'The State and the Market: Latin America and the Caribbean and Globalisation' and 'Governability and Democratic Institutions' were the main themes of the meeting of the SI Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, held in Santiago, Chile, on 30 and 31 May. Some 150 delegates attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Party for Democracy, PPD, the Social Democratic Radical Party, PRSD, and the Socialist Party, PS, of Chile. The opening session was addressed by the President of Chile, Eduardo Frei; the Secretary General of the International, Luis Ayala; the Chilean Minister of Public Works, Ricardo Lagos; SI Vice-President Anselmo Sule, leader of the PRSD, and José Francisco Peña Gómez, Chair of the SI Committee and leader of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, PRD. Discussion of the two main themes was introduced by Sergio Bitar, leader of the Party for Democracy, and Camilo Escalona, leader of the Socialist Party. The Santiago Declaration adopted by the meeting recognised the existence of a profound and complex process of globalisation and the adverse effects of neo-liberalism in Latin America and the Caribbean, and called for economic systems which made sustainable development viable, in particular the inclusion of democratic and social clauses in regional and international economic agreements. The Declaration went on to cite the serious threat posed to democracy by the concentration of wealth and the marginalisation of the poor. The Committee called for the broadest popular participation in government, and stressed that regional integration must be carried out by effective and appropriate bodies. Other crucial and topical issues dealt with in resolutions included the elections in Bolivia, the continuing relevance of cooperativism, Cuba and the Helms-Burton Act, political developments in Haiti, restrictions on the opposition media in Nicaragua, patents and medicines, the recent dismissal of members of Peru's Constitutional Tribunal, the proposed UN International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the rights of the Puerto Rican people to decide their future.
Resolutions and statements
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, and its member parties, meeting in Santiago, Chile, express their fraternal thanks for the hospitality offered by the Party for Democracy, the Radical Social Democratic Party and the Socialist Party of Chile. They also recognise the effort put in by the Secretary General of the Socialist International to prepare for and stage this important event.
Concerning the central topics of the meeting, the Committee formulated policy positions in line with the search for political and social alternatives in which the SI is engaged.
State and market: Latin America, the Caribbean and Globalisation
The meeting recognised the existence of a profound, complex process of globalisation. The Latin American and Caribbean region is part of this substantial change in the economy, in the system of international relations and on cultural, technological and political fronts.
It noted that in the countries of the region neoliberal policies have been promoted which have mostly caused serious social conflicts as a consequence of an extreme concentration of wealth and increase in poverty and lack of opportunities for significant sectors of the population. The women of Latin America and the Caribbean have been particularly affected by this phenomenon, constituting the "poorest of the poor".
It is in this context that SICLAC understands the rejection of neoliberalism by electorates all over the world. And it is conscious that this model has exhausted its possibilities, insofar as it fails to give answers with any real social content, which has led to important victories for democratic socialism in Europe.
SICLAC maintained that it is necessary to build economic systems which make viable sustainable development with decent jobs, which preserve rights to health, social provision, education, which strengthen democratic institutions, protect the environment, respect diversity, promote values of solidarity and create appropriate legislation that helps to overcome discrimination and ensure equality of opportunity for men and women.
For these aims to become reality, the SI Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean considers it necessary to advocate for the inclusion of a democratic clause and a social clause in regional and international economic agreements, which would preserve the region's essential democratic institutions and labour rights.
Governability and democratic institutions
SICLAC was emphatic in pointing out that a serious threat to the democracies of the region is posed when the rewards of economic growth are concentrated in increasingly smaller and more privileged social sectors contrasting with large concentrations of poverty. These sectors, moreover, are hardhit by violence, drugtrafficking and corruption.
Faced with this reality, SICLAC, identifying with the ideals of building political, economic and social democracies, considers it vitally important to open up the broadest possible channels for popular participation. Only in this way will it be possible for governments and political and social advocates to unite in seeking proposals that can bring about progress and the modernisation of our societies, together with a solid majority social support base.
It will only be possible to attain this goal if progress is made in forging broad alliances between progressivelyminded political causes which have a definite sense of social justice. Equally, SICLAC underlines the need for an active role for the State, and to reform and modernise it so that it can carry out its role in bringing about equality of opportunity, market regulation, sustainable development and technological progress.
SICLAC reaffirmed its decision to work towards an integrated Latin America and Caribbean. It considers that present circumstances are more favourable for achieving this objective than in the past.
The Committee is to evaluate the effectiveness of the present bodies and institutions for integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, in order to recommend courses of action which contribute to improving these and adapting them to the new realities which derive from globalisation.
