The Rio Group

Acapulco Commitment to peace, Development and Democracy Acapulco, México, 29 November 1987 (Excerpts)

We, the Heads of State of the countries members of the Permanent Mechanism for Consultation and Concerted Political Action, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, meeting at Acapulco, Mexico, have held talks in this city to study the major political and economic challenges facing our countries and to seek, on the basis of the fundamental affinities that unite us, answers which meet the aspirations and legitimate needs of our peoples for progress and well-being.

The guiding principle of our work has been our basic agreement that it is imperative to increase concerted political action among our Governments, building on the encouraging experience of the Permanent Mechanism for Consultation and Concerted Political Action and its immediate predecessor: the action of the Contadora Group and its support Group. We are decisively motivated by the recognition of our common interests, our same commitment to democracy with development and to justice and independence, and our shared sense of solidarity with all the peoples of our region: Latin America and the Caribbean . This broad convergence of interests has led us to conclude that the Permanent Mechanism provides a suitable opportunity and an appropriate framework for us to meet regularly, once a year.

International negotiation requires that countries join forces in order to exert influence and to take decisions. Consequently, only greater identity and improved co-ordination of the interests of Latin America and the Caribbean will reduce the region's vulnerability to external factors. Such goals are consistent with the historic progress of our peoples and with a concept of shared responsibility in solving the problems affecting the international community.

We call on the heads of States of the industrialized countries to join in a political dialogue that will make it possible to surmount the obstacles to development, to the restructuring of the world economy and to decision-making on matters of peace and security.

Embracing the ideal of unity and democracy for our peoples, we extend a fraternal invitation to the leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean to join us in a renewed commitment to integration and co-operation for development that will lead to a true community of all our nations.

Our peoples today are showing a clear awareness of the magnitude and nature of the challenges they face domestically, as well as in the process of their incorporation into international life. Consequently, we have agreed on the historical imperative of building a common project for development based on our own initiative and capabilities, as well as on the determination to promote the process of regional integration, the strengthening of our cultural identity and our countries' more effective participation in international relations.

The force of our solidarity must be translated into action. Consequently, we eight Head of State, meeting at Acapulco, agree to contribute to defining a development project for Latin America and the Caribbean which is founded on concerted action and integration for peace, security, democracy and social well-being. The legitimate aspirations of our peoples for progress demand such measures.

The main challenges facing our countries

Within the context described above, we eight Presidents have identified the main challenges that our countries face in their efforts towards concerted action and development in order to progress with a viable political project:
  • Maintaining peace and security in the region;
  • Consolidating democracy and respect for human rights;
  • Restoring our societies' capacity for generating sustained, independent development;
  • Solving the external debt problem;
  • Establishing a fair, open international trading system, free from protectionism;
  • Encouraging the process of integration among our countries and with the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean ;
  • Ensuring more effective participation by our countries in the international economy;
  • Promoting the rapid, independent development of science and technology;
  • Strengthening the negotiating capacity of the eight Governments and of the region as a whole;
  • Reaffirming the region's cultural identity and exchanging educational experiences.

The security of our region: peace, democracy and development

In order to identify action to promote development with democracy, justice and independence, we consider it necessary to affirm the concept that security in our region must cover both the aspects of peace and stability and those relating to political, economic and financial vulnerability. In this regard, we have made a commitment to co-ordinate action to:

Encourages initiatives in favour of international disarmament and security;

Foster mutual trust and our own solutions to the problems and conflicts affecting the region;

Contribute, through co-operation and consultation, to the defence, strengthening and consolidation of democratic institutions;

Promote and broaden political dialogue with other States and groups of States, within and outside the region;

Co-ordinate positions in order to strengthen multilateralism and democracy in international decision-making;

Promote the establishment of zones of peace and co-operation;

Encourage processes of integration and co-operation in order to strengthen the region's autonomy;

Embark on an active, co-ordinated struggle to eradicate extreme poverty;

Reinforce co-operation against drug trafficking and also against terrorism.

Peace in our region is closely bound up with respect for the principles of self-determination of peoples, non-intervention in the internal affairs of States, peaceful settlement of disputes, prohibition of the threat or use of force, equality of States before the law, and international co-operation for development. The action of the Contadora Group and its support Group represents an unprecedented experiment in concerted Latin America efforts in the area of regional peace and security which made a decisive contribution to the agreement reached in Guatemala by the five Central American Presidents. Esquipulas II is the sovereign expression of the political will of the Central American countries to solve conflicts through dialogue, outside the context of the East-West confrontation and respecting the legitimate interests of all States. Significant steps have been taken in the process of fulfilling the commitments assumed, a process in which promising progress has been made and which should continue to receive the broadest support of the international community. We express our gratitude to the Governments and relevant sectors of the Central American societies for these important achievements, which open up a path of hope for attaining the shared goal of a lasting peace and democracy in the region. In particular, we underline the progress already made in the areas of national reconciliation, amnesty, the restoration of fundamental freedoms and the establishment of a Central American Parliament. We are fully aware of the enormous difficulties of complying fully and promptly with the Esquipulas agreement, but the progress already made encourages us to make a fervent appeal to continue moving ahead simultaneously on all the commitments assumed. We shall continue to show active support and solidarity for the process of diplomatic negotiations as a whole. We particularly affirm the responsibility of our Governments in the International Verification and Follow-up Commission. We call upon those Governments with interests in and ties to the region to make a genuine contribution to this process and to respect the principles of non-intervention and self-determination, which are fundamental to harmonious coexistence among the Central American States. The negotiating process currently under way should be accompanied by an improvement in the economic and social situation in the countries of the area. Consequently, we have agreed to support the implementation of an international emergency programme of economic co-operation for the countries of Central America , which would consist of measures to rebuild their economies.

The main guidelines for our participation in this programme would be, inter alia:

  • Measures to encourage Central American intraregional trade and the granting of facilities for the access of exports from the area to the markets of our countries;
  • Strengthening of financial co-operation between our countries and those of Central America , including the contribution of resources to their financial organizations, such as the Central American Bank for Economic Integration;
  • Support for efforts to revitalize the Central American Integration System;
  • Specific projects in the areas of emergency food aid, identification and implementation of agricultural and agro-industrial projects, and the training of human resources. A comprehensive emergency programme for the region's refugees and displaced persons will also be proposed to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

All countries committed to peace and development should participate in the above efforts, as should Central American integration institutions, regional institutions and international economic organizations.

We once again reaffirm that peace and stability in Central America are matters of priority to our Governments. Not only the consolidation of democracy and the development in self-determination of the peoples of Central America , but also our countries' national interests, are at stake.

36. The Latin American Parliament, whose treaty of establishment was signed recently by our Governments and by those of 10 other Latin American and Caribbean countries, is a significant contribution to solidarity and concerted action among Latin Americans. This initiative has been backed by our eight Governments, in the conviction that it will become an effective means of strengthening democracy and promoting integration in the region.