top of page


Alvaro Enrique Saldivia Lopez

Jan 3, 2024

Regional Integration for CELAC-BRICS 2024

Much discourse surrounded the anticipated return of the "progressive wave," originating from the electoral successes of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and Alberto Fernández in Argentina. Some expected that triumphs by Gustavo Petro in Colombia and Lula da Silva in Brazil would propel a renewed integration process, solidifying the region's position as a geopolitical, geo-economic, and geo-historical force on the global stage.

However, despite what appeared to be the requisite political will for any integration initiative, the region still lacked the economic impetus necessary to fuel and fund joint projects, whether through public or private channels, capable of transcending the mere rhetorical phase observed throughout 2023.

Perhaps, viewing from South America, Brazil would be best positioned to lead this process, given Lula's upcoming pro tempore G20 presidency. Lula has played some role in building toward regional integration and, in the past, led efforts with other countries like Venezuela and Argentina to establish the institutional framework of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

With Dilma Rousseff as the President of the BRICS New Development Bank and Venezuela's entry into the BRICS in 2024 during Vladimir Putin's anticipated reelection, CELAC is poised to strengthen its path towards regional integration.

But Lula is more interested in recovering the economic indicators that had collapsed during Jair Bolsonaro's administration and in strengthening the internal position of the Workers' Party and the internal political alliances that allowed him to win the elections in 2022.

Such conditions make Lula's further pursuit of international policy within the region less likely, beyond the efforts made in 2023 by calling a meeting of presidents of South America (Brasília Consensus in May 2023) and relaunching the Amazon Cooperation Treaty and its ACTO organization-- this being last of special geopolitical interest for Brazil because it represents more than 50% of the planet's lungs.

The international exposure Brazil will experience in 2024, assuming the pro tempore presidency of the G20 and likely organizing the BRICS summit and COP30 for 2025, will provide President Lula with an opportunity to reassume a more active regional leadership role, attempting to unite the region in critical geopolitical spaces.

The Blockade on Venezuela

In Venezuela, 2023 witnessed a small thaw in relations between the Maduro government and the Biden administration, in the US imperialists' partial (and no doubt temporary) relaxation of oil sanctions and ditching of Juan Guaido. This follows the Russian special military operation in Ukraine and the Israeli genocide in Gaza, destabilizing Western Asia.

This geopolitical maneuver exemplifies how specific interests shape the behavior of powers according to their needs. The easing of sanctions should not of course be misinterpreted as heralding the end of the sanctions regime against Venezuela. These measures are exemptions or licenses based on executive orders still in effect against the country. To restore Venezuela's economic and commercial freedom, all executive orders imposed since 2015, along with the legislation providing their legal basis, must be repealed.

Looking ahead to 2024, it appears that Venezuela's limited oil operations will persist, impacting the world energy market. Victories in 2023, including the release of Alex Saab, suggest significant oil sales to countries from the Global South, including BRICS members.

Venezuela's Reincorporation of Essequibo

The territorial dispute over the Essequibo has witnessed an unusual escalation, driven by the interests of energy transnational ExxonMobil in waters yet to be delimited due to the unresolved border controversy between Venezuela and Guyana. The dialogue broke down after the UK sent warships to Georgetown, prompting Venezuela to deploy troops near the border and conduct new military exercises in the Atlantic Region after the UK's imperial provocations.

This comes weeks after Consultative Referendum results, enabling the cooperative republic to return to the negotiating table with Venezuela. On December 14, both leaders met in San Vicente and the Grenadines under the auspices of CELAC and CARICOM.

While the outcome of the dispute remains unclear, with divergent positions between Guyana (unilaterally going to the International Court of Justice) and Venezuela (committed to bilateral dialogue through the Geneva Agreement), the outcome preferred by Caracas is regional de-escalation and stabilization. In this context, Venezuela should continue advocating for a negotiated solution with Guyana, bypassing international bodies not contemplated in the Geneva Agreement, including the International Court of Justice. Insisting on a return to the status quo represented by the 1966 document is crucial.

This issue, together with those raised above, will be marking the regional and national agenda for the development of a year 2024 that appears challenging in the current context of dispute in all areas that we assist internationally, regionally and nationally.

These issues, alongside those adumbrated above, will shape the regional and national agenda in the challenging context of the ongoing international, regional, and national disputes in 2024.



bottom of page