The Declaration of Cumaná, Venezuela | This is a Brilliant Read Based on How We are Currently Functioning as a Society

The Declaration of Cumaná

April 23rd 2009, by ALBA Member Countries


Cumaná, Venezuela

We, the Heads of State and Government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, member countries of ALBA, consider that the Draft Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas is insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:

– The Declaration does not provide answers to the Global Economic Crisis, even though this crisis constitutes the greatest challenge faced by humanity in the last decades and is the most serious threat of the current times to the welfare of our peoples.

– The Declaration unfairly excludes Cuba, without mentioning the consensus in the region condemning the blockade and isolation to which the people and the government of Cuba have incessantly been exposed in a criminal manner.

For this reason, we, the member countries of ALBA believe that there is no consensus for the adoption of this draft declaration because of the reasons above stated, and accordingly, we propose to hold a thorough debate on the following topics:

1. Capitalism is leading humanity and the planet to extinction. What we are experiencing is a global economic crisis of a systemic and structural nature, not another cyclic crisis. Those who think that with a taxpayer money injection and some regulatory measures this crisis will end are wrong. The financial system is in crisis because it trades bonds with six times the real value of the assets and services produced and rendered in the world, this is not a “system regulation failure”, but a integrating part of the capitalist system that speculates with all assets and values with a view to obtain the maximum profit possible. Until now, the economic crisis has generated over 100 million additional hungry persons and has slashed over 50 million jobs, and these figures show an upward trend.

2. Capitalism has caused the environmental crisis, by submitting the necessary conditions for life in the planet, to the predominance of market and profit. Each year we consume one third more of what the planet is able to regenerate. With this squandering binge of the capitalist system, we are going to need two planets Earth by the year 2030.

3. The global economic crisis, climate change, the food crisis and the energy crisis are the result of the decay of capitalism, which threatens to end life and the planet. To avert this outcome, it is necessary to develop and model an alternative to the capitalist system. A system based on:

– solidarity and complementarity, not competition;
– a system in harmony with our mother earth and not plundering of human resources;
– a system of cultural diversity and not cultural destruction and imposition of cultural values and lifestyles alien to the realities of our countries;
– a system of peace based on social justice and not on imperialist policies and wars;
– in summary, a system that recovers the human condition of our societies and peoples and does not reduce them to mere consumers or merchandise.

4. As a concrete expression of the new reality of the continent, we, Caribbean and Latin American countries, have commenced to build our own institutionalization, an institutionalization that is based on a common history dating back to our independence revolution and constitutes a concrete tool for deepening the social, economic and cultural transformation processes that will consolidate our full sovereignty. ALBA-TCP, Petrocaribe or UNASUR, mentioning merely the most recently created, are solidarity-based mechanisms of unity created in the midst of such transformations with the obvious intention of boosting the efforts of our peoples to attain their own freedom. To face the serious effects of the global economic crisis, we, the ALBA-TCP countries, have adopted innovative and transforming measures that seek real alternatives to the inadequate international economic order, not to boost their failed institutions. Thus, we have implemented a Regional Clearance Unitary System, the SUCRE, which includes a Common Unit of Account, a Clearance Chamber and a Single Reserve System. Similarly, we have encouraged the constitution of grand-national companies to satisfy the essential needs of our peoples and establish fair and complementary trade mechanisms that leave behind the absurd logic of unbridled competition.

5. We question the G20 for having tripled the resources of the International Monetary Fund when the real need is to establish a new world economic order that includes the full transformation of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, entities that have contributed to this global economic crisis with their neoliberal policies.

6. The solutions to the global economic crisis and the definition of a new international financial scheme should be adopted with the participation of the 192 countries that will meet in the United Nations Conference on the International Financial Crisis to be held on June 1-3 to propose the creation of a new international economic order.

7. As for climate change, developed countries are in an environmental debt to the world because they are responsible for 70% of historical carbon emissions into the atmosphere since 1750. Developed countries should pay off their debt to humankind and the planet; they should provide significant resources to a fund so that developing countries can embark upon a growth model which does not repeat the serious impacts of the capitalist industrialization.

