Community of Latin American and Caribbean States

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Spanish: Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, CELAC; Portuguese: Comunidade de Estados Latino-Americanos e Caribenhos; French: Communauté des États Latino-Américains et Caribéens; Dutch: Gemeenschap van Latijns-Amerikaanse en Caraïbische Staten) is a regional bloc of Latin American and Caribbean states thought out on February 23, 2010, at the Rio GroupCaribbean Community Unity Summit,[1][2][3] and created on December 3, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela, with the signature of The Declaration of Caracas.[4] It consists of 33 sovereign countries in the Americas representing roughly 600 million people. Due to the focus of the organization on Latin American and Caribbean countries, other countries and territories in the Americas, Canada and the United States, as well as the territories of France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom in the Americas are not included.[5]

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
Map of North, Central and South America indicating CELAC members.
Map of North, Central and South America indicating CELAC members.
Official languages
  • Latin American
  • Caribbean
Membership 33 member states
   President pro tempore Dominican Republic Danilo Medina[6]
Establishment February 23, 2010 (2010-02-23)
   Total 20,454,918[7] km2
7,881,619 sq mi
   2011 estimate 591,038,580[7]
   Density 29/km2
75/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
   Total $9.144 trilliona[7]
   Per capita $15,175a[7]
HDI (2011)Increase 0.721
Internet TLD .latb
a. Does not include Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica and Suriname.
b. Proposed.

CELAC is an example of a decade-long push for deeper integration within Latin America.[8] CELAC was created to deepen Latin American integration and by some to reduce the significant influence of the United States on the politics and economics of Latin America. It is seen as an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS), the regional body that was founded by United States and 21 other Latin American nations, as a countermeasure to potential Soviet influence in the region.[8][9][10]

CELAC is the successor of the Rio Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC).[11] In July 2010, CELAC selected President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez and President of Chile Sebastián Piñera, as co-chairs of the forum to draft statutes for the organization.[12]

Member states

CELAC comprises 33 countries speaking five different languages:

Eighteen Spanish-speaking countries (56% of the area, 63% of the population)

One Portuguese-speaking country (42% of the area, 34% of the population)

One French-speaking country (0.1% of the area, 1.6% of the population)

Twelve English-speaking countries (1.3% of the area, 1.1% of the population)

Official 2016 CELAC Summit portrait in Quito, Ecuador

One Dutch-speaking country (0.8% of the area, 0.1% of the population)

Twelve countries are in South America, which accounts for 87% of the area and 68% of the population.


Chile Paraguay Argentina Uruguay Peru Brazil Barbados Trinidad and Tobago Colombia Guyana Suriname Jamaica Bolivia Ecuador Venezuela Cuba Dominica Antigua and Barbuda Montserrat Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Lucia Nicaragua Belize Grenada Saint Kitts and Nevis Canada Mexico Panama United States Honduras El Salvador Bahamas Haiti Guatemala Costa Rica Dominican Republic Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Latin American Economic System Union of South American Nations Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization Andean Community Mercosur Caribbean Community Pacific Alliance ALBA Central American Integration System Central American Parliament Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Latin American Integration Association Central America-4 Border Control Agreement North American Free Trade Agreement Association of Caribbean States Organization of American States Petrocaribe CARICOM Single Market and Economy
A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational organisations in the Americas.vde

On February 23, 2010, Latin American leaders at the 23rd Rio Group summit in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, said they were forming an organisation of the Latin American and Caribbean states. Once its charter was developed, the group was formally established in July 2011, at a summit in Caracas. The bloc will be the main forum for political dialogue for the area, without the United States or Canada.[13][14]

In an interview in February 2010, President Evo Morales of Bolivia said, "A union of Latin American countries is the weapon against imperialism. It is necessary to create a regional body that excludes the United States and Canada. ...Where there are U.S. military bases that do not respect democracy, where there is a political empire with his blackmailers, with its constraints, there is no development for that country, and especially there is no social peace and, therefore, it is the best time for prime ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean to gestate this great new organization without the United States to free our peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean."[10]

