Latin American People's Summit opposes right-wing offensive

2018 People's Summit in Lima, Peru.

Hundreds of popular organisations and social movements from across Latin America and the Caribbean met at the Summit of the Peoples in Lima, Peru, over April 10-14.

The summit is a regular parallel to the official Summit of the Americas, which brings together governments from the entire Western Hemisphere.

Venezuela officially boycotted the governmental summit following Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s controversial banning by Peru’s government. This, however, did not dissuade a colourful and multifaceted Venezuelan delegation from attending the parallel summit.

Representatives from Venezuela’s leftist political parties, indigenous peoples, campesinos, community groups, feminist organisations, youth groups, among others, joined the grassroots gathering.

The People’s Summit discussed the ongoing US blockade against Cuba, the jailing of former Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s imprisonment, the US-led bombing of Syria, the wave of femicides across Latin America, and the rightward turn of the Lenin Moreno administration in Ecuador.

Venezuela was particularly high on the agenda of most social movements attending amid an escalating offensive against the country by Washington and its regional right-wing allies.

Below is a translation of the final declaration of the 2018 Peoples’ Summit, abridged and edited for clarity. It is reposted from Venezuelanalysis.com.

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We, the representatives of social and popular organisations of Peru, Latin America and the Caribbean, have met in Lima, Peru, to discuss the political, social and economic reality of our America, to share our struggles and resistance, to strengthen the militant solidarity of our peoples and the continental unity of the social and popular movements of our region.

The movements here include unions that fight for the defence of workers’ rights; trade associations; feminist groups fighting for gender equality; youth and student groups; campesino organisations fighting for the right to land; indigenous groups resisting the onslaught of savage capitalism; environmental groups that confront the predatory extractive model; organisations that defend the rights of sexual diversity; regional platforms that face neoliberal free trade projects; and networks of civil society and dozens of collectives and movements that struggle day to day against political power and economic capital.

New confrontations

We find ourselves once again in a scenario of confrontation and struggle in our America, between the forces of neoconservatism of the submissive elites and the social, popular, progressive and left forces.

We are living through a counter-offensive of imperial power that tries to erase the democratic advances and the social and political inclusion that progressive governments have promoted in the past decade-and-a-half.

In Peru, these neoconservative forces tried to regain hegemony in an illegitimate summit that is not the expression of Latin American and Caribbean citizens.

The heads of state come to talk about governance and corruption in a country in which all Peruvian presidents of the past 30 years have outstanding accounts with the justice system for crimes committed while in power. They want to continue with their corrupt policies by now promoting Public-Private Partnerships.

The popular organisations of Peru, united in the Unified National Command of Struggle (CNUL) and the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP), called on the social and popular movements of our America to meet in the framework of the Summit of the Peoples to advance an alternative to the neoliberal model.

The Peoples’ Summit is the ideal framework to have important debates, exchange experiences, strengthen solidarity between our struggles and maintain the spirit of resistance against capitalism.

Neoliberal wind blows again on the continent. Policies to worsen precariousness and deregulate employment are generalised. There is progress in dismantling public pension schemes and promoting austerity policies aimed at dismantling social protection programs. Negotiations are being revived for new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Continental resistance

Therefore, the agenda of the continental resistance against neoliberalism also must become strong again around these points:

* We call on social movements to face the onslaught against the working conditions and rights of the working class. We reject neoliberal policies that promote precariousness and labour deregulation. We demand decent and meaningful work.

* We oppose neoliberal austerity measures aimed at cutting public investment in assistance and social protection programs.

* We reject the calls to privatise public retirement schemes to deliver the resources of millions of workers to private corporate interests.

* We continue to reject the Free Trade Agreements and the Investment Protection Treaties, which are instruments in favour of transnational corporate power and against our peoples.

* The right to land is more than ever the inalienable right of Indigenous peoples and peasants, the land must be for those who work it.

* We condemn sexist violence and impunity for femicides that are dangerously becoming a widespread in our continent. In our agenda, we prioritise the struggle for gender equality. Without equality of wages for women, without parity in political participation, without equal access to decent jobs, without respect for their sexual and reproductive rights, we will have societies that are neither equal, democratic, nor inclusive.

* We condemn the criminalisation of social protest that has become widespread in our countries, causing dozens of victims.

* We continue to fight against the extractive logic of our economies and to modify the productive framework of our countries.

* We call for opposing the strengthening of religious fundamentalism that, in alliance with capital, aims to return our America to dark times.

* We reject the use of justice systems as instruments of political persecution against progressive leaders in Latin America.

We express our unwavering solidarity with former Brazilian president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, who today faces the hatred of the Brazilian elites for being the reference point of the oppressed and excluded.

