A 369 square kilometer, 100,000-inhabitant Caribbean island nation will hold the next temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
During the CELAC Summit’s closing ceremony, it was announced that the organization’s rotating leadership would pass to St Vincent and the Grenadines. The small island state will become the first Caribbean country to lead the organization since the Dominican Republic’s presidency in 2016. It will also become the first Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to lead CELAC.
At the end of the Summit, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Gonsalves spoke before his peers. “St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the smallest countries in CELAC, and we commit to working thoroughly with each of its countries,” he said. He expressed hope for the future of the region, saying: “things aren’t falling apart, but working: we’re not just passionate, we’re committed.”
Holding the CELAC presidency allows the country to represent the organization at international meetings, organize and host the annual summit, and, in terms of politics, set the topics for meetings. Those who lead CELAC have more power over its agenda.
Fernández and Gonsalves held a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, in which they discussed climate action, migration and regional integration. Fernández thanked Gonsalves for his support in reopening talks between the UK and Argentina in regard to the Malvinas Islands (which the UK refers to as the Falkland Islands, although this name is strongly contested by Argentina).
The role was occupied by Argentina until yesterday. In the past, Cuba and Bolivia have extended it for another year, but the Central American and Caribbean countries’ support for Gonsalves limited Fernandez’s opportunity to extend his mandate.
CELAC leaders will meet again on July 17, when they will host a meeting with the European Union leaders in Brussels.