Minister Ampuero: those who identify with democracy and freedom must be willing to exercise an effective defence
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Ampuero, participated today in the third edition of the seminar "Democratic Solidarity in Latin America", organised by the Fundación Forum 2000 in association with the Fundación para el Progreso. The meeting was attended by renowned Latin American intellectuals such as Mario Vargas Llosa, 2010 Literature Nobel Prize winner; Oscar Arias, 1987 Peace Nobel Prize winner; Antonio Ledezma, Venezuelan political leader in exile; Rosa María Payá, activist for democracy and human rights in Cuba; and Jorge Quiroga, former President of Bolivia.
During his speech, the Minister stressed that the trilogy of democracy, the protection of human rights and the promotion of free trade are "indispensable elements for empowering people, creating wealth and overcoming poverty". In this sense, he indicated that freedom, pluralism, respect and tolerance are "starting points for coexistence within a society".
The Secretary of State assured that "democracy as a form of government is one of those political needs that increases in value when it is taken away from us and that is why an attitude of responsibility towards democracy is also important". In this regard, he called for "taking care of it, cultivating it, dialoguing, knowing how to listen to those who think differently, being tolerant, recognizing the value of diversity and how it enriches our diversity". He also stressed that "there are no good dictatorships".
On human rights, he said that their promotion and protection is "essential in any liberal democratic regime" and affirmed that it is important that "political, legal and public instruments exist to monitor, to denounce and to defend those rights that are violated".
In relation to free trade, he said that its main attraction is that it can become an engine of development. "Leaders in different parts of the world realized that the most developed countries, and, I want to emphasize, spiritually richer, were those that had adopted economic systems open to the world's private initiative, private property and the free exchange of goods, services and investments," he said.
The Minister said that one of the main threats to liberal democracy is populism, since it "ignites hopes that cannot be fulfilled and leads countries to frustration and, as we see very clearly in Latin America today, to economic, social, political and value failure".
That is why he affirmed that "we must confront populism from our convictions. There are no magic formulas or snapshots to confront the problems that countries face, but they do require that those who identify with democracy and freedom be willing to exercise an effective defence both in rhetoric and in their actions".