The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, meeting in Asunción on 12 and 13 December:
1) Warmly WELCOMES the presidential candidature of Fernando Lugo, Leader of the Patriotic Alliance for Change, APC, of which the two SI parties, the Revolutionary Febrerista Party, PRF, and the País Solidario Party, PPS, are members, along with other political parties and social movements of Paraguay;
2) EXPRESSES its hope that the Alliance will triumph in the presidential elections of 20 April 2008, thereby consolidating the process of progressive governments in the region;
3) NOTES with concern the recent actions of the highest judicial bodies of Paraguay which, if they persist, could seriously compromise the legitimacy of the electoral process and lead to a grave new political and institutional crisis in the country;
4) SUPPORTS all international measures necessary to guarantee clean, competitive, and transparent elections, and agrees on the sending of an SI observer mission to these elections;
5) SUPPORTS the Patriotic Alliance for Change in its efforts to re-negotiate the treaties of the bi-national entities of Itaipú and Yacyretá, to guarantee equitable and just conditions for all parties involved;
6) EXPRESSES its conviction that it is only through the strengthening of the institutions, the culture and the practice of democracy that it will be possible to attain more dignified living conditions for the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. The social deficit which affects a significant number of inhabitants in the region can only be overcome with more democracy, which includes greater efficiency, inclusion, and an adequate and timely reply to the diverse demands and requirements of the citizens;
7) SUPPORTS active democracies which promote the decentralisation of the State and in which public responsibilities are distributed and carried out by legitimately constituted bodies whose mandates are subject to clear and pre-determined terms of office. The Committee reiterates its conviction that it is the democratic institutions rather than a transitory government which represents that which is common and permanent;
8) REITERATES the commitment of the progressive forces in the region, and most particularly those in government, to the construction of more solidarity-oriented societies in which men and women are protected the whole of their lives and in which their cultural differences are respected. In this sense, the Committee calls for the maintaining and strengthening of proposals for more just and inclusive societies including responsible interaction with the economy and the environment;
9) WELCOMES the participative and democratic behaviour of the Venezuelan people during the constitutional referendum last 2 December. It supports its member parties and the social forces as a whole which mobilised their people on the occasion of this referendum, reflecting the sentiment of the majority of the citizens of the country in favour of democracy and to respond to the real agenda of the Venezuelan people - that of the fight against poverty and inequality. At the same time it expresses its concern at coercive political action by the authorities and calls on all Venezuelans to use the path of dialogue for national reconciliation;
10) INVITES its member parties to join the international efforts in support of the political forces of Colombia in their search for a humanitarian agreement as soon as possible. It expresses its solidarity with the hostages and their families and reiterates its conviction of the need for this agreement in order to promote the peace process and to contribute to the normalisation of political life in Colombia;
11) REITERATES its confidence in the victory of the presidential candidate of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, PRD, Miguel Vargas, in the presidential elections which will take place in May 2008 in the Dominican Republic, and expresses its solidarity with the PRD in their efforts to build a new phase in the life of its country, with greater justice and better living conditions for the people there. At the same time, the Committee recalls the demand that the elections should take place in fully democratic and transparent conditions and that the State and its agents should not use public resources electorally during the campaign period;
12) GREETS the people of Guatemala and its sister party, the National Unity for Hope, UNE, on the triumph obtained by their candidate Alvaro Colom Caballeros in the recent presidential elections last 4 November, and hopes that his government will be able to respond to the aspirations of the Guatemalan people for greater cohesion and social protection.
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