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LATIN AMERICA | 13-01-2023 13:13

Brazil rejoins CELAC as Lula confirms presence at summit

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has confirmed Brazil will rejoin the CELAC bloc, has confirmed that he will travel to Buenos Aires later this month.

Shrugging off last weekend’s rightist mob invasion of Brasilia, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has confirmed that he will travel to Buenos Aires later this month.

The veteran leftist told his Argentine counterpart Alberto Fernández that he will be travelling to the capital on January 23 for a bilateral meeting between the two leaders, prior to the VII Presidential Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC, in its Spanish acronym) the following day. 

Lula’s meeting with Fernández and even his presence at the summit had been on hold ever since last Sunday when militants backing his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro had invaded the centres of all three branches of government (Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court building) in Brasilia, just one week after his return to the presidency for a third term.

Fernández, who had intensely backed Lula throughout his electoral campaign, immediately expressed his “unconditional” solidarity (both in his own name and that of the Argentine people) and his rejection of the violence, as well as calling up Celso Amorim, one of Lula’s closest aides, to offer to travel to Brazil if deemed necessary.

“Those who seek to ignore the will of the majority by attacking democracy deserve not only the corresponding legal sanctions but also the absolute rejection of the international community,” he tweeted. 

Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero assured that last weekend’s events in Brasilia would be placed on the CELAC summit agenda for debate along with the ongoing upheavals in Peru and Bolivia, "what is happening in Haiti, where they assassinated the Prime Minister" and the electoral process underway in Venezuela.

 

Brazil returns to bloc

In his first week as president prior to last Sunday’s disturbances, Lula had announced the “full and immediate” return of Brazil to CELAC, from which Bolsonaro had removed the country early in 2020, suspending its membership.

Lula, 77, was a co-founder of CELAC (which groups 33 of the 35 American countries, excluding only those north of Mexico) back in 2010. The bloc has been revived by the successive victories of left-leaning presidents in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and most recently Brazil since 2019.

Lula’s inaugural speech at the start of the year underlined his intention of bringing Brazil back into the world. 

 

– TIMES/AFP/NA

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