Final Declaration – 17th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum

Final Declaration
The 17th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum, gathered in Managua on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua and the 116th Anniversary of the Birth of General Augusto C. Sandino, had the participation of 640 delegates of 48 member parties from 21 countries, and 33 guests from 29 parties from 15 countries of Africa, Asia and Europe.
For five days the organizations and participants present at the 17th Meeting debated themes of great interest for the Latin-American peoples and for the whole of humanity, such as the alternative project of the people’s, progressive and leftist forces in Latin America and the Caribbean; the accomplishments by the São Paulo Forum political parties’  national, state-level and local governments and parliaments; the international crisis, in all of its aspects: economic, food, energy, climate, social and political; the struggle for decolonization and national sovereignty; the threats and tragedies caused by imperialism’s and the right wing’s policies, such as drug trafficking and organized crime, which threaten peace, human rights and the rights of the peoples.
We have also discussed subjects of transcendental importance, such as the need for democratizing information, communication and culture; the struggle to broaden the rights and participation of women, youths, original ethnicities and peoples; advocacy of the rights of migrant workers and their families; the challenges of the social movements; and defense- and security- related themes.
We, the political parties participating in the 17th Meeting, who already govern a sizable number of countries across our continent, reaffirm our firm resolve to continue advancing a change of era, including by achieving new wins by the left and the progressive and popular forces of Latin American and the Caribbean in the 2011 elections; in Argentina, to defeat the right and deepen change; in Peru, with a patriot who is strongly committed to democracy and to an economic prosperity that reaches out to the country’s impoverished sectors, Ollanta Humala; in Nicaragua, with the seasoned combatant and statesman, Sandinista revolutionary leader, Commander Daniel Ortega; and in Guatemala, with the champion for the rights of our original peoples and Nobel Peace Prize awardee, Rigoberta Menchú, as candidate of all the united leftist forces, a historical feat that fills us with joy.
The São Paulo Forum congratulates President Rafael Correa on his courage and unswerving resolve in favor of democracy on the occasion of the unquestionable triumph achieved in the referendum for the establishment of policies designed to deepen the process of changes underway in Ecuador.
The victories of the left, from the election of Commander Hugo Chávez in 1998 to the FMLN triumph with Mauricio Funes in 2009, express our political fortitude, partly stemming from a rejection of neoliberalism and traditional politics; but foremost, from the left’s organized political activity in winning not only national governments, but also local governments, territorial governments and spaces in legislative branches. From these new political power positions we have set ourselves the goal of tearing down the neoliberal model and constructing an alternative that meets the immediate and historical demands of our peoples.
Government policies driven by the Latin-American and Caribbean leftist, popular and progressive forces, oriented toward redistributing wealth, controlling natural resources, and the rising participation of the citizenry and the social sectors in political and economic life furthered by a corresponding institutionalization of said processes, set the course toward this process of changes, which is premised on the need to formulate and construct alternative projects to neoliberalism. Redistributing income, democratizing communication and defending national sovereignty are the common and irrevocable banners of the continent’s leftist forces.
Neoliberalism’s defeat will arise from the diversity of national processes, the unity of the progressive and leftist forces, and their solidifying, the deepening of the changes and, as part thereof, the radicalization of democracy, thus enabling higher stages of social development. The ongoing capitalist crisis poses new challenges to the social movements, including denouncing the neoliberal model and building historical alternatives.
The policies and achievements of the governments of the leftist forces in favor of the popular sectors of our continent manifest themselves through social construction projects that correspond, each one of them, to each country’s realities, among which stands paramount the Cuban Revolution,  once again engaged today in perfecting itself by updating its economic model with greater popular participation, which is particularly meaningful if we bear in mind that the revolutionary process in the largest island of the Antilles  has been a source of inspiration for the revolutionaries of the world and without whose contribution the Latin America left wing and social movements would not have reached their height with the arrival of the new century.
