Democratic Solidarity 2018

Democratic Solidarity in Latin America

Conference organized by the Forum 2000 Foundation

May 2–4, 2018, Santiago de Chile, Chile

The Forum 2000 project Democratic Solidarity organized the third edition of its meeting in Santiago de Chile on May 2-4, 2018.

The objective of the conference was to discuss how to foster international solidarity and strengthen global democratic unity in the framework of the challenges that Latin America is facing. The guests discussed how the regional community can be most effective in applying democratic values and how it can address threats to democracy and human rights. The case studies not only included Venezuela and Cuba, but also Nicaragua and Bolivia, among others. Several distinguished speakers, such as the Nobel Prize Laureates Oscar Arias, Mario Vargas Llosa, human rights activist Tamara Sujú, and the former President of Bolivia Jorge Quiroga gathered in Santiago de Chile to discuss what lies ahead for Latin American democracy and what needs to be done in order to improve democratic and human rights standards. 

The event consisted of a full day private working meeting of politicians, experts and activists and a public discussion entitled “Socialism, Populism and Democracy in Latin America: Present and Future” organized in cooperation with Fundación para el Progreso at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Socialism, Populism and Democracy in Latin America: Present and Future

May 4, 2018, Santiago de Chile, Chile

La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins 390, Santiago, Región Metropolitana
Salón Fresno

The public discussion was attended by more than 700 students and members of civil society. The event was opened by a welcome speech given by Ignacio Sánchez Díaz, the Rector of the University, Roberto Ampuero, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jakub Klepal, Executive Director of Forum 2000 and finally by Oscar Arias, the honorary President of Democratic Soidarity. The first panel, entitled América Latina 2018: Panorama Actual hosted Mario Vargas Llosa, Tamara Sujú, Juan Pablo Cardenal and Jorge Quiroga and was moderated by Axel Kaiser. The ongoing violation of human rights, drug trafficking and the prevailing corruption in countries such as Venezuela were one of the many topics discussed. China´s subversive influence in the Latin America region was also thoroughly analyzed by Juan Pablo Cardenal – a topic hardly discussed in the region.

The second panel, called "América Latina: Expectativas y Oportunidades" included the panelists Antonio Ledezma, Rosa María Payá, Mariana Aylwin, Álvaro Vargas Llosa, the student representative Francisco Ramirez Gomez and was moderated by Jorge Sahd from Centre of International Relations at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Antonio Ledezma and Rosa María Payá both made a strong call for international solidarity for people in their respective countries - Venezuela and Cuba. The former Chilean Minister, Mariana Aylwin, highlighted the fact that according to national statistics, Chile's high school students would actually validate a dictatorship, if it would resolve certain problems in the country and pointed out the alarming fact that democracy has not been valued enough. On the other hand, Francisco Ramírez, the young Chilean student present in the panel, discussed the importance of youth and young leaders in the modern day society and the potential that they have in building and supporting democracy. The speakers agreed that all dictatorships must be fought, any other attitude is immoral and that each generation must participate in such a battle.

Finally, space was given to the participation of the public, who asked questions and presented their reflections. You may watch the event in the video below and learn about the more detailed summary of the event in the report.





Democratic Solidarity at the 2018 Conference

The 22nd Annual Forum 2000 Conference, entitled “Democracy: In Need of a Critical Update?”, was held in Prague from on October 7-9, 2018. As in previous years, the Forum 2000’s Democratic Solidarity project and the topics of democracy and human rights in Latin America formed an integral part of the discussion. The instability of democratic systems and the rise of populism in Latin America were analyzed and discussed by Rafaela Requesens, activist and president of the Federation of the Student Centers of the Central University of Venezuela (FCU-UCV), José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division, and Beatriz Becerra, Spanish writer and member of the European Parliament, among other participants.

The program included four public events and three internal meetings. The panel “Fragile Democracy and Populist Threat in Latin America” was organized in cooperation with the CASLA Institute. Moderator Tamara Sujú and four panelists discussed the fragility of democratic systems and the rise of populism in Latin America. While Edipcia Dubón and Gustavo Tovar focused mainly on the cases of Nicaragua and Venezuela, Beatriz Becerra and José Miguel Vivanco offered an international perspective on populism and its effects on Latin American countries.

The second public panel, entitled “The Social and Political Struggle in Cuba: Future in the Footsteps of Its Past?” organized in cooperation with Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina, dealt with the latest change of the country’s leadership and its effect on the current state of domestic and international affairs. Moderator Gabriel Salvia and the participants Tania Bruguera and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara highlighted the changes that may occur in Cuba with respect to its new constitution, the upcoming referendum, and what can be expected with the new president, Díaz-Canel.

Another two public events were held within the program of Festival of Democracy, the associated program of the Forum 2000 Conference. The public discussion led by Rafael Rincón, “Nicaragua: Protests Against the Government Continue”, focused on the country's massive anti-government protests that have been taking place in since April 2018. Edipcia Dubón offered an internal view describing the everyday situation the Nicaraguan people and communities face. José Miguel Vivanco emphasized the importance of the support of the international community and expressed apprehension at the possible decline of interest of two major actors in the region – Mexico and Brazil – in the deteriorating situation in Nicaragua.

The last public event was dedicated to the screening of the film “Chavismo: The Plague of the 21st Century” (directed by Gustavo Tovar), which seeks to raise awareness of the tragedy that Venezuela suffered under the Chavez regime. The screening was followed by a discussion, moderated by Gustavo Tovar and – featuring young activists from various Latin American countries – Rayid Alexander Alvarado Vanegas (Nicaragua), Camilo Quiroga (Bolivia), Daniel Ackerman (Venezuela) and José Manuel Ormachea Mendieta (Bolivia).

The conference's internal meetings started with the working breakfast “Mexico After Elections: Promising Future or Populist Treat?” examining the effects of the Mexican presidential elections and Andrés Manuel López Obrador's victory on the future political and economic direction of the Latin American region. Following the previous editions of the internal workshops of Democratic Solidarity that focused on the issues of educationleadership and civic participation, the panelists and audience discussed “Democratic Unity and the Role of Opposition in Latin America”. Three experts and activists from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia discussed the essential aspects of democratic opposition in Latin America.  A number of recommendations were proposed as an outcome of the meeting. The workshop was preceded by an organizational meeting of members and supporters of the Democratic Solidarity initiative, where further development of the project was discussed. A fourth edition of the Democratic Solidarity Conference was planned for March 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Previous years

Democratic Solidarity 2017
March 29, 2017 - March 30, 2017
Democratic Solidarity 2016
January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016
Democratic Solidarity 2015
January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015
Democratic Solidarity 2014
January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Democratic Solidarity 2013
January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013