Photo: Sergio Alejandro Gómez

MANAGUA, Nicaragua.–The more than 300 delegates to the 23rd Conference of the Sao Paulo Forum welcomed with applause the designation of Cuba to host the next meeting of leftist and progressive parties of the region.

"It's a birthday present," said Monica Valente, executive secretary of the group, speaking with Granma, emphasizing the role of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro in the 1990 foundation of the Forum, along with Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

"Whenever there are meetings or conferences in Cuba, we leave with more strength, joy, and determination," she added, confident that the 24th Conference in Havana will serve to reinforce participants ideologically.

José Ramón Balaguer, member of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee Secretariat and head of the delegation to the event in Managua, told this reporter that the selection of our country as the next site "is a great honor and a great responsibility," in a critical time for the region.

"We are calling for unity among parties to struggle for the better world we need, the one we want and are going to win," Balaguer said.

The Sao Paulo Forum has held various activities in Cuba, including the 1993 Conference attended by 112 member parties and movements, 25 observers from Latin America and the Caribbean, plus another 44 from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, for a total of 181 political forces from the entire world.

The Forum returned to Havana in December of 2001 for its tenth gathering, with 518 delegates from 81 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia, representing 74 parties or political movements, and 127 invited parties and organizations.

Over the last 27 years, meetings of the Forum's Working Group have been held here, the last being in April of 2013, with a high level of participation.