Posted by on September 07, 2001 at 14:43:02:
For the defence of the sovereignty of Latin America and the Caribbean !
For the fight against social exclusion and poverty !
For a grassroots debate and referendum !
Hemispheric meeting to fight against the FTAA
Palacio de las Convenciones de la Habana, Cuba
November 13-16, 2001
For a new integrated Americas, for economic development and social justice.
Cuban organisations, represented by workers, students, peasants, women, economists, journalists, lawyers, researchers, clergy, artists and intellectuals are calling for a hemispheric meeting to fight against the FTAA in Havana from November 13-16, 2001.
This missive is an urgent invitation we are sending to all the countries of the Americas, from the Industrialised North to the Patagonia and from the Continent to the Caribbean. With this meeting in Cuba, we hope to contribute to this growing and converging movement that is organising against the project to create a giant free trade area throughout the Americas.
We are calling on everyone who shares our concern about the future of our people: Unionists, peasants, students, women, academics, artists, intellectuals, youth, indigenous people, environmentalists, clergy, entrepreneurs and more!
The debate we are asking you to get involved in is part of the opposition movement to neoliberal globalisation that we saw in Seattle, Davos, Prague, Geneva and most recently in Quebec City during the Second Peoples? Summit of the Americas. People from all over the world attended and subscribed to the persuasiveness of the arguments presented. During the Summit, the different integration alternatives that the grassroots and social movements proposed, as opposed to the current free-trade model, were highlighted.
The Peoples? Summit, which was convened by the Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA) brought together various grassroots movements, unions, environmentalists, women, youth as well as human rights, international solidarity, indigenous, peasant and religious groups. The Peoples? Summit definitive conclusion was that the fight against the FTAA needs to continue on all fronts and that this needs to include new sectors to help enrich the fight. As the final declaration says: ?Another Americas is possible. No to the FTAA without the participation of the people?.
We hope that the meeting in Cuba will be an important space for support and mobilisation for the upcoming World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil (January 2002) and a follow-up to the Peoples? Summit and the initiative for a referendum on the FTAA.
Never again should we have to submit to an Accord that is negotiated without us.
WE HAVE A LOT TO DEBATE
In recent years, thanks to the various opposition movements against the extreme liberalisation of the markets, there has been a growing critical consciousness about the stakes surrounding globalisation and its political, economic, military, informational and cultural hegemony.
The FTAA represents a lot more than simple business liberalisation as its negotiators claim. It is actually a US strategic project to consolidate its domination over Latin America through the expansion of its economic borders. The FTAA would deepen economic and financial deregulation, which has already lead to the political weakening of Latin American States and has placed their economies in precarious situations.
Since the First Summit of the Americas (Miami, 1994), the process has rapidly advanced under the direction of the 9 working groups and the 3 special committees who decide the rules and the norms that will soon regulate the reduction of tariff barriers and political subsidies, anti-dumping, compensation procedures, investment themes, the opening to foreign capital, intellectual property, protecting the interests of multinationals (especially in the pharmaceutical and bio-technology fields) and services. The propositions put forward by the FTAA will have adverse effects in all these areas, especially if we consider the marked asymmetry between the economies of Central and South America with that of the United States.
After centuries of turning a deaf ear to the demands for co-operation and economic relationships with other counties in the hemisphere, the United States is now showing an uncanny interest in the FTAA and wants to have it approved by 2005.
WHAT WE WANT
Under a vast and pluralistic framework, where an amalgamation of forces and personalities are gathering, and by respecting diverse opinions, we will be able to move ahead with our goal of advancing toward independence, identity and the right to a democratic and complete development of our people. We need to move beyond the dangers of the FTAA and elaborate on concrete propositions for hemispheric integration.
Grassroots mobilisation and the creation of a collective conscious are now major tasks. We hope that the meeting in Havana is part of the strategy that aims to bring down the misinformation and the silence that results from the international media?s manipulations. This meeting should also lead the debate on behalf of all people who are trying to make their points heard.
All people of the Americas should know that this extreme right wing government sponsored project, which stimulates repression on a global scale, that is compliant with racist and sexist politics and is the enemy of environmental protection, contains nothing of any advantage to the people of the Americas.
Our people need to be aware, with support documents, that the FTAA project signifies the submission of Latin-American economies by the United States. Latin American oligarchies, motivated by the own self-interest and neoliberal ideology, are putting their country?s sovereignty at risk by favouring annexation by the United States.
