Anti-Bush protests grow in Argentina <!-- END HEADLINE --><!-- BEGIN STORY BODY -->By Mary Milliken and Kevin GrayFri Nov 4, 1:02 PM ET

Tens of thousands of marchers protested on Friday against U.S. President George W. Bush and his free-trade push, as leaders from the Americas gathered in an Argentine resort for a contentious debate on improving Latin America's economy.
A mixed bag of protesters -- from Bolivian Indian women in traditional bowler hats to mothers of Argentine "dirty-war" victims -- filled 15 city blocks carrying signs with "Fuera Bush" (Get out Bush) and flags with the face of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara.
About 7,500 police kept a heavy guard at the meeting site and in the city center, but paid little attention to the protesters, who were 4 miles away.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the leftist leader who opposes Bush's economic model, prepared to take the protesters' message inside the summit meeting room. He vowed to bury the stalled Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA.
"Every one of us has brought a shovel, an undertaker's shovel, because here in Mar del Plata is the tomb of FTAA," Chavez told a full stadium hosting an alternative Peoples' Summit before the afternoon start of the two-day meeting of leaders.
By his side was Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, who carried the flag of communist Cuba and wore a T-shirt saying "War Criminal." They were joined by Bolivian indigenous leader Evo Morales, front-runner for the December 18 presidential election.
A large Cuban delegation of athletes sent by President Fidel Castro, who was not invited to the summit, was also popular with the crowd, estimated at 25,000.
Marchers urged the region's leaders to pursue alternatives to the U.S.-backed free-market recipes, which dominated in the region in the 1990s but failed to reduce poverty and inequality.
"We are here to show our proposals and alternatives to build a new dawn in Latin America," said Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner and author Adolfo Perez Esquivel.
As Chavez rallied the protesters, Bush told reporters he would be polite if he saw Chavez, but offered implied criticism of Venezuela's democracy. Bush said he judged leaders "based upon their willingness to protect institutions for a viable democratic society."
Bush also met with Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and praised the country's comeback from a 2001-2002 economic collapse. Many Argentines blame the collapse on policies backed by the United States and the International Monetary Fund.
While protests were peaceful and far from the summit site, more radical groups were expected to challenge the several rings of police security in downtown Mar del Plata. Coast-guard boats and helicopters patrolled the shore.
Schools and most businesses were closed. Shop windows were boarded up against possible violence and looting, while U.S. interests such as Citibank branches and Blockbuster video stores were armored with corrugated metal.
Outside of the Middle East, South America may be one of the most hostile places to U.S. policies, despite Bush vows upon taking office that it was a top-foreign policy priority. Many in the region feel Washington meddled too much in the past in economics and politics, then ignored the region to focus on the war on terrorism.
While the emerging markets of Asia roared ahead in the last 20 years, Latin America's economies, rich with minerals, gas and farmland, fell into a cycle of boom and bust.
Nowhere is that more evident than in summit host country Argentina, a model of free-market policies in the 1990s that fell from grace with $100 billion in unpayable foreign debt and slid quickly into poverty for millions.

"Free trade means big U.S. and European corporations gobbling up our companies and national interests," said Pedro Moreira, a 69-year-old unemployed Argentine who carried a sign reading "Get out Bush. Another world is possible."
Washington hopes to win a commitment to revive talks for the FTAA in 2006, after opposition from Latin America's big economies over U.S. agriculture subsidies stopped blocked it this year.
Chavez's opposition is not enough to block a deal, but he may pose a threat to reaching a consensus statement on the trade agreement at the summit.
Bush arrives at the meeting with his popularity at home was sinking further. For the first time in his presidency, a majority of Americans questioned his integrity as his approval ratings on key issues fell to new lows, in an ABC News/Washington Post poll.

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EOG Master
Who cares what Argentinans think????? Last time I checked they did nothing for this country or for anyone in it......Let them worry about their own shithole country.....What anyone there thinks has no Bearing whatsoever on anything here..:doh1


EOG Senior Member
I think Bush should care what argentinians think if he wants his precious free trade agreement to come to fruition. Anyhow, I care more about what Argentinians think than what you think you blind sheep.

dirty said:
Who cares what Argentinans think????? Last time I checked they did nothing for this country or for anyone in it......Let them worry about their own shithole country.....What anyone there thinks has no Bearing whatsoever on anything here..:doh1


EOG Master
whatever clow....part of America's and the Left's Problem is they care too much what everyone think about us...You can't do what is right for your country or Citizens if you are worried about trying to please the rest of the world.....And what Argentina's Citizens think has nothing to do with Trade you Idiot....the WTO and NAFTA will still go on.....Do you think these Governments to these countries that hate us supposedly will stop trading with the worlds Largest Exporter and the Country that Drives the World's economy????? Hell no!!! do you think they will Bite the hand that feeds them...Hell no....Who does all the countries come to when they need something???? The Most Generous and WEalthiest NATION in the World....The Old USA!!!!! We should tell them to Fvck off Once in a while and let them Fend for themselves.... We should do a little more worrying about us and OUr Interestes instead of worrying what a bunch of Socialist and Communist Anti American Pigs think about us.....Hell if you like them so much why don't you move over there and Then you can protest with them:doh1