Monthly Archive for April, 2009

PM again boasts of Summit

By Sean Douglas
Thursday, April 30 2009

Fifth Summit of the AmericasPRIME Minister Patrick Manning said the Fifth Summit of the Americas is earning TT and Caricom more respect and foreign investment. Addressing the 20th anniversary celebration ceremony of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) on Tuesday, at the Diplomatic Centre, he boasted: “There can be no doubt about the gains to our country and the region from this undertaking. Tourist arrivals will increase and it will certainly be much easier to market our region as a single tourism destination.”
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Cry, the Unforgiven Country: Obama’s ‘Continuity’ in Haiti

The area of Bas-Ravine, in the northern part of Haiti
The area of Bas-Ravine, in the northern part of Haiti
Photo taken by Rémi Kaupp

By Chris Floyd
April 28, 2009 –

Haiti has been a cursed nation throughout its existence. As I noted in a piece in 2004:

Exactly two hundred years ago, Haitian slaves overthrew their French masters — the first successful national slave revolt in history. What Spartacus dreamed of doing, the Haitian slaves actually accomplished. It was a tremendous achievement — and the white West has never forgiven them for it.

In order to win international recognition for their new country, Haiti was forced to pay “reparations” to the slaveowners – a crushing burden of debt they were still paying off at the end of the 19th century. The United States, which refused to recognize the country for more than 60 years, invaded Haiti in 1915, primarily to open it up to “foreign ownership of local concerns.” After 19 years of occupation, the Americans backed a series of bloodthirsty dictatorships to protect these “foreign owners.” And still it goes on.

It certainly does — even under the “enlightened” foreign policy of Barack Obama. As John Caruso reports (in separate pieces in A Distant Ocean and A Tiny Revolution), Obama and his “superstar” secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, are loudly championing the latest egregious, brutal farce that Washington and the West have foisted upon the uppity natives of Haiti.
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Life After the Summit

Fifth Summit of the AmericasTHE EDITOR: Well, the summit has come and gone. The naked emperor has worshipped at the altar of his own egoism. But at what cost? The next circus is going to be the reckoning of what costs are to be attributed to the summit and what costs are not. It’s all downhill from here. The naked emperor has shot his bolt. There are no more cards up his sleeve. Our monocrop, jazzed up plantation economy is well and truly busted. Health, education, local government services, social welfare and mek wuk employment are being severely cut back. Jobs are disappearing by the thousands and will continue to do so over the near term. Trillion dollar bonds are being floated to make up the budget deficit.
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Caring too much about image

By Raffique Shah
Sunday, April 26th 2009

Fifth Summit of the AmericasPRIME Minister Patrick Manning seems surprised that so many people are angry over this country hosting the Fifth Summit of the Americas. I wrote a few weeks ago that having committed the country to the summit when he did, he no doubt thought that we could afford that $500 million or whatever the real cost was.

He must have felt, too, that just having all hemispheric Heads of Government here would boost his image as a the premier Caribbean leader. I do not dispute his reasoning that the country would benefit from world recognition, only because it was billed as the battleground between Presidents Obama and Chavez.
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Harsh reality
FinanceCentral Bank Governor Ewart Williams has officially confirmed what everyone, except the Cabinet, had long known: the economy is in decline.
The starkest figure cited by Mr Williams when he released the Bank’s Monetary Policy Report last Thursday was related to unemployment. The unemployment rate has already moved from just over four percent last year to between six and seven percent in the first quarter of 2009. This means that the Government can no longer boast about having achieved zero unemployment in Trinidad and Tobago. But, as long as two years ago, economists such as Jawala Rambarran and Ronald Ramkissoon were warning that the unemployment figures were essentially illusory.

Central Bank gives banks a lending hand
Faced with stagnation and an inflation shadow, the Central Bank yesterday sliced off fifty basis points of its repo rate to eight percent, a move designed to get banks to reduce their interest rates and spur borrowing.
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Lack of a CARICOM Strategy at the Fifth Summit

By Stephen Kangal
April 24, 2009

Fifth Summit of the AmericasThe hosting of the recently concluded Fifth Summit of the Americas was portrayed as a CARICOM initiative and, as usual, T&T bore the full costs involved.

I am very disturbed that T&T/CARICOM did not act collectively in an effective manner to maximize returns on T&T’s huge and staggering investment. The CARICOM meeting that was scheduled for Thursday 16 April was not held. No effort was made to concretize a CARICOM strategy at the Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Heads of Government held in Belize prior to the Summit.
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Press Briefing with Evo Morales at the 5th Summit of the Americas

Bolivian President Evo Morales at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Bolivian President Evo Morales during a press briefing at the
5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

This interview has been transcribed from a translation during a press briefing featuring Bolivian President Evo Morales at the Fifth Summit of the Americas – April 18, 2009

PRESIDENT MORALES: Thank you my friends from the press. For those of you that don’t know me, I am Evo Morales Ayma, President of the nation of Bolivia. I would like to take this opportunity, first to thank you for your presence, and also to engage in a political and ideological debate that is taking place at the Summit of the Americas.
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The Summit and the lie

By Fidel Castro Ruz
April 22, 2009 –

Fidel CastroSome of the things that Daniel told me would be hard to believe if it was not him who told me them and it was not at a Summit of the Americas where they occurred.

The unusual thing is that there was no such consensus on the final document. The ALBA group did not sign it; that was confirmed in the last exchange with Obama in the presence of Manning and the other leaders in the morning of April 19.
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Open Veins of Latin America

Eduardo Galeano’s important earlier book, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent (1973) is crucial not only for an understanding of the economics of colonialism in America, but by extension makes explicit the mechanism of colonialism/imperialism worldwide.
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Post-mortem on Fifth Summit of the Americas

Dr. Kwame Nantambu
April 23, 2009

Fifth Summit of the AmericasThe Fifth Summit of the Americas 17-19 April 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago has come and gone; its final Declaration of Port-of-Spain was not ‘signed, sealed and delivered’ by all thirty-four participating heads of government but most importantly, hemispheric leaders totally misunderstood, misread and miscalculated the formulation of US foreign policy toward the region.
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