- BBC News World
Strong words and criticism were exchanged by some Latin American leaders this Saturday during a multilateral meeting in Mexico City.
The verbal clashes between the leaders occurred specifically in the VI Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), held in the National Palace of the Mexican capital.
Each president had his turn to speak. When it was his turn Luis Lacalle Pou, President of UruguayHe clarified that his presence at the Celac summit did not mean that he was “complacent” with some governments.
Lacalle Pou said that when one sees that “in certain countries there is not a full democracy, the separation of powers is not respected, from the power the repressive apparatus is used to silence protests and imprison opponents, human rights are not respected (.. .), we must say with concern that we seriously see what is happening in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. “
Miguel Díaz-Canel, president of Cuba, also present at the event, responded that Lacalle Pou’s comments showed his “ignorance of reality.”
Then, he reminded his counterpart of the signatures that the Uruguayan opposition gathered in July in reaction to legislative reforms that Lacalle Pou had approved.
Once again, Lacalle Pou replied that in his country “luckily, the opposition can collect signatures.”
“In my country, luckily, the opposition has democratic springs to complain about. That is the great difference with the Cuban regime,” he added.
What’s more, the Uruguayan president read part of the lyrics of the song “Patria y Vida”, which became an anthem during the strong protests that broke out in Cuba in July against the Díaz-Canel government.
“I want to simply quote (..) it is a very beautiful song that those who sing it feel oppressed by the government: that the blood does not continue to flow for wanting to think differently, who told them that Cuba is yours if my Cuba belongs to all of me people, “said Lacalle Pou.
Before the appointment, Díaz-Canel said that “it seems that President Lacalle Pou has very bad taste in music” and that the song was “a lie and a construction among some artists against the Cuban revolution.”
Criticisms of Paraguay
For his part, Mario Abdo Benítez, president of Paraguay, said that his participation in the Celac meeting did not mean that he recognized the mandate of Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, who also attended the meeting.
“My presence at this summit in no sense or circumstance represents recognition of the government of Nicolás Maduro. There is no change in my government’s position and I think it is gentlemen to say it head-on,” said Abdo Benítez.
Maduro also responded to criticism from both Abdo and Lacalle Pou: “I say to the President of Paraguay: put the date, the place and the hour for a debate on democracy in Paraguay, Venezuela and Latin America! (…). You, President Lacalle, put the date and the place! “he said.
The meeting also included the presidents of Peru, Pedro Castillo; from Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso; from Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado; and from Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández.
Jair Bolsonaro, from Brazil, withdrew from Celac in 2020 and Alberto Fernández, from Argentina, canceled his presence at the last minute. That country is in the midst of a political upheaval with the change of six of its 20 ministers.
Beyond the confrontations, the meeting was used by the leaders to discuss the joint fight against the pandemic, on the role of the Organization of American States (OAS) and on other problems in the region.
Before the verbal crossovers between some of them, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico and host of the event, invited his counterparts to form a body similar to the European Union.
“We should build in the American continent something similar to what was the economic community that was the beginning of the current European Union,” he said.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.