Conference of the Americas ends in Quebec declaration

The Conference of the Americas, which counted on the presence of all Americaґs Heads of State except Fidel Castro of Cuba, terminated in the Quebec Declaration, a document which intends to highlight the growing spirit of cooperation between north, central and south America, but which shows undertones of imperialism, interference and economic colonisation. The Quebec Declaration aims to implement NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) in the whole continent by 2005, a date which had been favoured by Brazil, for example, against the 2003 favoured by some lobbies in the USA. This will link 800,000,000 people together in more liberal trading agreements. It is the form that these liberal trading agreements will take which worries many from the continent’s poorer countries. The very name “North American” shows where the power will be wielded in future “trade promotion” as George Bush terms it. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Cretien, said “From this day forward, the benefits of any agreements we reach will flow only to nations that abide by our democratic clause”, in a clear dig at Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who is unimpressed by NAFTA: If the democratic clause includes election processes such as the one experienced recently in the USA, it is not worth the paper it is written on. Amid degrading scenes of violence, in which 400 people were arrested and 103 were injured, reservations were expressed by Heads of State over whether or not US legislators would attach conditions to agreements after an original proposal had been made. Others showed concern that the cost of this expansion could be high for the poorer countries, which would have to make massive economic adjustments. President Fox of Mexico summed up this concern with the statement : “You cannot have genuine democracy in a society where there is so much inequality of poverty, as happens in many areas of Latin America. We cannot allow ourselves to drift at the mercy of the whims of market forces”. One of the thorny issues in south America is the drugs trade. Plan Colombia, launched last year to tackle the problem of drug smuggling to the USA, has only intensified the drug war in neighbouring countries, creating thousands of refugees, kidnappings, murders and an increase in trafficking, exactly the opposite of its objectives. Once again, intrusion into the internal affairs of sovereign states produces calamitous consequences. The United States of America does not learn easily.


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