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  • Brazil's former President Dilma Rousseff talks to the media after the inauguration ceremony of the XXIV Forum of Sao Paulo meeting in Havana, Cuba, July 15, 2018.

    Brazil's former President Dilma Rousseff talks to the media after the inauguration ceremony of the XXIV Forum of Sao Paulo meeting in Havana, Cuba, July 15, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 July 2018
Opinion

Political leaders and organizations called for support and unity among the Latin American left and progressive movements during the event in Havana.

Leaders from leftist political parties and social movements gathered in Havana for the Sao Paulo Forum are calling for promoting policies in favor of Latin American and Caribbean unity.

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On the 24th edition of the forum, about 430 delegates are meeting to discuss integration and solidarity among the member-nations.

On Sunday, the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines's Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves urged support for leaders and governments attacked by right-wing organizations, in countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, while also calling for solidarty with incarcerated Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“One day it's Venezuela, another one Brazil and then Nicaragua. Let's always remember the coup against the government of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, in June 2009. Now, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is in prison but the people support him because they still see him as his leader,” said Gonsalves.

“24 meeting of the @ForodeSaoPaulo taking place in #Cuba with the presence of more than 400 leaders from leftist political parties and social movements debating the construction of unity in Latin America and the Caribbean. @teleSURtv @teleSUR_Cuba”

The former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was ousted by a parliamentary coup, said her crime and Lula's was to defend the poor and the sovereignty over natural resources.

“We will never accept the abuses neither handing over the oil and the resources of the country to transnationals, that's why they're persecuting us and why the coup happened,” said Rousseff on Sunday.

Also Adan Chavez, vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and brother of the deceased Hugo Chavez, also denounced his unjust imprisonment and called it “an imperialist attack to Latin America.”

Chavez said the forum should “keep helping us articulate unity as an answer to the hegemonic imperialism from the United States in the region” and reminded that Venezuela is one of the main targets of these aggressions. “We're concerned by these attempts to run over, invade and promote violence against our people,” he said.

He pointed out that Chavez and Fidel Castro were some of the main promoters of the forum.

And speaking from Havana's Convention Palace, where the forum is taking place, a senior member of Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Jose Ramon Balaguer called all progressive movements in the region to work together against the attacks of neoliberalism.

“Building that unity was and is an essential condition. We invite all the present parties and groups to work in that direction,” said Balaguer.
Monica Valente, the executive secretary of the Sao Paulo Forum, called for dialogue and consensus to face the “brutal actions” of the regional right and the government of the United States.

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The vice president of the National Assembly of Peoples' Power of Cuba, Ana Maria Mari Machado, urged promoting policies in favor of the peoples' of the region.

At the opening ceremony at the Convention Palace Mari Machado called on the delegates to support the fair struggles of the peoples, especially those defending their victories from the aggressions of the international right. She also thanked leftist movements and regional governments for their solidarity with Cuba in these 60 years of revolution in which the island has faced the U.S. blockade.

For the Argentine political scientist Atilio Boron, the return of the forum to Havana represents a convenient moment to ratify successes and review mistakes by the Latin American left.

“The essential thing is to do a self-criticism exercise that allow us to see what we have done right and what we have not. If we achieve something like that, we can be absolutely satisfied,” Boron told Prensa Latina. Boron also reminded that there are hopes in the difficult scenario, apparently dominated by the return of right wing governments and U.S. hostility.

“The recent victory of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico and the good electoral result of Gustavo Petro in Colombia open the way for huge perspectives. This makes us think we might be at the doorstep of a new progressive and leftist cycle in Latin American,” he said.

The Forum of Sao Paulo is a space of convergence, debate and joint action born of the Meeting of Political Parties and Organizations of the Left of Latin America and the Caribbean held in 1990 with the sponsorship of the Workers Party of Brazil. It now encompasses over 100 organizations in the region.

This is the third edition of the meeting in Cuba, after 1993 and 2001.

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