Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centers on whether human society will survive.
Among the conventional wisdom that we hear every day in the business press is that developing countries should bend over backwards to create a friendly climate for foreign corporations, follow orthodox (neo-liberal) macro-economic policy advice, strive to achieve an investment-grade sovereign credit rating so as to attract more foreign capital.
Guess what country is expected to have the fastest economic growth in the Americas this year? Bolivia….
From “In The Diaspora”, Stabroek News, October 19, 2009
Melanie Newton is a Barbadian and Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto
In 2004 two events sent shock waves across the Caribbean Sea, presenting us with two radically different blueprints for future hemispheric relations. In February a combined force of American, Canadian and French troops slipped into Haiti in the dead of night, “convinced” President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign, and spirited him out of the country into exile. Over the past five years the United Nations has occupied Haiti, ostensibly helping to build democracy, but, in reality, crushing democratic opposition movements. In a historic turn of events, Brazil, which has emerged in recent years as a regional superpower, has led UN forces in Haiti since 2005.
Meanwhile, in December 2004, the governments of Venezuela and Cuba spearheaded the Bolivarian People’s Alternative (now the Bolivarian Alliance, or ALBA). ALBA has sought a new kind of relationship between independent Caribbean and Latin American states…
The 7th ALBA Summit (16-17 October 09) has concluded in Bolivia with the adoption of a 30-point Final Declaration containing a 36-point Plan of Action for economic, social, political and defence cooperation…
Presentation at Conference on Transformation, Latin America on the Move! Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, N.S., Canada, October 2-3 2009. Programme details and presentations at http://www.transformationlatinamerica.blogspot.com
7 Features of Latin America’s ‘New Orientation/Declaration of Indigenous People 2009 World Social Forum/Signs of the changing times/English speaking Caribbean Draws Nearer to Latin America/Popular resistance to the Honduras Coup/ALBA–From ‘Alternativa’ to ‘Alianza/ALBA Mission and Principles/ALBA Practices and Projects/Petrocaribe/Recent Developments/ALBA Issues/ALBA Social Movements Network
Understanding Populism and Political Participation: The Case of Nicaragua; By Carlos F. Chamorro, Edmundo Jarquín and Alejandro Bendaña. Edited by Cynthia J. Arnson and Adam T. Stubits. Woodrow Wilson Center Update On The Americas, No. 4, June 2009
Presentation at PNP Forum on ‘Progressive Internationalism’, UWI, Mona, September 12, 2009
The traditional global configurations are changing and new sources of power are emerging. The role of Latin America has also changed. Latin American integration schemes have enabled it to become a platform for change and a new source of power in the Western hemisphere. Amidst the many Latin American integration initiatives is ALBA which forces the Caribbean region to reevaluate their conventional trading partners and relationships. ALBA has the potential to become one of the more potent forces in the region, with the terms and conditions associated with membership bringing to the fore many social and economic benefits and previously unheard of trading conditions which take into consideration the unique positions of developing nations. On the other hand there are risks of economic and political dependency on new donors; and concerns regarding transparency and accountability. Concerns have also surfaced regarding the potential of ALBA membership to undermine CARICOM’s integration and to foment tensions in CARICOM-US relations.
by Faiz Ahmed
The military coup carried out by masked soldiers in the early hours of June 28 against the democratically elected President of Honduras, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was a bandit act with differing messages intended for different audiences.
One such audience is the oligarchical groupings throughout the hemisphere, who will be emboldened by Washington’s tacit tolerance of the coup makers., Another audience is the Latin American leftist and popular governments, who are being told that their agendas can be trumped by non-democratic means.
And there is yet another audience: the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean governments who, like Zelaya, are far from ideologically opposed to capitalism, but are aware of their inability to improve the overall quality of life of their societies within capitalism’s current configuration., As a result, many of these island governments are edging towards regional agreements based on principles antithetical to the capitalist system.
29 Haitian organizations and numerous personalities come out against the coup in Honduras and demand, the immediate and unconditional restoration of Manuel Zelaya to power
DECLARATION AGAINST THE COUP D’ETAT OF HONDURAS AND DEMANDING THE RETURN OF THE PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA AND THE PURSUIT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROCESS
We, a group of Haitian organizations, meeting from 24 to 28 July 2009 to commemorate a week of solidarity with Cuba and of all peoples struggling for their liberation, condemn the military coup in Honduras of Sunday 28 June when the democratically elected President was ousted from power and expelled from his country by the Armed Forces.
