The social and people’s organizations of the Continent, meeting in the V Summit of the Peoples, the true voice of the Americas, held between April 1th and 4th en Cartagena de Indias simultaneously with the VI Summit of the Americas, point out that:
We energetically reject the insistence of the United States government on imposing their agenda and deciding about the direction of the deliberations of the Summits. Their veto of participation by Cuba and their strategy of militarization are proofs of this. The militarization uses the disastrous war on drugs, responses to natural disasters and control of migration as pretexts to maintain their hegemony. A fundamental component of this strategy is the criminalization of social struggles.
Their imperialist policy was expressed in their support of the coup d’etat in Honduras and their support for the illegitimate regime of Porfirio Lobo, the intents to destabilize Haiti, the maintaining of the economic blockade of Cuba and the continuing of the military base at Guantánamo, as well as their opposition to the sovereignty of Argentina over the Malvinas Islands.
Since the Summit of Trinidad and Tobago, the Obama’s government’s not carrying out their offer to build a new kind of relationship with Latin America has been obvious. Despite their defeat in the ALCA [FTAA—Free Trade Area of the Americas— SC] proposal, the United States government, in order to sort out the acute economic crisis it has confronted since 2007, works hard to promote free trade agreements and the whole set of items in the neoliberal agenda, which are an obstacle to regional integration and have added up to the backwardness and the misery of the majority of countries of the Continent.
For its part, the Canadian government has promoted a policy of free trade agreements and mega mining and natural and energy resources extraction industries throughout Latin America. Their companies have done irreversible damage to the environment and biodiversity, violating the territorial rights of the peoples. Social and environmental conflicts are multiplying in the region as a result of this predatory model.
We recognize the advances in the efforts for autonomous regional integration, such as those proposed in ALBA [Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela)—SC], UNASUR [Union of South American Countries—SC] and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC. However, the construction and financing of democratic, progressive governments of the left has to move forward towards overcoming the model based on extractive activities, export of agricultural monocultures, and seizing land. This [model] threatens essential rights like previous, free and informed consent and it impedes the full unfolding of the social movements as forces capable of deepening the changes.
The confluence of these governmental currents with the social and political movements can be preserved to the extent to which the people deepen their unity and social and political mobilization and do not renounce their autonomy or their right to control their activities. We note with satisfaction that the people’s struggles are continuing and getting stronger in their peaceful resistance to the neoliberal model.
Thousands of men and women in struggle came to this V Summit of the Peoples, the True Voice of the Americas, from women’s, union, student, peasant, indigenous, Afro and small producers’ organizations and from church and ecumenical sectors of the hemisphere. We deliberated about the problems that we consider truly fundamental for our peoples and we moved forwards in constructing proposals, and that is why, among other demands, we insist on:
-The elimination of foreign military bases, the end of colonialism, the canceling of joint military and police exercises and training, the closing of the School of the Americas and the elimination of the Inter-American Defense System and the end of sending the IV Fleet out on our seas.
-The end of militarization under the pretext of the war on drugs, and its replacement by an integral, multilateral policy with an emphasis on public health measures.
-The end of the militarization of civilian functions such as humanitarian assistance, attention to disasters and migration control.
-Stopping the criminalization of social struggle, [and] the use of indigenous, Afro and peasant land as arenas of war: no to forced recruitment, to the use of women as war booty, and to forced displacement. In the case of Colombia, where the internal armed conflict persists, militarization has brought these peoples to the edge of extinction.
-Suppressing the free trade agreements and investments that deepen poverty, social exclusion and inequity, which particularly affect women.
-Stopping the indiscriminate promotion of foreign investment, looking instead for relationships that are cooperative and of mutual benefit, and which deepen the processes of autonomous integration. The rights of investors can not be above the rights of the peoples and of nature. We must condemn the transnationals as the principle actors in the model.
-A new regional financial architecture, which incorporates Banco del Sur, [and] Fondo de Reservas Latinoamericano, and which puts and end to the impoverishing policy of creating debts.
-Real solutions to the environmental and climatic crisis which point to its structural causes, through a proposal of a change of the financial architecture in the development model. We defend life and our common goods in the face of the mercantilization of nature pushed by the multilateral financial institutions and the countries of the north.
-Respect for the right of the peoples to decide their agrarian policies and assure their food sovereignty, to conserve and consume their native products. All of this is threatened by monocultures, biofuels, GMOs and large-scale mining.
-That generating dignified work for all, a guarantee of union rights and collective negotiation, and the end of violence against rural and urban workers of the continent be prioritized.
-Effective changes in education systems that assure full access to education, with democratic participation in the educational levels and against the privatization and mercantalization of education. In defense of the right to education, we support the demand of the student movement of the continent that it be free and universal.
-Reestablish the right of Cuba to belong to the multilateral system. Demand of the U.S. an end to the blockade of Cuba and an end of hostility towards those governments that do not follow its dictates.
-Deepening the autonomous processes of integration without the interference of the United States government and the construction of broad processes of integration that come from the peoples, with respect, recognition and incorporation of the supports of the communities to a society based on cooperation and the good life and the construction of a culture of peace.
-The fraternal peoples of the continent support Colombia in the search for a negotiated and peaceful solution to the armed conflict.
We regret that the beautiful city of Cartagena should be at the same time an example of inequity and poverty [and] today of militarization on the occasion of the official Summit of the presidents.
We call on all the social sectors of the American Continent to undertake the struggles for the principles and aspirations collected in this declaration in a unified way, inviting them to accompany the massive, peaceful and civic mobilization to win our proposed goals.
Finally, we believe that the official Summit of the Americas can not continue being a exclusionary stage, one of subordination to the empire and the simulation of false harmonies. This is our voice, the true voice of the people of the Americas, and we proclaim it thus before the world.
Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Date Published: April 14, 2012
Translated By: Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator