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Home > English > Website archives > Rainbow of Crisis > THE ECONOMIC MODEL THAT IS IN CRISIS NEED URGENT CHANGE



Monday 20 April 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

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, with 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.