On Tuesday, July 30th,the leaders of the member States of the Bolivarian Alliance of the peoples of the Americas – Peoples Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) met in Guayaquil, Ecuador and later gave the following declaration:
Declaration of ALBA from the Pacific
XII Summit of the Heads of States and Government of the ALBA-TCP
Guayaquil, July 30th 2013
Firstly, we salute the entry of Santa Lucía to the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America. This vindicates the effectiveness of this project based on integration and complementarity.
Progressive forces have made substantial advances in the region over the last few years, following the failure of neoliberal policies and the determination of powerful elites to impose free trade frameworks on our peoples, to the point of wanting to turn our peoples into instruments to satisfy market needs. Those advances empowered the majorities through an increase in the militancy of social movements and the arrival in power of revolutionary governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, which have brought tangible improvements to our peoples' quality of life.
However, at the moment we are witnessing the appearance of new forms of exploitation by way of the imposition of tools like bilateral investment protection treaties and the workings of international arbitration bodies like the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (CIADI), which prioritize the interests of capital over the interests of society, those of the natural world and even of democratic institutions, in the context of proliferating Free Trade Treaties.
It is by means of these new mechanisms of domination that our countries' stability is placed at risk – including our very economic solvency – on the basis of legal processes vitiated from the start by nullity, abuse and the collusion of special interests. Undoubtedly, the cases of Oxy and Chevron in Ecuador constitute clear examples of these practices, for which reason we express our backing to this sister country affected as it is by those practices, but, in different degrees, these extend to other countries too.
None of the foregoing implies an outright rejection of Foreign Direct Investment, rather the need for an intelligent relationship with it, permitting its use for the benefit of nations rather than its optimization to their detriment. For that reason, integration mechanisms like ALBA are indispensable insofar that, as a block, we are able to impose conditions that prevent the predominance of capital interests over those of the population.
On the other hand, we also make clear the right and the need of our peoples to use in a sustainable and responsible way their non-renewable natural resources, which have the potential to be used as an important source of economic development, social justice and the definitive welfare of our peoples, with the clear recognition that the leading imperative of our time – and our region – is to fight poverty and immiseration. In that respect, we reject the extremist positions of particular groups which, under the slogan of anti-extraction, systematically oppose the use of our natural resources, demanding that this should only be done with the prior consent of individuals and communities living around those sources of wealth. In practice, that would make it impossible to take advantage of that resource option and ultimately compromise the successes that have so far been achieved in social and economic terms.
ALBA proposes working together so as to ensure progressively the guaranteed provision at no cost of education, health care, support for people with disability, among other areas, as high quality public services. We should relaunch social programmes in all the ALBA countries. To that end, we propose no longer turning our countries into free trade zones but rather into zones free of hunger, illiteracy, immiseration and marginalization.
We seek to extend this focus throughout Latin America and also to Africa and other parts of the world so that, within the framework of South-South cooperation, we can multiply the benefits of these programmes. While some big multinational businesses enter these parts of the world with predatory intentions, ALBA seeks to prioritize and enhance the human person wherever possible.
Likewise, we agree to form a commission of high level qualified people and heads of government to work out a proposal for the creation of a Complementary Economic Zone between the countries of ALBA, Mercosur and Petrocaribe, which will be put to those bodies for consideration. In that respect, over and against competition between our countries, the emphasis should be on complementarity and solidarity as the guidelines for economic integration, as the only way to strengthen the material basis of the alternative project that ALBA represents and in that way to ensure the continuity and renewed vigour of the successful social programmes that characterize the Alliance.
That demands an integral and alternative vision of development, not limited only to seeking trade agreements that subject us to the dictatorship of markets, the privatization of basic services or imposing precarious employment in the name of competition. To the contrary, we should guarantee productive development in those areas of activity where we can promote synergies, counting on the genuine strengths of our countries. Especially in areas like energy, internal regional trade, food production, intermediate industries, investments and finance. Equally, we should work out new relationships internationally, for which reason that idea will be proposed to the so called BRICS countries.
Additionally, we agree the formation of a permanent multi-disciplinary consultative ALBA group to be alert to risks and to address those need in countries, or groups of countries, that require a high level of analysis given the complexity of the social and economic problems they face.
Furthermore, bodies like the Organization of American States along with certain of its components, like the Inter-American Human Rights System merit deep changes so as to place them effectively at the service of our peoples rather than in the service of powerful special interest groups like the media empires and other interests cloaked as NGOs. For that reason we urge the need to move the seat of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to a State Party to the American Human Rights Convention.
Addressing the principle of the indivisibility of human rights, we consider it intolerable that certain human rights prevail over others. And too, it is necessary to set aside the ill-considered idea of Western NGOs that only States violate human rights. No doubt at all exists that other protagonists – such as corporations – can also violate those rights.
ALBA calls for a conference against fascism in Caracas next September 11th in homage to our comrade President Salvador Allende on the 40th Anniversary of his murder.
ALBA resolves to form a legal-technical team to study the preparation of a demand against the United States of North America for the implanting of a system of mass espionage around the world in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with other international legal norms for the next session of the UN General Assembly.
Taking into account the important results achieved in Haiti in the area of cooperation , the ALBA countries have decided to reinforce that same cooperation in the ares of health care, education and social programmes. In the same way. It has been decided to make an immediate evaluation of the special plan for Haiti so as to give it new momentum and to study funding alternatives so as to make the social programmes contained in that plan sustainable.
It was agreed to review the methodology for organizing ALBA's multilateral encounters, including the summits. In this way, rather than to the contrary, the content of the discussions and declarations for a given event will always be based on consultation with the highest authorities.
It was agreed to give a higher profile to the results obtained by the ALBA projects by means of communications campaigns to make the ALBA programmes' achievements more visible.
The need was expressed of evaluating the social and economic projects ALBA has launched so as to set priorities and on that basis define any changes or even new objectives.
Finally, we salute the International Meeting in Defence of Our Peoples' Human Rights and Sovereignty to be held in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia from July 31st to August 2nd this year.
Source: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana de la Repúblcia de Ecuador