When Chile attends the G-20 summit this June in Mexico, the South American powerhouse will be representing not just its own voice, but the voices of the Caribbean and much of the Latin American region.
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) asked Chile to be its spokesperson at the annual summit, which convenes finance ministers and central banks from 19 countries and the European Union, all representing major global economies. The only Latin American countries to be considered permanent members are Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
Last April, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) hinted that Chile could soon be joining the G-20 as a permanent member. OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría praised the country’s “impressive economic and political development” during his 2011 visit to Santiago.
“Chile is going to the G-20. We have been discussing how Chile can represent not just Caricom, but also the entire Latin American and Caribbean region,” Bahamian Foreign Minister Theodore Brent told Agencia Efe.
Chancellors and dignitaries from thirteen Caribbean nations visited Santiago last week, in a meeting led by Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno. The Chilean team shared its successful experience with 21 different trade agreements between 58 countries, and focused on issues like agriculture, commerce, tourism, financial services and teaching foreign languages.
Chile has enjoyed some of the highest rates of economic growth in the region, with Santiago being named the 9th fastest growing city in the world in 2011, and is currently heading the regional bloc Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC: Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños).
“Chile is now the president of CELAC and we hope that Chile can raise some of our issues and represent us within the international community,” said Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Foreign Minister of Guyana, to Agencia Efe.
One of the major issues on the docket will be climate change, which is especially worrisome for island countries that are highly susceptible to flooding and natural disasters like hurricanes.
Foreign Minister Moreno voiced Chile’s commitment to the issue of global warming, and said “it is very important to take into account these countries’ points of views and particularities.”
In return, Moreno asked for the Caribbean nations to support Chile’s bid to be a non permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2014-15.