Over the weekend of February 18th, the Foro Madrid concluded its first meeting in Bogotá, Colombia. An initiative of the “Fundación Disenso,” a think-tank set up by Spain’s VOX party, Foro Madrid brought together leaders from political parties and organizations throughout Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries.
Participants included ex-Peruvian Vice President Francisco Tudela, Colombian Senator Paola Holguín, Peruvian MP Alejandro Muñante, as well as several members of VOX. Beyond central and south America, Greek, Italian, Dutch, and U.S.-American politicians were also present.
Predictably, perhaps, and as if to draw attention to the group’s concerns, the premises in which it was being held were attacked by a group of activists, to cries of “Bogotá will be the grave of fascism.”
Foro Madrid’s stated purpose is to counter the political trajectory represented by governments such as those of Cuba and Venezuela, particularly in regards to the erosion of the separation of powers and freedom of speech. More specifically, it is meant to serve as an obstacle to the influence of the Sao Paulo Forum and the Puebla Group.
To this end, it has produced the “Carta de Madrid,” articulating the following principal points:
- The advance of Communism poses a serious threat to the prosperity and development of our nations, as well as to the freedoms and rights of our compatriots;
- Rule of law, the separation of powers, freedom of expression, and private property are essential elements that guarantee the proper functioning of our societies and must be protected against those who seek to undermine them;
- The defence of our freedoms falls not only to the political sphere, but also to institutions, civil society, the media, academia, and so on;
- The future of Iberosphere countries must include respect for democracy, human rights, pluralism, human dignity, and justice.
Signatories include André Ventura, President of the Portuguese CHEGA party, Giorgia Meloni, President of de Fratelli d’Italia, Alberto Fernández, Vice President of MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), Alejandro González Raga, Director of the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights, and Alfonso Aguilar, President of the Latin Partnership for Conservative Principles and former head of President George W. Bush’s Office of United States Citizenship, among many others.