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Summit for Friendship and Integration
of the Latin American Peoples
Santiago, Chile - November 8-9, 2007


The Santiago Declaration*


Meeting in Santiago, Chile, November 8 and 9, 2007, in the context of the Summit for Friendship and Integration of the Latin American Peoples, we, the representatives of social, political and cultural organizations, of indigenous/aboriginal peoples, of academic and artistic organizations and of citizens in general, have discussed in an environment of pluralism and respect the contradictory realities of our region and we have agreed on actions that allow us to advance towards the democratization, unity, sovereignty and self-determination of our peoples and nations.

The New Social Activism

We affirm the hope-filled resurgence of widespread activism by social movements and by progressive political forces. Their joint struggles, increasingly broad and persistent, have decisively influenced the elections of like-minded governments in diverse countries. These governments are sensitive to the great ideals of Latin American emancipation, unity and integration, promoting processes of change in the region, all of which we see as an advance of great historical importance.

We can talk of future change while designing strategies based on the solidarity and cooperation of our peoples, because today we remember and evoke the leaders and movements that in the past exhibited immeasurable heroism and tenacity. We say this from Chile, where in over a 300 year period greed entered with the sword and the cross to squash the exemplary resistance of the Mapuche people. We say this 100 years after the massacre of Chilean, Peruvian, Bolivian, Argentine and Spanish workers at the Santa Maria de Iquique School. It is in this country where the transnational corporations set in motion the empire's military and financial machinery to overthrow the Constitutional President, Salvador Allende, and to block his project of social transformation and Latin American unity. It is in this country where bayonets served the ruling class and foreign capital to crown a neoliberal model that translates into extreme concentration of wealth, social and political exclusion for most people, and where the powers that be and large capital control policy making, the mass media, and public institutionality.

Key to this new political reality in the continent and its promising prospects is the recognition of a multiplicity of social, cultural and ideological sources employing novel methods and structures, diverse languages, forms of struggle and programmatic proposals. That diversity - the antithesis of dogmatism, sectarianism and hegemony – is the basis for their strength and historical legitimacy.
Starting with demands for the protection of the eco-system, defence of the lands, territories and rights of the original peoples; the rejection of the pillaging and expropriation of our natural resources; the workers demands; the rejection of the expropriation of provisional savings; the denunciation of U.S. military bases located in strategic areas of the continent; the defence of human rights; the strengthening of the role of the State in productive enterprises and in guaranteeing the right of citizens to Health, Education, Housing, Work and Pensions; to oppose discrimination of women and the elderly; to support the rights of youth and other sectors overwhelmed by neoliberal policies. Faced with great national problems, social movements are advancing towards unitary political proposals and are contributing to building a new alternative that allows Latin America and the Caribbean in their own right to intervene in the burning problems that face humanity.

For the same reason, we reject those practices that try to divide social organizations, subordinating them as to the status of mere inputs of state policies that aim to perpetuate the economic and institutional model.

The social movements are no longer satisfied with cosmetic changes. Rather they propose a total rejection of the present model of economic, political and cultural domination that implies the commercialization of all spheres of public and personal life and holding up the profit motive as the supreme value of a society where individuals get pitted against one another. The afore mentioned is in accordance with the world-wide criticism that people have leveled at predatory globalization and at war - proposed as the solution to the problems of humanity.

For their part the political forces that are looking for alternatives to the current system also have the challenge of finding new forms of dialogue and complementarity with the social struggle - understanding that both spheres are needed and can nourish each other.

Integration from the people and for the people

We understand regional integration as a process of mutual enrichment, building on our strengths, our capacity to communicate with the world. It begins from the recognition of the human person, and that all public policies must be subordinated to his/her well-being and happiness.
In forging the future of Latin America and the Caribbean, we can build citizenship drawing from the best elements that make up each people and each culture. Peoples' integration is drawn from this same social base, bearing in mind the following essential premises:

• The recovery of natural resources: mining, water, fishing, forest and energy resources; agrarian reform and food sovereignty as processes that safeguard the participation and the interests of peoples and nations.

• Energy integration that is in harmony with the environment.

• Agreements for economic integration must put the accent on the multiple forms of economic solidarity, protecting the role of micro, small and medium enterprises.

• This process allows for multiple sectoral and territorial options being applied to a greater or lesser degree according to the reality of each region. In this sense, we support the development of instruments such as the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), the Bank of the South, as well as other options that express the integrationist will of our peoples.

• The democratic struggle must strengthen society's basic laws and principles alongside new institutional structuring which takes into account the leading role of the union movement, of workers from the city and the countryside, of the original indigenous peoples and of the combined social forces. In that context, we salute the UN's approval of the International Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

• The dismantling of oppressive mechanisms regarding age, class, sex, gender and ethnic group.

• Active solidarity with the peoples and governments who are building alternatives to neoliberal capitalism. In this sense, we denounce the government of the United States for its constant satanization and criminalization of social struggles, and its activities that amount to aggression and harassment against governments that are on the road to popular emancipation.

• Respect for and recognition of the cultures and the autonomy of the original indigenous communities.

• The resolution of historical conflicts between nations, the reduction of military budgets, the proportional and progressive disarmament of all the countries of the region in order to reorient these resources to the necessities of health and education.

• The free movement of people and respect for their migratory rights.

Our peoples have the capacity to be united despite geographic, ethnic, cultural and political diversity. They have the ability to imagine and to construct other solutions for this one world. We know that this struggle faces unscrupulous enemies whose greed and hegemony have resulted in enormous tragedies for our peoples. Even so, we have faith in the justice of our demands and proposals. We take charge of the great epic efforts that for more than five centuries have allowed us to advance towards the condition of peoples with dignity, subjects of our own history.

* Translation into English by Frances Arbour on behalf of Common Frontiers-Canada