly, in December, after an earlier round of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, the heads of states of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), which includes Brazil and Argentina, expressed “their profound rejection of the law that applies sanctions” against Venezuela and expressed “firm support and solidarity with the government and the Venezuelan people.”

The Presidents labelled these a violation of “the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries and do not contribute to stability, social peace and democracy in Venezuela.”

February’s fresh round of unilateral sanctions also sparked outrage throughout the region. It prompted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to meet with Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Secretary General Ernesto Samper, to ask for the regional bloc's mediation on the interventionist actions carried out against the country by the United States.

President Maduro said that other regional leaders had informed him that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had been pressing other countries to “isolate” Venezuela. Maduro also said he had proof that the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela was attempting to bribe officials in order to turn them against his government.

As a result, a special commission, comprised of the foreign ministers of Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, met with Samper and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, during which they criticized U.S. interference in Venezuela, saying it put regional stability at risk. The foreign ministers also agreed to work in support of the establishment of a direct dialogue between Caracas and Washington.

Following the meeting, Samper expressed concern regarding the unilateral sanctions carried out by the U.S., and requested that Uruguay — the blocs’ pro-tempore leader — convene an extraordinary meeting of the UNASUR foreign ministers, which is expected to take place in February.

Previous emergency meetings of UNASUR foreign ministers have been reserved for extreme crises and serious threats to regional security. The most recent emergency meeting was convoked in July 2013, when several European countries closed their airspace to the presidential aircraft of Bolivian president Evo Morales, who was accused of harboring National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Following the earlier round of U.S. sanctions, UNASUR member states met late December condemned U.S. sanctions which they stated, “infringes the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other States”.

In the latest sign of support from Latin American and Caribbean nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) group of nations expressed Tuesday its “firm and strong opposition to the imposition of unilateral measures by the government of the United States, against the government and the Venezuelan people.”

The 11-nation regional body labelled the U.S. move an attempt toward regime change, and part of wider U.S activities “destabilizing the Bolivarian government in order to achieve its overthrow, or a change in its political regime chosen by the people.”

ALBA offered its support to ending any divisions between the two nations, and offered “to promote constructive dialogue on equal terms between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the United States of America.”

Such regional backing for Venezuela looks set to continue with Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño announcing that his country will host a meeting in the coming days with the foreign ministers from CELAC countries to discuss the situation in Venezuela and to review the evidence presented by President Maduro.

As Latin America goes through its second fight for independence — first from Spain, now from the United States — its regional integration bodies are playing an important role in defusing crises, interventions and and threats towards the region stemming from the dominant power in the North.

Fonte: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Latin-America-Stands-Firm-with-Venezuela-against-US-Sanctions-20150211-0019.html

terça-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2015

China in Latin America: Growing links that could impact climate talks.

Billion dollar trade deal will open up investments between Beijing and South America, but will it promote green growth?

The China-CELAC deal will see Beijing invest around $250 billion in Latin American and Caribbean countries over the next decade (Pic: Soya field/Lima Pix/Flickr)

China is now a major creditor, investor, and trade partner across the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Chinese-CELAC trade has accelerated rapidly and China recently replaced the European Union as the second largest market for CELAC exports.

Between 2000 and 2013, trade in goods between Latin America and the Caribbean and China increased from around US$12 billion to nearly US$275 billion.

This trade and investment is overwhelmingly concentrated in natural resources and energy such as oil, copper and soybeans.

Following the newly created China-CELAC Forum last January, countries agreed to aim to reach US$500 billion of bilateral trade and US$250 billion of Chinese direct investment to the region over the next decade.

Below the team at the Brown University Climate and Development Lab explore how this could impact low carbon development on the continent.

Why are Chinese-CELAC relations for climate change?

The rapidly expanding economic, commercial and political ties between China and Latin America have far reaching implications for the global effort to confront climate change.

Together, China and CELAC account for roughly 36% (China 27% / CELAC 9%) of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

The world’s ability to stay below a global average temperature increase of two degrees will rest in part on the willingness of these countries to reduce their emissions and shift to low-emission economies.

China’s considerable presence in the region, like those of other major powers in the region, tends to focus on high-carbon activities including fossil fuel extraction, large-scale agriculture and energy intensive industries.

CELAC countries’ exports to China have a higher concentration of greenhouse gas emissions than exports to other regions.

