Final Declaration of the XXVI Meeting of the São Paulo Forum
Final plenary photo of the XXVI Meeting of the Forum -- photo via the Sao Paulo Forum
The XXVI Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum was held in the city of Brasilia from June 29 to July 2, 2023. The leftist and anti-imperialist Forum kicked off with 270 representatives from 57 social organizations advocating for Latin American integration and sovereignty.
Among its many achievements was a firm Resolution of Solidarity with Cuba.
Its Final Declaration has been released and covers such topics as the surge in Left and progressive victories in the region, the ongoing repression after the coup in Peru, the need to end criminal and unilateral sanctions by the US against countries like Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, Indigenous rights, environmentalism and the fight against neo-liberalism.
We have translated it and republish it here in full.
Regional Integration to advance the sovereignty of Latin America and the Caribbean
In homage to Marco Aurélio Garcia
The political parties and movements members of the São Paulo Forum (FSP), present at this XXVI Meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, thank the host parties, the Workers' Party and the Brazilian Communist Party, for organizing this transcendental event, the first major activity since the COVID-19 pandemic, under the slogan "Regional integration to advance Latin American and Caribbean sovereignty".
We also appreciate the presence of friendly organizations from around the world, who have come to join our delegations and join the debates for a sovereign and independent Latin America and the Caribbean, protagonists of a broad movement for a multilateral, fair and equal world.
It is a transcendent political and symbolic fact that this XXVI Meeting is being held in Brasilia, precisely when through the mobilization of the people and the formation of a broad movement for the rescue of Brazilian democracy, Brazil achieved a splendid electoral victory and the new Presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, this being the most forceful historical response to the parliamentary coup d'état against President Dilma Rousseff, This was followed by the infamous and unjust imprisonment of President Lula, which resulted in an electoral coup d'état, by preventing – in violation of laws and human rights – his participation in the 2018 elections. During the following years, left-wing and progressive parties, Brazilian unions and social movements have suffered strong persecution with a view to their political annihilation. Now, in 2023, Lula is once again the President of Brazil and Dilma Rousseff occupies the Presidency of the New Development Bank -- known as the Bank of the BRICS -- emblematic facts that account for a historical turn in the correlation of forces, repositioning the Brazilian left as a protagonist in its country, and President Lula as an international protagonist.
It is important to highlight that since the XXV Meeting of the FSP until now, there have been massive popular demonstrations against neoliberal and right-wing policies, the struggle for the social, economic and cultural rights of the peoples has been placed back in the forefront and this has been translated into unity of the popular forces and electoral victories, such as that of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, Alberto Fernández in Argentina, Pedro Castillo in Peru, Luis Arce, who overthrew the coup in Bolivia, Xiomara Castro in Honduras, Gabriel Boric in Chile, Philip Pierre in Saint Lucia, Gustavo Petro in Colombia, the regional and municipal ones in Ecuador, the national ones in Cuba and, obviously, Lula in Brazil, who join the other leftist and progressive governments of our continent that heroically fight for sovereignty, social welfare and participatory democracy.
On the other hand, these victories and the constant mobilization of the people provoke a conservative and far-right offensive, including the continuity of lawfare, which demand constant vigilance and fight against threats and attacks. We support the struggles of the Salvadoran people for the restitution of their political and constitutional rights. We condemn in Peru the repression that has caused 69 deaths, of which 49 were killed with weapons for military and police use. We reject the criminalization of social protest and the impediment of the right to peaceful mobilization. We demand trials for crimes against humanity and freedom of detainees. We also denounce that the government of Dina Boluarte has authorized the presence of US troops for the purpose of intimidating the population. We reject the declaration of the Congress of Peru against the presidents Gustavo Petro, Manuel López Obrador and former President Evo Morales in the face of their assessments of the Peruvian political and social situation.
This Meeting occurs at a time when the world is facing various challenges. The advance of right-wing and extreme-right political forces, climate change, the conflict in Ukraine, among others, are facts that demand our direct and urgent attention.
We must unite against the attempts to divide the world between West and East, between “us and the others”, which increases animosities and leads us to a world of conflict that puts all of humanity at risk. Multipolarity is essential for the balance of forces and diverse interests that allows the development of the countries of the South. For this, our integration is important, as a region of peace and growth under progressive and leftist forces, with proposals to face global problems.