At the 23rd Rio Group summit, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela said, "Now here, in Mexico, a document, a commitment, the creation of a body of Latin America and the Caribbean, without the USA, without Canada (...) Now we can say from Latin America, from Mexico (...) we have revived the dream and project of Bolívar."[15] Mexican President Felipe Calderón added, "We decided, for the first time, to form the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States as a regional space consisting of all states."[16] Calderon said, "We cannot remain disunited; we cannot successfully take on the future based on our differences; now it's up to us to unite without discounting the things that make us different … to unite based on our similarities, which far outweigh our differences."[17] Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said it is "A historic fact of great significance."[18]

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States "can be much more effective than other instances to solve ourselves, with our own strengths, our own visions, our conflicts."[19]


The announcement prompted debate and discussion across Latin America and the Caribbean about whether it's more beneficial to have close ties with U.S. and Canada or to work independently.[20][21]

Raúl Zibechi, writing for Mexico's center-left La Jornada newspaper said, "The creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is part of a global and continental shift, characterized by the decline of U.S. hegemony and the rise of a group of regional blocs that form part of the new global balance."[22]

An editorial in Brazil's conservative Estadão newspaper said, "CELAC reflects the disorientation of the region's governments in relation to its problematic environment and its lack of foreign policy direction, locked as it is into the illusion that snubbing the United States will do for Latin American integration what 200 years of history failed to do."[18]

As the first summit was underway in December 2011 United States President Barack Obama's senior adviser on Latin America, Daniel Restrepo, informed reporters from Miami that the U.S. government would "watch and see what direction CELAC takes".[23]

First summit

ESO exhibition area at the CELAC–EU summit in Santiago.[24]

CELAC's inaugural summit was due to be held in mid-2011, but was postponed because of the ill-health of Hugo Chávez, president of the host nation, Venezuela. The summit was instead held on December 2 and 3, 2011 in Caracas.[25] It primarily focused on the global economic crisis and its effects on the region. Several leaders, including presidents Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Dilma Rousseff and Juan Manuel Santos, encouraged an increase in regional trade, economic development, and further economic cooperation among members in order to defend their growing economies.[20][21]

Chavez, and other leaders such as Rafael Correa and Daniel Ortega, expressed hope that the bloc would work to further Latin American integration, end U.S. hegemony and consolidate control over regional affairs.[20] Chavez, citing the Monroe Doctrine as the original confirmation of U.S. interference in the region, openly called for CELAC to replace the OAS: "As the years go by, CELAC is going to leave behind the old and worn-out OAS."[21] Correa called for a new human rights commission to replace the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Other leaders argued that the organisation should be used as a tool to resolve regional disagreements and uphold democratic values, but not as a replacement of the OAS.[20][21] Santos stated that he would like to see dialogue within the group over whether existing counter-drug regulations should be revised.[20] The president of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) said he expects that Parlatino will become the main legislative institution of CELAC.[26] Amongst the key issues on the agenda were the creation of a "new financial architecture," sanction for maintaining the legal status of coca in Bolivia and the rejection of the Cuban embargo by the U.S.[27]

2013 Summit – Chile

The EU-LAC chose CELAC to be the main organization representative of the relationship between European and Latin American and Caribbean countries. Therefore, the EU-LAC is now called the EU-CELAC.

2014 Summit- Cuba

During the summit, the region was declared a "peace zone". After three days and with the approval of participating representatives, a document with 83 focus points was created. It emphasized that, despite cultural and regional differences, unity between the participating countries is necessary in order to create progress. "Unity and the integration of our region must be gradually constructed, with flexibility, with respect to differences, diversity, and the sovereign right of each of our countries to choose our own forms of political and economic organization" stated the document. It also states which countries have been developing the best and how they are doing it in order for them to be a model for other countries.

