Latin American forum says no to U.S. imperialism
By Heather Cottin
Jan 29, 2007, 11:12
Left parties and organizations from all over Latin America and the Caribbean and their allies converged in San Salvador Jan. 12-15 for the Sao Paulo Forum XIII, an ongoing meeting whose first session was in Brazil in 1990.
They called this forum “A New Stage of the Struggle for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.” Over 500 delegates from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Guatemala, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico (including Oaxaca), Peru, Chile, and Colombia discussed the need to combat U.S. imperialism and neoliberalism, the “globalization” policies ravaging the Third World.
Outside the forum one could observe the impact of neoliberal policies. Salvadorans who work in factories called “maquilas,” owned by capitalists in the imperialist countries (the U.S. and Western Europe) are paid $4 a day. The rest survive on $2 a day. People in the countryside have no running water, no clean water, no medical care or free schools.
Although the delegates had political differences, the theme of the four-day forum was unity and support for all the left parties and formations in the region.
The forum delegates were ebullient as Raphael Correa was about to be inaugurated as Ecuador’s president, and Daniel Ortega, who had led Nicaragua during the Sandinista period, had just been inaugurated Jan. 11. Ortega had announced then that Nicaragua was leaving the neoliberal Central American Free Trade Agreement and had signed the ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas) accords as Cuban Vice-President José Ramón Machado, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez embraced him.
At the Sao Paulo Forum, the Faribundo Martí National Liberation Front of El Salvador (FMLN) General Coordinator Medardo González, said, “Today we are in position to affect the defeat of neoliberalism, and not just to defeat it, but to overcome it and to construct a new model for Latin America and the Caribbean.”
The four major points of agreement, which were unanimously accepted on the last day of the conference, called for fundamental structural reforms that would improve society and the creation of an economic alternative to neoliberalism. They called for national sovereignty and cooperation among the people and countries of the region who embrace this project for continental integration.
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