We need to face these challenges through concrete actions and from a leftist and progressive perspective, with sovereignty and independence, working together with the peoples of Our America to the commitment to peace, endorsed in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as Zone of Peace, approved at the II CELAC Summit in Havana, in 2014, with respect for the environment, defense of a fairer and more supportive economy, and effective recognition of ethnic and social diversity. Through dialogue and respect for the diversity of our peoples, we will continue building Our America as a region of peace and cooperation, committed to sustainable development and social justice, the defense of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. We welcome the resumption of CELAC, started by President López Obrador, and UNASUR, the latter in an advanced debate proposed by the initiatives of Lula, Alberto Fernández and Gustavo Petro. We also welcome the constitution of CELAC Social in Argentina, last January, and the preparation of the People's Summit, on the occasion of the CELAC-EU Summit, in Brussels, in July 2023.
In this context, we highlight the need to take firm steps towards regional integration as one of the central axes in our political, economic and social agenda, with a broad and equitable strategic vision. Through economic integration, through the construction and expansion of infrastructure, logistics and energy networks, we believe that the region will be able to move forward in overcoming asymmetries and eliminating the effects of unilateral coercive measures imposed by the government. of the United States, which make our peoples suffer so much.
Our region cries out for a new ecological and productive industrialization, based on the role of the state in inducing investments and scientific and technological cooperation, ceasing to be a mere exporter of natural resources and commodities, creating and strengthening regional production chains, increasing the intraregional trade relations, advancing in sovereign stabilization, financing and trade mechanisms. It is essential that this industrialization occurs on a new basis of environmental protection and a true ecological transition, based on the advancement of science and technology.
We support the various efforts for a Latin America and the Caribbean that respects the environment and incorporates the fight against climate change as a central axis for its economic development, and we call for a project of sovereign development that takes into account the specific demands of our countries. These efforts must consider family and associative agriculture, organic food production, sustainable and less harmful ways for large agricultural export productions, including cooperatives, reduction of territorial inequalities, recognition of native American peoples, their culture and knowledge, ancestral rights, and the right to their lands and the use of their territories and the protection of the Amazon and its indigenous peoples.
Likewise, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need to also build our health integration, which allows the exchange of scientific knowledge in the area of health, as well as health care in times of crisis, the development and production of new medicines and vaccines from our own scientific and pharmacological development, reducing external dependency.
We propose to advance in cultural, educational and scientific exchange, allowing our population and especially young people to have free access to universities and academic mobility, integrating universities into regional networks.
Our battle against the neoliberal and imperialist forces must also take place on the internet and social networks, which are in the hands of a media oligopoly with clear interests in advancing with an agenda that is detrimental to the peoples. These groups use dishonest and fake news methods that lead to intolerance, hatred in social relations and the denial of politics. We propose to confront this advance and guarantee democratic mechanisms on the Internet through regulatory mechanisms, based on democratic precepts, respect for the diversity of opinions and proven scientific dissemination, against the use of the Internet for dissemination of unverified news and theories. In this regard, we support the debates that are currently taking place in the Brazilian Congress regarding fake news. The progressive governments of Our America are alerted to the danger of signing the "European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean Digital Alliance", which is intended to be presented at the next CELAC meeting. "The freedom to access the best technologies in the world and at the right value is essential."
The neoliberal forces have found on the right -- and especially in the extreme right -- their channel of expression and political dispute. However, the recent victories of the progressive and leftist forces in the region and the resistance struggles of our peoples against neoliberal policies indicate the strength of the ideas of cooperation, solidarity, and multilateralism. In countries where the neoliberal approach prevails, inequality grows with the concentration of wealth on one side and on the other the fall in the purchasing power of wages and unemployment.
Faced with the exponential growth of migrations, deepened by the harmful effects of neoliberalism on the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, whose inhabitants are often forced to abandon their land and their culture in search of new horizons of life in conditions of extreme precariousness, the FSP will promote various initiatives for the development of common action by the peoples and governments of the region. We promote the implementation of a policy that involves both the countries of origin, transition and destination of immigrants, the protection of their rights within the framework of regional integration, international solidarity and the desire for peace, for the right to migrate and to migrate with rights within the framework of self-determination and the sovereignty of peoples and interculturality.
