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Fidel’s Presence at the Inauguration of the Fourth Summit of the Battle Against the FTAAs
Freely translated by Anoosha Boralessa (October 2015). Not reviewed by bilaterals.org or any other organization.
The Fourth Summit on the Battle against the FTAAs was launched yesterday in the presence of the Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro in Palacio de las Convenciones. The atmosphere was animated by last year’s victories and the conviction of those present that future action was needed to continue the battle.
Dr. Osvaldo Martínez, Chair of the Organizing Committee, announced before more than 800 delegates and foreign invitees and around three hundred nationals, that a special session, dedicated to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), would be held next Friday ; that the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, would be present. He was the chief engine propelling this initiative for integration which can be distinguished from the Free Trade Area of the Americas on the grounds that it represents the legitimate interests of the people and countries of the region.
Martínez said that this is why this forum would be special. He pointed out that after the previous meeting in January 2004, 15 months of struggles between those who wanted to impose the US Government’s annexation plan and those who opposed it, had elapsed.
To date, he added, there have been important successes in the struggle against the FTAAs and also, more generally, in plans relating to the economy and the US and European policy. Both [sets of achievements] should be examined.
According to the prestigious Cuban economist, the FTAAs is getting bogged down and is programmed for failure. This can be considered a victory, albeit partial, for all those who work to defeat this imperial, freakish plan.
The FTAAs - he sustained – was not merely a Free Trade Agreement which one signs or does not sign. Rather, it was a very strong articulation of a plan for continental domination, a scheme for the systematic looting of the region, a conception of socio-economic development, sovereignty and the functions of the nation state.
Martínez, who is also the Director of the Centre for Research on the Global Economy, pointed out that, by strengthening its position, the United States not only wanted more neoliberalism with the FTAAs, but was also demanding a spotless neoliberal record to grant its satellites the privilege of starting to negotiate a Free Trade Treaty (FTA).
He added : the silence on the external debt implies that not one of these treaties proposed or negotiated today, is willing to address the real challenges for under development, social inequality and poverty ; for these treaties, "free trade" is nothing more than a misleading phrase behind which lies the real interest : financial liberalization, free movement of capital and trade that was never free and whose real name is unequal trade.
He highlighted that before the wave of FTAs, social movements had not [sat] with their arms folded ; that their struggles of resistance had been the main obstacle that the attempts to contain the region in the imperialist project had encountered.
He also took the position that the attempts to conclude an FTA in Central America and in some of the Andean Countries, was always met with popular mobilizations and various forms of resistance of social movements connected to the continental social alliance and to the continental campaign against the FTAAs.
Osvaldo Martínez assured that when President Hugo Chavez established ALBA, this provided a mighty push for a proposal that was needed to stand as an alternative to the Yankees’ plan to annex and to scupper the launch of the Yankee plan.
In this Fourth Meeting (which will be winding up next Saturday), Mexico, the United States, Colombia and Venezuela are participating with the biggest delegations. This is what Roberto Verrier, the President of the Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba announced when he welcomed the delegates.
Marcela Escribano, the Meeting’s International Coordinator and an outstanding Chilean combatant, said that these days would be useful to strengthening the battle of the peoples in the continent.
During the first session of the meeting, there was a panel on the current state of the negotiating process for FTAAs with interventions from Brazil : Edgar Lander, Milton Viaga, coordinator of the Brazilian campaign against the FTAAs, and Gustavo Coro, member of the Executive Secretariat of the Continental Social Alliance. There was also a WTO panel : The Strategy of the Battle of Face at the Hong Kong meeting.
The day ended with an expert lecture by Dr. Atilio Borón, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO).
But this Thursday was scheduled an expert lecture by Ricardo Alarcón, Chairman of the National Assembly of Popular Power : an analysis of the current state of agreements and strategies of social movements before FTAs and meetings of different sectors represented in the meeting.