I: Cuba Says 3rd World Will Pursue "Seattle Revolt"

-----Messaggio Originale-----
Da: "Michael Eisenscher" <meisenscher at igc.org>
Newsgroup: misc.activism.progressive
Data invio: mercoledì 12 aprile 2000 6.06
Oggetto: Cuba Says 3rd World Will Pursue "Seattle Revolt"

Monday April 10 2:32 PM ET

Cuba Says Third World Will Pursue 'Seattle Revolt'
By Jason Webb

HAVANA (Reuters) - Third World leaders at a summit in Havana will continue
the ``Rebellion of Seattle'' against rich countries' attempts to hijack the
World Trade Organization for their own interests, host nation Cuba said on

About 60 leaders from the 133 member nations of the Group of 77 --
so-called because of the group's 1964 founding with 77 members -- were
expected in Havana to attend the five-day ''South Summit'' hosted by Cuban
President Fidel Castro.

Host country Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said representatives of 80
percent of the world's population were forging a unified voice to carry on
the struggle for their rights from the 1999 chaotic WTO meeting in Seattle.

``This is coming after the rebellion of Seattle. I don't mean just the
rebellion in the streets but also the rebellion inside the conference
center against attempts to carry out an event that was not transparent and
favored the interests of the few and not the majority,'' Perez told a news

The Havana meeting, chaired by Nigeria, will be the first full presidential
summit of the G77's history -- reflecting the importance given to finding a
joint position to stand up to the rich on trade issues.

``We need a North-South dialogue in which the North listens to our
opinions,'' said Perez, who added that the richest 20 percent of the
world's population earned 82 times more than the poorest 80 percent -- up
from 30 times more in 1964.

In Seattle U.S. activists caused havoc on the streets as they called for
trade agreements to insist on environmental and labor standards.

Many of the activists, who were often supported by U.S. labor unions
worried about competition from low-wage countries, claimed to speak for
Third World workers. But poor-country delegates argued fiercely they could
not afford First World wages or pollution standards.

``We firmly oppose any linkage between trade and labor standards. We are
also against the use of environmental standards as a new form of
protectionism,'' read a draft declaration which will be debated by South
Summit leaders.

The document, seen by lower-ranking officials on Monday, will be discussed
by foreign ministers starting on Tuesday, and then by heads of state for
the summit's final three days.

The draft declaration also called for a ``durable solution'' to the
external debt problems of poorer nations, and made special mention of the
dire economic situation in Africa.

It rejected the right to ``humanitarian intervention'' invoked by the
United States and other Western nations when they forced Serbia out of
Kosovo in 1999. It called for Israel to withdraw from the ``Occupied
Palestinian Territory'' and for an end to international sanctions against

The document called on rich countries to share the explosive growth in
information technology. Ironically, in the host country Cuba access to
Internet is restricted and allowed only with government permission.

Most of the top names billed at the summit, like Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad, Pakistan's military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf,
Palestinian President Yassar Arafat and South Africa's Thabo Mbeke, were
due later in the week.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was expected to fly into Havana on Monday
night. Some presidents, including from Vietnam and Nigeria, had already

Mbeke particularly will have more on his mind than the G77. Mbeke planned a
private meeting with Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe in which he was expected to
express concern over the occupation of white-owned farms in South Africa's
smaller neighbor.

Although the summit is taking place in Cuba, it has been largely ignored by
major Latin American countries which are mainly sending low-powered
delegations. Brazil and Argentina are G77 members but in recent years have
preferred to concentrate their energies on their free trade bloc Mercosur.

An exception is Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, an admirer and sometime
baseball opponent of Cuban ruler Castro.

Cuba's veteran communist leader Castro, 73, always generates huge media
attention at international events. He was hosting his third major
international event in as many years.

Copyright © 2000 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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