22nd Meeting of the São Paulo Forum Final Declaration

1. From June 23 to June 26, 2016, the São Paulo Forum held its 22nd Meeting in El Salvador, a country that over the past seven years has been governed by the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front and on the first day of this month celebrated the second anniversary of the   swearing in of our brother President Salvador Sánchez Cerén.
2. In its twenty-six years of existence, it is the third time the Forum holds its plenary session in San Salvador. Leading actors of a rich history of struggles, the likes of Augusto C. Sandino and Farabundo Martí, the peoples of Central America, together with their brothers and sisters from Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean, not only have made a significant contribution to the Forum, but also to the subcontinent’s present political map, peopled by combative popular movements and leftist and progressive national and local governments and legislatures.
3. The processes and developments since our 21st Meeting, held in August 2015 in Mexico City, confirm the analyses, reflections, and plans of action that for over a quarter of a century we have carried out in this space of convergence, debate, joint action, and solidarity of the leftist and progressive parties, organizations, and political movements of Latin America and the Caribbean.
4. The hemispheric rightwing subordinated to the U.S. imperialism has intensified the actions with which it intends to dismantle the processes of social change that have developed all over our continent, which can be described as an imperial counteroffensive.
5. The brutal offensive to dislodge the progressive and leftist forces from all the social, political and institutional spaces they have fairly won indicate the need to step up the pace of the construction of new paradigms for the left in the 21st century. It is vital not to lose sight of the instrumental nature of any political system as a means to legitimizing class power, regardless of whom exercises it, which underscores the need for structural changes not only in the economic sphere, to which exclusive reference is made customarily, but also in the political sphere, as regards the model’s design, that will lead us to a democracy that is participative and playing a leading role, as an instrument of the power of the people that ensures local and national victories. The left must define strategies to increase its presence across the entire political power, pushing forward to change the correlation of forces within the institutionality of the State, which requires not reducing the political struggle to the Executive branch. Moreover, the ongoing revolutionary processes for social change in our continent must strive to improve themselves and fight against all that that from within the processes themselves stands in their way. Furthermore, in spite of the major accomplishments made, we must identify everything we could have done this far that is still pending.
6. The leftist governments in our continent have managed to provide social, political, and economic stability to our nations and have lifted from poverty tens of millions of families that have thus rid themselves of marginalization, unemployment, and have gained access to health, education, and opportunities for human development. These actions affect the interests of the historically dominant classes and imperialism, which is why they seek to regain control of government no matter how and go back to the old authoritarian and underdeveloped scheme which has benefited them so much. The deepening of the social changes accomplished by the leftist administrations and the strengthening of the political and social struggles conducive to such changes is the best way to stand up to and defeat this right-wing counter-offensive and imperialism.
7. Our major achievements, and those to come, are part of the legacy represented by all the historical struggles of our peoples for their rights, sovereignty, independence, and self-determination. As part of the present situation, we must highlight the heroic victory of the Cuban Revolution in its more than half a century-long battle in face of the aggressiveness of the U.S. imperialism, with acknowledgement by the United States of the defeat of its policy for Cuba and with the inception of the process for the normalization of relations between both countries, which will, however, not be possible if an end is not brought to the criminal economic blockade that has already been declared obsolete by the U.S. government itself and to the illegal occupation of Cuban territory by the Guantánamo naval base.
8. An indisputable hemispheric victory are the strategic achievements to reach peace in Colombia in the context of the negotiation-dialogue between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP, the result of the heroic struggle of a combative and tenacious people against State terrorism imposed by a criminal and genocide far right. Peace in Colombia will make it possible for all the people’s revolutionary and progressive forces  in that country to succeed in advancing united in the political fight and guaranteeing the lives, the civil rights, and the political participation of its leaders and militants. We call the Colombian government and the ELN to keep on with a dialog that will make it possible to conclude the process to achieve definitive peace in that sister country. We stress the role played by the support and solidarity of the international community in backing the negotiation process and its decision to follow through and assess the agreements until they are fully implemented.
9. We express our deepest rejection of the militarization that some seek to restore in our continent, and champion for a Latin America and Caribbean that is a peace zone, as proclaimed by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
10. In these times, a major challenge to the struggling peoples and the revolutionary movement is posed by the battle in  Venezuela, whose revolutionary people, headed by its organized forces, have  shown the capacity, seldom seen in our peoples’ history of struggles, to fight and resist against the brutal onslaughts of the stateless oligarchy and imperialism. The Bolivarian Revolution is a permanent and strategic victory in our peoples’ struggle for freedom.
11. We celebrate the triumph of the revolutionary and progressive forces for rejecting the report presented by the OAS Secretary General, as it would violate that country’s sovereignty and self-determination. We support the initiative of dialogue promoted by the Venezuelan revolutionary government led by President Nicolás Maduro, which has increasingly gained hemispheric and world support.
12. A key element for preserving, broadening, and strengthening the correlation of forces in favor of the leftist and progressive political forces and governments of Latin America and the Caribbean is to defend the integrity and the popular, anti-neoliberal orientation of intergovernmental concertation, cooperation, and integration mechanisms, namely, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA TCP), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
13. The ALBA and PETROCARIBE project has been and still is an example of the capacity of the peoples to exert solidarity and complementarity, and to advance united towards a better destination, as made evident by the processes of change in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Uruguay.
