Ahead of the Mercosur summit in Argentina, social movements are holding their own People's Summit Thursday in the city of Mendoza to oppose the regional bloc's right-wing turn and its neoliberal agenda.
The political gathering, held in the Faculty of Arts and Design, National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, is focused on four main issues, including regional sovereignty, natural resources, foreign interference and colonialism.
The topics related to the neoliberal policies imposed by President Mauricio Macri in Argentina and the recent labor reform approved by the lower chamber in Brazil will be addressed as well.
"The decision to organize and convene this People's Summit is based on the need to face the challenges that arise from the current regional situation and the advance of the right, supported by representatives of neocolonialism, and needs as an inseparable element of its goal of domination, to destroy the popular processes that occurred in recent years," a statement from the group said.
Each of the delegates will have the opportunity to submit their demands that will be included in a joint statement to be presented to Bolivian President Evo Morales, who will then share it with other presidents during the main session of the Mercosur summit to be held Friday.
For almost 12 years, the social, human rights and political organizations from the member countries of the bloc have held the parallel Mercosur summit with the support from the host country. But this year, Macri decided to suspend the meeting alleging "security issues."
More than 80 organizations will be part of the event, among them Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, the Unified Union of Education Workers of Buenos Aires, the General Confederation of Labor, as well as human rights organizations, members of Indigenous communities and others from all over the region.