The following is a statement issued by the heads of state and governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela – the group known as Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA):
The heads of state and governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela -- member countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) -- consider the proposed Declaration of the fifth Summit of the Americas insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:
• It offers no answers to the issue of the global economic crisis, despite the fact that this constitutes the largest challenge faced by humanity in decades and the most serious threat in the current epoch to the wellbeing of our peoples.
• Unjustifiably excludes Cuba in a criminal manner, without mentioning the general consensus that exists in the region in favour of condemning the blockade and the isolation attempts, which its people and government have incessantly objected to.
For these reasons, the member countries of ALBA consider that consensus does not exist in favour of adopting this proposed declaration and in light of the above; we propose to have a thoroughgoing debate over the following issues:
1) Capitalism is putting an end to humanity and the planet. What we are living through is a global economic crisis of a systemic and structural character and not just one more cyclical crisis. Those who think that this crisis will be resolved with an injection of fiscal money and with some regulatory measures are very mistaken.
The financial system is in crisis because it is quoting the value of papers at six times the real value of goods and services being produced in the world. This is not a “failure of the regulation of the system” but rather a constitutive part of the capitalist system that speculates with all goods and values in the pursuit of obtaining the maximum amount of profit possible. Until now, the economic crisis has created 100 million more starving people and more than 50 million new unemployed people, and these figures are tending to increasing.
2) Capitalism has provoked an ecological crisis by subordinating the necessary conditions for life on this planet to the dominance of the market and profit. Each year, the world consumes a third more than what the planet is capable of regenerating. At this rate of wastage by the capitalist system, we are going to need two planets by the year 2030.
3) The global economic, climate change, food and energy crises are products of the decadence of capitalism that threatens to put an end to the existence of life and the planet. To avoid this outcome it is necessary to develop an alternative model to that of the capitalist system. A system based on:
Solidarity and complementarity and not competition;
• A system in harmony with our mother earth rather than the looting of our natural resources;
• A system based on cultural diversity and not the crushing of cultures and impositions of cultural values and lifestyles alien to the realities of our countries:
• A system of peace based on social justice and not on imperialist wars and policies;
• In synthesis, a system that recuperates the human condition of our societies and peoples rather than reducing them to simple consumers or commodities.
4) As a concrete expression of the new reality on the continent, Latin American and Caribbean countries have begun to construct their own institutions, whose roots lie in the common history that goes back to our independence revolution, and which constitutes a concrete instrument for deepening the processes of social, economic and cultural transformation that will consolidate our sovereignty. The ALBA-TCP [TCP = Peoples Trade Agreement], Petrocaribe and UNASUR [Union of South American Nations], to only cite the most recently created ones, are mechanisms for solidarity-based union forged in the heat of these transformations, with the manifest intention of strengthening the efforts of our peoples to reach their own liberation.
In order to confront the grave effects of the global economic crisis, the ALBA-TCP countries have taken innovative and transformational measures that seek real alternatives to the deficient international economic order rather than strengthen these failed institutions. That is why we have put in [place] a Single System of Regional Compensation, the SUCRE, that includes a Common Accounting Unit, a Chamber of Compensations of Payments and a Single System of Reserves.
At the same time, we have promoted the constitution of grand national companies in order to satisfy the fundamental necessities of our peoples, establishing mechanisms of just and complementary trade, that leave to one side the absurd logic of unrestrained competition.
5) We question the G20’s decision to triple the amount of resources going to the International Monetary Fund, when what is really necessary is the establishment of a new world economic order that includes the total transformation of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO [World Trade Organisation], which with their neoliberal conditions have contributed to this global economic crisis.
6) The solutions to the global economic crisis and the definition of a new international financial architecture should be adopted with the participation of the 192 countries that between June 1 and 3, 2009, will meet at a United Nations conference about the international financial crisis, in order to propose the creation of a new international economic order.
7) In regards to the climate change crisis, the developed countries have an ecological debt with the world given that they are responsible for 70% of historic emissions of carbon accumulated in the atmosphere since 1750.
The developed countries, debtors with humanity and the planet, should contribute significant resources towards a fund so that the countries on the path towards development can undertake a model of growth that does not repeat the grave impacts of capitalist industrialisation.
