14th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum
22–25 May 2008
Montevideo – Uruguay
Gathered in Montevideo at the 14th São Paulo Forum on 23–25 May 2008, with the participation of 844 delegates from 35 countries, the participant political parties declare:
The 14th Forum is held at a juncture when humanity is being threatened by the policies of a globalization driven solely for the benefit of big capital.
The preemptive war policy carried out by the United States and its allies have brought bloodshed and death to various regions of the world. The empire intends thus to develop its hegemonic plan and to hold back the autonomous development of our countries and the ongoing unity and integration processes that will enable our continent to better defend its natural riches.
Today the planet is threatened by the widespread deterioration of the environment and by climate change, the product of the savage exploitation of natural resources. Yet, the industrialized countries refuse to adopt the measures agreed upon in the international fora that will keep us from continuing along the road to disaster.
The financial crisis in the US, coupled with an unstoppable increase of oil prices, threatens to trigger a worldwide recession.
The manipulation and speculation unleashed by the large transnational corporations tapping into a rise in the global demand for food, the concentration of land ownership, irrational monoculture cultivations, the use of corn by the United States to produce ethanol, and the control of water sources have brought about escalating prices for agricultural products, which threaten to plunge large populations of the world in famines of an incalculable magnitude.
The situation of Latin America and the Caribbean nowadays.
“We are not living in a time of changes but, rather, in a change of time.”
Latin America’s political moment is characterized by the continuous advance of the left’s political forces and social forces, which is reflected by the conquest of government by the progressive forces belonging to this Forum. This is so in 13 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Social and citizen movements and organizations also gain ever more space through their struggles against neoliberal policies and organize rallies and forums, from where they foster the permanent presentation of alternatives to the models that have been implemented on our continent over the last decades.
As manifested in this 14th Forum’s slogan, the progressive forces of the continent that are presently in the government seek by diverse ways to implement projects that, in accordance with each country’s own characteristics, will enable them to face up to the main problems neoliberalism has generated. In all of our countries the levels of marginalization, poverty, illiteracy, a lack of health plans, structural violence, internal and external indebtedness, the absence of social cohesion, and the privatization of important resources that have undermined our countries’ sovereignty constitute a rather heavy heritage.
In this setting, if a diversity of projects is undeniable, it is also true that all of these projects are contributing toward development and the affirmation of the sovereignty and progress of our countries. The social policies adopted by all of them constitute a first step to tackle these grim problems.
Time and again, we have witnessed the failure of the recipes prescribed by the multilateral credit organisms – IMF, IDB, WORLD BANK–, and all progressive governments have taken different paths, away from these dictates.
The conservative bloc opposes changes.
The advance of the progressive projects in Latin America is being fought by the imperialism of the United States, national rightwing forces, transnational companies and, rather importantly, by the great media companies, which systematically perform disinformation campaigns.
The right wing’s offensive has multiple forms:
It has introduced in Latin America the concept of preemptive war and escalated militarization. This is an absolutely unprecedented situation commanded by the United States, which is using the government of Colombia as a bridgehead. Its most flagrant example is the military attack waged on the territory of the brotherly people of Ecuador. The recent deployment of the 4th Fleet clearly signals the intention of the United States to frighten our peoples and governments.
The national right wing forces aim to carry out separatist processes in some countries, as in Bolivia and Venezuela, against history, which, today, is one of integration of our peoples.
They seek by means of fraud, as in the case of Mexico, to stop new progressive forces from reaching the government. In 2009, should the recommendations made by the OAS and other international organizations not be met, the risk is that the same will happen again in the upcoming elections of El Salvador.
They criminalize social protests and the left’s political struggle.
Even today, they call for the privatization of strategic companies, as in the case of Mexico with its huge oil resources.
In the 21st century, they still maintain colonial situations, as is the case of Puerto Rico.
At this 14th São Paulo Forum the parties gathered in it manifest that:
We embrace the Paraguayan people and all parties and social organizations that contributed to the triumph of the candidacy of our brother Fernando Lugo, to whom we wish success and manifest our willingness to contribute in every aspect of his administration.
We shall fight to guarantee the peace and democratic stability of the Latin-American and Caribbean region. Hence, we reject Plan Colombia, the Merida Initiative and Plan Balboa among others, which are the spearhead of military intervention and political meddling in the region, threatening the ongoing transformation projects.
We shall close ranks to stop the concept of preemptive war, which has bathed in blood and destruction other peoples and zones of the world, from setting roots in our continent. It is with such intent that the antiterrorist policy adopted by Bush and his allies seeks to criminalize social protest, as well as persecute the social and political movements that fight for the transformation of our peoples. We reject every form of terrorism yet do not accept this excuse to be used to criminalize social protest and instill fear in society.
