The Last Word
In the following statement the Latin American nations known as the Group of Eight, minus Panama, meeting in Rio de Janeiro, make known their concern over the Panamanian elections, but reiterate their support for the principle of non-intervention.
Declaration of the Rio de Janeiro Group regarding the situation in Panama.
The foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, contemplating the current situation in the Republic of Panama, and considering.
(1) that in the Acapulco agreement, the presidents of the eight countries who make up a permanent mechanism for mutual consultation and joint political agreements, singled out as a “principal challenge” of the Group, “consolidation of democracy and respect for human rights”;
(2) that as a consequence of this, in the same document it was agreed that “actions would be taken through cooperation and consultation to defend, strengthen and consolidate democratic institutions”;
(3) that in the same Acapulco agreement we also asserted that our conception of peace is “linked to respect for the principles of free self-determination of peoples and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states”;
(4) that in strict observance of non-intervention, which is an essential norm governing foreign policy in Latin America, it is proper to abstain from judging the causes and specific issues that have led, through the elections, to the political crisis en Panama.
We declared our profound concern over a situation which could distance the government of Panama even further from the democratic community of Latin America in a historic moment in which free popular expression has advanced at an unprecedented pace in our region.
We assert our commitment to continue defending non-intervention, self-determination and the democratic commitments made in Acapulco, as well as the validity of the Panama Canal treaty as was manifested in the Acapulco agreement;
We ratify our conviction that the best defense of the interests of the nations and peoples of Latin American is through the free and untrammelled expression of the popular will.
Unofficial translation Statement published in Barricada, 11 May 1989.