Founded in 2011, CELAC, or the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, is a multilateral group of 33 countries from across the Western Hemisphere that excludes Canada and the United States It was created to be an alternative forum for Latin American countries. Inaugural leaders, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, envisioned the group as a counterweight to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), which they viewed as dominated by the United States. CELAC, unlike the OAS, allows Cuba to be a member. Its stated goals are to promote regional integration and cooperation. CELAC represents 600 million people.
The Seventh Summit of CELAC leaders was held Tuesday, January 24 in Buenos Aires hosted by CELAC President Pro-Tempore Alberto Fernandez, current President of Argentina.