Latin America Parliament
Establishment: As proposed by the Parliament of Peru, the 119 parliament members of the 13 countries of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico convened a meeting on 7-11 December 1964 in Lima, Peru, and made the decision to set up the Latin America Parliament.
Aim: To promote the unity, solidarity, integration of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Region.
Members: The parliament consists of the members of parliament from 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Region which are: Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, the Dutch Dependent Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela. Each member country may choose 12 members of parliament to participate in the Latin America Parliament's activities and their term of office is decided by the parliament of the member country.
Organizations: 1. The Conference: the supreme organ of authority, which was convened once every two years before 1995 and once a year since 1995 according to the revised rules and regulations. 2. The Leaders' Committee: to be responsible for routine affairs during the adjournment period of the Conference. The Leader Committee's meeting is held once every six months and special meetings may be called if necessary. The committee is composed of president, two alternate presidents, vice president (one for each member country), secretary-general, one alternate secretary-general, three secretaries, ex-president and consultative council, etc. The presidency is rotated among the members of parliament of the member countries. 3. The General Secretariat: the working body, which is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil (It used to be located in Lima, Peru before July 1993). It plays a dual function of harmonization and supervision and takes charge of calling meetings, assisting the Leaders' Committee to make preparations for the agenda of conference and drafting working documents, distributing agreements, motions or statements, carrying out the budget and delivering fiscal annual report to the conference. 4. Thirteen Standing Committees: namely the political affairs committee; economic, financial and foreign debts committee; agriculture, fishery and rural development committee; culture, education, science and technology committee; aboriginal and ethnic affairs committee; judicial committee; users and consumers protection committee; human rights committee; prevention and anti-drugs committee, energy resources and minerals committee; environment protection committee; health, labor and social insurance committee; public service committee. 5. Five Special Committees: women's affairs committee; committee for opposing producing and trafficking of weapons and explosives; social liabilities committee; sub-region, province, prefecture and municipal affairs committee; labor and insurance committee. 6. The Consultative Council: a consultative body providing consulting service for legislation and political affairs. 7. Executive President: Ms Beatriz Elena Paredes Rangel, a woman senator from Mexico, was elected as President in March 2000 with a term of office being two years.
Major Activities: In August 1991, the 13th conference of the Latin America Parliament passed a resolution, proposing to set up the Latin American Community. In April 1995, the Leaders' Committee of the Latin America Parliament and the working group of the Rio Group jointly drafted a "Letter of Intent for Establishing the Community of the Latin American Countries". In recent years, the Latin America Parliament working together with the Association for the Integration of Latin America have actively promoted the integration process, pushed forward a harmonized and balanced economic and social development in Latin America and worked for the gradual establishment of the Latin America Common Market. The conference and its standing committees often review issues of regional integration, foreign debts, model for economic development and adjustment of structures. A number of conferences condemned the Holmes-Burton Act which effected the blockade of the USA on Cuba and advocate that all Latin American countries should adopt joint measures to boycott it. In December 1997, the 17th conference was convened in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The conference discussed international financial crises, education, health, environment protection, protection of consumers' rights and interests, opposing armament race and the appraisal on the anti-drug struggle in Latin America made unilaterally by the USA and a new leaders' committee was elected. In May 1998, the Latin America Parliament made a statement, denouncing the secret activities carried out by the USA on the territories of other countries under the pretext of fighting against international smuggling of drugs and money-grubbing. It was requested that the USA should adhere to the agreement signed between Latin American countries and the USA in order to carry on the international cooperation for a joint anti-drug struggle on the basis of mutual respect for each other's territorial sovereignty. In March 1999, the Leader's Committee's meeting put forward a proposal that all member states should recruit members of parliament to join in the delegations participating in the important meetings as the Rio Group Conference, the Iberian American Summit Meeting, and the Latin European Summit Meeting. The meeting also decided to strive for the institutionalization of relations with parliaments of the United States and Canada. In May the Second Leader's Committee of the Latin America Parliament defined that the conference should be a forum of members of parliament on the basis of political pluralism, respect for different national conditions as well as the principle of gender equality. All countries on the continent of America, parliaments of all levels and regions, and inter-parliament organizations could send their delegates to the conference. The aim of the conference is to propel all parliaments to reach consensus on issues of common interest in the process of American integration and to participate in setting up a regional community on the basis of peace, democracy, justice and mutual respect. During the conference of the UN Preparatory Committee of the International Criminal Court held in December 1999, the majority of the member states of the Latin America Parliament supported the establishment of the Court, stating that the principle of complementarities, which means that the Court serves as a complement to the criminal jurisdiction of member states, should be maintained.
In 1974, the Latin America Parliament and the European Parliament developed a relationship of a lasting dialogue, recognizing the roles played in each other's course of integration in their respective continents. By the end of 1997 a total of 13 dialogues were carried out between the two organizations.
Relations between China and the Latin America Parliament: In March 1993, Qian Qichen, State Council Member and concurrently Minister of Foreign Affairs, was invited to visit the headquarters of the Latin America Parliament during his visit to Brazil and met the members of the Leaders' Committee. In September 1996, headed by Solana, First Alternate President of the Latin America Parliament and Mexican senator the delegation of the Latin America Parliament attended the 96th Conference of the All Countries Parliament Union held in Beijing. On 25 February 1997, Singer, the executive president wrote a letter to Qiao Shi, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress expressed on behalf of the Latin America Parliament the profound condolences to the passing away of Deng Xiaoping. In March and April 1997, invited by the Chinese National People's Congress, the delegations of the Latin America Parliament headed by Singer, the executive president and by Ney López Secretary General, paid a respective visit to China. Qiao Shi, Chairman of the Chinese People's Congress, Rong Yiren, Vice President of the People's Republic of China, Chen Muhua, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and Zhu Liang, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress met with or held banquets for the delegations. In May 1998, Tian Jiyun, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, met Secretary General López at the headquarters of the Latin America Parliament during his visit to Latin America.