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Latin, Caribbean Leaders meet in Brazil

Latin, Caribbean Leaders meet in Brazil

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was among Latin American and Caribbean Leaders who attended an historic two-day summit in Brazil aimed at strengthing economic and political ties in the region earlier this week.{{more}}

With 33 nations represented by heads of state or other top officials, it was the largest regional gathering of its kind that did not include the United States or a European power, and also marked the international debut of Cuban President Raul Castro.

According to the Associated Press, few concrete results came from the two-day gathering, held on the sun-drenched coast of Bahia state in northeast Brazil. The summit came 178 years after the Dec. 17, 1830, death of South American independence leader Simon Bolivar, whose name was repeatedly invoked at the meeting.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon suggested a new organization – which he labeled the Union

of Latin American and Caribbean nations – should be created to tackle political and economic challenges. He said it would exclude the U.S. and Canada and model itself on this week’s summit.

Other leaders suggested the proposed union could act as an alternative to the Organization of American States, which some see as too U.S.-dominated.

The global financial crisis was another recurring theme at the summit, with leaders saying more integration was needed to circle the wagons and better protect the region from economic shocks.

In a declaration at the summit’s end, leaders “recalled that the developed countries caused the crisis and that they should, therefore, assume the costs for its solution,” the AP reported.

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