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Last Living Souls
Anti-American protesters break out at summit where Bush promotes free trade

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — Thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of this seaside resort yesterday chanting "Get out Bush" as the U.S. president sought to promote free trade at a divided Summit of the Americas. Protests turned violent with about 1,000 people shattering shopfronts with clubs and pelting riot police with stones.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addressed about 10,000 peaceful protesters before the violence, vowing to bury a plan to create one of the world's largest free trade zones. Mexico's president said the proposal would move forward anyway and warned opponents in the 34-nation summit that free trade had the support of the vast majority.

Speaking before a six-story banner of revolutionary Che Guevara, Chavez urged the throng — including soccer great Diego Maradona and Bolivian presidential hopeful Evo Morales — to help him block efforts a Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA.

"Only united can we defeat imperialism and bring our people a better life," he said, adding: "Here, in Mar del Plata, FTAA will be buried!"

Fox, one of the region's strongest free trade advocates, said 29 of the 34 nations at the summit were considering forging ahead on an FTAA, without the participation of dissenting countries like Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The fourth Summit of Americas convened amid drum rolls and blaring trumpets as Bush, Chavez and the other leaders gathered in a seaside hotel with diplomats, civic leaders and even Indians wearing native headdresses.

Demonstrators took to the streets hours before the summit started, shouting insults about President Bush and chanting "Fascist Bush! You are the terrorist!"

Later, some demonstrators tried to break through a barricade on Avenida de Colon, a main shopping street. Booming tear gas canisters arced overhead as riot police surged forward, moving to repel the masked protesters who also trained slingshots on police.

They carried sticks the size of baseball bats. Most were masked to cover their faces from police and guard against acrid tear gas. Clouds of tear gas billowed over the area as huge echoing blasts of tear gas canisters sent frightened residents fleeing, including elderly people and children. Car sirens also wailed as people ran helter skelter while police held fast behind the barricades.

Protesters set fire to American flags and a bank. Several young people threw sharpened sticks toward police, who carried plastic shields and wore orange vests. Some shops, including a minimarket and a pastry store, had their windows shattered during the rioting. Protesters dragged furniture from some stores and used it as fuel to set fires to keep police back.

Ramon Madrid, a hotel manager hurriedly closed up just three stores down from the shattered pastry shop. He said he had never since such violence in the bucolic seaside resort, Argentina's favored vacation spot.

"I don't like Bush but this is too much. There is no need for violence," said Madrid.

Top-level negotiators at the summit have so far failed to agree on key language aimed at relaunching talks as soon as April for the proposed bloc stretching from Alaska to Argentina — an ambitious proposal originally raised in 1994 at the first Americas summit in Miami.

The trade zone would rival the European Union as the world's largest, but its creation has been stalled for years amid bickering over U.S. farm subsidies and other obstacles.

Chavez arrived in Argentina early Friday after a week of criticizing Bush and U.S. policies.

"Today the FTAA is dead and we are going to bury it here," Chavez declared after stepping off his plane. "We are here to change the course of history."

Chavez has said free trade is being forced on Latin American countries, and he has instead pushed for an anti-FTAA deal based on socialist ideals.

He has used Venezuela's oil wealth to push for regional solidarity, offering fuel with preferential financing to various Caribbean and Latin American countries. Venezuela is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and is the world's fifth largest oil exporter as well as a major supplier to the U.S. market.

Chavez also regularly claims the United States is trying to overthrow his government, something the U.S. denies.

Joking about his rivalry with Bush, the Venezuelan president has said he might try to sneak up and scare the U.S. president during the summit.

When asked how he would react to Chavez, Bush said he would be polite.

"That's what the American people expect their president to do, is to be a polite person," he said. "And if I run across him, I will do just that."

Bush, who met with Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, made no mention of free trade but said the two had a frank talk about Argentina's struggle to extricate itself from its financial meltdown.

Kirchner led a difficult renegotiation of more than $100 billion in public debt that was the largest sovereign default in history.

"The president was quite frank," Bush said.

He added that the U.S. was committed to exploring the summit's theme of job creation.

Some 40 percent of Argentina's 36 million people remain in poverty, and many blame trade liberalization for destroying local industries and causing a flood of cheap imports.


Banned - What an Asshat!
Invader said:
And before anyone says for me to post a link. I cant bc I am subscribed to a newspaper and the only way for you to read it at the site is if you pay and register to read the articles.
but post a link all the same.. post a link to a website we/you can view.

might seem trivial but if we all posted news without links we could be posting stories that were completely bogus, like 'george w bush stole both elections'.. ;)

just googlenews and you'll get 1000 links and then use one of them..
here's an example.. BBC link


Banned - What an Asshat!
sorry to double post but i just found these images on
all related to anti-bush street art in argentina.



We all know that free trade is bogus.

"Free trade" is just a Orwellian "Newspeak" word for "Colonialism".

The poorer countries have to "liberalize" their markets, while America has all the tricks to protect hers.
It really is ridiculous!
Remember Katrina? It took a lot of time before the American customs even passed an OK for the much needed Dutch power pumps to get the water out of the flooded lands. And the Dutch are even America's all time allies!

Be fair, give poorer countries a break.
And Bush is a fruitcake!


This is definitly one of the best things to happen in a long time. Too bad Bush couldnt invade the US, then the people that can do something see what he really stands for. Atleast there is a 2 term limit- for now.