Posted by Stella from ? (22.214.171.124) on Saturday, March 23, 2002 at 4:25PM :
Leaders Say Poverty Breeds Terrorism
By TRACI CARL
AP Business Writer
March 21, 2002, 6:38 PM EST
MONTERREY, Mexico -- Saying poverty fuels terrorism, dozens of world
leaders launched a U.N. summit Thursday by promising to do more to help
the world's neediest and end the cycle of economic chaos that plagues
the developing world.
With the summit in northern Mexico, the gateway to Latin America, the
reality of both financial crisis and terrorism hit close to home.
Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde lobbied international lenders to
rescue his crippled economy, while Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo
had to return home after a car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Embassy in
"We live in one world, not two," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told
representatives from 171 countries. "No one in this world can feel
comfortable, or safe, while so many are suffering and deprived."
While both the United States and Europe have promised billions more in
aid in future years, their pledges still fall far short of the $100
billion a year the United Nations has said is needed to halve poverty by
2015. Throughout Thursday's meeting, leaders called on rich nations to
"The world is standing on its head," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
said. "World leaders need to set it straight."
Several leaders, arguing that helping poor nations is in rich
countries' best interests, described extreme poverty and the growing gap between
rich and poor as a major motivation for terrorism.
World Trade Organization Director-General Mike Moore called poverty a
"time bomb lodged against the heart of liberty," while the president of
the U.N. general assembly, Han Seung-soo, said the world's poorest
areas are "the breeding ground for violence and despair."
"In the wake of Sept. 11, we will forcefully demand that development,
peace and security are inseparable," Han said.
Toledo, looking weary hours after a car bomb killed nine people in his
country's capital, also linked poverty to violence.
"To speak of development is to speak also of a strong and determined
fight against terrorism," he said.
Cuban President Fidel Castro, dressed in military fatigues and tennis
shoes, launched the harshest indictment of the international financial
system, comparing it to "a gigantic casino."
Castro left the conference shortly after his speech_ and hours before
the arrival of President Bush -- citing "a special situation created by
my participation in this summit."
According to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the
U.S. delegation had been instructed to leave the designated U.S. seat
when it was Castro's turn, and they did. The communist leader's abrupt
departure sparked speculation that he had been asked to leave to avoid
running into Bush.
Cuban officials said they had no immediate comment and Mexican
officials said they didn't know why Castro was leaving. Bush's national
security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said earlier that Bush had no plans to
cross paths with the communist leader.
The 50 remaining heads of state planned to hold a retreat early Friday,
then sign a pre-approved consensus agreement that urges rich nations to
increase development aid and poor nations to use what is available more
Most agreed the biggest achievement of the summit was getting the
developed world to talk about the need for more aid, as well as bringing
heads of state, international lenders, business leaders and aid activists
together to talk about how best to spend it.
Developing nations -- and some international lenders -- criticized
agricultural and other government subsidies that they said deny poor
countries a fair shot at competing in the global economy.
Don McKinnon, secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Britain and its
former colonies, said that the pledges from the United States and
Europe were appreciated but that "compared with $1 billion a day in
subsidies in the developed world, it's not a lot."
For the first three days, the summit had seen only a handful of small,
largely peaceful demonstrations. On Thursday, however, thousands massed
for a major march, burning an effigy of Uncle Sam and throwing the
bodies of dead goats over barricades ringing the summit site. The animals
came from a town protesters say is polluted by a factory, killing the
There were strong voices of dissent, however, from within the summit
itself. Castro attacked the conditions that rich nations place on their
aid -- such as cleaning up corruption or stabilizing economies.
"You can't blame this tragedy on the poor countries. It wasn't they who
conquered and looted entire continents for centuries, nor did they
establish colonialism, nor did they reintroduce slavery, nor did they
create modern imperialism," he said. "They were its victims."
Copyright (c) 2002, The Associated Press
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