UNIPOP convenes bimonthly seminars of scholars, community leaders and visionaries who are committed to exploring and implementing new approaches to development for peoples of African and Indigenous descent in the North American Diaspora and across the Caribbean and Latin America.
In the Introduction to a New Paradigm for the Eradication of Poverty, we indicate that two groups the “Southern Caucus of NGOs for Sustainable Development / southern Diaspora research and Development Center, The American Indian Law Alliance, The Consortium of Universities and Research Centers of the Americas (A/K/A the Universidad Popular) all of whom are 501 C3 Corporationswill collaborate in producing the Infrastructurethat will enable individuals and groups from the targeted groups to be involved in profitable projects in partnership with others that produce goods and services that serve particular markets and trade processes.
The New Paradigm is based on our intent to capitalize on the research of the Southern Diaspora Research and
Development Center which has identified, on a country by country basis, the markets of 150 million persons of African Descent and 220 million persons of Indigenous and Indigenous descent in Latin America and the Caribbean and the 60 million persons of African descent and indigenous descent in the United States and Canada.
We expect to create and implement at least five viable projects producing goods and services identified and developed in target group communities in each of the countries of Central America and the Caribbean including the Dominican Republic over the next five years and eventually, we expect to also include the markets of the target groups in South America.
THE NEW PARADIGM MANIFESTO
The haunting specter of persistent poverty across Latin America and the Caribbean has been a matter of profound concern to economists, sociologists, development planners, social and political activists and human rights advocates throughout the region.
Successive top-down development strategies and programs promoted by international agencies have failed to produce the highly touted results they had anticipated.International development aid programs to the region by rich countries of the North and stringent structural adjustmentdemands on governments by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have left many countries reeling in abysmal debt crises, unemployment, crippling devaluations, economic stagnation and concomitant social problems.
Dr William Easterly, former World Bank Research Economist, observes, in his 2006 bestseller, The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, (Penguin) that international aid strategies tacitly assume that Western donors know what is best for everyone, but lack mechanisms for accountability without which broken economic systems won’t be strengthened.He further argues that true victories against poverty are most often achieved through indigenous, “homegrown”, ground-level planning.
In many respects, the Easterly viewpoint echoes the arguments of the New Paradigm vision of direct involvement of communities in determining their own destinies through active participation in master planning for sustainable development. (“The Quest forParticipation of Under-represented and Disadvantaged Communities in Sustainable Economic Development Processes”by Waldaba H Stewart, Caribbean Diaspora Press, NY, 2002). The New Paradigm takes into consideration the fact that:
·The Caribbean, Latin America and NorthAmerica contain discriminated groups that
collectively constitute an invisible majority and corresponding market that must be
Groups in the invisible majority can be organized and connected in business partnerships to create products and services for trade among themselves and with others.
These groups can find among themselves the resources and skills to create new wealth and use the new wealth to provide jobs and new businesses therebyeradicating poverty.
Of a total Latin American and Caribbean Population of 545.9 Million, discriminated people constitute amajority as follows: •A population of 150 million persons of African Descent in Latin America and the Caribbean. •A population of 150 million persons of Indigenous Descent and other ethnic minorities in Latin America and the Caribbean
Groups in the invisible majority are related to and can trade with their Diasporas in The United States and Canada: •A population of 60 Million persons of African Descent in the U.S. and Canada.
•A population of 20 million persons of Indigenous Descent and other ethnic minorities in the U.S. and Canada
Members of the invisible majority of discriminated groups of the Western Hemisphere commit themselves to determining their own destinies through community based action plans that utilize partnerships of the intellectual, financial and community based resources inside and outside of the discriminated communities to create new wealth and competition.
The New Paradigm for the Eradication of Poverty calls for community participation in all existing and emerging mega developments in the US, the Caribbean and Latin America, by the Diaspora of peoples of African and Indigenous descent throughout the continent.
