Message from the IV People's Summit to the Presidents gathered at the V Summit of the Americas

THE ECONOMIC MODEL THAT IS IN CRISIS NEEDS URGENT CHANGE
NO MORE EXCLUSION, NEOLIBERALISM, sales “FREE TRADE” OR MILITARIZATION

MESSAGE FROM THE IV PEOPLES SUMMIT
TO THE PRESIDENTS GATHERED AT THE
V SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
Trinidad Tobago, April 18, 2009

As representatives from a wide diversity of trade union, farmer, indigenous, women’s, youth, consumer advocacy, human rights, environmental and, in general, social and civil organizations that are part of hemispheric networks such as the Hemispheric Social Alliance and united here at the IV Peoples’ Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish to transmit this message from the people we represent:

1)    The Summit of the Americas continues to be marked by exclusion and lack of democracy. First, we consider the continued exclusion of Cuba from hemispheric governmental forums to be inexplicable and unacceptable. No reason suffices to justify this exclusion, especially when nearly all countries of the hemisphere – the only exception being the U.S. – have diplomatic relations with this sovereign nation. We demand the full inclusion of Cuba in all hemispheric spaces in which it chooses to participate and, above all, an end to the illegitimate and unjust blockade that the United States has imposed on the island for decades. [This Summit represents an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate whether or not he intends to truly change hemispheric relations that have been based on impositions]. For the majority of countries in the hemisphere, we also condemn the near complete lack of channels for democratic participation and consultation on decisions that are made in the official Summit, decisions which will affect the destinies of our nations. This exclusion is one of the reasons for which we are here meeting in the Peoples’ Summit. In this same vein, we want to raise the most energetic protest to the official treatment of our summit, which has included every conceivable obstacle, direct hostility and arbitrary actions that we have had to overcome to make the Summit possible. This has included detentions, deportations, interrogations, mistreatment, spying, denying us the use of facilities and retracting guarantees.

2)    In the face of the grave crisis shaking the world and our hemisphere in particular, which illustrates the failure of the so-called “free trade” model it is evident that the official Summit’s declaration is far from representing the indispensible and urgent change that current reality and hemispheric relations demand. We note with alarm that this ‘project’ chooses to ignore the significance of a crisis with such historic dimensions.  It is as if by doing this, one could ‘disappear’ the crisis. The official declaration covers with rhetoric, ambiguity, and meaningless good intentions its lack of an urgently needed turnaround in hemispheric policies.   What is worse, it insists on proposing solutions that are merely more of the same old policies, more of the medicine that has created the worst illness – in other words, more neoliberalism and free trade.  The declaration further ratifies support for antiquated institutions that contributed to the current debacle. Even if by omission, giving forums such as the G-20, which are illegitimate and exclusive, the power to determine so-called solutions to the crisis—such as “prescriptions” to dedicate more resources to the already repudiated IMF—is to maintain a vicious circle. Canceling the illegitimate debts of countries in the South, rather than condemning them to further indebtedness, is a solution that could actually provide countries the resources needed for development.

3)    The neoliberal model arose as a “solution” to previous crises, but it has only lead to an even worse crisis. The solution must not be more of the same. We, the social movements and organizations from the hemisphere, affirm that another solution to the crisis is possible and necessary. The solutions will not be found by reactivating the same economic model or establishing an even more perverse one.   The solution will not be found in continuing to convert everything – including life itself – into mere commodities. Instead, the solution must be one that puts ‘Living Well’ for all people above the profits of a few. It is not a question of resolving a financial crisis, but rather overcoming all of the dimensions of the crisis – which include the food, climate and energy crises. This requires guaranteeing the people’s food sovereignty, putting an end to the pillaging of the South’s natural resources, paying the ecological debt that is owed to the South and developing sustainable energy strategies. If the governments gathered in the official Summit refuse to explicitly address the urgent changes needed, they thereby renounce their right to receive support from their people.  We salute the fact that some presidents from the South are raising with dignity in the official event, alternatives which coincide with those which the people of the Americas are raising.

4)    We demand that in the short term, the working people of the hemisphere must not be made to bear the brunt of the crisis, which is what has been happening so far. Instead of dedicating billions of dollars to rescuing financial speculators and large corporations, that profited before the crisis, provoked the crisis, and then returned to the same behavior, we demand that the people be rescued. This is one way to strengthen our national economies and promote recovery directed towards real development that inverts the order of the beneficiaries, giving priority to the people.

5)    We also demand that the crisis not be used as a pretext to attack or reduce social rights that have been won. Rights do not have costs. On the contrary, the best solution to the crisis is to expand rights, making decent work, democratic freedoms, and human, economic, social and cultural rights a reality. To start with, the full rights of indigenous peoples must finally be recognized as well as womens’ rights.

6)    A just and sustainable solution to the crisis necessitates a complete reorganizing of hemispheric relations and a burial of the so-called “free trade” model. No more FTAs. It is necessary to replace the FTAs that have been proliferating throughout the region with a new model of agreements between nations based on equity, complementary arrangements, mutual benefit, cooperation and just trade. This model must protect the right to development, the right of nations to protect their goods, strategic resources and sovereignty. Processes of regional integration that are developed on these bases are also a strong lever for resolving the crisis and promoting alternative solutions. We especially call on the governments in countries of the South that have advanced these types of processes to deepen them, to not lose their autonomy and to not stray from this path. Perverse and hegemonic projects such as the FTAA should be buried forever. We ask governments in the region, namely the new United States administration headed by President Obama, to make explicit their position on the future of initiatives such as the one developed in the entrails of the Bush administration – Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas – that not only aims to revive the corpse of the FTAA, but also to subordinate the rest of the hemisphere to Washington’s policies and security forces. We hereby affirm that we, the people of the Americas, will not allow this to happen.

7)    Cooperation between nations must not, in any circumstance, include the militarization of our societies. The security policies of each country must not be subordinated to the interests of any power, nor should human rights and individual guarantees be restricted. We demand the closure of all military bases and the withdrawal of all troops and the U.S. IV Fleet from the waters and territories of Latin America and the Caribbean.  The future for our America demands an end, once and for all, to the colonial domination of Puerto Rico and all forms of colonialism in the Caribbean.

Presidents: listening to your people and acting in favor of their interests–not the profits of a small few—is the only true, lasting and sustainable solution to end the crisis and build another, more just America.

HEMISPHERIC SOCIAL ALLIANCE / IV PEOPLE’S SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

 


THE ECONOMIC MODEL THAT IS IN CRISIS NEEDS URGENT CHANGE
NO MORE EXCLUSION, seek NEOLIBERALISM, sale “FREE TRADE” OR MILITARIZATION

MESSAGE FROM THE IV PEOPLES SUMMIT
TO THE PRESIDENTS GATHERED AT THE
V SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
Trinidad Tobago, April 18, 2009

As representatives from a wide diversity of trade union, farmer, indigenous, women’s, youth, consumer advocacy, human rights, environmental and, in general, social and civil organizations that are part of hemispheric networks such as the Hemispheric Social Alliance and united here at the IV Peoples’ Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish to transmit this message from the people we represent:

1)    The Summit of the Americas continues to be marked by exclusion and lack of democracy. First, we consider the continued exclusion of Cuba from hemispheric governmental forums to be inexplicable and unacceptable. No reason suffices to justify this exclusion, especially when nearly all countries of the hemisphere – the only exception being the U.S. – have diplomatic relations with this sovereign nation. We demand the full inclusion of Cuba in all hemispheric spaces in which it chooses to participate and, above all, an end to the illegitimate and unjust blockade that the United States has imposed on the island for decades. [This Summit represents an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate whether or not he intends to truly change hemispheric relations that have been based on impositions]. For the majority of countries in the hemisphere, we also condemn the near complete lack of channels for democratic participation and consultation on decisions that are made in the official Summit, decisions which will affect the destinies of our nations. This exclusion is one of the reasons for which we are here meeting in the Peoples’ Summit. In this same vein, we want to raise the most energetic protest to the official treatment of our summit, which has included every conceivable obstacle, direct hostility and arbitrary actions that we have had to overcome to make the Summit possible. This has included detentions, deportations, interrogations, mistreatment, spying, denying us the use of facilities and retracting guarantees.

2)    In the face of the grave crisis shaking the world and our hemisphere in particular, which illustrates the failure of the so-called “free trade” model it is evident that the official Summit’s declaration is far from representing the indispensible and urgent change that current reality and hemispheric relations demand. We note with alarm that this ‘project’ chooses to ignore the significance of a crisis with such historic dimensions.  It is as if by doing this, one could ‘disappear’ the crisis. The official declaration covers with rhetoric, ambiguity, and meaningless good intentions its lack of an urgently needed turnaround in hemispheric policies.   What is worse, it insists on proposing solutions that are merely more of the same old policies, more of the medicine that has created the worst illness – in other words, more neoliberalism and free trade.  The declaration further ratifies support for antiquated institutions that contributed to the current debacle. Even if by omission, giving forums such as the G-20, which are illegitimate and exclusive, the power to determine so-called solutions to the crisis—such as “prescriptions” to dedicate more resources to the already repudiated IMF—is to maintain a vicious circle. Canceling the illegitimate debts of countries in the South, rather than condemning them to further indebtedness, is a solution that could actually provide countries the resources needed for development.

3)    The neoliberal model arose as a “solution” to previous crises, but it has only lead to an even worse crisis. The solution must not be more of the same. We, the social movements and organizations from the hemisphere, affirm that another solution to the crisis is possible and necessary. The solutions will not be found by reactivating the same economic model or establishing an even more perverse one.   The solution will not be found in continuing to convert everything – including life itself – into mere commodities. Instead, the solution must be one that puts ‘Living Well’ for all people above the profits of a few. It is not a question of resolving a financial crisis, but rather overcoming all of the dimensions of the crisis – which include the food, climate and energy crises. This requires guaranteeing the people’s food sovereignty, putting an end to the pillaging of the South’s natural resources, paying the ecological debt that is owed to the South and developing sustainable energy strategies. If the governments gathered in the official Summit refuse to explicitly address the urgent changes needed, they thereby renounce their right to receive support from their people.  We salute the fact that some presidents from the South are raising with dignity in the official event, alternatives which coincide with those which the people of the Americas are raising.

4)    We demand that in the short term, the working people of the hemisphere must not be made to bear the brunt of the crisis, which is what has been happening so far. Instead of dedicating billions of dollars to rescuing financial speculators and large corporations, that profited before the crisis, provoked the crisis, and then returned to the same behavior, we demand that the people be rescued. This is one way to strengthen our national economies and promote recovery directed towards real development that inverts the order of the beneficiaries, giving priority to the people.

5)    We also demand that the crisis not be used as a pretext to attack or reduce social rights that have been won. Rights do not have costs. On the contrary, the best solution to the crisis is to expand rights, making decent work, democratic freedoms, and human, economic, social and cultural rights a reality. To start with, the full rights of indigenous peoples must finally be recognized as well as womens’ rights.

6)    A just and sustainable solution to the crisis necessitates a complete reorganizing of hemispheric relations and a burial of the so-called “free trade” model. No more FTAs. It is necessary to replace the FTAs that have been proliferating throughout the region with a new model of agreements between nations based on equity, complementary arrangements, mutual benefit, cooperation and just trade. This model must protect the right to development, the right of nations to protect their goods, strategic resources and sovereignty. Processes of regional integration that are developed on these bases are also a strong lever for resolving the crisis and promoting alternative solutions. We especially call on the governments in countries of the South that have advanced these types of processes to deepen them, to not lose their autonomy and to not stray from this path. Perverse and hegemonic projects such as the FTAA should be buried forever. We ask governments in the region, namely the new United States administration headed by President Obama, to make explicit their position on the future of initiatives such as the one developed in the entrails of the Bush administration – Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas – that not only aims to revive the corpse of the FTAA, but also to subordinate the rest of the hemisphere to Washington’s policies and security forces. We hereby affirm that we, the people of the Americas, will not allow this to happen.

7)    Cooperation between nations must not, in any circumstance, include the militarization of our societies. The security policies of each country must not be subordinated to the interests of any power, nor should human rights and individual guarantees be restricted. We demand the closure of all military bases and the withdrawal of all troops and the U.S. IV Fleet from the waters and territories of Latin America and the Caribbean.  The future for our America demands an end, once and for all, to the colonial domination of Puerto Rico and all forms of colonialism in the Caribbean.

Presidents: listening to your people and acting in favor of their interests–not the profits of a small few—is the only true, lasting and sustainable solution to end the crisis and build another, more just America.

HEMISPHERIC SOCIAL ALLIANCE / IV PEOPLE’S SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

 


  1. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is holding its Policy Organs meetings and the 13th Summit of Heads of State and Government in the resort town of Victoria Falls, help Zimbabwe from the 28th May to 8th June 2009 under the theme Consolidating Regional Economic Integration through Value Addition, Trade and Food Security.2.
  2. From the 2nd – 4th June 2009 the Council of Ministers will be meeting to deliberate on a number of issues affecting the COMESA region, including the current negotiations with the European Union (officially known as the European Community) on concluding Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

We recall that:

3.         The Eastern and Southern Africa Group (ESA) and the European Community (EC) senior officials met in Brussels on 28 April 2009 under the co-chairmanship of H.E Ambassadors S Gunessee and N. Wahab on ESA side as well as P. Thompson, Director, DG Trade on EC side. In their conclusions on the Interim EPAs initialled towards the end of 2007, the officials noted that:

On signature of interim EPA, EC confirmed that provided that an agreement is reached on translation, the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) could be ready for signature around mid-May 2009. ESA confirmed its decision to host the signature in Mauritius and informed that the issue of the date of signature will be considered at the next ESA Council scheduled for the 4th June 2009 in Victoria Falls back to back with COMESA Summit with a view to agreeing on a mutually convenient date as well as its arrangement for the signing ceremony.

We are concerned that:

4.         The ESA countries (as represented by their officials) have confirmed their decision to host the signature of the interim EPAs and that they are already considering discussing the dates of such a ceremony when the outstanding and contentious issues in the interim EPAs have not been addressed and resolved.

5.         The contentious issues arising from the interim EPAs include, inter alia, involve far reaching commitments on tariffs reductions the freezing of export taxes that ESA countries have been using, the requirement that ESA countries should not increase duties on products from the EU beyond what they have been applying (standstill clause), liberalising “substantially all trade”, bilateral safeguards (for infant industry protection)-all these issues are still under negotiations. We take the precautionary principle and reiterate that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

6.         The EC has insisted that the first priority should be the signature of the interim EPA. The EU main interest is in market access which they may achieve in interim EPAs. This limits the scope of focussing on the real issues of interest to ESA countries that need attention before the signature. ESA countries should resist the pressure of rushing to sign the interim EPA when it is clear they will be mortgaging national and public assets to the EC.

We urge ESA countries to recognise that:

7.         Africa remains a marginal player in world trade (6% in 1980 and 3% in 2008) since the continent’s trade structure still lacks diversity in terms of production and exports. As such, negotiations to further liberalise (after Structural Adjustment Programmes) their economies will be a futile and possible suicidal exercise until certain pre-requisites are met and instituted within their economies. The emphasis on trade liberalisation alone as a means to stimulating growth and development is misplaced.

8.         The pre-requisites (as informed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) centre on addressing the structural constraints in ESA countries including

  • increased public investment in research and development, rural infrastructure — including roads — and health and education
  • overhauling the basic productive infrastructure to make production more reliable. Power generation, water supply and telecommunications are three key areas that need special attention. In addition, building a competitive manufacturing sector will require the strengthening of the support infrastructure needed for exporting, including roads, railways and port facilities.
  • encouraging cross-border trade infrastructure. It is unlikely that the manufacturing sector in Africa will grow to a competitive level if it is limited to small domestic markets. The smallness of individual African markets and the difficulty for most firms to access the markets of industrialized countries suggest that in the short and medium term, the expansion of intra-African trade could offer the opportunity to widen markets outside national boundaries. In so doing, some key infrastructure projects could be executed at the regional level, taking into account regional economic complementarities.
  • development of domestic policy regulatory frameworks to regulate the movement of goods and services in and outside ESA countries. This includes adopting policies that ensure Special and Differential Treatment including the Special Safeguard Mechanism in agriculture, use of tariffs, among other things

9.         Trade liberalisation has so far discouraged intra-regional trade in Africa as the reduction of tariffs, which reduce the preference margins given to other African countries, reduce the incentives for intraregional trade.

10.       The Cotonou Agreement (that forms the legal basis of negotiating EPAs), recognise that reciprocal agreements (EPAs) with the EC had to foster regional integration and to be based on current integration efforts. However, as the interim agreements have shown, this commitment has been negated as the current configuration of the EPA encompasses a major risk of undermining ongoing regional integration processes.

11.       Most countries in the region continue to suffer from food shortages and food insecurity. As a result they have been importing more food and energy (including inflation which was at 10.7% in 2008 up from 6.4% in 2007, the continental average excluding Zimbabwe) into the region. Trade liberalisation will exacerbate the problems of food insecurity.

12.       The ESA political leadership have an obligation towards their people and should ensure that whatever decisions they take should not put the lives of people in danger. This means all those targets of reducing poverty, reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to education for the people should be used as tools for making informed decisions especially with regards to trade negotiations.

13.       Given the above, liberalising ESA economies under the EPAs as already indicated by the interim EPAs will further weaken the countries’ ability to develop and respond to the challenges posed by liberalisation and Limit Africa to the production and export of low value goods (the so-called “poor-country” goods) based on the so-called comparative advantage argument. This is tantamount to condemning the continent and locking it into poverty.

We therefore recommend that:

14.       A moratorium be put in place on EPAs negotiations until the ESA countries have put in place adequate institutional mechanisms to deal with trade liberalisation as recommended by the African Union, UNCTAD, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa among others.

15.       ESA countries focus on developing its regional market, steps that have already been taken by consolidating the gains of the COMESA FTA, the Customs Union and the move to form a single FTA with the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

16.       In light of the high food and energy prices, the climate crisis and the current global recession triggered by the financial crisis, ESA countries MUST reverse most of the commitments they have agreed under the IMF/World Bank SAP policies, the World Trade Organisation and the so-called interim Economic Partnership Agreements. This will allow the countries to implement favourable home grown policies that are in tandem with their development priorities.

A GLOBAL CALL FOR ACTION TO STOP EPAs

From the 27-30 March, ampoule 2006 we the undermentioned organisations involved in the Stop–EPA campaign, salve from Africa and Europe met in Harare, clinic Zimbabwe, at meeting organised the umbrella of the Africa Trade Network. We deliberated on the developments since the campaign was adopted and discussed strategies for the coming period. 

It has been two years since civil society organisations, social movements, and mass-membership organisations across Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Europe adopted the campaign to STOP the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) as currently designed and being negotiated between the European Union and ACP groups of countries. 

The campaign was adopted on the grounds that in their current form, the EPAs are essentially free-trade agreements between unequal parties: Europe, with its overwhelming economic and political power, and the fragile and dependent economies of the ACP countries. In addition, the process of the negotiations is imbalanced and rushed, allowing the EU to impose its interests and agenda, and dictate the momentum of the negotiations to suit its own needs and purposes. 

Two years since the adoption of the campaign, there is wide-spread recognition among governments, inter-governmental institutions, parliamentarians, civil society actors and a diverse range of social constituencies across the ACP, Europe and the rest of the world of the dangers posed by the EPAs to the economies and peoples of the ACP countries. This has yet not led to fundamental changes in the nature of the EPAs and the process of negotiations. 

Member governments of the European Union, which have publicly adopted policy positions in direct contradiction to the negotiating mandate of the EC, have not followed up with action to change that mandate. Strong unofficial reservations expressed by other member-governments continue to remain as unofficial reservations. 

For its part, the European Commission has constructed new rhetoric to sell the EPAs and justify continuation of its mandate. It has encouraged false hopes of increase in European development assistance to ACP countries, and used different forms of pressure, including aid conditionality, to continue to override the reluctance of ACP groups to yield to its interests.

