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The Serious contradictions of the Forum of Sao Paolo

8 enero 2007

Versión en español

By Alejandro Peña Esclusa.*

On January 15, 2007, El Salvador hosted the XIII Encounter of the Forum of Sao Paolo (FSP), [1] an organization that was created by Fidel Castro and Lula da Silva in 1990 to regroup the leftist forces in the region after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent failure of Communism.

The occasion prompted the publication of a document, written by, among others, the Brazilian Workers Party (PT) and the Fifth Republic Movement (Movimiento Quinta República or MVR) from Venezuela.

The text is full ofcontradictions and lies [2]. The most blatant consists of trying to represent the Forum as an organization of opposition to the system, when in reality its members have been in power for many, many years in a majority of Latin American countries.Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, Tabaré Vázquez and Daniel Ortega are all members of the Sao Paolo Forum while Néstor Kirchner, Michelle Bachelet and Rafael Correa came to power with the support of the Political Parties that belong to the FSP. Beyond its control only remain Felipe Calderón, Alvaro Uribe, Alan García and Antonio Saca [3] who are constantly threatened by López Obrador (AMLO) from Mexico, the FARC, former Peruvian candidate, Ollanta Humala, all members of the FSP.

Their alleged stance as an opposition force allows the Forum to criticize “poverty,” “concentration of wealth,” and the “lack of health, education and housing,” but forgets thatits members have been in power for years and have done nothing to solve these problems, and to the contrary, they have made them worse. Chávez has been President for eight years now, when oil prices are seven times higher than ever before and, nevertheless, poverty and concentration of wealth have increased remarkably, while thelevels of corruption and insecurity have reached levels never observed before. In addition, Lula has done nothing to improve Brazil’s situation, a fact that can be proven by looking at any reliable statistic.

In the document, the Forum of Sao Paolo condemns “organized crime, terrorism and drug trafficking,” but conveniently omits that among its founding members are criminal and terrorist organizations such as FARC and the ELN, [4] financed by drug trafficking and kidnapping operations.

The manuscript defends “the independence and sovereignty” of Latin American nations, and criticizes “foreign intervention, subordination and colonialism”; but does not mention that Castro’s Communism exports its revolution to the rest of the Continent and has great influence over its allies. An illustrative example is the case of Hugo Chávez, who has total power over the regime of Evo Morales and permanently interferes in internal affairs of Bolivia and other countries.

The FSP claims to promote the integration and unity of people, but in reality, it provokes disintegration and division. Chávez, not only destroyed the Andean Pact, but has also irreconcilably divided Venezuela and Bolivia in two, a situation which can fuel violence in both countries at any moment. For their part, Néstor Kirchner and Tabaré Vázquez, in their need to seek revenge against the military, dangerously revive conflicts that have been already resolved decades ago.

The Forum encourages “popular struggles” of leftist movements “expressed through strikes, protests, demonstrations and road blockages,” but when these actions are used against it, they are violently suppressed. In Venezuela, Chávez fired twenty thousand workers from the Oil Industry for exerting their universal right to strike. In addition, paramilitary groups close to the government attack with guns against protests carried out by the opposition. Laws against road blocking or “guarimbas” have been passed.

Nevertheless, the document of the Sao Paolo Forum does state the truth when it says that the left in Latin America is not divided in two: the “moderate left” (Lula, Kirchner, Vázquez, Bachelet) and the “radical left” (Castro, Chávez, Morales) and that there is only one left. The text reads as follows: “The political and ideological machinery of the right…tries to divide the progressive regimes into two groups: the modern left and the undeveloped left with the intention of erasing the various common objectives that unite our governments and political parties. This difference is false and what really exists is a diversity of strategies that respond to the realities and struggle conditions that are present in every country.”

These many grave contradictions demonstrate that the objective of the Forum of Sao Paolo is not to solve the problems that it criticizes, but to take advantage of the failure of past regimes in order to manipulate the people to achieve power and use it to their own benefit.The Forum has taken the opportunity to meet in El Salvador, one of the few countries that the FSP has not been able to control, to give its continental support to the Farabundo Martí Front, in order to enable it to achieve power, either through the electoral process or by using arms, if necessary. So far, Chávez is generously financing the campaign of the FMLN,5and giving cheap oil to the cities that are governed by mayors of this group. If this is not external intervention, then what is?

*Alejandro Peña Esclusa is a leader of the Venezuelan Opposition and founder of the organization, Fuerza Solidaria. He ran against Hugo Chavez in the 1998 presidential elections and lectures widely throughout Latin America.

[1] Web page of “The Sao Paulo Forum”: www.forosaopaulo.org.

[2] The complete text, titled “The next phase of the Latin American integration” is available in: http://forosaopaulo.fmln.org.sv/documentos/FSP_XIII_encuentro_rev.doc

[3] Antonio Saca: President of El Salvador.

[4] Ejército de Liberación Nacional (usually abbreviated to ELN), or National Liberation Army, is a revolutionary, Marxist, insurgent guerrilla group that has been operating in several regions of Colombia since 1964.