Final Declaration of the 30th ALAS Congress
Latin American Association of Sociology (ALAS)
San José, Costa Rica, December 2015
Final Declaration of the 30th Congress of the Latin American Association of Sociology (ALAS) — English (ingles) | Declaración Final del XXX Congreso de la Asociación Latinoamericana de Sociología (ALAS) — español (Spanish)
Gathered in the city of San Jose, Costa Rica from November 30 to December 5, 2015, more than 2,080 sociologists and professionals from various branches of the social sciences and humanities have analyzed the social, economic, cultural and political problems of our region and its international context during fourteen lectures, three seminars, the bestowal of three honorary doctorates, a film series, a book fair, three forums, sixty-five panels, and thirty-two working groups. Hence, we consider it important to note that:
1. The world is going through a severe crisis, which threatens the stability and viability of the lives of millions of human beings. Also endangered are plants, animals, fish, water, land and the air we breathe. The irresponsibility of companies and governments engaged in wars of intervention, which they themselves have fueled, put us in one of the most adverse situations in the history of humankind: the promotion of irregular armed groups, uncontrolled arms sales, constant threats and attacks on unarmed civilians, out-right manipulation of international media, denigration of people because of their ethnic origin, their religion or their political and cultural differences with the great powers, and an outrageous and unbridled speculation with the main energy sources and strategic resources from all continents are some of the manifestations of this grave threat.
At the brink of provoking a large-scale international war of escalating intensity, the powers evade commitments and prevent agreements that would allow for the prevention of the escalation of violence and the containment of major risks to life by pollution and climate change. The intensive use of highly hazardous chemicals in agriculture and industry, the unlimited mining, the waste of energy and the promotion of an elite lifestyle associated with rampant consumerism, selfishness and irresponsibility; all these largely explain what some have called a ‘crisis of civilization.’
2. Those who dominate decisions about government, politics and the economy of our planet are Indifferent to the worsening health problems due to the lack of medicines, effective public health systems, risk prevention and attention to natural disasters, crisis and epidemiological spread of diseases controllable and / or curable; they are blind to the growth of poverty and inequality, as well as the economic and financial vulnerability of most countries of the world; engineers of war, insecurity and violence promoted by armed gangs, armed and police forces who commit heinous crimes with impunity violence; and deaf against the popular clamor demanding an end to speculation, corruption, illegal and fraudulent use of public resources; they despise laws and agreements and violate international provisions, thus dangerously putting populations in the most precarious survival levels under threat.
3. In our region, the polarization have reached levels unheard of in the last fifteen years, and even governments emerging from democratic elections which represented hope for change for their peoples face serious difficulties in terms of wear and tear, disrupture of political pacts or agreements, sterile confrontations, neglect of policies and programs that improve living conditions for the population, and worsening international and domestic pressures through the revelation of serious corruption. As evidenced in Latin American history, however, primary elections are not the sole area where these opposing national projects should be settled, but instead, in the consolidation of social, political and cultural majorities who are able to make decisions every day on the fundamental problems they faced, including the main directions of economic policy, the measures to be taken to improve living conditions, work, wages, health, food, the education of the poor; and on what programs to be implemented to guarantee the exercise of everyone’s rights, the eradication of violence and the preservation of peace and freedom. We believe that a truly strong government is not one that takes advantage of parliamentary majorities, available public resources or shameful pacts to ensure continuity; nor one which has secured the extension of its mandate by despising or denying the right of their opponents to take part in public life and to peacefully defend their views. A government that is truly committed to fulfill the aspirations of the majority is obliged to listen, debate publicly, and seek consensus. The crushing or denial of difference or diversity can never gain legitimacy.
4. That is why we welcome the efforts by the government of Cuba, after more than fifty years of US blockade, to benefit its people to initiate agreements leading to the normalization of political, economic and cultural relations with the United States, without giving up their sovereignty not the demand for compensation for damages caused by irrationality and hate politics. Similarly, we recognize the integrity and courage of those who, even in the most adverse circumstances, even today continue in the difficult and even risky task of defending their rights, such as the one taken up by relatives of the disappeared from the dictatorships and dirty wars throughout the continent; student movements and teachers’ actions to defend the right to education. We greatly appreciate the efforts of those who fight against abuses by foreign corporations and governments forming fraudulent pacts to secure permits, licenses and illegal gains; we value those opposed in every possible way to the destruction of the environment and the decline of human life; and the integrity of those who defend the right to freedom of movement and respect for the dignity of migrant workers; and the persistent demands of those opposed, in short, to all forms of violence, particularly against women and girls, and those fighting for a just and dignified peace.
5. Students and professionals of sociology and the social sciences recognize that we have a long way to go to understand in-depth the dimension of the social problems facing our countries today, but we also recognize that many have learned the value of solidarity and a commitment to critical thinking in favor of the top causes of Latin American peoples. History is and will remains our strength; the heroic example of peoples who have not given up the fight for their dignity and the path marked by so many lives who have resisted against tyranny and have shown appreciation for the values of life, truth, human empathy and solidarity.
Image: Participants celebrated at the end of the 30th Congress of ALAS with music and dance at the plaza (square) of the vieja aduana (old customs building), San José, Costa Rica, Dicember 2015 (Editor).
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