Twenty-five years after the Fourth Meeting of the São Paulo Forum (FSP) in Havana, Cuba will once again host this event devoted to the political coordination of leftist forces of the region, to debate and establish guidelines on the struggles that unite us. We spoke with Idalmis Brooks Beltrán, an official of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee’s International Relations Department, which works with the FSP.

What is the São Paulo Forum?

It is a forum composed of more than a hundred Latin American and Caribbean leftist parties and groups, founded in Brazil in 1990, to debate and unite efforts for the common good, on the basis of the challenges posed for the left by the collapse of the socialist camp, and the consequences of neoliberalism in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro and former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva played a decisive role in its conception.

How many meetings have been held?

There have been 23 Meetings, of them two in Havana (in 1993 and in 2001). The Cuban capital has also hosted meetings of the FSP Working Group in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2006, and 2013.

Why is the Forum meeting in Havana?

The 23rd Annual FSP Meeting held in Managua, Nicaragua, in July 2017, concluded with a popular act to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution. There, then First Vice President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, reiterated our country’s commitment to regional unity and integration. The readiness of the island to host the 24th Forum Meeting was announced.

In the political convocation sent to members of the Forum on May 23, Comandante José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, member of the Communist Party of Cuba Secretariat and head of its International Relations Department, reiterated that for Cuba, to host the Meeting constitutes an internationalist political commitment to the Forum’s member forces, and those who share the conviction that it is time to unite ideas and efforts, to halt the current counterrevolutionary offensive of the international and regional right against all political experiences that in recent years have proposed changes in favor of a more sovereign, integrated and just Latin America and Caribbean.

What will happen between July 15 and 17?

Although delegates and guests will be arriving to the country days before, between July 15 and 17, this 24th Meeting of the FSP will take place in Havana’s International Conference Center.

Following the inauguration, important spaces will be devoted to plenary debates on the struggle against colonialism and for anti-imperialist solidarity, and the need for Latin American and Caribbean unity and integration; as well as a special plenary on the thought of Comandante Fidel Castro and his relationship with the São Paulo Forum.

There will also be meetings for women, young people, and parliamentarians, and two closely linked workshops on Art and Culture, and Political Communications and Media.

As is traditional in these gatherings, the FSP Political Training School will take place, and a Regional Meeting of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY).

What is being added on this occasion?

On this occasion, in addition to the traditional meetings and workshops, the 3rd Meeting between the Party of the European Left and the São Paulo Forum will be held. In this space, both forces will discuss their different realities and ways to build and achieve consensus on different issues that unite us and that affect humanity today.

For the first time at this type of meeting, there will also be a dialogue between the FSP and the social and popular movement platforms and organizations of the region; an opportunity to exchange on the current political situation in Latin America and the Caribbean and draw up strategies that favor the continental left’s coordination and unity of action.

What is expected of the Meeting in Havana?

Cuba hopes that the Latin American and Caribbean left will be able to discuss the urgent situation in which the region finds itself today, similar to that when the São Paulo Forum was created. Therefore, it is necessary to redirect our struggles based on the unity and integration of political forces and social movements, to specify an action plan put together by all, achievable and measurable over time, and which will be included in the Final Declaration of the Meeting.

And what does it mean for Cuba?

This gathering again offers Cuba the opportunity to host an event in which the main issues of the continent are discussed and analyzed, for the reunion of friends and leaders of the Latin American and Caribbean left, who will be present in the plenaries and different spaces that have been organized and, above all, for our young people to learn first hand the important role the island plays in the region’s struggles.

How can we keep informed of what is happening at the 24th Meeting of theSão Paulo Forum?

The activities carried out during the days of the Meeting will be widely covered by the national and international press. You can keep updated by visiting the official page of the SãoPaulo Forum: as well as through its social media accounts.