The Sao Paulo Forum’s great mission

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“Prevent the release of Lula in Brazil, issue an arrest warrant for Rafael Correa in Ecuador, threaten Cristina in Argentina with jail, round up Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, incriminate Paraguayan Lugo, deploy an offensive at all levels against Nicolás Maduro in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and focus fire on Cuba”.


In just these four lines, Peruvian journalist and writer Gustavo Espinoza M. summarizes the difficult situation that the Latin American left was going through at the beginning of the 24th meeting of the Sao Paolo Forum held in Havana from 15 to 17 July.


The Sao Paulo Forum (FSSP) is a mechanism for bringing together left-wing and progressive political parties and movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a space for convergence, discussion and joint action resulting from the Meeting of Left Political Parties and Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place in 1990 under the auspices of the Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil. It was an initiative of the historic leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz and the leader of the Workers’ Party of Brazil (PT), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.


In addition to its plenary meetings, the Forum holds an average of five annual meetings of its Working Group. It organizes conferences, seminars, and workshops on various topics, holds exchanges with political and social forces in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America, and participates in the meetings of the World Social Forum, the Americas Social Forum and the European Social Forum.


The FSSP develops a broad and multifaceted agenda that has embraced issues such as the world capitalist crisis and its impact on Latin America and the Caribbean; the new forms of political, economic, social and cultural domination of imperialism, with emphasis on U.S. imperialism and its projection into the region; the increase in aggression, occupations and foreign military bases; the struggle against colonialism; the construction of new emancipatory paradigms; the promotion of integration, cooperation and coordination in the Caribbean and Latin America, and solidarity with the struggles of its members, as well as with the struggles of those political and social forces in other regions.


The FSSP was formed to bring together the efforts of left-wing parties and movements in the southern hemisphere in the complex international arena following the fall of the Berlin Wall. In addition, it aimed to counter the consequences of neoliberalism for the peoples of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean through reciprocal support among its members.


At the time of its foundation in 1990, the only member with executive power in a sovereign country was the Communist Party of Cuba. Twenty years later, most of the countries that are members of the Forum have agreed for some period of time, through the ballot box, to exercise government or to be part of official coalitions. Several have also become the first opposing forces in their respective countries. The election of the revolutionary military man Hugo Chávez in 1998 in Venezuela was the first time that a member of the Sao Paulo Forum came to power.


Then came the triumphs of the Brazilian Workers’ Party in 2002 with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; the Frente Amplio in Uruguay in 2004 with Tabaré Vázquez; the Movimiento al Socialismo with Evo Morales in Bolivia in 2005; Michelle Bachelet of the Partido Socialista de Chile in 2006; Rafael Correa for Alianza PAIS in Ecuador in 2006; Daniel Ortega for the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional de Nicaragua in 2006; Fernando Lugo for the Patriotic Alliance for Change (now the Guasú Front) in Paraguay in 2008; José Mujica for the Frente Amplio in Uruguay in 2009; Mauricio Funes of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front of El Salvador in 2009; Dilma Rousseff for the Brazilian Workers Party in 2010; Ollanta Humala for the Nationalist Party of Peru in 2011; Nicolás Maduro for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in 2013. In 2014, Michelle Bachelet won the elections again and in 2014, Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador won.


These successes, however, were followed by an intense counter-revolutionary offensive that may have ended with the recent electoral victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the head of the Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (Morena), in alliance with the Labor and Social Encounter parties, which might be a turning point in continental political events.


With a prestige that rests essentially on his honesty and a program that is in line with “Mexico’s hopes”, as his electoral slogan states, everything suggests that the great victory of Andres Manuel López Obrador has come at the right time to save not only Mexico but Latin America as a whole from the right-wing wave.


The Sao Paolo Forum has the floor.


July 16, 2018.
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