European Union-style bloc pitched for Latin America, Caribbean

Mexico City, Sept. 18 (Reuters) – Latin American and Caribbean nations should seek a bloc like the European Union, Mexico’s president and other leaders said at a summit on Saturday to host the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS ).

Some of the region’s left-wing flag-bearers who attended the CELAC Assembly of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States have viewed the OAS as too close to the United States for years, and were particularly angry about the exclusion of Cuba from its member states.

Saturday’s summit host, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said at the opening ceremony in front of more than a dozen presidents and prime ministers that such a reshaped diplomatic body would better strengthen the region’s inequality-stricken economy and deal with health and other crises could.

“In these times, CELAC can become the main tool to cement relations between our Latin American and Caribbean nations,” he said in a cave-like ballroom in Mexico’s ornate national palace, where leaders took turns and some sparks jumped between ideological opponents.

“We should build something similar on the American continent to the economic community that stood at the beginning of today’s European Union,” said the leftist Lopez Obrador. He emphasized the need to respect national sovereignty and to adhere to a non-interventionist and development-friendly policy.

The leaders gathered at the invitation of Lopez Obrador with the declared aim of weakening the OAS. The start of the summit drew attention to the region’s center-left leaders, including Peru’s new President Pedro Castillo, Cuban Miguel Diaz-Canel and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.

Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro withdrew from CELAC last year and criticized it for uprising undemocratic countries. The Argentine Alberto Fernandez canceled at the last minute because of a sudden cabinet reshuffle in his country.


Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks ahead of the traditional military parade on the occasion of the 200 February 16, 2021. REUTERS / Gustavo Graf

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Some cracks appeared among the executives. Uruguay’s center-right President Luis Lacalle said his participation should not be interpreted as an embrace of some of the region’s more authoritarian regimes or a rejection of the OAS.

“We are concerned and are seriously looking at what is happening in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela,” he said, ticking what he described as repressive actions, including imprisoning political opponents.

Cuba’s Diaz-Canel hit back by attacking neoliberal policies that he said had delayed social progress. He also criticized the leadership of Lacalle and referred to the great response to a recent petition by his domestic opposition.

The Uruguayan responded by criticizing the Cuban communist government, noting that it does not tolerate opposition or allow its people to choose their own leaders.

Bolivian President Luis Arce called for a global debt relief agreement for poor countries, while Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez called for a regional body to fight climate change.

A new CELAC Natural Disaster Response Fund has also been announced.

Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez helped found CELAC in 2011, and his contested successor Maduro arrived in the Mexican capital late Friday as a surprise addition. Continue reading .

In his remarks on Friday evening, Maduro suggested setting up a new CELAC headquarters in the Mexican capital. Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard politely accepted this proposal on Saturday when asked by reporters and described the idea as premature.

Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Noe Torres; Editing by Andrea Ricci and David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Two visitors aboard Royal Caribbean cruise take a look at optimistic for Covid

Two guests on board Royal Caribbean Cruises‘The Adventure of the Seas ship has tested positive for Covid-19 in routine tests and is now returning home, the company said on Thursday.

That comes after Two guests on Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Millennium Cruise tested positive and the company Odyssey of the Seas was delayed from sailing after eight members of its crew tested positive.

Both guests were unvaccinated and under 16 years old. One guest is asymptomatic and the other has mild symptoms.

Other guests traveling with the two minors and guests who have come into close contact with them have all been vaccinated and tested negative, according to the company.

The guests and fellow travelers disembarked in the Bahamas and are on their way home to Florida.

According to Royal Caribbean, 92% of guests on the Adventures of the Seas ship are fully vaccinated, and the remaining 8% of guests are under 16 years of age. All crew members are fully vaccinated.

The CDC allowed cruises to return this year with strict safety protocols and requirements to prevent outbreaks from occurring on board several outbreaks on board ships in the past year.

The cruise industry is among the last to return to pre-pandemic surgery due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s strict guidelines.

Cruise ship stocks have fallen again after taking a major blow during the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean Cruises line stocks are up more than 16% this year, hitting a market cap of just over $ 22 billion.

Mailbag: Will a Royal Caribbean sale truly save me any cash?

If you’re on one of Royal Caribbean’s email lists, you most likely get lots of emails announcing new discounts and sales on cruise fares, shore excursions, WiFi, and more. But do you actually save money with one of these promotions?

I’m back with an answer to another Royal Caribbean common question posted by one of our readers. I hope she helps a lot more people too.

I received an email from Royal Caribbean for a new sale, but I saw comments on Facebook that prices aren’t actually changing. Someone even said they raise the price before selling and then discount it afterwards. Are these sales “fact or fiction”? – Erin A.

