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"Prying lenses and sharp pencils of the press had been shooed out of the meeting hall . . . none of them noticed that a translated feed of their vigourous discussion was still flowing out of the room.  . . .Some of what was recorded would have cheered those on the streets and may have chagrined George W. Bush.  . . .

But much of the rest of the session must have been dreary for the U.S. president. One after one, leaders of smaller or poorer countries lined up to indirectly question whether his vision of unbridled capitalism is the best way to nurture nascent democracies.  . . .

Bush had told his counterparts during the televised session that democracy linked to markets was the best weapon against tyranny.  . . .

Others asked larger countries to treat them as equals, but not before they were given preferential treatment. ''Don't poke sticks into our spokes,'' said Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo, thumping on his desk for emphasis.   ''The small economies are not the same as the big economies. Just to become the equals of the big brothers, we will need to be treated accordingly.''

Hugo Chavez, the firebrand president of Venezuela, scoffed at the notion of democracy as currently constructed in Latin America.  . . . ''If the democracy doesn't provide land, if it's concentrated in the hands of two per cent of the population, we can't speak of democracy,'' Chavez said.  . . . 

The format of the meeting didn't allow for debate or discussion, so there was no noted reaction from Bush.  White House officials were said to be unhappy that a technical lapse threw open what was supposed to be a closed-door session."

 

~ Toronto Star, Apr. 22, 2001. 04:01 PM

Summit leaders taped during closed-door session

[bold typeface added for emphasis]

 

 

Video footage courtesy of Toronto Video Activist Collective
Photographs from
IMC.

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