Once again our voices repudiate the terrible injustice, arbitrariness, lack of ethics, and the double moral standards applied by the U.S. against the five Cuban heroes fighting against terrorism, who still remain in prison while, conversely, Luis Posada Carriles, a delinquent and a  confessed terrorist, is protected and acquitted from crimes far more serious. And all the while, for over fifty years, in the context of the longest blockade ever against any country in the world in order to force a whole people to surrender by submitting the Cubans to starvation and sickness merely for having decided to build their own fate in a way that displeases the mighty of the world.
Revolutionary and progressive social change processes are developing in Latin America proving with their policies, and by boosting alternative projects, that the people’s interests can only be effectively defended by an organized political force engaged in battling against the right wing, the oligarchy and imperialism. A sign thereof and of the aforementioned policies, in addition to the Cuban Revolution as mentioned earlier,  are Nicaragua with its Sandinista Revolution, once again in march, Christian, socialist and in solidarity; Venezuela with the Bolivarian Revolution and the construction of 21st century socialism; El Salvador with the displacement of the oligarchy’s power and the great maturity of the FMLN with respect to government alliances, which has ushered in favorable changes in the country; also, the great changes in Brazil and Uruguay; Bolivia, with the construction of the Plurinational State and community socialism; Ecuador, with the Citizen’s Revolution; Paraguay  accomplishing remarkable improvements in the living conditions of its people; Argentina, which is rescuing the country from the prostration and debacle it had been immersed into by neoliberalism, and entrenching new rights.
Yet, the achievements made in the recent struggles should not lead us to overlook the looming threat posed by the imperialist, the right wing and the oligarchies counterattack in our continent, at whose service foreign military bases in several countries and colonial territories are ready to engage. In its attacks against the progressive and revolutionary governments, the right wing, moreover, has systematically resorted to electoral fraud, epitomized by the case of Mexico; and to the use of coups d’état, all of which have been defeated by popular forces in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.
The São Paulo Forum reaffirms its support to the People’s National Resistance Front of  Honduras (FNRP) in its resistance fight against the incumbent government, a mere extension of the coup d’état perpetrated against the legitimate government of José Manuel Zelaya. We are keeping track of the ongoing mediation process toward the return of President Zelaya.
We reaffirm that, as long as the FNRP demands are not fulfilled, we shall not accept the return of Honduras to the international arenas from which it was righteously banned, such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Central-American Integration System (SICA), currently paralyzed as part of the crisis unleashed by the coup d’état.
We reiterate our firm belief that the internal conflict in Colombia, with its deeply rooted historical and socioeconomic causes, can only be settled by way of political negotiation. We reaffirm our support to the Alternative Democratic Pole, Colombia’s leftist unity party and the only opposition party.
We pledge our solidarity to the struggle of the Haitian people to reconstruct their country, overcome the consequences of the policies that have led the country to utter poverty, including those implemented in the aftermath of natural disasters, and in defense of its sovereignty in face of U.S. and the other imperialist powers’ interventionism.
We support the struggle of the Mapuche people in Chile, in their demand for being recognized as an original people.
The 17th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in particularly complex and dramatic world junctures. The Arab uprisings, especially those in Tunisia and Egypt, show us that the peoples do not remain passive forever, yet they also remind us that the world’s reactionaries and imperialism will never remain indifferent and will spare no effort to frustrate the revolutionary impetus of such rebellion.
We underscore the flagrant violation of Libya’s national sovereignty, whose people are being bombarded by NATO forces in what constitutes an all-out onslaught by the imperialist powers of the world against a single, sovereign and independent nation which, therefore, has the right to choose for itself the socioeconomic and political regime it finds most suitable to its own aspirations, culture and way of seeing the world and life, as well as the right to settle without external impositions its internal conflicts and problems.
The São Paulo Forum demands the cessation of the imperialist aggression against the Libyan people, beginning with the immediate suspension of the bombardments; plus the need for a ceasefire by both conflicting parties in Libya, bringing the fratricidal confrontation to an end with the aim of achieving a peaceful solution to the civil war, without pre-conditions that merely pose hurdles to any peace-making efforts.
