Havana to host CELAC summit

CUBA STANDARD — Official media revealed details about Cuba’s hosting of the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Jan. 25-29.

Since January 2013, Cuba has been holding the rotating presidency of the bloc, which includes 33 nations in the hemisphere; the United States and Canada are excluded. CELAC, founded in 2011, was strongly promoted by Venezuela and its Cuban allies.

The CELAC summit is the biggest political event hosted by Havana in decades. The heads of state and foreign ministers of most member nations are expected to attend.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who will attend the summit, may also witness the inauguration of a container terminal at the Port of Mariel, which was built largely with Brazilian funding.

The summit will be held at the Pabexpo building  at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana. On Jan. 25, first the delegations of member nations will meet. After that, there will be a meeting of the foreign ministers to prepare the presidential summit and the document the heads of state are expected to discuss and sign.

At the meeting, Cuba will hand the rotating presidency to Costa Rica, which will be in charge in 2014.

Cuba used its presidency to bring other blocs and nations — including Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and the Cooperation Council of Arab Gulf Nations — closer to CELAC, and it organized sectorial meetings on education, healthcare, poverty eradication, nuclear disarmament, illiteracy,migration, cooperation, science and technology, risk management and disasters, energy, family agriculture, youth employment, and preferential import duty arrangements.

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