NEW YORK – The former President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández, during a keynote speech delivered at the Global Forum Latin America and the Caribbean encouraged the creation of a consultation mechanism that would coordinate the policies related to the region at the international level.
According to Dr. Fernández, this mechanism would help the Latin American and Caribbean regions be much more effective in strengthening its presence at the international level.
The former Dominican Head of State stated his initiative during the presentation of his keynote remarks delivered during the Global Forum, which is being held in New York City. The event is being held in New York City with the support of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), its sister institution in the Dominican Republic – the Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode), Idea Internacional, the Institute for Latin American Studies/Columbia University, and the ECLAC.
In his presentation, Fernández highlighted the different integration mechanisms that have been created in the Latin American and Caribbean regions, and the situation they currently find themselves. He explained that these institutions are currently confronting serious internal problems that have weakened their functions. Others, he explained, are literally non-existent.
“Nowhere in the world is there a region where there are so many institutions working towards the same thing,” explained Fernández when referring to the multiplicity of efforts that have been carried out to integrate the Latin America and Caribbean regions without reaching important advancements in this particular area.
He maintained that the last great integration effort carried out in the region was the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. However, that organization has not managed to surpass the stage of being an informal regional mechanism for political dialogue with very little impact.
He also explained that Mexico, Brazil and Argentina are members of the G-20, a cooperation forum that brings together international leaders, Ministers of Finance and Central Bank directors of 20 important international economies. However, said Dr. Fernández, these nations handle their economies individually without any coordination amongst themselves or with the rest of the nations in the region.
Fernández warned that rather than take steps to guarantee a strong integration system, the region has shown a clear tendency towards fragmentation. He attributes the situation to the absence of an effective mechanism system capable of coordinating regional policies in relation to the international community.
Based on the region’s idiosyncrasies, the former Dominican President expressed that he finds it very difficult for the Latin American and Caribbean nations are capable of establishing a supra-national mechanism similar to the European Union, because this would mean losing part of their individual sovereignty.
Dr. Fernández dissertation was commented by a panel of experts integrated by distinguished political scientists Iván C. Rebolledo, Shanoon O´Neil and Thomas A. Shannon. All touched upon the key issues presented by Dr. Fernández and expressed their own points of view regarding the current situation faced by Latin America and the Caribbean regarding a functional integration system and its relationship to the international community.