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"The Iraq war is not the only issue in the global agenda"

During the UN Annual Summit, Latin American leaders made big efforts to tell to the international community that poverty and inequality are the most important challenge the world faces.

“Poverty and inequality leads to violence”. This statement may well summarize Latin American leader's message to the United Nations Annual Summit celebrated in New York this week. Presidents from Brazil, Argentina and Chile urged other nations to find ways to narrow the gap between the reach and poor, which widened to unprecedented levels during the nineties and shows its deadly consequences everyday.

All in all, efforts made by Latin leaders –openly backed by France, Germany and Spain- are meant to show the world that Iraq and the fight against terrorism are not the only issues in the global agenda. According to official statistics, every four years 60 millions children die in the world on causes linked to poverty. That means, a WWII against children every four years.

In an attempt to draw the attention of US president George W. Bush, Brazilian President Luiz Inбcio Lula da Silva said overwhelming hunger and unemployment in developing nations were contributing to international violence. President Bush was invited but did not attend to meetings.

"How many more times will it be necessary to repeat that the most destructive weapon of mass destruction in the world is poverty?" Lula asked during a session on the growing economic disparity. "Fair globalization must begin with the right of everyone to a job," Lula said, adding that "dignified work, like the fight against hunger, cannot wait."

According to recent polls conducted all over the region, Latin American citizens stand for a good job and a better standard of life rather than for democracy and civil rights. In a region where basic needs are badly satisfied in 40% of its population, people put less attention on freedom, which could undermine new and fragile democracies.

Therefore, the fights against poverty and inequality is a matter of life and death for Latin Americans, which means that they are not prepared to put more money in sophisticated security systems to protect their citizens from an improbable attack of fanatics. The horrendous face of famine is more real, more accurate in Latin America, that the Bin Laden’s one.

French President Jacques Chirac said he and Lula would propose new approaches to fund the alleviation of poverty. "The price of selfishness is rebellion," Chirac warned. "We should ensure that the world's unprecedented wealth becomes a vehicle for the integration. It is up to us to give globalization a conscience," he said.

In a statement to the UN General Assembly, Argentine president Nestor Kirchner, made the International Monetary Fund (IMF) responsible for the outstanding increasing in the foreign debt of the emerging nations. “While they spend time in useful self-criticism, we have to deal with millions of poor in our countries”, said Kirchner. Kirchner, also asked for a structural transformation of multilateral lending institutions.