The FTAA would be synonymous with open interventionism, of repression and the unrestricted application of the ?limited sovereignty? doctrine on the governments that decide to sign up.
The FTAA would concretise the under-development that characterises Latin America and the Caribbean ? our countries as producers of brut material and cheap labour.
The FTAA would worsen an already precarious alimentary situation and heightens the danger of famine that already afflicts Central America.
The FTAA would limit the power of national economies, which would result in the destruction of small and medium producers, businesses and entrepreneurs at the hands of the profits of large American multinationals.
The FTAA would expel the exports and investments from Europe and elsewhere from Latin American Caribbean markets. This would directly affect thousands of workers in various sectors.
The FTAA would see a rise in unemployment, an increase in the rural exodus, wild urbanisation in the big cities, the elimination of the middle class social-fabric, the polarisation of wealth and would eventually engender an explosive social crisis.
The FTAA signifies more than neoliberalism and would result in the state abandoning its responsibilities in social services, including the destruction of our health-care, education, child protection and elderly care systems. Thereby increasing social problems.
The FTAA, as demonstrated by the accord signed by Canada, Mexico and the United States, would not benefit workers in the North either. In fact, they continue to lose their jobs and workers in the North and in the South have seen their lives worsen.
The FTAA, according to the above-mentioned arguments, would signify an environmental disaster for all of humanity ? when even now, our environment is at risk.
The FTAA would threaten indigenous communities, including the disappearance of their spaces, languages, traditions and cultural origins.
The FTAA would worsen the lives of Latin American and Caribbean women. Women who already have limited rights and are the victims of discrimination and sexist politics at work, in their political and social lives and even inside their family.
The FTAA would open even more doors for North American mass culture, for increased domination from media multinationals and would lead to the irreversible loss of our national identity and to the general impoverishment of our culture at the hands of the North-Americanisation of the entire continent.
THE HAVANA AGENDA
There will be no annexation if there is a referendum ? and a real referendum on the FTAA becomes possible if we demand a democratic space, if we begin a real process of diffusing information and a grassroots consultation with our people.
For this meeting to fight against the FTAA we are proposing a plenary, where we would analyse with the largest diffusion possible, a general theme targeting the threats the FTAA poses for the people of Latin America, the Caribbean and North America. It will also privilege the voices that want another type of integration, one based on democracy, humanism, social justice and defending the environment.
The FTAA and the economic integration of the Latin America and the Caribbean. Integration that is subordinate to the United States and based on the principles of neoliberalism. Business, investment, intellectual property, work conditions and the environment.
The FTAA and the independence and sovereignty of Latin America and the Caribbean. The political and ideological fight against the FTAA. The work of the media, of social movements, organisations and parliaments in the face of this fight.
The realisation of national referendums on participating in the FTAA.
The FTAA as a deepening of neoliberal politics in Latin America and the Caribbean. Poverty and social inequality. Under-employment, the informalisation and precariousness of work. Urbanism and social problems. Indigenous people. Racism and sexism.
The FTAA as a threat to the cultural identity of the people of the Americas and the Caribbean.
The fight against the FTAA: unity and co-ordination of the different movements and forces who share the same concerns.
Declaration and action plan against the FTAA.
La Havane, Cuba, 31 août 2001
CENTRAL DE TRABAJADORES DE CUBA (CTC); FEDERACION ESTUDIANTIL UNIVERSITARIA (FEU); FEDERACION ESTUDIANTIL DE LA ENSEÑANZA MEDIA (FEEM); ASOCIACION NACIONAL DE AGRICULTORES PEQUEÑOS (ANAP); FEDERACION DE MUJERES CUBANAS (FMC); CENTRO DE INVESTIGACIONES DE LA ECONOMÍA MUNDIAL (CIEM); ASOCIACION NACIONAL DE ECONOMISTAS Y CONTADORES DE CUBA (ANEC); UNIÓN DE PERIODISTAS DE CUBA (UPEC); UNIÓN NACIONAL DE JURISTAS DE CUBA (UNJC); UNIÓN NACIONAL DE ESCRITORES Y ARTISTAS DE CUBA (UNEAC); CONSEJO DE IGLESIAS DE CUBA; CENTRO MEMORIAL DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING; INSTITUTO CUBANO DE AMISTAD CON LOS PUEBLOS (ICAP).
Hemispheric meeting to fight against the FTAA
Havana, Cuba. November 13-16, 2001
For a new integrated Americas, for economic development and social justice
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The deadline to register is October 31, 2001
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