News Updates (2006)

December 19, 2006

CANADIAN GOVERNMENT
"SMALL-MINDEDNESS" MUST END

The Harper government displayed small-mindedness this week when it joined with the Bush administration as the only two out of 34 countries to block a standard resolution by the OAS (requiring unanimity) that would have congratulated Hugo Torres for his recent victory in the Venezuelan elections. Common Frontiers sent off a letter to Prime Minister Harper demanding to know the rationale for such a move as well as calling on Canada to support the letter going out with its original wording intact.
-Read the letter

August 8, 2006

ARTICLE IN MEXICO CITY NEWSPAPER
An article entitled "Canadians concerned about the S.P.P. (Security and Prosperity Partnership)" based on an interview with the Common Frontiers coordinator that was done by a reporter from El Financiero in Mexico City, with a focus on agricultural impact of NAFTA and SPP on Canadian farm sector.
(Article is in Spanish)

May 8, 2006

THREE-WAY TRADE AGREEMENT IS UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'VE SEEN BEFORE!
On April 29th, 2006 Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba signed a three-way trade accord. It adheres to the principles set out in Bolivia's new framework document on a People's Trade Agreement (see article on this web site). It also fits well with Venezuela's strategic trade plan for the Americas known by its acronym in Spanish - ALBA.
The text of this trade accord makes for a fascinating read as it has been fashioned with the guiding concept of complementarity at its core, standing in stark contrast to promotion of cut-throat competition which has been the hallmark of past 'free trade' agreements.
-Read the new Trade Accord Document

April 4, 2006

URUGUAY AND ARGENTINA QUIT SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS
With a succession of recent electoral successes by centre-left candidates in key nations in Latin America, the U.S. 'free trade' agenda for the Americas is facing increased opposition at all levels. It is no coincidence that Washington has felt oblidged to 'show the flag' by stationing troops in countries like Paraguay and Ecuador. In the past the US provided 'training' for officers and other military personnel at the US-based School of the Americas, which allowed the US to maintain relations with key individuals (and to track their careers) once they had returned home to serve in their armed forces. The invitation to send officers to this 'school' was something that most Latin American nations felt that they couldn't refuse - that is until now.

At the end of March both Argentina and Uruguay announced that they would stop sending soldiers to the School of the Americas, joining Venezuela that had taken a similar decision in January of 2004.
-Read the Newswire story

March 3, 2006

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM BUILDS GLOBAL COMMUNITY
In the spirit of community, organizers planning the sixth World Social Forum (WSF) decided to decentralize the gathering in three distinct geographic locations: Venezuela, Pakistan, and Mali, in order to make grassroots participation that much more accessible. I had the privilege of participating in the Caracas, Venezuela WSF between Jan. 22 and 29. The concept of a World Social Forum first emerged as an alternative to the annual World Economic Forum.
-Read the entire article by CF member Rusa Jeremic

January 26 , 2006

NEWS FROM CARACAS
If you want to follow what's happening at the World Social Forum in Caracas, here are a couple of websites we've found.
-Inter Press Service News Agency
-Venezuelan Views, News and Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Activity Updates (2006)

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December 7, 2006

NEW publication from Hemispheric Social Alliance
and focus on Global South

 

ALBA: VENEZUELA'S ANSWER TO FREE TRADE
By Diego Azzi and David Harris

With the overwhelming re-election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and the victory of Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Latin America's anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal forces appear to be deepening and consolidating.

In this timely new analysis, Diego Azzi and David Harris take a close look at the ALBA -- the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas -- one of the the most significant challenges to the dominant powers coming out of Latin America for decades and an important attempt to shape a new model of regional integration and cooperation.

- Click here to view longer summary and download the full report

 


November 24 , 2006

OUT FROM UNDER:
SHIFTING FORCES IN LATIN AMERICA
Report from October 15 event

 

Photos of conference participantsCommon Frontiers in collaboration with CERLAC-York University, TLC-OISE, Gindin Chair-Ryerson and the Toronto and York District Labour Council co-sponsored a one-day conference on October 15th, 2006 called “Out from Under: Shifting Forces in Latin America”.

