Puebla, 5 February 2004
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 34 COUNTRIES TAKING PART IN THE
Organizations from the various countries in the Americas that form
part of the Alianza Social Continental (Continental Social Alliance),
and the Mexican social organizations participating in the Round Table
discussions on FTAA Information and Analysis in Puebla wish to state, by
this declaration of protest, that:
• The negotiations that are currently taking place are not legitimate in
so far as no society of any nation of the Americas that you purport to
represent has been informed, consulted or much less taken into account
in conducting those negotiations that place the future of our countries
• The peoples of the continent have expressed, in a thousand different
ways, their opposition to having more “free trade”, and in particular
the FTAA, continually imposed upon them. These are the true sentiments
of the people of the Americas as opposed to those reflected in simulated
consultation forums with civil society.
• We fully support and would like to acquaint you with the Declaration
adopted in Havana last week by more than one thousand delegates from all
the countries in the Hemisphere:
Third Hemispheric Meeting to Oppose the FTAA
Havana, Cuba, January 2004
Down with “Free Trade”, Stop the FTAA!
TO ALL THE PEOPLES OF OUR AMERICAS:
Men and women of all races, rich in our diversity of origins, cultures
and beliefs, representatives of social and political organizations from
the thirty-five countries of our continent, we have come together here,
in the land of Martí, filled with the memory of the heroic deeds of
Bolívar and San Martín, of Zapata and Sandino, of all those men and
women who fought to bring sovereignty and dignity to our peoples, to
conduct our Third Hemispheric Meeting to Oppose the Free Trade Area of
the Americas (FTAA). We meet to fight an undertaking which, if brought
to fruition, would threaten to carry the level of poverty, injustice and
inequality that we suffer in our countrysides and cities to the extreme,
and would subjugate, once and for all, the future of our nations to the
interests of large U.S. corporations.
Since our last meeting, millions of inhabitants from the Hemisphere have
joined public consultations and clearly voiced their opposition to the
creation of the FTAA. During this time, we have mobilized ourselves in a
significant way against the evil that is “free trade”; for example, in
Cancún against the World Trade Organization, and in Miami against the
FTAA, in spite of massive efforts to repress us. This year, we have
witnessed a proliferation of popular resistance struggles throughout the
length and breadth of the Hemisphere against the various forms of
neo-liberal warfare, of which "free trade" is one of the fundamental
tools. Most importantly, there was a genuine popular uprising, led by
the people of Bolivia against the loss of sovereignty over their natural
resources and against the FTAA, which eventually toppled the puppet
regime backed by the United States.
We have seen how the influence of the popular movement has been
transforming the political map of the South, even though those who come
to power on the wave of the social movement do not always heed the voice
and the sentiments of those who put them there. As a result,
neo-liberalism has also begun to suffer political decline and the United
States is meeting with increased resistance by certain governments to
blindly obeying the agenda that it seeks to impose as “consensus".
We are gathered together once again because, despite the willingness
expressed by our peoples and the social havoc wreaked everywhere by
"free trade", the governments of the Hemisphere, with a few honorable
exceptions, persist in negotiating the FTAA and have ratified the
deadline of 2005 for its entry into force. Notwithstanding the fact that
the ghost of Cancún was also present at the FTAA Ministerial Summit in
Miami, and that opposition from some governments forced the modification
of the original proposal for the FTAA, the United States managed to
salvage the essence of its undertaking by packaging it differently,
transforming it into what is now referred to as FTAA lite and à la
carte, or two-tiered.
We therefore reiterate our unwavering position against the creation of
the FTAA, in any of its versions.
In spite of this, the United States is working day in and day out on
imposing agreements, plans and mega-projects of a bilateral or regional
nature, in particular the free trade agreement between the United States
and Central America, with the threat of eventually including the Andean
region, with the exception of Venezuela. To put a stop to these plans
and agreements is to block the way forward for the FTAA as well.
