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Peru: Lima Plays Host to Regional Summit

Recently the 5th Latin American – European Union Summit (ALC-UE for its initials in Spanish) [es] was held in Lima, Peru. The gathering brings together heads of state from the different countries in those regions and is held in May every two years. Based on the strategic and bi-regional association outlined in the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted during the first summit held in Río de Janeiro in June 1999. This meeting evaluates the progess in the fields of economic integration, poverty reduction, equality, and social justice in Latin America. Lima will also be the site of another international summit: the Asian-Pacific Economic Forum.

Bloggers are obviously writing about the topic, such as Laura Arroyo of Menosacanas [es] who writes about the advantages and disadvantages of holding such a summit in Peru.

Un buen porcentaje de la ciudadanía se encuentra indiferente frente a estos acontecimientos, otro grupo (significativo también) se siente algo enojado pues además del hecho de percibir que el desarrollo de estas cumbres nada tiene que ver con ellos, encima crean caos y desorden; finalmente, hay algunos pocos que se identifican con ambas y las ven como algo positivo.

Creo que debemos ver las cumbres como una oportunidad. Las cumbres causan impacto pese a que muchos sientan que no hacen la diferencia y se trata de eventos protocolares que se quedan justamente en eso: el protocolo. Es preciso no simplificar el asunto. El hecho de que el Perú sea sede implica, justamente, que los ojos del mundo estén prestando atención a nuestro país. Por otro lado, la cantidad de jefes de estado que vendrá al país, ha fomentado que muchos hoteles se adecuen a estos inusuales e importantes huéspedes.

A large percentage of the citizens are indifferent to these types of events, another group (also significant in numbers) feel rather angry because in addition to the perception that these summits have nothing to do with them, they also create chaos and disorder; finally, there are some that feel the same, but see it as something positive.

We must look at these summits as an opportunity. The summits cause an impact even though many feel that they do not make a difference and they are just protocol events in nature. One must not simplify things. The fact that Peru is the site of the summit justly implies that the eyes of the world are focused on our country. On the other hand, with the number of heads of states that come to our country, many hotels must adapt to these unusual and important guests.

But not everyone has a favorable opinion, for example, Carlos Mejia of El Gran Combo Club [es] is a bit skepitcal about the summit and about how much work can actually be accomplished in such a short time:

¿Puede alguien sostener que en tres días los presidentes de tantos países pueden alcanzar algún acuerdo realmente significativo? Una hipótesis: los poderes fácticos, aquellos que definen las políticas que afectan realmente a los ciudadanos no se reúnen en estas cumbres de prensa internacional y alfombras rojas. Los presidentes o mandatarios que aún detentan un poder soberano son precisamente los que menos vienen a negociar o deliberar a estas Cumbres. Están para el show y nada más (…) En ese sentido, uno no puede esperar cambios o giros en espacios como esta Cumbre.

Can anyone say that in three days that the presidents of so many countries can actually reach a significant agreement? A hypothesis: the current powers, those that define policies that really affect people, do not gather in these summits with the presence of the international press and red carpets. The presidents or leaders that still hold soverign power are those that are least likely to come to negotiate or deliberate at these summits. They are here for show and nothing more. (…) In this way, one cannot expect for changes or grand changes in direction in these summits.

Juan Sheput of Mate Pastor [es] summarizes the criticisms of President Alan Garcia's opening speech, and also collects some of the criticisms regarding the organization of the summit.

El País, el principal diario de España, indica respecto a la V Cumbre ALC-UE lo siguiente: “Un clima devaluado por importantes ausencias europeas, como la del francés Nicolas Sarkozy, el británico Gordon Brown y el italiano Silvio Berlusconi. Y muy enrarecido tras los reiterados ataques personales del presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, contra la canciller alemana, Angela Merkel, y la entrada en la escena del boliviano Evo Morales, que ha lanzando duras acusaciones contra Colombia y Perú, el anfitrión de la cumbre, por su política internacional.” La noticia completa la pueden leer haciendo click aquí. En tanto Clarín de Argentina da cuenta de la protesta de Greenpeace en Machu Picchu.

El País, the most important newspaper in Spain, writes the following about the V Summit ALC-UE: “A devalued climate due to the important absences of European leaders, such as Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Gordon Brown of Britain and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. And very unsupportable for the repeated personal attacks from Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, against the German foreign minister, Angela Merkel and entrance into the stage by Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had launched harsh accusations against Colombia and Peru, the host of the summit, for their international policies.” The entire note can be read here [es]. The Argentine newspaper Clarín also writes about the Greenpeace protest in Machu Picchu [es].

José Talavera of Bloguiarquía [es] posts his opinion and about his experience as a volunteer during the summit.

Cuestión aparte es lo que tuvieron que pasar varios voluntarios (entre ellos yo), que más que ser parte de la desorganización, la sufrieron: algunos sin acreditaciones hasta el día miércoles, otros sin uniforme, o uniformes no hechos a la medida. En plena cumbre, la duplicidad de funciones, el desperdicio de horas-hombre, horarios inhumanos (vg. 13 horas parados en la entrada de un hotel), sin siquiera un pequeño refrigerio: muchos tuvieron que poner de su propio dinero para comer, y las zonas aledañas a los hoteles y al Museo de la Nación no se caracterizan precisamente por ser baratos. En conclusión, muchos voluntarios que fueron con ganas de ayudar se sintieron simplemente defraudados.

This is what some volunteers (including myself) had to go through: in addition to the disorganziation, others did not receive their accreditation until Wednesday, others were left without uniforms, or uniforms that did not fit. In the middle of the summit, there was the duplication of tasks, a waste of time, inhumane hours (for example 13 hours standing at the entrance of the hotel), without even a small snack: many had to spend their own money in order to eat, and the area around the hotels and the National Museum is not known for being inexpensive. In conclusion, many volunteers that went with the desire to help came away simply disappointed.

Finally, Giovanni Lamarca of the blog Natua [es] compiles what the different media and blogs have been publishing about the summit. It is worth mentioning that while the summit of leaders has been taking place, there has been a 3rd Summit of the People ALC-UE or Anti-Summit. Luis Orihuela of Pedro Vilcapaza [es] posts the final declaration of the summit:

Exigimos a los gobiernos atender efectivamente las demandas de los pueblos por construir otro tipo de relaciones entre las regiones, basadas en la superación del modelo de mercado. Hacemos un llamado a la población a no dejarse engañar más por gobiernos autoritarios que pretenden criminalizar la justa protesta civil. Instamos a los habitantes de América Latina, el Caribe y Europa a sumarse a la fuerza cada vez mayor de organizaciones que buscan un mundo mejor para todos, y así estar a la altura de los desafíos que hoy enfrenta la humanidad.

We call on the governments to effectively attend to the demands of the people by constucting another type of relations within the regions, based on the the superation of the market model. We make a call to the population to not allow themselves to be fooled by authoritarian governments that attempt to criminalize the just civil protest. We call on the residents of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe to join growing forces of organizations that look for a better world for all, and to rise to the challenges that humanity currently faces.

1 comment

  • Wolfgang

    Thank you very much for the summary of Peruvian blog reactions to this summit. The reactions couldn’t be more divergent and yet this makes it even more interesting. Personally, I can relate to the suspicousness many Peruvian observers bear against these ‘protocol events’. Hopefully, the event will be of avail of the majority of Perus population, the ones that are not being invited to these kinds of summits.

    A hint on your translation of Juan Sheputs post: Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany. Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the Foreign Minister. He’s her deputy, still she’s a little more up the ladder of the state hierarchy, comparable to above cited Brown and Sarkozy.

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