Canada, embarked on a rightward political path under a newly elected minority Conservative government, appears to be out of sync with, and largely unaware of, the leftward political path that electorates in several South American countries have chosen to follow.

The idea for this event arose out of concern that the changes happening in Latin America were not receiving a particularly positive reception or understanding in Canada. Popular sector leadership from Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina came to Toronto to talk directly with Canadian activists and community leaders and provide first-hand experiences in bringing about social change. They described many novel and concrete initiatives being taken in our hemisphere that all point to the feasibility of creating a process of integration that builds on each country’s strengths.

This October 15 event was also key to knowledge building for a Canadian delegation that will be heading to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, for the December 5-10 Social Summit for the Integration of the Peoples.

Canada may never be able to ignore its US neighbour, but we are now presented with a unique opportunity to join other countries in the Americas in forging new trade and social links that will foster decent employment opportunities and promote a different model of development.


- Read the full report and a list of participants at the conference
- View photos from the conference (credit to Louise Casselman)


November 7 , 2006

Social Summit logoSOCIAL SUMMIT FOR
PEOPLES' INTEGRATION
DEC 6-9, 2006

 

Social Summit for Peoples’ Integration will take place in Cochabamba, Bolivia over a four day period – December 6-9, with opportunities in the programme for organizing self-generated events as well as preparing sector-specific interventions. The Social Summit is being coordinated by the Bolivian Movement for Sovereignty and Integration with Solidarity, and the Hemispheric Social Alliance.

Common Frontiers is hosting a website where English translations of key documents related to this Summit will be posted. We will also be posting on-site reports and commentary from CF Coordinator Rick Arnold during the summit.
- Visit CF's Social Summit information site
- If you speak Spanish, visit the Social Summit website


October 5, 2006

OUT FROM UNDER:
SHIFTING FORCES IN LATIN AMERICA

 

While political winds have been blowing rightward in North America, the opposite has been happening in Latin America. On October 15 in Toronto you will have the opportunity to hear directly from resource people from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela about changes happening in their countries and in the broader region. And the question that we will want to ask is how can Canada connect to the changes occurring in our hemisphere?
- View the poster for complete details


August 6, 2006

MEXICAN FORUM ON RENEGOTIATING NAFTA

 

From August 2-4, 2006 Common Frontiers coordinator Rick Arnold joined 3 other Canadians representing Canadian agricultural producers organizations and their lawyers in attending the Forum on Evaluation and Proposals for the Renegotiation of the Agricultural Chapter of NAFTA. This Forum was held in the Legislative Palace in Mexico City and was attended by over 1,200 people, most of whom were small farmers and campesinos concerned for their livelihood once all tariffs on many agricultural goods are removed Jan. 01, 2008."

Please click here to see the official Declaration from this Forum
- View the official Declaration from this Forum


June 6, 2006

HALT S.P.P. AND REPLACE NAFTA

 

At a press conference June 6th in Ottawa, legislators and civil society networks from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico unveiled a collective plan to bring an end to deep integration and replace NAFTA with a people-centred trade model.
- Read the full statement in English Francais Espanol


June 4, 2006

THE 2nd NORTH AMERICAN FORUM:
A PEOPLE-CENTRED TRADE MODEL

 

North American legislators and civil society actors meet in Ottawa on June 5 to formulate people-centred alternatives to the deep-integration agenda. This session will extend the work of the first Tri-National Forum held May 4-5, 2005, in Washington.
- Read the full background document


April 26, 2006

A PEOPLE'S TRADE AGREEMENT

In April, 2006 the Bolivian Government released a new document which articulates the kind of Trade Agreement they are looking to sign with willing countries. The stated purpose of their Agreement is:

To achieve a true integration among peoples that transcends the commercial and economic arenas, recognizing the differences of each country, and at the same time prioritizing the protection of internal production and national companies. A treaty which holds, above all, the well being of the people and a respect for their history and cultures.

