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Peace Summit 2023: Session III-B: Latin America and the Caribbean Region

Seoul, South Korea—Session III-B of Peace Summit 2023: Contemporary Challenges to Global Order: Toward a World Culture of Peace: Focus on Latin America and the Caribbean Region, took place on May 3, 2023. The moderator for the session was Dr. Neudir Simão Ferabolli, General Secretary, UPF-South America.

Welcome remarks were given by Dr. Charles Yang, Chairman, UPF-Latin America & the Caribbean. He congratulated the participants for recognizing the hopeful future that lies ahead. He reminded the approximately 30 attendees of the Korean peninsula’s precarious situation in the 21st century. The confrontation between North and South continues even after so many years. The North continues its nuclear weapons program and threatens the peace not only in the region but the entire world. The theme of this conference is peace which is most desperately desired by all people. He expressed concern about other nations, particularly Venezuela and Cuba. Here in this important forum, Dr. Yang called on everyone to discuss new ideas and work together for eternal peace.

Rev. Dong Mo Shin, Chairman, UPF-South America, gave a warm welcome to the participants who traveled a great distance. Rev. Shin emphasized the need for openness and transparency. He said that what binds us together is our vision and that vision is beyond religion, nationality, ethnicity or political ideology. We are one family under God! He called on everyone to “open your hearts and listen to each other. Together we will learn together and we will find a way to peace.”

Hon. Julio Cesar Cleto Cobos, Vice President (2007-2011), Argentina, recalled an experience in the late 1970s when he was a cadet in the military academy. He was the officer in charge of a company on the country’s border with Chile. There has been a long history regarding possession of several islands in the Beagle Channel. In 1978, the countries were brought to the brink of war. It was thanks to the intervention of Pope John Paul II that fighting was averted and a peaceful resolution reached. Hon. Cleto Cobos expressed his gratitude for that early lesson on the merits of “an opportune intervention, dialogue and mediation by a spiritual leader.” He has sought to apply the principle of peaceful conflict resolution throughout his life as a public figure. Peace, he said, “is not simply the absence of conflict and tension…it is a fundamental asset that invites action.” Progress is achieved only when the different political, cultural, religious and ethnic groups work together for peaceful and harmonious coexistence.

H.E. Salvador Nasralla Salum, Vice President, Honduras, pointed out that “in the last ten years, the Republic of Korea has invested more than 740 million dollars in Honduras.” The vice president said, “Korea is a partner and friend of Honduras.” He attended UPF’s World Summit in 2020 when the pandemic was just beginning. He congratulated Mother Moon on the occasion of her 80th birthday. “She is living proof that when we carry true love in our hearts, we can be champions of peace. My congratulations, Dr. Moon, for your efforts to unite the five continents around the Culture of Peace following the ideals of your husband, Reverend Moon.”

Hon. Betty Beatriz, a Member of Parliament; President of the Human Rights Committee of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Her perspective on building a world culture of peace, read by Dr. Ferabolli, highlighted the long historical ties between Korea and Bolivia and the cultural and economic relations.

Hon. Victor Oswaldo Fuentes Solis, Senator, Mexico, said violence in Mexico is “growing in an unsustainable and unacceptable way.” Building peace is critically important. “It is a complex process in which factors such as social well-being, respect for human rights, education, health, education for the poor and the environment, democracy, international relations and legal norms, as well as culture [and] communication,” all have a role to play. But most importantly, “governments must devise government policies aimed at promoting a culture of peace and the rule of law.” Migrants are another vulnerable segment of the population that needs protection. He referred to the UN Secretary General’s “Agenda for Peace” (A/47/277-S/24), which is a “roadmap for consolidating a culture of peace in our region.” The senator is committed to work “in coordination with regional and international sectors for the construction and maintenance of a culture of peace in my country.”

H.E. Rosalia Arteaga Serrano, President (1997), Ecuador, spoke about the Amazon and the critical need to protect this important natural resource which is being threatened by the growth of unchecked urbanization. The Amazon plays a crucial role in our planet’s health. It is an irreplaceable home for wildlife and indigenous peoples. Climate change and mining are affecting the region, and what happens there has repercussions to nearby countries and throughout the world. H.E. Arteaga also referred to the Elders Roundtable held earlier in the day. “I never thought of myself as an ‘elder,’ but now I realize this is true and with this realization comes the responsibility … to support a culture of traditional values.” Peace on a national or world level will not happen until we recognize the value of one another.

