Gonsalves urges 'reparative justice', Lula says division is 'madness'
On the first day of the third EU-CELAC summit, President pro tempore of CELAC Ralph Gonsalves and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula sa Silva hold the EU responsible for historical legacies and ongoing practices, urging for a new world based on "trust and not on threats."
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, in his capacity as President pro tempore of CELAC, addressed the press ahead of the III EU-CELAC summit and underscored the importance of "reparative justice" moving forward.
“I am very hopeful that we will see a paragraph in the declaration addressing the historical legacies of native genocide and enslavement of African bodies and something towards reparative justice," said Gonsalves.
The conversation on such topics, the President pro tempore emphasized, must be "mature" as "We have seen apologies issued by some countries, recently the King in the Netherlands," but that was not enough given that "the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has put forward a 10-point plan for reparative justice."
The plan Gonsalves explained was not aimed at a reparation plan "for individual persons to get money," but rather "it’s a plan on many issues involving the question of debt relief, social and inclusive matters in education and health, and, some cultural issues.”
The EU and CELAC, Gonsalves explained, must join forces to work “on those matters to repair the historical legacies of underdevelopment resulting from native genocide and enslavement of African bodies.”
#ENVIVO | El primer ministro de San Vicente y las Granadinas y presidente pre témpore de #CELAC, Ralph Gonsalves, inaugura la Cumbre anunciando que se deben buscar mecanismos para terminar con la guerra y el derramamiento de sangre— teleSUR TV (@teleSURtv) July 17, 2023
→ https://t.co/tqMKHfl0b4 pic.twitter.com/QZxHlmujZc
The CELAC official concluded by saying that everyone is aware that this "is a discussion the time of which has now arrived" reaffirming that agreement on this topic would be considered a “basis for the intelligent mature discussion."
Once in session, Gonsalves gave the opening speech in which he urged to improve the situation for all countries based on multilateralism, respect for international law, and following the precepts for peace and sustainable development.
Moreover, he reaffirmed that the summit will discuss the great challenges brought forward by climate change, poverty, and inequality between nations and what that represents. However, he emphasized that collectively the nations can achieve multipolarity for a better world.
With that purpose, Gonsalves called for an end to the situation where the strong impose their agenda and the weak suffer, a historical trend that has affected the whole world, especially the peoples of America, he declared.
Lula da Silva voices similar concerns
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva considered the III CELAC-EU Summit as a fundamental step to build a more solidary, more fraternal, and less unequal world.
He drew attention to the persistent global vulnerability to diseases such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and the climate crisis, among other situations, which put humanity at risk.
The Brazilian president considered it vital to join efforts to build a roadmap and overcome inequalities for the sake of social and economic development.
"Using sanctions and blockades without the support of international law is something that only serves to penalize the most vulnerable parts of the population. We need peace to overcome the significant challenges we have to face," said the Brazilian President.
Da Silva firmly stated that "To divide the world into antagonistic blocs would be madness," and explained that for example, the war in Ukraine "is another confirmation that the United Nations Security Council is incapable of addressing the challenges we face today regarding peace and security."
The Brazilian President explained that the members of the UN "do not respect the United Nations Charter" and reaffirmed Brazil's position on the war in Ukraine, saying Brasilia supports any peace initiative that called for an "immediate ceasefire, cessation of hostilities, and negotiated peace."
The war in Ukraine, Lula da Silva highlighted, has led to a global arms race wherein defense spending across the globe has skyrocketed. This meant that "instead of eliminating hunger for so many millions of human beings, we are spending billions of dollars to feed the war machinery, which only causes more destruction and famines. This CELAC-EU Summit is the moment to say enough. Another world is possible, a world that we must build together."
Em 2021, quando discursei no Parlamento Europeu, o mundo atravessava uma de suas maiores provações: a covid-19. A pandemia passou, mas a humanidade parece não ter aprendido a dura lição. Mantivemos os hábitos irresponsáveis de consumo, incompatíveis com a sobrevivência do…— Lula (@LulaOficial) July 17, 2023
Lula da Silva also mentioned the importance of a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR grounded on "trust and not on threats", further highlighting that "the defense of the environmental values we all share cannot be an excuse for protectionism," and that the protection of the Amazon rainforest is "a duty for all."