Media Center

Press Release


  October 2, 2003

The nations of the Americas are politically committed to combating poverty and thus bolstering democratic governance in the region, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Jorge Valero, told reporters at a press conference Thursday as he outlined plans for a high-level conference on poverty.

Valero, who is also Chairman of the Permanent Executive Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CEPCIDI), said the High-Level Meeting on Poverty, Equity and Social Inclusion, to be held in Venezuela October 8 to 10, will focus on the need to combat poverty as a force that “hinders the full and legitimate exercise of governance.”

"Any democracy with huge pockets of poverty, any democracy with exclusion, any democracy without justice, is a crippled and inadequate democracy,” he stated. Ambassador Valero argued that democratic governance “must have justice and more inclusive societies as its foundation.”

The meeting is being organized under the auspices of the OAS/CEPCICI and will be held on the Venezuelan island of Margarita. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, OAS Secretary General César Gaviria and Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique Iglesias will be among the participants. Valero said the countries will adopt a joint declaration that has been the focus of discussions by a working group over the past few weeks.

“We believe that Margarita will signal a new beginning for efforts to emphasize the social element of democracy and to build democracy with justice, because both democracy and justice are indispensable to a better quality of life and happiness,” Valero said.

Reference: E-186/03