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Young Latin Americans call to fight against political apathy / 14ymedio
Posted on April 8, 2015

14ymedio, Panama, 8 April 2015 — Young Latin American leaders gathered
Tuesday on the second day of the 2nd Youth and Democracy Regional Forum
in Panama and addressed issues such as the rise of populist regimes in
the region, and agreed on the need to organize civil society at the
hemispheric level to fight against political apathy.

The protagonists of the morning session were Micaela Hierro Dori,
president of the Argentine civil association CICES, who acted as
moderator; Ricardo Antonio Álvarez Arias, vice president of Honduras;
Eduardo Stein, former vice president of Guatemala; Guillermo Cochez,
former Ambassador of Panama to the Organization of American States
(OAS); Martha Lucía Ramírez, former Minister of Defense of Colombia;
Gustavo Amaya, executive director of the Center for Training and
Promotion of Democracy (CECADE) in San Salvador; and Carolina Quinonez,
a from Guatamala’s Antigua Channel.

Political apathy, according to attendees at the meeting, threatens
equally countries ruled by totalitarian regimes and those in which the
society assumes that “all is well” or at least “better than in other
countries,” because in the latter it can leave the door open to the
possibility that populism and other deformations will silence thoughtful
proposals to take advantage of what the traditional parties have not
resolved. Carlos Amel Oliva, of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (),
compared this phenomenon with the rise of fascism in Europe before World
War II, ignored by governments until the outbreak of the war. “The
democratic countries of the region need to not let the same thing happen
with populism. It is not Cuba’s or ’s problem, it is a regional

Press was another issue that focused attention during the
morning panel. The representative from UNPACU denounced the “media laws
that are driving some governments to control and limit freedom of
under the pretext of preventing the spread of lies and

Participants also discussed the problem of parasitism that grows in the
region due to both the family remittances from emigrants as well as
government “handouts,” especially under populist systems, factors that
discourage the growth and development of national economies and create a
vicious circle that encourages and at the same time
reinforces parasitism.

Participants’ skepticism of transnational organizations and meetings was
reflected in the statements of Eduardo Stein, shared by several
attendees, who questioned the existence of a regional organization like
the OAS. For the former vice president of Guatemala, on the OAS
Permanent Council, the alliance of a few countries prevents certain
issues from being analyzed in the Summits. “There will be no will to
confront the political problems of each country, appealing to the right
of national sovereignty,” he added about the Summit of the Americas.

The afternoon of the day was dedicated to the initiatives of young
Cubans with regards to democratic opening, with the participation of
Kirenia Yalit Núñez, Yasser Rojas, Eliécer Ávila and Roberto Jiménez on
behalf of the Roundtable, a proposal of democratic changes on the base
of initiatives that seek to involve all Cubans in the solution of the
problems that affect the whole population.

Also presented at the meeting was the new Cuba Decides initiative led by
Rosa María Payá and Erick Álvarez, members of the Christian Liberation
Movement; while Yusmila Reyna and Carlos Amel Oliva spoke of the
objectives of UNPACU.

Finally, the Aulas Abiertas (Open Classrooms) project was presented, a
project which promotes knowledge of the basic questions inherent in
democratic societies, to prepare citizens before the eventual process of
transition in which they will be capable of participating with a
proactive role.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to expand the debate with questions
from the audience due to the frequent and prolonged power outages in the
room where the session was being held, which also affected some of the
equipment for projecting materials, and which the Forum organizers
attributed a deliberate attempt to sabotage the activity.

Source: Young Latin Americans call to fight against political apathy /
14ymedio | Translating Cuba –

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