The Sao Paolo Forum, which groups leftists, progressives and anti-neoliberals in Latin America and the Caribbean, is celebrating its 20th meeting in Bolivia this week. Perhaps the most important meeting to date, it comes at a time marked by important advances of the major powers in the region and the persistent efforts of the United States to keep them down.
With such circumstances, the Bolivian hosts have carefully planned the event with the recent struggles of Latin and Caribbean people in mind. It includes a diversity of organizations, not always strictly partisan and less avant-garde, and cases like those of Bolivia and Ecuador, where important social movements have been decisive in consolidating anti-neoliberal governments.
The forum is conducting an evaluation of the progressive governments of the region to analyze what needs to be done within the current anti-imperialist and ALC forces. They will have to take into account the dynamic state of geopolitics caused by multi-polarity and the endless crisis of capitalism plaguing the world, in particular the United States’ mega-crisis of 2008, which has yet to end.
The FSP (Sao Paolo Forum) was founded in 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and when the ALC was alive and well in Cuba, with the political power available to achieve a socialist utopia. The objective of its first meeting in the Brazilian city was to come up with an outline for transitioning power to leftist forces in conditions much more adverse than those of just a few years ago.
The "Caracazo" (1989) and the indigenous uprising in Chiapas (1994) served as evidence of a movement of the masses headed by the left, which had fraudulently won the 1988 election in Mexico. These, along with the great uprising in Venezuela, happened spontaneously and all shared a rejection of the neoliberal politics inaugurated by Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile that extended rapidly throughout the region.
Starting around the 1998 election of Venezuelan firework President Hugo Chavez, other anti-neoliberal options began to appear in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Honduras, Paraguay and El Salvador as a result of these struggles.
A truly transcendental moment was the failure of the U.S. to be approved by the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) at the Summit of the Americas at Mar del Plata (Argentina, 2005). They were resisted by the actions of Chavez, Lula de Silva and the energetic host, Nestor Kirchner, as well as significant street protests.
The fall of the FTAA had been preceded by the foundation of ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) between Venezuela and Cuba in December of 2004, which was then extended to Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Granadas, Antigua and Santa Lucia. Petrocaribe came into the picture, and the foundation of Unasur and la Celac were historic events in the unity and integration between supporters of Jose Marti and Simon Bolivar.
In the face of these strong advances, Washington has mounted a counter-offensive to harass, isolate and overthrow Latino and Caribbean governments that don't suit its interests. The most compelling evidence is in Venezuela, where it attempted to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro with tactics from so-called fourth generation warfare, threatening the very solidarity of our Latin people.
At the same time, Obama's government tries to destabilize independent governments in the region with unprecedented, premeditated attacks (Honduras and Paraguay) and malevolent efforts against Cuba like those recently revealed by the AP agency.