In the keynote lecture delivered at midday at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago de Chile, President Alberto Fernández called for Latin America to be “a united continent to face the challenge ahead” and overcome the impact of the pandemic.
The President stated that “the pandemic is not only a virus that has claimed lives, but it has also exposed the inadequacy of the system”, and called for Latin American societies to “shuffle and deal again”.
“I am not talking about the inadequacy of capitalism, but about giving it a more human face. Because the truth is that the current capitalism of financial derivatives, where fortunes are made in a few minutes just by betting on a bond or share makes a lot of people rich but leaves behind millions of people in the world,” he said during his speech in the Raúl Prebisch conference room.
Fernández stated that the pandemic exposed the fact that “the economic foundations were not solid, the social foundations were weak, injustice existed, and inequality was a problem which became visible in its most perverse form.”
“To overcome this crisis, the unity of the continent is key. Being the President of Argentina is not easy, but in a globalized world where the need for multilateralism is becoming ever more important, we need a united continent in order to face the challenge ahead,” he expressed.
The President then advocated for building “a solidarity-based multilateralism” as an alternative to hegemonic or bipolar views.
He also highlighted the role of public education, free university education and investment in science and technology for the development of the region, and how important they proved to be in dealing with the pandemic.
“The wealth of societies no longer lies in silver, gold, oil, copper, soybeans or wheat, it lies in knowledge,” he asserted.
He highlighted the importance of an environmental agenda and of adopting gender equality policies to rebuild the post-pandemic economies and societies.
The Argentine Head of State was joined by Alicia Bárcena, head of the UN body responsible for promoting economic and social development in the region, with whom he had met privately.
“We share the belief that equality, sustainability, solidarity, and international cooperation are key to advance transformative recovery, which can guarantee our people the rights that have been demanded for decades and that today are a moral, social, and political imperative,” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary had stated.
The event was also attended by the Chief of Cabinet, Santiago Cafiero; the Foreign Minister, Felipe Solá; the Argentine Ambassador to Chile, Rafael Bielsa; the Minister of Defence, Agustín Rossi; the Minister of Health, Ginés González García; the Chief-of-Staff to the President, Julio Vitobello; the Communication and Press Secretary, Juan Pablo Biondi; and, Cecilia Nicolini, Adviser to the President.
The Governors of Catamarca, Raúl Jalil; La Rioja, Ricardo Quintela; Salta, Gustavo Sáenz; and San Juan, Sergio Uñac, who travelled to Chile as part of the official delegation, were also present during the lecture.
The Chilean Foreign Minister, Andrés Allamand; the Chilean Ambassador to Argentina, Nicolás Monckeberg; and the Rector of the University of Chile, Ennio Vivaldi, also attended the lecture.