Sao Paulo Forum Caribbean Sub-Regional Meeting
Wednesday 14 and Thursday14 January 2015

January 14th, 2015
NOTING THAT on January 13th and 14th, the Sao Paulo Forum held a historic Caribbean Sub- Regional Meeting in San-Fernando, Trinidad. The Sao Paulo Forum was inaugurated in July 1990 and in its almost 25 year history this was the first official Meeting of the Forum in an English speaking Caribbean country. This historic event is a clear manifestation of the importance which the Forum places on the Caribbean Sub-Region and in recognition of the policy of inclusiveness and diversity of progressive political parties and movements that convene under the banner of the Forum.
AND RECOGNISING THAT this Caribbean Sub-Regional Meeting was held at a very important conjuncture when there is a deep seated crisis of Global Capitalism. This is manifested by economic recession in Japan, the stagnation of economies in Europe, the continuing fiscal deficit in the United States and the rapid and precipitous fall in oil, energy, and commodity prices precipitated by major geo-political factors and conflicting interests of oil producers. The crisis is further manifested in the crisis of Debt, which debt is strangling virtually every country in the Caribbean region.
AND WHEREAS this crisis is being deepened by the implementation of neo-liberal policies and is resulting in massive inequalities, and multi-dimensional social crises including: the loss of jobs and the replacement of decent jobs with precarious work; high unemployment especially among the youth; cuts of expenditure for social security and social safety nets; reduction in and/or loss of pension benefits; inflation and/or forced pay cuts; privatisation of social goods and services such as water, electricity, public transportation, health care and education; worsening conditions of housing and shelter; youth alienation and the rise of gangs and youth violence fuelled by the drug trade and other criminal activity.
AND WHEREAS in countries where neo-liberalism is being pursued there is an increased tendency towards authoritarianism as those in control of the state use the state power to consolidate the economic interest of transnational and big local capital, while at the same time enriching themselves through massive corruption. One example of this authoritarianism is the strategy of criminalising social and progressive political parties and movements as they seek to resist neo-liberal policies. In these states there is also a profound political crisis with many governments lacking legitimacy, manipulating elections to obtain fraudulent results and other abuses of office and of the constitution.
AND WHEREAS in Latin-America, the United States with its hegemonic intent, in the face of the transition from a uni-polar to a multi-polar world, has been actively collaborating with those reactionary forces of traditional power and privilege within Latin-America who are opposed to progressive change and who wish to pursue neo-liberalism. This strategy has resulted in constitutional coup-d’etats in Honduras and Paraguay; an economic and media war to destabilise the elected Government in Venezuela; and a concerted effort to demonise and defeat the elected Government of Brazil. In the Caribbean this strategy is manifested in the continued blockade against Cuba; the military occupation and a policy of economic colonisation of Haiti; the continued colonial status of Puerto Rico; and policies of structural adjustment and neo-liberalism that destroy the local economy resulting in the consolidation of ownership of resources and economic wealth in the hands of transnational capital and a few local oligarchs, whilst increasing debt and the degradation of human life.
AND WHEREAS at the same time that the forces of neo-liberalism and reaction have been engaged in their Agenda, the forces of progress and the peoples of Latin-America and the Caribbean who affirm humanity and who wish for a better life, social justice, peace and equity have been securing new victories and consolidating past gains. In this regard this Caribbean Sub-Regional Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum therefore extends our deepest Congratulations to four progressive parties, members of the Sao Paulo Forum, in their very significant election victories in 2014.
They are:
1. Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), El Salvador
2. Workers’ Party (PT), Brazil
3. Movement for Socialism (MAS-IPSP), Bolivia
4. The Broad Front, Uruguay
AND WE FURTHER recognise the importance of the Cuban Revolution and join with the people of Cuba in the celebration of the freedom of Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Ramon Labanino Salazar and Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, who were unjustly imprisoned in the US together with two other compatriots (Cuban 5). The meeting also welcomes the statements from both President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama on the embarking on a process to establish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America, while we affirm the right of Cuba to pursue its own path of development based on the principles of self-determination, sovereignty and the non-interference in the internal affairs of a state.
AND WE SALUTE the Sao Paulo Forum on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, this July 2015. This is a signal achievement since in that time the Forum has grown from having 48 parties, one of which was in government to 119 parties as members, nine of which are in government today. The Forum is the most important space for political parties not just in this hemisphere but globally and we applaud the work of the Forum in bringing together diverse progressive parties to engage in a space in which all views are respected and where the political practice is one of building unity through consensus.
AND WE FULLY SUPPORT the processes of integration based on solidarity which have been promoted by the Sao Paulo Forum. Twenty-five years ago the important processes such as ALBA; Petrocaribe; CELAC; Mercusor; UNASUR did not exist; while Caricom has been deepened to include the project of a Single Market. These processes have come about through the leadership of member parties of the Forum. At the same time, social movements in Latin America have been in the forefront of developing integration at the level of the peoples of the hemisphere and this has been vital to the strengthening of integration without which the region cannot successfully confront and overcome the neo-liberal agenda and the hegemonic intent of the United States.
