A Recipe for Avoiding Tyrannical Globalization

Cardinal Sodano´s Message to OAS Assembly

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, JUNE 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Two conditions are needed to keep the process of globalization from becoming tyrannical: respect for the dignity of each person and respect for cultures, a top Vatican official says.



That was part of the message that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, sent to the Organization of American States (OAS) assembly, regarding the integration of markets.

The message was addressed to the 34 representatives of member-countries at the OAS assembly, which ended its three-day meeting here today.

At an April summit of presidents in Quebec, the Free Trade Area of the Americas was launched. It represented an evolution of the 1990 projects that included the North America Free Trade Treaty -- which involves Mexico, Canada and the United States -- and Mercosur -- which involves Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, and associate members Chile and Bolivia.

"The unification of the markets can offer great opportunities for progress and welfare for all the countries of the hemisphere," Cardinal Sodano stated. This requires, he said, that "the elimination of commercial barriers be conceived as a natural consequence of American fraternity, which sincerely seeks to overcome narrow nationalist egoisms."

Otherwise, the Vatican secretary of state warned, globalization would be "an occasion to ensure the advantage of the strongest economic sectors." In order to avoid the latter, he emphasized the "centrality of man -- of each individual man and woman, in any political or economic process."

He continued: "The ethical discernment in the context of globalization must be based on two inseparable principles. The first is the inalienable value of the human person, source of all human rights and all social order. The human being must always be an end and never a means, a subject and not an object, and never a commercial product.

"The second is the value of human cultures, which no outside power has the right to undermine, much less destroy."

Cardinal Sodano applauded both the Quebec summit´s Action Plan for the integration of markets, as well as the agenda of the latest OAS assembly, "directed in good measure to giving a human face to great macroeconomic projects and continental policy."

He emphasized that these initiatives must be oriented toward "the globalization of solidarity."

Meanwhile, the 34 Latin American Foreign Affairs Ministers at the OAS assembly were debating a plan for a democratic charter for the region. During the assembly, César Gaviria, OAS secretary, signed an Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.