Under the New Paradigm, the Southern Caucus of NGOs for Sustainable Development (Southern Caucus) and the American Indian Law Alliance (AILA) are identifying, recruiting and mobilizing Diaspora groups and individuals to make investments in partnership with groups in communities in the Caribbean and Latin America that have created community development master plans that include profitable business proposals. The projects coming out of community planning processes are being compiled in a Registry of Community-based Investment Opportunities that, as of December 2006, exceeded $US 100 million.
Benefits to the peoples of the Americas:
The New Paradigm process offers a sound agenda for sustainable development through:
Increased access to technical assistance, feasibility studies and business plans
for select, community-based economic initiatives.
Elaboration on the New Paradigm
The proponents accept the position of the Inter American Development Bank (IADB) that “there is an Invisible Majority in Latin America and the Caribbean” of Peoples of African Descent, Indigenous Peoples and other ethnic minorities that lack broad- based growth. The proponents also agree with the IADB conclusion that “Even if the period of uninterrupted growth from 1960 to 1980 were included there would still be no improvement in poverty or inequality despite a 95 percent real growth in per capita gross domestic product over the past 45 years. This lack of broad- based growth manifests itself in social and economic exclusions. Typically, exclusion refers to minority groups that are marginalized because of race, ethnicity or gender.”
The current lack of improvement in the economic status of the target populations is the result of the historic, and current, paradigm of economic, social and political relationships. . The target populations are not stakeholders, and are excluded because they are as good as invisible to the dominant group.
According to the IADB, “It is one of the profound lessons of economic history that democracy and free markets together provide the best foundation for both economic prosperity and a vibrant civil society. These systems reinforce each other when markets provide opportunity for the vast majority of citizens to participate effectively in economic life as both producers and consumers. When markets empower the majority economically, societies can flourish and compete successfully in the global market place”.
For decades international organizations have channeled millions of aid dollars to those in control of the societies of Latin America in an unsuccessful attempt to eradicate poverty. Those efforts have failed to achieve their objectivesbecausethose in control of existing means of production behaves as if :
The target populations are insignificantand not worthy stakeholders.
The target populations are not qualified to take advantage of opportunities, or are from unacceptable racial or ethnic groups.
The target populations are not entitled to share in the fruits of current economic activity because they are not investors nor are they the beneficiaries ofassets acquiredas a result ofcolonial conquest.
There is no evidence that the obstacles to inclusion of the target groups will be removed as a result of goodwill on the part of those currently in control of existing means of production.
Contrary to the claims that the target population is not qualified,
The proponents believe that disadvantaged and discriminated groups have the ability to participate effectively in a program of wealth creation providing the following:
That there is a reservoir of persons within every community capable of becoming entrepreneurs, individually or collectively. under the right circumstances.
That community people can be encouraged to develop sustainable economic and environmentally friendly master plans for themselves that can be profitable for all of theplan participants .
That, for this to happen, people need only to grasp the idea of the possibility of access to capital, credit, capacity building, technology exchange, and have information about international events that will affect the welfare of their community.
That with joint venture participation in selected projects in the master plans developed, the communities can facilitate, own, operate, and support the products of the collective planning efforts and so ensure improvement in their quality of life and environment That once processes for community participation in sustainable economic development are firmly established, communitieswill have the economic power to contribute tofair two-way trade(north South and south- south).
Unwilling to submit to the inevitable outcomes of the impact of the historic paradigm, members of the disadvantaged groups in Latin America have decidedthat their only option is to demand a new paradigm that:
rejects the contrived invisibility of the Majority consisting ofthe disadvantaged groups ofthe Americas;
Identifies and utilizesthe assets, capabilities and resources of the majority, and documents political, economic and social worth;
identifies, connects, and includes the diasporas of the target groups that form part of the Majority;
constructs a model for development that draws on cultural strengths, geographic linkages, skills, and market potential to create production, trade, and new wealth
·stresses self- determination, organization, and collaboration within and between target groups,
·acknowledges that the target groups comprise collectively a significant majority and have great potential for creatingnew wealth,
·establishes strategies for community development, capacity building, partnership human resource investment, cash investment, and leveraged consumption by the invisible majority in Latin America and the Caribbean,
·Builds on these strategiesto generate production of goods and services and inclusion in Fair Trade,
·applies the notion that as the target groups develop their own means and systems for creation of new wealth they will hire many of their own people, thus contributing to the eradication of poverty,
·works to createnew institutionsand strengthen old onesso asto providethe access to technology, capacity building, capital , and creditthat is currently denied the target population,
·provides through these initiatives effective ways of making the target population visible.