Social media is a great resource to learn and share, and you will definitely see a wide variety of opinions when it comes to cruises.

I’ve seen some people write about saving hundreds of thousands of dollars thanks to a new sale, but I’ve also seen others complain that their prices have only gone up.

Are you saving money with these cruise sales and pre-cruise discounts?

Like so many things in life, the answer is that it matters.

Sale of cruise fares

Royal Caribbean offers cruise fares frequently, and new deals appear every few weeks on things to pre-order for your booked glider.

Yes, every sale offered by Royal Caribbean could potentially save you money compared to the previous day’s price, but not every sale means there are lower prices across the board.

In my experience, Royal Caribbean’s sales tend to have different destinations. However, it is extremely rare for a promotion to give a flat rate discount for every sailing and date.

However, this does not mean that one or more people are not reporting a discount so that no savings are made.

When it comes to selling cruises, a large part of the time saved depends on the type of booking. Kids Sail Free offers always have the best discounts when you have a third or fourth passenger in the same room. A 30% discount on sales results in a completely different type of savings.

In addition, you may already have the lowest price on a sailing boat since you booked early enough to get the best deal.

Traditionally, cruise prices in the Royal Caribbean are generally set lowest when a new sail becomes available and then prices rise over time. Royal Caribbean calls this pricing model “low to high”.

The idea behind the low to high model is that it gives consumers confidence that they are getting the best deal.

Of course, there may be exceptions as the pricing is not linear, but there is no doubt that the best prices come early.

Continue reading:: How far in advance should I book a cruise to get the best price?

Does Royal Caribbean Games Play With Their Prizes?

Erin also mentions the oft-repeated theory that Royal Caribbean increases prices before a sale to make the discount seem remarkable.

In my experience, cruise prices fluctuate daily or even hourly depending on a variety of factors.

The best parallel I can offer to give an example of how cruise fare prices tend to go up is jeans in the mall. The ticket price is the base price for jeans and similar list prices apply for cruise fares. Later the store sells these jeans and the price drops a little. As soon as this promotion ends, the price of the jeans can go back up to the ticket price. And a week or two later, a new sale of jeans will bring the price down again. And so on.

Cruise fare prices aren’t exactly like goods in a store, but you’ll see an up and down in their prices in a similar way.

The main difference to the cruise fare is that the price of a cruise also depends on supply and demand. The more cabins are booked, the higher the prices tend to be.

The reason the price of a cabin can go up before a sale is not because of the nefarious Royal Caribbean conspiracy to suck up all your money, but the fact that cabins on this sail were recently sold and now there is less supply and prices are increasing adjust accordingly .

The price of airfares is similar and ultimately the remaining seats / staterooms combined with booking trends determine discounts (or lack thereof).

The bottom line is that sales can save you money on your cruise fare, but don’t expect a discount on every sailing.

Continue reading: 45 Ways To Save Money On A Royal Caribbean Cruise

Do Pre-Cruise Sales Save Money?

What about selling WiFi, shore excursions, or beverage packages? Are you saving money with these sales?

The answer is a little clearer here as it’s easier to compare and keep track of prices as everyone gets the same deal (as opposed to cabins).

Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner sale definitely saves money on most purchases compared to price waiting to be booked on board.

Beverage packages, WiFi, and even shore excursions definitely cost more if you wait to book them once you’re on the ship.

Continue reading:: Information and planning tips for the Royal Caribbean Drink Package

Spa treatments are a bit like a wash as the price is basically the same on board or online. The spa has special offers on board, but they’re almost always combo packages and they’re not offered online so you can’t compare the two.

Special meal packages are sometimes discounted online compared to waiting for a booking on board. Individual restaurant reservations are more or less the same as on board.

The really nice thing about pre-cruise sales is that you can easily track prices and cancel and rebook if there is a better price.

Cruise professionals can book something they want early on and then look for new rate cuts when they occur. In contrast to cruise fares, there is no penalty for cancellations and rebookings even within a few weeks of sailing.

Continue reading:: How to cancel and book pre-cruise purchases with Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner

Selling cruise planners can absolutely save you money and almost certainly won’t cost you more than booking on board.

More mailbag questions::

Trinidad-style aloo and channa infuses an Indian basic with Caribbean taste | Meals

The simplicity of aloo and channa in the Trinidad style is undeniable. Creamy Yukon Gold potatoes are coated with curry powder and then boiled until soft. Canned chickpeas are added, and the whole pot is then zapped with a bright burst of flavor and heat.

