Anti-FTAA Meeting Held in Cuba

A four-day meeting called the "Hemispheric Encounter to combat the FTAA" took place in Havana from November 13-16. After speeches and debates by dozens of participants, nearly 800 delegates from 39 countries agreed on a final declaration called the "Havana Consensus and a Plan of Action for Immediate Mobilization Against the FTAA."

The declaration describes the FTAA as "an attack against self-determination and respect for the principle of national sovereignty." It warns that the FTAA is an attempt by the U.S. government to annex the continent, violate its sovereignty, and leave it dependent. Also, its states that the FTAA is, "integration for disintegrating the national economies, societies and diverse cultures of the Americas, exclusively for the benefit of transnational corporations."

In addition, the declaration demands an end to the U.S. blockade against Cuba, and the dismantling of US military bases in Vieques and Manta. It condemns terrorism in all of its forms, including state terrorism, and it repudiates the U.S. war against Afghanistan.

One speaker at the event, Osvaldo Martinez, President of the Cuban Parliament's Economic Commission referred to the aggressive U.S. war against Afghanistan as an "absurd war that purports to fight terrorism with huge doses of terror." He said that events of September 11 were being used by apologists for the FTAA to push through the trade agreement in a way that could result in labeling opponents of the FTAA as terrorists.