the Citizens' Assembly in the Southern Cone
Key ideas and methodological axes of the Southern Cone Citizens Assembly
* elements extracted from the report of the coordinators meeting in Paris - June 2008
Context and challenges of the region
- The territory and its actors – a key triangle formed by three countries, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. However, the Southern Cone is also formed by Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and even the south of Brazil. Over 40 social, popular and local organizations are involved in the process.
- An abyss opens up within society - in 1990, there were 135 million poor people; in 2000, 200 million. Inequalities associated with poverty have widen.
- There is a virulent tension in Latin America between instituted powers and strong citizens’ demands to renew their institutions.
- All societies have their own communication codes, in spite of the fact that the whole region shares the same language.
# The peoples have artificially re-grouped within the State.
- A diagnosis of the crisis: a break in trust in modernity, social crisis and the environment.
- Citizenship deficit : there is no real citizenship (corruption, no representation).
Key methodological axes
- Have the support of the Human Responsibilities Charter which is based on each other’s absolute interdependence and respect, on the exercise of power which is legitimate only when it works towards common rights, on respect for the planet…
- Develop and articulate alliances with already existing initiatives through thematic regional meetings (sea issues, access to water, education, spirituality, alternative communication …) or socio-professional meetings (the youth, the military, women, religious leaders, native people’s leaders)
- Get all the actors together (academics, education authorities, social and cultural movements, municipalities and local powers, migrants) around local or specific dynamics before forming a global assembly.
- A web site with videos (of experiences, meetings…), reflection files, and methodological contributions.
- A magazine, “Pensamiento Propio”, issued every 4 months, which is a thought magazine that collects and creates theories and reflections on Latin America.
- The central topic : peace, an essential element for people’s development.