From the End of Secession to the Apology of Slavery: Europe and Latin America Review Their Past | Future America

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The leaders of the European Union and Latin America staged a reconciliation of old friends this week, however, while it is necessary to take some facts of the past and put them on the table, the future can be seen more lightly. At a meeting of the European Union and CELAC countries (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), something similar happened for the first time in eight years: fuel shortages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, growing Chinese influence in Latin America, and Latin America and its biodiversity will be presented as a land for settlement.

At the summit held on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels, the twenty-seven was clear: in the face of these crises, they need new trading partners, and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the main export regions of raw materials, food and important reserves of important minerals such as lithium, are the main investment in Europe. “This is a new beginning for an old friendship. Europe wants to be Latin America’s preferred partner,” European Commission President German Ursula van der Leyen said at a business forum on the sidelines of the summit on Monday, in which the EU pledged 45,000 million euros ($50,500 million) in financing projects through its Global Gateway Facility, along with building public investors.

The senior European official highlighted the common culture and values ​​of the two continents, but also highlighted the importance that both attach to business. „We believe Europe’s offering to the region is diverse and significant. We have a mutual interest in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe realizing their full potential. We share a common interest in seeing our industries grow, local value chains build and more people move into the middle class. We not only want to do business together, we want to thrive together,” he added.

But Von der Leyen’s declaration of intent did not absolve him from repeatedly hearing from Latin American leaders that the Europeans were no longer willing to be a „quarry of natural resources,” as defined by Mexican Foreign Secretary Alicia Barcená; Those who don’t want to be a land eternally condemned to separatism. „We need an international union that condemns the supply of raw materials and poorly paid and discriminated workers to Latin America and the Caribbean,” President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said at the same event.

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Forgiveness and Reparation for Slavery

The demands on the Europeans did not stop there. Another, which arises mainly from Caribbean leaders, is less echoed in the media, but more important if it is a re-examination of historical relations. Final report There is a demand for forgiveness for slavery. „We deeply recognize and deplore the unimaginable suffering of millions of men, women and children as a result of the transatlantic slave trade,” reads the tenth point of the document unanimously signed by 59 leaders from both sides of the Atlantic attending the summit.

Ilan Goldfajn, from IDB, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Úrsula Von der Leyer Pedro Sánchez, Sergio Díaz Granados, from CAF at the opening ceremony of the Business Forum parallel to the EU-Celac Summit.Oliver Mathis (EFE)

UN Convention Against Racism and Discrimination In line with the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, the Declaration recognizes slavery as a „terrible tragedy”. […] Not only because of its disgusting barbarism, but also because of its scale, its organized nature and, in particular, its denial of the essence of its victims. The text considers it a „crime against humanity” and refers to it through CELAC The Ten Point Plan of the Caribbean Community For restorative justice.

„We have to approach the debate openly,” Colombian Sergio Díaz Granatos, head of the CAF-Development Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, who attended the summit as an observer, told America Futura. „We are clear that there is a problem of social mobility within Latin America. That social mobility is stopped from generation to generation. Poverty is transmitted from generation to generation. That is what we call the 'cradle lottery.’

According to him, in order to make reparations, break the vicious cycle of poverty and inequality and build social mobility, it is necessary to first understand this reality and go to the root causes of poverty. „Reparations should go with policies that help social mobility, which are basically employment and education,” he says.

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The challenge: ending the extraction cycle

Like Lula, Díaz Granados spoke out against extractive economies at the opening session of the business forum parallel to the summit, where a multimillion-dollar investment program in the region was announced, with CAF and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as partners. „If we want sustainable development that benefits Latin America and the Caribbean, benefits Europe, benefits the world, we’re going to need a new way of doing things, not repeating the same or more of the same,” says the head of the multilateral organization.

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is rich in lithium.Ketty

Once the problem was recognized, the question left by the summit was how to break this cycle of extraction. What tools should be used to ensure that investments leave benefits in Latin American countries and create well-being, technology transfer, knowledge and value chains in countries where these wealth resources come from, but whose people have not been able to enjoy them until now.

„Production is not just about adding value and extracting, we need public goods. On the one hand, we need education, business environment, competition, infrastructure and innovation”, reasons Fabrizio Opertti, manager of the Integration and Trade Department of the IDB in a conversation with EL PAÍS in the framework of the business forum parallel to the summit. „With lithium, with important minerals, we need to work in added value, research and development, Europe can play a fundamental role, this investment transforms innovation, research and development,” he said. Says, two-thirds of the mineral that has been discovered so far is in the triangle formed by Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

For his part, Antón Leis García, director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Aecid), insists that Europe can provide high regulatory standards in the fields of environment, labor and human rights. In addition, he says, it is necessary to support traditional cooperation actors and development banks in the private sector to create value chains and gain more added value in Latin American countries. „Today’s companies are also engines of sustainable growth,” says Lise García in a statement to EL PAÍS. „They’re being asked for financial economic performance, but also for social performance. It’s a new step in a relationship, I would say rich, and where all these green, digital and social priorities are.

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In this sense, Alicia Mondalvo, CAF’s climate action manager, highlights that the EU can contribute much more to its trade relations than technology transfer or trade exchange. „At the moment everything obtained from the Green Agreement, that is, sustainable behavior on the part of companies, is criticized in some cases even from Latin America, because the control of deforestation or the possibility of a carbon offset tax at the border is seen as a threat to trade flows. But the point is that we all have a very sustainable behavior and, in fact, European importers will also suffer, they will eventually have to pay these additional costs”, points out Mondalvo.

„To overcome an extractive economy, you must create a knowledge society for a knowledge economy. That’s the way. And it’s very complex”, notes Mariano Zaponero, Secretary General of the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI). To achieve this, he points to three keys: the digitization that allows half of the children in the region to be „cut off by imposition” during the epidemic, the digitalization that allows professional training and „decent labor insertion” related to the economy of the region, and investment in science and research. .

This will undoubtedly be a strong challenge in a very uneven region, where it is estimated that approx A third of the population Living in a situation most affected by poverty and climate change. But a region with enough resources to be the world’s main food exporter and to have some of the planet’s green lungs, such as the Amazon, has many examples of efforts to export added value. Software The invention of the Uruguayan cow, engineering for a copper mine or Chile’s architectural seismic detection services highlighted by Operti from IDB or Bogotá’s commitment to producing electric buses was highlighted by Díaz Granados from CAF.

In this relaunch of relations between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, countries are able to talk face to face for the first time, above all, without the „arrogance” of the past, the outgoing Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, agreed at the summit. „This is the first time we’re talking about blameless extraction with all the letters,” Argentine President Alberto Fernandez joked at a press conference that concluded the summit. „It took five centuries, but we finally did it.”

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