Leaders of Latin America’s remaining leftist regimes met in Caracas, Venezuela, this weekend to discuss their continued survival following the continent’s significant shift rightwards in response to the failure of socialist experiments.
The annual Sao Paulo Forum is an institution established to help socialist and communist regimes in the Western Hemisphere impose their radical ideas more efficiently and promote them outside of their borders.
The main subject of discussion at this year’s event was efforts by the United States to sanction, weaken, and help the people remove left-wing dictatorships in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, as well as the broader aim of restoring left-wing leadership across the continent.
In his address to the forum, Cuba’s ceremonial President Miguel Díaz-Canel declared, “Venezuela is today the first anti-imperialist trench of the world.”
“The U.S. imperialism counteroffensive and the oligarchy, alongside the hawks that have literally hijacked U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean, are dangerously threatening the geographical space that CELAC [Community of Latin American and Caribbean States] declared a Peace Zone,” he said.
Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, currently presiding over one of the world’s most serious economic and humanitarian crises, said that the conference was evidence that regional left movements were “more united than ever.”
“The São Paulo Forum is clear and reliable proof that we are more united than ever, from a moral, spiritual and political point of view,” he wrote on Twitter. “Sooner rather than later, we will be able to bring together all the progressive forces in a great project that unifies our peoples.”
“I thank the more than 700 leaders of more than 150 left-wing political organizations who have come from the five continents to ratify their support for the Venezuelan people and for the Bolivarian Revolution. Our infinite love & embrace!”
Agradezco a los más de 700 líderes, lideresas y dirigentes, de más de 150 organizaciones políticas de izquierda que han venido de los cinco continentes, a ratificar su apoyo al pueblo de Venezuela y a la Revolución Bolivariana. ¡Nuestro amor y abrazo infinito! pic.twitter.com/tyEBBdZeyF
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) July 29, 2019
The event also featured a commemoration for the birthday of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez, who would have turned 65 on Sunday. The São Paulo Forum’s Secretary Monica Valente urged attendees to pay tribute to Chávez’s dismal legacy by “continuing his struggle for the sovereignty and inclusion of the peoples, to combat poverty and imperial forces.”
The annual forum was founded by the former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 1990, bringing delegations of leftist governments, politicians, and activists from across Latin America and the Carribean. During the 2000s, the forum was considered an important regional event with the rise of numerous socialist governments across the region.
The continent has experienced a considerable shift rightwards in recent years, with the election of conservative leaders in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, all replacing socialist or left-leaning administrations. As a result, many of the remaining left-wing regimes — principally in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia — have found themselves isolated at the hands of the international community amid widespread reports of human rights abuses and degradation.