8. Solutions to the energy, food and climate change crises should be comprehensive and interdependent. We cannot solve a problem by creating new ones in fundamental areas for life. For instance, the widespread use of agricultural fuels has an adverse effect on food prices and the use of essential resources, such as water, land and forests.

9. We condemn the discrimination against migrants in any of its forms. Migration is a human right, not a crime. Therefore, we request the United States government an urgent reform of its migration policies in order to stop deportations and massive raids and allow for reunion of families. We further demand the removal of the wall that separates and divides us, instead of uniting us. In this regard, we petition for the abrogation of the Law of Cuban Adjustment and removal of the discriminatory, selective Dry Feet, Wet Feet policy that has claimed human losses. Bankers who stole the money and resources from our countries are the true responsible, not migrant workers. Human rights should come first, particularly human rights of the underprivileged, downtrodden sectors in our society, that is, migrants without identity papers. Free movement of people and human rights for everybody, regardless of their migration status, are a must for integration. Brain drain is a way of plundering skilled human resources exercised by rich countries.

10. Basic education, health, water, energy and telecommunications services should be declared human rights and cannot be subject to private deal or marketed by the World Trade Organization. These services are and should be essentially public utilities of universal access.

11. We wish a world where all, big and small, countries have the same rights and where there is no empire. We advocate non-intervention. There is the need to strengthen, as the only legitimate means for discussion and assessment of bilateral and multilateral agendas in the hemisphere, the foundations for mutual respect between states and governments, based on the principle of non-interference of a state in the internal affairs of another state, and inviolability of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples. We request the new Government of the United States, the arrival of which has given rise to some expectations in the hemisphere and the world, to finish the longstanding and dire tradition of interventionism and aggression that has characterized the actions of the US governments throughout history, and particularly intensified during the Administration of President George W. Bush. By the same token, we request the new Government of the United States to abandon interventionist practices, such as cover-up operations, parallel diplomacy, media wars aimed at disturbing states and governments, and funding of destabilizing groups. Building on a world where varied economic, political, social and cultural approaches are acknowledged and respected is of the essence.

12. With regard to the US blockade against Cuba and the exclusion of the latter from the Summit of the Americas, we, the member states of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, reassert the Declaration adopted by all Latin American and Caribbean countries last December 16, 2008, on the need to end the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States of America on Cuba, including the implementation of the so-called Helms-Burton Act. The declaration sets forth in its fundamental paragraphs the following:

“CONSIDERING the resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly on the need to finish the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba, and the statements on such blockade, which have been approved in numerous international meetings.

“WE AFFIRM that the application of unilateral, coercive measures affecting the wellbeing of peoples and hindering integration processes is unacceptable when defending free exchange and the transparent practice of international trade.

“WE STRONGLY REPEL the enforcement of laws and measures contrary to International Law, such as the Helms-Burton Act, and we urge the Government of the United States of America to finish such enforcement.

“WE REQUEST the Government of the United States of America to comply with the provisions set forth in 17 successive resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly and put an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade on Cuba.”

Additionally, we consider that the attempts at imposing the isolation of Cuba have failed, as nowadays Cuba forms an integral part of the Latin American and Caribbean region; it is a member of the Rio Group and other hemispheric organizations and mechanisms, which develops a policy of cooperation, in solidarity with the countries in the hemisphere; which promotes full integration of Latin American and Caribbean peoples. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to justify its exclusion from the mechanism of the Summit of the Americas.

13. Developed countries have spent at least USD 8 billion to rescue a collapsing financial structure. They are the same that fail to allocate the small sums of money to attain the Millennium Goals or 0.7% of the GDP for the Official Development Assistance. Never before the hypocrisy of the wording of rich countries had been so apparent. Cooperation should be established without conditions and fit in the agendas of recipient countries by making arrangements easier; providing access to the resources, and prioritizing social inclusion issues.

