By Rafael R. Díaz Torres (02/11/11)

Believing young people constitute the present and foundation for the development of nations in Latin America, the executive secretary for the Sao Paulo Forum and member of the ruling Workers Party (WP) of Brazil Valter Pomar addressed on Tuesday a group of students from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras in a conversation that mainly sought to exchange experiences of political mobilization between the Puerto Rican younger generations of left-wing activists and the veteran Brazilian officer from one of the most influential political parties of the left that South America has had in the last decades.
In the forum held at the Social Work lobby of UPR’s Río Piedras campus and sponsored by United Front of Leftist Youth (FUJI for its Spanish acronym), Pomar shared his perspective on the struggles and challenges faced by left-wing Brazilian parties regarding the ability to agglutinate and mobilize young people to participate in activism and political organization.
“There is a youth life (in Brazil) that does not experience or join student political organizations and our (leftist) youth have not been successful in recruiting those (young) people,” said Pomar.
The WP leader blamed his organization’s involvement with excessive bureaucratic politics in sacrifice of the more evident activism from earlier decades as one of the elements responsible for engendering apathy among the youth who do not feel attracted to joining left-wing organizations anymore. Pomar also criticized the lack of public policy projects geared at culture and other issues relevant to young people as influential in the current status of involvement from students and Brazilian youths in general.
However, Pomar’s harsher criticism revolved around the role of mass media and its alleged complicity in the promotion of apathy among younger audiences in this South American country.
“Mass media campaigns in favor of depoliticizing politics as public service is portrayed as something merely professional instead of being represented as a vocation based on conscience,” he added. “Thus, the youth see it as any other profession and that creates apathy among these generations.”
“I would love to see all youngsters develop a political conscience, not necessarily subscribed to political parties, but to at least become more involved and have awareness of the most pressing issues.”
For the Latin American leftist leader, the WP has the big challenge of convincing those younger generations that have always seen his party as the ruling one since Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the Brazilian presidency in 2002. The country’s current president is Dilma Rousseff, also from the WP.
“In 2012, young electors would not have known another government except ours and there would be the risk of losing them to the opposition,” commented Pomar in reference to the need to change the anti-neo-liberalist discourse as it does not constitute the main institutional economic ideology in Brazil since the WP came to power in 2002.