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Special Summit of the Americas Begins; No Agreement Made on Declaration

Special Summit of the Americas Begins; No Agreement Made on Declaration

Posted January. 13, 2004 23:14,   


The 34-nation Special Summit of the Americas officially began on Monday, but the participants have not yet drafted a declaration.

According to overseas reports, this lack of a declaration indicates that the United States faces strong opposition from a “new left” in South America led by Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela, and that U.S. influence in the region may be further damaged.

“Free trade is the most certain path to lasting prosperity,” said U.S. President George Bush during the summit’s opening ceremonies. He added that free societies and free markets could deliver real benefits to citizens.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin pointed out the disadvantages of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), however, saying that developing countries were not immediately able to compete in the fierce global economy. Leaders from Peru, Paraguay, Chile, Venezuela, and Brazil also criticized their northern neighbor, claiming that free trade only benefited the United States and other rich nations.

Delegations from each country worked hard through the evening on Sunday to try and draft a declaration in Monterrey, Mexico, but they failed to bridge their differences.

Brazil and Venezuela were particularly critical of the way the FTAA was pushed forward by the United States. They claimed that the United States was trying to integrate the Americas in a way that would encourage disunity among Latin American nations.

Meanwhile, President Bush announced that he had signed a proclamation denying corrupt officials entry into the United States, and he urged other nations to take similar measures. His proposal was aimed at banning all corrupt officials from crossing international borders.

The summit, which aims to strengthen democracy, fight poverty, fight corruption, and find solutions to terrorism in the region, will come to a close on Tuesday.

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com