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The IV Summit of the Social Debt convened by the Latin American Parliament, to be held in Caracas, ended last Saturday with the signature of the “Caracas Agreement”, in support of the approval of the Social Rights Charter of the Americas.

Parliamentarians of the region, officials, academics, and experts from across the world debated for two days, in 10 different forums, on several topics: social debt and socio-natural disasters, the present and the future of Western civilization, education for a participatory democracy, the world financial crisis, endogenous development, a society based on solidarity, the new proposals for the integration and construction of a new economic, social, and ecological order; and the goals of the millenium.

Upon the installation of the summit, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez stated that it is impossible to fight poverty under capitalist models, and affirmed that the development of the third world is impeded not only by the external debt, but also by a lack of unity of action among its countries that would enable them to reverse poverty in order to benefit the vast excluded and pauperized majorities.

For his part, the Venezuelan ambassador before the OAS, Jorge Valero called for support of the projected Social Charter of the Americas as an essential counterpart of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and asserted that this novel document, initiated and sponsored by Venezuela “is changing the ideological panorama” of this hemispherical organization.

As for the external debt, the experts reassured the need for the debtor nations to gather as a “union” in order to solve this problem, negotiating as a single bloc.

On this occasion, participants again criticized the hegemony of the concept of a Western Civilization. They deemed it urgent to support new cultural identities, that are egalitarian and without hierarchies; and pointed out the role of educational institutions in the formation of the citizenry.

Among the alternatives proposed, in order for developing nations no longer to be “hostages” of the international financial market; were the creation of popular mechanisms of financing, and the nationalization of the banking system.

There was a call for the integrationist strategies “no longer to be businessmen’s clubs and to become instead centers of expression of social demands”. The summit also approved Venezuela’s Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

Filinto Durán, president of the Social Debt Commission of the Latin American Parliament, read the conclusions in the document, whose first commitment is to deepen participatory democracy.

The summit committed itself to working in order to construct, with the participation of national and international missions, the Social Charter of the Americas, and to support its approval in the Organization of American States (OAS).

Attendants also approved the creation of the Latin American Parliamentarian Forum for the Defense of the National Economies, and paid tribute to the creation of Telesur, the first anti-hegemonic communicational project, a voice for the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.