• European Secretariat of the Sao Paulo Forum was Set up – A Promising Step forward

  • 16 Feb 12
  • The Sao Paulo Forum (SPF) is an organisation of some dozens of left-wing and progressive parties from Latin America and the Caribbean. It has been working for several years and has considerable political influence in Latin American political life. It is also a symbol of united action of the Left worldwide.

    The meeting to set up the European Secretariat of the Sao Paolo Forum took place in Madrid on 27-28 January 2012. Those taking part were 18 Latin American and Caribbean political parties that are active in 13 European countries. European organisations like the European Left Party (ELP), the United Left Group of the European Parliament (GUE) and transform! europe were also present at the meeting, which was convened following a decision of the 17th meeting of the Sao Paolo Forum that took place in Managua in May 2011.

    The political parties present expressed their support of the changes taking place in Latin America and of the latter’s strong involvement in the social struggles as well as their solidarity with the left-wing and progressive governments and their hopes in the regional process of integration. The defence of the environment was expressed in all the demonstrations – it was an issue that should run right across all work.

    They also expressed their support of the Sao Paolo Forum resolutions regarding the indigenous peoples against colonialism and imperialism, of the defence of Puerto Rico’s independence, their support of Argentina’s right to the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands) and solidarity with all the peoples of the world under the colonial domination of European countries, such as Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and French Guyana.

    A negotiated political solution to the Columbian conflict was proposed. This is a key issue in the regional situation as Columbia and its people are suffering greatly from the situation in their country.

    As for Europe, the parties present agreed on the necessity of supporting the struggle against xenophobia and racism, of defending the rights of migrants, of carrying out campaigns of information and awareness about their situation, stressing the important contribution these people are making to the economy, culture, democracy and development of the European countries.

    Those taking part in the meeting of the Secretariat worked on different commissions that examined the composition and operations of the European Executive Secretariat, in particular the political, economic and social rights of migrants and relations of EU-institutions with Latin America and the Caribbean.

    It has, moreover, become clear that the crisis in the world is a crisis of neoliberal capitalism, and that it is having a heavy impact on Latin American countries. However, the crisis has had different effects in this region, since the progressive Left governments are carrying out policies based on the protection of social rights, public services and workers’ rights. They considered that, in Europe, the offensive taking place is a programme of austerity such as the IMF and World Bank imposed on Latin America and the Caribbean countries in the past.

    The parties present at the founding assembly of the European Secretariat expressed their solidarity with the peoples of Europe who are faced with an offensive aimed at depriving them of their social rights and restricting access to public services, which endangers democracy and encourages imperialist aggression such as that in Libya and those being attempted in Syria and Iran. The members of the European Secretariat wound up the meeting with a commitment to continuing the struggle for the rights of migrants, in particular of those seeking asylum, and to supporting a new economic model that would ensure fundamental rights while respecting the environment, access to public services and women’s rights.