A President, Soccer Star & the Dreams of Millions
A President, A Soccer Star and the Dreams of Millions
By: Federico Fuentes - Green Left
Even before he got to Mar de Plata, known as the “happy city” by Argentines, US President George Bush knew his time was going to be anything but happy at the Summit of the Americas meeting. He arrived with more than 2000 US agents, and a plan to use one puppet president to avoid stirring another president. Instead, he was forced to leave with his tail between his legs.
Bush was beaten by an alliance of a couple of presidents, a presidential hopeful, a soccer star, a musician, a Nobel Prize winner and the tens of thousands of protesters who represented the dreams of millions across Latin America. According to the Argentine daily Pagina 12, all Bush could say to the president of the host country, Nestor Kirchner, as he left was “I am a bit surprised. Here something happened that I hadn’t envisaged”, referring to his failure to impose a new round of talks on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA — known by its Spanish acronym ALCA) during the November 4-6 summit.
A whole week of activities were organised to coincide with the presence of Bush in South America, beginning with the People’s Summit on November 1. Much of the media attention focused on the “ALBA express” train (ALBA is the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), which arrived in Mar de Plata late on November 3. ALBA is Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s counter-project to the FTAA. It aims for Latin American integration in the social, political and economic spheres, based on solidarity and friendship of the peoples and governments. On board the train were soccer star Diego Maradona, Bolivian presidential candidate Evo Morales (provoking sharp criticism from the media and right-wing competitors alike), Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez and five other carriages full of artists, musicians, writers and political activists. They were met at the station by Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Argentine Nobel Prize winner and one of the key figures behind the 12,000-strong counter summit.
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