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US, Canada Obstruct Final Declaration at Summit of the Americas

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman speaks to the press ahead of the Summit of the Americas in Panama, April 9, 2015.

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman confirmed Thursday that the Summit of the Americas taking place in Panama will not issue a final declaration due to opposition from Canada and the United States.

“There was no agreement on several points and as a result this summit will not have a final document,” said Timerman, adding that he considered it a “shame.” The lack of a final declaration, which is customary during these summits, is attributed specifically to the intransigence of representatives from the United States and Canada who opposed certain clauses contained within the draft.

Argentine news outlet Telam confirmed that the clauses in the draft document that made references to the strengthening of collective rights, as well as those that called on states to have greater obligations, were opposed by the U.S. and Canada.

Timerman, who sits on the Summit Implementation Review Group, said that Argentina argued that the differences should have been debated by the heads of state, but instead the debate was centered around whether there would be a final declaration or not.

The last Summit of the Americas, held in Colombia in 2012, also did not issue a final declaration.

The seventh Summit of the Americas begins Friday in Panama and will feature the participation of a delegation from the Cuban government, headed by Cuban President Raul Castro.This will mark the first time Cuba will participate since being expelled from the OAS in 1962 at the behest of the United States.

The summit is also likely to feature a debate about U.S. President Barack Obama's recent executive order declaring Venezuela to be a “threat” to U.S. national security.

Other regional bodies, such as Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Union of South American Nations — which do not include the United States or Canada — have called on Obama to repeal the decree. In a recent about-face, Obama himself admitted that Venezuela is not a threat to U.S. national security.

Timerman reiterated Argentina's call for the decree to be repealed. “We oppose the interference of foreign countries in the internal affairs of other countries,” said Timerman. He added that the U.S. failed to send a representative to the meeting of foreign ministers, which proceeds the opening of the summit.

Venezuela's Maduro Visits Panama War Monument

Maduro said the era of U.S. interventionism in Latin America is coming to a close amid greater Latin American unity.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited the site of one of the most infamous battles of the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama Friday, where he called for solidarity between Latin American nations.

“When we touch the center of the world that is Panama, we feel the center of the Bolivarian dream to construct a different world, where the peoples of our Americas are respected,” Maduro stated. The comments were made while Maduro visited a monument for the victims of the 1989 U.S. invasion in Panama City's El Chorrillo neighborhood.

El Chorrillo was the site of one of the fiercest battles between U.S. and Panamanian troops during the war. The heavily populated neighborhood was devastated by a fire started when U.S forces besieged the Panamanian military headquarters in the area.

Around 2,700 families lost their homes in the blaze. In total, around 20,000 Panamanians lost their homes during the war – most due to urban warfare in heavily populated areas like El Chorrillo. Maduro said the era of U.S. interventionism in Latin America is coming to a close due to growing solidarity between Latin American nations.

“This is a time for peace, cooperation, unity, progress and prosperity,” he stated. The Venezuelan president visited El Chorrillo ahead of attending the Summit of the Americas, which is taking place in Panama City over Friday and Saturday.

He also said he plans to use the summit to push for greater Latin American unity and to continue to roll back imperialism. “We come to the summit in the best constructive spirit: to build peace, to build unity and to build justice,” he said. 


Fight Imperialism with Unity, Says Morales

Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the United States Friday of conspiring to undermine democracy in Latin America, including in his home country.
During a keynote address to the People's Summit in Panama, Morales said the United States has been one of the most serious threats to Bolovia's national security, and his own presidency. “Where there is a U.S. embassy, there are coups,” Morales said. The president alleged the U.S. government has been plotting to overthrow him for years.
“The (Bolivian) right-wing, the opposition and the U.S. ambassador have always conspired … against the (revolutionary) process,” he said.
However, he said regional initiatives aimed at promoting Latin American solidarity are the regioon's best defenses against U.S. imperialism. “I think actually the member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), are a threat to the neoliberal, transnational (corporations) … but will never be a threat to U.S. security,” he said.
The People's Summit Morales is the only world leader to deliver a speech to this year's People's Summit, though Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has also stated he will attend the meeting.
The summit brought together close to 2,000 representatives from social movements across the Americas to discuss issues ranging from U.S. sanctions on Venezuela to Puerto Rican independence.
Organizers say the summit is a grassroots alternative to the Summit of the Americas, which is also taking place in Panama this week. In a statement, organizers said the summit is a forum for “the voice of our peoples, to highlight problems the other meeting (the Summit of the Americas) doesn't address.”
On Thursday, the People's Summit led a rally through the streets of Panama City to condemn U.S. imperialism and express solidarity with Venezuela.


Venezuela proposes US public debate on Human Rights

Caracas, 10 Abr. AVN.- The Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez announced Thursday that the Government of Venezuela proposed to the United States to hold a public debate on eight points of Human Rights, on which Venezuela has been a pioneer in Latin America.

She said that the topics to be discussed, if accepted by Washington, would be right to health, education, food, housing, social security, worthy and well remunerated job, equality of all human beings and criminal justice.

"There are eight points to discuss with the US government in an open, public dialogue, for people to know how these eight points are addressed in the United States and in Venezuela," she said from Panama, where she met with her region's counterparts, prior to the Seventh Summit of the Americas, to be held on 10-11 April in that nation.

Venezuela's proposal becomes relevant after US president, Barack Obama, signed last March 9, an executive order declaring the South American country "an extraordinary threat" to the security of his country, after which most of the world's peoples have spoken up to reject the decree.

The United States has not signed, acceded to or ratified key international conventions in the United Nations (UN), on protection of human rights; including conventions against war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Nor they have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child or against prostitution and child pornography, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, nor the UN Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Similarly, they have not ratified the conventions related to freedom of association, collective bargaining and minimum age for employment; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, among many others.

Moreover, the head of the Venezuelan diplomacy stressed the importance of Cuba participating in this regional event. "We emphasize the historical value. To come here with the presence of Cuba represents, as President Nicolas Maduro said, the amazing legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez. It is a historical fact and we thank the Government of Panama and its president for this opportunity," she said.

In that sense, Rodriguez highlighted the bravery of the Panamanian people who stoically withstood the attacks of imperialism in the past, specifically in December 1989, when 26,000 American soldiers of elite units, naval commands, army and its powerful air force invaded the country on the pretext of capturing the president of Panama, General Manuel Antonio Noriega, whom they accused of drug trafficker.

Venezuela gets another victory at ICSID for nationalization of Venoco

Caracas, 09 Abr. AVN.- The International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rejected the claim brought against Venezuela by Dutch company Venoklim Holding, following the nationalization in 2010 of industries Venoco, which is Venezuela's largest chemical and lubricant producer.

A press release issued by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reported that on April 3, ICSID rejected the claims due to lack of jurisdiction.

"The court ruled that the plaintiff, being ultimately controlled by Venezuela, could not be considered an international investor to be entitled to sue the Republic before the ICSID", says the statement.

According to the decision, ICSID accepts that Article 22 of the Law on the Promotion and Protection of Investments, that addresses the key concerns of foreign investors, is not an open consent of the jurisdiction of the International Center.

Previously, the Bolivarian government was victorious in the cases brought by ExxonMobil, Cemex, Brandes Investment Partners and Tidewater Inc, which also were based on that article.

At the time of nationalization, Venoco handled 14% of the national production of lubricants, 50% solvents and100% of the manufacturing of raw materials for detergents.

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