Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, Santiago, Chile
30-31 May 1997
'The State and the Market: Latin America and the Caribbean and Globalisation' and 'Governability and Democratic Institutions' were the main themes of the meeting of the SI Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, held in Santiago, Chile, on 30 and 31 May. Some 150 delegates attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Party for Democracy, PPD, the Social Democratic Radical Party, PRSD, and the Socialist Party, PS, of Chile. The opening session was addressed by the President of Chile, Eduardo Frei; the Secretary General of the International, Luis Ayala; the Chilean Minister of Public Works, Ricardo Lagos; SI Vice-President Anselmo Sule, leader of the PRSD, and José Francisco Peña Gómez, Chair of the SI Committee and leader of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, PRD. Discussion of the two main themes was introduced by Sergio Bitar, leader of the Party for Democracy, and Camilo Escalona, leader of the Socialist Party. The Santiago Declaration adopted by the meeting recognised the existence of a profound and complex process of globalisation and the adverse effects of neo-liberalism in Latin America and the Caribbean, and called for economic systems which made sustainable development viable, in particular the inclusion of democratic and social clauses in regional and international economic agreements. The Declaration went on to cite the serious threat posed to democracy by the concentration of wealth and the marginalisation of the poor. The Committee called for the broadest popular participation in government, and stressed that regional integration must be carried out by effective and appropriate bodies. Other crucial and topical issues dealt with in resolutions included the elections in Bolivia, the continuing relevance of cooperativism, Cuba and the Helms-Burton Act, political developments in Haiti, restrictions on the opposition media in Nicaragua, patents and medicines, the recent dismissal of members of Peru's Constitutional Tribunal, the proposed UN International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the rights of the Puerto Rican people to decide their future.