Cuban News Agency
Bolivia Moves to Support Latin American Integration
Havana, April 14 2006 (ACN) The Bolivian representative to an anti-“free trade” conference underway in Havana, proposed a “People’s Trade Agreement” - a joint initiative between the government and social movements in that South American country.
During the 5th Hemispheric Conference of the Struggle Against FTAA (the Free Trade Area for the Americas agreement), being held at Havana’s International Convention Center, Bolivian social activist Pablo Salon said that the initiative is a counter proposal to imperial designs. The US is attempting to cut side treaties with individual Latin American nation due to its failure to impose the continental-wide Free Trade Areas of the Americas agreement, he said.
Salon added that far from contradicting the Venezuelan initiated “Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas” (ALBA), the People’s Trade Treaty, can help to shape the real Latin American and Caribbean integration.
“We are proposing negotiated agreements to support the people and not the transnationals, to encourage coordination and not competition, to provide for aid to our neighbors and not their destruction,” he said.
This proposal, aimed at erasing economic asymmetry, operates on the premise that major resources contribute more and that the poorest peoples should receive more, said the Bolivian participant.
The representative of the Bolivian movement for sovereignty and people’s integration spoke about a People’s Trade Treaty in which foreign investors are partners, not bosses with unlimited guarantees enjoying a complete array of rights but having no obligations.
During his address, solon insisted on treaties reflecting other basic principles, such as the assurance that agricultural produce is not considered simple merchandise, because this is life-sustaining food for millions of campesinos and indigenous people.
In addition, Solon stressed, “We are against extending the duration of medical patents and obstructing the access of entire nations to medicines. The treaties which Bolivia is defending place the right to health and the respect for biodiversity above the interests of a few.”