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February 03, 2006

Latin America -- Final Live-Blog (VII!)
Posted by Michael Signer

The final address is by Jose Antonio Ocampo, the Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs at the UN.  He stresses that the UN has to be firmly committed to democracy in the region. 

He stresses that democracy has to be robust, responsive, and carefully tended.  Corruption, paramilitary tendencies, and other bad political practices (like blackmail) have to be immediately rooted out.

His remarks emphasize the lesson I've gotten out of this entire conference is this:  Latin America has come an incredible way in the last 15 years.  The next work that needs to be done is the spinach, the meat and potatoes -- it's carefully tending civil society, constitutionalism, the rule of law, local and regional markets, the economic infrastructure, and everything and anything that will help these countries continue to stabilize.  This will not be sexy work, and it is intrinsically local -- e.g. it's not fancy jets flying in to monitor an election and then leaving; it's the long-term building of polling stations. 

And the folks who best know how to do this are the locals, the people who will constitute the democracy.  So the U.S., UN, and NGO's need to be heavily involved, providing resources, support, expertise, and money -- but they need to rely on local leaders for knowledge and for enactment.  We need, in other words, to democratize our democratization.


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