The Public Discussion “The Role of Young People in Democracy in Latin America” organized by Forum 2000 and Tec de Monterrey was attended by more than 250 students. The panel, moderated by the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, hosted the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias Sánchez, former President of Bolivia Jorge Quiroga, Venezuelan human rights lawyer Tamara Sujú Roa, Jorge Castañeda, diplomático mexicano and Juan Diego Beltrán González, student of International Relations at Tecnológico de Monterrey. Jakub Klepal, Executive Director of Forum 2000 and Alejandro Poiré Romero, Dean of the Escuela de Ciencias Sociales y Gobierno at Tecnológico de Monterrey, introduced the discussion.
The panelists emphasized the importance of civic participation in a healthy democracy and appealed to young people to be more active and accept their share of responsibility. Despite the fact that politics has a terrible reputation, it is, according to Oscar Arias, the most effective instrument for change. Jorge Castañeda invited young people to embrace a cause, such as human rights or fighting against corruption, and to “get out to the streets”. If we become passive, warned Alejandro Poiré, someone else will decide for us. This has been echoed by Hasler Iglesias, a student leader from Venezuela, who pointed out that the consequences of public disinterest in the disastrous management of the Chávez and Maduro government, have come to haunt the citizens of his country in their everyday lives. Furthermore, the actions taken currently by President Maduro and the Supreme Tribunal in Venezuela were condemned by all and considered undemocratic and unconstitutional.
The second half of the panel was dedicated to the active participation of students, who expressed their opinions and concerns regarding the state of democracy in their country as well as their role in the future. Juan Diego Beltrán, the student representative from Tecnológico de Monterrey summarized the students´ position by highlighting the fact that the current generation has grown in an environment of an accelerated and rapid increase in technological change and it is necessary to consolidate oneself as agent of positive change in the present and future time.
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