Delegates of social movements and political sectors debated Latin American socioeconomic and political policy at the alternative forum of the Summit of the Americas.
On Saturday, representatives of the fifth People’s Summit mobilised on the streets of Cartagena, Colombia, calling for regional unity. They spoke out against the presence of US president Barack Obama at the summit and burnt a US flag as a sign of their repudiation.
The Colombian spokesman for the alternative forum, Enrique Daza, stressed the importance of “political and social commitment” at the meeting, before a new context of “combative processes” which will “force governments to rectify unpopular policies implemented in the region.”
The forum, which seeks to analyse the causes of injustice and inequality at a continental level, has rejected the implementation of neoliberal policies. It has also repudiated the economic influence of the US on the continent, which it argues, constitutes an obstacle to regional integration.
Delegates at the summit denounced Washington for its alleged role in the coup against Honduras president Manuel Zelaya in 2009. They also criticised the country for its embargo on Cuba and called for the total closure of the US military base in Guantánamo bay. Opposition to British sovereignty of the Falklands/Malvinas was also expressed.
The meeting, which is independent of the Summit of the Americas, stressed the role of social movements in their political struggle for the implementation of an alternative economic model.
Representatives of the summit drew attention to the socio-environmental damage caused by the presence of transnational corporations which, they argue, violate the rights of people and their territories.
In their final declaration, the People’s Summit emphasised the success of the integrative continental blocs, ALBA, UNASUR and Celac, which champion a unitary, rather than a free trade, policy.
They stated that these blocs should move towards overcoming the agricultural export model which, they argue, is causing social, environmental and political conflict on the continent.