Hence, we make our own the initiatives that seek to foster peace in Libya, such as those led by the ALBA, the African Union and the group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
We pledge our solidarity to the struggle of the Palestinian people toward the creation of an independent national State and we welcome the accord bringing together its diverse political forces, while we demand the reestablishment of the 1967 borders.  Once again we greet and pledge our support to the Saharaui people and the Democratic Saharaui Arab Republic in their struggle for recognition of their national sovereignty, and we urge the United Nations to step up efforts to enable the Saharaui people to exercise their right to self-determination through a referendum under the framework of international law.
The São Paulo Forum reiterates its position that terrorism should not be fought with more terrorism, despise for national sovereignty, violence against civilians and executions of individuals.
The elites in power in the ruling countries have resorted to the stigma of terrorism to criminalize the just struggle of the peoples for their freedom and in defense of their rights while, conversely, State terrorism is put in practice under the pretext of “humanitarian” actions. Furthermore we denounce the US resolve to impose its Hemispheric Security agenda on particular countries whose right wing governments push for the militarization of public security, thus threatening democracy, peace and human rights.
In a globalized world where the reactionary forces of the world and imperialism engage ever more aggressively, in a moment characterized by one of the deepest and broadest crisis of the capitalist system, integration processes are more necessary than ever, as they are a guarantee that our continent will retain an identity and a specific weight in influencing the world of today.
Hence, it is fitting to highlight the defeat of the U.S. initiative to reach the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA)  and the momentum of alternatives such as the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), which stands out among other Latin-American and Caribbean integration and union, by means of systematic solidarity between peoples, improved living conditions and the advocacy of the social rights of the popular sectors in the countries that make up this alliance and in others that, without being members, have benefited from its specific projects.
A most salient expression of sovereign continental integration is the UNASUR, where the countries of South America move forward in defense of the common interests of our peoples. We praise the role of the UNASUR against the coups d’état in Bolivia and Ecuador, and the Colombian-Venezuelan agreement for a normalization of relations. We acknowledge  the role of the recently deceased former Argentine president Néstor Kirchner as that body’s first secretary-general.
A true historical event is in the making since the moment when the member countries of the Rio Group unanimously decided for the establishment of a new continental organization bringing together all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean: the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States (CELAC). We call for the inclusion of Puerto Rico in this body as a way to move forward in the struggle for full recognition of its right to national sovereignty.
The persistence of colonialism in our continent constitutes a particularly grave situation, one directly affecting Puerto Rico, Martinique, Guadalupe, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, the “French Guyana” and the Argentinean Malvinas, as this characterizes a hurdle for the full accomplishment of the integration process, in that it represents a threat to the sovereignty of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. The São Paulo Forum reaffirms its solidarity to the peoples of all continents who fight for their sovereignties to be respected and oppose domination and exploitation.
Imperialism, the continental right wing and the oligarchies intend to stall and prevent continental integration. That was the purpose of the FTAA, as well as of all other FTAs, and the Pacific Agreement signed in Lima, which brought together the governments of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, all interested in a free trade agreement with the United States and aligned with Washington’s foreign policy.
We point out that the São Paulo Forum will hold its next meeting in Caracas in solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution, for the purpose of the opening of the CELAC and in the context of the bicentennial of our independences.
In this 17th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum it is imperative to underscore the vital importance of the debates on the Latin-American and Caribbean left’s strategy and alternative projects and of the unity of the peoples of our continent in defense of their interests against the actions of the great powers in their intent to perpetuate their historical domination, which has only submerged us in poverty and social injustice. Only united shall we be able to win, and that is the reason for the existence of the São Paulo Forum as an arena for the coming together of the people’s, progressive and revolutionary forces that fight for a continent with justice, freedom and prosperity, and a socialist future for our peoples.
It is important to stress that Nicaragua, the country hosting this 17th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum, is resolved to achieve a new triumph for the Latin-American and Caribbean left in upcoming November with its candidate Commander Daniel Ortega, to whom we pledge all our support. The 17th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum concludes by expressing its deepest gratitude to the Nicaraguan people and by declaring the strongest support to the electoral triumph of the Sandinista National Liberation Front.
Long live the unity of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Managua, 20 May 2011
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