Bolivia vows not to sign Americas summit document if biofuel clauses stay
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales said Saturday that he will not sign the final declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas, if leaders do not agree to review clauses aimed at stimulating the development of biofuel.
The meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, which brought together leaders from 34 countries across the Americas, concludes on Sunday with the signing of the Declaration of Port of Spain.
Bolivia's President Evo Morales said Saturday that he will not sign the final declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas, if leaders do not agree to review clauses aimed at stimulating the development of biofuel.
Bolivian President Evo Morales (C) speaks at a press conference in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, April 18, 2009.(Xinhua/Juan Carlos Hernandez)
"If the issue of biofuel is not reviewed, the government of Bolivia will not sign this document. Introducing biofuel policies means to privilege the machines over human life. What will we pick, human life or U.S. machines?" Morales told a press conference.
The declaration draft states that "we will encourage the development, manufacture and use of both current and next-generation biofuels including sugar-based, cellulosic, algal and bacterial biofuels..."
Morales did not elaborate on the reasons for his opposition to pro-biofuel policies, but critics of biofuel widely say they fear the rapid expansion of crops of sugar cane and other raw material for biofuel will occupy agricultural land destined to the production of food.
To alleviate the concern, the draft says that strategies will be developed "for sustainable biomass cultivation and production, with particular regard to the need to ensure food security."
It calls for "a strategy for second-generation and more advanced biofuels that will ensure that they do not compete directly with other agricultural crops for land, water or fertilizer."