The issue of poverty was widely discussed. Cuba's Raul Castro pointing out that throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, people want a fairer distribution of wealth, access to affordable education, employment, better salaries, and the eradication of illiteracy. He argued that CELAC countries can work together, support each other, to create new plans and solutions for these problems.[28]

2015 Summit- Costa Rica

Countries discussed plans to eradicate hunger by 2025. Venezuela would host a follow up meeting in late 2015 to review the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organizations plan for their region. They called for the U.S to stop meddling in regional affairs, for Puerto Rico to be able to participate in future summits, and for the embargo against Cuba to be lifted. Statements in support of Cuba and Venezuela were widely heard. CELAC rejected U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. It was decided that a monument would be built in memory of victims of the slave trade. Member countries also supported Argentina's right to the Falkland Islands and peace negotiations in Colombia.[29]


The following table shows various data for CELAC member states, including area, population, economic output and income inequality, as well as various composite indices, including human development, viability of the state, rule of law, perception of corruption, economic freedom, state of peace, freedom of the press and democratic level.

Country Area[7]
GDP (PPP)[7]
(Intl. $)
per capita
(Intl. $)
(latest available)
 Antigua and Barbuda 440 91,818 2,108,847,544 22,968 N/A 0,783 56.2 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
 Argentina 2,780,400 43,416,755 N/A N/A 42.28 0,836 48.4 0.52 32 43.8 1,957 25.09 7.02
 Bahamas, The 13,880 388,019 9,233,082,172 23,795 N/A 0,790 51.6 N/A N/A 70.9 N/A N/A N/A
 Barbados 430 284,215 4,658,529,674 16,391 N/A 0,785 49.0 N/A N/A 68.3 N/A N/A N/A
 Belize 22,970 359,287 3,063,614,205 8,527 53.26 0,715 66.0 0.49 N/A 57.4 N/A 20.61 N/A
 Bolivia 1,098,580 10,724,705 73,795,658,655 6,881 48.06 0,662 78.5 0.41 34 47.4 2,038 31.78 5.75
 Brazil 8,515,770 207,847,528 3,192,398,002,509 15,359 52.87 0,755 65.3 0.54 38 56.5 2,176 32.62 6.96
 Chile 756,096 17,948,141 400,534,442,322 22,316 50.45 0,832 41.9 0.68 70 77.7 1,635 19.23 7.84
 Colombia 1,141,749 48,228,704 665,594,053,125 13,801 53.49 0,720 80.2 0.50 37 70.8 2,764 44.11 6.62
 Costa Rica 51,100 4,807,850 73,931,413,183 15,377 49.18 0,766 45.1 0.68 55 67.4 1,699 11.10 7.96