China’s activities in Latin America which tend to focus on high-carbon activities may be entrenching high carbon development pathways in Latin America.

Chinese investments and imports of Latin American commodities may be strengthening the relative power of political and commercial domestic constituencies and of “dirty” ministries (e.g. ministries of mining or energy) in relation to environment and climate change ministries.

These actors are less inclined to promote an ambitious climate agenda compared to ministries of environment which are traditionally marginalized in the region.

China may thus be inadvertently undermining CELAC countries’ attempts to advance climate change policies by reinforcing and strengthening actors within those countries that regard action on climate change as an impediment to growth.

What does the new China-CELAC Cooperation Plan call for?

The China-CELAC 2015-2019 Cooperation Plan covers various topics including trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and science.

The Plan calls for cooperation on advancing the international climate negotiations and strengthening and investment on renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

However, despite these official plans the level of cooperation on climate change and low carbon development between China and Latin America is currently minimal.

What are the opportunities for China-CELAC to cooperate on climate change?

The China-CELAC Forum has the potential to be a transformative platform to reverse the high-carbon partnership between Latin America and China, and boost low-carbon development.

China and CELAC could promote cooperation on renewable energy and capitalize on the emerging international ecosystem for climate finance led in part by China.

There is remarkable potential for China and CELAC to cooperate on renewable energy.

China’s growing domestic renewable energy market and influence in exporting technology to global renewable energy markets presents excellent opportunities to invest in clean energy in CELAC.

The conditions in CELAC for renewable energy are encouraging with over a dozen countries having established renewable energy targets.

Could it mean more money for green investments?

The ongoing evolution of the global financial architecture is likely to have far-reaching implications for Chinese-CELAC relations.

For example, China is working with other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa) countries to establish a New Development Bank (NDB) with $50 billion in initial capital to fund infrastructure projects.

The NDB will finance infrastructure and “sustainable development” projects in the BRICS countries initially, but eventually other developing countries will also be eligible to apply for funds.

This is particularly relevant for CELAC where countries need to develop their energy infrastructure, improve access to energy while developing plans for low carbon development.

How the New Development Bank interact with or work alongside the Green Climate Fund for instance, will have implications for CELAC as they seek to attract finance for implementation of their “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs).

China is making positive progress on the green finance agenda, which is already generating valuable lessons for CELAC that are facing similar challenges to China in building a financial system that supports the transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy. 

How could relations between China and CELAC impact the UN climate talks?

The UN climate negotiations this year are charged with creating a new global agreement.

All countries, including China and those from CELAC, are invited to put forward their INDCs by March.

Taking into account the current nature of Chinese-CELAC relations, greater focus on climate change through the China-CELAC Forum could prove significant for whether CELAC countries put forward ambitious or modest INDCs.

Renewable energy cooperation between China and CELAC if generously scaled could enhance both actors’ role at the UN climate negotiations given the focus on shifting from carbon intensive fossil fuels to renewable energy in order to keep alive the goal of staying under 2 degrees of warming.

CELAC should use the China-CELAC Forum to engage China on taking action on climate change within their bilateral partnerships and ensure that Chinese-CELAC relations positively contribute to global efforts to create an ambitious and equitable global climate agreement.

This Q&A is based on a discussion paper published by the Climate and Development Lab and E3G. To access the discussion paper click here: http://www.e3g.org/library/china-lac-partnership-on-low-trade-and-investment

Fonte: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/02/10/china-in-latin-america-growing-links-that-could-impact-climate-talks/

Uruguay Hosts International Experts Discussions on Drugs

International experts will analyze here for five days, starting today, various issues related to drugs.

Specialists participate in three events: the Council on World Drug Problem of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur); Conference Latin America-European Union (Copolad); and CELAC-EU Mechanism.

Today, representatives of Unasur will address common regional position for the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (Ungass 2016) and will sign a Letter of Commitment for Drug Observatories project of Unasur members.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Copolad conference will discuss the challenges of bi-regional cooperation in drug policy.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Seventeenth High Level Meeting of CELAC-EU Mechanism will review the drug problem in countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and in the European Union.

