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Latin American and Caribbean leaders, including CARICOM, a conglomerate of 15 Caribbean nations, announced at the end of their latest Rio Group meeting that they will form a new regional association under the provisional name of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELC) that will exclude the United States and Canada.
According to Mexican President Felipe Calderón, the aim of this group is to foster integration, promote commerce and to more effectively address the issues of countries in the region.
Many Latin American leaders have felt discontented by the current Organization of American States (OAS), which is comprised of 35 member-states from the Western Hemisphere. They maintain that is not adequately addressing the specific needs of their countries, which is why a separate organization is required.
As leaders made the announcement at the end of the summit, however, there was uncertainty among participants regarding the future role of the group. Chilean President-elect Sebastián Piñera cautioned members to retain the importance of the OAS, calling it “a permanent organisation that has its own functions” (BBC News).
According to the Christian Science Monitor, “Regional support for the US has steadily declined over the past decade as the war on terror has turned US attention away from its neighbors to the south. Most analysts see this move as part of a gradual shift away from the US and toward growing global trade partners such as China and India.”