• Latin American and Caribbean countries signed the “declaration of Caracas”  in Venezuela to formalize the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, an economic and political bloc that excludes the U.S. and Canada. 

  • Leaders and officials from 33 countries approved the declaration that pledges to improve ties in the region. 

  • The Celac, as it is known, which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says fulfills the dreams of Simon Bolivar and other liberators in the hemisphere, will seek to boost regional trade and integration and may create an international reserve fund to protect its members against the global economic crisis. 

  • Chile will assume the presidency of the group during its first year and the next summit will be held in Santiago at the end of 2012.

  • Presidents from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guayana and Peru were unable to attend the Celac meetings.