14. The legitimate struggle against drug trafficking and organized crime, and any other form of the so-called “new threats” must not be used as an excuse to undertake actions of interference and intervention against our countries.

15. We are firmly convinced that the change, where everybody repose hope, can come only from organization, mobilization and unity of our peoples.

As the Liberator wisely said:

Unity of our peoples is not a mere illusion of men, but an inexorable decree of destiny. — Simón Bolívar

Published in:

Drive-thru debate divides council

Drive-thru debate divides council

By Elaine Mitropoulos, Comox Valley EchoApril 17, 2009

As the debate drags on, drive-thrus continue to divide the Comox council.

This week’s council meeting saw Coun. Ken Grant, who is staunchly in favour of the fast-food fixtures, question Coun. Patti Fletcher’s motives in wanting to rid Comox of future drive-thrus.

Fletcher owns a bike shop in town and Ken Grant pointed to the store’s participation in the B.C. SCRAP-IT program – an incentive that invites motorists to trade in old cars for new bikes – as a conflict of interest.

The council is considering banning future drive-thrus as a means to curb greenhouse emissions and dependency on gas-guzzling vehicles.

In response to his accusation, Fletcher excused herself from further discussions and voting on drive-thrus, but requested that town staff seek out a legal opinion on the matter.

Coun. Ray Crossley made a motion to defer voting on the rezoning application that would see drive-thrus banned from future developments until legal advice was heard.

The delay was accepted by all but Couns. Ken Grant and Tom Grant.

Coun. Tom Grant argued the council was trying to expedite the demise of drive-thrus without taking into account input from community stakeholders, like the accessibility committee or parents with children.

He said he couldn’t imagine a mother trying to pack a car-full of kids into a Tim Horton’s to buy a half a dozen Timbits.

“That’s just not convenient for them,” he said.

He called for staff to research how other Canadian municipalities have dealt with bans on drive-thrus and for a report to come back to the council.

“I think we can sit back and research things until the cows come home,” said Coun. Russ Arnottt.

“But I think what we need to do is what’s right for our community… In keeping in tune with cows coming home, we need to take the bulls by the horns and be proactive in this.”

Ken Grant went on to call for feedback on the potential ban from the town’s accessibility committee, a motion that was moved unanimously.

“I want to hear what they have to say on the issue,” he said. “We send everything else we do to them… I’m at a loss why we didn’t send this one.”

After the April 15 meeting, Mayor Paul Ives said he was surprised the heated issue was still up for debate.

“I would still like us to look at an anti-idling bylaw. That’s the real issue here,” he said.

“(Idling) is a personal thing that people have to take care of whether they’re in a drive-thru lane or stopping at a store.”

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

Tim Hortons Continues to Block Environmental Initiatives Behind Closed Door Meetings


Mind numbing statistics, just coffee cups and lids.


City may delay day of reckoning for coffee-cup recycling

The city is considering pushing back a deadline it had already extended to June for Tim Hortons, the fast-food industry and its own officials to solve the caffeine headaches that have come with trying to recycle the one million takeout coffee cups used in Toronto every day.

A working group of city waste officials and industry representatives was briefed yesterday in a closed-door meeting on three consultants’ reports – which cost $50,000 – on the difficulties of including the cups in the blue box.

The reports, obtained by The Globe and Mail, and a provincial review of blue-box legislation may force the city to extend the deadline again, Geoff Rathbone, the city’s general manager of solid waste, said yesterday.

The city ended up in a fight with coffee shops last year after it threatened to ban the current standard takeout coffee cup, which it said it could not recycle.

The city said the cups’ plastic coating and plastic lids would contaminate its paper recycling stream, unless it spent at least $3-million on new equipment and $1-million in new operating costs for its sorting plants.

The city also said it would mandate a 20-cent discount for all coffee-shop customers who bring in reusable mugs, but agreed to new talks with the industry. A previous April deadline was pushed back to June.

