A New Vision for the Summit of the Americas

By Jeffrey W. Rubin and Emma Sokoloff-Rubin

“Today, once again, the idea of equitable development doesn’t seem radical, but rather makes common sense. And the potential for a hemispheric alliance is stronger than ever. Democracies in Latin America have already produced innovative strategies for tackling tough problems, from racial exclusion to urban poverty to migration, and they have forged progressive coalitions to support these new approaches. In Buenos Aires, factories run cooperatively by workers – factories that were taken over when the owners ran them into bankruptcy – compete efficiently in the market. In Rio de Janeiro, kids in shantytowns join music groups to fight drug trafficking and violence, while in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mayan Indians organize transportation systems and marketing networks in urban neighborhoods where 30 years ago they would have been forbidden to live. And through hometown associations in the United States, Mexican migrants send back money to their communities of origin, where remittances are matched three-for-one by the Mexican government in an investment program overseen by the migrants themselves.

This is the face of democratic innovation in our hemisphere. For the first time ever, the vast majority of key actors in Latin America, from businesspeople to militaries, middle classes to grassroots social movements, play by the democratic rules of the game and respond to disagreement with counterproposals rather than violence. And for the first time ever, a U.S. President speaking a language of cooperation and dialogue could transform a century of distrust into a forward-looking hemispheric alliance.”

Read full article at http://blogs.reuters.com/

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