“It is with great joy and very special satisfaction that Brazil is back in the region and ready to work side by side with all of you, with a very strong sense of solidarity and closeness”, announced Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in a speech in the plenary of the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Buenos Aires.

“Following the election results [presidenciais brasileiras, de 30 de outubro], I said that Brazil was back in the world. Nothing more natural than starting this return journey through Celac”, continued the Brazilian head of state, who began his first international trip in Argentina, in a sign of Brazil’s priority for its strategic neighbor.

The Brazilian President highlighted “Brazil’s mission in favor of regional integration since the country’s re-democratization” in 1985, after 21 years of military dictatorship.

“The regrettable exception was recent years, when my predecessor took the inexplicable decision to withdraw Brazil from CELAC,” said Lula da Silva, referring to Jair Bolsonaro.

Three years ago, in January 2020, Bolsonaro withdrew Brazil from CELAC with the aim of deflating the importance of the regional forum, but, above all, silencing the voice of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the authoritarian regimes in the region. CELAC is the only regional organization in which Cuba participates.

It was Lula da Silva who, in 2010, alongside former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, helped build the organization. Thirteen years later, the Brazilian President once again puts Brazil face to face with its neighbors, after the isolation of recent years.

“Brazil once again looks to its future with the certainty that we will be associated with our neighbors bilaterally, in Mercosur, in Unasur [União de Nações Sul-Americanas] and at Celac. It is with this feeling of common destiny and belonging that Brazil returns to CELAC, with the feeling of someone who is reunited with himself”, considered Lula.

Lula da Silva defended that “integration will be done on better terms” if the neighboring countries “are well integrated in the region”.

“This does not mean that we should close ourselves off from the world”, warned Lula, indicating that he deems “essential the development and deepening of dialogues with extra-regional partners, such as the European Union, China, India, ASEAN [Associação de Nações do Sudeste Asiático] and, most especially, the African Union”.

“For us to grow in a sustainable way, we cannot continue to boast of unacceptable levels of poverty and hunger, nor coexist with the inequality and gender violence that affect half of our populations”, he highlighted, with special emphasis on “respect for the original peoples [indígenas]” and in “work so that skin color no longer defines the future of young people”.

Lula da Silva thanked the solidarity with the Brazilian Government and the unanimous condemnation of Latin American and Caribbean countries to the attacks on the headquarters of the three powers by Bolsonaro supporters, which took place in Brasília on January 8th.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have sided with Brazil and Brazilian institutions, over the last few days, in repudiation of the anti-democratic acts that took place in Brasília. It is important to emphasize that we are a peaceful region, which rejects extremism, terrorism and political violence”, he said.

Celac did not take a stand against the authoritarian regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

On the other hand, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia defend the ousted Peruvian president Pedro Castillo (left), who attempted a coup d’état in Peru on December 7th. The Argentine Government, which condemns the attempted coup in Brazil, wants to dismiss the judges of the Argentine Supreme Court.

Celac’s annual and rotating presidency now moves from Argentina to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.


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