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Last Sunday, the Summit of the Peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe came to an end in Santiago de Chile taking place in parallel with the Summit between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States(CELAC) and the European Union (EU).
Movements, unions and organizations from throughout Latin America and Europe participated in this meeting to denounce the ongoing colonial exploitation of the EU in Latin America and discuss actions to restructure relations between the two continents.
Discussion focused on democracy and participation, labor rights, the environment and international solidarity as crucial elements in the effort to resist colonialism. The final statement calls for solidarity with all colonized peoples, countries and territories and all those who are at the forefront of resistance against colonialism and imperialism – from Las Malvinas (Falkland Islands) to Cuba and Palestine.
The economic downturn has weakened the EU but it did not alter core European policies, which for centuries have exploited Latin America for its resources. While austerity policies currently implemented in Europe destroy labor and social rights of the people, Europe expects Latin America and the rest of the global South to provide the solution for the crisis. In fact, the European Union at this Summit has made further promotion of their transnational investments in the continent and more Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) as priority. The aim is to pillage the natural resources and cheap labor in Latin America as the remedy for its ailing economy.
In this regard, the final declaration of the Summit of the Peoples was clear "Relations between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean that prioritize the privileges and benefits of investors against the rights of peoples through trade agreements and bilateral investment agreements, deepen this model that harms the people of both regions.”
Another – closely interrelated – aspect of this economic model is the EU´s use of the people and natural resources of Latin America to finance its colonial adventures worldwide. Palestine is a case in point.
Since its creation, Israel has enjoyed the support of Europe and the U.S. to pursue its crimes, wars, occupation and apartheid against the Palestinian people.
With the EU and U.S. in economic crisis Latin America – and other emerging economies of the BRICS – are being pushed to finance the Israeli occupation and apartheid. South America became the vital lifeline for the economic sustainability of Israeli criminal policies.
Israeli and European multinational companies that support and benefit from Israeli apartheid, use markets and public money in Latin America to offset losses in the West. Mekorot, the Israeli water company that steals Palestinian water to supply the illegal Jewish-only settlements of the West Bank has expanded into Latin America, benefiting from the privatization drive there. Private military and 'security' firms, such as the Israeli Elbit or the Anglo-Danish G4S, which are heavily involved in wars and Israeli repression, sell their expertise and technology to governments and private companies in Latin America.
500 years ago, the Latin American gold sustained the colonial enterprise of the European powers that resulted in countless massacres and the economic and social destruction of many parts of the world. It is unacceptable that Latin American markets today pay the colonial, racist and oppressive policies of Israel in Palestine.
The dynamics today are different than they were centuries or even decades ago. Latin America today has the resources and also the movements and progressive governments able to reject this turn of events.
Stop the Wall and Palestinian activists participated actively in the process of the People's Summit in Santiago de Chile. Our message was clear: we ask for solidarity and at minimum that Latin America doesn’t contribute to the spilling of Palestinian blood.
The growth of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which aims to block Israeli investments, public contracts with Israeli companies and to suspend FTAs through popular campaigns, is a means towards this end. Today more than ever it’s important to strengthen BDS campaigns in Latin America.
The final declaration of the summit expressed full support for the Palestinian cause and elevates boycotts as a means to combat the power of transnational corporations. The final document of the axis on international solidarity expressed a commitment to "organize a global day of action against FTAswith Israel as a way to pressure the Israeli government to respect international law and the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people."
This commitment follows decades of principled solidarity with the Palestinian people in Latin America. More recently, during the WSF Free Palestine, held in Porto Alegre (Brazil) from November 28 to December 1, participants discussed the issue of growing investments in Latin America by Israeli and international companies involved in Israel's war crimes. A commitment was made to continue the fight against the FTA between Mercosur and Israel.
For us it is significant that the call for a Global Day of Action against FTAs with Israel originates in Latin America. The support received by this call given out at the Summit is part of the anti-colonial and anti-capitalist actions developed by local groups all over the globe. It strengthens a vision of solidarity that goes beyond the recognition of the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle: it directly denounces the perverse global economic and political system, in which the oppressed people not only fund the wealth of the few but also their own oppression. If we want to overcome the entrenched structures of colonialism, capitalism, racism and patriarchy we have to break these dynamics through effective solidarity and BDS is the appropriate means for this.
For more information:
Audio: Rapporteur Axis IV: "Integration and solidarity of the people against social injustice." Registering Assemblies of People's Summit: https://freie-radios.net/53356
Peoples Summit of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe 2013 from 25 to 27 January 2013, Santiago de Chile: https://cumbrechile2013.org/
 Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent (in Spanish Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina) is a classic written by Uruguayan journalist, writer and poet Eduardo Galeano, and published in 1971.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Veins_of_Latin_America
 Association of emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
 For more on G4S, see: https://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/g4s
 For more on Elbit, see: https://stopthewall.org/divest-elbit