The Fifth Summit Of The Americas Returns To The Path Begun In 1994

By Dialogo
April 15, 2009

The Heads of State and government of the Americas, except Cuba, will meet at the Fifth Summit of the Americas from April 17 to 19, during which they will continue the dialogue begun in Miami in 1994, discussing policies and seeking common solutions for the problems of the region. Besides the four regular summits, two others have been held; one on sustainable development and another one in México, dated 1996 and 2004 respectively. Among the achievements of the Summits, one of the most important ones is the introduction in 2001of the Democratic Clause, by which any disturbance or breach of democratic order in a country is an "insurmountable obstacle" to its integration. The clause was intended to prevent situations such as the "self-coup" carried out by Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori in 1992. December 1994 - First Summit of the Americas in Miami (USA), convened by President Bill Clinton. Two key documents were adopted: the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action, which covers 23 areas of political, economic, and social cooperation. It is the first meeting of trustees that includes Canada and the Caribbean islands. It established the goal of eradicating poverty through the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). April 1998 - Second Summit of the Americas in Santiago (Chile), convened jointly by all the heads of state and government. The agenda included the consolidation of democracy, respect for human rights, and the process to start the negotiations of the FTAA (in the following June). The approved Action Plan contained 27 initiatives with high priority on education. It was entrusted to the OAS to monitor the process between summits and technical support to the ministerial meetings to develop the Action Plan. April 2001 - Third Summit of the Americas in Quebec (Canada). The final statement reaffirms the determination of the 34 leaders to launch the FTAA in 2005, despite the opposition of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez concerning said date and the "democracy clause." The summit was marked by violent street protests by anti-globalization protesters. It was entrusted with the drafting of the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter, adopted in September in Lima. November, 2005 - Fourth Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata (Argentina). Disagreements about the inclusion of the FTAA in the final document, outbreaks of violence in the streets, and arduous bilateral meetings marked the summit. The U.S. claims to relaunch the FTAA clashed with the position of the Mercosur and Venezuela, whose President, Hugo Chávez, gained prominence by literally saying "fuck" the process. April 2009 - Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port Spain (Trinidad and Tobago). The first regional summit after the election of President Barack Obama seeks to strengthen inter-American relations. The theme is "Securing the future of our citizens by promoting human prosperity, energy security, and the environment." Complementary subjects, including the economic crisis following the meeting of G-20 in London and the exclusion of Cuba from inter-American organizations since 1962, will be raised by various member countries.