Fifth Summit of the Americas, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, April 2009: Background, Agenda, and Expectations [December 17, 2008]   [open pdf - 194KB]

"The fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago scheduled to be held on April 17-19, 2009 will be the first hemispheric forum for President-elect Barack Obama to engage with leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean. The Port of Spain Summit will also be the first meeting of all 34 democratic heads of government from Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States since the contentious 2005 Summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Taking place less than four months after his inauguration, the Summit could set the tone for hemispheric relations during the early stages of the new Administration. There have been four Summits of the Americas, two Special Summits of the Americas, and a number of ministerial-level summits held since 1994. Past Summits have led to a number of successful initiatives in the region, including the creation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, reductions in the cost of remittance transfers, and increased provision of anti-retroviral therapy to victims of HIV/AIDS. Although some view the most recent Summit as a failure because of its divisiveness, it too produced a number of important initiatives, including support for Haiti's democracy, improved infrastructure, and reductions in child labor. [...]The theme for the Port of Spain Summit is, 'Securing our citizens' future by promoting human prosperity, energy security, and environmental sustainability.' Summit organizers have stressed the need to refocus the hemisphere's priorities, set achievable goals, and create the institutions necessary to hold countries accountable for implementing the Summits' mandates."

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CRS Report for Congress, R40074
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