WE THEREFORE RESOLVE to demand that there be an immediate withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti. On 1 June 2004, military troops of the MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti entered Haiti under the pretext of restoring ‘stability’. The presence of MINUSTAH has only increased the level of violence inflicted on the Haitian people and brought death to many thousands through the introduction of cholera.
AND WE FURTHER RESOLVE to demand that the unjust US Blockade against Cuba be ended immediately. This blockade has stifled Cuban economic development, cost Cuba many hundreds of billions of dollars and as a result the Cuban people have had to endure significant hardships, including the loss of lives. The blockade has been roundly condemned as illegitimate, illegal and unjust by the entire international community including all of the Caribbean Countries in the vote on the resolution that Cuba has tabled annually at the United Nations General Assembly.
AND WE FURTHER RESOLVE to express solidarity and support with the Venezuelan people and the Government of the Worker President Nicholas Maduro. The people of Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution have been subjected to many forms of attacks and provocations by right wing forces both internally and externally which have used a strategy of an economic war in an attempt to use hunger to bring the nation to its knees. This strategy includes the Declaration by the United States to impose illegal sanctions and moving its local pawns to generate chaos and to destabilise the country. The response by the Revolutionary Government and the people of Venezuela has been very strong as they have repelled the continuing attacks by US imperialism and its allies in their effort to defeat the Worker President Nicholas Maduro and the historical legacy of the Supreme Commander Hugo Chavez.
AND WE FURTHER RESOLVE to express our solidarity with all the peoples of the Caribbean who continue to live in colonies of the United States, France, Britain and Holland. The Caribbean today has more colonies than any other region of the world in spite of the very proud and historic tradition of independence beginning with Haiti, the first nation in Latin America and the Caribbean to win its independence in 1804, an achievement all the more significant because the struggle for independence was led and fought by slaves who at the same time won their freedom. Today, in this the second decade of the 21st Century, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands (colonies of the United States); Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and Guyenne (colonies of France); Anguilla, Monserrat, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands (colonies of Britain); Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, St Eustatious (colonies of Holland) and St. Martin (a colony of both France and Holland) are all colonies and this is an affront to the ideals of freedom, identity and self-determination.
AND WE FURTHER RESOLVE to call on US President Barack Obama to release Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera. Lopez Rivera was sentenced in 1981 in the US for seditious conspiracy in what former President Clinton considered a disproportionate sentence when granting him a presidential pardon in 1999. Lopez Rivera declined the pardon, primarily because it did not include all the other Puerto Rican political prisoners. Now, in 2015, the others are free, after being granted parole by the United States Parole Commission. The only one left is Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has already served almost 33 years, 12 of them in solitary confinement.
AND WE FURTHER RESOLVE TO call on the French authorities to free Charly Lendo, former Deputy Secretary General of the UGTG (General Workers’ Union of Guadeloupe) who was one of the leaders of the powerful mass movement of 2009 and who has been wrongfully charged with the accidental death of a young motorcyclist which occurred during that protest action; this charge against Charly Lendo being an attempt to criminalise social protests.
AND WE FURTHER RESOLVE in recognition of our principles of peace and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and appreciating that we need to ensure that the historical memory of our peoples’ struggles against colonialism and imperialism, to organise throughout the region special commemoration activities in this year 2015 to mark two extremely important anniversaries:
(i) 100 years of the first invasion by US troops of Haiti (in 1915); and
(ii) 50 years of the US military invasion of the Dominican Republic (1965).
AND WE FURTHER RESOLVE to support the VI Assembly of Caribbean People to be held in Curacao in July-August, 2015 and to encourage the participation of political parties, social movements, NGO’s, CBO’s and other organisations and individuals in this very important process of integration and unity of the peoples of the Caribbean with the theme of “Integration of the Caribbean on the basis of Sovereignty and Solidarity”.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Meeting recognises and appreciates the interest expressed by eight Political Parties in the English speaking Caribbean, as well as other political parties and movements in the region to participate in the Sao Paulo Process even as they could not attend this Sub-Regional meeting. We mandate the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) of Trinidad and Tobago to continue to work closely with the Meso-American Secretariat of the Forum and the Forum’s Working Group in encouraging these parties to become members of the Forum so that we can have the inclusion of more parties from the English speaking Caribbean in the Sao Paulo Forum. The Parties that expressed such an interest are:-
1. Unity Labour Party, St.Vincent
2. St. Lucia Labour Party, St. Lucia
3. Dominica Labour Party, Dominica
4. United Progressive Party, Antigua
5. Antigua Labour Party, Antigua
6. New National Party, Grenada
7. Barbados Labour Party, Barbados
8. People’s National Party, Jamaica
WE WISH TO EXPRESS our profound thanks to our member party, the Movement for Social Justice, in the organising of this historical first Caribbean Sub-Regional Meeting and to declare that the meeting was a tremendous success as it laid the foundation for the growth of the Caribbean in the work of the Forum.
WE ALSO EXPRESS our solidarity with our member party, the MSJ, in all its political work in Trinidad and Tobago as it leads the political struggle to bring about fundamental change so that all the people of Trinidad and Tobago can enjoy a life with social justice, equity and fairness.