Free Trade Area 'dead and buried '

Campaign News | Sunday, 6 November 2005

Cuba TV highlights victory for southern nations in Mar Del Plata

Havana, Nov 5 (AIN) The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was pronounced dead and buried by the peoples of the Americas on Friday in Mar del Plata, Argentina, asserted panelists on Friday's edition of "The Round Table."

Eleven years ago in the first Summit of the Americas in Miami, President Clinton proposed a hemispheric free trade pact that would stretch from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego to be completed by 2005. But after a decade of US promoted neoliberal economic policies that greatly increased social inequalities, many governments and peoples of the region oppose Washington's initiative.

Journalist Ana Teresa Badia from Radio Rebelde said that Mar del Plata, a famous vacation spot south of Buenos Aires, and the site of the Fourth Summit of the Americas concluding Saturday, has been divided into two sections. The venue of the official summit, with 250 blocks under tight security measures, and the other that has hosted representatives from all the peoples of the hemisphere.

Badia noted that despite a cold rain a long peaceful march came at the end of the 3rd Peoples Summit on Friday morning.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators voiced their opposition to the presence of US President George W. Bush and his attempt to revive the FTAA in the hemispheric meeting of heads of states.

The march concluded in the city's main soccer stadium with a momentous rally where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez delivered a vibrant speech proclaiming: "The FTAA is dead, and we, the people of the Americas, are the ones who buried it."

Chavez's address followed a concert by prestigious Latin American singer-songwriters including Silvio Rodriguez, Daniel Viglietti, Amaury Perez, Francisco Villa and Vicente Feliu.

Marina Menendez, from Juventud Rebelde newspaper, hailed the Peoples Summit, as a moment of consolidation in the regional efforts to thwart future impositions of neoliberal policies in Latin America.

Meanwhile, the welcoming speech delivered by Argentine president Nestor Kirchner to the gathering of 34 Western Hemisphere leaders at the Summit of the Americas was highlighted by the program's host Arleen Rodriguez.

The Argentinean leader called on the region's governments to make a contribution to the social progress of all citizens, an assessment Rodriguez said may have annoyed President Bush

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