People’s Summit of the Americas:
June 8-10, 2022 Recap
Our People’s Summit 2022 concluded on June 10 after 3 days of intense debate, exchange, discussion, dance, conversation, and marching. Our vibrant and diverse Summit made history.
Our team went all out at the People’s Summit building movements, seeing friends, dancing, and resisting empire! We’re so honored to have been part of the inspiring, uplifting, and energizing People’s Summit for Democracy, and look forward to continuing our collective struggle for peace and democracy. This is just the beginning!
What is the OAS Summit of the Americas?
Written By People’s Summit Media Team
Relevant facts about the
OAS Summit of the Americas
The Summits of the Americas began as random meetings of the heads of state and government of the Western Hemisphere until they became part of the structure of the OAS.
In addition to the official event, parallel forums are held with the participation of businessmen, youth and sectors of civil society. Historic have been the Peoples’ Summits of Mar del Plata (2005) as well as those of Panama (2015) and Peru (2018), where the peoples spoke with their plural voices about the true reality of the continent.
The First Summit was held at the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. It was attended by 34 leaders of the Western Hemisphere. The Summit was hosted by President Bill Clinton.
The Summit was Clinton’s pretext to consolidate a regional bloc and consolidate his natural zone of influence after the end of the Cold War. For the first time, the possibility of creating a free trade zone in the region, the FTAA, was discussed.
Cuba was excluded from the meeting because it is not a member of the OAS. Cuban President Fidel Castro called it a “colossal deception” to the peoples of Latin America, as economic prosperity was promised but never arrived.
Known as the Summit on Sustainable Development, it is considered an extraordinary summit. It was held at the suggestion of then Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez during the First Summit in Miami.
One of the apparent achievements of the meeting was to include environmental issues among the topics of discussion. Other issues such as technology transfer, division of responsibilities, cooperation and biodiversity were also discussed.
Despite the fact that 26 years have passed since this meeting, Latin America has been one of the regions of the planet most affected by climate change, not to mention that the world’s largest ecosystem, the Amazon rainforest, continues to deteriorate year after year.
The II Summit of the Americas was held in the Chilean capital on April 18-19, 1998. The main issues to be discussed were the preservation and strengthening of democracy, justice and human rights, as well as economic integration, free trade and the eradication of poverty and discrimination.
The economic agenda centered on the neoliberal integration proposed by the FTAA continued to advance. Of the 27 initiatives approved on these issues, few have had any real effect. According to the UN, 2020 was the sixth consecutive year of increased poverty and the highest levels in 27 years.
The III Summit of the Americas was held April 20-22 in Canada. It was attended by 34 heads of state. The summit was marked by massive protests. More than 15,000 people marched to protest against the globalization of neoliberalism, especially the FTAA, of which US President George Bush was the main promoter. Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso called for fairness in sharing the benefits of free trade and condemned Bush’s position.
The Canadian police strongly repressed the marches, but the indignation and impetus of the demonstrators was such that they broke through the security cordon. Fidel Castro, who did not participate due to Cuba’s historical exclusion from these events, expressed his support for the demonstrators and described the act as “heroic”.
The Summit also served to prepare the Inter-American Democratic Charter, an instrument that far from strengthening democracy in the region has been used to hijack it in the interests of local elites.
This Summit had an extraordinary character, due to the critical situation Latin America was going through after more than 15 years of applying neoliberal policies. At that time, 44% of the region’s population was living in poverty, which speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the three previous summits.
The meeting held in Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico, on January 12-13, 2004, did not go beyond declarations. Fighting poverty and inequality to ensure governance and democracy remained a pipe dream for many Summit participants.
The IV Summit was held on November 4 and 5 in Argentina. The Summit has gone down in history as the “defeat of the FTAA”. Since the Miami Summit in 1994, the US governments had been striving to establish a Free Trade Agreement and the occasion was propitious for negotiations to begin.
The pressure of the progressive forces of the continent led by Hugo Chavez, the host Nestor Kirchner and the presidents of Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay prevented the approval of a declaration whose only purpose was to economically enslave the continent.
At the same time, the III Peoples’ Summit was held, in which Chavez pronounced his famous phrase “FTAA, to hell with it”. The final march of this Summit was led by the Argentinean soccer player Diego Armando Maradona, Chavez, the future Bolivian President Evo Morales, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
The V Summit was held in Trinidad and Tobago between April 17 and 19. It was attended by the 34 heads of state and government of the region, except for Cuba, which was once again excluded.
The main theme of the meeting was tackling the economic crisis, as well as energy security and environmental sustainability. In 2009, the world was going through the worst economic recession since 1929 and the impact on regional economies and poverty levels was becoming worrisome.
The US blockade against Cuba was a topic of debate for the first time at this type of event. In addition, the meeting was transcended by the moment in which Hugo Chávez gave US President Barack Obama the book “The Open Veins of Latin America” by Eduardo Galeano. It was a clear message to Obama that times had changed and that the traditional position of the United States would not be accepted.
The VI Summit was held on April 14 and 15 in Colombia. The decline of US hegemony over the region was evident. In 2010, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) had emerged as an alternative to the Organization of American States. CELAC became a space for dialogue and consensus without exclusions.
Since the previous edition, the efforts to reincorporate Cuba were intense. ALBA members made a request to materialize this fact, but the Colombian Foreign Ministry refused alleging bureaucratic issues, to cover up its intention to avoid a diplomatic conflict with the United States.
