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C. Baráibar: Towards a New Paradigm for Peace and Human Development in Latin America

Speech by Senator Carlos Baráibar in the seminar "Towards a New Paradigm for Peace and Human Development in Latin America"
organized by the Universal Peace Federation, Montevideo, April 22, 2014


To begin with, I want to express thanks to the Universal Peace Federation and the opportunity to participate in an event of such importance and with the presence of prominent national and international delegates focusing on building a new paradigm for peace and human development in Latin America. Such themes deal with the the fate of humanity.

Some years ago it would have been hard to imagine that, after the end of the Cold War and the bipolar world, the claim for world peace will maintain this current force.

For decades we have faced the possibility of an outbreak of nuclear war that could start from the confrontation of the great powers and involve the whole humanity. Today we see that the planet may be threatened by other factors, but although there is no Cold War any more, some recent events remind us of that time. We have conflicts that are difficult to resolve; some cases are local wars, ethnic and religious clashes, and behind them we can discover economic reasons and the interests of powerful states and corporations.

There are conflicts on several continents, and, in my opinion, in some cases the involvement of the powers has led to situations that undermine peace far beyond the borders of the countries that are the scene of those conflicts.

The conflicts in Syria and Croatia are not the only ones where war and terrorism feed each other in vicious circles, spread violence to other areas, increase the war psychosis, and demonstrate that violence begets only more violence and the primary victims are the innocent people.

The quest for peace requires multidimensional approaches because the causes of conflicts are varied and because the world in which we live is characterized by complexity and heterogeneity. Globalization does not end with the cultural and religious diversity of mankind. You cannot speak of peace without being reminded of this diversity, which is the great wealth of humankind; upon this diversity we must build a harmonious coexistence and cooperation among nations and people.

You cannot build peace if you do not begin to practice respect for others: anyone who has other ideas on religious or political matters and other historical and cultural traditions.

I appreciate the thinking of the organizers of this meeting in combining peace and development. Indeed, they are inseparable.

There will be no substantive progress in peace as long as the international and the national conditions for development and progressive realization of the possibilities of human beings do not prevail. I am meaning your chances at the starting point, at the start of life.

We know that there will be no real freedom, although it is recognized by the laws of the countries, for children who cannot access education and grow with proper nutrition. We know that people will not be truly free if their access to basic resources is denied, people that are, often, over the territory in which they have lived for centuries. There will be no freedom for those who are discriminated against and suffer the subjugation of human rights.

The way to achieve peace in the world involves sustainable and balanced development that generates genuine wealth and conditions for fair social redistribution worldwide.

We believe in the need to move towards an international order that opens the way to achieve these conditions. It will not be easy, because many great interests are at stake, but there will be no lasting peace and full development for all of us if we do not move in that direction.

As we said, we do not believe in the existence of a single cause of war, but it's hard to find one in which, behind the complex web of ethnic, religious or cultural conflicts, does not lie a contradiction between the interests of powerful countries and corporations and the strategic development issues of weak countries.

That’s why global governance will be achieved by seeking peace, dialogue, understanding, assuming diversity, but also recognizing and respecting the rights of all. I am thinking of the rights of the weak, of the minorities, of those who have been marginalized and excluded. I am referring to not only to people and social groups but also to nationalities and countries.

The respect for self-determination and the rule of international law must guide countries’ foreign policies. We have to work to widen the bonds of cooperation and friendship with other countries as a contribution to the common task of world peace, and a more equal international order should be the main objective.

In a prior speech I referred to two initiatives that I consider very important:

One of them is the UNESCO chairmanship of the Department of Education for Peace, to promote a Culture of Peace, that UNESCO itself defined as "a set of values, attitudes and behaviors that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations."

The other, which has expressed by UPF President Dr. Thomas Walsh, regards the celebration of the International Day of Families: the family is the place in which we must learn the culture of peace. “Before any of us has gone to school, college or seminary, we all learn from our parents the first lessons of love and peace. And despite our differences, every family and faith wish the same."

This occasion is a valuable opportunity to reaffirm these principles and objectives. So I reiterate my gratitude to the Universal Peace Federation and all participants in this event.

Once again, thank you very much.