Ibero-American Summit

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Por que no te callasWhy don’t you shut up?”, said King Juan Carlos de Borbón to President Chávez

By Albeiro Rodas

The Ibero-American Summit was created with the aim to promote cooperation and development among the Ibero-American countries.

The first summit was celebrated between July 18 and 19 in Guadalajara, Mexico.


Santiago de Chile. The 7th Ibero-American Summit finished in Santiago de Chile between November 9 and 10 with an interesting agenda for the observers in which the main characters were the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Spain.

“Social cohesion” was the proposal of the Chilean President Michelle Bachellet. The idea was criticized by Chávez who said that it was conservative and static, while he centered his speeches in the behavior of the Spaniard companies in Latin America calling also the former Spaniard president José María Aznar a “fascist” and accusing him of supporting a coup d’etat against him.

The attacks of Chávez against Aznar caused a strong answer from President José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, while King Juan Carlos said to Chávez “Why don’t you shut up?” before he left the place. By his part, Rodríguez Zapatero defended the former president, one of his main political opponents: “It is possible to be at the antipodes of an ideological position and I am not the one who can consider himself near to the ideas of Aznar, but he was elected by the Spaniards and I ask respect for that.”, said the president.

Social Transformation

President Hugo Chávez, famous already in the international arena for his frank speeches and out of protocol behaviors, called the attention on the delicate subject among Bolivia and Chile in the matter of the sea. “Bolivia has its sea”, he said, remembering that during the Independence Time the situation was like that, a matter that has been painful for the Bolivians, the only South American nation with not sea coasts. The Bolivia-Chile dialogues were suspended in 1978.

To the proposal of Bachellet of a “social cohesion” was answered by Chávez with a “social transformation”, while it was celebrated a parallel summit, “The Summit for the Friendship and Integration of the Ibero-American Peoples” with the participation of youth, indigenous leaders, students and workers.

According with the Colombian journalist Leonardo Cáceres of El Tiempo Bogotá, “the main success of Chile, as an organizer country, was focused in the unanimous approval of the Multilateral Agreement of Ibero-American Social Security, approved by the chancellors and governors. The Agreement waits approval from the parliaments of every country to be implemented.”

Importance of the Summit

Even if Chávez demonstrates his will to be the center of attention in this kind of meetings, it is also certain that the 7th Ibero-American Summit has broken with traditional schemes and has reveled a new order of things in the Latin American relations with industrialized countries. The Latin or Hispanic identity that unites a constellation of peoples including rich nations like Spain, Portugal and Andorra with impoverished countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua, is not enough to trace mega projects of development for this community. It is required that Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula heal their historical wounds, many of them the cause of actual social disadvantages. At the other hand, in the new world order, Latin America is anymore a kind of minor in politics, economy or in the fighting for a sustained and sustainable development, but it is possible that these countries of the south of Rio Grande, so many times ignored and even excluded from the concept of Western World, are now more critics of their destiny.

Surely, the Venezuelan president, with many things to review from his politics, should learn that diplomacy has its place within the dialogue process among the peoples, but it is also true that those who want to come in dialogue with Latin America, even if they are connected historically, should learn how to answer intelligently to an out spoken Latin American diplomacy that is direct and written with the hunger for the true and the impatience for the best societies.


CÁCERES, Leonardo. Hugo Chávez le puso pimienta a la Cumbre Iberoamericana. El Tiempo, Santiago, 9 de noviembre de 2007.

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