Declaration of the Second People's Summit of the Americas

Richard Fidler rfidler at
Sun Apr 22 03:38:55 MDT 2001

Declaration of the Second People's Summit of the Americas

Québec, April 19, 2001


We, the delegates of the Second People's Summit of the Americas, declare our
opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) project concocted
secretly by the 34 Heads of State and government hand in hand with the
American Business Forum.

Who are we?  We are the Hemispheric Social Alliance, the voices of the
unions, popular and environmental organisations, women's groups, human rights
organisations, international solidarity groups, indigenous, peasant and
student associations and church groups.  We have come from every corner of
the Americas to make our voices heard.

We reject this project of liberalised trade and investment, deregulation and
privatisation.  This neo-liberal project is racist and sexist and destructive
of the environment.  We propose to build new ways of continental integration
based on democracy, human rights, equality, solidarity, pluralism and respect
for the environment.


Since the 1994 Miami Summit, the Heads of State and government have committed
themselves to reinforce democracy and human rights, to support education and
to reduce poverty in the Americas.  For seven years nothing has been done.
The only issue that has moved forward, taking advantage of deficit in
democracy, is the negotiation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

This is not the first time that presidents and Heads of State have promised a
better world.  This is not the first time that the people of the Americas
have been told to wait for the fruits of free trade to come.  This is not the
first time that we are forced to take note that the Heads of State have
broken their promises.

The FTAA project is a charter of investors' rights and freedoms, sanctions
the primacy of capital over labour, transforms life and the world into
merchandise, negates human rights, sabotages democracy and undermines state


Indeed, we live in an Americas marked by intolerable inequalities and
unjustifiable political and economic asymmetries. Half of the population of
800 million, of whom almost 500 million are Latin American, live in poverty.
The south has a debt of $792 billion US to the north, resulting in a debt
servicing of $123 billion US in 1999 alone.  Capital, technologies and
patents are concentrated in the North. Canada and the United States hold 80%
of the economic might.  Many new jobs are in the informal sector, where
labour rights are constantly flouted.

Free trade agreements aggravate inequalities between the rich and the poor,
between men and women, between countries of the north and countries of the
south, and destroy the ecological links between human beings and the
environment.  20% of the world population consumes 80% of the natural
resources of the planet. These free trade agreements prioritize exports at
the expense of the needs of local communities.  We are witnessing the
consolidation of economic and legal corporate power at the expense of popular

Free trade agreements favour the commodification of public goods and the
planet (water, genetic heritage, etc.).  The neo-liberal logic reduces the
citizen to a mere consumer and ultimately to a product.  It favours short
term gains without considering the social and environmental cost of goods and

Under the pressure of large agribusinesses and dumping policies, free trade
agreements threaten local small-scale agriculture, mostly performed by women,
putting food security in danger.

Free trade agreements encourage the systematic privatisation of public goods
such as health, education and social programs along with of Structural
Adjustment Programs in the South and budget cuts in the North.  These
agreements rely on women to take up the collective tasks now abandoned by the

Free trade agreements foster the marginalisation of indigenous people and the
appropriation and subsequent marketing of their knowledge.

Free trade agreements lead to an increasing feminisation of poverty and an
exacerbation of existing inequalities between men and women.  For example,
women get paid less, work in hard and often degrading conditions without
union rights, undertake unpaid and unrecognised work for the family and
community, suffer the commodification of their bodies -- now the third most
lucrative trafficking after drugs and arms, and are subjected to increased
domestic violence and violation of their fundamental rights.

Free trade agreements are accompanied by the militarisation of entire
societies through schemes such as Plan Colombia and are also related to arms

There is no possible fair agreement in such a context.


We want to build bridges between the peoples of the Americas, draw on the
pluralism of our histories and our cultures and to strengthen each other in
the exercising of a representative and participatory democracy. We want to
share the same passion for an absolute respect of human rights and the same
commitment to have these rights respected.  We want to live together a true
equality between men and women, to take care of all our children and to share
the wealth fairly and in solidarity.

We want complete respect for workers rights, trade union rights and
collective bargaining.

We want to ensure the primacy of human rights and collectives rights as
defined in international instruments over commercial agreements.

We want states that promote the common good and that are able to intervene
actively to ensure the respect of rights.  We want states to strengthen
democracy, to ensure the production and distribution of wealth, to guarantee
universal and free access to quality public education, and to health care
particularly concerning women's reproductive rights.  We want states to
eliminate violence against women and children and to ensure respect for the
environment on behalf of the current and future generations.

We want socially productive and ecologically responsible investment.  The
rules applied across the continent should encourage foreign investors who
will guarantee the creation of quality jobs, sustainable production and
economic stability, while blocking speculative investments.

We want fair trade.

We welcome the conclusions of the deliberations of the different forums in
the People's Summit.  These reflections will be integrated into the
Alternatives for the Americas document.

We call upon the peoples of the Americas to intensify their mobilisation to
fight the FTAA project and to build other integration alternatives based on
democracy, social justice and sustainable development.


Québec, April 19, 2001

Richard Fidler
rfidler at

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