We wish to alert Haitian public opinion to the gravity of this act, which is contrary to the laws and Constitution of Honduras and to international conventions. This a coup d’état has been fomented by the conservative elites of this country that are opposed to the changes initiated by the Zelaya government, including increase of the minimum wage, a large popular mobilization against the free trade agreements in particular CAFTA, the joining of ALBA and the beginning of a process of constitutional reform. We note that the last decision, which was the pretext used by the traditional political class, the oligarchy and a Parliament to justify the coup, was supported by the signatures of more than 400,000 citizens and that more than 45,000 volunteers were mobilized to ensure the success of the referendum process. The Armed Forces,, which oppose the referendum seeking public input on whether to undertake a process of Constitutional reform, are engaged in a rebellion and in crimes against the laws and institutions of the country.
The coup is not only directed against the people of Honduras, it seeks to put an end to the immense progress made in recent years by the peoples of the region, including member countries of ALBA, in reclaiming their sovereignty, breaking with neoliberal policies, recovering control over their strategic resources and dimsantling the colonial peripheral dependent, capitalist state. What is at stake is the future of democracy in our continent. The right of our peoples to regain control over the construction of their own future is being threatened., That is, why we ask Haitian organizations to mobilize to demand the immediate and unconditional return of Manuel Zelaya to power by associating themselves with this statement.
The signatories of this declaration:
1 .- Demand the immediate and unconditional return of Manuel Zelaya to power
2.- Demand the removal of the current de facto government and punishment of perpetrators and accomplices of the coup d’état
3 .- Denounce the cynicism practiced by the U.S. Administration and the double standards of the Government of Costa Rica through tactics that attempt to legitimize the coup and unnecessarily prolong the suffering of the people of Honduras.
4 .- Denounce the widespread and unacceptable human rights violations perpetrated by the coup regime that daily violates civil liberties, imposes a curfew and severely represses, the numerous mass demonstrations held in support of the President., In this regard there have already been several casualties, assassinations, a large number of serious injuries, arbitrary arrests and systematic persecution of feminist organizations, indigenous organizations and of the Press.
5.-Wish to highlight the fact that although international bodies including the United Nations and the OAS have unanimously condemned the coup d’état, the issue now appears to be managed by the U.S. State Department and its allies in Central America, in the context of a confusing mediation process that promotes the extension in power of the criminals who now run the country. The resolution of the OAS should be implemented as soon as possible.
6 .- Call on all human rights bodies to mobilize to protect the many Honduran organizations and the tens of thousands of Honduran citizens involved in the resistance against the coup and who are persecuted and threatened with death and reprisals of all kind. We cannot remain silent in the face of this assault against an unarmed people defending their most basic rights.
. 7 .- Welcome the exemplary resistance of the people of Honduras, which after more than a month continues to paralyze the country and defend its dignity and sacred right to defend its democratic achievements.
8 .- Welcome in particular the National Front of Resistance to the coup d’état and all sister organizations such as COPINH, members of Jubilee South and the member organizations of the Central American Popular Bloc, that refuse to retreat in the face of fascism and the barbaric acts of repression that plague the country today.
9 .- Appeal to everyone to follow daily developments, to everywhere to denounce the coup and to make every effort to provide our support and solidarity to the resistance by working tirelessly to ensure that the putschists fail.
The signatories wish to salute the courage of the people of Honduras., We have experienced a similar situation during the coup d’état perpetrated by the Haitian Armed Forces on 30 September 1991., This cost many lives and we witnessed the destruction of the popular movement for 3 years. The bloody coup of 1991 was a critical turning point in the destabilization of our country and the acceleration of a process of institutional and economic regression which is one of the causes of poverty that affects nearly 80% of the population today. We desire that the people of Honduras should acquire the necessary resources to emerge as soon as possible out of this nightmare and the bloody dictatorship in order to resume the construction of a sovereign and prosperous future that fully respects the rights and needs of the majority of the strata of the People of Morazán. Be aware that ‘Peacekeeping Forces’, as in Haiti and other parts of the world, are at the service of imperialism, which is today engaed in a new process of militarization of the region with new and menacing military bases installed in Colombia and Curacao., , Any multinational force would only prolong the destabilization initiated by the coup.
Down with the oligarchs, the fascist coup in Honduras and the imperialist threat to the whole Latin America!
Long live ALBA!
Long live the resistance of the people of Honduras!
Truth and justice must prevail!
We shall overcome!