On the part of governments in the ACP countries, individual and collective public positions, which have effectively repudiated the EPAs in their current forms are not translated into policy and negotiating positions. Dependency on aid, and concern for the maintenance of preferences seem to have disproportionately influenced governments into accepting the ECs terms and parameters of negotiations. In some instances, secretariats of the regional groups and machineries whose role it is to facilitate the negotiations on behalf of the ACP groupings have abandoned the policy directions of national governments which make up the region, and have tended to promote the perspectives of the EC.

An immediate outcome of these developments is the negative effect of the EPA negotiations on autonomous ACP regional integration initiatives. On-going regional integration initiatives and processes have been hijacked and diverted, and many historical and political African regional configurations have been split.

Added to the above situation, the current deadlock in the WTO negotiations has lead to increasing pressure on bilateral and regional free trade negotiations. 

All these developments affirm validity of the positions and concerns of the STOP EPA campaign, and make its demands even more urgent.

We are inspired by the global mobilisation that the campaign has generated and welcome the increasing numbers of diverse groups of stakeholders and networks of actors who have joined or otherwise taken up the cause of the campaign. 

Although civil society engagement with the EPA negotiations is increasing, we are still very much concerned by the lack of involvement of the majority of affected citizens, workers and farmers in ACP countries and the lack of openness and transparency in the negotiations.

We reaffirm the positions and demands of the STOP EPA campaign. We reject the EPAs in their current form. They will:

•    expand Europe’s access to ACP markets for its goods, services, and investments; expose ACP producers to unfair European competition in domestic and regional markets, and increase the domination and concentration of European firms, goods and services;
•    thereby lead to deeper unemployment, loss of livelihoods, food insecurity and social and gender inequity and inequality as well as undermine human and social rights; 
•    endanger the ongoing but fragile processes of regional integration among the ACP countries; and deepen – and prolong – the socio-economic decline and political fragility that characterises most ACP countries. 

We re-affirm our demand for an overhaul and review of the EU’s neo-liberal external trade policy, particularly with respect to developing countries, and demanded that EU-ACP trade cooperation should be founded on an approach that:
•    is based on a principle of non-reciprocity, as instituted in Generalised System of Preferences and special and differential treatment in the WTO;
•    protects ACP producers domestic and regional markets; 
•    reverses the pressure for trade and investment liberalisation; and 
•    allows the necessary policy space and supports ACP countries to pursue their own development strategies.     

In further pursuit of the goals and demands of the campaign we make the following demands.

Governments of the ACP countries
The primary responsibility for promoting the interests and needs of the people in ACP countries and of defending them against the ravages of free trade agreements with the EU lies with the governments in the ACP countries, both in their individual and collective capacities, acting at national, regional and ACP-wide levels. In this regard we call upon ACP governments:

•    to heed to the call of their citizens over the EPAs and ensure that hopes over increased aid, and concerns about the future of preferences does not lead to sacrificing the economic and developmental future of their people;
•    to live up to their policy statements and positions on the EPAs and to translate these into positions in the processes of engagement over the EPA;
•    to reassert their policy authority on the negotiations over the regional secretariats, and to ensure that the latter do not undermine stated policy positions in the negotiations;

European Union – Member States

The European Union has a responsibility to live up to its stated developmental objectives. We demand that member-governments of the European Union should 
•    assert their authority over the EC on issues concerning ACP-EU co-operation for the promotion of sustainable development in the ACP countries;
•    change the EC’s negotiating mandate in relation to the EPA negotiations; and to this end;
•    ensure that the EPA review mandated for this year is comprehensive, all-inclusive, transparent, and substantive and places sustainable development at the centre.

Finally we call upon civil society organisations, social movements, and mass-membership organisations across the ACP and Europe to join the campaign, and engage with their governments on the issues of ACP development in relation to the EU.

Harare, Thursday, 30 March 2006

1.    Mwelekeo wa NGO (MWENGO), Zimbabwe
2.    Third World Network-Africa, Ghana
3.    ACDIC, Cameroon
4.    Alternative Information Development Centre
5.    AIPAD TRUST, Zimbabwe
6.    Alternatives to Neo-liberalism in Southern Africa (ANSA)
7.    Civil Society Trade Network of Zambia
8.    CECIDE, Guinea
9.    Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA), Ethiopia
10.    Economic Justice Network, South Africa
11.    ENDA, Senegal
12.    GENTA, South Africa
13.    GRAPAD, Benin
14.    InterAfrica Group, Ethiopia
15.    Labour and Economic Development Research Institute (LEDRIZ), Zimbabwe
16.    Malawi Economic Justice And Network 
17.    Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN)
18.    SEATINI, Zimbabwe
19.    TradesCentre, Zimbabwe
20.    Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), Zimbabwe
21.    Action Aid
22.    ACORD
23.    Both Ends
24.    ChristianAid
25.    ICCO
26.    KASA/WERKSTATT OKONOMIE
27.    One World Action (VIA Project)
28.    Oxfam International
29.    Traidcraft
30.    11.11.11

THE ECONOMIC MODEL THAT IS IN CRISIS NEEDS URGENT CHANGE
NO MORE EXCLUSION, sick NEOLIBERALISM, “FREE TRADE” OR MILITARIZATION

Trinidad Tobago, April 18, 2009

As representatives from a wide diversity of trade union, farmer, indigenous, women’s, youth, consumer advocacy, human rights, environmental and, in general, social and civil organizations that are part of hemispheric networks such as the Hemispheric Social Alliance and united here at the IV Peoples’ Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish to transmit this message from the people we represent:

1)    The Summit of the Americas continues to be marked by exclusion and lack of democracy. First, we consider the continued exclusion of Cuba from hemispheric governmental forums to be inexplicable and unacceptable. No reason suffices to justify this exclusion, especially when nearly all countries of the hemisphere – the only exception being the U.S. – have diplomatic relations with this sovereign nation. We demand the full inclusion of Cuba in all hemispheric spaces in which it chooses to participate and, above all, an end to the illegitimate and unjust blockade that the United States has imposed on the island for decades. [This Summit represents an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate whether or not he intends to truly change hemispheric relations that have been based on impositions]. For the majority of countries in the hemisphere, we also condemn the near complete lack of channels for democratic participation and consultation on decisions that are made in the official Summit, decisions which will affect the destinies of our nations. This exclusion is one of the reasons for which we are here meeting in the Peoples’ Summit. In this same vein, we want to raise the most energetic protest to the official treatment of our summit, which has included every conceivable obstacle, direct hostility and arbitrary actions that we have had to overcome to make the Summit possible. This has included detentions, deportations, interrogations, mistreatment, spying, denying us the use of facilities and retracting guarantees.

2)    In the face of the grave crisis shaking the world and our hemisphere in particular, which illustrates the failure of the so-called “free trade” model it is evident that the official Summit’s declaration is far from representing the indispensible and urgent change that current reality and hemispheric relations demand. We note with alarm that this ‘project’ chooses to ignore the significance of a crisis with such historic dimensions.  It is as if by doing this, one could ‘disappear’ the crisis. The official declaration covers with rhetoric, ambiguity, and meaningless good intentions its lack of an urgently needed turnaround in hemispheric policies.   What is worse, it insists on proposing solutions that are merely more of the same old policies, more of the medicine that has created the worst illness – in other words, more neoliberalism and free trade.  The declaration further ratifies support for antiquated institutions that contributed to the current debacle. Even if by omission, giving forums such as the G-20, which are illegitimate and exclusive, the power to determine so-called solutions to the crisis—such as “prescriptions” to dedicate more resources to the already repudiated IMF—is to maintain a vicious circle. Canceling the illegitimate debts of countries in the South, rather than condemning them to further indebtedness, is a solution that could actually provide countries the resources needed for development.

3)    The neoliberal model arose as a “solution” to previous crises, but it has only lead to an even worse crisis. The solution must not be more of the same. We, the social movements and organizations from the hemisphere, affirm that another solution to the crisis is possible and necessary. The solutions will not be found by reactivating the same economic model or establishing an even more perverse one.   The solution will not be found in continuing to convert everything – including life itself – into mere commodities. Instead, the solution must be one that puts ‘Living Well’ for all people above the profits of a few. It is not a question of resolving a financial crisis, but rather overcoming all of the dimensions of the crisis – which include the food, climate and energy crises. This requires guaranteeing the people’s food sovereignty, putting an end to the pillaging of the South’s natural resources, paying the ecological debt that is owed to the South and developing sustainable energy strategies. If the governments gathered in the official Summit refuse to explicitly address the urgent changes needed, they thereby renounce their right to receive support from their people.  We salute the fact that some presidents from the South are raising with dignity in the official event, alternatives which coincide with those which the people of the Americas are raising.

4)    We demand that in the short term, the working people of the hemisphere must not be made to bear the brunt of the crisis, which is what has been happening so far. Instead of dedicating billions of dollars to rescuing financial speculators and large corporations, that profited before the crisis, provoked the crisis, and then returned to the same behavior, we demand that the people be rescued. This is one way to strengthen our national economies and promote recovery directed towards real development that inverts the order of the beneficiaries, giving priority to the people.

5)    We also demand that the crisis not be used as a pretext to attack or reduce social rights that have been won. Rights do not have costs. On the contrary, the best solution to the crisis is to expand rights, making decent work, democratic freedoms, and human, economic, social and cultural rights a reality. To start with, the full rights of indigenous peoples must finally be recognized as well as womens’ rights.

6)    A just and sustainable solution to the crisis necessitates a complete reorganizing of hemispheric relations and a burial of the so-called “free trade” model. No more FTAs. It is necessary to replace the FTAs that have been proliferating throughout the region with a new model of agreements between nations based on equity, complementary arrangements, mutual benefit, cooperation and just trade. This model must protect the right to development, the right of nations to protect their goods, strategic resources and sovereignty. Processes of regional integration that are developed on these bases are also a strong lever for resolving the crisis and promoting alternative solutions. We especially call on the governments in countries of the South that have advanced these types of processes to deepen them, to not lose their autonomy and to not stray from this path. Perverse and hegemonic projects such as the FTAA should be buried forever. We ask governments in the region, namely the new United States administration headed by President Obama, to make explicit their position on the future of initiatives such as the one developed in the entrails of the Bush administration – Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas – that not only aims to revive the corpse of the FTAA, but also to subordinate the rest of the hemisphere to Washington’s policies and security forces. We hereby affirm that we, the people of the Americas, will not allow this to happen.

7)    Cooperation between nations must not, in any circumstance, include the militarization of our societies. The security policies of each country must not be subordinated to the interests of any power, nor should human rights and individual guarantees be restricted. We demand the closure of all military bases and the withdrawal of all troops and the U.S. IV Fleet from the waters and territories of Latin America and the Caribbean.  The future for our America demands an end, once and for all, to the colonial domination of Puerto Rico and all forms of colonialism in the Caribbean.

Presidents: listening to your people and acting in favor of their interests–not the profits of a small few—is the only true, lasting and sustainable solution to end the crisis and build another, more just America.

HEMISPHERIC SOCIAL ALLIANCE / IV PEOPLE’S SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

 

 

Regional Integration: An Opportunity to Overcome the Crisis

Nosotros, representantes de movimientos sociales, sindicales y de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Latina, África, Asia y Europa, reunidos en Asunción para discutir la vital importancia de las respuestas regionales a la crisis global actual, instamos a los Jefes de Estado reunidos en Asunción para la Cumbre del Mercosur a tomar una decisión contundente de avanzar en la implementación de modalidades para la cooperación orientada a un verdadero desarrollo al servicio de los pueblos de nuestras regiones.
Estas nuevas modalidades deben, en primer lugar, revisar de manera fundamental los términos injustos del acuerdo de Itaipu firmados décadas atrás por gobiernos dictatoriales de Brasil y Paraguay. La energía es el principal recurso del Paraguay para diseñar un desarrollo sustentable que responda a la necesidad de mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de su pueblo. Los movimientos sociales y el gobierno de Paraguay han demandado el derecho soberano de su país, traducido en la libre disponibilidad y el precio justo, sobre el 50% de la energía producida en Itaipu y Yacyreta, y la revisión de la deuda contraída para la construcción de estas represas. Consideramos estas demandas como justas.
Sobre la base de esta caso altamente significativo y con el objetivo de asegurar que este tipo de mega-proyectos, basados en relaciones de poder desiguales entre países vecinos, no sean en el futuro replicados en ninguna de nuestras respectivas regiones, llamamos a la creación urgente de marcos regionales elaborados conjuntamente y basados en principios de equidad que regulen este tipo de proyectos conjuntos. Estos, en vez, deben incluir el involucramiento activo y los aportes de las fuerzas sociales y de trabajadores organizadas de todas las respectivas regiones.
Fue en este espíritu de cooperación que la conferencia incluyo la participación de parlamentarios de varios países de las distintas regiones, y el dialogo directo con representantes gubernamentales del Mercosur. Algunos de los temas claves que se discutieron incluyeron: :
* La urgente necesidad que los gobiernos creen instrumentos financieros regionales tales como Bancos regionales de desarrollo para defender sus economías y sus pueblos de los efectos destructivos del capitalismo globalizado neoliberal.
* El reconocimiento de que la integración regional debe estar basada en principios de solidaridad y programas de complementariedad que reconozcan las asimetrías en términos de tamaños, recursos, y niveles de desarrollo de los países participantes para transformar el modelo de desarrollo hacia un sistema productivo mas balanceado y sostenible entre todos los países, localidades y pueblos.
* En este contexto, la estratégica importancia de tomar una posición firme y activa para revertir el golpe de estado en Honduras y la restauración del gobierno legalmente elegido, desplazado por las fuerzas anti-democráticas que actuaron no solo en contra del Gobierno de Zelaya sino también con el objetivo de revertir las tendencias progresistas en la región buscando mantener el sistema de acumulación del capital, favoreciendo los intereses de las transnacionales de Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea.
* La imperativa urgencia de encontrar modalidades y medios de hacer efectiva la participación de los movimientos sociales, comunidades, trabajadores y trabajadoras para avanzar estrategias de integración regional, en una perspectiva holística, sustentable y de verdadera soberanía desde los pueblos.
Vemos este momento como una coyuntura histórica para el mundo cuando la crisis ha expuesto el funcionamiento fundamentalmente inestable y los efectos peligrosos del sistema capitalista global. Es también una oportunidad para desafiar el régimen económico-político global dominante y para avanzar alternativas enfocadas en las necesidades de los pueblos y la preservación del medio ambiente. Tenemos confianza que los pueblos de América Latina y algunos de sus gobiernos jugaran un papel significativo en la formulación y evolución de alternativas regionales, junto con todas las regiones y pueblos del mundo, que respondan a los intereses de nuestro planeta y nuestro futuro común.

Third World Network-Africa, sickness Volume 3 Number 1 May 2009

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Content
– FALL-OUT FROM EPA NEGOTIATIONS: Africa on the brink of
disintergration // pages 1-4
– UNCTAD PUBLIC SYPOSIUM: Regionalism – the south’s exit
strategy from global crises // pages 4-6
– EPA Negiations-Regional State of Play // pages 6-9
– Advocacy File // pages 9-11
– Dateline Africa // pages 12-13
– Global Round-Up // pages 13-15
– Notice Board
page 15

Third World Network-Africa, sovaldi seek Volume 3 Number 1 May 2009

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Hemispheric Social Alliance

March 2009

The crisis as a unique opportunity

The current economic crisis is systemic in nature and marks the demise of the neoliberal model of development and globalization. It is imperative that we build concrete alternatives to this model, until recently, had been artificially sustained by a bubble of multiple speculative operations. We must also reflect on the fact that this pattern of functioning of the world economy in general, and of the financial system in particular, has come to an end. In this context, Latin American countries have before them a historical opportunity for advancing towards a just and sustainable model of development for the region.

When proposing solutions to the crisis, we have the advantage of not having to confront the model while in its full force, as it has obviously reached its limits. Indeed, this is where opportunity lies, as such a broad space for proposing and constructing alternatives was not as visible a short while ago, nor was it expected to appear – especially in the world of “laissez faire – laissez passer”, of the dominant neoliberal “pensée unique” and “the end of history”.

The current crisis exposes the failure of a system full of promises, yet incapable of fulfilling them. The women and men excluded by capital’s policies have lost faith in the “free trade” myth and the current hegemonic model of production and management of natural and energy resources.

Why regional integration is a solution

Regional integration appears today as an alternative that will enable countries in the region to overcome the global economic crisis by creating dynamic economic relations and ties of solidarity among themselves.

– The global market crisis and the limits of domestic markets

The global markets have suffered a collapse and lost their capacity to generate dynamism for the economies in the region, which, in recent years, had gaily navigated the waves created by spectacular increases in food and livestock, mineral and energy commodity prices. The impacts of the crisis are already becoming visible in our countries, demonstrating that the improvements in some macroeconomic indicators, which had been achieved through this type of insertion into the world economy, have not been sufficient to produce structural changes to the development model. That is, the model has not become one of increased sectoral homogeneity, with a dynamic internal market based on the consumption of those at the “bottom of the pyramid”; diversified exports in terms of both products and trading partners; improved job and product quality; and greater social and environmental justice.

There is no guarantee that the economic situation after the crisis will be one of great liquidity of capital and credit, as there was in recent years. Therefore, national governments must face the dilemma of either waiting for the global crisis to pass and when it does, try to slowly recuperate the dynamism in sales of traditional export products on the international market, knowing that the chances of this happening are low; or pursuing limited nationalist solutions that are constrained by the lack of resources and markets most countries in the region face when acting alone.

– Energy, food and water for all

Latin America – as a region – has abundant water, environmental, social, cultural, mineral and energy resources, as well as considerable technological development capacities. Its chances of attaining food, water and energy sovereignty are greater than other regions of the planet. There are public and private enterprises that own infrastructure and could be brought into the regional integration process. Finally, there are governments and social movements in the region that share a reasonable level of political solidarity with regards to the integration process.

When faced with the dilemma posed by the current crisis, then, regional integration appears as a viable and important alternative, as a possibility of moving towards a new development model that is more sustainable and just than the one that has been implanted in our countries until now.

Regional integration, as conceived by the people in the region, offers greater opportunities for our countries. It proposes that the principle of solidarity replace savage competition and the free market, which – as we well know and the crisis has clearly demonstrated – lead neither to balance nor justice, as some theorists claimed it would. The peoples1’ integration would be founded on the principles of complementarity and solidarity and would focus on attaining more socially and economically equitable and just societies. The ultimate objective would be to ensure that system works to benefit all men and women in a holistic manner.

Non-traditional experiences in integration, like the ALBA (Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas or Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, in English), show that complementarity and solidarity between our countries can satisfy the needs of our population in a much more rational and efficient way than intra-regional competition, free trade or having the market act as the system’s only regulatory mechanism.

Processes of integration in the region and the dispute for a popular and sustainable integration model

While looking at the various integration processes in the Americas, one can say that, on the bright side, they have evolved slowly – so slow that they appearing to be paralysed. One cannot deny that some progressive measures have been taken in Mercosur: for example, the incorporation of concerns about the existing asymmetries within the block and incipient efforts to create funds for addressing this problem. The same can be said for changes in political institutions and the advances in the Union of South American Nations, or UNASUR (its abbreviation in Spanish). However, in more concrete terms, the processes’ potential to improve the quality of living of the peoples and workers in our region is far from becoming reality.

On the down side, one can observe the subjugation of these processes to neoliberal thought through the adoption of the “open regionalism” model. The application of this model has left grave marks on the Andean Community (CAN), Central America and the Caribbean. Encouraged by the promotion of indiscriminate competition – both within and between trading blocks – and the signing of bilateral free trade agreements with Europe and the United States, open regionalism has reduced integration to its commercial aspects (trade), thereby eroding possibilities to develop the other dimensions of integration. Nothing indicates that this type of integration has benefitted the societies of these countries.

