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Food, credits and migration, center of debate at the Ibero-American Summit

Food, credits and migration, center of debate at the Ibero-American Summit

Fighting hunger, improving access to credit and controlling migratory flows stand out among the issues addressed this Saturday by the heads of state and government at the Ibero-American Summit in Santo Domingo, who also emphasize the climate crisis and the impact of war .

The presidents of the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Paraguay, Portugal and Uruguay, as well as the King of Spain, Felipe VI, and his head of government, Pedro Sánchez, participated in the plenary, which should last throughout the day.

A draft of a joint declaration is already ready and must be signed by the close of the day.

“If we don’t unite, we will have lost the opportunity to obtain some concrete benefit for our countries,” The host president, the Dominican Luis Abinader, expressed at the opening of the forum, outlining the main themes of the final document: food crisis, environment and digital equity.

But throughout the debate, sensitive issues for the region such as migration and political stability were addressed, with sharp comments by President Gabriel Boric, of Chile, against the “family dictatorship of (Daniel) Ortega and (Rosario) Murillo in Nicaragua”.

“Outside of democracy there is no possible freedom or dignity”he snapped. “We see new risks and threats to democracy throughout the world (…). We must respond with more democracy, not less.”he assured.

The Venezuelan chair was occupied by Foreign Minister Yván Gil, after the organization announced on Friday the attendance of President Nicolás Maduro, which has not materialized.

“Hunger, death”

Latin America is facing a difficult year, with growth projections of less than 2%, while the cost of a healthy diet in the region is the most expensive in the world: $3.89 per person per day, inaccessible to 22.5% of the population, according to United Nations.

“Access to a healthy diet should be a right and not a privilege of a few”expressed the Bolivian president, Luis Arce, who highlighted the impact that climate change has on food production.

That environmental crisis “produces hunger, death”, pointed out the Colombian president, also a leftist Gustavo Petro.

“Strong national, foreign, public and private investments are needed around clean energy”, raised Petro, who proposed that the countries with the highest carbon emissions pay to finance them.


A central aspect of the debate was access to financing for poor countries.

“We are witnessing an international scenario characterized by high and unsustainable levels of indebtedness that condition the growth of our countries”, pointed out the Argentine Alberto Fernández.

Argentina -which agreed in January 2022 to refinance a debt of 44 billion dollars with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)- ordered state companies to exchange bonds in dollars for new instruments in pesos to stop the fall in international reserves, in a context of scarcity of foreign exchange and exchange rate volatility.

The president described as “abusive” the rates imposed by the IMF and advocated “For greater access to credit facilities in order to promote growth and development rather than speculation.”

Earlier Fernández held a trilateral meeting with Pedro Sánchez and Joseph Borrell, head of European Union diplomacy. Sánchez also had a bilateral meeting with Guillermo Lasso, president of Ecuador.

immigration summit

Boric advocated for greater “coordination” in the face of the migratory crisis and announced talks with Venezuela, a country from which more than seven million people have fled in recent years, according to the UN.

“Migration management is perhaps one of the greatest regional challenges” and “any sustainable solution depends on being able to work together between countries of origin, transit and destination”, expressed the Chilean. “It is urgent to speed up and intensify coordination between our police and immigration authorities to counter organized transnational crime networks.”

The region faces high flows of migrants from Cuba, Haiti and other Central American countries, in addition to Venezuela, seeking to escape poverty in their countries of origin.

Petro proposes a summit on this issue.

“Pacify” Haiti

Many of the presidents also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A sensitive issue, especially for Dominicans, is Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, controlled by violent gangs that have killed some 530 people and kidnapped about 280 since January, according to the UN.

“The only way to act with Haiti is to pacify Haiti”said the Dominican. “The international community cannot allow this situation to continue”he opined.

Rodrigo Chaves, from Costa Rica, asked the summit to “make a strong and vigorous call to the United Nations to provide an immediate response” to the crisis in what he called a “failed state.”

Source: AFP

Source: Gestion

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