CELAC Summit begins with a moment of silence for Fidel

Heads of states from the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, participated Tuesday in the opening ceremony of the group’s fifth summit in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, kicking off their meeting with a moment of silence to honor late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The summit will continue Wednesday and the leaders will discuss greater regional cooperation and stronger ties as they brace for an uncertain relationship with the United States under the leadership of Donald Trump.

The Dominican Republic’s President Danilo Medina said the Brexit vote to leave the European Union in the U.K. and the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement were signs of a new era.

Among the issues reportedly under discussion will be an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba as well as greater food security in the region.

Continue reading “CELAC Summit begins with a moment of silence for Fidel”

Haitans Protest Arrival of ‘Interfering’ OAS

Protesters march during a demonstration against the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Opposition presidential candidates say the visit will deepen the crisis instead of resolving it.

Thousands of protesters filled the streets of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince once again Sunday against the arrival of the Organization of American States (OAS), who demonstrators say should not interfere with the country’s already contentious elections.

The term of President Michel Martelly ends Feb. 7, but after canceling elections last Sunday the Washington-based OAS have been called in to supervise the resolution of the political crisis.

The delegates are expected to discuss how to conduct the next round of elections which have been indefinitely postponed. But opposition presidential candidates say the visit will deepen the crisis instead of resolving it.

According to the eight opposition presidential hopefuls, the OAS seek dialogue with those the organization considers to be the “principal social and political representatives” and not with the people in general, who demand electoral justice and a peaceful transition.

Furthermore, protesters argue that the interference of the OAS not only helps the president in his plans but they blame the organization for fomenting instability in Haiti.

A protester carrying a banner reading “Down with the OAS” told teleSUR. “Martelly had four years to do the elections, but he didn’t do them. He’s got the support of the international community, and he still didn’t do it. Now he has to call the OAS to bring a solution to the crisis. Us Haitians, we are going to find the solution.”

On Wednesday, OAS approved a resolution on sending a special mission to Haiti in order to moderate the ongoing conflict between the opposition and the government, one week before the president is due to leave office. As the elections last Sunday were canceled at the last minute, current President Michel Martelly asked the Washington-based organization to send a mission in order to avoid a power vacuum and to “preserve democratic rule.”

Martelly supported his request with the Inter American Democratic Charter, as article 17 states that when the “government of a member state considers that its democratic political institutional process or its legitimate exercise of power is at risk, it may request assistance from the Secretary General or the Permanent Council for the strengthening and preservation of its democratic system.”

Although the resolution was officially approved “by consensus” without a vote, during the four-hour debate Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil and Honduras opposed the idea that the OAS made a decision that day, as most Latin American leaders were attending the CELAC Summit in Quito, Ecuador.