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The common concerns and priorities of the Latin American and Caribbean nations have once again culminated in coalition.  The ‘Rio Group’convened in Cancun, Mexico recently.

The common concerns and priorities of the Latin American and Caribbean nations have once again culminated in coalition.  The ‘Rio Group’convened in Cancun, Mexico recently.  The yearly summit has been another venue through which the attending member nations have been able to formulate a unified vehicle to use to represent the specific interests, problems, and concerns of all its 32 members – a collective bargaining agent for use in dialogue in the global forum.  Speaking as to the nature of the peculiarities of the Latino-Caribe regions, Mexican President Felipe Calderon elaborated, “The challenge that faces our regions is not a matter ofleft or right, its not a question of ideologies or doctrines…it is time to realize the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Today we have the opportunity to create a common space for all peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean,” adding that the coalition would definately be supportive of democracy, human rights, and economic and social cooperation. This new organization has incited worries by the U.S. and its Eastern and Western friends that the new group will replace the Organization of American States – the current representative body that includes all of the countries in the North American region. The efficacy of the OAS was called into question by the Honduras crisis, which it failed to resolve. Chilean President-elect Sebastian Pinero confirmed to the press that “the OAS is a permanent organiation that has its own functions.” Even the good intentions of summit participants and the glaring needs of their respective regions, however, could not obliterate all of the conflict that must be overcome to obtain true unity, as evidenced by the public display of contention between Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Other members seized the opportunity at the summit to form partnerships in trade and diplomatic relations, a major goal of the new alliance – specifically, between Columbia and Equador, who were able to mend fences on the sidelines of the conference and re-establish broken diplomatic ties. Mexico, Bahamas, and Panama signed accords related to double taxation between the neighboring countries.The conference also agreed upon a collective aid package for Haiti, a member state in need.Representation was absent from Honduras, a regional constituent who has been excluded until there is some resolution of the complicated political issues involved, with most member states denying the Honduras government official recognition.  The next Rio Group Summit will take place next year in Caracas, Venezuela.  
 

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