People's Summit in Cartagena
In April 2009, just a dozen weeks after his inauguration, President Obama gathered in Trinidad with the hemisphere’s other heads of the state and vowed to open a new chapter in U.S. relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. He promised these relations would be founded on “mutual respect and equality,” promises that, unfortunately, were not kept. Since 2009, the region has gone through a wave of increased U.S. military intervention expressed in several ways: the revamping the U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet; an agreement with Colombia to use at least seven of its military bases (later revoked by Colombia’s constitutional court); support for the Honduras military coup; and military intervention following the Haiti earthquake, just to name a few.
This coming April, in the Caribbean city of Cartagena, thirty-four heads of state, including President Obama, will get together again in the VI Americas Summit. This time, social movements from across the entire region have called for a People’s Summit, from April 12-14, also in Cartagena “to debate and build, with our sisters and brothers in the Americas, a joint position on the hemispheric relations and the role of US policy, submit our requests to our governments, demand that in the VI Summit our positions are debated and denounce Washington’s militaristic policy.”
The social movements want to use this opportunity for demanding demilitarization of the continent — to close military bases, dismantle the Fourth Fleet, call off joint military exercises, and end for good militarization in the name of the war on drugs, which every year takes thousands of lives, particularly in Mexico and Central America, replacing it with a multilateral, integral policy with emphasis on public health measures.
Participants at the Cartagena People’s Summit will have the opportunity to participate in conferences, workshops, and art-based non-violent actions. For more information or if you want to attend, contact Susana Pimiento at firstname.lastname@example.org.