Ibero-American Summit 2011

30 Oct

An occasionally difficult Ibero-American summit closed today with little agreement on any of the core subjects that were debated.

Ecuador’s left-wing President, Rafael Correa, stormed out during a speech by Pamela Cox, a senior World Bank official for Latin America and the Caribbean. “In an Ibero-American forum, why do I have to listen to lectures from the World Bank vice president, who openly blackmailed my country?” Correa asked, referring to an incident in 2007, the year he took office, when he kicked out the World Bank’s representative in Ecuador after the organization decided to withhold a previously approved $100 million loan.

“That lady told me: ‘We are not going to give you the credit because the policies have changed,'” said Correa, insisting that he did not understand why he had to listen to the “international bureaucrat.”

The event host, Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, tried to downplay the incident. The Ibero-American summit “is an open forum, where people and ideas are heard,” he said.

Nine leaders, including outgoing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, were at the summit. Absent, however, were the leaders of Brazil and Argentina, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and several presidents from Central America.

In a final declaration, summit countries urged the United States to end its half-century trade embargo against Cuba, and called on Britain to settle its dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

Common-ground positions which were not debated.

“The Heads of State and govenrments of the Ibero-American countries reaffirm the need for the Argentine Government and that of Great Britain solve, as soon as possible, the negotiations left unsolved over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands,” stated the resolution .

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