In other words, when one observes the lengthy experience of regional integration processes in the Americas – some having lasted for over 40 years – and takes into consideration the path they have followed until now, it is not clear that regional integration could potentially benefit our people. What is evident, though, is that the rhetoric of political commitment to integration has often been confronted, in practice, with the adoption of solutions that give priority to national political or economic interests. Collective actions and solutions are relegated to a secondary plane, as governments have been unwilling to assume the so-called short-term “costs” of integration.

To overcome the political dimension of this problem, the pursuit of the consolidation of national sovereignty must be understood within the framework of a common commitment to deepening democracy and the autonomy of the region; an example of this is UNASUR’s recent intervention in conflicts in Bolivia. In this sense, consistent and sustained commitment of governments to the integration processes is fundamental. Such a commitment must be expressed through the building of solid institutions that function according to policies and common actions developed while truly exercising shared and genuine sovereignty.

It is undeniable that what has made an alternative form of integration possible and feasible is the fact that in many countries, the State has recuperated its ability to promote productive and social development or has made significant progress in this area. This is why we must insist that the alternative model of integration we pursue is not incompatible, but rather complementary to the defence of and advances in national sovereignty. This does not imply defending strict nationalism, but rather a possible path towards integration between nations – nations that are not simply victims of imperialist plans, but rather sovereign nations with national development projects. These projects must be articulated on a regional level.

Latin America, the new geopolitical situation and the construction of a new regionally based model of development

Regional integration can play a key role in this new historical context, especially when we consider two fundamental strategic perspectives that have widened in recent years:

– Countries in the region want to define their own role in the multi-polar world that is emerging, in spite of the growing difficulties caused by the U.S. government’s unilateralism. They are unable to assume this role on their own,

  • – No single country, not even the most powerful ones, acting isolatedly will be able to implement dynamics that differ from those driven by the globalized world market. In other words, to be “post-neoliberal”, national development processes must be linked to regional integration.
  • – However, to move forward in this direction, the integration process must be seen as part of a transition towards an alternative model of production and consumption that overcomes the limits of the current development model.

The crisis and the limits it imposes on the possibility of maintaining the status quo should compel us to overcome existing weaknesses and to develop the new dynamism that institutional developments must promote. These efforts must be linked to the need to respond to the crisis with an autonomous and alternative development project for the region – that is, one that has been emancipated from the interests of current world powers.

Defining the path that will lead us to the type of regional integration we propose:

  • A regionally organized and regulated production strategy
    First and foremost, this strategy must be radically different from providing support for major companies that are seeking to acquire at the regional level the strength they need to compete in the global market. This type of integration only results in increasing capital’s mobility and profits. This strategy has been promoted in the region for over a decade, through proposals such as the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) and the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), as well as the push for progressive liberalization during negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO). These companies will soon attempt to reactivate this process, which could advance freely and rapidly if it is not confronted by an integration project based on solidarity that serves as a political and economic counterproposal. This is not, however, the kind of integration we want.



    To construct regional integration as an alternative to the crisis, we must focus our attention on two essential elements. First, one important task for the on-going process of building alternative regional institutions should be the regulation of these companies’ operations at the regional level, taking into account social, cultural, environmental and other interests. Second, it is fundamental that the production chains in the region be restructured according to a new scale of the companies’ operations at the regional level. This must be done in a way that ensures that their expansion is not seen as an attempt to reaffirm hegemonies and the power of some countries over others, but rather as one possible way of generating economic dynamism, employment and wealth for the entire region.

  • Overcoming asymmetries as a short-, medium- and long-term objective
    One of the priorities of the integration process should be to overcome asymmetries between countries and within the countries of the region, creating integrated production systems as well as production, service and trade circuits in which everyone may become integrated. The fundamental objective would be to use this process to generate dynamic development opportunities for regions and countries that are currently experiencing difficulties or suffering from stagnation. Given the historical accumulation of fragilities of entire regions and countries in Latin America, we should first adopt specific policies that seek to compensate existing asymmetries in the short run, namely in the area of social development, in a way that reduces the differences and, at the same time, allows these regions to develop their ability to take advantage of dynamic opportunities in the process.
  • Regional technical and cultural production
    Incentives could and should be provided for important elements, due to their capacity to propel the regional development process and to increase the visibility and popularity of our alternatives. They also have potential to generate dynamism and to contribute to finding solutions for specific problems in the region.



    One such element is the integration of centres of technological development and cultural production/broadcasting in the region. In several countries, there already exist centres for technological development (specialized or generic) in various fields ranging from agriculture and livestock to the aeronautic and pharmaceutical industries, among others. There is no reason not to integrate these centres. We should do so in order to take advantage of their synergies and use the resources generated in the region for the benefit of all of Latin America. The same can be said for the region’s enormous potential in audiovisual production and sports, and its even greater potential for development, which only the creation of a new scale of consumption derived from an expanded regional market could provide.

    Furthermore, this proposal must be defended during negotiations in the WTO and with other trading blocks (like the EU) on “Rules of Origin”. The major powers specifically use these rules to stop small countries and emerging economies from coordinating their productive activities with the goal of exporting to markets outside of the region.

  • Small and medium enterprises as a priority
    Another element is providing general or sector-based incentives for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs could be stimulated by the integrated development of regional markets. They could also operate in a range of fields – from software development to tourism (e.g. a network small hostels or hotels) – and take advantage of the region’s diversity in cultures and environments. Small and medium enterprises offer real potential in terms of job creation. Moreover, by linking them to the regional integration process – that is, one that truly supports development – they could lend significant social legitimacy to the process.
  • Regional food sovereignty and support for family farming in small and medium production units
    The viability of certain local and regional items produced by family and peasant farmers is compromised by the limits of consumption in these regions and in some countries. Therefore, the creation of a regional market could help to guarantee the viability of a more diversified production of agricultural products. This production must differ from the homogeneity of the products and productive processes that are typical of agribusiness, with its highly concentrated and transnationalized commercialization structure and technological packages. The distribution of these products could also gain momentum and promote regional gastronomy, gastronomic tourism and other activities that could generate economic dynamism and foster cultural integration.
  • Facilitate intra-regional public transportation with the people as a priority
    Integrating the region’s transportation infrastructure is another fundamental element that would contribute to the regional integration process. It must take advantage of the diversity of existing modes of transportation and take into account local solutions for addressing environmental and climate issues. It must also consider regional perspectives for technological production and development and the possibility of creating regional public enterprises. Here, we need to think big, as problems in long-distance transportation cannot be resolved by building more highways. Why not think of reactivating and integrating local and regional railway systems? Why not think of integrating sea and river transportation by taking advantage of what already exists? Why not think of creating a regional airline company that makes the integration of a network of medium-size cities in the region feasibly by using small- and medium-size planes that the aeronautic industry in the region already has the potential to produce.. We are not talking about an abstract problem, but rather one that every Latin American who has attempted to travel or transport cargo within the region has faced. It is important that we consider the impact of these processes in each country. We must also reaffirm strong support for the improvement of public transportation in urban centres, as a way to discourage the use of individual means of transport that have impacts on the demand for energy.
  • Regional financial integration
    The debate about the Banco del Sur brought to light the political challenges and different perspectives that exist in various countries. But it also showed the enormous potential and the need to develop a regional financial system that could simultaneously regulate finances on the regional level and protect economies in the region and the regional economy from external shocks. It should also create one or more mechanisms for fostering regional development and allow for a dynamic process of exchange between the Latin American economies, which does not mean sanctioning, through the use of currency, the power of the central capitalist economies. In other words, it should allow for the creation of a regional currency or a system in which a common unit of reference (that does not necessarily aim to make a common currency feasible) would be used in the region. Rather than acting as restrictions, the difficulties and financial turbulence should serve as a motive for intensifying discussion on and actions aimed at moving forward with the process of regional regulation and financial development.
  • Regional energy solidarity and complementarity
    Difficulties in regulating potential energy generation through regional agreements should have led to the consolidation of a regional public entity that regulates and promotes an integrated energy system. Moving beyond limited national interests, efforts to render energy generation feasible at the regional level must promote the use of all alternative sources, so that production methods are the least harmful as possible to the environment while, at the same time, ensure the satisfaction of a new pattern of production and consumption that will be established by an alternative regional development process. Reducing distances between producers and consumers to decrease the amount of energy used to transport products could be one of the many initiatives that would help to consolidate a new energy model. Fundamentally, this new model must be based on the premise of energy sovereignty and solidarity, on striving for increased efficiency and the diversification of energy sources, namely renewable ones.
  • A new model for participation and transparency
    Political and social sectors in favour of deepening Latin American integration processes must come together to reflect on what the appropriate mechanisms for civil participation are. We must avoid reproducing the logic inherited from the 1990s. In this sense, in order to promote the consolidation of democracy, mechanisms of social participation must be effective channels of dialogue and for advancing proposals through which througsocial movements and organized civil society (made up of diverse political actors, including members of political parties and parliament) may express their needs and views on sensitive issues. For example, in the case of productive or infrastructure projects that have different kinds of territorial and environmental impacts, we need to develop a methodology that guarantees real participation in the decision-making process. This methodology must go beyond the logic of “presenting environmental impact studies”, which capital has learned to manipulate for its benefit. It must guarantee that the decisions made take into account the collective interests of those directly affected by the projects, social license (as foreseen by the U.N. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ESCR, art.1, paragraph 2.), the redistribution of the project’s benefits and its concrete contributions in terms of reducing poverty.

Constructing integration for and by the Peoples

The essence and the motor of a new regional development model must be: the integration of millions of Latin American women and men into a new system of consumption and production that generates wealth and employment, allows for the expansion of the market in the region, builds an alternative development process and strives to drastically reduce all kinds of inequalities that exist among the people in the region.

In the same way we have already stated that we must overcome asymmetries between countries and within countries in the region, we must also assume a commitment to reducing social inequalities between the peoples and within the peoples. Here, we, the social movements, are proposing the transformation – of the socioeconomic development model – by transforming ourselves; that is to say – we conceive the integration of diverse social subjects within our peoples as the starting point for the integration of the peoples. As such, the integration of the peoples – of our nations – must not only be “based on the political transformation for the peoples”, but also based on the social transformation of the people. We conceive this process as an opportunity to advance in the transition towards another model of production and consumption, which requires new forms of organizing social, community and labour relations.

Transforming weakness into strength, needs into potential for development, inequalities to be overcome into possibilities for transformation and technological development, respect for cultural differences into the driving force of the regional integration process, even in economic terms. This is to be the engine of an alternative we can build so that – far beyond the haziness and the turbulence of the current economic crisis – we may see our real potential for creating a different and better world in Latin America and the Caribbean. We can then integrate this new world with other regions that must also take advantage of and develop their own possibilities.

Today, we, the social movements, when addressing the current global crisis or the combination of specific crises, have the historical opportunity of contributing towards what could be the beginning of the final stage of an exhausted system, which has been backed into a corner. We must go beyond merely responding to the crisis, caused by the inherent contradictions of the system itself, and move towards a real confrontation between the included and the excluded. This will only be possible if we are able to build an alternative productive matrix that allows us to live well and enjoy the good life.


ALBA: Political Declaration of the Sixth Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of our America

FOR A BANK OF THE SOUTH FOCUSED ON A MATRIX OF SOVEREIGNTY, illness buy SOLIDARITY, stuff SUSTAINABILITY AND INTEGRATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONTINENT

Dear Mr. Presidents,

We are addressing you for the second time to express the high expectations created in our peoples on the initiative to establish a Bank of the South. We are also encouraged by the positive response of other countries of South America who have manifested their wish to participate in the Bank of the South.

Signatories are from social networks, organizations and movements, labour unions and professionals who are fighting against the scourge of illegitimate public debt and the twisted policies and practices of the existing international financial institutions and the current global trade system. We are sure that the decision to establish a Bank of the South can be a significant big step and an opportunity not only for South America, but for the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean, as also other regions of the Southern Hemisphere.

We come from a recent history of struggle against dictatorships in almost the whole continent. This explains our determination to open and institute new spaces for participation and direct democracy. However, the not very transparent and non participative way in which the negotiations on the establishment of the Bank of the South are being carried forward, without public debate and without consultation with our societies, can indicate that we are facing something that could turn out to be more of the same.

It is our conviction that a new SouthSouth financial entity should be focused not only on going beyond the negative experiences of economic opening , with always the same consequence of higher indebtedness and capital drainage, deregulation and privatization of the public patrimony and basic services suffered by the region; but also beyond the well-known non-democratic, non-transparent , regressive and discredited behaviour of multilateral bodies such as the World Bank, the CAF, the IADB and the IMF. Our recent history has shown that the latter’s choice of economic, social, and environmental policies imposed on our governments through conditionalities, have ended in the decapitalization and deindustrialization of the region’s economies, and have imprisoned these in the agro-mineral-exporter model that stops their development and deepens their subordination to the North economies, while worsening social inequity, ecological damage and the “eternal” financial, historic, social, cultural, and ecological debts.

Knowing how important it is for the countries involved in the establishment of the Bank of the South to reach an agreement upon key issues related to its nature and objectives, and its financial and operational structure, we think it is essential for us to pose the following proposals that express the aspirations of ample sectors of our countries’ societies, according to what was clearly manifested by their main representatives consulted:

1. That the focus of the Bank of the South should be in promoting a new development framework whose essential values be the sovereignty of our peoples on their territory and their own development; a responsible self-determination on our economic, social, and environmental policies; on solidarity, sustainability, and ecological justice; that for the Bank economic and technological development be conceived as a means for the superior goal which is human and social development.

2. That the action of the Bank of the South be guided by concrete goals such as full employment with dignity, ensuring food, heath and housing, universalization of basic public and free education, a redistribution of riches overcoming inequity, even gender and ethnic ones, reducing greenhouse effect gases and their effects on the continent’s population and the other peoples of the south.

3. That the Bank of the South be an integral part of a new Latin-American and Caribbean financial architecture which includes a South Fund with the functions of a Continental Central Bank capable of articulating a great continental payment system with a state of the art telematics platform; capable of linking the policies which promote macroeconomic stability with development and reduction of structural asymmetries policies; and which considers a development in the future of a common monetary system at the service of a strategy which strengthens economic and commercial ties within the region, introducing trade interchange with national currencies, and working towards the establishment of a regional currency at least for intraregional interchanges. The building of a space for supranational monetary and financial sovereignty demands a lot of local flexibility to avoid sub imperialist temptations, and the victory of monetarist orthodoxy in some aspects as those in recent the European experience.

.4. That the Bank of the South be useful to recover the values related to historic, social and ecological debts of which our peoples are creditors. That its financing be oriented towards going beyond the social asymmetries and inequities, and the ecological damage perpetrated in the continent for more the five centuries.

5. That the Bank of the South consider the participation of citizen organizations and social movements, no only in the development of its original architecture but also in financial and operational decision making, and in the monitoring of the use given to the funds awarded.

6. That the Bank of the South implements its management in an egalitarian way among its member countries, instituting and keeping the egalitarian principle of “one associate one vote” in all levels of collegiate decisions, and that it aspires to channel regional savings in the region.

7. That capital subscriptions of the Bank of the South be proportional to the capability of the economy of its member countries; that other sources of capitalization may include part of international reserves and loans from member countries, global taxes and donations. Financial resources from the present multilateral financial institutions and from states that have plundered our continent should be excluded. That these dispositions of the Bank of the South may allow an increasing growth in putting member countries’ reserves out of the sphere of the dollar and the euro, and encourage the return of national capitals deposited abroad.

8. That the Bank of the South be committed to transparency in its administration, settling public account for its functioning and activities, submitting to permanent external audits of its loans and its internal functioning with social participation.

9. For the Bank of the South not to become “more of the same”, the quality, austerity and management efficiency must be permanently evaluated, forbidding any kind of immunity privileges to its officials, and based on the maximum in time transparent reporting, and the democratic and social control of its management. To avoid excessive expenditures and bureaucratic deviations a small body of simultaneously diversified, efficient, effective and managerially polyvalent officials must be designated.

.10. That the loans be destined to the promotion of a genuinely cooperative regional integration, based on principles such as active subsidiarity, proportionality and complementarities; financing of public investment projects; paying attention to self-managing local development, and promoting equitable and solidarity commercial exchanges between family farmers, small producers, the cooperative sector and social solidarity economy, indigenous and traditional communities and women’s, fishermen’s, workers’, identity etc. socioeconomic organizations.

11. That the Bank of the South adopts as investment priority those projects oriented towards food and energy sovereignty; research and development of appropriate technologies for an endogenous and sustainable development of the region, including free software; the programmed and complementary production of generic medicines; the recovery of ancestral wisdom, systematized and accepted as an agro ecologic science; the promotion of environmental justice; the improvement of public services: support to victims of forced displacements; promotion of communications and intraregional culture; the creation of a University of the South and an equivalence system for diplomas issued in all the region: infrastructure starting from other logics of space organization instrumented by communities for local solidarity and self-management development. That the bank should not reproduce the financing model of present day international financial institutions with the construction of mega-projects that damage the environment and biodiversity.

12. The Bank of the South must be considered an essential tool for the custody and channelling of savings, breaking the repeated cycles of collection of the national and regional efforts through manoeuvres and suspicious deals with indebtedness and public titles, subsidies to privileged and/or corrupted private local and international economic and financial groups, and a permanent guarantee to the speculative movements of capital entry and outflow.

We understand that all the above is in keeping with what was emphasized in the Ministerial Statement of Quito, on May 8, pointing that: “The peoples have given their governments the mandate to provide the region with new instruments of integration for development which must be based on a democratic, transparent, participative, and accountable to their citizens’ design”.

We are worried about the postponements in the signature of the founding act, which could indicate the existence of significant unresolved issues. We hope that in the negotiations to overcome these unresolved issues, the proposals presented in this setter will be taken into account.

The current regional and international economic and financial situation is still favourable to give concrete steps in this direction, but it may not last. We trust in that you will take advantage of this historic possibility to create what could turn into a real Solidarity Bank of the peoples of the South.

“The defeat of neoliberalism in America is a heroic action which needs to be
consolidated by the popular forces under the patriotic and admirable leader-
ship of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Daniel Ortega, and other progressive governments who do not yield to the empire. Social movements are major figures in the historical redemption of our great homeland, which will soon become a sole nation.
Therefore, the social movements of Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela,
gathered at this meeting, express our willingness to join the process of Latin
American and Caribbean unity through the ALBA-TCP’s Council of Social
Movements, being on equal terms and committed to the promotion, deploy-
ment and development of this project; likewise, we are determined to act
within the framework of transnational projects, thus avoiding bureaucratic
labyrinths and personality cults. We declare our commitment to work to-
wards the rapid incorporation of those Latin American and Caribbean social
movements that support our alternative for human unity; with the solid pur-
pose of transforming this joint effort into a certain, efficient, ethical and revolutionary alternative of unity and liberation for the peoples of America.”

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Second open letter to the Presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela

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The integration of energy markets in Latin America has been discussed for more than three decades. An expression of it was the creation of the regional organizations ARPEL (Association of Petroleum Enterprises of Latin America), CIER (Regional Electrical Integration Commission), and OLADE (Latin American Energy Organization), during the decades of the 60s and 70s. These initiatives took place within the framework of important participation by the State in companies tied to the energy sector.

During the 90s, initiatives for energy integration gathered momentum at the continental level. The proposals came about within the framework of the Americas Summit, which sprung from the Initiative for the Americas, proposed by the U.S. government in 1989. At the core of what was then called the “Hemispheric Energy Initiative” were the reforms outlined by the Washington Consensus. In the energy sector, it was proposed that obstacles to the operation of foreign firms in every branch of the energy industry be eliminated, from exploration and production of gas and oil, to distribution and product sales in the final market.

This was not always possible due to reigning constitutional limits in some countries. Nevertheless, foreign investment laws implemented in most of the countries of the region, through programs with multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and consolidated in the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that many countries have signed or are in the process of negotiating with the United States, have attempted to assure that investments, particularly in the energy sector, operate with the least possible number of restrictions, so as to foster capital investment in this activity.

To a greater or lesser extent, since the beginning of the 90s the countries of the region liberalized their regimes in the treatment of investments, as well as their service sectors. In some cases such as Chile and Bolivia, the reforms were enacted earlier. In the energy sector, these reforms meant the elimination of obstacles to national and international private firms being able to operate at all levels of the energy industry, from exploration and production of gas and oil, to distribution and sales of petroleum products. Even though most of the countries in the region modified their normative frameworks in the sector, the degrees of liberalization were different. In many cases the modifications were limited by precepts established in their respective constitutions; in others it was determined that this was a strategic sector. Nevertheless, the foreign investment laws implemented by the majority of the countries in the region, and consolidated in the FTAs to which many countries have subscribed or are currently negotiating with the United States, seek to assure that investments, particularly in the energy sector, find no roadblocks in elements currently in effect in the respective national laws.

The thinking was that to the extent that the aforementioned reforms advanced, so would the integration process of the sector. Moreover it was thought that opening markets would give rise to a considerable expansion in business opportunities for private actors in infrastructure construction for energy interconnections. Said energy projects had the financial backing of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).

However, the desired results were not achieved. Liberalizing energy policies are being reviewed, especially in South America. A certain tendency is discernible to restore a more active role for the State in energy activities and to make state planning for energy markets an indispensable guiding instrument in channeling and coordinating the investments made by private and public agents. Similarly, the preservation of non-renewable resources and the autonomy of the State to regulate tapping them, have now been reclaimed as part of energy policies.

It is in this context that the Petroamerica Initiative has been launched by the Venezuelan government. Although the details of its implementation are still being developed, it is based on the premise that regional integration is a matter for States and governments, which does not imply the exclusion of private enterprise sectors. The agreements contained in Petroamerica propose that state energy enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean be integrated, leading to agreements and joint investments in exploration, exploitation, and commercialization of oil and natural gas. It also seeks joint economic activities and a reduction in the negative effects of energy costs—originating in the increase in the global demand for oil, as well as in speculative and geopolitical factors—for the countries in the region. The process is meant to be implemented in stages and, according to what is indicated in the proposal, will begin to be realized through bilateral or sub-regional actions and agreements. The proposal also includes preferential financing mechanisms in the supply of oil for the nations of the Caribbean and Central America.

The first South American Presidential Energy Summit took place in April 2007. This was an opportunity for the South American heads of state to gather for the first time to draw up plans for a joint strategy regarding the matter of energy. An agreement was reached to institutionalize energy meetings at the ministerial level through the formation of a Council within the framework of regional integration that, among its main tasks, will develop an Energy Treaty for the region.

This takes place at a time when concerns about energy supplies and the impact that their consumption has on CO2 emissions have become topics at the top of the international relations agenda. Specialized agencies agree in pointing out that in the next decades, fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) will continue to be the main source of energy in the world. This will take place in a context where the production and supply of hydrocarbons is characterized by a new paradigm of high prices and a large degree of volatility, geopolitical tensions, an intensifying environmental debate at the international level; competition for access to new regions with reserves; demands for greater participation in hydrocarbon financial gains—especially in several Latin American countries—and an increment in the number mergers and acquisitions and profits without precedent.

In the area of renewable energy production, on the other hand, in March of 2007 presidents George W. Bush and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a memorandum of agreement in which they expressed their intention to cooperate in research and to promote the production and export of ethanol to the world with the aim of creating a global biofuels market. Implementing these measures could mean new investments in Latin America, less dependence on oil, and a new dawn for development in the auto industry.

Brazil has made significant advances in fuel production technology, and in using it in modes of transportation. The United States has a deficit in that sector, thus requiring an increase in imports for which joint ventures are projected in biofuels production in other countries of the region, both for internal consumption and for exports. Currently there are lines of credit from international organizations to promote the development of biofuels in the entire region, which have been received well in the sugarcane producing regions of Central America, the Caribbean, Peru, and Colombia.

Within certain parameters, the development of biofuels could bring environmental benefits through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and it could contribute to rural development and job creation. However, its development also has a negative environmental impact, since it would increase the monocrop model as the process perfects itself and, if necessary precautions aren’t taken, it could affect sustainable development and the production of food as well as local and regional ecosystems, with impacts on flora and fauna. So, it is not merely a matter of replacing non-renewable energy, but of trying to promote sustainable demand and efficient use. That is why it is very important to strike an energy balance in the production of biofuels with each raw material, establish what energy is required to produce it, what is the price for a barrel of oil that makes its development viable, design a conceptual framework to evaluate its environmental impact, and outline some criteria for establishing public policies for its development.

It is important to underscore that global energy trade continues to reflect disparities in global development levels but also as to responsibilities in facing climate change. Per capita energy consumption in the industrialized countries, for example, is five times higher than in Latin American countries. However, if there were no significant reduction in energy intensity nor progress made in making the energy consumed more renewable and clean, the disparities in implementing technical progress could have as a result that developing countries would be responsible for more than three-quarters of global CO2 emissions by 2030. That would lead to their participation in global emissions going from the current 39% to 52% in 2030.

Latin America and the Caribbean together represent a considerable surplus in the production of crude and gas. However, the energy resources of the region are concentrated in very few countries. For that reason there should be value placed on regional cooperation proposals geared toward guaranteeing and facilitating energy supplies and promoting the development of renewable energy, as well as more efficient energy use.

The energy integration of the region could be a decisive mechanism for a better geopolitical position in the international arena. To achieve that goal, it is fundamental to construct an adequate infrastructure, and to have an institutional scheme to regulate the way in which said infrastructure will operate. To be precise, the design of the technical as well as institutional mechanisms for the development of a common energy market is still a challenge to fulfilling the region’s prevailing political will.

Translated for the Americas Program by Annette Ramos.

Ariela Ruiz Caro (arielaruizcaro(a)gmail.com) is a Peruvian economist, formerly an official with the Andean Community. Currently she is a consultant for CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) and for the Presidency of the Commission of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, and a columnist from the Andean region for the CIP Americas Policy Program at www.americaspolicy.org.

We the children of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of the continent, ailment self convened and gathered at the III Continental Summit of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala realized in Iximche’, salve Guatemala the days of Oxlajuj Aq’abal, thirteen powers of the Spirit of the Dawn (26th of March) to Kají Kej, four powers of the Spirit of the Deer (30th of March, 2007):

We hereby affirm the Declaration of Teotihuacan (Mexico, 2000), the Declaration of Kito (Ecuador, 2004) and ratify our millennial principles of complementarity, reciprocity and duality, as well as the struggle for our territories in order to preserve our Mother Nature and the autonomy and self-determination of our Indigenous Peoples. We announce the continental resurgence of the Pachacutic (the return) along with the closure of Oxlajuj Baq’tun (long count of 5,200 years) and as we approach the door of the new Baq’tun, we journey together to make of Abya Yala a “land full of life”.

We have survived centuries of colonization and now face the imposition of the policies of neo-liberalism that perpetuates the dispossession and sacking of our territories, the domination of all of social space and ways of life of the Indigenous Peoples, causing the degradation of our Mother Nature as well as poverty and migration by way of the systematic intervention in the sovereignty of our Nations by transnational companies in complicity with the government states.

In preparation to face and confront the challenges of the new times upon us, we now determine:

To commit to the process of alliance among our indigenous nations, and among our indigenous nations and the movements for social justice of the continent that would allow us to collectively confront the policies of neo-liberalism and all forms of oppression.

To make accountable the government states for the ongoing dispossession of our territories and the extinction of the indigenous peoples of the continent, due to impunity for the transnational corporations and their genocidal practices, as well as the lack of political will on the part of the United Nations in not advancing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and failure to guarantee the full respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To ratify the ancestral and historical rights to our territories and the common resources of Mother Nature, reaffirming the inalienable character of these rights as being non-negotiable, unquantifiable, without impediment, and unrenounceable even to the cost of our lives.

To consolidate the processes now in effect to strengthen the re-foundation of the government states and the construction of pluri-national states and pluri-cultural societies via Constituent Assemblies with direct representation of the Indigenous Pueblos and Nations.

To advance in the exercise of our right of autonomy and self determination as Indigenous Peoples, in spite of the lack of legal recognition by the government states.

To ratify our rejection of the Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) that make vulnerable the sovereignty of our Pueblos and to remain vigilant against similar intentions to implement new commercial agreements.

To reaffirm our decision to defend the nutritional sovereignty and struggle against the trans-genetic invasion, convoking all peoples of the world to join this struggle in order to guarantee our future.

To ratify the struggle for the democratization of communication and the implementation of public policies that contemplate specific applications for indigenous peoples and the promotion of inter-culturality.

To alert the indigenous peoples regarding the policies of the Inter American Development Bank, the World Bank and organizations of the like that penetrate our communities with actions of assistance and cooptation whose aim is the fragmentation of autonomous and legitimate indigenous organizations.

For the well being of the Indigenous Peoples, we now decide:

To demand of the international financial institutions and the government states the cancellation of policies that promote concessions for the extractive industries (mining, oil, forestry, natural gas and water) from our indigenous territories.

To condemn the policies of exclusion of President Bush and the government of the United States demonstrated in the act of construction of the wall along the border with Mexico while at the same time attempting to expropriate the common resources of our Mother Nature of all the peoples of Abya Yala by implementing expansionist plans and acts of war.

To condemn the intolerant attitude of the government states that do not recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular those which have not ratified nor guaranteed the application of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization.

To condemn the imposter and terrorist democracies implemented by the neoliberal governments, which results in the militarization of our indigenous territories and the criminalization of our legitimate indigenous struggle and the movements for social justice throughout Abya Yala.

In order to enact these words and realize our dreams, from resistance to power:

We constitute ourselves as the Continental Coordinator of Indigenous Pueblos and Nations of Abya Yala, creating a permanent vehicle of linkage and interchange, in order to converge our experiences and proposals, so that together we can confront the neo-liberal policies of globalization and to struggle for the definitive liberation of our indigenous Pueblos and Nations, of the mother earth, of our territories, of the waters, and entirety of our natural patrimony in order that we may all live well.

In this process we delineated the following actions:

- To fortify the organizational processes and struggle of the Indigenous Peoples with the full participation of our women, children and young people.

- To convene a Continental Summit of Indigenous Women of Abya Yala and a Continental Summit of the Children, Adolescents and Youth of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala.

- To convoke a continental mobilization of Indigenous Peoples to save Mother Nature from the disasters caused by capitalism, manifested by global warming, to be realized on the 12th of October of 2007.

- To actively engage the diplomatic mission of the Indigenous Peoples to defend and to guarantee the rights of our Indigenous Pueblos and Nations.

- To endorse the candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize of our brother Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia.

- To demand the decriminalization of the coca leaf.

We have dreamt our past and we remember our future.


We the children of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of the continent, self convened and gathered at the III Continental Summit of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala realized in Iximche’, Guatemala the days of Oxlajuj Aq’abal, sick thirteen powers of the Spirit of the Dawn (26th of March) to Kají Kej, four powers of the Spirit of the Deer (30th of March, 2007):

We hereby affirm the Declaration of Teotihuacan (Mexico, 2000), the Declaration of Kito (Ecuador, 2004) and ratify our millennial principles of complementarity, reciprocity and duality, as well as the struggle for our territories in order to preserve our Mother Nature and the autonomy and self-determination of our Indigenous Peoples. We announce the continental resurgence of the Pachacutic (the return) along with the closure of Oxlajuj Baq’tun (long count of 5,200 years) and as we approach the door of the new Baq’tun, we journey together to make of Abya Yala a “land full of life”.

We have survived centuries of colonization and now face the imposition of the policies of neo-liberalism that perpetuates the dispossession and sacking of our territories, the domination of all of social space and ways of life of the Indigenous Peoples, causing the degradation of our Mother Nature as well as poverty and migration by way of the systematic intervention in the sovereignty of our Nations by transnational companies in complicity with the government states.

In preparation to face and confront the challenges of the new times upon us, we now determine:

To commit to the process of alliance among our indigenous nations, and among our indigenous nations and the movements for social justice of the continent that would allow us to collectively confront the policies of neo-liberalism and all forms of oppression.

To make accountable the government states for the ongoing dispossession of our territories and the extinction of the indigenous peoples of the continent, due to impunity for the transnational corporations and their genocidal practices, as well as the lack of political will on the part of the United Nations in not advancing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and failure to guarantee the full respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To ratify the ancestral and historical rights to our territories and the common resources of Mother Nature, reaffirming the inalienable character of these rights as being non-negotiable, unquantifiable, without impediment, and unrenounceable even to the cost of our lives.

To consolidate the processes now in effect to strengthen the re-foundation of the government states and the construction of pluri-national states and pluri-cultural societies via Constituent Assemblies with direct representation of the Indigenous Pueblos and Nations.

To advance in the exercise of our right of autonomy and self determination as Indigenous Peoples, in spite of the lack of legal recognition by the government states.

To ratify our rejection of the Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) that make vulnerable the sovereignty of our Pueblos and to remain vigilant against similar intentions to implement new commercial agreements.

To reaffirm our decision to defend the nutritional sovereignty and struggle against the trans-genetic invasion, convoking all peoples of the world to join this struggle in order to guarantee our future.

To ratify the struggle for the democratization of communication and the implementation of public policies that contemplate specific applications for indigenous peoples and the promotion of inter-culturality.

To alert the indigenous peoples regarding the policies of the Inter American Development Bank, the World Bank and organizations of the like that penetrate our communities with actions of assistance and cooptation whose aim is the fragmentation of autonomous and legitimate indigenous organizations.

For the well being of the Indigenous Peoples, we now decide:

To demand of the international financial institutions and the government states the cancellation of policies that promote concessions for the extractive industries (mining, oil, forestry, natural gas and water) from our indigenous territories.

To condemn the policies of exclusion of President Bush and the government of the United States demonstrated in the act of construction of the wall along the border with Mexico while at the same time attempting to expropriate the common resources of our Mother Nature of all the peoples of Abya Yala by implementing expansionist plans and acts of war.

To condemn the intolerant attitude of the government states that do not recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular those which have not ratified nor guaranteed the application of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization.

To condemn the imposter and terrorist democracies implemented by the neoliberal governments, which results in the militarization of our indigenous territories and the criminalization of our legitimate indigenous struggle and the movements for social justice throughout Abya Yala.

In order to enact these words and realize our dreams, from resistance to power:

We constitute ourselves as the Continental Coordinator of Indigenous Pueblos and Nations of Abya Yala, creating a permanent vehicle of linkage and interchange, in order to converge our experiences and proposals, so that together we can confront the neo-liberal policies of globalization and to struggle for the definitive liberation of our indigenous Pueblos and Nations, of the mother earth, of our territories, of the waters, and entirety of our natural patrimony in order that we may all live well.

In this process we delineated the following actions:

- To fortify the organizational processes and struggle of the Indigenous Peoples with the full participation of our women, children and young people.

- To convene a Continental Summit of Indigenous Women of Abya Yala and a Continental Summit of the Children, Adolescents and Youth of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala.

- To convoke a continental mobilization of Indigenous Peoples to save Mother Nature from the disasters caused by capitalism, manifested by global warming, to be realized on the 12th of October of 2007.

- To actively engage the diplomatic mission of the Indigenous Peoples to defend and to guarantee the rights of our Indigenous Pueblos and Nations.

- To endorse the candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize of our brother Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia.

- To demand the decriminalization of the coca leaf.

We have dreamt our past and we remember our future.



De parte de los Movimientos Sociales y personalidades del mundo


Por segunda vez nos dirigimos a Uds. para expresar la enorme expectativa abierta en nuestros pueblos por la iniciativa de creación del Banco del Sur. Nos anima también la respuesta positiva de nuevos países de América del Sur, que han manifestado su deseo de participar del Banco del Sur.


Los firmantes somos redes, organizaciones y movimientos sociales, sindicatos y académicas/os, que venimos luchando contra el flagelo de la deuda pública ilegítima y de las políticas y prácticas perversas de las instituciones financieras internacionales existentes y del actual sistema de comercio mundial. Estamos convencidas/os de que la decisión tomada de crear el Banco del Sur puede representar un enorme paso y oportunidad no sólo para América del Sur, sino que para América Latina y el Caribe como así también, otras regiones del Hemisferio Sur.


Venimos de una historia reciente de lucha contra las dictaduras en casi todo el continente. Esto explica nuestro empeño en abrir e instituir nuevos espacios de participación y de democracia directa. Sin embargo, la forma poco transparente y no participativa como se desarrollan la negociaciones para la creación del Banco del Sur, sin debate público y sin consulta a nuestras sociedades, puede indicar que estamos frente a algo que puede volverse más de lo mismo.


Es nuestra convicción que una nueva entidad financiera Sur-Sur debe orientarse a superar tanto las experiencias negativas de apertura económica – con la secuela de siempre mayor endeudamiento y drenaje de capitales -, desregulación y privatización del patrimonio público y de los servicios básicos sufridos por la región, así como de los hoy ya ampliamente reconocidos comportamientos no-democráticos, no transparentes, regresivos y desacreditados de los organismos multilaterales, como el Banco Mundial, el CAF, el BID y el FMI. Nuestra historia reciente ha mostrado que sus opciones de política económica y socio-ambiental, impuestas a nuestros gobiernos a través de condicionalidades, han resultado en descapitalización y desindustrialización de las economías de la región, y las han aprisionado al modelo agro-mineral-exportador, que frena su desarrollo y profundiza la situación subalterna a las economías del Norte, las inequidades sociales, los daños ecológicos y las deudas ‘eternas’ – financiera, histórica, social, cultural, ecológica.


Conociendo la importancia de que los países comprometidos hasta ahora con la creación del Banco del Sur lleguen a un acuerdo sobre temas-clave relacionados con su naturaleza y objetivos, su estructura financiera y operativa, creemos esencial plantearles las proposiciones siguientes, que expresan las aspiraciones de amplios sectores de las sociedades de nuestros países, de acuerdo a la manifiesta expresión de sus principales agentes sociales consultados:


1. Que el Banco del Sur se oriente a promover una nueva matriz de desarrollo, cuyos valores fundamentales sean la soberanía de nuestros pueblos sobre su territorio y su propio desarrollo, la autodeterminación responsable de nuestras políticas económicas y socio-ambientales, la solidaridad, la sustentabilidad y la justicia ecológica; que para el Banco, el desarrollo económico y tecnológico sean concebidos como medios para el objetivo superior que es el desarrollo humano y social;

2. Que la acción del Banco del Sur sea determinada por metas concretas, como el pleno empleo con dignidad, la garantía de la alimentación, la salud y la vivienda, la universalización de la educación básica pública y gratuita, la redistribución de la riqueza superando inequidades, incluso las de género y etnia, la reducción de las emisiones de gases-invernadero, y la eliminación de sus impactos sobre las poblaciones del continente y los restantes pueblos del Sur.


3. Que el Banco del Sur sea parte integral de una nueva arquitectura financiera latino-americana y caribeña, que incluya un Fondo del Sur, con función de Banco Central continental, capaz de articular un gran sistema de pagos continental con la más avanzada plataforma telemática; capaz de ligar las políticas que promueven la estabilidad macroeconómica con las políticas de desarrollo y de reducción de las asimetrías estructurales; y contemple el desarrollo futuro de un sistema monetario común al servicio de una estrategia de fortalecimiento de lazos económico-comerciales al interior de la región, introduciendo intercambios con monedas nacionales, y trabajando por el establecimiento de una moneda regional por lo menos para los intercambios intra-regionales. La construcción de un espacio de soberanía monetaria y financiera supranacional requiere dotarse de mucha flexibilidad local, para evitar tentaciones subimperialistas y el triunfo de la ortodoxia monetarista en ciertos aspectos, como en la experiencia europea reciente.


4. Que el Banco del Sur sirva para recuperar valores relativos a las deudas histórica, social y ecológica, de las cuales nuestros pueblos son acreedores. Que sus financiamientos busquen superar las asimetrías y desigualdades sociales y los daños ambientales que se han perpetuado desde hace más de cinco siglos en el continente.

5. Que el Banco del Sur contemple la participación de las organizaciones ciudadanas y los movimientos sociales no sólo en la elaboración de su arquitectura original, sino también en la toma de decisiones financieras y operacionales y en el monitoreo de la utilización de los fondos adjudicados.


6. Que el Banco del Sur ejerza su dirección de forma igualitaria entre los países miembros, institucionalizando y manteniendo el principio igualitario de “un socio un voto” en todos sus niveles de decisión colegiada; y aspire a canalizar los recursos de ahorro de la misma región.


7. Que las subscripciones de capital del Banco del Sur sean proporcionales a la capacidad de las economías de sus países miembros; que otras fuentes de capitalización del Banco del Sur incluyan parte de las reservas internacionales y préstamos de los países miembros, impuestos globales comunes y donaciones. Deben ser excluidos los recursos financieros de las actuales instituciones financieras multilaterales y de Estados que han perpetrado el saqueo de nuestro continente. Que estos dispositivos del Banco del Sur permitan el aumento creciente de la aplicación de las reservas de los países miembros fuera del area del dólar y del euro, y alienten el retorno de los capitales nacionales depositados en el extranjero.


8.  Que el Banco del Sur esté comprometido con la transparencia en la gestión, rindiendo cuentas públicas de su funcionamiento y actividad, sometiéndose a la auditoría externa permanente de sus préstamos y de su funcionamiento interno con participación social.


9. Que, para que el Banco del Sur no sea “más de lo mismo”, se pondere en forma permanente la calidad, austeridad y eficiencia  de la administración, prohibiendo cualquier privilegio de inmunidad a sus funcionarios, afirmada en la más plena transparencia informativa en tiempo real y el control democrático y social de la gestión. Para evitar gastos excesivos y desviaciones burocráticas, se constituya un cuerpo de funcionarias/os compacto y, a la vez, diversificado, eficiente, eficaz y administrativamente polivalente.


10. Que los préstamos sean destinados a la promoción de una integración regional genuinamente cooperativa, basada en principios como la subsidiaridad activa, la proporcionalidad y la complementariedad; financiando proyectos de inversión pública; atendiendo al desarrollo local autogestionario e impulsando el intercambio comercial equitativo y solidario entre agricultores familiares, pequeños productores, sector cooperativo y de economía social solidaria, comunidades indígenas y tradicionales, organizaciones socioeconómicas de mujeres, de pescadores, de trabajo, de identidad, etc.

11. Que el Banco del Sur adopte como prioridad de inversión proyectos que se orientan a la soberanía alimentaria y energética; investigación y desarrollo de tecnologías apropiadas al desarrollo endógeno y sustentable de la región, incluso los software libres; la producción programada y complementaria de medicamentos genéricos; la recuperación de los saberes ancestrales de nuestros pueblos, sistematizado y aceptado como ciencia agroecológica; la promoción de la justicia ambiental; el fortalecimiento de los servicios públicos; el apoyo a las víctimas de desplazamientos forzados; el fomento de la comunicación y la cultura intra-regional; la creación de una universidad del Sur y un sistema de equivalencia de diplomas en toda la región; y la infraestructura a partir de otras lógicas de organización del espacio, que instrumenten las comunidades para el desarrollo local autogestionario y solidario. Que el Banco no reproduzca el modelo de financiamiento de las actuales instituciones financieras internacionales de construcción de mega-obras destructivas del medioambiente y la biodiversidad.


12. El Banco del Sur debe ser considerado como una herramienta esencial para custodiar y canalizar el ahorro, rompiendo los ciclos recurrentes de exacción del esfuerzo nacional y regional a  través de maniobras y negociados con el endeudamiento y títulos públicos, el subsidio a grupos económicos y financieros privados privilegiados y/ o corruptos locales e internacionales, y el aval permanente a movimientos especulativos de entrada y salida de capitales.


Todo ello lo entendemos en línea con lo destacado por la Declaración Ministerial de Quito del 3 de Mayo pasado, al señalar que: “Los pueblos dieron a sus Gobiernos los mandatos de dotar a la región de nuevos instrumentos de integración para el desarrollo que deben basarse en esquemas democráticos, transparentes, participativos y responsables ante sus mandantes”.


Nos preocupan las sucesivas postergaciones de la firma del acta fundacional, que pueden indicar la existencia de indefiniciones significativas. Esperamos que, en las negociaciones para superar estas indefiniciones, se tomen en consideración las proposiciones de esta carta.


La actual coyuntura económica y financiera regional e internacional sigue favorable para dar pasos concretos en este sentido, pero puede no prolongarse. Confiamos en que Uds. aprovecharán esta posibilidad histórica para crear lo que podrá volverse un verdadero Banco Solidario de los Pueblos del Sur.


Saludamos a Uds. con la mayor distinción.

FOR A BANK OF THE SOUTH FOCUSED ON A MATRIX OF SOVEREIGNTY, SOLIDARITY, SUSTAINABILITY AND INTEGRATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONTINENT

Dear Mr. Presidents,

We are addressing you for the second time to express the high expectations created in our peoples on the initiative to establish a Bank of the South. We are also encouraged by the positive response of other countries of South America who have manifested their wish to participate in the Bank of the South.

Signatories are from social networks, organizations and movements, labour unions and professionals who are fighting against the scourge of illegitimate public debt and the twisted policies and practices of the existing international financial institutions and the current global trade system. We are sure that the decision to establish a Bank of the South can be a significant big step and an opportunity not only for South America, but for the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean, as also other regions of the Southern Hemisphere.

We come from a recent history of struggle against dictatorships in almost the whole continent. This explains our determination to open and institute new spaces for participation and direct democracy. However, the not very transparent and non participative way in which the negotiations on the establishment of the Bank of the South are being carried forward, without public debate and without consultation with our societies, can indicate that we are facing something that could turn out to be more of the same.

It is our conviction that a new SouthSouth financial entity should be focused not only on going beyond the negative experiences of economic opening , with always the same consequence of higher indebtedness and capital drainage, deregulation and privatization of the public patrimony and basic services suffered by the region; but also beyond the well-known non-democratic, non-transparent , regressive and discredited behaviour of multilateral bodies such as the World Bank, the CAF, the IADB and the IMF. Our recent history has shown that the latter’s choice of economic, social, and environmental policies imposed on our governments through conditionalities, have ended in the decapitalization and deindustrialization of the region’s economies, and have imprisoned these in the agro-mineral-exporter model that stops their development and deepens their subordination to the North economies, while worsening social inequity, ecological damage and the “eternal” financial, historic, social, cultural, and ecological debts.

Knowing how important it is for the countries involved in the establishment of the Bank of the South to reach an agreement upon key issues related to its nature and objectives, and its financial and operational structure, we think it is essential for us to pose the following proposals that express the aspirations of ample sectors of our countries’ societies, according to what was clearly manifested by their main representatives consulted:

1. That the focus of the Bank of the South should be in promoting a new development framework whose essential values be the sovereignty of our peoples on their territory and their own development; a responsible self-determination on our economic, social, and environmental policies; on solidarity, sustainability, and ecological justice; that for the Bank economic and technological development be conceived as a means for the superior goal which is human and social development.

2. That the action of the Bank of the South be guided by concrete goals such as full employment with dignity, ensuring food, heath and housing, universalization of basic public and free education, a redistribution of riches overcoming inequity, even gender and ethnic ones, reducing greenhouse effect gases and their effects on the continent’s population and the other peoples of the south.

3. That the Bank of the South be an integral part of a new Latin-American and Caribbean financial architecture which includes a South Fund with the functions of a Continental Central Bank capable of articulating a great continental payment system with a state of the art telematics platform; capable of linking the policies which promote macroeconomic stability with development and reduction of structural asymmetries policies; and which considers a development in the future of a common monetary system at the service of a strategy which strengthens economic and commercial ties within the region, introducing trade interchange with national currencies, and working towards the establishment of a regional currency at least for intraregional interchanges. The building of a space for supranational monetary and financial sovereignty demands a lot of local flexibility to avoid sub imperialist temptations, and the victory of monetarist orthodoxy in some aspects as those in recent the European experience.

.4. That the Bank of the South be useful to recover the values related to historic, social and ecological debts of which our peoples are creditors. That its financing be oriented towards going beyond the social asymmetries and inequities, and the ecological damage perpetrated in the continent for more the five centuries.

5. That the Bank of the South consider the participation of citizen organizations and social movements, no only in the development of its original architecture but also in financial and operational decision making, and in the monitoring of the use given to the funds awarded.

6. That the Bank of the South implements its management in an egalitarian way among its member countries, instituting and keeping the egalitarian principle of “one associate one vote” in all levels of collegiate decisions, and that it aspires to channel regional savings in the region.

7. That capital subscriptions of the Bank of the South be proportional to the capability of the economy of its member countries; that other sources of capitalization may include part of international reserves and loans from member countries, global taxes and donations. Financial resources from the present multilateral financial institutions and from states that have plundered our continent should be excluded. That these dispositions of the Bank of the South may allow an increasing growth in putting member countries’ reserves out of the sphere of the dollar and the euro, and encourage the return of national capitals deposited abroad.

8. That the Bank of the South be committed to transparency in its administration, settling public account for its functioning and activities, submitting to permanent external audits of its loans and its internal functioning with social participation.

9. For the Bank of the South not to become “more of the same”, the quality, austerity and management efficiency must be permanently evaluated, forbidding any kind of immunity privileges to its officials, and based on the maximum in time transparent reporting, and the democratic and social control of its management. To avoid excessive expenditures and bureaucratic deviations a small body of simultaneously diversified, efficient, effective and managerially polyvalent officials must be designated.

.10. That the loans be destined to the promotion of a genuinely cooperative regional integration, based on principles such as active subsidiarity, proportionality and complementarities; financing of public investment projects; paying attention to self-managing local development, and promoting equitable and solidarity commercial exchanges between family farmers, small producers, the cooperative sector and social solidarity economy, indigenous and traditional communities and women’s, fishermen’s, workers’, identity etc. socioeconomic organizations.

11. That the Bank of the South adopts as investment priority those projects oriented towards food and energy sovereignty; research and development of appropriate technologies for an endogenous and sustainable development of the region, including free software; the programmed and complementary production of generic medicines; the recovery of ancestral wisdom, systematized and accepted as an agro ecologic science; the promotion of environmental justice; the improvement of public services: support to victims of forced displacements; promotion of communications and intraregional culture; the creation of a University of the South and an equivalence system for diplomas issued in all the region: infrastructure starting from other logics of space organization instrumented by communities for local solidarity and self-management development. That the bank should not reproduce the financing model of present day international financial institutions with the construction of mega-projects that damage the environment and biodiversity.

12. The Bank of the South must be considered an essential tool for the custody and channelling of savings, breaking the repeated cycles of collection of the national and regional efforts through manoeuvres and suspicious deals with indebtedness and public titles, subsidies to privileged and/or corrupted private local and international economic and financial groups, and a permanent guarantee to the speculative movements of capital entry and outflow.

We understand that all the above is in keeping with what was emphasized in the Ministerial Statement of Quito, on May 8, pointing that: “The peoples have given their governments the mandate to provide the region with new instruments of integration for development which must be based on a democratic, transparent, participative, and accountable to their citizens’ design”.

We are worried about the postponements in the signature of the founding act, which could indicate the existence of significant unresolved issues. We hope that in the negotiations to overcome these unresolved issues, the proposals presented in this setter will be taken into account.

The current regional and international economic and financial situation is still favourable to give concrete steps in this direction, but it may not last. We trust in that you will take advantage of this historic possibility to create what could turn into a real Solidarity Bank of the peoples of the South.

Declaration of Iximche – III Continental Summit of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala

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The integration of energy markets in Latin America has been discussed for more than three decades. An expression of it was the creation of the regional organizations ARPEL (Association of Petroleum Enterprises of Latin America), CIER (Regional Electrical Integration Commission), and OLADE (Latin American Energy Organization), during the decades of the 60s and 70s. These initiatives took place within the framework of important participation by the State in companies tied to the energy sector.

During the 90s, initiatives for energy integration gathered momentum at the continental level. The proposals came about within the framework of the Americas Summit, which sprung from the Initiative for the Americas, proposed by the U.S. government in 1989. At the core of what was then called the “Hemispheric Energy Initiative” were the reforms outlined by the Washington Consensus. In the energy sector, it was proposed that obstacles to the operation of foreign firms in every branch of the energy industry be eliminated, from exploration and production of gas and oil, to distribution and product sales in the final market.

This was not always possible due to reigning constitutional limits in some countries. Nevertheless, foreign investment laws implemented in most of the countries of the region, through programs with multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and consolidated in the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that many countries have signed or are in the process of negotiating with the United States, have attempted to assure that investments, particularly in the energy sector, operate with the least possible number of restrictions, so as to foster capital investment in this activity.

To a greater or lesser extent, since the beginning of the 90s the countries of the region liberalized their regimes in the treatment of investments, as well as their service sectors. In some cases such as Chile and Bolivia, the reforms were enacted earlier. In the energy sector, these reforms meant the elimination of obstacles to national and international private firms being able to operate at all levels of the energy industry, from exploration and production of gas and oil, to distribution and sales of petroleum products. Even though most of the countries in the region modified their normative frameworks in the sector, the degrees of liberalization were different. In many cases the modifications were limited by precepts established in their respective constitutions; in others it was determined that this was a strategic sector. Nevertheless, the foreign investment laws implemented by the majority of the countries in the region, and consolidated in the FTAs to which many countries have subscribed or are currently negotiating with the United States, seek to assure that investments, particularly in the energy sector, find no roadblocks in elements currently in effect in the respective national laws.

The thinking was that to the extent that the aforementioned reforms advanced, so would the integration process of the sector. Moreover it was thought that opening markets would give rise to a considerable expansion in business opportunities for private actors in infrastructure construction for energy interconnections. Said energy projects had the financial backing of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).

However, the desired results were not achieved. Liberalizing energy policies are being reviewed, especially in South America. A certain tendency is discernible to restore a more active role for the State in energy activities and to make state planning for energy markets an indispensable guiding instrument in channeling and coordinating the investments made by private and public agents. Similarly, the preservation of non-renewable resources and the autonomy of the State to regulate tapping them, have now been reclaimed as part of energy policies.

It is in this context that the Petroamerica Initiative has been launched by the Venezuelan government. Although the details of its implementation are still being developed, it is based on the premise that regional integration is a matter for States and governments, which does not imply the exclusion of private enterprise sectors. The agreements contained in Petroamerica propose that state energy enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean be integrated, leading to agreements and joint investments in exploration, exploitation, and commercialization of oil and natural gas. It also seeks joint economic activities and a reduction in the negative effects of energy costs—originating in the increase in the global demand for oil, as well as in speculative and geopolitical factors—for the countries in the region. The process is meant to be implemented in stages and, according to what is indicated in the proposal, will begin to be realized through bilateral or sub-regional actions and agreements. The proposal also includes preferential financing mechanisms in the supply of oil for the nations of the Caribbean and Central America.

The first South American Presidential Energy Summit took place in April 2007. This was an opportunity for the South American heads of state to gather for the first time to draw up plans for a joint strategy regarding the matter of energy. An agreement was reached to institutionalize energy meetings at the ministerial level through the formation of a Council within the framework of regional integration that, among its main tasks, will develop an Energy Treaty for the region.

This takes place at a time when concerns about energy supplies and the impact that their consumption has on CO2 emissions have become topics at the top of the international relations agenda. Specialized agencies agree in pointing out that in the next decades, fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) will continue to be the main source of energy in the world. This will take place in a context where the production and supply of hydrocarbons is characterized by a new paradigm of high prices and a large degree of volatility, geopolitical tensions, an intensifying environmental debate at the international level; competition for access to new regions with reserves; demands for greater participation in hydrocarbon financial gains—especially in several Latin American countries—and an increment in the number mergers and acquisitions and profits without precedent.

In the area of renewable energy production, on the other hand, in March of 2007 presidents George W. Bush and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a memorandum of agreement in which they expressed their intention to cooperate in research and to promote the production and export of ethanol to the world with the aim of creating a global biofuels market. Implementing these measures could mean new investments in Latin America, less dependence on oil, and a new dawn for development in the auto industry.

Brazil has made significant advances in fuel production technology, and in using it in modes of transportation. The United States has a deficit in that sector, thus requiring an increase in imports for which joint ventures are projected in biofuels production in other countries of the region, both for internal consumption and for exports. Currently there are lines of credit from international organizations to promote the development of biofuels in the entire region, which have been received well in the sugarcane producing regions of Central America, the Caribbean, Peru, and Colombia.

Within certain parameters, the development of biofuels could bring environmental benefits through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and it could contribute to rural development and job creation. However, its development also has a negative environmental impact, since it would increase the monocrop model as the process perfects itself and, if necessary precautions aren’t taken, it could affect sustainable development and the production of food as well as local and regional ecosystems, with impacts on flora and fauna. So, it is not merely a matter of replacing non-renewable energy, but of trying to promote sustainable demand and efficient use. That is why it is very important to strike an energy balance in the production of biofuels with each raw material, establish what energy is required to produce it, what is the price for a barrel of oil that makes its development viable, design a conceptual framework to evaluate its environmental impact, and outline some criteria for establishing public policies for its development.

It is important to underscore that global energy trade continues to reflect disparities in global development levels but also as to responsibilities in facing climate change. Per capita energy consumption in the industrialized countries, for example, is five times higher than in Latin American countries. However, if there were no significant reduction in energy intensity nor progress made in making the energy consumed more renewable and clean, the disparities in implementing technical progress could have as a result that developing countries would be responsible for more than three-quarters of global CO2 emissions by 2030. That would lead to their participation in global emissions going from the current 39% to 52% in 2030.

Latin America and the Caribbean together represent a considerable surplus in the production of crude and gas. However, the energy resources of the region are concentrated in very few countries. For that reason there should be value placed on regional cooperation proposals geared toward guaranteeing and facilitating energy supplies and promoting the development of renewable energy, as well as more efficient energy use.

The energy integration of the region could be a decisive mechanism for a better geopolitical position in the international arena. To achieve that goal, it is fundamental to construct an adequate infrastructure, and to have an institutional scheme to regulate the way in which said infrastructure will operate. To be precise, the design of the technical as well as institutional mechanisms for the development of a common energy market is still a challenge to fulfilling the region’s prevailing political will.

Translated for the Americas Program by Annette Ramos.

Ariela Ruiz Caro (arielaruizcaro(a)gmail.com) is a Peruvian economist, formerly an official with the Andean Community. Currently she is a consultant for CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) and for the Presidency of the Commission of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, and a columnist from the Andean region for the CIP Americas Policy Program at www.americaspolicy.org.

We the children of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of the continent, ailment self convened and gathered at the III Continental Summit of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala realized in Iximche’, salve Guatemala the days of Oxlajuj Aq’abal, thirteen powers of the Spirit of the Dawn (26th of March) to Kají Kej, four powers of the Spirit of the Deer (30th of March, 2007):

We hereby affirm the Declaration of Teotihuacan (Mexico, 2000), the Declaration of Kito (Ecuador, 2004) and ratify our millennial principles of complementarity, reciprocity and duality, as well as the struggle for our territories in order to preserve our Mother Nature and the autonomy and self-determination of our Indigenous Peoples. We announce the continental resurgence of the Pachacutic (the return) along with the closure of Oxlajuj Baq’tun (long count of 5,200 years) and as we approach the door of the new Baq’tun, we journey together to make of Abya Yala a “land full of life”.

We have survived centuries of colonization and now face the imposition of the policies of neo-liberalism that perpetuates the dispossession and sacking of our territories, the domination of all of social space and ways of life of the Indigenous Peoples, causing the degradation of our Mother Nature as well as poverty and migration by way of the systematic intervention in the sovereignty of our Nations by transnational companies in complicity with the government states.

In preparation to face and confront the challenges of the new times upon us, we now determine:

To commit to the process of alliance among our indigenous nations, and among our indigenous nations and the movements for social justice of the continent that would allow us to collectively confront the policies of neo-liberalism and all forms of oppression.

To make accountable the government states for the ongoing dispossession of our territories and the extinction of the indigenous peoples of the continent, due to impunity for the transnational corporations and their genocidal practices, as well as the lack of political will on the part of the United Nations in not advancing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and failure to guarantee the full respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To ratify the ancestral and historical rights to our territories and the common resources of Mother Nature, reaffirming the inalienable character of these rights as being non-negotiable, unquantifiable, without impediment, and unrenounceable even to the cost of our lives.

To consolidate the processes now in effect to strengthen the re-foundation of the government states and the construction of pluri-national states and pluri-cultural societies via Constituent Assemblies with direct representation of the Indigenous Pueblos and Nations.

To advance in the exercise of our right of autonomy and self determination as Indigenous Peoples, in spite of the lack of legal recognition by the government states.

To ratify our rejection of the Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) that make vulnerable the sovereignty of our Pueblos and to remain vigilant against similar intentions to implement new commercial agreements.

To reaffirm our decision to defend the nutritional sovereignty and struggle against the trans-genetic invasion, convoking all peoples of the world to join this struggle in order to guarantee our future.

To ratify the struggle for the democratization of communication and the implementation of public policies that contemplate specific applications for indigenous peoples and the promotion of inter-culturality.

To alert the indigenous peoples regarding the policies of the Inter American Development Bank, the World Bank and organizations of the like that penetrate our communities with actions of assistance and cooptation whose aim is the fragmentation of autonomous and legitimate indigenous organizations.

For the well being of the Indigenous Peoples, we now decide:

To demand of the international financial institutions and the government states the cancellation of policies that promote concessions for the extractive industries (mining, oil, forestry, natural gas and water) from our indigenous territories.

To condemn the policies of exclusion of President Bush and the government of the United States demonstrated in the act of construction of the wall along the border with Mexico while at the same time attempting to expropriate the common resources of our Mother Nature of all the peoples of Abya Yala by implementing expansionist plans and acts of war.

To condemn the intolerant attitude of the government states that do not recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular those which have not ratified nor guaranteed the application of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization.

To condemn the imposter and terrorist democracies implemented by the neoliberal governments, which results in the militarization of our indigenous territories and the criminalization of our legitimate indigenous struggle and the movements for social justice throughout Abya Yala.

In order to enact these words and realize our dreams, from resistance to power:

We constitute ourselves as the Continental Coordinator of Indigenous Pueblos and Nations of Abya Yala, creating a permanent vehicle of linkage and interchange, in order to converge our experiences and proposals, so that together we can confront the neo-liberal policies of globalization and to struggle for the definitive liberation of our indigenous Pueblos and Nations, of the mother earth, of our territories, of the waters, and entirety of our natural patrimony in order that we may all live well.

In this process we delineated the following actions:

- To fortify the organizational processes and struggle of the Indigenous Peoples with the full participation of our women, children and young people.

- To convene a Continental Summit of Indigenous Women of Abya Yala and a Continental Summit of the Children, Adolescents and Youth of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala.

- To convoke a continental mobilization of Indigenous Peoples to save Mother Nature from the disasters caused by capitalism, manifested by global warming, to be realized on the 12th of October of 2007.

- To actively engage the diplomatic mission of the Indigenous Peoples to defend and to guarantee the rights of our Indigenous Pueblos and Nations.

- To endorse the candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize of our brother Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia.

- To demand the decriminalization of the coca leaf.

We have dreamt our past and we remember our future.


Social Summit for People's Integration: Cochabamba Manifesto

We salute this important historic moment which opens with the Summit of Cochabamba, visit web which holds the challenge of deepening a process of regional integration which expresses the peoples’ interests.

The peoples of America have suffered from the application of an economic model which is based on market fundamentalism, privatisation and free trade, which has led to a growth in inequality, the deterioration of labour conditions, unemployment, the spread of informal-sector work, degradation of the environment, deepening discrimination against women, poverty, marginalisation of indigenous and rural communities and the loss of State capacity to promote development and economic policies.

With the aim of widening and deepening these policies, there were attempts to create the Free Trade Agreement of America (FTAA) and regional Free Trade Agreements, by which Governments abandoned any attempt at autonomous development based on the internal market which respect all human, social, economic, cultural and environmental rights.

The peoples of the Continent have been protagonists of a struggle against this model, contributing decisively to stopping FTAA and agreements between countries which privilege trade and the interests of multinationals.

This growing organisation of popular movements in South America includes indigenous communities, small-scale farmers, marginalised inhabitants of cities, women, young people, students, workers together with all the social organisations. They have defined this new political and social moment which is advancing in the formation of new governments sensitive to popular demands, who distance themselves from the agenda of the US Government and corporations and who seek their own path. This political time which South America is living offers an historical opportunity, which we can’t miss, to advance towards a true sovereign integration for the peoples.

The South American Community of Nations can not be an extension of the free trade model based on the exports of basic goods and natural resources, indebtedness and the unequal distribution of wealth.

The creation of a real South American Community of Nations can not be a process which excludes popular demands, therefore it needs an authentic social participation.

We consider that we need another type of integration in which cooperation prevails over competition, the rights of its peoples over commercial interests, food sovereignty over agroindustry, the actions of the State in providing wellbeing over privatisation, a sense of equity over the desire for profits, respect for the environment instead of the looting of natural resources and gender equity rather than sexual division of work. We also must prioritise the recognition, respect and promotion of indigenous communities’ contributions rather than the marginalisation, exploitation and conversion into folklore of their values and economic and traditional traditions.

The Community must be a promoter of peace and a guarantor of peoples’ human rights; and against imperial pretensions, opposed to the interference of troops, the installation of foreign military bases and the participation of occupying forces in third countries.

The efforts to construct a Community of South American Nations will only bear fruit, if we change the type of development and defend the sovereignty of nations

The peoples of the Continent will continue to promote integration, by and for the peoples, participating with our own demands and proposals.

We are willing to promote dialogue which leads to real results, maintaining our struggles of resistance which ensure the protagonism of popular movements in the process of integration, promoting true democracy and well-being for our peoples.

For the Integration of the Peoples, Another America is possible.

Civil Society Organizations on the Road to the Construction of the South American Community of Nations

Hemispheric Social Alliance

Presented to the Ministers and Vice-ministers of the SACN
in Santiago, information pills Chile, November 22nd & 23rd, 2006

 

  1. We believe that the future of the South American Community of Nations brings new perspective to the root weakness of the FTAA project, and is an expression of the general conviction in the continent that “another integration” is possible.   A South American bloc will be an important and positive step if it permits our peoples to speak with their own voice, independent of the impositions and conditions set by the United States, Europe and multilateral institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the BID.   Reaffirming and exercising the sovereignty of the region is the first step towards any project of a true integration.

  1. The difference between the FTAA, FTAs and investment agreements – which are oriented to favour transnational corporations and the commodification of all aspects of life – and the South American Community of Nations should be based on the redistribution of the wealth that is today concentrated in very few hands, on the commitment of the states to their obligations in regards to the social, cultural, economic rights of the peoples, on the overcoming of discriminations based on gender, race and generation, and on respect for the identity and the rights of indigenous peoples.   Life, human and environmental rights, well being and solidarity amongst the peoples should be central to the process of integration.

  1. We understand education to be a fundamental right of the peoples.   For this reason, it should be one of the central pillars of any project of integration for the region.   It is essential that a commitment to the eradication of illiteracy be established – as well as to the elimination of misery and of hunger.   For this reason, we must develop mechanisms that permit technical and scientific cooperation between countries towards the end of overcoming existing inequalities.   All the countries of the Community should likewise assume a commitment towards educational reform that guarantees universal, free public education of quality for the entire population.   To meet the objective of promoting “inter-culturalism” between peoples and in recognition of cultural diversity, native languages should be incorporated into the system in a determined manner.

In the fight for the eradication of poverty, it is necessary also to establish a South American Plan to guarantee the universality of access to Public Health.

  1. The physical integration of South America is fundamental in meeting the goal of broadening the possibility of contacts between our peoples and countries.   For this reason, the infrastructure cannot be designed as part of a global geo-strategy for the control, dominion, possession and usufruct of strategic natural resources and the exploitation of cheap labour.   In this sense, projects such as IIRSA (South American Regional Integration of Infrastructure), conceived by the IFIs and international capital as complements to the FTAA, should be rejected in favour of proposals for Infrastructural Integration that emerge from the necessities of the peoples and that prioritizes our joint participation in a framework for comprehensive development in harmony with the environment and the norms and principles that make its care and protection possible, with respect to our communities and human rights, and that no longer generate illegitimate and hated indebtedness.   To achieve this, projects should be submitted to democratic debate and consideration with the communities that will be affected by their implementation and financial provisions.

  1. Financial integration referred to by the South American Community should begin from the point of recognizing that we are creditors of an immense historical, social, cultural, ecological, and financial debt whose recovery – together with the halt and reversal of the current mechanisms that facilitate the flight of capital, human capacity, and natural goods – should establish genuine and sovereign financial potential, but in a manner that is able to meet our needs.   Such commitment by the states of the regions will put an end to the mechanisms of indebtedness and external conditioning that have served to impose the Washington Consensus, and to systematically violate human and environmental rights.

    In this sense, the states should review and reverse agreements of investment protection and promotion, extensions of jurisdiction, and the acceptance of extra-judicial authorities like the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, regressive payment systems, and other mechanisms for the under-resourcing of the state (including the privatization of important public goods and services whose private exploitation is currently subsidized by the state), and instead establish controls on exchanges and financial transactions in order to strengthen an autonomous financial base and to eliminate the false necessity of external capital.

    The new financial system requires new mechanisms of control and monitoring that begin by instituting proceedings against those who have unscrupulously trapped our nations in debt, and that ensure social participation in the determination of budget priorities [there will be a need to remain on guard because of the danger that new supportive finance mechanisms between countries of the Community may be appropriated to maintain old relations of domination and control such as, for example, the creation and sale of bonds and other mechanisms that create new debt, between countries of the region, in order to continue payments against the old debt that is clearly illegitimate and illegal].   In this same sense, we should not admit the restructuring or conversion of debt, a practice that only serves to whitewash questionable debts and to fall prey to external interests.

    In order to prevent our people from continuing as victims of illegitimate and hated debts that are continually recreated from sources of permanent de-financing, we demand that a South American audit be carried out on the debt payment demands levied against the peoples in the region, and that there be external audits of the International Financial Institutions, their policies and credit practices, and that all of this to be promoted by the South American Community of Nations.


  1. South American energy integration should be fostered, beginning with the strengthening of state enterprises in hydrocarbons, the nationalization of strategic resources, and the channelling of profits obtained in this manner towards sustainable development, with policies of income redistribution, and using any surplus to finance renewable energy options.   It is necessary to share our resources for the benefit of our peoples, respecting economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, and that our well-being and that of future generations prioritized – these resources should not be for the benefit of transnational corporations and local oligarchies.

    Sustainable energy development means respect for the rights of communities, energy conservation and the combating of excessive energy consumption.   Energy sources should be renewable, clean and low impact, and equitable and democratic access should be guaranteed.   The countries of the SACN should guarantee full access to energy resources to all inhabitants of the continent, in the bid to overcome the current reality where countries with high energy potential have not yet achieved a dignified level of supply to their inhabitants.

    It would be necessary to change the current energy model that implies a high level of dependency on combustible fossil fuels and that has serious impacts on local populations and original peoples. Multinational and even state enterprises themselves cause irreparable damage to the environment and communities through this type of exploitation.

    Energy projects should be viable in terms not only of economic costs, but also social and environmental ones.   We request that information on the social, ecological and socioeconomic impacts of such projects be made publicly available, in order to evaluate if energy megaprojects justify the investment of such capital when decentralized alternatives to such investments exist, including the generation of renewable energy.   We reject the idea of financing this type of work with loans from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, because this will jeopardize the future of South America by placing it yet again in the hands of foreign creditors.

  1. There will be no true integration if the asymmetries between the different countries are not resolved.    For years, this theme has never moved beyond being a mere discourse in the ACN and in MERCOSUR.   We defend the creation of a compensation fund for the most underdeveloped countries, whose resources may then be destined to develop sectors of the popular economy, cooperatives, and to projects in agreement with the decisions of the peoples of these countries – and not those defined under pressure of national and transnational big capital.   These funds could initially be constituted through a tax levied on the financial transactions of transnational corporations that operate in South America, and by utilizing part of the resources of international monetary reserves in our countries which are today deposited in the United States.   In this same spirit, mechanisms that perpetuate asymmetrical relations should be reviewed and corrected; establishing, for example, the necessity that Brazil and Argentina annul the bilateral debts claimed from Paraguay as the unjust results of the construction of the Yacyretá and Itaipú dams.

  1. We must change the South American model of development that is export-oriented in order to favour one based on internal development for the benefit of the people.   South America can not keep being a region principally geared towards the export of raw materials (hydrocarbons and minerals) and certain agribusiness products.   South American integration should promote the complementarity of our economies in order to generate jobs and promote a comprehensive mode of production and development, strengthening interregional trade and the substitution for imported goods of products that can be produced in the region.

  1. The South American Community of Nations is being threatened by FTAs being signed by Chile, Colombia and Peru.   It is fundamental to reverse these agreements and to promote in their place trade agreements that do not compromise sovereignty, medicines, health, water, education, culture, biodiversity, food sovereignty, government purchases, and natural resources, and to implement active industrial policies.   The experience of the last 20 years has shown that it is necessary to conceptualize a new structure for trade in the region that begins from the recognition that it can be an important tool for development only if it is regulated, in order to avoid the mode of trade which perpetuates asymmetries between businesses and between countries, deepening the dependency on and subordination of countries and peoples to the great powers.

    Trade is not an end in and of itself; rather, it should be thought of as a form of creating linkages between the important production chains in the region in order to stimulate development, taking maximum advantage of the complementarities that exist between diverse national economies, and prioritizing the creation of an integrated, powerful regional market of consumption over other proposals that aspire fundamentally to increase exports to external markets.

    Within the South American Community of Nations, just and cooperative trade accords should take priority, rather than those that only serve to reproduce experiences of the neo-liberal approach to integration.   We wish to note here that far from suggesting an advance, the so-called “convergence” between the ACN and MERCOSUR as proposed may signify the reinforcement rather than elimination of the neo-liberal model of integration.

  1. However South American integration should also transcend trade, and advance in the resolution of other dilemmas facing our peoples and reality in the region.   One of these arms stockpiles and militarization in our region, often associated with the installation of military bases, military command and control structures such as Plan Colombia, the build-up of military manpower in conjunction with the pentagon’s Southern Command – all emerging from a theory of conflict and military doctrine that does not correspond with the interests of our peoples.   We consider that, in this process of integration, the South American countries should elaborate their own doctrine of security and national defence which speaks to the aspirations for peace, sovereignty and self-determination of each and every one of our peoples.

    We come with deep concern over the presence of our troops in Haiti and we believe that the withdrawal of these military forces should begin immediately.   We are also concerned that United States troops have been allowed into Paraguay.   The SACN should have this discussion and consider how to reverse all those actions which weaken our sovereignty, generate conflicts and adversely affect civil rights and democracy.

    At the same time, the nations of South America should consider a joint effort of struggle against impunity and state violence , strengthening democracy and setting important precedents to settle the historic debt with peoples who fight for dignity and justice.

  1. In the process of the SACN, we consider that it is impossible to conceive of a regional integration without an active citizenry, rights and in general, the existence of nationalities and indigenous peoples that transcend republican frontiers.   Indigenous peoples and communities are those most directly and principally affected by the actions of transnational corporations, whose indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources generate poverty, migration, pollution, and marginality.   The indigenous peoples should be recognized as protagonists in processes of integration, and the policies of the SACN should aim to preserve territories, environmental resources and life itself.

  1. The decriminalization of the coca leaf in South America and support for its industrialization is a fundamental step to achieving the removal by 2008 of the coca leaf from the United Nations list of prohibited substances.

  1. We see the recognition of communication as being a key means of unification as central to the reunion and fraternity of the nations involved, and to the support of urgent tasks towards the creation of well-being amongst our peoples. Democratic Communication should be seen as a fundamental right, and there should be a commitment among the parties to adopt public policies to this end.   Therefore we urge agreement on a strategy of cooperation in the spheres of information, communication, culture and knowledge; the definition of agreements to promote regional networks of public communication with a sense of equity with respect to the means of communication; the prioritizing of intraregional connection of telecommunication networks (reducing external dependency); together with training policies and the enhancement of accessibility in each country.

  1. We call on the states of the South American Community of Nations to constitute a process towards a Convention on Water that is oriented towards guaranteeing water as a human right , to care for our primary water sources and resources and to protect them against privatization and commodification through an international agreement that builds on the advances made to date, in the framework of the International Pact on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

    We also call on the States to construct a Global Forum on Water based on the principles of full participation and inclusion and in recognition of water as a human right.

    The SACN should be an instrument that commits countries to:

    • Reverse the processes of dismantling states services, and to instead strengthen public systems of water and basic sanitation to develop efficient management, with transparency and social control, ensuring mechanisms of cooperation and exchange with this end in mind.

    • Promote the effective participation of communities in decision making on projects of development that involve water in each territory, retaining their visions, patterns of usage and customs in the sustainable planning and management of natural resources.

  1. The SACN and in particular the affected countries should abandon the current model of research, management and elaboration of official policies with respect to the Guaraní Aquifer, most of which has been created under the tutelage of the World Bank through the Global Environmental Facility, which are contrary to popular sovereignty and which do not satisfy the principles of informative participation and transparency that we promote as constituent organizations of the social movement in defence of water.   We propose the creation of national institutional spaces of information and discussion with respect to the uses of the territories and subsoil that constitute the Guaraní Aquifer System (GAS), with participation of the social movements and organizations of those countries which share the GAS , which will be linked to public authorities whose principle tasks are to monitor the water table and usage, its defence as a shared public good, and the denunciation of all proceedings of research and management of knowledge that are not transparent.

    Before the completion of the GAS Project of the WB/GEF/OAS in 2008, it is necessary to produce a pre-project, alternative research and management framework with the objective of defending sovereignty and with an integrative approach through searching for genuine financing that does not impose conditions on governments and social organizations contrary to their fundamental interests; a framework that gives continuity to that which preserves, and to modifying asymmetries in favour of countries and not multilateral institutions.   We demand the release of documents on the referred-to project to the movements, parliaments and governments of the countries of the GAS.

  1. It is urgent to adopt policies of sustainable development that assume social justice as a central measure of quality and to construct mechanisms of intervention that permit the inclusion of all inhabitants.   We aspire to a regional integration based on a different socio-economic model that is oriented towards: increasing decent and permanent jobs; ensuring the application of labour rights; universalizing public social security; strengthening the right to unionize and to collective bargaining; adopting measures against discrimination in the labour market and that searches to overcome the current sexual division of labour that penalizes women; that puts in place programmes of Youth Employment; that puts a stop to the mechanisms that drive our populations to migrate, but at the same time, that recognizes the basic level of rights of migrant workers guaranteed by international conventions.

  1. As united countries, we should confront the job of creating an agrarian reform that guarantees to all the right to work the land, and that democratizes property in a manner that gives priority to family, social and cooperative forms.   The SACN should be a natural space to consolidate food sovereignty ; in other words, the right that all people have to produce their own food (which is of healthy and high quality) in an independent manner, in order to supply all of society.   Seed as the legacy of humanity and cannot be subjected to the privatization and patenting of multinationals.

  1. As a consequence of neo-liberalism and structural adjustment policies applied in the region, every day millions of people are obliged to emigrate in search of alternative livelihoods.

    We consider the primary obligation of the governments to develop the necessary policies to effectively guarantee workers freedom from having to emigrate.   These must be made in light of the situation facing migrant workers and their families, in whatever stage of migration they may find themselves.   In contrast to the reductionist vision that sees migrants simply as a labour force, we affirm that they are persons and not commodities, and moreover, that all those rights that will permit them to develop themselves and fully exercise their citizenship through the enjoyment of labour, social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights, should be guaranteed.

    We cannot continue with policies aimed at criminalizing the immigrant and at treating migration as a matter of security.   The SACN should develop policies that guarantee citizenship to migrants and that promotes shared actions to fight against poverty and marginality, and to foster conditions that allow the inhabitants in each country to develop themselves fully and to guarantee their continued well-being.


  1. We demand the urgent creation of mechanisms of Social Participation in the construction of the Community at local, regional, sub-regional and national levels.   The States should ensure the transparency of the negotiation process of the SACN initiative, recognizing that the official mechanisms of this Summit, as with previous ones, have not facilitated access to information, nor the dissemination of progress made, nor the contents of what is being discussed.   The alleged “informality” of the Reflection Group should not operate as a formal shield to impede the publication of the discussions of the 12 countries.   The presidents united in Cochabamba should create a formal mechanism of popular participation and consultation.

  1. We, the social movements who – resisting while searching for Alternatives to create the conditions for “another world is possible”, “another Americas is possible” – are reaffirming our commitment to the construction of a South American Community based on the universal exercise of Human Rights, in the context of popular Sovereignty and participatory Democracy.   For this reason, we have taken on the organizing of the Social Summit for the Integration of the Peoples to be held in Cochabamba. It is to be a space where the historical accumulation of our struggles and the democratic construction of political, social and economic Alternatives come together; understanding that integration that emerges from the peoples also strengthens our Identity, our cultural diversity.   It is out of this experience that all the peoples assume the challenge of sharing in the construction of the integration of the South American peoples drawing from the diversity of expression fundamental to Social Forums throughout the continent, free from exclusion or discrimination.

The South American Community of Nations should demonstrate that “Another Integration is Possible.”

Declaration of the III People of the Americas Summit in Mar del Plata

The FTAA should be buried forever! No to “free trade” militarization and debt!
To truly end poverty unemployment and social exclusion


AN INTEGRATION FOR AND FROM THE PEOPLE IS NECESSARY AND POSSIBLE


Delegates of social organizations from all regions of the continent – from Canada to Patagonia; workers, farmers, indigenous, young and old, of all races, women and men with dignity, have come together in Mar del Plata, Argentina, to demand that the powerful, who normally ignore us, listen to the voice of all of the peoples of our America. As we have done previously, in Santiago de Chile and in Quebec, we have come together at this Summit of the Americas, which brings together the presidents of the entire continent with the exception of Cuba, because despite the official discourse which continues to be full of words about democracy and the fight against poverty, the people continue to be excluded from the decisions that are made about our futures. We are also here in the III People’s Summit, to deepen our resistance to the neoliberal calamities orchestrated by the imperial power from the north and to continue in the construction of alternatives. We are demonstrating that it is possible to change the course of history and we commit ourselves to continue on this path.

In the year 2001, at the official Summit in Quebec when the vast majority of the governments were blindly inclined towards neo-liberal orthodoxy and the dictates of Washington, with the honorable exception of Venezuela, the US managed to establish January of 2005 as the fatal date on which their new project of domination called the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) would enter into effect. The Fourth Summit of the Americas, to be held in Argentina, was programmed to be the event at which the negotiations for this perverse project would be signed. However, on the first of January, 2005 we woke up without the FTAA and this official Summit has occurred with negotiations irreversibly stalled. We are here today to celebrate this!

The US has not changed

However, the US has not changed its strategy of consolidating hegemony in the continent through bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements such as CAFTA, which was ratified by a very close margin, and AFTA which they now seek to force on the Andean countries. In addition Washington is advancing with an “Agreement for Security and Prosperity in North America” (ASPNA). Despite irrefutable evidence of the disastrous consequences of more than 10 years of NAFTA, now the FTA-plus has the objective of imposing US ‘security’ policy on the entire region.

The US is not content to simply advance with the placement of pieces in their puzzle of domination in the continent. They insist on placing the pieces into a hegemonic framework without renouncing the FTAA. Now, together with their ally governments they come to Mar del Plata with the pretension of breathing new life into the cadaver of the FTAA, when the people have clearly expressed their rejection to an integration subordinated to the US.

The US strategy to favor North American corporations has been accompanied by an increase in US military bases and militarization of the continent. Now, to finish off the genocide, George W. Bush has come to the Summit in Mar del Plata with the intention of elevating his ‘security’ policy in the continent under the pretext of combating terrorism, when the best way of achieving that goal is to end his policies of colonial intervention.

Empty words and demogogic proposals

In the final declaration which is being discussed by our governments, a real threat exists that, although nuanced, the worst intentions of the US could come to pass. The declaration is full of empty words and demagogic proposals to combat poverty and generate decent employment. The reality is that these offers only serve to perpetuate a model which as deepened the misery and injustice of our continent which possesses the worst distribution of wealth in the world.

This is a model that favors a select few, deteriorates labor conditions, accelerates migration, the destruction of indigenous communities, the deterioration of the environment, the privatization of social security and education, the implementation of laws which protect corporations rather than citizens, as in the case of intellectual property.

In addition to the FTAA, they insist on moving forward with the Doha Agenda in order to assign more power to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose unequal economic rules on the least developed countries and further promote the corporate agenda. Our natural resources and energy reserves continue to be exposed to plunder. The distribution and commercialization of potable water is privatized. The appropriation and privatization of our aquifers and hydro reserves is promoted, converting access to water as a human right into merchandise for transnational corporations.

No concrete solutions

In order to impose these policies, the empire and its accomplices rely on external debt as blackmail, impeding the development of our people in violation of all of our human rights. The declaration of the Presidents offers no concrete solutions such as; the cancellation of payments on this illegitimate debt, restitution of the excess which has been charged and repayment of the historical social and ecological debts to the peoples of our America.

The delegates of the different peoples of America are here not only to Denounce. We are here because we have been resisting the policies of the empire and its allies. At the same time, we are constructing popular alternatives through the solidarity and unity of our people, constructing a social fabric from below, from the autonomy and diversity of our movements with the intention of attaining a society which is inclusive, just and has dignity.

From this III People’s Summit of the America’s we declare:

  1. Negotiations for the creation of a Free Trade Agreement of the
    Americas (FTAA) should be SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY AND DEFINITELY, as well as all bilateral and regional FTAs. We join in the resistance of the
    peoples of the Andean Region and of Costa Rica against the FTAs and with the peoples of the Caribbean so that the EPAS will not come to signify a new era of disguised colonialism and with the struggles of the people of North America, Chile and Central America to repeal the treaties which weigh so heavy on them.
  2. All agreements between countries should be based on principals of respect for human rights, the social dimension, respect for sovereignty, complementarity, cooperation, solidarity, and the consideration of economic asymmetries so that the least developed countries are favored. We therefore reject/oppose the Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty that has been signed between the US and Uruguay.
  3. We pledge to support and promote alternative projects for regional integration such as the Boliviarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).
  4. We affirm the conclusions and actions which have emerged from the forums, workshops and encounters of this Summit and we commit to deepen our process of constructing alternatives.
  5. All of the illegitimate, un-payable and unjust external debt of the South should be cancelled immediately and without conditions. We assume our position as creditors to collect the social, ecological and historical debt with our peoples.
  6. We support the struggle of our peoples for an equitable distribution
    of wealth, dignified work and social justice in order to eradicate poverty, unemployment and social exclusion.
  7. We agree to promote the diversification of production, the protection of native seeds which are the patrimony of the people at the service of humanity, food sovereignty of the peoples, sustainable agriculture and an integral agrarian reform.
  8. We vigorously reject the militarization of the continent which is being promoted by the empire from the North. We denounce the so-called doctrine of ‘cooperation for hemispheric security’ as a mechanism for the repression of popular struggles. We reject the presence of US troops on our continent; we do not want military bases or conclaves. We condemn the state terrorism of the Bush Administration which has as its objective to bloody the legitimate rebellions of our people. We commit to the defense of our sovereignty in the Triple Border, heart of the Guarani fresh water reserve. We demand US troops out of Paraguay. We demand an end to the foreign military intervention in Haiti.
  9. We condemn the immorality of the government of the United States, that talks about a struggle against terrorism while it protects the
    terrorist Posada Carriles and continues to detain five Cuban patriots in jail. We demand their immediate release!
  10. We repudiate the presence of George W. Bush in our dignified lands of Latin America – he is the principal promoter of war in the world and heads the neoliberal creed which even impacts the interests of his own people. We send a message of solidarity to the dignified women and men
    of the United States, who are ashamed at having a government which has
    been condemned by the humanity of the world, and who resist with all their strength.

Bury the FTAA forever

After Quebec, we constructed a huge campaign and held continent wide popular consultations against the FTAA.   We managed to stop it.   Today, in response to attempts to revive the negotiations and to attach the US military objectives – in this III People’s Summit, we commitment to doubling our resistance, strengthen our unity in diversity and to convene a new and even larger continental mobilization to bury the FTAA forever and at the same time to build a new alternative America that is just, free and rooted in solidarity.

Mar del Plata, Argentina, November 4, 2005


www.cumbredelospueblos.org

www.asc-hsa.org

www.noalalca.org

Labour's platform for the Americas

 

We, the working women and men of the Americas and the

Caribbean, united as brothers and sisters in the Inter-American

Regional Workers’ Organization (ORIT), the Andean Labour

Consultative Council (CCLA), the Caribbean Congress of Labour

(CCL), the Central America and Caribbean Union Coordination

(CCSCAC), the Southern Cone Union Coordination (CCSCS) and

the national labour centrals of Canada, the United States and

Mexico, are speaking with one voice on behalf of ourselves and our

sons and daughters, to demand an urgent change of course.

 

We declare:

 

Globalization has exacted a very high toll from our

peoples, not only those living in marginalized regions,

but also in countries where globalization is perceived to

have been a success. Since the free-market model was

introduced in the Americas, every indicator of social

well-being and working conditions has deteriorated

significantly: employment, job stability, the quality of life, social mobility

rates and levels of equality. The predatory attitude of capital toward

our hemisphere’s abundant and unprotected natural resources and

toward stewardship of the environment, the insistent cheapening of the

cost of labour and its increasing precariousness, growing inequalities

regarding gender, class, race and ethnic origin all considered

incentives to attract investment place in serious jeopardy the survival

of important regions of the Americas. The scarcity of decent jobs has

frayed the social safety net, reducing labour rights to mere

declarations, annulling the potential of social dialogue between

government, business and labour, and undermining companies’

commitment to their social responsibility.

 

Our experience with the Washington Consensus and the neo-liberal

economic policies stemming from it has shown the fundamentalist

notion of “free trade” to be bankrupt.

We, the millions of working women and men forced into

unemployment, pushed into poverty, battered by precarious working

conditions and labour flexibility, obliged to leave our farms and our

homes, urge the governments of the Americas to abandon the

policies inspired by free-market fundamentalism. The hemisphere is

in urgent need of an approach to sustainable development which

places decent jobs and social justice at its heart, and the creation of

mechanisms for the state to ensure no citizen is left behind. We need

new policies designed from a gender perspective, which seek

primarily to strengthen democracy, broaden opportunities for citizens

to participate in decision-making at national and regional levels,

reduce inequality, create decent work with dignified working

conditions and full employment for all men and women in the

Americas (1). Ongoing processes of sub-regional integration must

be strengthened as an alternative to neo-liberal free trade agreements which have only deepened the gulf between rich and poor, both between countries and within them. We know that there are different

approaches to regional integration, and therefore we understand that they can bring positive benefits, as long as they do not disguise efforts by certain countries to dominate others, as has occurred with some neo-liberal free trade and investment agreements. For these reasons, we propose this Labour Platform for the Americas as a point of departure for a new way forward for all of our peoples and our nations, with potential relevance for men and women across the world.

 

1. A New Democratic Consensus with Popular Sovereignty and a Gender Perspective

Without fully embracing democracy, a gender perspective and human rights, there will be no new

way forward for the Americas. The peoples and nations of the Americas urgently seek a new consensus based on the following objectives:

 

Strengthening democracy and achieving full

respect for human rights;

 

Broadening the channels for citizen participation in national

and international decision-making;

 

Achieving social justice;

 

Integrating a gender perspective into all policies;

 

Eliminating all forms of discrimination on the basis of class,

race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation;

 

Establishing full employment as the basis for sustainable

development;

 

Ensuring no man, woman or child is excluded from our

societies; and

 

Rebuilding the capacity of governments to take pro-active

measures.

 

We support and defend the self- determination of peoples and states,

convinced that a multilateral hemispheric system in the Americas

based on institutions open to real participation by the citizenry will

constitute a sound basis for achieving freedom and social justice.

Building a democratic society requires the permanent integration of

gender perspectives into all public policies, because all aspects of

production, reproduction and caring are relevant to addressing the

inequalities between men and women.

 

All institutions and programs, all policies, laws, agreements and

decisions, be they national, sub-regional or regional, must contain

mechanisms which allow for bringing a gender perspective to bear

and which guarantee women’s active participation and respect

their rights as workers. In addition, public policy

must prevent violence against women, guarantee sexual and reproductive rights and,

take into account women’s unpaid labour in the home.

Adopting a gender perspective implies not only delivering programs for women, but creating

programs that transform the system of gender relations, encouraging men and women to make

positive changes that place women and men in a position of equality. Women’s condition will only

be effectively transformed if such changes are encouraged through innovative social policies which modify not only economic structures but also the structures of power and authority so that

women’s rightful role as active agents of social change is fully acknowledged.

Decision-making in the Inter-American (2) system must be improved, so that it becomes more effective and representative of the real needs and desires of our peoples, and therefore capable of

implementing the proposals we put forth in Labour’s Platform for the Americas.

 

The following are the measures which we consider necessary:

 

a. Create decision-making procedures for tripartite and multipartite labour consultations

under the auspices of the ILO.

 

b. Link the Inter-American system to sub regional integration processes while respecting their autonomy.

 

c. Establish affirmative action measures which guarantee that at least one third of all representative and consultative posts will be filled by women.

 

d. Strengthen the Inter-American Conference of Labour Ministers.

 

e. Submit fundamental international decisions to citizen ratification and organize a system for democratic citizen appeal of the same.

 

f. Incorporate a gender perspective into the design of policies and budgets

 

g. Guarantee financing for the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and Court so that they can implement and follow up on their decisions and sentences.

 

h. Endorse the Social Charter of the Americas (3), linking it to the current hemispheric system for human, civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights and the system’s protective

mechanisms and institutions.

 

2. Economic Objectives which Pursue Sustainable

Development and Focus on Decent Jobs and Full Employment

 

In order to address the real problems faced by the peoples of the

Americas, we need a new approach to the economy, one that

encourages sustainable development and places decent jobs and

full employment at its heart, acknowledging the active role of the

state. The labour movement of the Americas calls on governments

to abandon policies which seek only to regulate the demand for

labour, and instead adopt policies intended to generate decent

productive jobs.

Our workers’ organizations in the Americas maintain that relevant

policies oriented toward the goal of full employment should meet

the following conditions:

 

Foreign Debt: Indebtedness must not undermine the fight

against poverty or restrict the path to sustainable development. For

the majority of our countries, the foreign debt constitutes one of the

primary obstacles to eradicating poverty and generating

sustainable development. Our union organizations have spoken

out repeatedly on the illegitimate nature of much of that debt

(“odious debt”) and on the barriers which prevent our peoples from

learning where the money came from and where it ended up.

Creditors share responsibility for that debt and it should not be

repaid. Debts owed by the lesser developed countries of the

Americas to the most developed ones should be canceled.

Governments must instead give priority to the fight against poverty

and to the development of countries and regions.

The member states of the Inter-American Development Bank

(IADB), as shareholders, have the obligation to reform that

institution so that approval by national legislatures of recipient

countries is required before loan projects can be considered by the

IADB Board of Directors. National legislatures ought as well to have

the authority to convene hearings on proposed IADB projects and

policies, including the power to subpoena Bank officials. The IADB

must also adopt a safeguard policy in accordance with labour

standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO),

applicable to all projects and policies, including follow-up, and

applicable as well to Bank personnel. The active participation of

national unions in all phases of loan negotiation and project

financing is essential to monitor the social and labour impact of

programs implemented and to ensure transparency and

participation in the entire process.

 

Policy Coherence : Achieving full employment will require

that all relevant policies be oriented toward the goal of creating

decent jobs. This includes macro-economic policies as well as

policies on investment, technological innovation, infrastructure, rational use

of natural resources and the environment, trade, production,

migration, education, social responsibility for domestic and

reproductive work, social services and social security. Governments should

spurn social policies oriented exclusively toward adjusting the

demand for labour, which consider unemployment to be a temporary problem

due to difficulties of “employability.”

 

Investment and Economic Priorities : National

economic policy ought to prioritize productive investment and

universal public social services to address existing inequalities,

rather than structural and monetary adjustment measures.

Governments must insist that foreign investors respect labour rights,

obey national laws and submit to the authority of national judicial

systems. Governments must also seek the reinvestment of profits

so as to guarantee genuine economic development, penalizing

“social dumping” and capital flight.

 

Fiscal Policy and Progressive Taxation : New fiscal

policies and progressive taxation are urgently needed to achieve

improved income distribution, to strengthen the industrial sector, to

provide incentives for technological and scientific innovation and its

application, and to reinforce small and micro enterprises and family

farming. The pursuit of fiscal responsibility and monetary stability is

useful only to the degree that it serves these social goals.

 

Complementary Production : Where there exists

strengths and advantages in production capacity in a particular area

or sector that can contribute in a complementary way to integrated

chains of production, these sectors should be encouraged to

consolidate their advantages by concentrating in zones of

development.

 

Promotion of Local Development : The sustainable

development of local regions should be pursued through projects that link

economic actors emphasizing economies of solidarity which focus on

human beings, fair distribution of wealth, democratic decision-making, and a

commitment to the local reality in which they reside.

 

Infrastructure Integration : Governments must make a

hemispheric commitment to integrate the hemisphere’s

infrastructure in order to promote sustainable development, full

employment and enhanced communication among peoples, and

should do so by completing existing infrastructure projects and

undertaking new ones.

 

Sectoral Policies : Sectoral policies constitute an essential

component of a regional plan for sustainable development and

complementary production. Priority objectives should include

achieving each sector’s systemic competitiveness at the national,

sub-regional and hemispheric levels, drawing up inter-sectoral plans

for industry, trade, infrastructure and finance, and creating special

programs to strengthen micro-enterprises and small and medium-

sized businesses.

 

Family Farming : In ways appropriate to each national

circumstance, governments must support the development of family

farming via policies to guarantee domestic food supply and food

sovereignty. Governments must support an approach to agriculture

which protects the environment, guarantees food to all the

hemisphere’s people and respects the relationship between

communities and their natural environments.

 

Income Distribution : Due to the severe inequalities that

characterize societies in the Americas, a sustained strategy for

redistributing income toward labour should be adopted immediately.

It should be based on full employment, universal unemployment

insurance coverage, living wage policies, tax reform, the provision of

public services and reduction of the workweek.

 

Hemispheric Funds : Structural Funds to assist less

favoured regions and to raise the competitiveness of countries ought

to be created, based on complementary production and built around

the goals of promoting decent employment and achieving economic

reform. Developed countries have an obligation to help eradicate the

asymmetries between our nations. Sub-regional blocs ought to

create Investment Funds for production projects and social

infrastructure. Universal Social Funds also ought to be created in

order to eradicate hunger and poverty, as should Training Funds to

guarantee every working man and woman of the Americas access to

the necessary skills to obtain a decent job and to update those skills as

needed, and Public Health Funds to eradicate HIV/AIDS and other

pandemic diseases. These Funds should be financed through

progressive and sustainable hemispheric-wide taxation.

 

Strengthening Government Capacity : Indebtedness and

financial liberalization have restricted the capacity of government to

stimulate our economies. In addition, speculation and capital flight

have repeatedly disrupted our economies, impoverishing both

citizens and government. Our governments need to regain control

over the market and rebuild their capacity to generate revenue to meet

social needs. To those ends, governments must take collective action

to discourage tax evasion and punish evasion via tax havens. The

Organization of American States (OAS) should take the lead in this

area.

 

Privatizations : Inter-American organizations should ask

member states to review the privatizations they have undertaken.

Governments should evaluate the economic and social impact of

privatizations and their contribution to the formation of oligopolies and

private monopolies, as well as uncover any corruption that may have

occurred, and then take the corrective measures deemed necessary.

Governments must instruct the IADB and other multilateral financial

organisms to conduct a meticulous analysis of the social impact of the

privatization projects in which they have been involved, and not to

consider investments in productive infrastructure as spending when

calculating current accounts.

 

Access to Knowledge : In the Americas, access to scientific and

technological knowledge must be guaranteed in all areas that affect living

organisms, bio-diversity and the traditional knowledge of our peoples. Technology

transfer to lesser developed countries must be facilitated. Wealthy countries ought to

provide adequate compensation for socio- economic losses caused by the migration of

highly trained professionals via the so-called ‘brain-drain’.

 

Large Companies and Multinational Corporations :

Companies must fulfill their social responsibility and their commitment to social development by adhering strictly and obligatorily to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and

Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the United Nations Global Compact, the Tripartite ILO Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and the International Framework

Agreements in force. They must take an active role in tripartite and multipartite stakeholder dialogues at national and international levels, organize their labour relations on the basis of national and

international collective bargaining, and ensure that branch plants and subcontractors also fulfill their social responsibility.

 

Small and Micro-Enterprises : These businesses form the nucleus of most

labour-intensive employment. National governments and sub-regional institutions

must take steps to support the sustainable development of small and micro-enterprises,

reducing their tax burden and facilitating financing. With the same approach and according to particular national conditions, governments must meet the needs of family farming and promote its development.

 

Jobs for Women : Specific programs for women must be created to improve their access to the labour

market and to promote equality of opportunity and treatment, especially regarding wages,

working conditions, labour rights, family responsibilities and public childcare policy.

 

Jobs for Youth : Policies to support youth employment are needed to guarantee all rights for

young women and men, with particular attention to ILO Convention 138 on Minimum Working Age and 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. These policies must achieve the eradication of rotating

minimum-wage jobs and precarious working conditions. New jobs should be created for young

workers instead of youth displacing adult workers who also need employment. The new generation should be educated about their human, civil, social and labour rights. This will help them join the

working world and will guarantee them opportunities to gain social and professional skills and community participation.

 

Elimination of Child Labour : Government policies coordinated at the Inter-American level to eliminate

all forms of child exploitation must be implemented. This must be undertaken through an integrated

approach which guarantees boys and girls free public education from pre-school age while ensuring

employment for adults in the family.

 

Education and Professional Training : Governments must guarantee access to free, quality public

education and ensure continuation through graduation, so that citizens can fully exercise

their rights. Programs which provide general education, childcare from birth and

professional training must be broadened to integrate a gender perspective, and must

provide life-long support so workers can acquire the necessary skills to join and remain in the workforce.

 

3. Promoting and Fulfilling Social and Labour Rights

 

Formal Employment : There is an urgent need to substantially increase

the number of decent jobs. To that end, governments must enact an aggressive

enforcement policy to ensure compliance with and full respect for

national labour legislation as well as improvements in said laws.

 

Labour Inspectors : Governments must strengthen all

inspection and enforcement mechanisms so that employers comply

effectively with labour laws. In the short term, the Inter-American

system must require all member states to adopt the basic

conventions of the ILO and to monitor companies’ compliance.

 

Labour Tribunals : In many countries, labour courts are

slow to resolve disputes and thus violate the individual and collective

rights of working men and women. Labour tribunals become

politicized and often unfairly take the side of employers. The

governments of the Americas must ensure that the courts dealing

with labour disputes respect and apply the principle that justice

delayed is justice denied, and fulfill their obligation to defend the

rights of working men and women.

 

Universal Access and Pay-As- You-Go Social Safety Nets :

Providing social services is a critical responsibility of government because

social security is a human right. There is an extremely serious predicament in the

Americas because of the exclusion of tens of millions of workers from the health

and social security systems and related and growing financial

troubles those systems are experiencing. It is urgent to strengthen

these systems by restoring the principle of universal access to

benefits, especially for children and the elderly, by making progress

toward the indivisibility of services and by achieving sustainable

financing with social justice, while at the same time doing away with

approaches based on private profit.

 

Unionization and Collective Bargaining :

To achieve a real improvement in the living conditions of the working men

and women of the Americas, as well as a deepening of democracy, labour

rights must be promoted and mechanisms for collective bargaining

established at all levels. The organizations of working women and

men must be protagonists in the design and implementation of such

mechanisms.

 

Balancing Work and Family : The countries of the Americas must undertake a

serious effort to balance the needs of family and those of the workplace, so that work is

compatible with family life and caring for children, the sick, the disabled and the

elderly. To this end, governments and regional and sub-regional institutions

must actively pay attention to this issue in three principal areas:

 

a) Within companies, considering a reduced workweek without

loss of pay, so that the right of working men and women to

attend to their families’ needs becomes part of companies’

social responsibility.

 

b) Within society, strengthening public systems, accessible to all

men and women, which support caring for children, the sick,

the disabled and the elderly.

 

c) Within male-dominated cultures, bestowing social value on

reproductive work and distributing it equitably between men

and women.

 

Discrimination : To guarantee equality of opportunity and

treatment in the workplace, public anti-discrimination policies should

be promoted and strictly enforced by new tripartite sub-regional

boards, which should pay particular attention to discrimination by

gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin and culture. The

rights and labour of sex workers must be respected. Policies

regarding equality of opportunity and treatment must be coordinated,

must include affirmative action and should set indicators to allow for

periodic accounting of progress or lack thereof. The governments in

the Americas must take specific steps to protect and preserve

cultures and indigenous rights.

 

Workers’ Freedom of Movement : One of the principles of

the labour movement of the Americas is the eventual elimination of

restrictions that impede the free movement of persons. In the

Americas, tens of millions of working men and women and

their families are obliged to migrate, pushed out by poverty

and the enormous gulf between rich and poor. For this reason,

we consider it a primary obligation of government to

develop the necessary policies to guarantee our workers’

freedom not to emigrate. For those workers who have emigrated and their families,

no matter their migratory status, the authorities must recognize the floor of rights

guaranteed by the International Convention on the Protection of All

Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families, as well as ILO

Conventions 97 and 143 on Migrant Workers. Governments should

also acknowledge the principle that no one should be sent back to

where their rights have been violated. In addition, ways must be

found in the Americas to link pension systems so that the upheaval

caused by migration is not aggravated by the loss of benefits.

Similarly, a system for validating professional credentials and

degrees must be established so that human resources are not

under-utilized and workers’ professional and other skills obtained in

their countries of origin are respected. The governments of the

Americas must jointly undertake to eradicate abuses in the transfer

of remittances by migrant workers. Similarly, governments must

recognize the principle of non-refoulement contemplated in the

International Convention on the Protection of All the Rights of

Migrant Workers and their Families for the victims of terrorism,

smuggling and trafficking, sexual and labour exploitation, workplace

accidents and repression for union activity.

 

4. A Guarantee That No One Will Be Excluded

There are enormous challenges to overcome in the Americas if

we are to adopt a new approach to economic, social and labour

policy. The social security system must be reformed, given that

it was designed to address only those with formal employment

and thus excludes the majority of the population. It is

practically impossible to imagine a sustainable system of social

security without improving employment levels and increasing

formal employment and family incomes. But it would also be

ethically unsustainable and politically dangerous to democracy

to await job creation via economic recovery before putting new

social policies into effect. As long as the economy is not

generating enough formal jobs, governments must guarantee

social benefits to all working women and men, whether they are

formally or informally employed or unemployed.

To fight poverty effectively, universal access to social services

must be coordinated with job-creation, labour and income

policies, so as not to split society into those who have jobs and

those who receive assistance.

 

5. Making Labour’s Platform for the Americas a Reality

To make Labour’s Platform for the Americas a reality, year by year,

regional and sub-regional follow-up mechanisms will be established,

based on social dialogue and the active participation of civil society.

These mechanisms must be based on short, medium and long-term

goals for government policy, placing full employment and decent jobs

at the heart of the hemisphere’s sustainable development.

To help achieve this objective, the following regional and sub-regional

indicators with national specifications designed from a gender

perspective should be agreed on:

 

Inequality

Poverty

Unemployment

Informal Employment

Gender Equality

Child Labour

Gender Development Index (UNDP)

 

Each year, forums created to monitor follow-up on Labour’s Platform

for the Americas should meet and report back to our peoples and

nations on the status of efforts to achieve these proposed goals and

on the measures necessary to implement them.

 

(1 ) An International Labour Organization’s (ILO) definition:

“Decent work means productive work in which rights are protected, which generates

an adequate income, with adequate social protection. It also means sufficient work,

in the sense that all should have full access to income-earning opportunities. It

marks the high road to economic and social development, a road in which

employment, income and social protection can be achieved without compromising

workers’ rights and social standards.”Source: “Report of the Director-General: Decent Work”, International Labour Office,Geneva, June 1999. www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/ilc/ilc87/rep-i.htm

 

(2 ) The Inter-American system refers to all of the intergovernmental institutions in the hemisphere {Organization of American States (OAS), the Labour Ministers’ Conference (IACML), the Inter-American Human Rights Court and Commission, etc.}

 

(3 ) Proposed by the Government of Venezuela, the Social Charter of the Americas consists of 129 articles that address social and human rights related to health, work, education, basic rights, cultural identity, environmental protection and indigenous peoples. It was submitted for debate to the OAS in August, 2005

 

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Final Declaration from the First Cuba-Venezuela Meeting for the Application of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)

Alfredo Falero
El articulo del libro colectivo PENSAR A CONTRACORRIENTE II, prescription La Habana, Cuba, 2006.

By the Venezuelan and Cuban delegations

April 30, pilule troche 2005

The delegations of Cuba and Venezuela meeting in Havana, order
Cuba on April 27 and 28, health 2005, and inspired by the historical Joint Statement and the Agreement for a Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), signed by Hugo Chávez Frías, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and President Fidel Castro Ruz, president of the Council of State and Ministers of Cuba, have drawn up and approved a Strategic Plan for the application of ALBA, in accordance with the Article 3 of the above-mentioned agreement.

The article establishes: “The two countries will produce a strategic plan to guarantee the most beneficial productive complementation on the bases of rationality, exploiting existing advantages on one side or the other, saving resources, extending useful employment, access to markets or any other consideration sustained in genuine solidarity that will promote the strengths of the two countries.”

The Strategic Plan agreed envisages the following among the most relevant actions:

* Inaugurating this year in Venezuela 600 Integral Diagnostic Centers; 600 Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy Departments and 35 High Technology Centers offering professional healthcare services free of charge to the Venezuelan population.

* The training of 40,000 doctors and 5,000 health technology specialists in Venezuela within the Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighborhood) II health care program for the poor.

* The training in Cuba of 10,000 graduates from the Mission Ribas (preparation of high school students for university education) program in the areas of Medicine and Nursing, who will be deployed throughout the country’s polyclinics and hospitals and will stay in the homes of Cuban families.

* Cuba will continue its contribution to the development of Plans Barrio Adentro I and II, through which up to 30,000 Cuban doctors and other healthcare workers located throughout Venezuela will lend their services by the end of the second semester of this year.

* This year in Cuba, 100,000 Venezuelans with a variety of eye conditions are to receive surgical treatment. To that effect, the conditions have been created within hospitals to provide the most modern and sophisticated methods available as well as living conditions to ensure a comfortable stay.

Likewise, Cuba will maintain its support in order to contribute to the success of the special Bolivarian programs, including:

* Mission Robinson I, through which Venezuela will soon declare itself the second illiteracy-free territory in the American continent, having taught 1.46 million Venezuelans how to read and write.

* Mission Robinson II, within which some 1.262 million Venezuelans are continuing their studies to sixth-grade level.

* Mission Ribas, educating high school students to give them access to university education; an opportunity for young Venezuelans offered by the Bolivarian Revolution. To that respect, the fulfillment of the Scholarship Plan offered by Cuba is to be promoted.

* Mission Sucre for the universalization of higher education.

* Mission Vuelvan Caras to train specialized workers and provide them with new sources of employment.

* In addition, the two countries will work on the design of a continental project to eliminate illiteracy in Latin America.

Medical treatment of Venezuelan patients in Cuba is to be maintained. By the end of 2004, the number of patients treated stood at 7,793, accompanied by 6,567 relatives or friends, who benefited from highly specialized services including cardiovascular surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and organ transplants. It is anticipated that this year, the program will include a further 3,000 patients and their companions.

In the economic and commercial sector, the Strategic Plan also covers concrete plans as well as projects which we are jointly proposing to develop in the immediate future.

Today saw the inauguration, by the presidents of the two countries, of the Venezuela Petróleos S.A. Office in Havana – PDVSA in Cuba – whose social objective is the exploration and exploitation, refining, importation, exportation and commercialization of hydro-carbons and their derivatives, as well its transportation and storage.

Also inaugurated in Havana was a 100%-Venezuelan subsidiary of the Industrial Bank of Venezuela, and the opening in Caracas of a 100%-Cuban subsidiary of the Foreign Bank of Cuba has been approved. The two state institutions will make a significant contribution to the sustained increase in economic relations and bilateral trade, which have already begun to materialize.

The 3rd Meeting of the Administrative Commission of the Economic Complementation Agreement decided to grant preferential tariffs to 104 new lines of Cuban exports and a timetable for progressive tax relief, for those as well as existing preferences. In all cases, Venezuelan commitments as laid out in the Agreement between the Andean Community of Nations and MERCOSUR have been taken into account.

For its part, Cuba issued Joint Resolution No. 6 from the Ministries of Finance and Prices and Foreign Trade, which exempts from taxes on profits companies owning or utilizing vessels of Venezuelan flag, and participating in the transportation of passengers or cargo on national territory, and from the payment of tonnage rights for Venezuelan vessels arriving in Cuban ports from abroad.

Cuba is to acquire the initial sum of $412 million in Venezuelan items with productive purposes, as well as those manufactured for social use or for direct consumption by the population, which will have a positive effect on generating employment in Venezuela, leading to the creation of some 100,000 new jobs.

These goods will be on offer on the Cuban market, with preferential treatment within the policy of economic and social development and elevating the living standard of the Cuban people.

In the process of preparing this first ALBA meeting, the two delegations also identified 11 projects for the establishment of joint ventures and other methods of economic complementation in Cuba and Venezuela which will be progressively formalized once studies underway confirm their economic viability.

In that regard, this afternoon (yesterday), the following agreements were signed:

* A memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a strategic alliance for iron and steel development in Venezuela and for the coordination of a bilateral enterprise oriented toward the recovery of raw materials.

* Letters of intent for the foundation of a joint business directed at the improvement of the railway infrastructure of both countries; the fostering of integration in the area of maritime transportation; the constitution of a bilateral enterprise to promote agricultural development; the enlargement of the supertanker base in Matanzas; the creation of a joint strategic alliance with the goal of developing nickel and cobalt mining projects in the regions of Aragua, Carabobo and Cojedes; the repair and construction of sea vessels; the creation of a Cuban-Venezuelan mixed enterprise for the production of sports equipment and another for fuel transportation.

Likewise, it was agreed to work toward the organization and implementation of nine projects for endogenous development in both countries, including:

* An endogenous development project in the state of Barinas; “Hato Caucagua,” in the state of Apure; a Hotel Sheraton, Melía Miramar and School of Tourism in the state of Vargas; “Santa Rita” Zamorano Farm in Apure state and Ciudad Vacacional de los Caracas (Vacation City of Los Caracas) in the state of Vargas.

* In Cuba, endogenous projects will be developed in the Higher Institute of Agricultural Science in Havana (ISCAH) for the training of young Cubans and thousands of experts and professionals from the Venezuelan agricultural sector, as well as those from the communities of Bolívar, Sandino and Martí, in the Sandino municipality of Pinar del Río province.

Among other documents signed after two intense days of meetings, especially notable are:

* Three agreements between the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the government of the Republic of Cuba, related to air transportation, maritime transportation and the establishment and operation of a shipyard for the repair and construction of small naval units.

* Bilateral agreements in the areas of plant and animal health.

* Agreements, framework contracts and memorandums of understanding in tourism, information technology, communications; transportation, communication and information; education and sports; biodiversity, the environment, science and technology; hydraulic resources and construction.

* Memorandums of understanding between Venezuela’s Ministries of Popular Economy and Light and Commercial Industry and Cuba’s Ministry of Domestic Trade.

* A framework agreement, contracts for the buying and selling of crude oil and the warehousing of crude oil and its derivatives, and letters of intent for the restoration of the Cienfuegos Refinery and for technology transfers between PDVSA and CUPET.

* A framework agreement for cooperation in the electrical energy industry, and for cooperation in the energy sector.

* An international agreement on construction between the Venezuelan Ministry of Habitat and Housing and the Cuban Ministry of Construction.

* Agreements in the civil aeronautics sector.

* An agreement to convene the 1st Latin American and Caribbean Integration Games, to take place in Cuba June 17-30, 2005.

* An agreement for Venezuela’s utilization of Cuba’s anti-doping laboratory and the beginning of construction of a similar facility in Venezuela.

* A framework agreement between the organizing committees of both countries for the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students in Venezuela.

* Agreements between the two countries’ Ministries of Foreign Affairs for the promotion of ALBA in international agencies, including – among other initiatives – its presentation at the 2nd South Summit, scheduled for Qatar in June 2005, and at the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in September of the same year.

In all, including government agreements, letters of intent, memorandums of understanding, contracts and framework agreements, 40 documents were signed.

Also, as part of the Strategic Plan, the 1st Conference for Caribbean Integration in the Sports Sector took place in Caracas in March, with the participation of 10 Central American and Caribbean countries.

An important program of bilateral cooperation was formalized in the fishing and agriculture sectors, and a 1st Summit on Regional Fishing and Agriculture has been arranged in Venezuela during May 15-19 of this year.

A cultural cooperation program was drawn up, which includes – among other things – editorial and film services, and the development of discography, as well as studying the creation of a joint enterprise for culture industries.

Contracts worth $305 million have been signed for 2005, according to agreements made during the 5th Joint Commission, and which are part of the ALBA.

All of these agreements include actions and initiatives to progressively contribute to strengthening the integration process inspired by the ALBA, which will become an example, and in which we aspire to include Latin America and the Caribbean.

We should express that this Strategic Plan is a flexible tool that will continue to be extended and enriched as new proposals emerge that compliment the objectives established by the Joint Statement and the Agreement for the implementation of the ALBA.

In view of the historical privilege of making this Final Declaration public in the presence of President Hugo Chávez and President Fidel Castro, both delegations formally pledge to spare no effort until the dream of Bolívar and Martí of a Latin united and integrated America and Caribbean is attained.

As the Joint Declaration expresses: “…we fully agree that the ALBA will not become a reality with mercantilist ideas or the selfish interests of business profitability or national benefit to the detriment of other peoples. Only a broad Latin Americanist vision, which acknowledges the impossibility of our countries’ developing and being truly independent in an isolated manner, will be capable of achieving what Bolívar called “… to see the formation in the Americas of the greatest nation in the world, not so much for its size and riches as for its freedom and glory,” and that Martí conceived of as “Our America,” to differentiate it from the other America, the expansionist one with imperialist appetites.

In his memorable June 11, 1892, article in the magazine Patria, José Martí wrote: “Our enemy obeys one plan: to inflame us, disperse us, divide us, suffocate us. That is why we are obeying another plan: to show ourselves in all our stature, to tighten up, join together, to evade him, finally making our homeland free. Plan against plan.”

This, which we are approving today, is that of Bolívar and Martí.

¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Venezuelan and Cuban delegations
Havana, 28th day of the month of April of 2005
Year of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas

Fuente: www.cubainsideout.org