Latin American and Caribbean leaders have come together at the Palenque Summit in Mexico to address the migration phenomenon and seek structural solutions. The regional bloc, comprised of 12 countries including Belize, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Venezuela, signed a joint agreement emphasizing the detrimental effects of unilateral coercive measures, particularly economic sanctions imposed by the United States on countries such as Venezuela and Cuba. The agreement calls for dialogue between Cuba and the United States to resolve their bilateral relations and urges against economic sanctions that violate international law and have far-reaching consequences beyond the target countries.
In addition to addressing migration, the agreement proposes renegotiating debts with financial entities to free up resources for investment. It also prioritizes promoting interregional trade by eliminating tariffs, combatting transnational organized crime and human trafficking, providing protection for women and children on transit routes, and expanding regular migration routes with a focus on labor. Mexico has offered technical assistance and shared its experience in financing programs to support countries in the region.
The agreement, named the Palenque Meeting, was signed after a two and a half hour discussion and was announced by Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador along with leaders from Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, and Venezuela participated in the debate. Notably, representatives from the United States and Canada, the destination countries for Latin American migration, were not invited, but the agreements reached will be later communicated to them.
While various economic, political, and social commitments were made during the summit, the issue of the blockade of Cuba and Venezuela dominated discussions. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro denounced the US sanctions as “criminal, immoral,” and called for their complete and permanent lifting, asserting that these measures have contributed to high levels of migration. He expressed optimism that with the removal of sanctions, many Venezuelan migrants would return to their home country.
The Palenque Summit aims to address the challenges posed by migration and foster cooperation among Latin American and Caribbean nations. By focusing on regional solutions and advocating against economic sanctions, the leaders hope to create a more stable and prosperous environment for their populations.