Ibero-American summit: countries of the region concentrate



At the meeting in the Dominican Republic, the leaders of the 22 countries rejected outside pressure and focused on their immediate problems.

The heads of state and government of the Ibero-American countries: 14 presidents, two vice-presidents, two prime ministers and 22 foreign ministers, as well as about 1500 entrepreneurs from the region, met on March 25, 2023 in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, to discuss the urgent issues of inter-Latin American development and cooperation under the general motto "Together for a Fair and Sustainable Ibero-America."

The Ibero-American Community consists of 22 countries: three European - Andorra, Spain and Portugal - and 19 Latin American countries. The organization was created in 1991 at the initiative of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. The monarch had the idea to create a community of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations led by Spain, linked by a historical past, but without Anglo-Saxons. The first meeting was held in the Mexican city of Guadalajara. The current one in Santo Domingo is the 28th.

The Ibero-American summit is a multilateral consultation at the top level which allows "in its circle", without direct U.S. participation, to discuss urgent political and economic problems. However, the U.S., through its "clientele," retains a strong influence on the nature of the decisions made here.

This time they used the traditional summit participant, King Felipe VI of Spain, to whom they sent his compatriot, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. Borrell's suggestion, or demand, which was clearly political and clearly came from the United States, to add "the war in Ukraine and condemnation of Russian aggression" to the agenda, was met with a hostility. Borrell's proposal to become an alternative to China in the region and join the international condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression did not inspire Latin American leaders. Participants recalled the words, "Why don't you shut up?" spoken by Juan Carlos I to Hugo Chavez, who inappropriately interrupted the king at the 2007 Ibero-American Summit in Santiago de Chile. Borrell was rejected because "Putin has for years acted as a support for the various autocrats in the region, and China is flooding it with investment.

Unexpected, but quite predictable, was the reaction to Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel's speech expressing his "solidarity with the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia" in the face of international pressure - this generated a positive reaction. Although it did not prevent the condemnation of Daniel Ortega for harsh measures against the opposition.

Last Saturday, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez thanked the participants of the XXVIII Ibero-American Summit for the fruitful work.

In a joint declaration, summit participants expressed unanimous support for Argentina and called on the United Kingdom to resume negotiations on the Falklands/Malvinas Islands issue. These and other speeches by Latin American leaders recorded the new ideas, trends and intentions of the Ibero-American bloc.

The Dominican meeting was focused on finding solutions to problems common to the community. The fight against hunger, improvement of access to credit and control of migration flows, the environmental crisis and the inequality of the financial architecture were the main topics of discussion.

Three documents were approved by all delegations present: the Charter of Digital Rights, the Food Security Strategy, and the Environmental Charter, also known as the Green Pact.

The Ibero-American Charter of Digital Principles and Rights puts people at the center of an inclusive digital transformation, bridges existing gaps and prevents new ones, as well as promotes principles that states should consider when implementing national legislation and public policies.

The strategy to achieve food security proposes, among other things, increasing intra-regional trade and developing more sustainable food export-import chains, consolidating family farms, improving access to financing to transform agrifood systems and strengthening rural digital infrastructure. The Regional Plan for Inclusive and Sustainable Food Security comes at a time when hunger and lack of access to food affects more than 250 million Latin Americans.

The fight against climate change was recognized as one of the most urgent topics, and mentioned by all presidents and foreign ministers. The document expresses the will of 22 countries to achieve a shared commitment to sustainable development to solve "the global problems of climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, deforestation, desertification, loss of glaciers, drought, soil degradation, water scarcity and ocean pollution, as well as increased disaster risk."

However, the central focus of the meeting, despite not being on the official agenda, was migration policy related to the unprecedented increase in the legal and illegal "brain drain" and labor force to the United States. "Today, migration management is one of the most important regional challenges, said Chilean President Gabriel Boric. - There is no universal recipe, and any solution requires working together with countries of origin, transit and destination." However, there was no common ground on this issue - they stopped at general words about the need to "streamline the process while respecting human rights."

And only one document - how the new continental financial architecture should be built - the 22 countries of the Ibero-American community have failed to agree on and adopt. Latin American countries had serious difficulties in obtaining the financing needed to restore growth after the pandemic. The draft, which was never adopted, called, among other measures, to revise the conditions for middle-income countries' access to financing and to increase the lending capacity of multilateral institutions.

The Inter-American Development Bank, which unites the region's financial giants, fears that the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the United States and other banks in the top 100 by assets, as well as Credit Suisse in Switzerland, will lead to a collapse in market capitalization and further tightening of monetary policy. "The current financial system doesn't need any more help. We must fundamentally change it," said Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. Latin American heads of state and government unanimously acknowledged the existence of the problem, but could not develop a unified strategy and concrete steps to solve it.

The 22 countries participating in the 2023 Ibero-American Summit adopted 25 important agreements, as well as a four-year cooperation program that includes more than 350 projects in the fields of energy, education, health, the environment, and socio-economic cooperation.

It has been a long time since so many airliners left Santo Domingo Airport at the same time. The main thing is that their high-ranking passengers stay on the right course.