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Intellectuals Discuss Venezuela's Democracy in New York City

On December 4-5, 2010, intellectuals from different countries will meet in New York City to discuss and debate Venezuela’s democracy. The conference will coincide with Venezuela’s chairmanship of the Movement of New or Restored Democracies, which operates in the UN.

The seminar, titled “Analysis of the Venezuelan Democratic Process,” will be held at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel and will feature over 25 intellectuals from the U.S., Latin America and Europe who have studied the Venezuelan democratic process.

Amongst the speakers will be former deputy of the European Parliament Raúl Morodo, Georgetown University professor Marc Chernick and Mexican intellectual Arturo Huerta (Autonomous University of Mexico). Recognized Venezuelan journalists and intellectuals such as Eleazar Díaz Rangel, sociologist Maryclen Stelling and economist José Félix Rivas will also join the debate.

The speakers will be available for telephone or in-person interviews in the press room of the event. (Speaker biographies are available here)

The various presentations of the conference will be published in a book on the Venezuelan democratic experience, which will be distributed to government officials, legislators and members of social movements participating in the VII International Conference of New or Restored Democracies scheduled for 2011 in Caracas.

Venezuela assumed the pro-tempore presidency of the movement in February 2010 during an official event held at the UN headquarters, and will remain until 2012. On November 9, 2009, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed Venezuela’s presidency of the movement by consensus resolution A/64/12.

The movement is aimed at promoting cooperation amongst nations to resist threats to democracy such as coups against constitutional governments, and to reaffirm the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs, principles established in the UN Charter.

All the countries of the world, its governments and legislatures are represented in the movement, along with civil society and the social movements.

Previous summits of the movement have been held in the Philippines (1988), Nicaragua (1994), Romania (1998), Benin (2000), Mongolia (2003), and Qatar (2006). The host county of the summit, as usual, delivers to the delegates a document on its democratic process as a means to contribute to the debate about the different models of democracy in the world.

The summit of the movement held in 2006 included 130 governments, 60 parliaments and hundreds of civil society organizations and social movements from around the world.

The Movement of New or Restored Democracies was founded in the Manila International Conference (Philippines) in 1988, and was initially separate from the UN. Nevertheless, the movement has been gradually included within the organization. In fact, the Declaration and Action Plan adopted during the II International Conference of Managua, Nicaragua in 1994 allowed the UN General Assembly to include for the first time on its agenda the issue of the defense of democracy, through Resolution A/RES/49/30. This resolution requests the UN General Secretary “to undertake a study on ways in which the United Nations system could support the efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies.”

The selection of the countries invited to the first conference of the movement demonstrated the intention of movement. Fifteen countries that were overcoming right-wing dictatorships in the 80s and had started to consolidate their own democratic and constitutional systems participated, amongst them Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, Philippines, Greece, Portugal, and Spain.

Photo: Néstor Sánchez Cordero

Permanent Mission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations / December 1, 2010

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