Created: 8/8/1975

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Weekly Summary


Latin American Economic System (SELA)isembodied spirit following the conference in Panama, where advocates had hoped to establish this new Lalm/Canbbeanecond try at creation isforenezuela. Mexico, and Panama, the leading proponentsroad new hemispheric organization excluding the US. will probably lobby intensivelyore fruitful second session.

Both the promoters and tho demurrers feel that Ihey achieved something at Panama. The originators of the notion take pridehaving attracted delegateshe invitees but Ihe Bahamas and Surinam.theynanimous resolution out of the conference favoring the establishment of SELA despite grave reservations on the pari of many countrlas.

The opponents of SELA came reluctant but resigned to the need to maintain public solidarity, and found solace in havingelayorking grouporedefinition of the organization's goals and structure. The fundamental concern of thosehat SELA's principal opal nwhat the would-be founders insist that it is not: lo put pressure on the US.

Critics of SELA also managed to raise the many practical problems that Venezue.fl and Mexico have tried to ignore. The vagueproposed for SELA take no account of tho many political and economic differences that divide Ihe countries of the area, and they fail to clarify the relationship with the various economic pacts and federations already inTha small countries are voicing theirover prospects of being dominated by the much larger economies of Such countries as Brazil and Mexico. Also, the SELA documents do not address the question of who would boar tho burden of granting special treatment for ihe least developed areas.

One potential poinl of contioversy never developed. The SELA meetingind of debut for Cuba in the Latin/Caribbean brotherhood, following the recent lifting of the OAS sanctions against Havana. Continuing Cuba's role as behind-the-scenes sponsor of SELA. Cuba's delegation worked unobtrusively and evidently took pains not to give offense. The Cubans will be elated at the founding of an all-Latin system, bul clearly do not intend to trumpet SELA as an anti-US victory, at Feast for the time being.

SELA's promoters will have lo lake some nolo of the concerns that have boon raised, but probably count more on the momentum of the swing toward solidarity in getting the union established. Whether SELA ever really promotes economic developmenl is most likely oflittle importance to Mexico andThey would take satisfaction inaper organization that leaves out the US and that serves as another platform from which they can plead Ihe casenow world order" mora beneficial lo their own interests.



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