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Latin America

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 11 July 1990

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47.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contribution the United Kingdom is making to international efforts to achieve the consolidation of democracy in Latin America.

We have given consistent and strong support to democratisation in Latin America in our bilateral dealings with the countries concerned and in conjunction with our EC partners and other members of the international community. Specific examples include:

  • Contributions to United Nations peacekeeping efforts in the region including demobilisation of the Contras (some £3 million to date);
  • A grant to Nicaragua announced on 2 June (£600,000);
  • Restitution of our modest aid to Panama; maintenance of existing aid elsewhere in the region; additional assistance to the Colombian Government's efforts against drugs trafficking;
  • Participation in the San Jose dialogue between the EC, central America and Panama (with Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela as co-operating countries), which includes as one of its prime objectives the establishment of pluralist democracies in the region. As a result of this dialogue, EC aid to the region has doubled since 1984. The United Kingdom contributes some 20 per cent;
  • Political support for human rights organisations in the region, and for those promoting dialogue in Guatemala;
  • Support for a Nicaraguan parliamentary delegation visiting the United Kingdom for know-how talks; with the Inter-Parliamentary Union;
  • Recent visits by Mr. Donald Limón, a British parliamentary expert to Chile, and by 10 senior Chilean parliamentarians to this country.

73.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of recent trends towards democracy in Latin America.

We warmly welcome them. We particularly welcome the restoration of democracy in Chile, Nicaragua and Panama. We are encouraged that in E1 Salvador the third round of talks between the Government and the FMLN guerillas ended on a positive note, and that they are to be resumed on 20 July. We hope that the FMLN will soon agree to join the democratic process, and that Cuba will at last join the rest of Latin America in adopting pluralist democracy.