Call to Vienna
The fourth Summit between the poltical and economical leaders of Latin America, the Caribbean countries (LAC) and the European Union (EU) will take place in Vienna from May 10th to 13th. This summit which was initiated in 1999 represents the main political inter-governmental platform between both continents. Parallel to the official summit social movements and non-governmental organisations from both regions will organise a summit which is named “Linking Alternatives 2” (Enlazando Alternativas 2).
Europe’s historical debt to Latin America and the Caribbean countries because of three centuries of colonial exploitation includes not only the genocide of various indigenous peoples, but also the appropriation of the wealth of the subcontinent. In spite of the countless struggles and resistance movements that have marked the history of Latin America, the sovereignty of the peoples and countries is weaker than ever. Besides, the processes of relative democratisation that are taking place in the “New Continent” are extremely fragile and need strengthening and support. Across Latin America and the Caribbean countries the majority of people live in extreme poverty and furthermore Latin American countries continue to experience marginalisation, dispossession and repression. While the crimes of the elite are treated with impunity, mobilization of the poor and social protest are criminalized.
Moreover the current situation in Latin America is still a hertiage of the historicaly formed dependency created by the so called "North" (US and European governments) which is also a major factor for the unequal relations evident in Latian America. But the North would have never been able to create such a dependency without the collaboration of Latin American and Carribbean governments which have been lead by corrupt people only working for their personal advantage.
Today this unequal relationship is pursued through the bi-regional and bilateral relations and agreements that only guarantee investment, trade and financial flows while human rights and democratic values which are included in the official declarations are merely indicators of good intentions but do not have any impact in the lives of the people.
Despite this major blow and based on the same neoliberal viewpoint as the “Lisbon Agenda”, they are still insisting to impose several economic and political directives which, if approved, will further deepen the crisis in the “old continent”.
Deregulation, privatisation and free trade are the neoliberal formulas and trademarks of a global economic order that imposes a “development model” in which the sovereignty of each national state is curtailed in terms of determining development and social policy. Popular resistance is met by repression.
Taking these realities into account we are convinced, just as we were two years ago, that it is necessary to look for new solidarity convergences between the people of LAC and Europe, in order to:
• create a bi-regional political dia- and polylog and, even more important, movement that brings together and mobilizes social networks, non-governmental and human rights organisations, solidarity groups, anti-globalisation movements, trade unions and groups that fight for the rights of unemployed, the Rural Landless Workers Movement, political organisations, environmentalists, farmers, students, indigenous people, migrant and refugee organisations, artists, intellectual women and men from both continents. This movment tries to connect the people involved in current struggles and in emergent popular resistances to work jointly on the visions of alternative ways of development. At the same time this space will enhance the visibility of social discontent and will act as a public expression of popular pressure.
• Resist and expose the neoliberal policies pursued in both continents, in particular the policies of the European corporations and governments that affect LAC. In additon resist the attempts of the European commission which on the one hand tries to undermine the main social achievements of the people in LAC countries and on the other hand tries to destroy the social systems in European countries. This resistence includes the demand to all governments to respect human rights as a main factor for development as expressed in the 1986 Declaration of the General Assembly of the United Nations. This declaration states that the right to development is a human right and independently of the form of development pursued civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights have to be included in the development agenda. Moreover the right to live in a healthy enviroment has to be considered on the same level as the commitment to peace, respect for self-determination and sovereignty of countries.
• Develop a positive agenda with common projects and alternatives.
• Grant a broad participation and mobilise social movements from both regions to take part in this event to work and debate the topics that will be discussed during the official summit together and generate a critical voice with alternative proposals to the current EU-LAC policies.
• Encourage joint spaces of analysis on EU-LAC relations, particularly on the activities of the multinationals. A Popular Tribunal on TNCs, which will address the impunity these corporations operate with, will be part of Enlazando Alternativas 2.
In May 2006, during the four day Social Encounter in Vienna, we will question and analyse the agreements and treaties between the EU and the Latin American countries. Development and militarisation policies in both continents will also be addressed, discussed and not only criticized, but according to the idea of Linking Alternatives other possibilities should be shown.
The final event of "Enlazando Alternativas 2" will take place on May 13th, 2006 in the form of a public gathering and declaration in Vienna to show the world the unity and common will within the diversity of social, political, feminist, environmentalist and anti-racist struggles in LAC and Europe.
All participating organizations of "Enlazando Alternativas 2" (all organizations that support this summit are listed under the link "organizations involved" that can be found on top of the page) invite all people who sympathise with and/or participate in social networks and civil society movements to come to Vienna to participate actively and in solidarity in the discussions about a new transatlantic alliance based on peace, participative democracy, social justice, human rights and people’s rights to self-determination.
"Enlazando Alternativas 2" is part of a broader process of popular mobilisation that includes, among others, the People’s Summit in Mar del Plata, November 2005; the Polycentric World Social Forum in Caracas in January 2006 and the European Social Forum in Athens in May 2006 and share inspiration and spirit.
Another World is possible!
Let us build it together