Fonte: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3518251&Itemid=1

Cancilleres de la Unasur buscan diálogo con Estados Unidos

Ernesto Samper calificó de exitosa la reunión que sostuvo este lunes la Comisión de Cancilleres del bloque para buscar canales de comunicación con el Gobierno de Estados Unidos que favorezcan el diálogo directo con Venezuela

Los cancilleres miembros de la Unasur afirmaron este lunes que las sanciones unilaterales de Estados Unidos contra Venezuela afectan la estabilidad de la región, tras reunirse este lunes en Montevideo, Uruguay.

“Queremos evitar que países extraregionales puedan afectar la paz y la estabilidad de nuestros Estados miembros de la Unasur”, destacó Telesur las palabras del canciller ecuatoriano, Ricardo Patiño. 

Las declaraciones de Patiño reiteran la necesidad de defender a Venezuela y los países de la región de cualquier amenaza extranjera que afecte la prosperidad y paz que han mantenido en los últimos años.

Por su parte, la canciller venezolana, Delcy Rodríguez, reiteró el rechazo a la aplicación de medidas unilaterales por parte del gobierno norteamericano y dijo que buscarán los mecanismos de comunicación pertinentes entre Estados Unidos y la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur) "a fin de dar un acompañamiento en cuanto a los principios de soberanía y autodeterminación al pueblo de Venezuela por parte de la administración estadounidense”.

Rodríguez afirmó que “se están dando señales claras parecidas y similar e incluso más graves que las que vivimos previos al golpe de Estado en el año 2002”.

El secretario general de la Unasur, Ernesto Samper, en su cuenta en la red social Twitter, calificó de exitosa la reunión que sostuvo este lunes la Comisión de Cancilleres del bloque para "buscar canales de comunicación con el Gobierno de Estados Unidos que favorezcan el diálogo directo con Venezuela".

La comisión especial de esta reunión estuvo compuesta además por la canciller de Colombia, María Ángela Holguín y su homólogo brasileño, Mauro Vieira y obedece al pedido hecho por el presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, al solicitar la colaboración del organismo multilateral para revisar la situación interna y la relación entre ambos países.

Fonte: http://www.granma.cu/mundo/2015-02-09/cancilleres-de-la-unasur-buscan-dialogo-con-estados-unidos

Regional group raps fresh US bans on Venezuela

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks to the Union of South American Nations' (UNASUR) foreign ministers at Miraflores palace in Caracas. (File photo)

Foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) have censured the United States for escalation of sanctions against Venezuela.

The announcement came after UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper met foreign ministers Mauro Viera of Brazil, Delcy Rodriguez of Venezuela, and Ricardo Patiño of Ecuador on Monday in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo.

On February 2, the US State Department imposed visa restrictions and financial sanctions on several Venezuelan officials it accuses of human rights violations.

Patiño told reporters that the meeting focused on impacts of the bans on regional peace.

“The measures to be implemented warrant an immediate reaction from UNASUR and that is why we met and we hope our actions will promote peace, concord and dialogue, and not just among the UNASUR members, but also to prevent countries outside the region from disturbing peace and stability in our countries,” he added.

The participants also agreed to make efforts for the establishment of a direct dialogue between Caracas and Washington.

A few days before the meeting, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had called on UNASUR as well as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) to protect Caracas against “aggression, threats, and statements” by US President Barack Obama, saying they “go against coexistence and respect.”

Samper underlined at the time that all UNASUR members would unanimously reject any attempt to destabilize a member state.

The new bans came less than two months after Washington revoked visas and froze assets of Venezuelan officials deemed responsible by the US for violence and human rights violations following anti-government protests early last year, during which some 40 people died.

Caracas has repeatedly stated that the opposition seeks to launch a coup d’état in the South American country with the backing of Washington.

Fonte: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/02/10/396927/UNASUR-slams-new-US-bans-on-Venezuela-

segunda-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2015

Panamanian Civil Society to Host People's Summit

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Panama's civil society will organize a meeting of social movements from the continent, parallel to the Summit of the Americas, scheduled for April, the promoters of the forum said on Sunday.

The Panamanian Solidarity Committee of Social Movements toward ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas) called an urgent meeting of its counterparts to call the people's summit.

The latest precedent was in January in Costa Rica, where non-governmental groups met parallel to the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and analyzed regional social problems.

In the final declaration, the people's summit, as these kinds of events are also known, recognized CELAC as the sovereign space of Latin America and the Caribbean, respectful of plurality and political diversity.

It also reaffirmed that it is in transit to become Latin American and Caribbean integration, as dreamed of by our national heroes, under the respect for the people's free self-determination, sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-interference in their internal affairs.

