Report from the 2002 Meeting of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas
FEDERACIÓN DE PARTIDOS VERDES DE LAS AMÉRICAS (FPVA)
Meeting of the Asamblea General (General Assembly)
Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic
Friday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 9 2002
– Julia Willebrand, Green Party of New York, USGP Delegate
– Tony Affigne, Green Party of Rhode Island, USGP Delegate
Delegation from the Green Party of the United States:
Julia Willebrand (New York), Delegate
Tony Affigne (Rhode Island), Delegate
Vivek Ananthan (Pennsylvania), Alternate
Stephen Herrick (Michigan), Alternate
Michael Feinstein (California), Observer
I. Overview of Primary Accomplishments, Declarations, Decisions
1. FEDERATION REPRESENTATIVES AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Federación’s delegates to the Global Green Coordination were affirmed; they are Jorge González Torres (México), Jorge Melo Viana (Brasil), Anne Goeke (United States) and Natalia Escudero Barrero (México).
Anne Goeke (United States) was affirmed as the Federación’s representative to the World Social Forum meetings in Porto Alegre. The newly-selected Executive Committee of the Federación is comprised of: Jorge González Torres (México), Co-President; Julia Willebrand (Estados Unidos), Co-President; Antonio Jorge Melo Viana (Brasil), Co-President; Natalia Escudero Barrera (México), Secretary for Internal Affairs; Tod Sloan (Estados Unidos), Secretary for External Affairs; Marco Antonio Mróz (Brasil), Secretary of Organization; Miguel Angel Pimentel (República Dominicana), Treasurer; Ingrid Betancourt (Colombia), Special Member for Human Rights and Environmental Justice; Flor de María Hurtado (Perú), Special Member for Gender Affairs.
For these appointments to be finalized, our three U.S. party members who’ve been selected by the Federation – Annie Goeke to the Global Green Coordination; Julia Willebrand as Co-President; and Tod Sloan as Secretary for External Affairs – need to be ratified by the USGP International Committee, representing the Green Party of the United States.
2. JOINT DECLARATION ON NAFTA
A joint declaration on NAFTA was approved, calling for postponement of January 1, 2003 Agricultural Chapter provisions, which would devastate small farming in México. (See Attachment: NAFTA_FPVA.JPG). NOTE:
A corresponding declaration from the USGP International Committee (and/or the USGP-CC) is requested.
3. CHANGES TO THE FPVA CONSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE
After extensive discussion, spanning two days of meetings, the Federación agreed to adapt its internal structure and leadership system to the evolving needs of the growing organization. The Federación’s previous leadership structure was amended so that FPVA will now be governed by a collective leadership, through a nine-member Comité Ejectivo (Executive Committee). To ensure broad empowerment, any single party may hold no more than two seats on the Executive Committee. Terms will be limited, so that no individual may hold any given office for more than two consecutive terms. To guarantee linkages to the national party organizations, individuals nominated to the Executive Committee must be ratified by their own party. The Executive Committee will consist of three Co-Presidents, a Secretary of Internal Affairs, Secretary of External Affairs, Secretary of Organization, Treasurer, and two Special Members – at present, these will be for Derechos Humanos y Justicia Ambiental (Human Rights and Environmental Justice), and Gender Rights (Derechos del Género).
4. NEWEST FULL MEMBER: EL PARTIDO VERDE DOMINICANO
The Partido Verde Dominicana (Dominican Green Party) was admitted as a non-voting member of the federation in 2001, and the Federation voted to change the Dominican party’s status to that of full membership.
5. FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS FOR FEDERATION PARTIES
Federation members are requested to:
a. Send faxes to President Bush, Prime Minister Cretien and President Fox seeking the non-implementation of the agriculture chapter of NAFTA due to be put into effect in 2003. Jorge González Torres detailed the severe impact these rules will have on the health and human rights of Mexican campesinos.
b. Send emails of support to Brasil, for the appointment of a Brazilian Green as Environment Minister in the new PT government that takes office in January. These should be sent to the incoming administration via JUCA@CMS.BA.GOV
c. Send faxes to Brazilian President-elect Lula requesting he use his influence with FARC leaders to free Ingrid Betancourt.
6. THE FEDERATION AND THE GLOBAL GREENS
The Federación calls on all its member parties to appoint representatives to the Global Green Network. To help activate the Global Green Coordination, the Federation agreed to prepare position statements, calling for GGN support, on maximum of 4 issues. These issues should be the focus of FPVA action during the next year. The issues include:
b. Peace focus, including Global support for peace in Colombia and Iraq
c. Rainforest conservation
7. FEDERATION OFFICES: EXPANSION TO U.S. AND BRASIL
Since its founding the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas has been based in México City, in offices provided by the International Secretary of the Green Ecologist Party of México (PVEM). The Federation has grown and changed dramatically over recent years, as new Green parties emerged and hemispheric issues became more acute (NAFTA, FTAA, Plan Colombia, etc.). At its meeting in the Dominican Republic, the Federation responded to this organizational development by deciding to authorize three offices, in México, Brasil, and the United States. Without a budget to speak of, however, the Federation will not (initially, at least) be supporting these offices financially. We discussed at some length, in general terms, the division of labor and organizational functions among the three offices, and decided that the newly-elected Comité Ejecutivo (Executive Committee) will finalize details in coming weeks. The Brazilian office is likely to be located in Sao Paolo, based on the Brazilian Greens’ strong presence in that region. After receiving an offer of space in his Pico Boulevard office, from former Santa Monica Mayor Mike Feinstein, the Federation anticipates that its U.S. office will be located there, close to Los Angeles and in a site familiar to Latin American Greens. Based on our general discussions (and pending Comité approval), it appears that the primary role of this Santa Monica office, beyond serving as a general FPVA site, would be to host the international diplomatic affairs of the Federación.
