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Brazil Wants Cuba at Latin America’s Table

Following a work session yesterday, in Rio, with other Latin American and Caribbean chancellors, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, declared that one of the Brazilian government’s main goals has been to reaffirm the importance of the Rio Group as a space for political understandings.

“The group is not here to resolve matters of technical cooperation involving one country or another, nor to launch this or that program. This seems to me somewhat of an extrapolation of the nature of the Rio Group.


“It was born – and this must be kept in mind – as a group to promote the consolidation of peace in Central America, especially in Nicaragua.


“And I consider the group’s discussions very lively on various issues. That is why the Rio Group supports institutionality in South America and Latin America, generally, and, specificially, in the Caribbean, which is now represented by Guyana,” he said.


The Brazilian Chancellor denied that Brazil is the only country engaged in the reconstruction of Haiti and he reaffirmed that for that country to emerge from its present condition of chaos and misery, economic assistance from developed countries will be required.


“Many countries from the Rio Group are involved in the operation in Haiti. Here in Brazil many people have the impression that we are the only ones who are involved. This not true. Brazil assumed the command, but we have Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and other countries.


“We are all aware, however, that the presence of troops is not enough to resolve the problem of Haiti. This will not come about solely through the military presence – economic assistance from the developed countries will be necessary for this to happen.”


Amorim also defended the need for more dialogue with Cuba. “We are of the opinion that Cuba has to be brought in for there to be a greater dialogue in the region. Some now want to define the terms of this dialogue beforehand.


“Cuba, perhaps, would feel more comfortable if it could be a full party to the conversations. There are still stages to conclude, but this an objective that Brazil will continue to pursue.”


Community of Nations


Yesterday the Group of Rio Foreign Ministers put the finishing touches on the new South American Community of Nations organization which will be formally established on December 9 at their next meeting in Lima, Peru.


According to Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, the new institution will reinforce regional negotiating strength in international forums.


“This is a step forward in Latin American integration and bargaining power, especially with other economic blocks,” said Amorim, as he emphasized that regional integration remains a Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration priority.


Amorim went on to say that if such integration had taken place a few years ago he believes negotiations with the US (FTAA) and the EU would have been more successful.


“I honestly believe that a united front, all of Latin America together, would have been very helpful in those negiotiations,” declared Amorim.


Agência Brasil
Translator: David Silberstein

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