When we made our proposal, we emphasized the uptrend in the direction of change in South America and the strengthening of unity and cooperation trends.
We spoke of a continent in a ferment and of the force of social initiatives. These trends have grown stronger and we believe that today at least three or four trends need to be taken into consideration:
1st: The USA’s unipolar world is growing weaker. For instance, in South America China is emerging as an economic and political agent and at the same time, there are more and more independent proposals such as those advanced by Chavez, the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA) and the Bank of the South.
2nd: Social-organization trends are becoming more pronounced in Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, and throughout continent.
3rd: This is now a more structural change, whereas before, civil society depended on or emanated from initiatives taken by and for the state; now there is a process whereby civil society is garnering more power and influence.
4th: The social contract is in fact increasingly being challenged in several countries.
In the 1st semester 2007 we completed a cycle in our construction process of the Network of Human Responsibilities, the goals of which were:
1. to disseminate the Charter of Human Responsibilities throughout the South Cone
2. to generate support and social backing for the principles proposed in the Charter
3. to enlarge the existing support in Chile to the South Cone
At the start, we defined, after a survey and some research, the social contexts that appeared to be key actors and natural allies:
• Native Indians
• young people
• Human Rights movements
• religious leaders
We explained in previous reports the reasons that underpinned our decision to choose each of these contexts, based on the force of their impact on Chilean society and on that of the South Cone.
We worked with a participatory method of permanent dialog on different subjects and, in the face of doubts and reluctance, we gradually succeeded during the semester in gaining a strong foothold in four countries of the South Cone (Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile) and in starting to do so more gradually in Paraguay and in Uruguay.
This progress in the construction of the legitimacy of the Charter and in the support that has been built has allowed us to refine our strategy and choose a method to achieve growth. We considered from the start several central points in the strategy to be applied:
o Existing core key groups of the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World
o Groups that are active in some of the Charter areas (peace movements, Human Rights movements, artists for peace and democracy, environmental defense groups, groups that work against discrimination and for human dignity, solidarity as quality of actors of the Charter).
o From experience, we learned that what makes a strategy efficient is the capacity to constitute a team, a core facilitator of initiatives and experiences, which trusts in itself and generates trust: this was the most complex process that we reached through action.
Construction and results
We would like to highlight the following actions:
• Creation of the Network of Alternative Communication Means: community radios and TV, magazines, Web sites, e-dailies.
• A municipal Pilot Plan for Environmental Responsibility in Peñalolén
• A Network of Responsibility for Integration
• The Citizens’ Assembly Initiative
• Publications to back our actions
• A travelling school for Good Governance and Human Responsibilities
In these three years we succeeded in making sure that the network would not depend on one or two persons; at the moment, several teams are circulating information.
When choosing the team, the hardest aspect was to address the need of setting up a strong core that would also reflect differences and diversity. The actions were of different natures: workshops, seminars, research groups, publications, meetings, etc.
The goal of each activity was to deepen understanding and support of the Charter, to form new support groups, and to acquire diversified experience: on this basis, we built support groups in about 20 cities in the South Cone (Lima, Cuzco, and Chimbote in Peru; La Paz, Cochabamba, and Jesús de Machaca in Bolivia; Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Córdoba in Argentina; Santiago, Antofagasta, Iquique, Purén, Valparaiso, Chillán, and Curanilahue in Chile; Montevideo in Uruguay; and Asunción in Paraguay).
The main object is to reconsider the network and to start construction of a Movement for Solidarity and Human Responsibilities.
Most members of our networks are young; otherwise we are present in several social, academic, indigenous, and religious circles, and in Human Rights groups. On the social level, our work takes off from universities, townships, populations, the young, and cultural movements, and spreads to different segments and groups.
Since the beginning, we have tried to give our activities a profile enlarged to the South Cone, and we have worked by building alliances. This process has acquired a lot of force and its dynamics has been ever more powerful since we decided to work for the Citizens’ Assembly.
The Network turned into a support group for social alliances and a forum to develop thinking. For a strategy of change we have built step-by-step to local and South Cone levels, and these efforts can increasingly draw on solidarity, self-education and research for educational methods to teach human responsibilities.
We have several weaknesses, and will only mention four:
1º Contacts with Uruguay and Paraguay
2º Theoretical thinking, insofar as thought is the pillar of all construction
3º The present difficulty within the networks to accept differences as a possible contribution and not as source of problems
4º Generation of new resources
The process of alliances has increased in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, is slower in Argentina, and is stagnant in Uruguay.
We are already today a social alliance that has grown stronger and exists in networks of evangelists for Human Responsibilities, of journalists, of social leaders, of young people, of women, and of academics through hundreds of activities.
The decision to support the Citizens’ Assembly reinforced the alliance, and it is growing among religious leaders, young people, migrants, academics, women, Native Indians, citizens, cultural circles, and soldiers.
We have found allies in different countries and regions of the South Cone who are prepared to support us and to work with us.