II. Attendance, Reports, and Information
8. ATTENDANCE AT THE MEETING
Member party delegates from the United States, México, Brasil, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic attended. Observers from Nicaragua and Puerto Rico also attended.
9. ELECTORAL RESULTS FOR GREENS IN THE AMERICAS
We reported on U.S. Greens’ electoral results in 2002, including our record number of victories, and answered detailed questions about the electoral system in the United States.
Country reports included the excellent news that Brasil and México have had considerable electoral success with Brazilian Green party national representation growing from one, to possibly nine, Federal Deputies in the National Congress. In Sao Paolo, Greens polled 3.2%, among their best results in the country, and they may see their support for Workers Party presidential candidate Lula da Silva – who won the election – translated into control of the Environment Ministry, with the possible appointment by Lula of Marco Antonio Mróz. Negotiations will be concluded by mid-January.
México reports Green representation now stands at 5 Federal Senators, 17 Federal Deputies, 28 local Deputies, and 35 Municipal Presidents. In preparation for the future, the Méxican Greens have recently taken steps to negotiate a state-level alliance with PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, in the very important state of México. If the state alliance there proves reliable, the national parties may also form an alliance for the next presidential election. PVEM assured us, in a question-and-answer session, that any such PVEM-PRI alliance would be based on a transparent, written agreement, and would be presented to the party’s grass-roots for review and endorsement.
(México also reported on a very successful convention of Green party mayors from 10 countries, held in Cancun, Quintana Roo, in November. More than 500 people attended the PVEM-sponsored convention, which focused on the development of local, sustainable business in cities governed by Greens.)
Alex González Castillo and Flor de María Hurtado, Peruvian delegates, were unable to attend because Flor won a seat in the Lima city council and was facing a recount challenge at the time of the meeting (she was subsequently declared the winner).
10. VIOLENCE IN THE AMERICAS; INGRID BETANCOURT
Juan Carlos Lecompte, husband of Ingrid Betancourt and delegate from Colombia, reported on efforts to free Ingrid. He requested all possible help from the Federation. As part of his presentation the meeting was shown a video filmed in May, of the last message from Ingrid. The Federation agreed to launch additional efforts on Ingrid’s behalf including requesting all member parties send pleas to Lula da Silva, President-elect of Brasil, to contact FARC leaders demanding Ingrid’s freedom. Jorge González and Natalia Escudero presented Juan Carlos with a plaque making Ingrid an honorary citizen of Cancun, Quintana Roo.
11. NEW GREEN PARTIES IN NICARAGUA AND PUERTO RICO
Eduardo Salazar Cruz of Managua, Nicaragua presented an extensive plan for the development of a Green Party in Nicaragua. Although achieving official party status is extremely onerous, the party name has been given legal recognition. An exploratory committee has been meeting in Managua weekly for the past six months to work on plans to run candidates in all 151 municipalities in 2003. (Steve Herrick, former USGP Steering Committee member, who currently resides in Nicaragua, facilitated Eduardo’s attendance at the FPVA meeting.) After this presentation, the Federación voted unanimously to admit the Partido Verde Ecologista de Nicaragua as a provisional, non-voting member of the Federation. Unaffiliated observers from Puerto Rico reported on political and ecological aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and explained how forming a Green Party there will – unless a court ruling overturns existing law – require 250,000 voter signatures, at a cost of $3 per person (for official seals).
12. OTHER POTENTIAL GREEN PARTY MEMBERS
Inquiries or other communication from Greens in Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Haiti were discussed. At this time no other parties are ready for admission to the Federación.
13. THE FPVA WEBSITE
After discussion of maintaining and upgrading FPVA website, it was determined that the Federation would put out a call for content providers; Steve Herrick has agreed to act as Webmaster with the assistance of other Greens. Mike Feinstein offered the services of Kendra Markle in California, and Julia Willebrand offered to recruit another web assistant from the New York State Greens.
III. Other Developments and Federación Activities
14. INGRID’S CHILDREN
During a visit to the City of Santo Domingo, the meeting’s delegates stopped by to briefly visit with Ingrid Betancourt’s children Melanie and Lorenzo, who live in the Dominican capital with their father, a French diplomat. The children were very moved by this show of support, and wished to express their great appreciation to the Greens of the United States and the rest of the American hemisphere.
15. INAUGURATING THE DOMINICAN GREEN PARTY
Delegates to the FPVA meeting, including the U.S. representatives, were invited to meet with the founding assembly of the Partido Verde Dominicano, at the official launch of the Dominican Republic’s newest political party. Federation delegates from around the hemisphere were asked by the Dominican party leaders to explain the scope and character of Green political work in the Americas. A reception was held at the party’s headquarters office, in a neighborhood of Santo Domingo.
16. FPVA MEETING IN 2003
Jorge González, Melo Viana, and Julia Willebrand met briefly to plan follow-up to this meeting, and agreed that the next meeting of the Federation will be held in August or September 2003, in Curitiba, State of Parana, Brasil. Final details will be worked out in coming weeks, by Secretary of Organization Marco Antonio Mróz, in consultation with the Brazilian Green Party and the Comité Ejecutivo of the FPVA. The exact timing and scope of the meeting will be influenced by the outcome of negotiations between Brazilian Greens and the incoming administration of Lula da Silva, and whether or not the Green Party in Brazil is given control of the Environment Ministry.