On the second day of the Latin American Democracy Forum being held in Mexico City, experts, entrepreneurs, academics and analysts from various countries of the hemisphere met to debate existing economic and social challenges; the relation between power, state and democracy; and security and the impact of the economy on the democratic development of countries in the region.
The debate in the morning—Democracy, Poverty and Inequality—focused on the relation between these factors and their impact on the political and economic development of Latin American countries. Participants in this panel were the Secretary for Political Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS), Víctor Rico; the President of the Radical Civic Union of Argentina, Rodolfo Terragno, the Academic Coordinator of the Center for Economic Studies of the Colegio de México, Isidro Soloaga; Mexican Senator Arturo Núñez; and the ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena.
During the conversation, Víctor Rico made a brief summary of the evolution of democracy since 2004, indicating that there are three particularities that have differentiated the processes of democracy-building in countries of the region: the constitutional architecture; the level of leadership of the rulers; and the approaches that states have taken to address the issues of inclusion and inequality.
In this sense, the OAS representative asserted that “the processes of inclusion and overcoming inequality are less traumatic the more there is institutional development, and inversely they are more traumatic the weaker and more incipient institutional development is.” He added that “in this decade we have a democracy with a social character that expresses itself or becomes evident thanks to the important progress there has been above all in the reduction of poverty and also with marginal progress in terms on equality.”
Other topics discussed were the strength and stability of the state to face the economic and social challenges of its peoples; deficiencies in taxation, the closing of the inequality gap through social and productive investment; and the need to create public policies that address specific needs.
Participants in the panel titled, “Power, State and Democracy,” were the Argentine union leader Andrés Rodríguez; the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim; the Coordinator of Security, State and Democracy of the CAF, Ana María San Juan; the former President of Bolivia Carlos Mesa; and a specialist in political regimes and democracy in Latin America, Gerardo Munck. They placed emphasis on the importance of creating productive structures that multiply opportunities and sources of employment, and highlighted the importance of the role of labor unions in achieving social justice.
The subject of Security, State and Democracy was addressed by the former FLACSO Secretary General, Francisco Rojas; a former Judge of the National Chamber of Criminal and Correctional Appeals of the Federal Capital of Argentina, León Arslanian; the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Santiago Cantón; and the Director of the Mexico Project at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, Armand Peschard.
The forum will continue with a presentation of the FLACSO study titled, “Survey on Governance and Democratic Living,” and will conclude Thursday in the Palace of Mining with speeches by the former Presidents Julio María Sanguinetti, of Uruguay, and Ricardo Lagos, of Chile, who will be accompanied by OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and the Secretary General of the Ibero-American General Secretariat, Enrique Iglesias.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.