Her Excellency Ms. Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodríguez
At the end of the twentieth century, we witnessed numerous considerations about the reality in which we human beings live in all corners of the planet. This reflection made it possible for us to evaluate our development, the realities of our institutions and the needs and requirements of our citizens. That point in time also gave us the opportunity to analyze our behaviour, to look at the errors made and to define the objectives that we need to put in place in order to achieve development.
We have lived, and we have suffered through all possible models -- totalitarianism, socialism, capitalism -- in all of their varieties and modalities, and we have finally accepted an economic model that apparently contains elements for a better flow of resources, upgraded consumption, production and a level of greater dignity for our people.
Making progress does not mean that we are no longer in the Third World, in developing countries, or in countries with emerging economies. These semantic considerations have never deemed to do anything more than to encourage us to continue our fight against poverty. Our nations have taken on and accepted with ever greater interest that for many of the industrialized countries there is a new economic model. We have reduced tariffs, we have broken down protectionist barriers, and we are opening up our economies to free competition with countries that have technology, knowledge and resources that are outside of our reach.
However, even with this approach, we are being asked to make more sacrifices. While the industrialized economies are using up most of their natural resources, the developing countries are being prevented from using their own. We are being required to give a greater fiscal contribution; at the same time, there are conditions on investments. In addition, there are standards of efficiency and transparency that are being imposed on us; yet, they are not practicing these standards, and they have never actually discussed it with us.
After 11 September 2001, democracy and progress are no longer political and economic concepts. We are not talking about global security issues. Apparently, the rich countries and the organizations dealing with financing and cooperation have understood the Quebec Declaration, which says that democracy is not limited to the exercise of suffering every few months. Democracy requires knowing what the necessities and the needs of the people are, especially those of the private sector, and to make sure that there is participation in order to offer more employment opportunities for the people who need them. It requires the assurance of more solidarity and more equity on the part of the industrialized economies.
In this context, I would like to reiterate that we have to speak very clearly and openly. We cannot waste our time in Forums such as this one, with declarations that hold no real meaning, although we are aware that over the course of these two days there will be many contributions and they will be very valuable. Panama feels the need to focus this statement on a specific topic that affects us. One of the discussions in the preparatory meetings, in fact, was about whether poor countries with a per capita income of $3,000 or above should have non-reimbursable loans or soft loan conditions. This is a problem of an approach that does not understand the realities of a nation, which, precisely because of these structures, has become a product of practices over decades and all sorts of experiments, both economic and financial. Most of these practices have failed and now show one of the worst indices of distribution of wealth in the world.
Without a doubt, international cooperation is a very fundamental aspect of any model that would encourage development. But to submit this tool to considerations that do not express the real situation of our nations and the efforts to consolidate democracy in a State where the rule of law prevails is an injustice and, at the same time, is an element that has very deleterious effects for our own possibilities. If we are talking about being more efficient in our use of financial resources for development, this Forum must promote the creation of an international parameter that can be used to approve cooperation projects that will consider the inequalities in income and the concentration of wealth. This can then be used to attend to the structural causes underpinning poverty, and it can be used to achieve better social and economic justice.
Other topics of similar importance to that of cooperation are the external debt, free trade based on equity and solidarity, the vast spending on arms and the role of minorities. These issues have extremely clear and important definitions here in Monterrey. The Republic of Panama applauds this Summit, because it allows us to describe certain concepts frankly, openly and freely that do not have the opportunity of being expressed in certain ministerial or typical meetings. I reiterate our appeal to those who have the power to decide to use it in support of true world peace.
* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.