Done at Port-au-Prince, on 28 July 2009
1 .- Jn Caillot Douly
2 .- Thony Belfort
3 .- Chantale Belgin pluviose
4 .- Jules Armand Joseph
5 .- Sterli Manigat
6 .- Guerchang Bastia
7. .- James Belts
8 .- Devasse Cénatus
1. ABCES – Pierre Richard Lamercie
2. ANTíˆN OUVRIYE – Jules Réginald
3. ANTíˆN OUVRIYE – Julianie Desroches
4. APROHFOC (Association of Haitian Professionals Trained in Cuba) – Germanie Molin
5. APROHFOC (Association of Haitian Professionals Trained in Cuba) – Frantz Dupuch
6. ASID (Asosyasyon Iniví¨sití¨ / Iniví¨sití¨z Desalinyen/Desalinyí¨n) – Jean Ronald Joseph ASID (Asosyasyon Iniví¨sití¨ / Iniví¨sití¨z Desalinyen / Desalinyí¨n) – Jean Joseph Ronald
7. HAITI/SOUTHEAST CUBA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION – Antoine Mc Dorvil
8. AVS – Jean Fritz Junior Jules
9. BIENFAISANCE DE L’HUMANITí‰ – Yves M. Louis
10. BO (Batay Ouvriye) – Dieudonné Cadet
11. CHANDEL – Repentita Félix Chandelle
12. CHANDEL – Derinx Petit Jean Chandelle
13. CRAD ( Centre de Recherches Actions pour le Développement) (Research Center for Development Actions) – Jimmy Faustin
14. CTSP (Confédération des Travailleurs et travailleuses des secteurs public et privé) Confederation of Workers of public and private sectors) – John Andral Souverin
15. CTSP (Confédération des Travailleurs et travailleuses des secteurs public et privé) (Confederation of Workers of public and private sectors) – Ary Legerme
16. CTSP (Confédération des Travailleurs et travailleuses des secteurs public et privé) (Confederation of Workers of public and private sectors) – Paul Hervé Verdieu
17. DECHENNEN – Mason Dumas DECHENNEN – Mason Dumas
18. ICKL (Institut Culturel Karl Levesque) – Carmel Fils-Aimé ICKL
19. IMUD – Illis Germeil IMUD
20. KORTA – Civil Dieuseul KORT
21. KORTA – Franí§ois Vowens
22. KPN / KFPN (Konbit Peyizan Nip) – Francoeur Pierre
23. MODEP (Mouvman Demokratik Popilí¨) – Jn Paul Milond
24. MOJEREH (Mouvman ) – Roland Moí¯se MOJEREH
25. MORAB (Mouvman ) – Mathieu Donald MORABI
26. MOREPLA (Mouvman Revandikatif Peyizan Latibonit) – Frémiot Nicolas
27. MOREPLA (Mouvman Revandikatif Peyizan Latibonit) – Emmanuel Charles
28. MOREPLA (Mouvman Revandikatif Peyizan Latibonit) – Max Dialy Lafond
29. MST (Movimiento de los Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra de Brazil) (Movimiento of Landless Rural Workers of Brazil) – José Luis Rodrigues
30. MST (Movimiento de los Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra de Brazil) (Moviment Landless Rural Workers of Brazil) – Paulo Almeida
31. PAPDA (Plateforme haí¯tienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif), (Haitian Advocacy Platform for Alternative Development) – Camille Chalmers
32. PARTIZAN – Olrich Jn Pierre
33. POHDH (Plateforme haí¯tienne des Organisations de défense des droits humains) (Platform of Haitian Organizations for Human Rights) – Antonal Mortimer
34. SOFA (Solidarite Fanm Ayisyí¨n) – Yolaine Célestin
35. SOFA (Solidarite Fanm Ayisyí¨n) – Guerda Jerí´me
36. SYTMAP (Syndicat des Travailleurs de la Mairie de Port-au-Prince) (Union of Workers of Mairie of Port-au-Prince) – Gerard Hyppolite
37. SYTMAP (Syndicat des Travailleurs de la Mairie de Port-au-Prince) – (Union of Workers of Mairie of Port-au-Prince) -, Philippe Delva
38. SYTMAP (Syndicat des Travailleurs de la Mairie de Port-au-Prince) – (Union of Workers of Mairie of Port-au-Prince) – Jh. Francisque Thomas Francisque Thomas
39. (UNNOH) Union Nationale des Normaliens Haí¯tiens – Marie Marjorie André
40. VEDEK (Viv Espwa pou Devlopman Kap-Wouj) -, J. Emmanuel Sanon Emmanuel Sanon
41. VEDEK (Viv Espwa pou Devlopman Kap-Wouj) – Jules Saimilus
42. VEYE YO – Elifaite Saint Pierre
Google translation from the original French revised by Norman Girvan
As published in the Trinidad Express Tuesday, July 14th 2009
As I’ve often said, I’m wholly in favour of working closely with our Caricom colleagues. It helps them, it helps us. Why else would you have a regional body?
