SOUTH AMERICA: SUMMIT PROCESS STALLS
from Weekly News Update on the Americas:
The Second Summit of the South American Community of Nations (CSN), held Dec. 8-9 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, concluded with a declaration that the meeting had laid the "cornerstone" for a regional union with "a space integrated politically, socially, culturally, economically, financially, environmentally and in infrastructure." Eight of the 12 member nations were represented by their heads of state: Evo Morales (Bolivia), Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazil), Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Bharrat Jadgeo (Guyana), Nicanor Duarte (Paraguay), Alan Garcia (Peru), Tabare Vazquez (Uruguay), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela). Two presidents-elect attended as observers: Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua).
Despite the declarations of solidarity and the fact that most of South America now has left or center-left governments, the meeting made little substantive progress towards its goal of establishing a South American union on the model of the European Union. Lula pushed unsuccessfully for a South American parliament. Morales called for a merger of the Mercosur trade bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN, composed of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru), as was discussed in the first summit [in Cusco, December 2004]. Morales also urged Venezuela to rejoin CAN. "I think, with all respect, that CAN doesn't work," Chavez answered, "or Mercosur either. They aren't suitable instruments for the era we're living in; they're instruments for the elites."
Vazquez complained that the summits are "very pretty" and a good chance to take "beautiful family photos" of the presidents but don't lead to major advances. Chavez said the problem was that the region needs "political viagra." But he and Garcia took advantage of the occasion to stop the verbal battle between them that started last spring; now Garcia called Chavez a "friend and companero." The next summit will be held in 2007 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. (La Jornada, Dec. 10; EFE, Dec. 9; El Diario-La Prensa, NY, Dec. 10 from AP)
Grassroots and leftist groups held a parallel summit, the Second Social Forum for the Integration of the Peoples, in Cochabamba from Dec. 6 through Dec. 9. About 4,000 delegates attended, and more than 40,000 people came to the closing ceremony in the Cochabamba Stadium, where an Ecuadoran indigenous leader, Blanca Chancoso, presented the Social Forum's conclusions. The parallel summit announced its opposition to "the death agreements that the trade agreements are," to military bases in the region and to the privatization of natural resources. The concluding statement also called for the CSN nations to "withdraw immediately" their soldiers "that are occupying Haiti" and to establish "other forms of cooperation while respecting the principle of the self-determination of the Haitian people." Several South American countries are part of the United Nation Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), a military force deployed to Haiti in June 2004.
Morales helped organize the Social Forum. He attended the closing event along with Chavez and Ortega—the only other major political leaders to participate in both summits. (Alterpresse, Dec. 9, 10; EFF, Dec. 9)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 10
Weekly News Update on the Americas
Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Jan. 1, 2007
Reprinting permissible with attribution