CELAC: Chavez's Latest "Alternative"
After creating the ALBA with Cuba 10 years ago, Hugo Chávez now is hosting the inaugural for the CELAC (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y del Caribe - Community of Latin American and Caribbean States).
ALBA is mostly dependent on Venezuelan oil, and its current members - Bolivia, Nicaragua, (Honduras dropped out), Ecuador, Dominica, St. Vincent and Antigua - are not exactly the largest economies in the world. Another Chávez brainchild, the Bank of the South (Banco del Sur) has tanked, so far, due to liquidity issues and lack of reserves.
But Chávez knows how to get publicity, and he also knows that his fellow heads of state in Latin America love to travel all-expenses-paid-by-their citizenry to other countries since it gives the appearance of doing something; everybody gets to badmouth the USA; the local media (which he controls) will lap up the meeting; Mexico wanted to be included in something; and, who knows, there may even be slush fund opportunities in the bargain.
Voilá, CELAC was born, created in Mexico last year.
The spin is intense: CELAC is touted as "a new geopolitical structure," soon to replace the "old and worn out" OAS, with Caracas not only as its capital (of course!) but also the capital of the Americas, with growing economies; just take a look at the map: