[News] Venezuela and ALBA Promote New Climate in Summit of the Americas
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 22 11:26:52 EDT 2009
Venezuela and ALBA Promote New Climate in Summit of the Americas
April 21st 2009, by Tamara Pearson Venezuelanalysis.com
Merida, April 21st 2009 (Venezuelanlaysis.com) --
Venezuela and the countries of the Bolivarian
Alternative to the Americas (ALBA) decided not to
sign the final document of the Summit of the
Americas held on April 17-19 in Trinidad and
Tobago, saying it excluded Cuba and offered no
viable solution to the current economic crisis.
The economic blockade of Cuba imposed by the
United States was one of the most anticipated
themes of the summit, in which 34 heads of state
across the North and South American continent
participated, with the notable exception of Cuba,
whose president was not invited.
The dynamics of the summit were somewhat
different compared to previous summits, as ALBA
countries worked together to assert the needs of
Latin America, whilst the new president of the
United States, Barack Obama, was also more respectful to the other countries.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said, "Of the
three Summits of the Americas that I have been
to, the first was cold, behind a wall and driven
by imperialism and everyone else was quiet,
except Venezuela. Later, in the Mar del Plata [in
Argentina, 2005] the summit ended up fragmented
in pieces, but we defeated FTAA [Free Trade Area
of the Americas], now this summit has opened the
gates to a new era of relationships between all
the countries of this continent."
Chávez said that although this meeting hadn't
been perfect, cordiality had reigned and that "it
has finished with success and with a new climate."
However, Chávez criticized the nature the summit,
saying, "Someone notes all these proposals and
later comes the big question, who is in charge of
carrying them out? This is one of the failures of
all these summits over the last few years, the
incapacity to put projects into practice."
ALBA countries who attended the Summit (Bolivia,
Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and
the Grenadines, and Venezuela) had previously
decided at their conference, held just days
before in Venezuela, not to sign the final
document of the Summit, the Declaration of Trinidad and Tobago.
The 22 page document, with 99 points, in general
favors the private sector and its development,
promotes the production of bio-fuels and the
increasing of credit lines to business, amongst other things.
In a joint statement about the document, ALBA
countries said that it "offers no answers to the
...global economic crisis" and "unjustifiably
excludes Cuba...without mentioning the general
consensus ... in the region in favor of
condemning the blockade." ALBA then proposed
alternative themes for discussion, including
problems caused by capitalism, climate change and
the food and energy crises and the need for solidarity not competition.
Chávez said the document is "totally
de-contextualized, as if time hasn't passed," and
complained specifically about its characterization of Cuba as non-democratic.
"Where is there more democracy, in the United
States or in Cuba? Who has the democracy
meter?... I have no doubt that there is more
democracy in Cuba than in the United States," said Chávez.
Chávez justified ALBA's rejection of the
declaration to the press saying, "It is a
sovereign decision and it forms part of the
battle that we are waging from ALBA, not only of
resistance to imperialism and its hegemony, but
also with viable proposals and in full construction of a better world."
"The Summit of the Americas was born to try to
impose the FTAA and it failed," Chávez said,
referring to the previous summit in Argentina in
2005. In this case Chávez signed the final
declaration but expressed reservations around the
point on free trade. Venezuela created ALBA with
Cuba in 2004 as a counter project to the FTAA.
In the end, only the prime minister of Trinidad
and Tobago, Patrick Manning, signed the
declaration, saying that whilst there wasn't
unanimity around the content of the document,
there was a consensus that he should be the only one to sign it.
Another highlight of the conference was the
resumption of US-Venezuela relations and a
resumed cordiality between the presidents of
those countries, Chávez and the newly elected Barack Obama.
Chávez said "we affirmed a desire to initiate a
new stage of relations. The president of the
Unites States said that he would keep his word to
not interfere in the internal issues of any
country and we agree that we want to work together."
Various presidents also expressed hopes that the
summit would mark new relations between the
United States and the rest of Latin America,
especially given the new president of the US.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said, "[The
Summit] was a fantastic meeting, we understand it
as ... the start of a new type of relationship.
There was an environment of ...optimism and high hopes."
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said he felt
the main achievement of the summit was "open, frank, and friendly dialogue."
Speaking about the theme of energy security
discussed at the summit, Chávez said, "We're
prepared to continue with initiatives like
Petrocaribe, the gas pipeline of the South,
promoting renewable energy... and to continue
doing our part because we have the biggest
reserve of petroleum and one of the largest
reserves of gas. We propose a true energy revolution across the continent."
In his intervention in the conference, Chávez
expressed his concern about the resurgence of
economic forms of intervention. "Be careful with
the International Monetary Fund [IMF] because
they have revived it...In Latin America the IMF
was the big destabilizer of the region," he said.
Chávez also alluded to the "media terrorism of
the powerful elites against the state," giving
the example of the recent assassination attempts
towards Bolivian president Evo Morales, and said
these efforts reflect a form of fascism in the region.
After the summit, Chávez classified Venezuela's
participation as "one of the biggest victories of
our history" because of the positions it defended
of resistance, dignity, sovereignty and independence.
He said he was happy about what is happening in
Latin America and the Caribbean where "Bolivarian
unity is being consolidated, the dream of San
Martin, Bolívar and Artigas; only united will we
be free and be able to talk on an equal footing
and with dignity with the powers of the world,
this has started to become reality in these latest meetings and summits."
Chávez proposed the next summit be held in Havana, Cuba.
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