ATLANTA, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Ten former leaders of Latin American countries said their top priority is to lobby the United States for a reset in Western Hemisphere relations.
“The first thing is we will propose is to the [newly re-elected] government of the United States to initiate a new era of relationships between the U.S. and Latin America,” Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo, president of Guatemala from 1986-91, said last week at the series of meetings in Atlanta.
“We are growing up. We have democracy in most of the countries and the United States has to see us like partners, not like the back yard of the U.S.”
Cerezo Arevalo took office after 30 years of dictatorships as the first democratically elected president in Guatemala.
His announcement came out of an Americas meetings at the Global Peace Convention, an annual even that attracts dignitaries from around the world.
A real partnership between Latin American countries and the United States will help solve international problems in areas like economics, security or immigration, Cerezo Arevalo said.
Within their own countries, the leaders’ agenda includes poverty and the marginalization of some citizens, including women and indigenous people.
“We are going to take advantage of the experience the leadership and the willingness of the former presidents,” said Cerezo Arevalo, “to make analyses and proposals to the current presidents of Latin America.”
During the convention, Cerezo Arevalo and his counterparts spoke at forums on government ethics and Latin American education initiatives and investment opportunities.
“Our duty is to continue working,” he said.
The other Latin American presidents at the convention include: Jaime Paz Zamora and Carlos Mesa of Bolivia; Hipolito Mejia of the Dominican Republic; Gustavo Noboa of Ecuador; Alvaro Colom of Guatemala; Nicolas Ardito Barletta and Martin Torrijos of Panama; Juan Carlos Wasmosy of Paraguay; and Luis Alberto Lacalle of Uruguay.
The convention is organized by the Global Peace Foundation. Foundation Chairman Preston Moon is chairman of the board of the ultimate holding company that owns United Press International.