Declaration from the Fifth Summit of the People in Cartagena, Colombia Print
The continent's social and popular organizations gathered at the ‘Fifth Summit of the People', the true voice of the Americas, held between April 12th and 14th in Cartagena de Indias simultaneously with the Sixth Summit of the Americas, note that:

Cumbre de los PueblosWe strongly reject the persistence of the U.S. government to impose its agenda and decide the course of the proceedings of these summits. Evidence of this are the veto of the participation of Cuba and its strategy of militarization, which uses the pretext of the failed war on drugs, attention to natural disasters and migration control as a way to maintain its hegemony. A key component of this strategy is the criminalization of social struggles.

Its imperialist policy was expressed in supporting the coup in Honduras and support for the illegitimate regime of Porfirio Lobo, the attempts to destabilize Haiti, the maintenance of an economic blockade of Cuba and the continuity of the military base of Guantanamo, and opposition to the sovereignty of Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

The failure of the Obama administration's offer to build a new relationship with Latin America was obvious after the summit in Trinidad and Tobago. Despite its defeat in the proposed FTAA, the U.S. government, in order to weather the severe economic crisis it has faced since 2007, strives to promote free trade and a neoliberal agenda, which are obstacles to regional integration and have driven most countries of the continent into backwardness and misery.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has declared a policy of free trade and mega mining industry, and the extraction of natural resources and energy in Latin America. Their companies are causing irreversible damage to the environment and biodiversity, violating the rights of peoples to their territories. The social and environmental conflicts have multiplied in the region as a result of this model predator.

We recognize the progress in independent regional integration efforts, as proposed in the ALBA, UNASUR and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean CELAC. However, the construction and consolidation of democratic, progressive and leftist governments should move towards overcoming the extractive model based on agro-export monoculture and land grabbing. This violates basic rights such as free, prior and informed consent and prevents the deployment of the full capacity of social movement forces capable of further changes.

The confluence of these governmental trends with social and political movements can be preserved to the extent that people deepen unity, and social and political mobilization and not give up their autonomy and their right to control. We note with satisfaction that popular struggles are maintained and strengthened in peaceful resistance to the neoliberal model.

This 5th Summit of the People, the True Voice of America, is attended by thousands of fighters, women's organizations, unions, students, peasants, indigenous peoples, Afros, small producers, churches and ecumenical sects in the hemisphere. We have deliberated on the problems that we consider truly fundamental to our communities in order to advance in the construction of proposals and thus, among other demands, we demand:

- The elimination of foreign military bases, the end of colonialism, the cancellation of training exercises and joint military and police training, the closure of the School of the Americas and the elimination of the Inter American System of Defense and the end of the deployment of the Fourth Fleet on our seas.

- The end of the militarization under the pretext of the war on drugs, and its replacement by a comprehensive, multilateral policy, with an emphasis on public health measures.

- The end of the militarization of civilian functions such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and migration control.

- An end to the criminalization of social struggle, the use of indigenous, Afro and peasant territories as battle fields for war: no to forced recruitment, the use of women as spoils of war and forced displacement. In the case of Colombia, where armed conflict persists, militarization has led these people to the brink of extinction.

- The abolition of free trade and investment which deepen poverty, social exclusion and inequality, particularly affecting women.

- An end to the indiscriminate promotion of foreign investment, seeking instead cooperative relations and mutual benefit and deepening autonomous integration processes. The rights of investors can not be above the rights of people and nature. It is necessary to condemn the main transnational actors of this model.

- A new regional financial architecture, to include: the Bank of the South, the Latin American Reserves Fund and end the impoverishing debt policy.

- Real solutions to the environmental and climate crisis, pointing to structural causes through a rethinking of the financial architecture in the development model. Defend life and the commons against the commodification of nature driven by multilateral financial institutions and the Northern countries.

- Respect the right of peoples to decide their agricultural policies and to ensure their food security, and conserve and consume their native products. These are threatened by monoculture, biofuels, GMOs and large scale mining.

- Prioritize the generation of decent work for all, the guarantee of freedom of association and collective bargaining and an end to violence against rural and urban workers on the continent.

- Effective changes in the education systems to ensure full access to education, democratic participation of the educational establishment, and those that go against the privatization and commodification of education. In defense of the right to free and universal education, we support the demands of the student movement of the continent.

- Restore the right of Cuba to belong to the multilateral system. Require the U.S. to cease the blockade on Cuba and cease hostility towards governments that do not follow their demands.

- The deepening of autonomous integration processes without the interference of the U.S. government, and the construction of broad processes of integration from the grass roots, with respect, recognition and incorporation of input from the community to a society based on cooperation, Buen Vivir and building a culture of peace.

- The peoples of the continent support Colombia in search of a peaceful, negotiated solution to the armed conflict.

We regret that the beautiful city of Cartagena is both an example of inequity and poverty, with militarization today due to the presidents´ Summit.

We call on all the social sectors of the American Continent, so that as a unified force we can carry out the struggles restoring the principles and aspirations described in this declaration, inviting you to join the massive, peaceful, and civilian mobilization to achieve the proposed goals.

Finally, we believe the official Summit of the Americas should not remain an exclusive event, subordinate to the empire and the simulation of false harmony. This is our voice, the true voice of the peoples of the Americas, and we so proclaim this to the world.

Saturday, April 14, 2012 17:37