The latest possible delay was welcomed by Stephanie Jones, the Ontario vice-president of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association and a member of the working group.

Ms. Jones, who points to smaller Ontario municipalities that recycle coffee cups, said she was encouraged by the consultants’ reports: “This is really the first time that we have clearly seen that taxes and bans are not the only two pieces under consideration.”

The Globe obtained PowerPoint slides summarizing the three consultants’ reports.

A paper-mill survey by Amec Americas Ltd. says the cups must first be completely separated from other recyclables and could be turned into tissue. But it includes a long list of potential problems, including contamination from the ink, the cups’ coating, and those common cardboard insulation sleeves.

No mill contacted was willing to take the material without a trial run. Many said they would need city money to convert their facilities.

To sort the material by hand, according to a report by Entec Consulting Ltd., the city would need up to 40 more people picking cups and lids off conveyor belts in its recycling sorting stations, which would have to be expanded.

Using automated “optical” or “near infrared” sorting machines also poses problems, as they cannot separate the cups from other paper and may not be able to capture the dark-brown plastic lids used on some cups.

A third report summarizes the results from focus groups conducted by Ipsos Reid, and says almost all the participants wrongly believed they could throw their coffee cups in the blue box now, while others were “confused.”

With a report from Jennifer



Fallout from takeout

1 million: Estimated takeout coffee cups generated in Toronto each day

152,858: Number that leave the city

336,883: Number brought in

1,184,025: Net daily that end up in Toronto’s waste

357,575,550: Annual total

4,291 tonnes a year: Weight of those cups

715 tonnes a year: Weight of their plastic lids

Source: Report for city by

Entec Consultng Ltd., obtained

by The Globe and Mail

Comox councillor unhappy with ‘drive-thru’ approval

By Elaine Mitropoulos, Comox Valley Echo March 10, 2009

If Comox councillor Russ Arnott had his way, he wouldn’t let businesses pave paradise to put up a drive-thru.

Arnott, who sits on the community’s Business in Action committee, said businesses should be attracted to Comox for its “beauty.” Any corporations that demanded drive-thru accessibility, he said, could ultimately set up shop elsewhere.

“Is that really the business that we want?” he said during a March 4 council meeting. “I would just as soon say go on to the next town.”

Arnott’s comments come in the wake of the council approving a development that will see coffee giant Starbucks and the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank) housed next to the Shopper’s Drug Mart on the corner of Guthrie and Anderton roads.

Developer Moe Sihota of ACI Comox Ltd. told councillors that securing the corporate tenancies was contingent on installing drive-thrus that would allow for quick coffee breaks and convenient banking.

But Coun. Marcia Turner pointed to the environmental consequences of encouraging idling traffic, especially since the town was striving to meet its 2010 carbon-neutrality targets.

Turner motioned for the town’s planning department to prepare a report so that councillors could decide whether or not to ban drive-thrus from any future developments in Comox.

However, Sihota cautioned the council, saying that drive-thrus were an “economic reality” that drew in business in tough times.

A letter written to the town’s mayor from the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association vice-president of Western Canada echoed Sihota’s concern.

“Not only would a ban on (drive-thrus) have a serious impact on jobs and investment in Comox, it would falsely blame (drive-thrus) as a leading contributor to poor air quality,” wrote Mark von Schellwitz.

The planning department’s report is slated for review by the town’s committee of the whole in about one month’s time.

Lung Association Supporting Drive Thru Moratorium

Lung Association Supporting Drive Thru Moratorium
January 9, 2009

The province’s lung association has thrown its support behind the city’s moratorium on new drive thru’s. Spokesperson Greg Noel says they have been encouraging the public to limit vehicle use for some time, because of environmental and health concerns. Noel says while they may be pursuing change for different reasons, the association is pleased with the debate taking place. Noel notes it is not just drive thrus that cause the Lung Association concern. He says idling vehicles in general can have harmful health effects.

Former Ottawa City Director Applauds St. John’s Tim Horton’s Drive-through Ban

From the Wires

Former Ottawa City Director Applauds St. John’s Tim Horton’s Drive-through Ban

By: Marketwire .

