Former Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís assured in an interview in Cartagena de Indias that Latin America must integrate beyond ideologies to meet common objectives in financial issues, climate change or the fight against crime. “It seems to me that beyond the ideological, it is convenient for Latin American integration to advance and to advance in order to achieve very specific objectives in terms of international finance, climate change, the fight against organized crime and the construction of more just societies“, Solís said.
The former president, who governed Costa Rica between 2014 and 2018, participates in the forum “Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe: Recalibrating our strategic association”, which started last Friday and ended last Sunday, in Cartagena, Colombia.
The temptation of pragmatism
The former head of state also appreciated that in Latin America there has been a “positive evolution towards more progressive governments“, taking into account that he considers himself a “social democrat” and identifies “with many of these causes”. However, he said, “in Europe there is a resurgence of other sectors of the right, more conservative”.
There, one of the challenges of the dialogue between the European Union (EU) and Latin America is to find, beyond the differences, “a common ground based on principles and values” that “cannot do without democracy, respect for the rights, the freedoms associated with the press and freedom of expression, and the defense of human rights themselves, with equality and inclusion. Pragmatism is a temptation to find minimum common denominators in relations between States. You cannot be condescending to dictatorships or to regimes that violate human rights, regardless of whether they are right-wing or presumably left-wing”,Solís added.
That is why he believes that the context of multipolarity in the world must be understood “in a very broad” and complex sense, without simplifying it “to the point where we become complacent with violations that are unacceptable, regardless of the ideological spectrum”.
Not be condescending to dictatorships
For Solís, governments should not be condescending to “dictatorships or dictatorship projects, such as the case of El Salvador or the case of Brazil with (former President Jair) Bolsonaro”, in order to “satisfy consensus that, in the end, is not such a thing”.
During the forum, the former president said, they had a discussion about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the position of some Latin American countries in this regard. “It seems to me that there is a certain consensus in the group that there is an aggressor power that broke important principles of international law that cannot go unnoticed, but I am not saying that this is easy”, he said.
And he added: “It is very important because if one does not mark red lines, the aggressor States are not going to be satisfied and feed this type of regimes, the only thing that leads is to more war, more violence, more conflict in the long term run”.
Disparity between regions
The relations between Europe and America, for Solís, are “central in the debate on the new international circumstance and especially because neither Colombia nor Latin America want to be trapped in very narrow agendas that make us, as in the past, pawns in a chess game that we do not control”.
“In this sense, it seems to me that the effort made at this meeting in Cartagena and the impact that this meeting may have on the holding of the regional summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) in July (in Brussels) and more generally on the bi-regional agenda is of the greatest importance”, he says.
For this reason, he valued the “common principles and values” between both regions, as well as the diversity between the two blocs that must be taken advantage of “so that the multipolarity that is currently being disputed in the world is beneficial, despite the risks that we collectively face each other on both sides of the Atlantic”.