SAN SALVADOR – The rescheduling of a meeting between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) and the European Union “threatens the bi-regional alliance,” a Spanish member of the European Parliament told EFE.
The summit had been scheduled for Oct. 26-27 in El Salvador, the current occupant of CELAC’s rotating presidency, but leaders of CELAC states agreed on Tuesday to postpone the event until Spring 2018.
The decision resulted from what Ramon Jauregui described as an “ideological fracture” between supporters and opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
“I regret the decision, it worries me and I don’t agree with it, but I can understand why countries adopted the measure since they expected that the Venezuela conflict would polarize the summit and that is a weighty argument,” the Spanish Socialist said.
Jauregui, who is in El Salvador for the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, expressed concern over “internal division within the Latin American region, because it’s a gap among nations who face common challenges and tasks.”
The Lima Declaration, signed by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, repudiated Maduro’s move to install an all-powerful Constituent Assembly in Venezuela and it was the Lima signatories who requested a postponement of the CELAC-EU summit.
“The thing that led them to make such a decision, the thing that crossed the red line, was Maduro’s convening a Constituent Assembly and its absorption of legislative authority from the National Assembly,” Jauregui said.
The EU is likewise unwilling to recognize the Constituent Assembly and insisted that its delegates be excluded from the summit, the Spaniard pointed out.
“Even so, the (summit) postponement is not the right decision, it entails many risks, as it is quite easy to postpone but quite difficult to convene it again,” Jauregui said. “This carries grave risks for the common effort to develop an EU-CELAC bi-regional alliance.”