Jan. 8, 2009 09:20 AM

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — (Marketwire) — 01/08/09 — Back in 2003, the City of Ottawa established an aggressive policy to restrict the proliferation of drive-through restaurants because of their direct impact on traffic congestion along main arteries, resulting in road rage and potential delays for police, fire and ambulance services. Drive-throughs encourage car idling creating air pollution. Tim Horton’s challenged Ottawa Council’s decision and the Ontario Municipal Board sided with Tim Horton’s in 2006.

“I am very pleased to see that Canadian cities are fighting back, says Dennis Jacobs, the City of Ottawa’s former Director of Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Policy, and the staff member who lead the fight in Ottawa. “Recently, Toronto has also stepped up to the plate adds Jacobs, by looking at ways to make Tim Horton’s and other fast food outlets, responsible for their direct impacts on the environment, in view of the disproportionately high amount of garbage that is strewn in and around city neighborhoods.”

“What we need however, says Jacobs, is a coordinated effort as individual municipalities cannot expect to make a difference on their own. Fast food is a part of our lifestyle, but the industry must also be environmentally responsible as a retail business. As evidenced in Ottawa, a piece meal approach results in many small battles that can be lost. What we need is a national approach.

Dennis Jacobs is a Registered Professional Planner, a past president of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. Since leaving the City of Ottawa in 2007, he has continued to practice land use planning in the Ottawa area as a consultant with the firm Momentum Strategic and Creative.

Momentum Strategic and Creative.
Dennis Jacobs
613-862-0799 or 613-729-3773

Published Jan. 8, 2009

Drive-thrus are bad for you, city argues


November 06, 2008 08:26 PM

Bank drive-thru approved, but sparks debate about merits
By: Caroline Grech

If you like to get your coffee or do your banking at a drive-thru, you might have to change your ways if some Vaughan councillors get their way.

An application by York Major Holdings Inc. and Metrus Properties to build a bank with a drive- thru sparked debate amongst councillors about the need for drive-thrus.

While council approved the application in the end, the ensuing debate provided insight into how Vaughan might look in the future.

The approved proposal would see a bank with a drive-thru built at Major Mackenzie Drive and Dufferin Street.

But some councillors don’t want to see more drive-thrus in the city.

“It’s a bank. Drive-thrus are not critical. I prefer that a drive-thru not be allowed at this corner,” Councillor Alan Shefman said.

If Vaughan is looking now at a plan to make the city more sustainable, drive-thrus don’t fit the bill, Mr. Shefman argued.

He wasn’t alone. Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio called for a hold on drive-thrus in new projects.

“Drive-thrus are harmful to your health. You’re forced to sit in your car and breath in fumes from other cars,” Ms Frustaglio said.

Councillor Peter Meffe also heaped criticism on drive-thrus, but offered the idea that the drive-thru might only operate when the bank was closed.

“It isn’t more convenient. These things (drive-thrus) are hindering human contact. They’re making us worse people. I can’t support it,” Mr. Meffe said.

But before council got too far ahead with ideas to ban drive-thrus, planning commissioner John Zipay issued a cautionary tone on the issue.

“The zoning bylaw permits certain places to have drive-thrus. This council could not put a temporary ban on them. You would have to change the bylaw,” Mr. Zipay said.

He also noted the area where the bank would be located is not a pedestrian area, but one that people travel around in their cars.

Mr. Zipay warned councillors that any decision on drive-thrus has to be consistent.

“It has to be done on a comprehensive basis. You can’t say one type of business can have drive-thrus but not another,” he said, adding it was a revelation to him that this might be on the table.

But some councillors had no problem with the bank drive-thru proposal.

“To say no to this application would be inappropriate because it is allowed. I can’t support the change right here,” Regional Councillor Mario Ferri said.

Council approved the application, but Ms Frustaglio requested a report to deal with the issue of drive-thrus for the next committee of the whole meeting.