It will not be possible to achieve strong modern democracies unless women gain sufficient presence in representative posts. Therefore SICLAC resolved to promote actions to bring about progress in this direction.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago, Chile, on 30-31 May 1997, with the presence of delegates and representatives from its member parties in the region, sends fraternal greetings and best wishes for electoral success to comrade Jaime Paz Zamora, candidate for the Presidency of the Republic of Bolivia, representing our member party, the Movement of the Revolutionary Left, MIR.
The elections next Sunday 1 June, will see the consolidation of democracy in Bolivia to which end Jaime Paz Zamora has given the best part of his life as a social fighter.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago on 30-31 May 1997, declares that:
The present tendency towards concentration and centralisation of capital on a world scale threatens to destroy the fundamental values of coexistence between individuals and peoples and the gains which had seemed indisputable in terms of the relationship between worker and capital.
It is impossible to try and prevent or stand up to the structural changes merely in a voluntaristic way. But it is just as antihistorical to accept that the mere globalisation of capital can give rise to some positive outcome. Therefore we must redouble our efforts to find ways of freeing ourselves from this threat and to reaffirm cooperativism as an instrument of rich, nonaggressive internationalisation among peoples in the search for solutions based on reason and on the conviction that solidarity between people is a more powerful force than the aspiration of big finance capital to impose their rule on the world.
The meeting confirms that we must regain and modernise the function of cooperativism as a more just, more economically and technologically appropriate, more human and efficient way of concentrating capital.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago, Chile on 30-31 May 1997, is concerned at the continuing operation of the HelmsBurton Act against the Republic of Cuba. This measure of the United States Government constitutes a flagrant infringement of international norms. The Committee likewise considers that keeping up the economic blockade against that country actually presents an obstacle to any attempts towards Cuba's peaceful transition to democratic methods.
Lastly, SICLAC calls on the Cuban authorities to promote measures aimed at moving towards democratic forms of government.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago on 30-31 May, 1997:
Expresses its concern over the continuing crisis in Haiti's transition towards democracy.
Supports the demands made by the various social and political sectors fighting to improve their standards of living.
Condemns the use of violence by certain groups in order to achieve their political objectives, especially during the last elections.
Requests the government of Haiti to take into consideration the protests of its people over the rise in the cost of living.
Calls upon all the democratic political forces to work out a strategy for concerted action aimed at getting to grips with the big challenges confronting the Haitian people.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago, Chile, on 30-31 May 1997, noted that coercive economic measures have been taken against various mass media in Nicaragua and in particular, against the newspaper Barricada. These government policies which affect Nicaraguan private enterprise have caused a serious financial crisis for the abovementioned newspaper and for certain broadcasting stations not controlled by the government.
SICLAC views with concern this situation which constitutes an assault on the Nicaraguan opposition press, and agrees to get in touch with President Arnaldo Alemán to call for reflection and the seeking of a just response to this serious problem.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago on 30-31 May, 1997, declares that:
Recently there have been strong pressures on our countries to accept or give validity to the abusive patterns of patent systems meant for and directed at more developed countries, where they are already being strongly questioned, in the sense that it is being pointed out that they limit the innovative process, since they function on the basis of creating an artificial shortage in the production and commercialisation of new products, ensuring a monopoly in that particular product. Thus the system is based on restriction, high price and inaccessibility of the product for significant sectors of the population.
Patent systems constitute an important instrument in the economic and social development of humanity, because the new products are not the result of a gratuitous process or one that just happens by chance, so the existence of special systems which recognise and act as a spur to different innovative activities must be accepted. Noone wants to stop paying and we respect the rights to intellectual property. However, insofar as medicines are concerned, these should be accessible to all sectors of the population and means of commercialisation should be established which duly look after the earnings of researchers, but without forgetting about those who are ill.
Therefore, in the face of such pressures, the possibility of producing and selling new medicaments must be secured, paying the royalties that are due, but without allowing legal monopolies to be created which can prevent their utilisation.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago on 30-31 May 1997 declares:
In view of the dismissal of three members of Peru's Constitutional Tribunal by action of the government majority in the Congress of the Republic, in response to the declaration of unconstitutionality that this supreme body made concerning the authorisation of a second consecutive reelection of President Alberto Fujimori, compounded by the subsequent resignation of the Chairman of the aforementioned Tribunal, the Committee expresses its repudiation of this decision which infringes the democratic institutions of that nation.
The Committee also declares its solidarity with the concerted initiatives by the democratic forces on the basis of action by the political parties which are the fundamental bedrock of the country's institutional system.
The Committee requests clarification of the denunciations received by the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights of the OAS to the effect that confessions have been obtained by torture and human rights are not being respected in Peru.
