The New American 
February 2, 2013
In an ironic but predictable  development that has establishment analysts scratching their heads and human-rights organizations up in arms, brutal Communist dictator Raul Castro of Cuba just assumed the rotating presidency of a regional “integration” body  that touts itself as being in favor of “democracy.” Upon assuming his new role, the Marxist tyrant, who leads one of the most oppressive regimes in the world and will now be charged with running thesupranational CELAC bloc , celebrated what he called “a common vision for the Latin American and Caribbean homeland.”
The controversial regional entity, heavily backed  by the Communist Party tyrants ruling over mainland China and other subversive forces , is known officially as the “Community of Latin American and Caribbean States .” It brings together 33 national governments and dictatorships in the Western hemisphere under the pretext of advancing “integration,” “human rights,” and more — the United States and Canada, however, were not invited to participate.
Socialist strongmen responsible for the recently created alliance say it is meant to serve as a sort of counter-balance to U.S. influence in the region. In truth, however, like other similar blocs in the region , it is aimed at advancing the march of tyranny and socialism throughout Latin America and the Caribbean , according to analysts and anti-communist leaders .
Raul’s brother Fidel, who originally foisted authoritarian communist rule on the people of Cuba, played a key role in the now-obvious spread of socialism and communism across Latin America. Working with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, the Sandinistas, Marxist terror groups such as the FARC in Colombia, and others, Castro helped found the Foro de São Paulo (São Paulo Forum, or FSP), a coalition of communist and socialist forces that now dominates Latin American politics and controls most national governments in the region .
Considering that history, despot Raul Castro’s new-found prominence on the geopolitical stage is hardly a surprise. Despite decades of ruthless barbarity from the Communist Cuban regime — mass murder, failed central planning, political prisoners, persecution, torture, terror, and more — the Cuban tyrant was welcomed with open arms by fellow totalitarian-minded rulers of the region at the CELAC summit in Santiago, Chile, this week.
“Cuba’s assumption of the presidency of the CELAC marks a change of times,” said  socialist Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, a member of the FSP whose authoritarian-oriented regime is presiding over the spectacular implosion of Argentina and its once vibrant economy . “For Chilean President Sebastian Pinera to transfer the presidency pro tempore to Castro shows the times we’re living in.”
The socialist Venezuelan regime of strongman Hugo Chavez  — key to financing the “pink tide” sweeping Latin America with its vast stash of “petro-dollars,” as well as the prime architect of CELAC itself — celebrated the move to put the Cuban dictatorship at the helm, too. “Vice President”  Nicolas Maduro read a letter that supposedly came from the cancer-stricken Chavez himself, calling on governments in the region to stay united in the fight against so-called “economic imperialism.”
“We have to live with our differences … always trying to find the best way of complementing each other. We cannot let intrigues divide us,” Chavez said  in the letter read by his deputy. “After 30 years of resisting this criminal imperial blockade (embargo on Cuba) Latin America and the Caribbean are using a single voice to tell the United States: All your attempts to isolate Cuba are failing.”
Ironically, or Orwellian to the extreme, depending on how one views the developments, CELAC’s founding charter claims that “democracy,” “human rights,” and the “rule of law” are among the supranational entity’s foundational principles. In reality, with very few exceptions , its membership roster is dominated by socialist and communist strongmen like Castro, Chavez, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, “former” communist guerilla and current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff , and other, lesser known but equally despotic rulers.
The clear message sent by Castro’s surge to prominence — the establishment publication the Economist even called him “the new leader of Latin America ” — was not lost on human rights activists, however. “It sends a message from the governments of the region that they couldn’t care less about the poor human rights record and the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba,” noted  José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas Division for the New York-based Human Rights Watch. “I think it’s a disaster, a very serious mistake and a setback for the region.”
Meanwhile, analysts like Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer, who writes regularly on Latin America but tends to ignore the growing totalitarian-socialist menace swamping the region, ridiculed the selection of Castro. “It’s hard to take the CELAC seriously when in their foundational charter they put that they’re going to defend democracy and then they elect a military dictator as its president,” he noted  in an opinion piece calling Castro Latin America’s new leader. “Either they should abstain from electing Raul Castro as president or they should delete from their foundational charter their vow to promote democracy. Both, together, are a contradiction that doesn’t make sense.”
Castro, however, thought it was great. “Without our unity, nothing would be possible and all the achievements would be lost,” hetold  the plenary session of the summit, calling for more United Nations-inspired “sustainable development”  and greater “integration.” CELAC should also take a more active role in alleviating poverty — most of which is caused by “governments” like his — and promoting “education,” Cuban propaganda outlets  quoted the Marxist dictator as saying. “We will act in full compliance with international law and the United Nations’ charter,” he added.
Speaking at the closing ceremony after assuming the presidency of the controversial transnational entity, the unelected Cuban despot said it was a “great honor” and that CELAC “joins the 33 independent nations of our America to build a space for national sovereignty and encourage integration.” Why the people of Latin America would want to pursue “integration” with one of the most brutal regimes on the face of the Earth was not explained.
Of course, as The New American reported at the time , when CELAC was created at the end of 2011, supporters of liberty already knew what the true purpose was — foisting even more tyranny on the close to 600 million people of Latin America. “The CELAC will always be an instrument of destabilization and coordination for those who seek power to impose their will,” noted  Pedro Corzo, director of the Institute of Cuban Historical Memory Against Totalitarianism, when the controversial alliance was formed.
Still, while CELAC has become prominent, with its most recent summit attracting some European leaders, such as Germany’s Angela Merkel , it is hardly the only regional body dominated by totalitarian-minded regimes aspiring to smash national sovereignty and impose socialism on the people of Latin America. As The New American has documented extensively , there are more than a few similar institutions working toward similar goals: MERCOSUR, ALBA, the Andean Community, and many others.
Then there is the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR or UNASUL), a European Union-like entity that eventually aspires to become a full-fledged regime with its own currency. It is already pursuing continental law enforcement and military schemes, a regional “Parliament,” and much more. Unsurprisingly, at least to credible analysts monitoring Latin American political developments, the South American Union selected two prominent socialists as its first leaders. 
While the Western establishment media has been largely oblivious to the now-obvious troubling trends in Latin America, this latest news puts the regional rulers’ totalitarian goals  on full display for the world to see. Establishment analysts may shrug it off as unimportant or quirky, but for the hundreds of millions of innocent Latin Americans facing the prospect of full-blown tyranny in the near future, the dangers are very real. The world, and Americans in particular, ignore these trends at their own peril.