The Iberoamerican Summit was inaugurated this Friday in Dominican Republic with the surprising announcement of the participation of the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Madurowhose regime is questioned by Spain and other member countries of this forum.
The meeting in Santo Domingowhich runs until this Saturday, has an agenda focused on the difficult economic situation left by the COVID-19 pandemic and which worsened in the region with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The forum is committed to strengthening cooperation between Latin America and Europe.
The president of the host country, Luis Abinaderinaugurated the event at the Osama Fortress, a colonial fort facing the Caribbean Sea, next to the King of Spain, Felipe VIand nine other heads of state.
“It is urgent to rethink a fairer global financial system, which allows us to invest to create the bases for a green, equitable and true economic development”, Abinader said in his speech.
The summit plenary will be held on Saturday, when the leaders will sign a joint declaration.
It is the first time that the Venezuelan dictator participates in this forum since he took power in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chávez.
His legitimacy has been questioned since his re-election in 2018 by several countries in the region, which have branded this process as fraudulent. In fact, at the last summit in 2021 in Andorrawhere Maduro was represented by his vice president Delcy Rodríguez, Venezuela was the epicenter of a heated debate.
Latin America has since experienced a shift to the left in countries like Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil, This improved the international outlook for Maduro, as the Venezuelan opposition at the national level lost strength with the failure of its offensive to remove him from power with the support of the United States. He will now seek a third six-year term in 2024.
Ecuador, Paraguay and Spain they still refuse to give it formal recognition.
The attendance of the Salvadoran president, Nayib Bukele, is not expectednor the Daniel Ortega regime, both also criticized for their growing authoritarianism and accused of human rights violations.
The joint statement that is scheduled to be signed this Saturday includes “a ‘critical path of inclusive and sustainable food security in Ibero-America’, an ‘Ibero-American environmental charter’, which helps protect our habitat and oceans; and the ‘Ibero-American charter of principles and rights in digital environments’, to guarantee the exercise of fundamental rights within the framework of digital transformation”, according to a statement from the organization.
Latin America is facing a difficult year, with growth projections less than 2%while the cost of a healthy diet in the region is the most expensive in the world: 3.89 dollars a day per person, inaccessible to 22.5% of the population, according to the United Nations.
A central point will be access to financing for poor countries.
The Iberoamerican Summit precedes the July meeting between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU), which will be held on July 17 and 18 in Belgium.
“Economic recovery today more than ever needs cooperation”, Felipe VI said at the end of a business meeting prior to the summit. “The commitment to Latin America will not disappoint.”
Overcoming the economic crisis that is hitting part of the region involves achieving political stability, amid severe turbulence in countries like Peru, Ecuador or Venezuela.
The President of Ecuador, William Lassosaid at the business meeting that he struggled, for example, with “a very blind opposition” who seeks to come to power “not by vote, but by a parliamentary coup”, when a political trial is promoted against him.
A hot topic, but not the protagonist of the summit, is migration, estimated Mariano De Alba, an analyst at the International Crisis Groupwhich he believes will be part of the bilateral ones.
“Latin America lives one of the largest migrations in history”, said Paraguayan President Mario Abdo, referring to the more than 7 million Venezuelans who have left the country according to the UN. “We can’t sweep that under the rug,” she added.
(With information from AFP)
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