Putin Welcomes Legislators to the Russia-Latin America Parliamentary Conference
Sept. 30, 2023, (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the opening session of the first Russia-Latin America International Parliamentary Conference, taking place in Moscow over Sept. 29-Oct. 2. According to State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, on whose initiative the conference was organized, there are representatives from over half the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, with approximately 200 people in attendance, TASS reports. Many bilateral meetings are planned over the course of the four-day conference.
The conference will address the pressing issues facing the region, not the least being the need to reorganize the international financial system which, as Putin put it, currently serves “exclusively the interests of the so-called ‘golden billion.’ ” Discussion of the BRICS is also on the agenda. The nations of the Global South are currently victims of a kind of debt slavery, the Russian President said, recalling Africa leaders’ reports at the July 27-28 Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg that the entire African debt burden amounts to $1 trillion, an amount “simply impossible to pay.”
The “golden billion” are the ones that reap the benefits of the current financial and credit system, because that’s how it’s structured, Putin said. The leaders “of these ‘golden billion’ countries exploit practically all other countries. They abuse their position in terms of technology, information and finances.” They have built international financial institutions in such a way and introduce such rules into financial and economic activities that bring practical benefit only to them.... And this is certainly something we need to think about.” And, he added, this is something the BRICS is also carefully analyzing.
The reality is that the credit commitments that many emerging markets carry are no longer considered as credit, but
“they are more like a levy, some kind of a contribution. It should not be like this. This is why we must all work together to change the rules in this international sphere as well.” He pointed out that the nations of Latin America are moving successfully toward forming a multipolar system of international relations and have enormous potential and human resources to “pursue a sovereign, independent foreign policy ... [and] will have a leading role in the world.”
From monitoring what goes on in different countries, Putin said, Russia is “aware of different trends within different political circles particularly ahead of various political events inside these countries” (a reference to Argentina’s upcoming elections). The BRICS, however, is not a military alliance, “but rather a forum for coordinating approaches and developing mutually acceptable solutions based on sovereignty, independence and respect for one another.” Political forces “will have to factor in people’s sentiments. Voters’ sentiments, in the broad sense of the word ... add up to the aspiration for freedom and independence.”
When Russia becomes the BRICS chair next year, “I believe we will do the utmost to make sure that the so-called global majority has the sense that they are not simply the majority in terms of the population size of their countries, but they are the majority on account of their development prospects.” Trade between Russia and Latin America has grown by 25% over the past five years, and Russian exports to the region grew by 130% during that same time period. “Of course, a faster transition to settlement in national currencies and the creation of channels for financial and banking cooperation, as well as of new transport and logistics chains—all this facilitates the further develop of mutual trade.”
A whole range of major mutually beneficial investments and high-tech projects constitute “our common asset,” he said. Look, for example, at the nuclear energy research and technology center Russia is helping build in Bolivia, and the joint biopharmaceutical enterprises that are expanding their activities in Nicaragua and Venezuela, and the upgrading of a metallurgical plant in Cuba.