As a result of this refusal, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega decided that their countries would not attend an event marked by the intentional and unjustified rejection of Cuba by dominant countries.
The VII Summit took place in the Panamanian capital from April 9 to 11. For the first time and as a result of enormous pressure from leftist political forces, Cuba was formally invited to participate in the event, so all the States of the region were represented. It was the first time in more than 50 years that a Cuban and a US president had an official meeting.
After discussions and negotiations and more than a year of work, no final declaration was reached. As in Cartagena de Indias, the US and Canadian delegations broke the consensus of the Final Declaration. The reasons are more than clear: the regional context was dominated by the left, which assumed positions incompatible with the interests of developed countries such as the United States and Canada.
The meeting is also remembered for the large number of political organizations and social movements that re-edited the massive People’s Summit of Mar del Plata (2005). The declaration emanating from this parallel event strongly condemned the blockade of Cuba and the interference of the US in the region. Likewise, the participants denounced the invitation of terrorist and anti-Cuban elements by the OAS to supplant Cuban civil society.
Despite the fact that the main theme of the VIII Summit was the fight against corruption, the event was heavily influenced by the regional right’s siege against Venezuela and the exclusion of the country. Instead, members of the opposition were invited.
Once again, civil society forums were held in parallel, where there was an overwhelming rejection of the exclusion of Venezuela and the destabilizing policy of the United States towards the South American country and other progressive governments in the region.
In the midst of a re-emergence of right-wing forces in the continent, the intention was to condemn Venezuela but the opposition of several governments prevented the adoption of a final declaration by way of condemnation.
The IX Summit will be held between June 8 and 10. The Biden administration, completely ignoring the reality of the region, has decided to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which has generated a generalized rejection of the event.
More than half of the heads of state and government have declined the invitations in protest against Washington’s imposition and unconstructive attitude. Likewise, it has been reported that the United States has refused to process the visas of a group of 23 Cubans who were to participate in the People’s Summit. However, they have processed the visas of some Cuban spokespersons of the extremist lobby in Florida.
Some 200 US civil society organizations have confirmed their participation in the People’s Summit.
People of the Americas Have the Last Word
Final Declaration of the People’s Summit
Written By People’s Summit Media Team
LOS ANGELES (June 10, 2022) — The People’s Summit for Democracy in Los Angeles, California, has been a historic gathering of thousands in defiance of the Biden administration’s policy of exclusion. Over 250 organizations representing workers, immigrants, women, Black and Indigenous peoples, the LGBTQIA+ community, and many other communities in struggle, came together to share a vision of the future that is inclusive and grounded on the principle of solidarity.
In this three-day event of cultural performances, workshops, panels, exchanges, and discussions, we deepened our understanding of the current state of our region and broadened our perspective of the experiences and struggles that connect us to our brothers and sisters across the continent, and the world.
The future envisioned by Biden’s summit does not prioritize the people of our continent. It is a vision where the United States has free reign over the internal affairs of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean; one that puts the political and economic interests of the United States and big business over that of the people.
To that end, the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to be a tool to fight against progressive forces in the hemisphere and to legitimize coups, intervention, and politics of exclusion. It serves no positive role and must be abolished.
The exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua have already made Biden’s summit a political disaster; we add that this exclusion does not speak for the working class and people of conscience of this country who desire friendship and dialogue with all the peoples of our hemisphere.
During our time together, we marched, we danced and we raised our common voice in protest against injustice. We not only analyzed and criticized the failings of the current state of affairs but also exchanged strategies in order to guarantee our survival and advance forward. We shared proposals to build the future we want, need, and deserve; a future we dare to build, now.
In the “richest country in the world,” 140 million live in or near poverty. The US government is addicted to militarism and war and will spend over $800 billion in 2022, on death and destruction. Instead of preparing for war, society must be organized to meet human needs. We want a future without evictions, police violence and mass incarceration, deportations, sanctions, and blockades.
We say: no more! We want a future where we all have access to adequate housing, healthy food, health care, education, and culture. We say full amnesty and rights for all immigrants. We must eliminate all forms of white supremacy, racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, and all types of discrimination and oppression.
We will defend the right of the people to organize and speak out, to build real democracy — a people’s democracy – in a climate characterized by censorship and disenfranchisement. We will protect voting rights and the rights of workers to form unions and collectively bargain. We will protect all the advances in favor of civil and human rights that have been gained by our movements throughout history, like the human right of women to control their bodies. We will defend Mother Earth and fight against extractivism and the exploitation of the land.
This Summit we have built together has been a bridge across organizations, movements, regions, languages, and borders. We are creating bonds between us and unity across our different struggles. While the time we have spent together is coming to a close, we affirm the ongoing fight for a more just world and rededicate ourselves to it.
We are fighting against an Empire that is determined to hold on to global supremacy — a dangerous illusion that puts humanity and the planet at risk. No matter how hard the road ahead is, we draw strength from the centuries of struggle before us, from those who have risen up and overcome systems that in their day appeared invincible.
Humanity has no other choice but to fight. We will be on the streets, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces and homes, constantly building and organizing, carrying out the thousands of small tasks and big struggles that together bring us closer to victory. Our planet needs us, our people need us, and we will win!
Check out CODEPINK in action at the People’s Summit More photos can be found on our Flickr channel!