Without sovereignty and mutual respect, dialogue between regions is impossible. Throughout the days of debate and work at the People’s Summit held parallel to the III CELAC-EU Summit, trade union activists, community leaders, left political leaders, artists, and students from across Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe ratified the importance of spaces for democratic and plural debate between equal partners. The summits occurred simultaneously in the Belgian capital of Brussels from July 17-18 after a eight-year pause. The People’s Summit, held at the Free University of Brussels, was organized by a broad coalition of over 100 organizations, collectives, unions, political parties, and movements.
On July 17 and 18, leaders from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) will converge in Brussels, Belgium, the seat of the EU, for the III CELAC-EU Summit. The two-day summit will be chaired by Ralph Gonsalves, the pro tempore president of CELAC and prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Charles Michel, the president of the European Council. The last summit of this nature took place in 2015, and the parties will meet again in a moment of great regional and global transformation and with the political composition in each region looking vastly different.
The organizers of the People’s Summit for Democracy were determined to close out the summit with a lasting impression on the last day, June 10. The People’s Summit was organized in opposition to the Summit of the Americas that was organized by the US-influenced Organization of American States (OAS) and hosted by the US in Los Angeles. The Summit of the Americas has historically been a place for the US to dictate a political agenda to the Latin American countries. The Summit of the Americas has been plagued by difficulties since May 10, when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that he would boycott the Summit in protest against the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from the Summit. Following AMLO’s boycott, a host of Latin American leaders announced their own boycotts of the Summit.
Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of Cuba, Nicolás Maduro, President of Venezuela, and Evo Morales, Former President of Bolivia send messages of solidarity to the people of the United States and the organizers of People's Summit, an alternative to exclusionary Biden’s Summit of Americas.
The ninth Summit of the Americas is taking place in Los Angeles from June 6 to 10, organized by the US-influenced Organization of American States. The White House, in announcing the US as the host of the Summit back in January, stated: “Working with the city of Los Angeles, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, and Governor of California Gavin Newsom, the United States looks forward to convening leaders and stakeholders across the hemisphere to advance our shared commitment to economic prosperity, security, human rights, and dignity.” The People’s Summit is being organized concurrently in Los Angeles as a working class call to action against the US government interests that have historically underwritten the Summit of the Americas.
Los Angeles, California - "We are here today in front of the Convention Center protesting against the Summit of the Americas and particularly the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. It is not really the Summit of the Americas if a large part of that continent and the peoples of Latin America are excluded from the Summit," Answer Coalition director Brian Becker told Sputnik. They also demand an end to the blockade of Cuba, he added. The demonstrators shouted chants directed at U.S. President Joe Biden for his decision to leave out these three nations. Participants also carried Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan flags and banners. "Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela," "Stop the U.S. destabilization campaign and media lies," and "End all U.S. sanctions and blockades" were some of the phrases read on the demonstrators' placards.
Nothing useful seemed to emerge from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at COP26 this week. The leaders of developed countries made tired speeches about their commitment to reversing the climate catastrophe. Their words rang with the clichés of spin doctors, their sincerity zero, their actual commitments to lowering carbon emissions nil. Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a Filipino climate activist and spokesperson for Fridays for Future, said that these leaders ‘spew empty, tired promises’, leaving young people like her with a ‘sense of betrayal’. As a child, she said, she felt the danger of being caught up in flash floods in the Philippines, floods that have terrible repercussions for high-risk countries.
The COP26 Coalition has released its declaration for climate justice. It states that: Climate change already impacts and threatens billions of lives, with billions more on the line: it is those that have done the least to cause climate change that are most impacted, especially women, Black, Indigenous Peoples, and people of colour, peasants and rural people, youth, people with disabilities, local communities and frontline communities.The climate crisis also amplifies the structural inequalities and injustices that have been hardwired into our economic and political systems that have resulted in a spiralling debt crisis, Covid vaccine apartheid and growing inequality and poverty. It asserts that: People are tired of waiting for governments to prioritize people and the planet over profits while so many lives are being impacted and lost. We are out of time and out of patience.