14. It is worth highlighting the case of Nicaragua, the overwhelming and sustained popular support of the FSLN and its leader, Commander Daniel Ortega, a presidential candidate in the upcoming November elections in that country, in which the Nicaraguan people, certain of their triumph, have  taught a lesson in sovereignty by not allowing the traditional intervention of the imperialist powers in the democratic processes of our countries under the disguise of electoral observation, [process] which will be carried out by the legitimately established bodies of our great Latin American and Caribbean nation.
15. The left pushes for transparency and probity in the use and handling of public funds. Thus, we strongly condemn the United States for arrogating to itself oversight powers in the fight against corruption, disrespecting the sovereignty of our peoples by means of unconstitutional mechanisms, yet drawing one’s attention to the fact that not a single political figure linked to the oligarchy –from where the greatest acts of corruption arise– has been mentioned or affected, corruption which has also been created by imperialist intervention. The case of CICIG in Guatemala is, thus, emblematic but the Guatemalan people themselves have shown that they do not need imperial tutelage by interventionist bodies to face corruption because that is guaranteed by the fighting capacity of the popular sectors whenever the revolutionary movement is united, organized, and up to its historic mission.
16. We reaffirm our commitment to defending our peoples’ Independence, sovereignty, and self-determination. We condemn colonialism in its condition of epitome of imperialist domination over our peoples, while supporting the heroic struggle of the Puerto Rican people for their independence and the just claim by Argentina to its sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands. The FSP proclaims itself the historical continuator of the Amphictyonic Congress of Panama, convened by Simón Bolívar, the Liberator, in the struggle against any trace of colonialism and neocolonialism, and for the unity of our peoples.
17. To Bolivia we express the internationalist-militant and solidarity support by the parties of the Forum, as well as to the Bolivian revolution in its fight against nonconventional, antidemocratic, and destabilizing war. We urge the FSP member parties in Chile and in Bolivia to carry on with the dialogue towards a compromise regarding the Bolivian historic claim to a sovereign exit to the sea within the framework of respect for international law.
18. The São Paulo Forum rejects fiscal havens, tax evasion, and the opacity of big capital, as these harm each country’s economic and social development. Moreover, it supports the initiative by President Rafael Correa to submit to the UN General Assembly a proposal to ban fiscal havens worldwide and create transparency and financial accountability mechanisms.
19. In Brazil, the coup d’état against President Dilma Rousseff is part of the imperial counteroffensive that will be defeated by the popular forces across the continent. Backed by the media, sectors of the State apparatus and of the national and international economic power in Brazil have set up a political trial that is a coup against democracy, social rights, national sovereignty, and the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean. The São Paulo Forum expresses to the Brazilian people its full solidarity in their struggle, which is also of the whole continent, against the coup d’état, for democracy and the defense of the social accomplishments of the Brazilian people under the governments of the PT and its allies, led by Lula and Dilma; and we join our voice to that of all those who, around the world, reject the illegitimate, coup-inspired government and demand the return of the President legitimately elected.
20. In the United States live more than 55 million people from Latin America and the Caribbean who contribute to the economic and social development of that country. A significant percentage of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States come from Latin America and the Caribbean, but the US government has not kept its promise of a reform focused on the rights of the migrant population, part of whom is suffering a humanitarian crisis, as is the case of the boys and girls detained at the borders. The São Paulo Forum calls on its parties’ militants and supporters in the United States to, as a community, join the struggle, and claim for their rights and denounce the US government’s meddling policy in our countries.
21. It is imperative that the São Paulo Forum further endeavor in the construction of a continental social and political front that brings together political, social, and popular movements of our region comprising broad sectors of society, among them those demanding respect for their personal and collective rights, such as their sexual orientation in the case of the LGBT groups, sectors of the youth, the gender struggles for equal rights for men and women, aboriginal peoples and those of African descent, those who do  not necessarily act  in partisan terms, yet fight in the streets for their rights and to exercise their cultural expressions. All of us, leftist parties, must make sure these sectors find their space in our struggles and structures.
22. Culture today is a key domination weapon of the national oligarchies and the big corporations in their intent to control the world and avert every emancipating project. We must strengthen the battle of ideas in all of their expressions and by all means. The ideological, cultural, media struggle is vital to defeat the ideological domination of the dominant classes and to mobilize the peoples in defense of their interests. We must organize a counter-hegemonic-thought front that may incorporate, without any prejudice to our struggle, people and groups of the most varied political affiliations.
23. The São Paulo Forum congratulates the government of El Salvador and the FMLN for their achievements, especially for their effective social policies, which have made it possible to reduce poverty, and the fight against crime, which has improved the atmosphere of safety. We are convinced that the FMLN government will keep on deepening the changes started in its first administration, in 2009, for the benefit of the Salvadorian people.
24. These days Latin America and the Caribbean is and will continue to be at the forefront of the struggle of the peoples for a society with social justice and freedom, without exploitation and oppression; a struggle in which the peoples, their political and social organizations, and the governments that stand up for the interests of the people are facing the most powerful forces in the world, yet whose economic and military might cannot prevail against the power of reason, of ideas, and of the highest values of humanity, which, as proclaimed by the Cuban Revolution in the Second Declaration of Havana, “has said, “enough!” and has begun to march.” We shall keep on empowering the people to ensure the economic, social, and political transformations of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

San Salvador, June 28, 2016.