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Declaration of the Americas Meeting
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One Candle, Many Americas: Neoliberalism Has Not Triumphed in the Continent
by Audrey Dupleich <>

The plurality of visions, experiences and experiences contributed to the meeting show that neoliberalism has not triumphed in the Continent with itshomogenizing pretensions. A candle was circulated as a symbol of articulation among the many Americas that sat around the table sharing the challenge of presenting a new Continent, with those who were present and"the millions of people who were absent," during the closing of theAmerican Meeting celebrated in Quito from June 19 to 23.

Outstanding among the major challenges highlighted by the participants were : reaching food sovereignty; the need for social movements to overcomethe present situation and build a political vision; continuation of the struggle for the rights of the peoples in the Nation-States; and uniting all the sectors representing an alternative and/or a resistance to the neoliberal model.

Fields with farmers
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Participants underscored that rural work should be reappreciated, "fields with farmers." They stressed the problem of migration to the cities and the ensuing unemployment, and above all, the need to recover "our food sovereignty" against the capitalistic rationale imposed on family farming. Concern was also expressed over the experiences of eradication of coca plantations in Bolivia and Colombia, denouncing the strategy of militarization involved in the Andean Initiative Antidrug Plan, in addition to the environmental damages connected to economic interests: "They are claiming to eradicate coca culture with environmental arguments - obviously, among others - while in fact what they are doing is granting oil concessions and selling biodiversity," they pointed out.

Recover and articulate the political values of the social movements
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"There has been no political vision in the different social movements, and what is social is political", stated the participants, stressing the need to recover the political values underlying each of the struggles in the Continent. "It is necessary to transcend the present situation, where there is no thinking and action on which to build a continent-wide political project; a democratic and plural culture needs to be developed," affirmed the participants after identifying the need to build collective forces.

It was deemed necessary to unite all the forces standing against the neoliberal model and to elaborate a common proposal that articulates -- not homogenizes -- the forces, awake and latent, that are opposing the model from their particular contexts, thus pointing the way to transcending the local.

"We can and we should continue dreaming a possible world, or the neoliberal model will triumph," they concluded.

- From Quito, Ecuador, the center of America, June 23, 2001
- Continental Meeting of America


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