Vive Le Canada

SPP People's Summit Responds to ''Three Amigos'' Agenda
Date: Wednesday, April 23 2008
Topic:


Opposition gathered for a People's Summit, a convergence of over 35 organizations representing marginalized people, linked the Gulf Coast struggle to the fight for the survival of communities in Mexico, Canada, Quebec, and the rest of the United States. Participants of the Summit from outside New Orleans witnessed the utter failures of the federal and local government to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina....

"What we have experienced in New Orleans should be a warning to other communities in the U.S. of how far they will take these policies," said Mayaba Lebenthal of Critical Resistance New Orleans.  

"This is the most developed and advanced form of privatization for an entire city in the U.S. at the expense of people of color and indigenous people fighting for their right to return," said Cindy Wiesner of Grassroots Global Justice.

 "It is unacceptable that human security, energy policy, workers rights, and environmental standards, are left in the hands of Walmart, Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Power Corp ..." , said Pierre-Yves Serinet, from the Quebec Network on Hemispheric Integration (RQIC), one of the four anti-free-trade coalitions in the region.

The Summit hopes to strengthen and deepen a multi-national grassroots movement that can ... foster the harmonious development of national societies founded on social justice and the equitable distribution of wealth", said Alejandro Villamar, from the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC).




PRESS RELEASE                                                                     




People's Summit Responds to "Three Amigos" Agenda


NEW ORLEANS (April 22, 2008) - The "Three Amigos" of North America

showed once more that they will ignore the growing clamor to

renegotiate NAFTA and will continue to push our countries in the same

direction through the North American Security and Prosperity

Partnership (SPP). With the fourth Summit shrouded in more secrecy, the

People's Summit gathered to build knowledge and understanding of how

what is being discussed inside impacts our daily lives. 


Over 30 local, national and international organizations and networks

hosted the New Orleans People's Summit: Our Response to NAFTA Expansion

April 20-22 in New Orleans, LA with participation from groups based in

New Orleans, other parts of the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Quebec.


The SPP process is blatantly controlled by the North American

Competitiveness Council (NACC) made up of the top 30 corporations CEO's

in the three countries­--confirmed by President Calderón when he stated

clearly that "this morning, the Business Leaders gave us a specific

agenda to follow" and "we are here to support them".


President George Bush revealed his motives behind the SPP and holding

his summit in New Orleans when he stated, "I chose New Orleans for our

meetings with Mexico and Canada because I wanted to send a clear signal

to the people of my country that New Orleans is open for business." 

New Orleans has been ravaged by the very profit schemes typically saved

for export, while the basic social infrastructure of this city has been

neglected.


"This is the most developed and advanced form of privatization for an

entire city in the U.S. at the expense of people of color and

indigenous people fighting for their right to return," said Cindy

Wiesner of Grassroots Global Justice.


Participants of the Summit from outside New Orleans witnessed the utter

failures of the federal and local government to respond to the

aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and their failure in rebuilding the

school system, addressing the housing crisis, providing affordable

physical and mental health care, and creating fair working and living

standards for all residents.


"I was shocked to learn that in New Orleans how prevalent racism was

during and after the crisis" said David Kane with the Alliance for

Responsible Trade.


"What we have experienced in New Orleans should be a warning to other

communities in the U.S. of how far they will take these policies," said

Mayaba Lebenthal of Critical Resistance New Orleans.  "The result of

investing in privatization, rather than holistic community rebuilding,

has led to unsafe, substandard living conditions."


"This calamity was not a natural disaster but a manmade disaster" said

Kimberley Richards a resident of the Gulf Region and organizer in New

Orleans with the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. "Whether

we are home or in the Katrina/Rita Diaspora we are displaced and need

the UN principles of displacement and human rights to be honored. The

restoration process cannot be just about bricks and mortar but must

restore the fabric of the community which is the culture and music of

New Orleans." 


Fundamental issues affecting the future of our societies are at stake

under the SPP plan. "It is unacceptable that human security, energy

policy, workers rights, and environmental standards, are left in the

hands of Walmart, Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Power Corp and the

like, of our world", said Pierre-Yves Serinet, from the Quebec Network

on Hemispheric Integration (RQIC), one of the four anti-free-trade

coalitions in the region. "With the SPP, we are facing the

privatization of policy making, tantamount to a Corporate Coup d'Etat,

where deep changes are taking place, bypassing our democratic

institutions, like parliaments and Congress", he added.


"Nancy Pelosi's blocking of U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

demonstrates why the Bush Administration is so determined to keep the

SPP process outside of Congressional authority," said Tom Loudon of the

Alliance for Responsible Trade.  "Undermining democratic processes is

the necessary ingredient to push these policies through."


"Silencing the people of New Orleans through forced removal and

continued displacement of many pre-Katrina residents is also a

reality," said Lebenthal.  "This is done through military evacuation,

destruction of public housing and limited affordable housing,

privatization of public schools, and mass incineration."


In New Orleans about 2,500 arrests are made a month rather then

reinvesting in the communities most hard hit by unfair local, national

and international economic agreements, such as SPP and NAFTA. 


Now we are exporting this policy as President Bush reaffirmed his

commitment to the Plan Mexico (Merida Initiative), providing $500

million dollars in aid, primarily to Mexican military and police force

to help fight the "war on drugs" in Mexico, modeled after the failed

plan in Colombia.


Many people have not given up the fight however. Opposition gathered

for a People's Summit, a convergence of over 35 organizations

representing marginalized people to link the Gulf Coast struggle to the

fight for the survival of communities in Mexico, Canada, Quebec, and

the rest of the United States. The Summit hopes to strengthen and

deepen a multi-national grassroots movement that can effectively

address these trade and security policies.


"As social movements, we are advancing in defining how an alternative

model of relations among peoples can foster the harmonious development

of national societies founded on social justice and the equitable

distribution of wealth", said Alejandro Villamar, from the Mexican

Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC). "Many activities we held in New

Orleans allowed us to begin to build a common project in North

America," he concluded.


 







This article comes from Vive Le Canada
http://www.vivelecanada.ca

The URL for this story is:
http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article/235929976-spp-people-s-summit-responds-to--three-amigos--agenda