This vegan mash-up is both invigorating and forgiving. it sticks to the bones without using a lot of elbow fat. Behind the no-frills list of ingredients and everyday lightness, however, there is something more electroplated – an improbable story of origin that traveled across the seas.

In the mid-19th century, after slavery was abolished in the Caribbean and other British colonies, the first group of identified laborers from India was brought to Trinidad and Tobago on a ship called the Fatel Razack. This indenture system was intended to replace the formerly enslaved workers, but for the Indian immigrants, the terms and contract of their tenure were oppressive and predatory.

Despite the tough beginnings, East Indian customs – both culinary and cultural – continue to have a significant and celebrated influence in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Indian arrival day is celebrated every May to commemorate the emergence of a new culture in the twin island nation. Many Indian foods – and how they are prepared – have been adapted to the new tropical locale.

This Trinidad-style aloo and channa stew clearly borrows a side from the classic Indian version popular across the subcontinent. “Aloo” is the Hindi word for potato and “channa” for chickpeas.

In India, aloo and channa are prepared differently, with a heavy hand made of fresh ginger and tomatoes, turmeric, cumin and garam masala, including spices that give the dish more body and firepower.

However, in Trinidad and Tobago, where the East Indian population makes up 35% of the country’s 1.2 million people, the recipe takes on a bright and deliberate Caribbean twist. Trinidad-style aloo and channa are a product of geographical syncretism, and like many other dishes from the East that have been hybridized in the West Indies, this version shows its own twist. It’s also a little more relaxed.

This Caribbean-themed stew, which makes no apologies for its island location, uses fewer ingredients and comes together quickly, while still adding a great sense of place. For example, the Trinidad version uses ground Chief brand curry powder instead of individual spices. Developed by Sayeed Khan, a grandson of Indented Workers, the brand’s spice blend is a household staple known for its nuanced and prickly taste.

In addition, Trinidad-style aloo and channa are used for the hot, flowery herb culantro. Known as Shado Beni or Bandhania in Trinidad and Tobago, the herb grows wild across the country and is similar to coriander, but its taste is more fire and fight. In the absence of culantro, a combination of spring onions and coriander produces a similar, albeit slightly milder effect. A handful of freshly chopped garlic plus a small addition of fruit chiles – scotch bonnets are ideal, but habaneros are an acceptable substitute – inject the potatoes and peas with bite and dimension.

As a child growing up on the island, I often ate aloo and channa in myriad uses: draped over a bowl of steamed white rice; cocoons in a pillow-like batter for a fried, hand-held, aptly named “aloo pie”; and sometimes hot, straight from the pot, by the spoon, when impatience overwhelmed me.

Now, as an adult, the preparation and eating of this dish is an anchor to my Trinbagon heritage and relieves the bouts of homesickness most acute during these punishing winter months. When I eat the dish, I can access a sweet piece of my childhood in edible form.

I make this dish for my Jamaican husband and our two little “Trin-Ja-Merican” kids – a fitting portmanteau to describe their multicultural heritage – and I appreciate the warmth and filling quality that aloo and channa impart.

Aloo and Channa in Trinidad style

Active time: 30 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

If Chief Curry Powder is not immediately available, replace Madras Curry Powder.

Storage instructions: The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Where to Buy: Main Curry Powder is available at Caribbean grocery stores or online.

3 tablespoons of neutral oil such as rapeseed or vegetables

2 tablespoons of curry powder, preferably Chief Brand (see top note); can replace Madras curry powder

4 to 5 (about 2 pounds) large Yukon Gold potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 2/3 cups of water, divided, plus more as needed

1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts

1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander

5 large cloves of garlic, chopped or finely grated

1/2 teaspoon of chopped habanero chilli pepper (about 1/2 chilli), pitted and chopped, or a few dashes of hot sauce with fruit to the front, such as B. Yellowbird’s hot habanero sauce

Freshly chopped coriander or spring onions for garnish (optional)

Naan or cooked brown rice for serving

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and curry powder. Let the curry powder bloom for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add the potatoes and stir to coat them with the curry oil mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, the black pepper and 1 cup of water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, mash some potatoes against the side of the pan and stir to thicken the cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas and 2/3 cup of water and stir to combine. Stir in the spring onions, coriander, garlic and habanero and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through and everything is coated with the golden sauce.

If the stew is too thick or sticks to the bottom of the pot, add 1/3 cup of water. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of hot sauce.

Pour the stew into bowls, garnish with coriander or spring onions, and serve hot with naan or brown rice.

Diet (based on 8 servings) Calories: 177; Total fat: 6 g; Saturated fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 689 mg; Carbohydrates: 27 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 2 g; Protein: 5 g.