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  • A member of the Occupy Wall Street protest U.S. inequality in New York. Oct. 6, 2011. Members of IberoAmerican Conference will attend 26th summit in Guatemala next week

    A member of the Occupy Wall Street protest U.S. inequality in New York. Oct. 6, 2011. Members of IberoAmerican Conference will attend 26th summit in Guatemala next week | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 November 2018

Guatemalan foreign minister says summit, meant to address poverty among member nations, will be a "success," as inequality in Latin America is highest in the world. 

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel announced at a press conference in Antigua that the city will host the 26th Ibero-American Summit starting Nov. 15. The theme of this year’s event will be how the 22 member nations will fulfill the 2030 United Nations Agenda to reduce inequality, poverty, and hunger.

Latin America and the Caribbean are the world's most economically unequal regions in the world. Between 2002 and 2015, the fortunes of Latin American billionaires grew by an average of 21 percent per year, far outpacing the regional gross domestic product. 

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Jovel expects the summit "to be a success.

"We are verifying everything so that the summit is perfect. We are preparing meeting agendas and receiving flight confirmations of the attending presidents," the minister told the press on Sunday.

So far, 17 heads of state from Ibero-American countries will be attending, including Michel Temer from Brazil, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and newly elected Colombian president, Ivan Duque. The current presidents of Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Portugal will also take part in the two-day event, as well as Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri has not confirmed that he will participate.

Latin American will end 2018 with a growth of 1.2 percent, a tenth of a percentage less than what the region registered in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

"We see growth slowing down in Latin America (especially in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico)," said IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld in October. The fund predicted a 2019 economic expansion of 2.2 percent, better than the 1.8 percent growth forecasted for next year by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The region is experiencing a right-wing wave as Brazil, Colombia, and Chile all recently voted in governments supportive of neoliberal measures.

The U.S.-aligned governments of Honduras and Guatemala are slashing public welfare programs while putting millions into security measures which have done little to help raise people out of poverty rates that range between 60 and 70 percent between the two countries. The result is the current Central American Exodus or migrant caravan whose members are seeking refuge in the United States where President Donald Trump has taken several measures to try to deter their asking for asylum.

  


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