Globalizing the fullness of life
Latin American Council of Churches PRESS RELEASE from the ICFD, Monterrey, Mexico
17 March 2002

To government and international financial institutions

I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated...
I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their oppressors;
I know all about their sufferings.
Exodus 3:7

Since the Council of Latin American Churches (CLAI) was born in Oaxtepec, Mexico, in 1978, it has continuously accompanied the people of Latin America and the Caribean in their legitimate struggle for social justice. As evangelical churches, respectfully and firmly, we present before you the voices of pain and hope of our communities of faith.

What motivates us?

Poverty, exclusion, misery, unemployment, under-employment, labour isntability, the bankruptcy of small- and medium-sized businesses, and the deterioration of the environment have reached an unsustainable limit.

Recognizing the effort carried out by the United Nations in creating a space for dialogue on financing for development, we share the reservations of our communities with respect to the "Consesus of Monterrey" document insofar as it reflects:

  • Insufficiency and ambiguity of its proposed solutions to the situations of injustice and inequality.
  • The affirmation of a model that inverts values of equality, solidarity and responsibilty, perverting the relationship betwen capital and labour, promoting usury, indolence and speculation.
  • The governments of our countries seem like "offical beggars" before the governments of developed countries and the international financial institutions that lack human sensibility.
  • The lack of effective mechanisms and agencies to combat and eradicate corruption and impunity.

    What do we propose?

    Together we could overcome these and other reactions by committing ourselves to the search for just and the common good. As churches, we wish to invite you to join us in affirming these proposals and ethical principles:
    1. The market must not define the life projects of our countries.
    2. All economic growth must have the objective of improving the conditions of all society, without exclusions.
    3. Globalization must be regulated with clear and just roles. This implies:

  • Strengthening participatory democracy in decision-making
  • Creating mechanisms for control and arbitration at the national level that promote codes of conduct to regulate investments, capital flows and loans.
  • Creating an international arbitration agency and mechanisms for the cancellation of foreign debt.
  • Reforming the international financial architecture, transforming its institutions and revising its mandates, methodologies and decision-making processes.
    4. The urgent need to cancel the debt of our peoples, so as to provide sustainable social development. But we firmly sustain that the roots of the debt be investigated, and that the creditors and debtors in the North and in the South who irresponsibly contracted these debts be made to pay them.
    5. The need to amplify the access to information and technology by our developing countries.

    It is evident that the production of greater wealth does not bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth by itself. Those governments that have received the mandate of their citizens to promote the common good must not renounce their power to intervene in ways that assure a better distribution of wealth.

    From what ethical principles are we speaking?

    1. Respect for human rights granted by God is the basis for all decision-making
    2. Natural resources and their transformation are at the service of all human beings.
    3. These natural resources must be administered with responsibility so as to guarantee life with dignity for future generations, given that it is a duty to care for the environment.
    4. Work is concrete participation to serve the common good, and money is a means to value it; from this, we condemn the financial speculation that has brought extreme poverty to so many countries.
    5. Different cultures are expressions of the diversity that God created.

    As evangelical churches in Latin America and the Caribbean, we challenge the powers of this world, at the beginning of this new millennium, to place the market and the international financial system at the service of all people. At the same time, we as churches feel challenges to confess culpability for our silence in the face of injustices committed, and on occasion, for having been part of or benefited from unjust power structures. We affirm that the Reign of God is justice and that the blessing of the creator will be with those who hear the cry of the people. As such, we invite you to recall that all peoples and empires that neglected justice have perished.

    The Lord has told us what is good!
    What is required of us is to do this:
    To do what is just, to show mercy
    And walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6: 8).

    Rev. Juah Pedro Schaad, Argentina
    Rev. Humberto Ramos, Bolivia
    Ob. Isaías Ramos Corona, Mexico
    Lic. Angel Luis Rivera, Puerto Rico

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