 Cuba 109,880 11,389,562 234,624,069,249c 20,649c N/A 0,769 66.3 N/A 47 29.8 2,057 70.23 3.52
 Dominica 750 72,680 819,679,823 11,278 N/A 0,724 N/A N/A N/A 67.0 N/A N/A N/A
 Dominican Republic 48,670 10,528,391 149,626,592,866 14,212 47.07 0,715 70.8 0.48 33 61.0 2,143 27.90 6.67
 Ecuador 256,370 16,144,363 183,854,538,952 11,388 47.29 0,732 75.6 0.47 32 48.6 2,020 33.21 5.87
 El Salvador 21,040 6,126,583 52,701,274,341 8,602 43.51 0,666 72.5 0.51 39 65.1 2,237 27.2 6.64
 Grenada 340 106,825 1,385,193,939 12,967 N/A 0,750 63.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
 Guatemala 108,890 16,342,897 125,950,437,098 7,707 52.35 0,627 83.2 0.44 28 61.8 2,270 38.03 5.92
 Guyana 214,970 767,085 5,758,081,418 7,506 44.55 0,636 70.9 N/A 29 55.4 2,105 27.07 6.05
 Haiti 27,750 10,711,067 18,874,759,925 1,762 60.79 0,483 105.1 N/A 17 51.3 2,066 24.66 3.94
 Honduras 112,490 8,075,060 41,057,404,059 5,084 53.67 0,606 79.8 0.42 31 57.7 2,237 44.62 5.84
 Jamaica 10,990 2,725,941 24,703,884,112 9,063 45.46 0,719 65.0 0.56 41 67.5 2,091 12.45 7.39
 Mexico 1,964,380 127,017,224 2,194,431,313,648 17,277 48.07 0,756 70.4 0.47 35 65.2 2,557 49.33 6.55
 Nicaragua 130,370 6,082,032 31,564,122,172 5,190 45.73 0,631 79.0 0.43 27 58.6 1,975 28.82 5.26
 Panama 75,420 3,929,141 87,195,707,558 22,192 51.67 0,780 53.2 0.53 39 64.8 1,837 30.59 7.19
 Paraguay 406,752 6,639,123 60,976,954,890 9,184 48.30 0,679 72.6 N/A 27 61.5 2,037 33.63 6.33
 Peru 1,285,220 31,376,670 389,146,724,478 12,402 44.73 0,734 72.0 0.50 36 67.4 2,057 29.99 6.58
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 260 55,572 1,354,255,192 24,369 N/A 0,752 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
 Saint Lucia 620 184,999 2,033,272,333 10,991 42.58 0,729 N/A N/A N/A 70.0 N/A N/A N/A
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 390 109,462 1,207,197,881 11,028 N/A 0,720 N/A N/A N/A 68.8 N/A N/A N/A
 Suriname 163,820 542,975 9,214,038,854 16,970 57.61 0,714 66.7 N/A 36 53.8 N/A 16.70 6.77
 Trinidad and Tobago 5,130 1,360,088 44,334,128,742 32,597 40.27 0,772 57.8 N/A 39 62.9 2,056 N/A 7.10
 Uruguay 176,220 3,431,555 72,750,983,105 21,201 41.87 0,793 36.2 0.71 74 68.8 1,726 15.88 8.17
 Venezuela 912,050 31,108,083 554,328,719,464c 18,309c 46.94 0,762 81.6 0.32 17 33.7 2,651 44.77 5.00
zzzCELACa 20,414,187 628,924,400 8,713,210,977,487b 14,903b 48.48 0,724 66.3 0.51 37 60.0 2,104 30.82 6.37
Country Area
(Intl. $)
per capita