What happens with Lula is the expression of the fascist-like turn in Brazil as a result of the parliamentary coup against Dilma Russeff. Today we are Lula and Brazil.

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Check out a Sydney May 2 forum 'Brazil at a crossroads: the struggle for democracy'

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We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the people of Martí, Che, Fidel, Raúl — the heroic Cuban people and their glorious revolution. The Cuban Revolution continues to be, in spite of the aggressions and the difficulties, the best example of dignity, which makes it an example to follow.

We demand the end of the criminal economic, financial and commercial blockade of the United States against Cuba, as strongly demanded by the General Assembly of the United Nations, as well as the immediate return of the territory illegally occupied by the US military base in Guantanamo.

Solidarity with Venezuela

We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. We strongly condemn imperialist aggression, economic war and political harassment against Bolivarian Venezuela.

We demand respect for the sovereignty of the homeland of the Venezuelan people who, since 1999, initiated a popular constituent process that has marked the path of anti-imperialist struggle for Latin American unity and for our American socialism.

We express our support for President Nicolás Maduro, successor of the historic project promoted by Hugo Chávez. We demand an end to the illegitimate and unilateral [US] sanctions against the Bolivarian people. We reject plans for military intervention in Venezuela under the pretext of humanitarian aid, and we demand non-interference in upcoming May 20 elections and respect for the sovereignty and self-determination of our peoples.

We reaffirm our solidarity with the Bolivian revolutionary process led by our comrade Evo Morales. We reaffirm our support for the historic claim of the Bolivian people, for sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean, we ask that the peoples of Chile and Bolivia urge their governments to reach a peaceful resolution through dialogue.

The Citizen Revolution led by comrade Rafael Correa in Ecuador has shown the world that progressive processes can make transformations that put the human being above capital. It has shown that the redistribution of wealth, the defence of sovereignty and the respect and protection of rights of human beings are fundamental to achieve the society of good living.

From the Summit of the Peoples, we expressed our concern about any regression in the achievements made in Ecuador and, above all, any restoration of neoliberal postulates linked to interference of the US State Department.

We reject the racist and xenophobic policies of Donald Trump towards our brothers and sisters in Mexico, who in addition to suffering from their corrupt political elite and the consequences of neoliberalism, repression and corruption, must deal with the construction of a wall against them. We oppose the criminalisation of migration; migration is a right.

Haiti was the first cry of freedom and independence in Our America. The MINUSTAH occupation force has left hundreds of victims with diseases, rapes, murders. We ask for the historical compensation for the damages of this occupation and we denounce its new mask that bears the name of MINUJUST.

We greet and send a fraternal embrace to comrade Oscar López Rivera, [Puerto Rican freedom fighter jailed for years by the US] who has won his freedom with coherence and dignity. But with this victory the fight is not over, we will continue in the anti-colonial battle for a free Puerto Rico!

We are still asking for justice for Honduran indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres [assassinated in 2016]. We condemn the brazen electoral fraud that perpetuates José Orlando Hernández in power. We send our solidarity to the hundreds of thousands of Hondurans who have demonstrated and continue to resist the repression of the dictatorship.

We demand from the Colombian government the real implementation of the Havana Peace Accords, the continuation of negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the immediate freedom of peace negotiator Jesús Santrich, of Simón Trinidad, prisoner in the US for 14 years, and of the thousands of political prisoners still in Colombian jails. We also denounce the murder of more than 300 social leaders in the last two years, and we urge the government to protect their lives.

We offer our solidarity with the Argentine people resisting the onslaught of the neoliberal policies of Mauricio Macri. We do not forget Santiago Maldonado, who was disappeared and murdered in 2017, and Rafael Nahuel, the child massacred by the police. We demand the freedom of Milagro Sala and all those persecuted by Argentina’s judiciary-media.

From the Summit of the Peoples, we condemn the military aggression of US imperialism against the Syrian people; we condemn this murderous action.

Our solidarity with the struggle of the [Indigenous] Mapuche people for their rights. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people besieged and massacred constantly at the hands of imperialist Zionism. We sympathise and support the legitimate cause of the Saharawi people and their right to self-determination [in the face of Moroccan occupation] in Western Sahara.

Protesting the G20

From the Peoples’ Summit, we call on social movements to gather again in Buenos Aires in Argentina for actions against the global imperial power that will gather for the G20 summit on November 30 and December 1. In particular, we call for participation in the Feminist Forum against the G20.

We ratify here in Lima that the Peoples’ Summit is a space in which we reaffirm our solidarity, to exchange our experiences of resistance, to articulate our agendas of struggle, to strengthen the unity and organisation of progressive social and popular movements and of the left in our America.

Long live the struggle of our people! Long live the Peoples’ Summit!

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