The Summit of the Americas, beginning Friday in Panama City, has incorporated parallel meetings. The Youth forum, the Academic forum, the Business forum and the Civil Society and Social Actors forum were organized after a process of selection by the Organization of American States, which also organizes the presidential summit.
However, more than 2,000 social movements and progressive organizations have organized the People’s Summit, an event that seeks to express backing for the policies advanced in the region in recent years, following the election of numerous left-wing governments. The social movements that will participate in the parallel summit include small farmers, indigenous groups, human rights activists, political movements, worker unions and environmentalist organizations.
With such a diverse array of different issues the organizations agreed on an extensive agenda to discuss the most important problems which they believe will not be present in the official presidential event.
“We are not an anti-(Americas) Summit. We are a summit that aims at giving voice to the popular movements that are not part of the Summit of the Americas. Our objective is to raise the issue of fighting poverty, for social equality and the sovereignty and right to self determination of the people. We are discussing things completely different to the Americas Summit agenda,” explained Dr. Fernando Cebamanos, organizer of the People’s Summit and President of the Broad Front for Democracy party in Panama.