(Intl. $)

(latest available)
  • a CELAC total used for indicators 1 through 3; CELAC weighted average used for indicator 4; CELAC unweighted average used for indicators 5 through 13.
  • b Excludes Argentina. GDP and population data for Cuba and Venezuela are for 2013.
  • c Data refer to 2013.
Note: The colors indicate the country's global position in the respective indicator. For example, a green cell indicates that the country is ranked in the upper 25% of the list (including all countries with available data).
Highest quartile Upper-mid (3rd quartile) Lower-mid (2nd quartile) Lowest quartile


CELAC Summits
Summit Year Host country Host city
2011  Venezuela Caracas
I January 2013[38]  Chile Santiago
II January 2014[39]  Cuba Havana
III January 28–29, 2015[40]  Costa Rica Belén, Heredia
IV January 27, 2016[41][42]  Ecuador Quito

See also



  1. "''Mexidata'' (English) March 1, 2010". Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  2. Acuerdan crear Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, Associated Press, February 23, 2010.
  3. América Latina crea una OEA sin Estados Unidos, El País, February 23, 2010.
  4. "L. American leaders officially sign CELAC into effect as new bloc". December 4, 2011. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  5. Gooding, Kerri. "IVCC encouraging bilingualism and cultural integration". The Barbados Advocate. Advocate Co. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2011. However, at present much of the integration occurs at the governmental, political and policy level as opposed to the personal, individual level, hence Tutor Jamal Henry added his voice to the plea by the Ambassador to have more persons embracing the culture and learning Spanish. CELAC comprises 33 nations making up an estimated population of 600 million people with five official languages. United and integrated the countries of CELAC can be powerful, "together [the 33 nations of CELAC] are the number one food exporter on the planet," further commented Ambassador Febres.
  6. República Dominicana asume presidencia protémpore de la CELAC teleSUR. January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "World Development Indicators". World Bank. July 9, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
  8. 1 2 "Mexico gives birth to the Community of Latinamerican and Caribbean States – MercoPress". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  9. "uake Overshadows Clinton Tour of Region". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  10. 1 2 "_ Nuestro Norte es el SUR". Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  11. Presidentes constituyen la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, EFE, February 23, 2010.
  12. CounterPunch, August 3, 2010, Behind the Colombia / Venezuela Tensions Archived August 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "Indymedia Lëtzebuerg – Onoofhängege Journalistekollektiv". March 20, 2016. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  14. "Cancilleres del Grupo de Río avanzaron en idea de crear nueva instancia regional". Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  15. – Chávez afirma que con nuevo organismo latinoamericano renace el proyecto de Bolívar Archived July 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. – Crean nuevo organismo regional en Cumbre de Río Archived February 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. Clovis Rossi Latin American Unity Cannot Be Dependent on Excluding the U.S. Folha, Brazil, via translation from WorldMeets.US (English) February 22, 2010.
  18. 1 2 In Latin America, Rhetoric Triumphs Over Reality Estadao, Brazil, via translation by WorldMeets.US (English) February 25, 2010.
  19. – Correa confía en la recién creada Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 Rueda, Jorge; James, Ian; Toothaker, Christopher (December 3, 2011). "Leaders at Americas talks: world economy top worry". Seattle pi. Hearst Communications Inc. Associated Press.
  21. 1 2 3 4 "Venezuela hosts first CELAC summit". PressTV. December 3, 2011.
  22. Raúl Zibechi Latin America's Inexorable March Toward 'Autonomy from the Imperial Center' La Jornada, Mexico, via translation by WorldMeets.US (English) February 26, 2010
  23. Christopher Toothaker (December 2, 2011). "CELAC, Community of Latin American And Caribbean States, New Organization Aims To Strengthen Regional Integration". Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  24. "ESO exhibition area at the CELAC–EU summit in Santiago". ESO Press Release. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  25. "Latin American summit re-run to test Chavez health". Reuters. November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  26. "Parlatino Interested in Being CELAC Legislative Organization". Prensa Latina. December 2, 2011.
  27. "Obama in Cartagena: No change, dwindling hope – Opinion". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  28. "Conclusiones de la Cumbre de la CELAC 2014 en Cuba : AGRO Noticias". Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  29. "5 Things That Happened at the CELAC Summit in Costa Rica". Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  30. "Human Development Report 2015" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. December 14, 2015.
  31. "Fragile States Index 2016". The Fund for Peace. June 28, 2016.
  32. "Rule of Law Index 2015" (PDF). World Justice Project. June 2, 2015.
  33. "Corruption Perceptions Index 2015". Transparency International. January 27, 2016.
  34. "Country Rankings: World & Global Economy Rankings on Economic Freedom". Heritage Foundation. February 1, 2016.
  35. "Global Peace Index 2016". Vision of Humanity. June 8, 2016.
  36. "2016 World Press Freedom Index". Reporters Without Borders. April 20, 2016.
  37. "Democracy Index 2015" (PDF). Economist Intelligence Unit. January 2016.
  38. "CELAC-EU summit opens in Chile – Business News". SINA English. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  39. "Dilma viaja a Cuba para segunda Cúpula da Celac e inaugurar Muriel – Notícias – R7 Internacional". August 23, 2012. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  40. "Equipos técnicos preparan los primeros documentos para Cumbre de la CELAC". Retrieved 2015-01-25.
  41. En 3 claves: Lo que debes saber de la IV Cumbre de la CELAC teleSUR. January 24, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  42. “Compromiso de hermanos” reúne a mandatarios de Celac en Ecuador ANDES. January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
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