The Summit of the Americas is the name for one of a sequence of summits bringing together the countries of the Americas for discussion of a variety of issues. These encounters are organized by a number of multilateral bodies, including the Organization of American States.
The 34 democratically elected heads of state of the Americas gather to discuss areas of common interest to residents of the hemisphere.
When it began in 1994 under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS), the primary goal of the Summit of the Americas process was a free trade agreement linking the countries in the hemisphere (the Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA).
While the declaration of the last summit focussed largely on job creation and democratic governance, there was also talk of creating regional trade agreements that exclude dissenting countries.
The Summit of the Americas began in 1994 in Miami, Florida, when former U.S. President Bill Clinton called all democratically elected heads of state throughout the Western Hemisphere together to discuss issues of common interest.
The Summits were intended as forums for American presidents and their delegates, but over time the participation of Civil Society has increased.
Due to frustration with the Argentine Foreign Ministrys administration of the pre-Summit meetings, CRIES decided not to participate in the official Fourth Summit of the Americas in early November 2005.
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