One of the first People's Summits was organized in 2005 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and brought together 12,000 people who traveled to the city where the 4th Summit of the Americas was held with participation of all 34 member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Fonte: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3515171&Itemid=1

Samper Warns about Necessity to End Blockade of Cuba

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The general secretary of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Ernesto Samper, stated that the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States to resolve pending issues such as blockade and the US military base in Guantanamo is a necessity.

Both governments recently took a historic step when they started talks to reestablished diplomatic relations, but we cannot forget the biggest issues to resolve: the embargo (blockade) and the US military base in Guantanamo, Samper told the Catalan newspaper Gara.

Asked about the role that UNASUR is playing in that process, the former Colombian president stated that it will be limited, but Cuba's return to the unity of American nations is seen with much enthusiasm.

It is a prodigal son who returns home. The difference is that here the son did not leave, but he was expelled, Samper said.

Regarding U.S. President Barack Obama, he said that predictions about his second term were marked by skepticism, because without a majority in the Congress, the worst could be expected.

Fortunately, Obama had the courage to change the trend and do important, progressive things in areas such as health care, immigration and relations with Cuba, which, in his opinion, shows that he is ready to take the plunge, he stated.

About Colombia, Samper expressed confidence in the conclusion of the peace talks being held in Havana, and called for further involvement of UNASUR in the execution of those agreements and the application of rules on truth, justice and reparation.

Fonte: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3515211&Itemid=1

A new era of accommodation

US-Latin American relations face a sea change in the coordinates of regional power, diplomacy and cooperation. The space for a fresh balance of interests has become manifest.

José Miguel Insulza. Demotix/ Zacarias Garcia. All rights reserved.

The normative and geopolitical conditions that for decades secured an extraordinarily influential position for the United States and US-sponsored institutions in inter-American governance have changed. Since the early 2000s, ideological polarisation and different approaches to hemispheric governance have increasingly meant that new regional institutions are reclaiming the region and rebuilding inter-American relations, while forcing the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) into accommodating to the changing conditions and juggling for influence.

The challenge is not merely one of symbolic politics led by left-leaning presidents railing against US domination. US-Latin American relations face a profound change in the coordinates of regional power, diplomacy and cooperation.

For more than a decade now, Latin American left-leaning governments have been reworking spaces and institutions that govern inter-American affairs. Various efforts have been made to create organisations to act as alternatives to Washington-based institutions. The creation of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) in 2004 led by Venezuela and Cuba, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2008, or the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), should all be seen as manifestations of this shift. All three organisations exclude the US and Canada.

These are potent expressions of the increasingly diversified global engagement of Latin American and Caribbean countries with countries outside the region, particularly China. They attest to the growing diplomatic importance of alternative regional bodies in fostering new compromises, institutions, funding mechanisms, policies and practices within the region in issues such as security, (political) rights, development, energy, infrastructure and security.

The re-politicisation of the inter-American order has piled on the pressure for Washington and Washington-led institutions. The OAS, once a core institutional disciplinary mechanism, is now fighting to remain relevant as new rules are asserted by CELAC and UNASUR. Diplomacy is being played out at the highest stakes. The sixth Summit of the Americas, a process affiliated with the OAS and held in Colombia in April 2012, displayed the US divergence with the region in terms of policy toward Cuba and anti-drug strategy. The second CELAC Summit, celebrated last February in Havana, was attended by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza – the first time an OAS Secretary has set foot in Cuba.

And the OAS is losing grounds on signature issue areas. UNASUR has effectively displaced the OAS as a regime stabiliser and has become the preferred institution for conflict resolution and mediation in the region (Bolivia in 2008, Ecuador in 2010, Honduras in 2009, Paraguay in 2012, and Venezuela in 2013). It is engaged in innovative forms of ‘niche diplomacy’, representing South America as a whole within the World Health Organisation and vis-à-vis international pharmaceutical corporations.

For its part, CELAC has entangled the US in a process of ‘unsociable sociability’ with regards to Cuba. The latter gained diplomatic ground as host to the most recent CELAC Summit, one attended not only by the OAS Secretary General but also by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Cuba is now also likely to attend the 2015 Summit of the Americas, hosted by Panama – a condition of other countries´ attendance, despite staunch opposition from US members of Congress. The diplomatic rapprochement between Cuba and the US is a timely step in this direction, saving the US from the embarrassment of no-shows at the event.

