Leonel Fernández Says Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine Has Provoked a Gloomy Panorama for the World

March 3, 2022

The opening and welcoming remarks of the VI Santo Domingo International Forum were delivered by Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director of International IDEA for Latin America and the Caribbean, who is also the Forum´s academic coordinator. Also, Kevin Casas Zamora, Secretary General of International IDEA. Former President Leonel Fernández referred to Latin America´s regional context in 2022 and the challenges faced due to the pandemic and the war that is currently impacting the world.

Santo Domingo, March 3, 2022 – The former President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández, stated this past Wednesday that the military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine has provoked a somber international panorama for the immediate future, and urged for a mutual agreement that will bring resolution to the crisis that is impacting both nations.

Fernández drew attention to the fact that there is already talk of introducing nuclear weapons to the conflict, generating a threat of catastrophic consequences never before experienced in the world scenario.

However, the former President expressed hope that the negotiation process being carried out by the parties in conflict will lead to an understanding that will once again bring peace of mind to humanity.

Regarding the immediate impact of the conflict in the Dominican Republic, Fernández said that the government and the country´s tourism sector have to face the worrisome situation of having some 3,000 Russian tourists stranded in the country after their flights were suspended.

Fernández delivered his remarks during the opening of the VI Santo Domingo International Forum, an event held in the country under the auspices of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (Funglode) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director of International IDEA for Latin America and the Caribbean, delivered the opening and welcoming remarks to the Forum. He is also the Forum´s academic coordinator.

In his speech, Zovatto stated that in order to successfully face the challenges impacting the Latin America and Caribbean regions, the people must be put at the center of public debate.

On the Forum´s opening day Kevin Casas Zamora – Secretary General of International IDEA – stated that the event is being held at a time when it is essential to carefully carry out an in-depth analysis of the events that are currently taking place internationally due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Addressing the concerns faced by democracy and the rule of law in Latin America and the Caribbean, Casas Zamora said that the Coronavirus pandemic has become a useful instrument to help the countries of the region see what has been done correctly and what has not worked.

In this regard, he highlighted the achievements that the region has reached regarding the implementation of elections as a means to gain power. However, the expert pointed out several aspects where notable progress has not been achieved, including inequity, lack of transparency and impunity.

“The rule of law is the fundamental unfinished business in Latin America,” he said.

The remarks delivered by Fernández, Zovatto and Casas Zamora was followed by a panel discussion, led by experts, titled “From the Global to the Regional: Latin America and its Relationship with the United States, the European Union, China and Russia.” Previously, Yamile Eusebio, Funglode´s Deputy Executive Director, explained the Forum´s methodology, consisting of six panels.

Panel 1 – Participants included Arturo Valenzuela, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Relations at Georgetown University; Adrián Bonilla, Executive Director of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean International Foundation (EU-LAC Foundation); and Dmitriy Razumovskiy, Director of the Latin American Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

During his intervention, Valenzuela disapproved of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, and called for the respect of the integrity of each nation.

However, he warned that corruption and a weak rule of law system continue to generate great skepticism among the population.

Regarding Latin America, the expert said that the countries of the region are in a privileged position because of their acceptance of the electoral route to access power.

“The basic problems must be solved so that the figure of the almighty savior does not come into play, a savior that will resolve all the problems,” explained Valenzuela.

During his turn, Dmitriy Razumovskiy expressed his disapproval of the conflict between his country and Ukraine, and stated that the conflict is a continuation of a complex situation that has dragged on for years.

In reviewing the relationship between Russia and Latin America, he stated that his country has always handled itself by balancing its policies to everything related to the region.

During the panel discussion, former President Fernández read a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in the Dominican Republic where the Under Secretary General of the China Foundation for Peace and Development, Wang Hua, expressed its position regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The official highlighted that the sovereignty and integrity of all countries must be respected.

Leading experts will rigorously study the information presented and will propose solutions for the region’s priority issues. To be discussed on the first day of the event by the panels will be: “From the Global to the Regional: Latin America and its relationship with the United States, the European Union, China and Russia,” and “The Pandemic and the Economy in Latin America: 2022 Scenarios.” Also, “Media, Social Networks, Infodemia and Freedom of Expression.”

On the second day of the International Forum, the invited experts will discuss the “business climate, political risk and investments in Latin America.” Other issues that will be addressed: “Democracy, Polarization and Elections: the 2022 Electoral Agenda and its Tendencies.” The closing panel will discuss “Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities in 2022.”

Images and videos of the Forum´s opening ceremony, and the panel discussions held during the first day of the event are available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6VVhJUbRdQ