Conclusions of the Peoples Summit of the Americas:

Declaration - Trinidad and Tobago

2009-04-24 00:00:00




st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:"Tabla normal";
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
font-family:"Times New Roman";

Declaration - Trinidad and Tobago
Three years ago, at the last Summit of the Americas in Mar de Plata the defeat of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, FTAA was confirmed, the result of numerous mass struggles, constituting the failure of this policy proposed by the US government for the hemisphere.  Since then some countries have signed similar Free trade Agreements, but at the same time an increased number of governments have since initiated alternative autonomous agreements/policies. The Fifth Summit of the Americas, which takes place from April 17-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, given the new political landscape and the newly elected government of the United States represents a new situation with its own risks and opportunities. The failure of a hemispheric policy based on free trade and the political and military supremacy of the United States necessitates the proposal of an alternative, such as those which the entire hemisphere has been demanding. This alternative now needs to be implemented during a time of crisis, a crisis which has affected the hemisphere of the Americas and the world at large. Under the current circumstances alternative policies, distinct from those which would prolong and aggravate the current state of affairs and whereby the impoverished majorities suffer the most.
The representatives of hemispheric social movements, gathered at the IV Peoples’ Summit have come up with the following considerations:
1.       This crisis is not only financial, neither is it only economic in nature, it is a global crisis which affects all spheres of social life and threatens the planet’s own survival. At the same time, the flaws of the fundamentalist confidence in the market, which for over 25 years dominated the world economic system has now been revealed, and those who promoted this notion are now running to the state seeking rescue packages. Additionally, the current situation also represents a uni-polar world in crisis, headed by the United States. The traditional political systems are in crisis. Democracies today claim to be representative, but the power does not lie in the hands of the wider population, there is great inequity between men and women, and diversity is not encouraged. This crisis is all-encompassing affecting civilisation, means of production, ways of thinking and living. We recognise that the people of the Caribbean face an additional threat, given their vulnerability, both economic and in the face of natural disasters to external shocks.
In effect, a productive system which only seeks to maximise profits, has not only resulted in a concentration of wealth, and has forced the majority of the population into poverty, but also considers nature as only a resource to be exploited in order to earn profits and not as a source of life, i.e. a common good which must be preserved. This unmeasured desire to earn profits, resulting in all goods and services to be considered commodities, accessible only if one has monetary resources, is an infringement of our fundamental human rights. Water, productive lands, energy, health and education are rights, and goods that we are all entitled to access, and their allocation cannot be left to the market.
In conclusion, the key here is not to seek to reactivate the economic system within the same scheme that led it to a state of crisis, but to recognise that another world is not only possible, but also necessary and urgent. Furthermore, we the social movements commit ourselves to work to achieve this, from the ground up.
2.        Those who defend this economic system, wish simply to save the large corporations and the financial system, socializing their losses and injecting these institutions with public patrimony. When it is precisely these conglomerates who are responsible for the crisis and when they were enjoying bumper profits, they never contributed to social development. On the contrary, they accentuated the existing inequity and misery was spread across the world. They also claim to be restoring the US hegemony on the world demanding a general sacrifice so as to avoid the demise of their own economy. When they are occasionally concerned with minimising the negative social effects of their policies it is only to avoiding endangering their own dominance.
3.       Given the fact that several governments have allocated funds aimed at reducing the impact of the crisis, we the social movements recognise that emergency measures must be put in place, but these measures must be based on certain criteria such as the following:
·         In light of the fact the way out of the current situation lies not in reactivating the same production and consumption system, but in changing the said system, stimulating the production capacity, with respect to basic goods and services and satisfying the needs of the population must become a priority, thereby promoting food sovereignty and production which is in harmony with nature. The priority is not to produce for the world market, but for the internal market. As we face this global crisis, regional integration must be encouraged, but this must not be centred on commerce and competition, but on complementarity and solidarity.
·         Emergency resources must be channelled by new institutions under social control, which guarantee the attainment of social objectives and productive transformation. The IMF cannot play this role, not even a reformed IMF, given that they were the main promoters of the model which led to the crisis.
·         With respect to the financial system, the main concern ought not to be rescuing the owners of large capital but rescuing the savings of the poor. We must begin to build a new financial architecture which would service the new system of production and consumption.
·         In combating job loss, it must be taken into account that the majority of jobs are not created by large businesses but by micro, small and medium enterprises – the cooperatives, the community businesses, etc. The priority is not to save the large transnational corporations, but to save the people.
Position on the Declaration of Understanding of the Official Summit
We the social movements wish to express our concern because these crucial problems were not addressed in the declaration of the Summit of the Heads. The said document, in fact does not present a real solution to the economic crisis, neither does it identify the challenges of implementing the principles which govern hemispheric relations. This document does not re