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Latin and Caribbean leaders form new bloc

Caracas, Venezuela (AHN) – Thirty-three Latin American and Caribbean countries officially formed a new regional bloc called Community of Latin American and Caribbean States or Celac on Sunday during a summit in Caracas, Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the new group aims to boost trade among member countries and protect them from the global economic crisis through the creation of an international reserve fund.

Chavez also said the Celac aims to integrate the member countries into one political unit and replace the Organization of American States (OAS), though other leaders said the contrary.

The OAS groups all countries in the American continent, including the U.S. and Canada. Cuba is not a member of the OAS but is part of the Celac.

Other leaders who attended the Caracas summit were President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and President Sebastian Pinera of Chile, which will take over the rotating presidency in 2012.

The Celac was supposed to be launched six months ago but it was postponed as Chavez had to undergo chemotherapy to remove a cancerous tumor. The Venezuelan leader and staunch critic of the U.S. is planning to run for another six-year term as president.

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Caracas, Venezuela (AHN) – Thirty-three Latin American and Caribbean countries officially formed a new regional bloc called Community of Latin American and Caribbean States or Celac on Sunday during a summit in Caracas, Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the new group aims to boost trade among member countries and protect them from the global economic crisis through the creation of an international reserve fund.

Chavez also said the Celac aims to integrate the member countries into one political unit and replace the Organization of American States (OAS), though other leaders said the contrary.

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The OAS groups all countries in the American continent, including the U.S. and Canada. Cuba is not a member of the OAS but is part of the Celac.

Other leaders who attended the Caracas summit were President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and President Sebastian Pinera of Chile, which will take over the rotating presidency in 2012.

The Celac was supposed to be launched six months ago but it was postponed as Chavez had to undergo chemotherapy to remove a cancerous tumor. The Venezuelan leader and staunch critic of the U.S. is planning to run for another six-year term as president.