Hon. Carla Zambelli Salgado, Congresswoman, Brazil, reminded the audience that 60 years ago the first Korean immigrants to Brazil landed near Sao Paulo. The Korean population in Brazil is the largest in Latin America, about 50,000. Hon. Zambelli represents Sao Paulo in the congress, and since that city is home to the Korean community, she is very aware of their needs and their contributions to the nation. “Through this fraternal bond, I feel honored to be here (in Korea), in search of a common good among the countries represented here.” She reported about the rise of communism in her nation and the efforts by leftist elements to suppress the rights of the people. “Totalitarian regimes are expensive and wasteful. They need huge resources to buy their prestige and decimate their opponents. And to achieve their goals, they don’t mind spurious alliances—drug trafficking, separatist forces, private armies, ideological militias, criminal organizations. The menu of these regimes is plentiful and indigestible.” The Congresswoman is a strong proponent of freedom of speech and religion, saying, “With FREEDOM, I believe we can build the peace we dream of.”

Dr. Jean Paul Vargas Céspedes, Director, Central American Integration System (2014-2018), Panama, highlighted the “valuable effort that UPF makes every day to build a world of peace, tolerance and interdependence; and especially its co-founder, True Mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, for inspiring and continuing Dr. Moon’s legacy.” In speaking about integration in Central America, he echoed the words of Herman Hesse, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. Hesse said, “To achieve the possible, you have to try the impossible.” The region faces many challenges, including many they have been fighting for generations, namely poverty, corruption, and inequality. “Our commitment is to strengthen the public leadership of young people, generate new policies and projects in climate change management, transform the region’s energy matrix towards more sustainable sources, improve public management capacity in territorial productive projects, and promote initiatives for public-private alliances for the development of the States.”

Hon. Ubraj Narine, Mayor, City of Georgetown, Guyana, reminded the audience that the Caribbean region has been declared a “Zone of Peace,” by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a forum that promotes the interests of that region. Despite the desire to maintain neutrality, Hon. Narine pointed out that due to its geographical location, strategically located between North and South America, it must “navigate (regional) tensions carefully, maintaining its independence and neutrality while also seeking to build mutually beneficial relationships with the (regional) powers. He spoke about the various challenges, particularly, climate change, economic inequality, and transnational crime. “Despite these challenges, the Caribbean region has demonstrated a commitment to maintaining a zone of peace,” by promoting “dialogue and cooperation” and the “peaceful settlement of disputes.”

Mr. Jose Ramon Vinas Alonso, President, Freemasons of Cuba, quoted the famous Cuban national hero, José Martí: “Freedom and intelligence are man’s natural environment.” He spoke about the importance of educating not only the mind but the soul and to take care of the needy. The values and principles that we hold dear must include concern for the oppressed. For that reason, our religious foundations are so important. He credits the good works of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and her late husband, Rev. Moon. “We all aspire to be happy. Can we be happy if there is no peace?” Mr. Vinas Alonso said we should learn from the models of others, and spoke about the legacy that Gandhi gave to the world, and the value of attending peace forums such as UPF’s Peace Summit. “If these peace forums did not exist, with so many wars and violence, we would forget the essence of human life. Let’s build fewer weapons and arm ourselves more with the power of the spiritual world.”

The session concluded with the appointment of Ambassadors for Peace:

From South America:

  1. Julio Cesar Cleto Cobos and his wife, Dr. Natália Liliana Obón – from Argentina

  2. Congresswoman Silvia Waiãpi – from Brazil

  3. Ubraj Narine – from Georgetown, Guyana

  4. Colonel Aginaldo de Oliveira – from Brazil

And from Central America and the Caribbean:

  1. Francisco Rojas Aravena – from Costa Rica

  2. Flor Soraya Aquino – from the Dominican Republic

  3. Juan Carlos Hasbun – from El Salvador

  4. Mr. Jean Poul Vargas Céspedes – from El Salvador

By Mrs. Louise Perlowitz
Wednesday, May 3, 2023


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