Last night was the inauguration of the 18th IberoAmerican Summit with the presidents of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal, and Andora here in El Salvador. I am living less than a block away from the Feria International where they are hosting the Summit. We live on a side street off of the road “Avenida Revolución” which is closed to all traffic that is not related to the Summit. So, I’m a little trapped at the moment.
The theme of the Summit is Youth and Development. Some people say these things are just a lot of show and nothing comes out of these things. It’s hard not to feel that way a bit but, who knows. You have to have these kinds of things, it’s a part of international relations. Certain presidents were not at the inauguration including Daniel Ortega from Nicaragua, Raúl Castro from Cuba, and Hugo Chávez from Venezuela. (You might remember that awkward exchange between the king of Spain and Chávez at last year’s summit.)
The Summit has disrupted normal routines for a lot of people. I haven’t been able to go to work because I usually ride the bus and the bus route has been re-directed somewhere else (I don’t know where) and so, I cannot really get very far that way. Every president is moved back and forth with a heavily armed caravan. There are policemen and soldiers EVERYWHERE. In spite of the heavy security, Chávez had said he wasn’t going to come because he was afraid for his life, he may still come it hasn’t been announced.
What message is going to be sent to the Youth of IberoAmerica through an event like this? I’m not sure. Some groups are discontent with the distance that is felt between the citizens and the leadership and the feeling is that things that are decided in grand meetings might not have that much of an effect on the lives of normal people and that leaders will talk about generalizations and will avoid making strong pronouncements about specific difficult issues. We can hope that good things will come out of it.
Posted By Hannah McKeeth
Posted Oct 30th, 2008