The International Congress between Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe seeks spaces of understanding in view of the enormous complexity of the world

The President of the Regional Government of Extremadura, Guillermo Fernández Vara, inaugurated the 2nd International Congress “Relations between Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe: A Meeting Space” today, which will be taking place from today until next Friday in Guadalupe. This event has been organised by Yuste Foundation along with the University of Extremadura and the Study Centre on Ibero-America of the Rey Juan Carlos University. The opening was also attended by the rectors of both Universities, Antonio Hidalgo García and Javier Ramos, respectively; the mayor of Guadalupe, Felipe Sánchez, and the Guardian and Custodian of the Royal Monastery of Guadalupe, Friar Guillermo Cerrato. (23/03/2022)

During his speech, the President of the Regional Government of Extremadura advocated meeting and seeking spaces of understanding in the face of the enormous complexity of the world we live in, which makes the human condition even more complex and more complicated than it was. In this sense, he stressed that this congress serves to practice the first person plural, and to try to reflect on the world we live in, be respectful with history and bold about the future.

In addition, the head of the regional government explained that whenever “we forget where we come from, we always become ignorant of what happens”, so he wanted the Congress to be an opportunity to reflect on “how, at a time when new games are being played with new players, we can determine the role that Europe and Latin America have to play.” This role, he continued, “will be more powerful if there are leaders able to understand that there are spaces of understanding, because, whether we like it or not, there is no dependence, there is interdependence and that is something that we cannot ignore in any case”.

Fernández Vara explained that throughout history, “sovereignty has been vindicated for everyone, for your people, region or country, which is nothing more than the ability to decide your own destiny”. Something that the events that have occurred have shown us and are proving to us is that when we believed to be full owners of our destiny the facts prove otherwise.

From the point of view of the head of the regional government, people capable of understanding this new world we live in and the complexity there is to it and of fleeing from simple readings that try to summarise everything in 140 characters, are necessary in this world. “Suddenly, we try to deal with things of great complexity as if we had come across a first-grade exercise”.

The former Spanish Prime Minister and Carlos V European Award, Felipe González, gave the keynote speech entitled “Democracy: Contributions and Risks in European Perspective”. “In situations such as the ones we are going through, I want to remind you of the fact that this is one of the most difficult times to do politics. I have known the fall of the Berlin Wall – the disappearance of a world of confrontation – even the pact that led us to the 1978 Regime, that is, the recovery of freedoms in Spain, so I can say that this is one of the most difficult moments to govern, not just in Spain, but also in Spain”, González assured.

The former Prime Minister also referred to the foundations that were essential and necessary to overcome the pathology of war and create today’s Europe; principles, which in his opinion, are easy to understand: “respect for human rights, the rule of law, the primacy of respect for the law, the concept of citizenship as a package of rights and obligations, and democratic pluralism”. In his opinion, democracy is characterised by so much attraction and fragility, “that authoritarian regimes around the world call themselves democratic and give these regime surnames. For many years ours was organic, others are popular, and so on. All those surnames are pluralism”, he concluded.

Among its objectives, this congress aims to continue deepening the interaction that has been taking place over five centuries between America and Europe. It also seeks to prioritise the research that studies this relationship, which has been shaping a historical reality in both spaces, confirmed in a cultural and material heritage which is common in many cases. This edition focuses on the aspects relating to democracy, the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking, as well as the cultural aspects of the relationship between both regions and further progress in studies on migratory flows.

Another goal of the congress is to increase the debate between the two regions by highlighting, above all, the participation of young researchers in the fields of International Relations and Ibero-American History as a space for the deep relations between the two regions.