In order to make headway with their “free trade" strategy, the empire
has continues to rely on the formidable leverage of debt, which
continues to represent a scourge on, and an instrument of blackmail and
control over, our nations. It is unthinkable that an alternative route
to genuine development could possibly exist without resolving the
problem of illegal external debt.
The flipside of the economic disasters in this era of militant
neo-liberalism is militarization; under the pretext of fighting drug
trafficking and now terrorism, militarization has become the
indispensable partner of "free trade". Plan Colombia, the Northern
Command and the general "cooperation" between our governments and the
hawks in the Pentagon, are the other side of the coin of an economic
integration policy that is subordinated to U.S. interests. Today, there
can be no fight for economic and social justice without active
opposition to the warlike attitude of the new empire. In today’s world,
the fight against war and “free trade” cannot be waged without
supporting those in the United States who oppose the reelection of the
leader whose idiotic stance masks the interests that pose the most
serious threat to the planet: the world’s greatest terrorist, George
Brothers and sisters of our Americas,
The FTAA negotiations have entered the final stage, and the bilateral
and regional agreements are the privileged road that leads to the
desired goal. Time is of the essence. This is why, from this land of
noble resistance and inspired by the revolt of the Bolivian peoples, we
are CALLING ON all peoples of the Hemisphere to:
-Rise up against the FTAA undertaking, while fighting against bilateral
and regional treaties, agreements and plans, and redouble our efforts in
our own countries and throughout the Hemisphere in the campaign against
-Link the fight against the FTAA in the Hemisphere with the fight
against the World Trade Organization.
-Create, from the bottom up, a fair, equitable and sustainable
alternative for the integration of peoples.
-Pressure governments to provide transparent information on what is
being negotiated, and to walk out of the negotiations, especially those
that have expressed reservations and that claim to be representing the
interests of the people.
-Advocate for national congresses to position themselves side by side
with their people in their fight to defend their sovereignty.
-Mobilize with all those men and women in the world who will take to the
streets on 20 March to demand an end to the occupation of Iraq, the war
and U.S. warmongering.
-Mobilize ourselves on 24 April against multilateral financial
institutions and external debt.
-Take action simultaneous to that which will be taken on 29 August at
the Republican convention in New York, against the reelection of Bush.
-Join the mobilizations that are being called for on key dates by
various popular forces and that are included in our action plan to fight
-ORGANIZE A HUGE HEMISPHERIC-WIDE DAY OF PROTEST, AS OUR CENTRAL
ACTIVITY FOR THIS YEAR, TO BEGIN ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE FTAA
MINISTERIAL MEETING TO BE HELD IN BRAZIL IN 2004.
In closing our Third Meeting, we note with satisfaction that we have
achieved many of the goals we set ourselves at the Second Meeting, but
it is with even greater enthusiasm that we realize that our people are
today better prepared to face this new and decisive phase.
To follow up on this firm decision, we will meet again here in Havana
for the Fourth Hemispheric Meeting to Oppose the FTAA from 27 to 30
From this free land of the Americas, with which we share a common cause
and for which we demand the lifting of the embargo and due respect for
its sovereignty, we say:
OUR AMERICAS ARE NOT FOR SALE!
POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY YES, FTAA NO!
NO TO WAR! NO TO FREE TRADE!
LET US MAKE ANOTHER AMERICAS POSSIBLE!
ALIANZA SOCIAL CONTINENTAL (CONTINENTAL SOCIAL ALLIANCE), Unión Nacional
de Trabajadores (National Workers’ Union), Frente Sindical Mexicano
(Mexican Trade Union Front), Unión Popular de Venderos Ambulantes 28 de
Octubre de Puebla (Popular Union of Street Vendors 28 de Octubre, Puebla),
Unión Campesina Emiliano Zapata (Emiliano Zapata Peasants’ Union) -
Vive Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (Active
Alliance for the Self-Determination of the People), Movimiento El Campo
no Aguanta Más (The Countryside Can Take No More Movement),
de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (Mexican Network for Action Against