Ibero American Summit underway

October 29, 2008

, SAN SALVADOR, October 29 – Leaders from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Andorra meet here Wednesday for a summit focusing on youth and development, under the shadow of the worldwide financial crisis.

Students and workers from El Salvador\’s state university protested ahead of the 18th Ibero-American Summit against the failure of countries taking part to deal with growing poverty, compounded by current financial woes.

Meanwhile, Salvadoran President Elias Antonio Saca and the UN children\’s agency UNICEF on Tuesday presented a proposal for free education for children in participating countries, to be discussed at the summit.

"I don\’t doubt that we\’ll find the support of the presidents (for the project)," Saca said in a speech Tuesday.

Saca this week sought to convince his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez to attend the three-day meeting after the leftist leader pulled out citing fears for his personal safety in El Salvador.

Spain\’s King Juan Carlos famously told the Venezuelan leader to "shut up" as last year\’s Ibero-American summit drew to a close in Santiago, Chile.

This year\’s meeting is due to start Wednesday afternoon in the Salvadoran capital.

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