Buenos Aires Times | Ibero-American Summit: Leaders sign agreement on Latin American food crisis, migration

Twenty-two countries signed a declaration at the Ibero-American summit in the Dominican Republic on Saturday committing to combating food insecurity in Latin America, improving immigration controls and negotiating more financial support for the region’s ailing economies.

Andres Allamand, former Chilean minister and current Secretary General for Latin America, said the goal is to reach “total zero hunger” throughout Latin America.

“We have more or less 60 million people facing food security problems. A third of food produced in the region is lost” due to problems in distribution chains, storage or marketing, he added.

But the agreement, reached by leaders of Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in Latin America and Europe, faces serious challenges.

Growth projections for Latin America are less than 2%, and the cost of a basic healthy diet is the highest in the world – $3.89 per day per person, compared to $3.19 in North America and Europe.

It is a price that 22.5 percent of the population cannot afford, according to the United Nations.

“Access to healthy food should be a right, not a privilege of the few,” said Bolivian President Luis Arce, stressing the impact of climate change on food production.

Many leaders agreed that more adequate financial support would help countries reduce hunger and combat global warming.

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader said that “the Ibero-American states will work as a bloc to negotiate better conditions”.

“We are witnessing an international scenario characterized by high and unsustainable levels of debt that determine the growth of our countries,” said Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, whose country is struggling to emerge from a deep economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Chilean President Gabriel Boric called for more coordination in addressing the migration crisis in the region, and Colombian President Gustavo Petro suggested organizing a summit that would focus specifically on this issue.

The leaders also discussed the need to address the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, where violent gangs have killed some 530 people and kidnapped 300 more since January, according to the United Nations.

“The international community cannot allow this situation to continue,” said President Abinader, whose country borders Haiti on the island of Hispaniola.

The summit discussions were also marked by some heated exchanges.

Borik at one point criticized the “dictatorship of the family [Daniel] Ortega W [Rosario] Murillo in Nicaragua.

“Regardless of democracy, there is no possibility of freedom or dignity [in Nicaragua]”We see new dangers in the world,” he said. “We must respond with more democracy, not less.”

– Times / AFP

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