This time there will be no meeting room to shake hands and show affection. But, from that distance imposed by the Coronavirus, leaders of progressive forces and left-winged parties in Latin America and the Caribbean will join efforts focused on that better world we all deserve.
The event will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sao Paulo Forum (FSP).
Back in July 1990, at the Danubio Hotel in Sao Paulo´s neighborhood of Bella Vista, left-winged progressive political parties and movements of the region discussed about the complicated global picture, where few lights were spotted by those who love and create —as stated by José Martí. Today, three decades later, the picture is somewhat different and the context is poisoned by shadows, especially after the havoc caused by a pandemic.
Pessimistic voices foretold the allegedly and unavoidable fall of socialism, and echoed Fukuyama´s ideas that the ideological evolution of humanity was coming to an end.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Socialist bloc in Europe damaged progressive movements in our region, hit by a sort of neoliberalism that privatized and plundered, suffocating our peoples in Latin America.
But our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, along with the Labor Party leader back then, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, lighted a candle amid so much darkness: the Sao Paulo Forum.
And so the Sao Paulo Forum was born in the early days of July 1990 and became a meeting point for dialogue and integration. It was and still is paramount to coordinate fights and join efforts, but always respecting everyone else’s differences.
Encouraging our unity against the empire is its main premise, whose strategic importance Fidel Castro repeated over and over again. The Sao Paulo Forum has become the perfect ground of hope for people in the region, represented by left-winged social parties and movements.
In total, 25 Forums have been carried out since its creation: Sao Paulo (1990), Mexico City (1991), Managua (1992), Havana (1993), Montevideo (1995), San Salvador (1996), Porto Alegre (1997), Mexico City (1998), Managua (2000), Havana (2001), Guatemala City (2002), Quito (2003), Sao Paulo (2005), San Salvador (2007), Montevideo (2008), Mexico City (2009), Buenos Aires (2010), Managua (2011), Caracas (2012), Sao Paulo (2013), La Paz (2014), Mexico City (2015), San Salvador (2016), Managua (2017), Havana (2018) y Caracas (2019).
Now, 30 years after its founding session, the Sao Paulo Forum becomes beacon of hope amid a very tough world situation: coup d’états, neoliberalism, injustice, imprisonment, racism and xenophobia, sanctions toughening, increasingly inhumane blockades imposed by the US government, large campaigns of fake news aiming at demoralizing, misinform…
To top it all, there is a pandemic with unparalleled threat whose impact goes beyond infected and death people —painful in every sense of the word— as it is also hitting hard every nation´s economy.
It was not coincidence that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres raised the alarms on the fact that without immediate actions, the whole world could face a huge economic setback due to the pandemic Covid-19.
Those having less resources to survive the crisis are the ones to tackle the greatest challenges. Guterres also warned about this during the panel on sustainable development.
“Extreme poverty and hunger will dramatically increase; healthcare systems across the world are about to collapse; an entire generation of children are losing their education,” he highlighted and pointed out that the pandemic not only puts the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in jeopardy, but also it may reverse all the progress attained.
Even before the disaster unleashed by Coronavirus, the Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel remarked the importance of the Sao Paulo Forum during the closing ceremony of meeting number 25 held in Caracas when celebrating another anniversary of the birth of unforgettable Commander Hugo Chávez.
“The Forum is and will be essential as this is, again, ‘the hours of the furnaces, let them see nothing but light.’ And this light means unity, the great legacy left our heroes, from Bolívar to Martí, Fidel and Chávez.”
And the Forum has become a beacon of hope now. 30 years after it was founded, its goal remains that of providing light to those suffering people that never give up.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff