The Clacso First World Forum on Critical Thinking was underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina with guest interviews and speakers that include former presidents Dilma Rousseff and Cristina Fernandez, and academics such as Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos.
The two-day event is a prelude to the Clacso’s (Latin American Council of Social Sciences) Eighth Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Social Sciences that will begin on Nov. 21.
The critical thinking forum is addressing the effects of Latin America’s right-wing swing in the region.
Current legislator and former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez replaced by neoliberal Mauricio Macri, addressed the forum Monday afternoon saying: "Today the IMF has returned with a loan of thousands of dollars and turned Argentina, once again, into an administrator of policies imposed from outside."
Speaking earlier Monday, Dilma Rousseff, illegally ousted by far-right Michel Temer in Brazil in 2016. During her interview, Rousseff said: "The jailing of Lula was the end of the principle of innocent till proven guilty and equality before the law (in Brazil). It wasn't enough to condemn him, they had to silence him. They took away all his rights."
Dilma speaking at #Clacso2018: "The jailing of @LulaOficial was the end of the principle of innocent till proven guilty and equality before the law. It wasn't enough to condemn him, they had to silence him. They took away all his rights." live feed: https://t.co/qhVEuk8mQf— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) 19 de noviembre de 2018
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been illegally detained by authorities since last April. He has been forced to appeal a corruption ruling against him from behind bars, violating Lula’s rights and the country’s rule of law. His imprisonment made it nearly impossible for the former president to rerun as head of state, a contest that went to far-right Jair Bolsonaro on Oct. 28.
Rousseff added that "neoliberalism is uniting with authoritarians (in Brazil) to create a similar vision as to what happened in Chile during the dictatorship. We must resist and confront neofascism," she warned. The former president said that even though Bolsonaro hasn’t taken office his administration "is characterized by a strong proximity to the United States and is clearly neoliberal." She added that the incoming president's "anti-terror law will criminalize protest movements and leftists, that's why we need a democratic and popular front to defend national sovereignty."
Talking with local media, Nicolas Trotta, dean of the Metropolitan University for Education and Labor (UMET) in Buenos Aires said: "The forum is essential in the face of the advance of neoliberal and neo-fascist governments in the world and particularly in the region." He said that "it’s urgent to analyze the progress we have made and to study the limitations that popular governments found in the real democratization of power in order to draw up a new agenda," added the academic.
"The popular camp and the left can take advantage to find answers to the new questions generated by this increasingly unequal world," Trotta said.
Clacso is a non-governmental institution, created in 1967 by UNESCO that currently includes more than 300 social science and humanity research centers across Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe.
At 12:30 a.m. local time Fernandez will speak on “Capitalism, neoliberalism and the crisis of democracy.”