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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Ibero-American Leaders Wrap Up Summit

ASUNCION – Ibero-American leaders in Asuncion wrapped up their 21st summit after a debate about the role of the state within the context of crisis during which Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa sounded the discordant note by walking out of the meeting when it was the World Bank’s turn to speak.

Correa refused to listen to the World Bank’s vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, Pamela Cox, to whom he said that she should begin by “apologizing” for the damage that the neoliberalism imposed by the entity had wrought in Latin America and around the world.

Only Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed support for Correa’s remarks, asking the World Bank to compensate Latin America, but the host of the summit, Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, preferred at Saturday’s final press conference to praise the contribution that international organizations are making at these summits.

“There are no perfect organizations or chemically pure processes,” Lugo said, adding that “dissent enriches the discussion.

Lugo thanked institutions such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Latin American Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank for their contributions because “they are ingredients that can contribute to the search for solutions.”

At the summit’s first plenary session the speeches focused on warnings about the dangers the international crisis can pose for Latin America despite the fact that the region to date has responded successfully to what Peruvian President Ollanta Humala called the “northern storm.”

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said that the period of surplus that Latin America is currently enjoying could “end suddenly” when the prices of the raw materials the region exports to Asia drop, exacerbated by financial speculation.

Others, such as Panama’s president, Ricardo Martinelli, directly proposed that the region issue a “clear” message against “disproportionate speculation” since it damages the Latin American economy.

During the second part of the session, after a luncheon and the official photo session, the vice presidents and foreign ministers of about a dozen countries spoke representing the heads of state who excused themselves to meet together and discuss both the crisis and other internal matters.

King Juan Carlos of Spain was the leader tasked with delivering the final address during which he issued an invitation to next year’s summit, which will be held in Cadiz within the framework of the bicentennial of the Constitution of 1812, “La Pepa,” which – Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said – had a short life due to the response of “reactionary forces.”

“For many of our nations, it was without doubt an historic moment. The Constitution of 1812, which converted the subject into the citizen, was not only the first promulgated in Spain, but also one of the most advanced of its epoch,” the king said.

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