The importance of this diplomatic coexistence is to be understood as a recognition of Cuba as an integrated member of the inter-American system, whether Washington en toute likes it or not. The space for new regional policies and a fresh balance of interests has become manifest, as we indicated when furthering the notion of ‘post-hegemonic regionalism’. Our argument then and now is that differences and disagreements are no longer just a question of ‘take it or leave it, my friend’. Post-hegemonic regionalism opens up a new era of accommodation in more equitable ways than the customary hard-line hegemonic diplomacy had ever accepted.

Fonte: https://www.opendemocracy.net/pia-riggirozzi-diana-tussie/new-era-of-accommodation

domingo, 8 de fevereiro de 2015

UNASUR Committee to Examine US Destabilization Efforts

Nicolas Maduro (centre) with Rafael Correa (right) and Ernesto Samper (left) in Quito for the opening ceremony of the new UNASUR Headquarters Dec. 5, 2014.

The head of the regional bloc announced the special committee will meet Monday to examine U.S. intervention in Venezuela

The Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Ernesto Samper announced that a special a committee will convene next Monday in Montevideo, Uruguay to discuss U.S. destabilization efforts in Venezuela. 

During his comments, Samper issued his support to the Venezuelan government and to president Nicolas Maduro against the interventionist efforts by Washington. 

The announcement followed a meeting last week between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the bloc’s secretary general in which Maduro requested the regional bloc's meditation on the interventionist actions carried out against the country by the United States.

Samper rejected “destabilization” and “all forms of violence” against the government, and said he would bring the evidence provided by President Maduro before UNASUR's Foreign Ministers Council. 

Samper’s statement also coincides with a UNASUR foreign ministers’ summit scheduled to take place next week, where regional leaders will likely address external interference by the United States.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Friday that Quito will host a meeting in the coming days with the foreign ministers from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and UNASUR to discuss the situation in Venezuela, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's claim that the United States is acting to overthrow his government.

"Ecuador, which holds the pro-tempore presidency of CELAC and is part of the group of foreign ministers of UNASUR, has been promoting talks between the Venezuelan government and the opposition in order to strengthen institutions in Venezuela," Patiño said, adding that he wants to avoid destabilization in Venezuela and the region.

Patiño strongly rejected the United States' decision to impose and activate new sanctions against Venezuelan government officials, saying it is an "absolutely illegal action.”

Meanwhile, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) also issued a statement this week in support of the Government of Venezuela, rejecting the arbitrary and interventionist sanctions that the U.S. government has imposed on the South American nation.

“The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement categorically rejects the recent decision of the Government of the United States, last February 2, 2015, to expand its unilateral coercive measures against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” the text reads. 

The document adds, “The Non-Aligned Movement expresses its solidarity and support to the people and Government of Venezuela in opposition to these illegal actions, and urges the government of the United States to desist from such illegal coercive measures which affect the spirit dialogue and political understanding between the two nations.”

Fonte: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UNASUR-Committee-to-Examine-US-Destabilization-Efforts--20150207-0011.html

sábado, 7 de fevereiro de 2015

Ministers to Review Venezuela's Charges of US Meddling


Latin American Foreign Ministers will meet in the coming days to review the Venezuelan President's claims of U.S. interference in his country.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Friday that Quito will host a meeting in the coming days with the foreign ministers from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to discuss the situation in Venezuela, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's claim that the United States is acting to overthrow his government.

"Ecuador, which holds the pro-tempore presidency of CELAC and is part of the group of foreign ministers of UNASUR, has been promoting talks between the Venezuelan government and the opposition in order strengthen institutions in Venezuela," Patiño said, adding that he wants to avoid destabilization in Venezuela and the region.

Patiño strongly rejected the United States' decision to impose and activate new sanctions against Venezuelan government officials, saying it is an "absolutely illegal action.”

On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with the UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper in Caracas and asked for the regional bloc's meditation with the United States. The Venezuelan president said he had been informed by other regional leaders that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had been pressing other country’s to “isolate” Venezuela. Maduro also said he had proof that the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela was attempting to bribe officials in order to turn against his government.

Samper rejected “destabilization” and “all forms of violence” against the government, and said he would bring the evidence provided by the presidentbefore UNASUR's Foreign Ministers Council.

