BELMOPAN, Belize — A three-member delegation from the Ministry of Foreign of Belize, led by the Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred P. Elrington, participated in the First Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Santiago, Chile on 27 and 28 January 2013, for the purpose of progressing in the political, economic, social and cultural unity and integration of the Latin American and Caribbean region.

The implementation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is a milestone in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean, as it is the first time that all 33 countries in the region are permanently grouped into a mechanism for dialogue and consultation that is shaping up as a political forum and stakeholder, to move forward in the process of political, economic, social and cultural integration, achieving the necessary equilibrium between unity and diversity.

At this First Summit of CELAC, special homage was paid to the Heads of State (i.e. former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva from Brazil; President Felipe Calderón from Mexico; and President Hugo Chávez Frías from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela), who chaired the transcendental Summits of the region that set the foundations for the operation of CELAC.

Some of the key issues discussed at the Summit highlighted regional efforts in Sustainable Development with particular emphasis on Small Island Developing States (SIDS); CELAC members countries’ commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights; developments in regional trade, and strategies to tackling the world drug problem and the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.