The 23rd Sao Paulo Forum, being held this year in Nicaragua, brings together progressive and leftist movements from the region
Over a quarter of a century after its creation, the Sao Paulo Forum continues to be an essential political protagonist in Latin America and the Caribbean, stated Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) Central Committee member, José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, speaking July 16, during the inauguration of the 23rd edition of the event, which brings together progressive and leftist movements from the region.
The Forum, founded in 1990 on the initiative of historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is a space to “discuss ideas” and “build alternative policies,” added Balaguer.
Over 300 delegates and guests from 32 countries worldwide are meeting Managua to discuss challenges facing the left and the continuation of transformations begun in the region.
Balaguer, also head of the PCC’s International Relations department, stressed the importance of the adoption of the “Consensus of Our America,” the forum’s first programmatic document.
The text, he noted, should not be taken as a manual or set of theories to guide revolutionary activity, but rather “is a proposal by the Sao Paulo Forum stemming from the idea that no one knows the concrete realities of their respective processes better than the political forces leading them.”
The Cuban official went on to denounce unconventional methods of warfare, with the gradually increasing use of violence aimed at destroying the social gains made by the people over recent years, particularly in Venezuela.
Balaguer praised political progress in Nicaragua with the re-election of the Sandinista Front last November, as well as the results of Ecuador’s Presidential election, and the work of the Movement Toward Socialism led by Evo Morales in Bolivia.
He went on to express solidarity with the sister nation of Brazil where social gains made under the Workers’ Party (PT) government are being dismantled. “May comrades Lula and Dilma Rousseff receive our message of fraternity,” he stated.
Balaguer also welcomed the presence of Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera at the forum, and expressed support for the island’s cause.
He warned that the United States is still attempting to bring down the Cuban Revolution, but reaffirmed the people’s commitment to the principles of independence or death.
Balaguer also reminded those present that this 23rd forum is the first to take place without the physical presence of Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. In this sense he quoted Raúl’s speech in the recently concluded National Assembly of People’s Power session: “Let us face the new challenges under the guidance of his example, revolutionary intransigence and eternal faith in victory.”
On the initiative of the Sao Paulo Forum’s Executive Secretary, Mónica Valente, the auditorium dedicated a tribute to Fidel.
Valente also highlighted the varied and multiple challenges facing the Forum. “We are united by the ability to build the future and dream of a new Latin America and the Caribbean with development, social justice and sovereignty,” she noted.