As we are on our way to the 26th Cumbre Ibero-Americana to be held in Antigua, Guatemala in november of 2018, it is a great time to go back and take a look at the first one ever celebrated in Guadalajara, Mexico on July 1991. Which were the established points and the developments that came out of that first gathering? Read on and see how far we´ve come.
The First Summit
The year was 1991 and Spain was getting ready to celebrate 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the first 500 year anniversary of Cristobal Colon´s arrival to the Americas. The idea of doing a summit involving all Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries had been around for some time and Mexico offered Guadalajara as the place for the first. TheinvolvedcountrieswereArgentina, Bolivia,Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica,Cuba, Chile,DominicanRepublic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala,Honduras, México,Nicaragua,Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela. The total population of these countries adds up more than 500 million people.The international milestone was set for July 18 and 19 of 1991. The 21 forming members of the Comunidad Iberoamericana de Naciones gathered for the first time in history.
The plan was that the first reunion was to settle the needed basis for the construction of a forum that will give them all new tools and insights on a common politic, economic and cultural project. To the summit and to the forum only Chiefs of State and Government were allowed to participate, elevating the standard of the summit to the highest importance worldwide.
The path that these highest leaders were seeking to build was that of political agreement and the search of common solutions to common problems and challenges that the Ibero-American nations face. It was one of the foundations of the summit that sharing a common language and cultural background could be transformed into a development tool based on dialogue, cooperation and solidarity.
During the first summit, a document was created that had 24 items in the form of a manifest. The spirit behind the entire piece could be summarized with item number five:
“5. We manifest the will to contribute united to a common future of peace, improved well-being and social equity. We are compromised with the economic and social development of our people, the full validity of human rights, the extension of the democratic channels, the strengthening of our institutional systems and the respect of the norms of international law.”
This spirit was to be held as a flag for all summits to come.The foundations of future cooperation will always return to this document as a starting point for all future interactions.
After the 24 statements, there are some sections that deal with specific areas of the international relationship between the members.
The first one is about the validity of international right, and makes a strong commitment to eradicate the use or even the threat of using the force as a coercive method for communicating or arranging differences. Also part of the same section, there are statements towards acting like one block at international organisms such as United Nations.
Social And Economic Development
The aim of this section was to make the international multilateral commercial system a more integrated and cooperative one for the 21 countries. Among some of the most relevant items within this section, there were sentences about promoting women´s equity in society, the fight against protectionism and discrimination as well as the joust reciprocity between countries. Also, a specific fund was created to tackle the current problems of the original inhabitants of the Americas.
Culture And Education
This section aims to the cooperation and the common grounds that can come from it. The importance of sharing effective knowledge, research and discoveries as well as education techniques, innovations and findings is highlighted in every item. The spirit of the last part of the document is to make a well of knowledge from which all forming countries could benefit. Also, it was settled that Spain, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina would be the following countries to hold the summit in the next four years.