We condemn and demand the unconditional lifting of the criminal and intensified economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against the Cuban people, for more than 60 years, and we demand the exclusion of Cuba from the list of State sponsors of terrorism. We also condemn the unilateral sanctions against Nicaragua and Venezuela, and the interference in the internal affairs of these countries. We condemn the application of the 927 criminal unilateral coercive measures and the economic and financial blockade against Venezuela.
Cuba has heroically resisted for more than half a century the unfair and criminal blockade of the imperial power of the United States; The dignity of the Cuban people is an example for all nations and popular parties in the world. The XXVI Meeting of the FSP resolves to declare Cuba's “Universal Heritage of Dignity”.
We salute the various actions of the progressive and left-wing governments of Latin America and the Caribbean in defense of our sovereignty and against the interference of the United States in our countries and their attempts to impose their political agenda on us through multilateral spaces.
The struggle for the end of colonialism in the American continent and throughout the world is one of the central axes of the São Paulo Forum. We ratify our support for the right of the peoples of the Caribbean to receive fair, special, and differential treatment, and we support their demands for reparation for the damage caused by colonialism and slavery, with emphasis on Haiti, which demands broad solidarity. We reiterate the unequivocal commitment to self-determination and independence of the brotherly people of Puerto Rico, and we reaffirm our support for Argentina in its demand for sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime spaces. We also demand the return to Cuba of the territory where the Guantanamo naval base is located.
We defend the right of the Palestinian and Saharawi peoples to live freely and fully in their ancestral territories. We call on all the countries of the world and the multilateral organizations to recognize the sovereignty of these nations and the self-determination of their respective peoples.
The needs of our peoples call for the strengthening of our unity in diversity. The systemic crises of capitalism, the neoliberal ideology with its perverse effects on people's lives, the force of big financial, transnational capital, and its conglomerates, the attempts and measures of force against the sovereignty of Our America, against our countries and economies, demand us to achieve the unity of our political forces for the construction of a free, sovereign and fair Latin America and Caribbean.
At this XXVI Meeting, we want to greet all the people who are no longer with us, but have accompanied us in the construction of the São Paulo Forum.
We remember the coups d'état in Chile and Uruguay, which 50 years ago consolidated the advance of military dictatorships in our continent and have consequences that are still present in the lives of the Chilean and Uruguayan peoples, and perhaps of the entire continent. The magnificent experience of the Popular Unity in Chile, led by Salvador Allende and interrupted by Pinochet's military coup in 1973, continues to be a landmark in the history of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples, due to its ability to build unity in diversity, and its commitment to the Chilean people and to the Latin American peoples in their struggles.
We express our support for the initiatives that progressive governments have been advancing to overcome the multidimensional crisis that affects the lives of our peoples, such as joint action against inflation, which proposes a different path to the contraction of the economy and, quite the contrary, it assumes the need to reduce costs, including credit interest, increase production, generate employment and reduce poverty, through multiple mechanisms. We denounce free trade agreements and the legal architecture created by them, which give more power to transnational corporations to the detriment of our sovereignty. We exalt President Lula's attitude of rejecting environmental sanctions and other protectionist mechanisms that appear in the debates on the Mercosur-European Union Agreement.
We support the decisions adopted at the Meeting of Presidents of South America, based on the initiative of President Lula, and the content of the "Brasilia Consensus", which establishes the political basis to advance economic, cultural, social and political integration of our nations.
We express our support for all initiatives under development that seek a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine. We reject the threats to peace in the Pacific and the attempts by NATO to advance in that region.
We welcome the initiatives of President Petro for peace in Colombia, a fundamental policy to achieve peace in Latin America and the Caribbean, consistent with the commitment of the São Paulo Forum in defense of peace in our region, as well as in the world. We recognize the role of Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela as guarantor of the process and of the Peace Agreements in Colombia of 2016. We defend the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
At this XXVI Meeting of the FSP, we have the historic responsibility of taking advantage of this second opportunity to have in Latin America and the Caribbean a majority of governments made up of progressive political forces and social movements. Let's overcome the differences, let's build the broadest unity in the diversity of parties, social and popular movements, and the progressive and left-wing intelligentsia within each organization, country, and continent. We will continue together for regional integration to advance Latin American and Caribbean sovereignty!