IV Summit of the People Trinidad & Tobago, April 16-19, 2009

2009-04-14 00:00:00

The V Summit of the Presidents and Prime Ministersof the Americaswilltake place in Trinidadand Tobago in April, 2009. It will bethe firstcontinental Summitafter Mar del Platain 2005 that has been held since the failure of the FTAA becameevident, and itwill be the first to be attended by Barack Obama as the new Presidentof the United States.
For the popular movement this event marks animportantmoment to define a public stance with regard to the fast moving eventsover thepast year. These include: regional integration problems; the globalcrisis; ourposition in response to the new government in the US;taking the opportunity todiscuss the popular movement’s agenda with an eye to deepening thedebate;confronting the neo-liberal model and formulating alternatives. It willalso bean opportunity to strengthen ties with social movements from the Caribbean.
The thematic areas for the presidential Summit of the Americashave been put forward bytheir organizing committee, and their formulation points to a growingadherenceto neo-liberal ideas as the way out of the current crisis, along with aheightened preoccupation with security issues and the militarization ofourcountries. The thematic areas in the ‘official’ Summit are: energy security;environmentalsustainability; public security; and democratic governance.
An important thing to keep in mind in the processleading upto this Summit is that on the initiative of the US under the Bushadministration, government representatives from Canada, Colombia, CostaRica,Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala; Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, theDominicanRepublic, and the US met in New York on the 24th ofSeptember, 2008to underline a “commitment to the liberalization of trade andinvestment” andto claim that they had “taken measures to sign and implement free tradeagreements” that, according to them, “have contributed significantly toareduction in poverty” and they reaffirmed their “commitment to thesecuring ofan ambitious agreement in the WTO Doha Round of negotiations, based onfreetrade and the continued effort to promote economic integration in thehemisphere”.
As was made clear at the People’s Summit inSalvador deBahia, “the Bush government has sought to divide the region,resuscitate thefailed FTAA proposal, put obstacles in the way of, or avoid thealternativeregional integration processes while deepening the free trade blueprint– openingup to foreign investments, indebtedness in various countries, andmilitarization – and the European Union for its part is pushing similarpolicies in the region”. The jury isstill out on whether the government of Obama will continue with thesepoliciesor it will be looking to make a fundamental shift in its relations withthe restof the region.
On the other hand, in Latin America integrationinitiativesare being developed that point to greater regional autonomy, excludingthe US(and Canada) as could be seen from the results from the PresidentialSummit(Lat. Am. and Carib.) held at the end of 2008 in Salvador de Bahia.Nonetheless, these processes and the distance-taking from the Bushpolicies arenot in themselves free from contradiction.
The role of the social movements in recognizingwhere thesecontradictions exist while generating alternative proposals forintegrationtakes on now, as we approach the IV Summit of the People, a muchgreaterimportance. This gathering in Trinidadwill bea time to renew our opposition to the neo-liberal economic model anddemandthat our governments support development policies based on: equalityand socialjustice; guarantee of food and energy sovereignty; concern for theenvironment;Latin American (focus for) development ties; gender equality; andethnic andcultural diversity.
The IV Peoples’ Summitrepresents an important moment to have exchanges with the socialmovements inthe Caribbean with the purpose ofcontinuingto advance our work with respect to peoples’ integration and tostrengthen ourvoices in opposition to the neo-liberal model.
We invite socialmovements, campesinos, indigenous peoples, unions, women’sorganizations,environmental organizations, human rights organizations, students, aswell asnetworks and other organizations to participate in the IV Peoples’Summit thatwill take place in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009 as the V Summit oftheHeads of State of the Americas gets underway.
For more information: www.cumbredelospueblos.org