The Bolivian government will be producing two additional versions of this document, a popular version for massive distribution and a diplomatic version which they will use to negotiate with interested countries. The document continues:

A PEOPLE'S TRADE AGREEMENT
In response to the FTAs, being promoted by the US: The first alternative proposal from President Morales
to promote fair trade and integration based on solidarity among the Peoples of Latin American.

THE PEOPLE’S TRADE AGREEMENT proposed by President Evo Morales is a response to the collapse of the neo-liberal model which is based on the core principles of deregulation, privatization and the indiscriminate opening of markets.

It is no longer acceptable for a small group of powerful countries to deny poor nations the right to design their own development models based on internal necessities and to dictate ‘global’ economic models which don’t provide adequate solutions to our development problems, as even the World Bank admits in its documents.
- Read the entire document


April 18, 2006

LETTER TO PASCAL LAMY, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE WTO

Common Frontiers has joined 124 other networks/organizations from 40 countries in signing a letter directed to Pascal Lamy denouncing his plans to implement a process of smaller scale meetings within a limited time frame that could serve to thwart the participation of the majority of the WTO members.

Abandoning his previously stated commitment to a bottom-up approach to negotiations, Lamy is trying to broker meetings with particular countries in mind so as to be able to engineer 'results' that can be then presented as fait-accomplis decisions to the rest of the WTO membership.

- Read the entire letter


March 27, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HARPER MUST COME CLEAN ABOUT THE SECURITY AND PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP

March 27th, 2006 - One year after the launch of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North American (SPP), the respective leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico are about to meet again, this time in Cancun (Mexico), to advance the ongoing integration of North America. Meanwhile, citizens and elected officials are still being kept in the dark about the process.

The pact signed in Waco last year by Paul Martin, George Bush and Vicente Fox, contains no concrete proposals to improve the lives of the continent's ordinary citizens. The agreement stems from the big business agenda and represents a giant step toward full continental integration.


- Read the entire Media Release in English, En français, En español


March 10, 2006

DEFENDING PUBLIC CONTROL TO THE ACCESS AND USE OF WATER

The World Water Forum (WWF - whose agenda has been high-jacked by commercial interests in the past) is meeting in Mexico City March 16-22. Hemispheric and global popular movement organizations are also meeting in Mexico City and holding a series of events to oppose the commoditization of the world's water.

It should be noted that March 14 has been designated as the International Day against Dams. In Mexico City March 15 there is the Symposium on 'best practices' in public water management. March 16 is the major Mexico City March to protest the WWF. March 17-19, also in Mexico City, is the International Forum in Defence of Water.

Common Frontiers and several other organizations/coalitions have sent a letter to Prime Minister Harper challenging Canadian policy towards water.


- Read the text of the letter


March 6, 2006

For Immediate Release

ALLOWING CEOs TO SET THE FOREIGN POLICY
AGENDA FOR NORTH AMERICA ENDANGERS
DEMOCRACY IN CANADA

Canadian CEOs affiliated to the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) will be meeting with Mexican counterparts and the President of Mexico on March 8. This meeting is timed to take place just before the three heads-of-state from Canada-Mexico-USA are scheduled to meet in Cancun. Having had great success in influencing the 'three amigos' agenda on security and prosperity in March 2005, this meeting has all the hallmarks of a repeat engagement where the private sector gets unfettered access to leaders of the NAFTA nations.

-Read the complete text of the media release here
-En Francais

 


World Social Forum LogoJan 26, 2006

World Social Forum -
America's component
Caracas, Venezuela


CF Executive Director Rick Arnold is in Caracas attending the America's component of the World Social Forum (WSF). Similar events will also be held in Bamako and Karachi this year. The Caracas S.F. is attracting a lot of interest from organizations and individuals in Canada and Quebec. In 2007, the WSF will be re-centralized and a single event will be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

-Read Rick's on-site reports from the Social Forum (Latest Report - Jan 28/06)
-See some pictures from the Social Forum


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