Liberal political parties and thinkers from Latinamerica are holding their annual congress this week in the Venezuelan capital Caracas. The event is in the framework of the 25th anniversary of the local branch Cedice-Libertad and will promote debates on liberal policies to address poverty and the current global slowdown.
The Liberal network of Latinamerica, Relial, as the organization is known, promotes respect for private property, private initiative and social policies to help combat poverty through pro-active participation. The net work is a member of the global liberal parties’ organization.
Among the many guests to the meeting is Mario Vargas Llosa the outstanding Peruvian writer and a declared acid critic of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez whose followers have warned that any “outbursts” will be promptly dealt with the expulsion of whoever is disrespectful of the presidential figure.
The main theme of the congress is an open debate on “Liberal Social Policies proposals for Latinamerica”, to be followed by a meeting of Cedide-Libertad which will address the issue of “The Latinamerican challenge: liberty, democracy, private property and combating poverty”.
Friendly institutions that will be present include the ATLAS Foundation (Argentina) with its president Alex Chafuen; Germany’s Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty which will be represented by the institution’s chairman German Deputy Dr. Wolfgang Gerhardt. Emil Kirjas, chairman of Liberal International and Enrique Ghersi Director of CITEL Perú.
Outstanding personalities who have held or have run for office on Liberal tickets and policies, including presidential hopefuls, from all of Latinamerican have also been invited to the meeting and most have confirmed their participation.
Liberals obviously are completely against the incorporation of Venezuela’s Chavez to Mercosur.
The congress is bound to spark some reaction among President Chavez followers since his Bolivarian revolution and XXIst Socialism stand at the opposite end of the political spectrum from the Liberals and the concept of individual freedom.
The two events will be taking place during a particularly sensitive week since President Chavez has ordered the nationalization of oil industry subcontractors, banks, steel industry, food processors and farm land considered idle.
He has also advanced against the media demanding a “respectful, responsible, positive” coverage of government news and his administration and on taking over farmland has argued that for the revolution there is not such thing as “private property”.
However in spite of his electoral successes he has been weakened by the collapse of the oil price and Venezuela is now short of funds for all of his ambitious programs. This week President Chavez is schedule to visit Brazil where he is negotiating a 4 billion US dollars loan for infrastructure development.