In addition to holding the pro-tempore presidency of CELAC, Ecuador is also host to the UNASUR headquarters.

The United States recently imposed new sanctions on the South American country, despite the unanimous declaration rejecting U.S. interference in the region at the CELAC Summit in Costa Rica in January.

Fonte: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ministers-to-Review-Venezuelas-Charges-of-US-Meddling-20150206-0025.html

Cancilleres de Unasur analizarán en Uruguay situación de Venezuela

En la reunión estarán la canciller de Colombia, María Ángela Holguíny el secretario de la Unasur, Ernesto Samper, junto a los cancilleres de Brasil y Venezuela.

Cancilleres de Unasur analizarán en Uruguay situación de Venezuela

La Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur) analizará la situación de Venezuela durante una reunión que sostendrán los cancilleres de Brasil, Colombia y Ecuador el próximo lunes en la capital uruguaya.

Así lo anunció este viernes el canciller ecuatoriano, Ricardo Patiño, en un mensaje de su cuenta de Twitter, en el que también confirmó la participación de su homóloga venezolana, Delcy Rodríguez, y del secretario general de la Unasur, Ernesto Samper.

"Cancilleres BRA (Brasil), COL (Colombia) y ECU (Ecuador) con canciller VEN (Venezuela) y el sec. gral. (secretario general) UNASUR nos reuniremos lunes 9 en Montevideo para tratar situación de Venezuela", escribió Patiño.

La reunión en Montevideo la sostendrán los cancilleres de Brasil, Mauro Vieira; de Colombia, María Ángela Holguín; de Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez; el ecuatoriano Patiño y el secretario de la Unasur, Ernesto Samper.

El anuncio de la reunión diplomática en Montevideo se da pocos días después de que el presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, pidiera al secretario de la Unasur y a la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (Celac) que establezcan un "escudo protector" alrededor de su país para "evitar agresiones".

Tras mantener el pasado miércoles una reunión con Samper en Caracas, Maduro dijo que le proporcionó al responsable de la Unasur "datos, información, alguna muy confidencial" de "elementos muy preocupantes" y pronunciamientos de portavoces del Pentágono y del vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Joseph Biden.

"Le pedí ayuda para que (el presidente de EE.UU., Barack) Obama detenga las agresiones, amenazas y pronunciamientos que van en contra de la convivencia y del respeto", afirmó entonces Maduro.

Samper, por su parte, dijo ese mismo día que cualquier intento de desestabilizaciónque se produzca en una democracia o contra un Gobierno contará con el "rechazo unánime" de todos los países de la Unasur.

La democracia, la paz y los derechos humanos "forman parte de la trilogía fundamental" de la organización suramericana, recalcó el secretario de la Unión.

De su lado, Patiño en una entrevista con una televisión de su país anunció el jueves pasado la preparación de la reunión para tratar la situación de Venezuela.

Recordó, además, que Ecuador ejerce actualmente la presidencia pro témpore de la Celac y que estuvo participando en un proceso de diálogo en Venezuela hace algunos meses.

"Ecuador, como presidencia pro témpore de Celac ahora, y también como parte del grupo de cancilleres (de la Unasur) que estuvo desarrollando durante algún tiempodiálogos entre el Gobierno venezolano y la oposición, va a continuar con esa decisión política de fortalecer la institucionalidad en Venezuela", dijo Patiño.

El jefe de la diplomacia ecuatoriana aseguró que lo que se busca es "evitar una desestabilización (en Venezuela) como la que se pretende desde algunos otros lugares".

Asimismo, consideró una decisión "absolutamente ilegal de los Estados Unidos deimponer y de activar nuevas sanciones contra funcionarios del Gobierno venezolano".

"No podemos aceptar que se vaya, ojalá, mejorando la relación con Cuba y, ojalá, terminando el bloqueo que todavía no termina, para comenzar con bloqueos con otros países. De ninguna manera vamos a aceptar eso", subrayó Patiño.

En esa entrevista confirmó que había conversado con sus colegas de Venezuela, de Colombia y con Samper "para coordinar pronto, en estos días, una reunión de cancilleres y atender el pedido del presidente Maduro".

Según el canciller ecuatoriano, "evidentemente hay un proceso de desestabilización en Venezuela que viene desde algún tiempo atrás" y subrayó que se debe mantener la paz en la región y evitar el intervencionismo.