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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Americas | Government & Elections
Bush signals more death, Argentina celebrates life
People of conscience from all over Latin America are pouring into the Argentinian seaside resort of Mar del Plata to protest the Bush agenda of war, fear mongering and corporate greed.
Outside the press center of the third People´s Summit of the America, over 5,000 people have gathered in an indoor sports arena to celebrate a common vision of human rights, sovereignity -- especially for indigenous people -- and freedom. Speaker after speaker has relayed the message -- Freedom from repression, freedom of cultural expression...Freedom to work with dignity, live a life of dignity and dream with dignity.
After three days of discussion, reflection and sharing in workshops and plenaries, the thousands of people that have traveled here from all parts of the continent, Europe and North America, are ready to celebrate. Delegations from Cuba and Venezuela are most notable in the rowdy crowd, waving huge flags and dancing in their seats.
The closing event ended with a vibrant concert. Music is likely to continue playing long into the night and into the streets tommorrow morning. One group of young Bolivian activists practiced playing their Andean tunes on wood pipes during the long four day bus ride from Cochabmba and are eager to share their rich Andean cultural heritage in tommorrow´s march.
The pulsating crowd already has much to celebrate. Over a decade ago Summit of the Americas became the official venue for advancing the Free Trade Area of the Americas, an agreement that would have integrated the economies of 33 countries in the Western Hemisphere according to rules that were developed in secret, largely by big businesses such as Monsanto and Intel. But the talks have been stalled and are unlikely to gain momentum during this weekend´s summit.
Outside the People´s Summit, the streets of Mar del Plata are quiet and still. Shops have borded up their windows and most workers are planning to take the day off. But unlike citied in the U.S., a number of business owners here in Mar del Plata have expressed support for the anti-Bush protesters.
An owner of one hotel joked with the author, ¨When you return home to the U.S., please make sure your people never vote again for someone like Bush!¨
A large section of the city is walled up like a fortress behind four layers of security. Tommorrow, the streets that are not locked up behind bars will be filled with people marching and demonstrating their power to manifest a vision for the Americas that differs vastly from what Bush has in store.
¨We are celebrating a vision of life, not a future of more death and killing,¨said Deborah James of Global Exchange, who emceed this evenings closing ceremony. Ït is so incredibely inspiring to be surrounded by some of the most powerful social movements of our day and age that are actually creating solutions to poverty and replacing the agenda of the wealthy with an agenda created by the people.