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Caracas Declaration Creating CELAC, December 2011

Published December 3, 2011

This declaration, signed on December 3, 2011, created the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a Latin American integration political and economic bloc, in response to the Organization of the American States (OAS) and its charter. This Caracas Declaration is different from the 1954 OAS Caracas Declaration, which recognizes the sovereignty of OAS countries. CELAC emphasizes the continued sovereignty of countries participating in CELAC through its Special Declaration about the Defense of Democracy and Constitutional Order.

Excerpt from the Caracas Declaration of 2011:

We declare:

20. Within the framework of the Bicentenary of Independence, we, the 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries have gathered, conciuous of the efforts made at the Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean (CALC) of 17th December 2008 in Salvador de Bahia and in the Unity Summit held in Cancun on 23rd February 2010, to launch the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean States (CELAC) 7 Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

21. In accordance with the original mandate of our Liberators, CELAC must move forward in the process of political, economic, social and cultural integration, based on a wise equilibrium between the unity and diversity of our peoples, so that the regional integration mechanism can become the ideal space to express our rich cultural diversity and also the forum to reaffirm the Latin American and the Caribbean identity, our common history and our ongoing struggles for justice and liberty.

22. That taking into consideration the diverse processes that formed in the Latin American and Caribbean identity, CELAC must become a space that protects the right of all cultures and ethnic groups of the region to existence, preservation and coexistence, as well as the multicultural character of our countries, and plurinational of some of our countries, especially of the native communities recreating and promoting their historical memory, their ancestral knowledge and experience. Based on the values and principles of the above paragraph and picking up the Rio Group practice, CELAC will promote the development of instruments in order to ensure their compliance. 8 Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

23. That recognizing the right of each nation to build freely and peacefully its own political and economic system, in the framework of the corresponding institutions according with the sovereign mandate of its people; the processes of dialogue, exchange and political negotiation carried out by CELAC must be done taking into account the following common values and principles: respect for International Law, peaceful settlement of disputes, and the prohibition of the use and the threat of use of force, the respect for selfdetermination, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the non-interference in the internal affairs of each country, the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy.

24. Based on the values and principles above and collecting the Rio Group's practice, the CELAC will promote the development of tools to ensure compliance with these.

25. That it is necessary to continue unifying efforts and capacities to boost the sustainable development of the region, focusing on the expanding process of political, economic, social and cultural cooperation and integration, so as to contribute to the consolidation of a multi-polar 9 Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and democratic world which is fair, balanced and at peace, as well as free of the scourge of colonialism and military occupation.

26. That it is necessary to deepen cooperation and the implementation of social policies to reduce the existing internal social inequalities with the aim of consolidating nations that are able to achieve and exceed the Millennium Development Goals.

27. The need to move forward on the basis of our principles for the strengthening and consolidation of Latin American and Caribbean cooperation, in the development of our economic complementarities and South- South cooperation as an axis of integration in our common space, and as an instrument to reduce our asymmetries.

28. That CELAC, as the only mechanism for dialogue and consensus that unites the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, is the highest expression of our will for unity in diversity, where henceforth, our political, economic, social and cultural ties will strengthen on the basis of a common agenda of welfare, peace and security for our peoples, with a view to consolidation of our regional community. 10 Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

29. That the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), bearing in mind the historical heritage of the Rio Group and CALC, will promote action plans for the implementation of the mandates and the fulfillment of the commitments embodied in the Salvador de Bahia and Cancun Declarations, the Montego Bay Action Plan and the Caracas Work Programme.

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