MEXICO CITY – The leaders of Spain, Portugal and Latin America who came together in 1991 for the first Ibero-American Summit “were ahead of their time,” the head of the Ibero-American Secretariat said on Monday.
The dialogue that began then has continued despite “dramatic change” during the intervening years, Rebeca Grynspan said at a forum in Mexico City marking the 25th anniversary of the first summit.
There are “few (other) examples of uninterrupted dialogue among dozens of countries over the course of a quarter of a century,” she said.
At the time of the first summit in 1991, Grynspan recalled, Latin America was a region of “incipient” democracies and the treaty that founded the European Union was still two years away.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War inspired hopes of greater multilateralism, the Costa Rican diplomat said.
“Unfortunately, at this moment, we cannot say that multilateralism is winning, though it continues to be the only answer for a more peaceful world,” she said.
On the positive side, Grynspan pointed out that the proportion of Latin Americans living in poverty has fallen from nearly 50 percent in 1991 to a “still-excessive” 28 percent now.
The next Ibero-American Summit, set for Oct. 28-29 in Cartagena, Colombia, will be focused on the future and on the third of the population who are between 15 and 29, a group she described as the region’s greatest “challenge and strength.”