World Social Forum ends amid doubt

AP @ (external link)

BELEM, Brazil - The world's biggest counterculture political gathering ended Sunday with a flurry of photo-snapping, tent folding and farewell embraces - as well as uncertainty about what concrete results were accomplished in the stifling heat of this jungle city.

"I made great contacts with people from all over the world and this was a good space to trade ideas," said Caetano Filho, the 21-year-old student from Brazil's Bahia state who sat amid hundreds of tents in the student camping area. "I think the message sent from here will have significant resonance," Filho said, "but we certainly didn't propose concrete alternatives to what they are doing in Davos, Switzerland."

"This colonial economic model - capitalism - that pits a state against its own people has to end and has clearly failed," said Daniel Pasqual, an Indian rights leader from Guatemala.

Five Latin American presidents joined about 100,000 activists from around the world whose discussions - in conference rooms and around beer coolers - feed the debate of the world's political left. Activists from every part of the planet came to share their causes: land rights for Amazonian Indians, support for Cuba's government, the struggle against marital violence in India. Vegetarians protested meat. Anarchists battled authority.

3 ┼×ubat 2009