It calls on the member parties of the Socialist International to express their solidarity with the march called by the Peruvian Aprista Party for Wednesday 4 June 1997.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago on 30-31 May 1997:
Urges the delegations from the United Nations member States and from the indigenous peoples of the world to renew their efforts to adopt a text agreed by consensus by member States and the indigenous peoples, during the current year's sessions of the Intersessional Group of the Commission for Human Rights, which was set up in order to work out a draft International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
Urges that the Draft prepared for this purpose, submitted by the Subcommission for Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, be taken as the basis for such discussions;
Urges the member States of the United Nations to establish or strengthen the mechanisms of dialogue with the indigenous peoples of their countries, with the aim of providing the necessary agreement for the adoption by consensus of this Draft Declaration;
Urges the other bodies of the United Nations to contribute in their own fields to a speedy resolution of this process which has at its disposal fifteen years of valuable discussions and contributions towards the evolution of international law and the improvement of mechanisms for protecting and promoting human rights and in which the indigenous peoples of the world have played the main role;
Urges other bodies, institutions, nongovernmental organisations and national and international figures to make their contribution and offer their abilities to give their support for the early adoption by consensus by the United Nations of an International Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the World during the current International Decade of Indigenous Peoples;
Urges the member States of the United Nations and the General Assembly and competent bodies to set up a budget for the expansion of the International Decade's activities, or to make bigger payments to the Voluntary Fund for the Decade set up by a Resolution of the General Assembly itself.
The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, meeting in Santiago on 30-31 May 1997:
Supports the efforts of the Puerto Rican Independence Party to get legislation approved in the United States Congress that would recognise the present state of political subordination of Puerto Rico and enable the people of Puerto Rico to achieve a solution of full self-government based on the principle of sovereignty and recognition of Puerto Rican nationality;
Reaffirms moreover its unconditional support for the inalienable right of this fraternal Latin American and Caribbean country to self-determination and independence.
Chair of SICLAC
José Francisco Peña Gómez
(Dominican Republic, PRD)
Popular Socialist Party, PSP
Guillermo Estévez Boero
Radical Civic Union, UCR
Luis Alberto Cáceres
People's Electoral Movement, MEP
Hyacintho R. Croes
Social Democratic Party of Austria, SPÖ
Movement of the Revolutionary Left, MIR-Nueva Mayoría
Democratic Labour Party, PDT
Party For Democracy, PPD
Víctor Manuel Rebolledo
María Antonieta Saa
Radical Social Democratic Party, PRSD
Alejandra Faulbaum Iván Mesías
José Miguel Anzuliaga
José Manuel Miño
Carlos Abarzúa Zapata
Socialist Party, PS
Hernán del Canto
José Miguel Insulza
Colombian Liberal Party, PLC
José Renán Trujillo
National Liberation Party, PLN
Dominican Revolutionary Party, PRD
Hatuey De Camps
Milagros Ortiz Bosch
Tirso Mejía Ricart
Peggy Cabral de Peña Gómez
Amaury Justo Duarte
Fantina de Báez
Luz del Alba Thevenin
Betzaida Santana de Báez
Ana María Acevedo
Fco. Antonio Peña Guaba
Party of the Democratic Left, PID
Party of the National Congress of Democratic Movements, KONAKOM
Revolutionary Progressive Nationalist Party of Haiti, PANPRA
Democratic Party of the Left, PDS
Donato Di Santo
Party of Democratic Revolution, PRD
Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI
Gabino Fernández Serna
Carlos Flores Viscarra
Alfonso Zegbe Camarena
Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN
Democratic Revolutionary Party, PRD
Revolutionary Febrerista Party, PRF
Antonia de Guillén
Hilda Marlene Escobar
Peruvian Aprista Party, PAP
Gerardo Morris Abarca
Aurelio Pastor Valdivieso
Alejandro Santa María Silva
Agustín Haya de la Torre
Puerto Rican Independence Party, PIP
Rubén Berríos Martínez
Fernando Martín García
Spanish Socialist Workers Party, PSOE
Party for People's Government, PGP
Democratic Action, AD
Pedro París Montesinos
Socialist International Women, SIW
Sofía Leonor Sánchez Baret
Ligia Doutel de Andrade
María del Carmen Viñas
International Union of Socialist Youth, IUSY
New Space Party
Workers Party, PT
Marco Aurelio García
Cuban Social Democratic Party
Santo Domingo Accord
José González Espinosa
(Party of Dominican Workers)
Guido Gómez Mazara
National Democratic Institute, NDI
Santiago A. Canton
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