A total of 32 heads of state are expected to show up in Havana for the summit, as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. At the top of the agenda are poverty and inequality -- the latter an ill which has long been associated with Latin America -- but it’s expected that the topic of trade and migration, among other themes, will be handled. Uruguay’s El Observador writes that Uruguayan president José Mujica, whose international profile got a big boost from his speech at the first summit in 2011, intends to push for the completion of ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC rebels. He says he’ll stick around after the summit for a few days in an attempt to help broker the talks, which are taking place in Havana.
Many of the CELAC member countries -- even those governed by US allies like Colombia -- were spurred to join in on Chávez’s proposal in reaction to the longstanding exclusion of Cuba from the OAS. That exclusion ended in 2009 after the US gave approval to its re-inclusion, but the Cuban government spurned the invitation on the grounds that the regional bloc remained a tool for US dominance in the region. Rivalries within CELAC persist, with the first summit doing little to cool tensions between Venezuela and Colombia or Uruguay and Argentina.