The situation lived by our sisterly Republic of Colombia constitutes the main risk factor for the region’s peace and stability. Because of that we must spare no effort to reach a negotiated solution to the armed conflict, one that ensures long-lasting peace and prevents the conflict from spreading throughout the region. The humanitarian agreement constitutes a significant step in that direction, as it will allow the liberation of the civilian and military hostages.
We shall defend in every forum that human rights be in effect and that deepening democracy constitutes a permanent objective to our parties. Our continent has suffered thousands of missing and murdered people as a consequence of their fight for freedom, democracy and the upholding of social justice and peace.
We shall continue to fight against the blockade that has made our sisterly Republic of Cuba suffer for decades. The 14th Meeting wishes to send a special greeting to our Cuban brothers and sisters this year when we are on the eve of celebrating fifty years of their revolution. Once again, we demand the release of the five patriots illegally tried in the United States for avoiding terrorist actions.
We will boost the various integration projects – MERCOSUR, ANDEAN COMMUNITY, CARICOM, ALBA-TCP and UNASUR – in the hope that they will converge and make it possible to eliminate the old reality of the open veins of our America. An integration that, without being a copy of geocentric models, may reflect the reality of our region and is constituted for the benefit of our peoples and as an alternative to the neoliberal globalization.
Our countries’ destinies depend on our unity. Latin America and the Caribbean is the continent of hope. Its riches are incalculable, but its insertion in the world will depend exclusively on the strength and legitimacy their integration processes reach. The central countries aspire to divide us to accomplish free trade agreements for their own benefit. Let us respond with integration.
We welcome and strongly support the creation of the UNASUR, which comprises initiatives such as that of the Bank of the South, as the axis for the future political unity of the countries and peoples of South America, and the proposal for the creation of the South-American Council of Defense. Its strengthening will make it possible to advance toward the creation of a permanent organization, whose members shall only be the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, without exclusions.
We express our solidarity toward the processes led by the brotherly governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and we reject the attempts of destabilization made by the United States.
We are resolved to support sustainable development projects that, by respecting the environment, defending biodiversity and placing the human being at its center, ensure the food sovereignty and cultural development of our peoples.
As part of our defense of our natural riches, we express our solidarity to Mexico in its struggle to preserve its oil resources.
We uphold and defend the rights and claims of the original peoples and Afro-descendants, we demand respect for their traditions, knowledge and culture, and the defense of their intercultural territories.
We shall fight for the democratization of the means of communication, placing them at the reach of the whole of society, particularly of those who have never been heard. We state our decision to fight for socially equal access to information technology and the Internet, which must have its character of a global public good preserved.
The fight against drug traffickers and their networks requires a new, more comprehensive outlook that includes the co-responsibility of the great consumer countries, from a public health perspective, and the non-criminalization of the crops. We fight against the trade and sexual exploitation of girls, boys and women.
Migration is a multifactorial phenomenon. In its economic expression, it is a social and family tragedy to our countries, which should be addressed by means of social development- and employment-driven public policies designed to improve the living conditions of our peoples. We demand unrestricted respect for the human rights of migrants, who are abused in host countries, especially in the United States, the European Union and Japan. We pronounce ourselves against the construction of walls and in favor of the free circulation of all persons.
We shall continue our fight to end the phenomenon of colonialism. We view the decolonization processes in the Caribbean as a priority and a condition for true democracy to prevail in Latin America and the Caribbean. We reiterate the call in support for the free determination and independence of Puerto Rico in accordance with Resolution 1514(XV) of the United Nations General Assembly.
We join in the solidarity bids pursuing the self-determination and independence of Puerto Rico to bring its case before the United Nations General Assembly as of this year.
Likewise, we back the claims for decolonization and independence of Bonaire, Curacao, Martinique, Guadalupe and Guyana.
The political parties of the São Paulo Forum thank the Broad Front of Uruguay for the organization of the 14th Forum and the warm reception they have bestowed upon all delegates.
This has been a new opportunity to reaffirm the ties that bond the parties we integrate and the vocation for unity in diversity that is our mark of identity.
In the plurality and diversity of the São Paulo Forum lies the secret of a long and fruitful existence. In its capacity to “debate without harming, disagree without dividing and argue without allowing ourselves not to feel as brothers and sisters”, is the guarantee of its preservation as an authentic space for the socialization of experiences and the coordination of actions in solidarity.
We will promote the unity of the lefts and the strengthening of their political organizations in every country as a highly important tool to drive processes of change.
Hence, we also recommend the strengthening of youth organizations within the member parties of the São Paulo Forum, as well as the creation of a specific coordination space for the youth organizations of the member parties.
We pledge to redouble efforts to achieve gender equity and hail the advances made in this struggle that is manifested in the presence of two women presidents, ample women partisan delegations and an important number of sisters leading social movements.
As our work ends in Montevideo, we leave a fraternal greeting to the Uruguayan people and call on ourselves to the 15th Summit in Mexico City, where we shall reaffirm our unrelenting will to fight for the definitive liberation of our peoples and for socialism.
Montevideo, 25 May 2008.