·strives to changethe behavior of those who currently benefit from deposits and remittance transactions by the majority and their Diaspora, but deny them access to capital and other financial services,
The New Paradigm process has already been applied from the bottom up in a pilot programin the Republic of Panama. The program involves marginalized communities in master planning for sustainable development. This initiative has produced a registry of economically feasible projects in which community individuals and groups will be involved. This will become the Multi Regional Registry of Feasible Investment Opportunities, and will eventually be developed into the Central America and Dominican Republic Community Participation Capacity Building Set Aside Initiative (CIDES) (See Abstract 2).
Under the CIDES Initiative, community master planning processes will be promoted and developed in the countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic. A consortium of universities will provide services for capacity building, technology exchange, incubator research, distance learning, and feasibility studies.
The proponents are aware of the importance of access to capital and credit, and to address this issue have created a task force known as“The Southern Caucus Access to Capital and Credit Task Force for Business Development and Fair Trade.”The task force includes financing facilities, socially responsible financial institutions, southern Diaspora investment groups, and private sector corporations.
The aim is to generate $100 million dollars of access to capital and credit for development and market structures, remittance facilities and investment funds for joint venture partnerships with community- based investors, many of whom will come from the Multi Regional Registry of Feasible Investment Opportunities.
The New Paradigm will build on a process already underway in the Southern Diaspora of the United States.Investment Groups from target populations in the United States will be involved in Fair Trade investments and in partnerships with individuals and groups in Central America and the Caribbean for projects in a “Multi Regional Registry of Community- Based Projects”.
Glossary of Terms
Southern Diaspora of People of African Descent,
All people in the world who acknowledge that part of their ancestry traces back to Africa
Afro-Latinos,Afro-Americans, North American Indigenous Peoples, Afro-Caribbean peoples, and other ethnic minorities in the United States who havestrong ties to each other and to peoples of African descent, indigenous peoples,and ethnic minorities in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Descendants of Asian and other non-European people who populated the Caribbean and Latin America in the colonial period
People who trace their ancestry to Indigenous peoples of Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Fair Two Way Trade This is a termed coined in opposition to the concept of Free Trade. It is based on the concept that there should be a level playing field for trade with equal access by both parties to sell products to the other.It recognizes that there may be some instances where domestic production of food for local consumption can be a matter of National security interest..
Multi Regional Registry of Feasible Investment Opportunities This refers to a Multi Regional Registry being maintained by the Southern Caucus of NGOs for Sustainable Development offeasible community based economic activitythat result from consultation with the community andthat provides forcommunity participation and/ or partnership. Stakeholders. This term refers to groups that should be considered in addition to stockholders. They include Women, Children, Youth, The Elderly poor people and others placed at risk as a result of economic and/or environmental injustice.
(Any other terms not understood by the editor shall be listed here for introduction and definition.)
 The world Bank Little Green Data Book of World Statistics,(2006)
The estimates that follow are accumulated from estimates prepared by the Southern Diaspora Research and Development Center and summarized in a table in the appendix of this document.
 Inter American Development Bank IADB publication “Building a New Majority”
 “Building Opportunity for the Majority” Inter American Development Bank, Washington D.C., Donald Terry, Christopher Barton, Elizabeth Boggs et al
Fundacion Universidad Popular de Desarrollo Sostenible de Las Americas (UNIPOP) Calle 8A-E56, La Riviera de Don Bosco, Panama, Republica de Panama