Is the change in time that Latin America has experienced in recent years permanent? The question does not surprise Fander Falconí, head of Planning and Development in Ecuador, who has discussed matters that he considers vital for the region.
Orlando Oramas León*
A member of the Political Office of the PAIS Alliance movement, the group which brought president Rafael Correa a second term, Falconí highlights dangers and strengths for the forces of change in Latin America.
“I believe that the enemies of the processes of change in Latin America always have the chance to reform, to re-arm. We see it clearly with the State strike against president Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, undertaken by the most reactionary sectors of the Honduran and Latin American right, linked to the halcones [hard-liners] of the North American right.”
“These threats are present in our societies. The divisions converge in our region, sometimes the extreme right is linked to interests in sectors that do not feel represented by the progressive processes and change. They are threats that we have to confront,” he stresses.
“But what is also shown is the strength of the processes of change on the continent. Latin America has come of age. There are progressive governments who are focused on the search for equity. There is social and public support, active public policies that are proving effective.”
“This strength is based on the profound achievements managed by practically all the governments who, with their nuances, have veered towards the left. Say in the reduction of poverty and social and economic disparities, in substantial advances in human growth and in productive infrastructure that are valued by our societies.”
“There are many threats in the region, but the Latin American political processes also have many strengths,” Falconí emphasises.
For Falconí, the general situation in Venezuela by sectors of the opposition who do not recognise the electoral victory of President Nicolás Maduro is evidence of the “need to strengthen social and public organisation”.
“I believe that in Venezuela it has shown that there is a public organisation that goes beyond a leader, which implies a level of awareness and entrenched social organisation” that, he assures, was put to the test after the death of president Hugo Chávez.
He reports that whether in the homeland of Bolívar, Ecuador, and other Latin American countries there has been unleashed a “battle for truth” against private media who act as reactionary political forces.
“We have defended the right for information that our societies need. It is a right to have adequate, objective and timely information that does not respond to the interests of media firms who have replaced the role of political organisations usually beaten in the ballot boxes.”
The former foreign minister explains that in Ecuador those media firms deny the democratic legitimacy secured by president Rafael Correa at the ballot boxes, who achieved this with 57% of the vote in one round of elections.
“It means that there is quite a large consensus in our society concerning what is being constructed over the last six and a half years in democratic terms. Also in the change in public policy, government proposals on sovereignty and Latin American dignity, and the emphasis on equality. So it seems paradoxical that there is opposition coming from certain media firms.”
And he concludes to the effect: “If there is any positive that we can find it is that as a society we have greatly come of age in identifying these interests and defeating them through means of elections.”
CELAC: a hope
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was one of the themes that brought the Ecuadorian director to Havana. Here he participated in the international seminar on Contemporary Strategic Challenges in Summit Diplomacies: CELAC and Ibero-America, organised by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso).
“CELAC is a great hope for Latin America and the Caribbean, a distinctive space of regional integration that does not correspond to the traditional guidance from the United States and their worn-out pan-Americanism that has not represented us,” he states.
He considers that the United States Organisation has remained as an obsolete mechanism of political dialogue, of a search for consensus on menacing problems for the region, “often with clear interference of hegemonic power”.
However, for the Ecuadorian head of Planning and Development, CELAC must define whether it is just going to be a space for dialogue and political reconciliation, “although just that would be very important”.
“Integration has additional necessary edges for our people and we must debate those other spaces: agricultural integration, complementary production, consensus on commercial matter, a search for common elements to enable the region to have its own solution and refereeing mechanisms in the face of controversies on direct foreign investment.”
“The other element – he points out – is what we understand as strategic development. We are always going to have governments with whom we do not necessarily agree on policy and ideological aspects, it is more difficult still following voting rules.”
“Concerning our differences we can arrive at articulated aspects that unite us all. I am thinking of very important declarations that have taken place, for example, in the Union of South American Nations on the crisis in el Pando, Bolivia; or the rejection of the intention for a State strike in Ecuador.”
“Also by the firm rejection by CELAC of the decision by the United States to keep Cuba on its unilateral list of countries that harbour terrorism. What that means is that, independent of ideological tendencies, we have possibilities of reaching agreement on important matters.”
*Chief editor for the National Latin Press.
(Translated by Claire Donneky – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)