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Image courtesy of Caribbean Free photo

Summit of the Americas, a load of bull?

by Kamilah Fabien

The fifth ever summit of the Americas just wrapped up in Trinidad and Tobago where one protester was arrested for placarding.

Michael Parris was arrested for sticking a placard to an electricity pole which is illegal in Trinidad and Tobago, but many locals believe the arrest was done solely to put an end to the Drummit 2 Summit campaign that Parris was part of.

Others are questioning whether or not decisions made by world leaders ever trickle down to benefit the average person. A group of Trinidadian artists and activists held protests in a different way by refusing to moooved.

“D people must be herd” was the mantra for one group of activists inspired by a Trinidadian band, 3 Canal.

Dressed up as cows these artists slash activists had a performance, installation piece in protest of fat cats taking the cream away from the herded masses.

Inspiration for remonstration

Lyrics from 3 Canal’s T’in Cow served as the manifesto for the bovine objections.

T’in cow green grass dey over so

Fat cow the butcher calling you

Watch for yuh head ah warnin’ yuh

otherwise in the pot yuh going to go

I come to drink from yuh horn ah plenty

cause right now, ah say meh belly empty

They belly full but we hungry

and right about now we angry

and the reason that we angry

is because we belly hungry

What about the world financial meltdown?

The Port of Spain declaration was the final result of the summit. The 97-paragraph document, is a result of seven months of mutual efforts from the countries involved.

The declaration emphasises fighting poverty and promoting development and social justice, and says “deep inequalities continue to exist in our countries and in our region.”

In spite of the "deep inequalities" mentioned, the declaration contains no more than one paragraph pertaining to economic inequality.

Trinidad’s Trade minister, Mariano Brown, declared that due to the recent G20 summit, no major decisions could have been made at the Summit of the Americas because of the short time between the two.

"People feel that if something happens you must get up and deal with it right away. But international relations does not just happen that way," said Browne.

Show stopper

The highlight of the summit however, was not the protests but the handshake between US President Barack Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Despite Chavez’s earlier comments that Cuba was being frozen out of talks for the region, he told President Obama that he wanted to be his friend.

Trinidadian Prime Minster Patrick Manning saw this move as a positive sign for Cuba. “It is reasonable to expect that not too long from now, we can see a proper re-integration of Cuba into the institutions of the Western Hemisphere.”

Chavez though hesitant at first thought that the summit turned out to be a success.

“Of all the summits that I have attended in this decade, without doubt this was the most successful, one that opened the doors to a new era of reasoning among all countries," said President Chavez.

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