8) The solutions to the energy, food and climate change crises have to be integral and interdependent. We cannot resolve a problem creating others in the areas fundamental to life. For example, generalising the use of agro-fuels can only impact negatively on the price of food and in the utilisation of essential resources such as water, land and forests.
9) We condemn discrimination against migrants in all its forms. Migration is a human right, not a crime. Therefore, we demand an urgent reform to the migration policies of the United States government, with the objective of detaining deportations and mass raids, allowing the reunification of families, and we demand the elimination of the wall that divides and separates us, rather than uniting us.
In this sense, we demand the repeal of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the elimination of the policies of ``wetbacks-drybacks'', which has a discriminatory and selective character, and is the cause of loss of human lives.
Those that are truly to blame for the financial crisis are the bankers who steal money and the resources of our countries, not migrant workers. Human rights come first, particularly the human rights of the most unprotected and marginalised sectors of our society, as undocumented workers are.
For there to be integration there has to be free circulation of people, and equal human rights for all regardless of migratory status. Brain drain constitutes a form of looting of qualified human resources by the rich countries.
10) Basic services such as education, health, water, energy and telecommunications have to be declared human rights and cannot be the objects of private business nor be commodified by the World Trade Organisation. These services are and should be essential, universally accessible public services.
11) We want a world where all countries, big and small, have the same rights and where empires do not exist. We advocate against intervention. Strengthen, as the only legitimate channel for discussion and analysis of bilateral and multilateral agendas of the continent, the base of mutual respect between states and governments, under the principle of non-interference of one state over another and the inviolability of the sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples.
We demand that the new government of the United States, whose inauguration has generated some expectations in the region and the world, put an end to the long and nefarious tradition of interventionism and aggression that has characterised the actions of the governments of this country throughout its history, especially brutal during the government of George W. Bush.
In the same way, eliminate interventionist practices such as covert operations, parallel diplomacy, media wars aimed at destabilising states and governments, and the financing of destabilising groups. It is fundamental that we construct a world in which a diversity of economic, political, social and cultural approaches are recognised and respected.
12) Regarding the United States' blockade against Cuba and the exclusion of this country from the Summit of the Americas, the countries of the Bolivarian Alternatives for the People of Our Americas reiterates the position that all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean adopted last December 16, 2008, regarding the necessity of putting an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba, including the application of the denominated Helms-Burton law, and that among its paragraphs notes:
“CONSIDERING the resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly on the need to put an end to the economic, commercial, and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba and the decisions on the latter approved at several international meetings,
“DECLARE that in defence of free trade and the transparent practice of international trade, it is unacceptable to apply unilateral coercive measures that will affect the wellbeing of nations and obstruct the processes of integration.
“WE REJECT the implementation of laws and measures that contradict International Law such as the Helms-Burton law and urge the US Government to put an end to its implementation.
"WE ASK the US Government to comply with the 17 successive resolutions approved at the United Nations General Assembly and put an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo it has imposed on Cuba.”
Moreover, we believe that the attempts to impose isolation on Cuba, which today is an integral part of the Latin American and Caribbean region, is a member of the Rio Group and other organisations and regional mechanisms, that carries out a policy of cooperation and solidarity with the people of the region, that promotes the full integration of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples, has failed, and that, therefore, no reason exists to justify Cuba's exclusion from the Summit of the Americas.
13) The developed countries have destined no less than US$8 trillion towards rescuing the financial structure that has collapsed. They are the same ones that do not comply with spending a small sum to reach the Millennium Goals or 0.7% of GDP for Official Development Aid. Never before have we seen so nakedly the hypocrisy of the discourse of the rich countries. Cooperation has to be established without conditions and adjusted to the agendas of the receiving countries, simplifying the procedures, making resources accessible and privileging issues of social inclusion.
14) The legitimate struggle against narco-trafficking and organised crime, and any other manifestation of the denominated “new threats,” should not be utilised as excuses for carrying out acts of interference or intervention against our countries.
15) We are firmly convinced that change, which all the world is hoping for, can only come about through the organisation, mobilisation and unity of our peoples.
As the Liberator Simón Bolívar well stated: “The unity of our peoples is not simply the chimera of men, but an inexorable fate.”
(The statement was translated from Spanish into English by Federico Fuentes and first appeared at Bolivia Rising, edited by him.