Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, SICLAC, Caracas

19-20 July 2002

The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean met in Caracas on 19-20 July.

The meeting, which was attended by over 70 delegates of member parties of the SI in the region and other representatives, as well as guests from other political and trade union organisations from Venezuela, opened with contributions by Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International, who chaired the proceedings, and by Rafael Angel Marín, General Secretary of SI member party, Democratic Action, AD. Felipe Mujica, President of the Movement to Socialism, MAS, and Antonio Ledezma, leader of the "Bravo Pueblo" Alliance, also took the floor in the first session dedicated to the political situation in the host country. Miguel Henrique Otero, President-Editor of the Venezuelan Diario El Nacional newspaper and Manuel Cova, General Secretary of the Confederation of Workers of Venezuela, CTV, also contributed to this theme during the meeting.

The afternoon session of the first day began with a tribute in the memory of Anselmo Sule, President of the Radical Social Democratic Party, PRSD, of Chile, and Co-Chair of the Committee, who passed away recently. Claudio Sule, Anselmo's son, and, in the name of the delegates, Senator Rafael Michelini, leader of the New Space Party of Uruguay, took part.

The situation of democracy in Venezuela was the subject of a detailed analysis, as a result of which a resolution was unanimously approved which expresses concern for the weakening of the rule of law in this nation and "urges the creation of a Committee between the government and the Coordinadora Democrática of the opposition with the aim of defining a mechanism of negotiation between both parties to strengthen the democratic institutions, citizens' security and resolve conflicts which arise in Venezuelan society."

The meeting also received reports on national situations, among them one on Colombia by the leader of the Liberal Party of Colombia, PLC, Horacio Serpa, and another on the challenges for democracy in Haiti, presented by Victor Benoît, leader of SI member party, KONAKOM. The meeting approved resolutions on the situation in these two countries and another which urges the authorities in Panama to maintain the independence of the Supreme Court of Justice and of the Electoral Tribunal in that country.

A declaration on strengthening and defending democracy and its institutions, which sums up the common elements and values of the political approach of the member parties of the International in the region to this theme on the agenda, was approved by the Committee.

A document on Latin America and the Caribbean in the global economy, prepared by the Chair of the Committee, Raúl Alfonsín, Argentina, UCR, was presented, and will serve as a basis for discussion of this issue by the members in a future meeting.

The meeting agreed unanimously to hold a meeting of the Committee in Cuba, with the object of gaining firsthand information on the reality in that country.

Participants

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