Source: Nodal / The Dawn News / November 2, 2017
The social organizations that participated in the Seventh Assembly of Caribbean People announced their disposition to reject and fight the free trade agreements that impoverish and maintain the poor and working class of the region in crisis.
In these moments the Caribbean is in the midst of a violent crisis that strongly impacts the poor and working sectors and all of the population of the area, declared the representatives of trade unions, political, feminist, ecological, peasant and youth organizations, and other social and people’s movements from the 19 countries in the Caribbean region and other invited countries (Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela).
In almost all of the Caribbean countries, the assembly claims in its closing document, an apparent never-ending debt crisis continues, that has allowed for the violation of economic, social and cultural rights of the people; the consolidation of massive structural poverty; the attack on the rights of the workers and trade unions; the destruction of the agricultural sector and the marginalization of the peasantry.
The assembly references and echoes the words of Fidel Castro in the Conference of the United Nations about Environment and Development of Rio de Janeiro in 1992 when he said: “Pay the ecological debt and not the external debt. Make the hunger disappear, not the man.”
The participants of the Seventh Assembly of the Caribbean People identified climate change as a real phenomenon and an existential threat for all of the people of the region and the world. They also recognized that human activity in the advance of the model of capitalist development is diminishing the quality of the climate.
“The Assembly stands in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Thomas, Dominica, St. Martin, Guadalupe, Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti that suffered the loss of hundreds of lives and major economic impacts due to the three hurricanes that hit the Caribbean with great intensity, many of these islands were practically destroyed. The consequences of climate change will affect our fragile ecosystems every day,” they highlight in the document.
In the face of the impacts that climate change has generated in the zone, the Assembly proposed the creation of the status of climate refugee in response to extreme events like the ones that just happened in the Caribbean, because its delegates consider that “We should change the system not the climate!”
The Assembly of Caribbean People took place in the complex of the hotel CoopMarena, Juan Dolio, from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 of October.
The Assembly of Caribbean People is a dynamic of collective construction of the widest spectrum of the organizations of Caribbean islands. This range includes social movements, organizations of solidarity, trade unions, peasant, neighborhood, homeless, women, student, youth, artist and intellectual organizations. Also political, environmental, solidarity economy and religious organizations, amongst others.
The six prior assemblies were celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago (1994), Dominican Republic (2001), Haiti (2003), Cuba (2008), Barbados (2010) and the VI in Curaçao in 2015.