Caricom isn’t doing all that well, however. The people of the region remain essentially unengaged with it 36 years after its birth, and its aims and objectives, to which lip service is repeatedly and solemnly paid by generation after generation of its political leaders, are in practice crumbling through misuse and neglect.
Rickey Singh, who knows more about these matters than most of us, wrote in the Express after this month’s Georgetown summit that our Heads of Government “may have unwittingly succeeded in spawning more disappointment and cynicism The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting exposes the yawning gap between high-sounding rhetorical claims and the failure to take hard and imaginative decisions.” The late Lloyd Best used to say that talk is action. We in the Caribbean have elevated that aphorism to the level of art, and our politicians are our most accomplished artists.
Patrick Manning at least has been making an effort at some form of sub-regional integration. As so often with him, he’s been going about it in the wrong way, and there are suspicions of his real motives. But he did set up the Vaughan Lewis Task Force, which has now reported, and he did address both his party and the Parliament on the topic of what T&T could do to assist the less fortunate in the region. (He rather spoiled that superficially noble sentiment by linking it with a need for us to keep Caribbean illegal would-be migrants away from our shores, and with the spectre of our paying “in blood” if we didn’t.)
Where the Lewis Report is concerned, I’ve read only the executive summary and find that I’m not clear on what is being proposed and why. This means I have no choice but to read the report in its entirety. I dread that, because its two volumes together make up more than 560 pages, and my capacity for sustained concentration over lengthy periods is no longer what it used to be. But I shall have to make the effort.
On the Manning ideas for help to the region, I was extremely disappointed not to hear any mention of Haiti, which is worse off than any other Caricom member. Let me state for the record that I much appreciate what the Manning administration has already done for that country by way of grants from the Petroleum Stabilisation Fund. But much more has to be done for and with the Haitian people (as, to be blunt, the Haitian people have to do much more for and with one another).
Manning knows that, hence his proposal for a Haiti Hemispheric Fund at the recent Summit of the Americas. Alas, the proposal has fallen on deaf ears, I’m told. Here in T&T, however, the Medianet Haiti Relief Fund has been established, and the government may wish to contribute to it through money and/or goods. Kelvin Scoon at Medianet Caribbean (622-9432 and 628-7855) is the person to contact.
We must not ignore the broader theme of location of projects that subliminally pervades Manning’s parliamentary statement of June 24. Again, this matter of regional harmonisation of industry isn’t new; it goes back to the days of the West Indies Federation. This is what The Economics of Nationhood, published by the T&T government in September 1959, said on the subject: “Federal coordination of the (regional) economy (will ensure) that the various projects proposed by the different Units (of the Federation) do not duplicate or overlap each other but are conceived in a regional context.”
Nearly 30 years later, in 1985, the Caricom Heads approved the Caricom Industrial Programming Scheme (CIPS), according to which, the Caricom Secretariat tells us, industries were to be identified and allocated to various member states. If you’ve heard of the CIPS at all, which I doubt, what have you been able to glean about its operations? Under his recent proposals, how many southern Caribbean drydocks does Mr Manning envisage? How many quarries?
I have two last points. First, whom does Mr Manning see as the investors in his suggested regional ventures? The private sector? Regional governments? Or the T&T taxpayer? (Mind you, if one of our state agencies can spend nearly $200,000 on balloons and confetti-thus also causing more environmental impairment-for a function where the only obligation was to cut a ribbon, perhaps money really is no problem. Always provided, of course, the money isn’t yours but the taxpayer’s.)
Second, I note that all the countries in which Manning wants to “intervene” are beneficiaries of Hugo Chavez’s’ PetroCaribe programme, and that at least two of them, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, also belong to his ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas). Is this coincidence or design? And if the Chíƒ, ¡vez and Manning initiatives are indeed running on parallel tracks, how are they to be reconciled? Are they to be reconciled?
Prime Minister Bruce Golding of Jamaica is reported as having expressed concern about ‘a number of things’ that are ‘destabilising and threatening the existence of Caricom’. In particular he believes that the political integration being pursued by Trinidad and a number of countries in the Eastern Caribbean may be ‘commendable’, but is ‘to the detriment to the deepening and strengthening of Caricom’ (Jamaica Observer June 10, 2009). The Prime Minister is also concerned that membership of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), ‘which now engages three Caricom countries, is going to have a destabilising effect on Caricom’.
I have to say that when the Trinidad-Eastern Caribbean integration initiative was launched back in 2008, I was of the same view as Prime Minister Golding. Since then I have experienced a 180-degree about turn in my thinking…