Thursday, January 18, 2007

Left wing in Latin America
Merco Press
January 15, 2007

Left wing forum celebrates advances in Latinamerica

Some 66 left wing delegations from thirty different
countries, mainly Latinamerica are currently meeting in
San Salvador in the framework of the Sao Paulo Forum,
to celebrate and assess the advance last year of
elected left wing governments in the region, as
happened in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela.
Medardo Gonzalez who is hosting the forum as leader of
Salvador's Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front,
FMLN, recalled the circumstances when the forum first
started fifteen years ago: the fall of the Berlin Wall,
the Soviet Union's collapse, Cuba's dramatic financial
crisis and the Nicaraguan revolution defeated by the

'We were on the defensive and neo-liberalism on full
offensive. Some said it was the end of history', said
Nidia Diaz another FMLN leader: However today 'the
defeat of neo-liberalism is evident and several of the
forum's members are in government, Lula da Silva
(Brazil); Hugo Chavez (Venezuela); Evo Morales
(Bolivia), in Cuba the revolution survived and is
stronger, and regionally social movements have

Gonzalez even recalls that back in 1996 the Sao Paulo
forum was against admitting Chavez as a member because
of his 'military coups' background, but today 'he's a
fundamental pillar' of the regional left and is
developing in Venezuela 'one of the most original
processes in Latinamerica'.

He also praised the creation by Venezuela and Cuba of
the ALBA (dawn) initiative, which stands for Bolivarian
Alternative for the Americas and is the counter
proposal for the United States 'imperial project' of a
Free Trade Area of the Americas, FTAA. So far ALBA's
members are Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia.
Gonzalez revealed that the final document of the forum
will emphasize the need to strengthen democratic
processes, 'beyond electoral participation'; promote
government policies and structural reforms to defeat
poverty (60% of Latin-Americans are catalogued as poor)
and create an alternative economic project to neo-
liberalism, which defends national sovereignties and
promotes economic, political and social cooperation
among the peoples of the region.

Alba Maldonado, a member of Guatemala's Congress and
former guerrilla is optimistic about the future since
in the coming general elections this year in her
country, the leading candidate according to opinion
polls is Alvaro Colom, a Social-democrat with strong
support among the indigenous population. If Colom
finally becomes Guatemala's president, only El Salvador
in Central America will still be ruled by 'a
Conservative, neo liberal'.

El Salvador's presidential election is scheduled for
2009 and 'we are working hard to come up with a solid
candidate', said Gonzalez.


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