A Socialist International Conference held on 17-18 April in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, commemorated the contribution to the social democratic movement and legacy of the prominent Dominican and Latin American political leader, José Francisco Peña Gómez, who passed away a decade ago this year, and discussed proposals and experiences of democratic socialism in Latin America and the Caribbean at a time when significant advances are being made throughout the region.
Attended by close to 300 participants, the Conference began with the presentation of a video showing a collection of memories of Peña Gómez’s life and work by a number of leaders from the global family of the Socialist International. In a special opening session, the gathering was addressed by Ramón Alburquerque, President of the host party, PRD, and a Vice-President of the Socialist International; by Peggy Cabral, widow of Peña Gómez, a Vice-President and International Secretary of the PRD; Miguel Vargas Maldonado, candidate of the PRD to the Presidency of the Republic in elections to be held on 16 May; and Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International.
Under the heading "José Francisco Peña Gómez: Ten Years On", the Conference discussions were carried out in a programme of panels addressing the following themes: (1) The legacy of Peña Gómez in Dominican politics; (2) The influence of Peña Gómez on the development of social democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean and internationally; (3) Democratic socialist priorities for governments in the region today; (4) The role of social democracy as an alternative force in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean; (5) Democratic socialism as a global force: Proposals for a changing world.
The introductions by the panelists, followed by the lively and engaged question and answer sessions involving a broad number of participants, allowed for an in-depth and wide-ranging discussion. The event ended with an overview of the debates and summary of conclusions presented by the SI Secretary General. Looking ahead to the forthcoming elections in Paraguay and Dominican Republic in April and May respectively, the gathering extended it solidarity and best wishes to the SI members’ presidential candidates.
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