Ibero-American Summit expects regional cooperation from Latin American leaders

World Today

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will host an Ibero-American summit from on Dec. 8-9 under the theme “Latin America XXI Century: Education, Innovation and Culture.”

This summit is a yearly meeting of the heads of government and state of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of Europe and the Americas, as members of the Organization of Ibero-American States. CCTV America’s Franc Contreras reported from Mexico City.

Ibero-American Summit expects regional cooperation from Latin American leaders

Latin American leaders were preparing for the 24th Ibero-American Summit. The event would take place in Mexico's gulf state of Veracruz on Dec. 8th. CCTV America's Franc Contreras reported from Mexico City.

[Editor’s note]
The first summit, held in 1991 in Guadalajara, Mexico, was attended by the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Andorra joined in 2004.  (Source: IBERO-AMERICAN GENERAL SECRETARIAT)

The Ibero-American Summit once offered an international political platform for some of the region’s most colorful presidents, including Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

More recently, Spain, which had suffered hard economic woes, used the summit as an attempt to improve trade ties with Latin America.

But the Ibero-American Summit’s golden days appeared to be a thing of the past. This year, 22 Latin American presidents were invited to the gathering in Veracruz, Mexico, but many of them did not appear.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Argentine’s Cristina Fernandez have confirmed they would not be present, sending diplomats instead.

Improving Latin America’s lackluster education system and creating academic exchange programs, expanding opportunities for regional technological innovations and enhancing ties among the creators of culture in Latin American are all on the agenda this year.

The Ibero-American Summit’s General Secretary Rebeca Grynspan said there’s good reason for regional optimism. “Latin America has, at this moment, the greatest number of youth in its history. At the same time, youth here are more educated than ever before, and that means great opportunities for the entire region,” Grynspan said.

Brazil’s economy slipped into a recession. Mexico’s economy, driven by auto industry exports to the United States, was also slumping. Analysts said jump-starting the regional economy is paramount to growth.

“There is no other tool to fight poverty that to sustain economic growth. Also, there is the detail of profession, non-corrupt government, something that the region has to tackle,” Manuel Molano of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness said.

Those key issues will also be on the table at the 24th annual Ibero-American Summit.