Following several days of exchanging experiences in the struggles against imperialism, transnational corporations, and neoliberal policies, the Continental Encounter for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, held in Montevideo beginning November 16, concluded with a declaration that calls for the unity of Latin American progressive forces and social movements.
“We… reaffirm the principles of solidarity and internationalism that unite us, as well as the commitment to continue to fight for systematic change against capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, and racism,” the declaration reads.
The text also reflects rejection of the “multidimensional war against Venezuela, which features moments of paramilitary violence, economic blockade, financial asphyxiation, international sanctions, media criminalization, and diplomatic isolation.”
It also condemns the “attack on the processes that progressive and popularly orientated governments are undertaking,” the tightening of the criminal blockade against Cuba, and the setback in the process of normalization of relations between the U.S. and the island.
Likewise, the declaration denounces measures taken by the United States against the government of Nicaragua, sabotage of the government of El Salvador, and harassment of the government of Bolivia.
“To this must be added the attack on human rights, the criminalization of popular movements, the assassination and disappearance of social leaders,” which imperialism and neoliberal governments of the continent assume as a daily practice, the statement emphasizes. “The impunity of yesterday’s state terrorism becomes the founding basis for today’s impunity for big capital.”
Thus, from Montevideo, the statement calls to “reinforce the political action of mobilization, organization, and struggle of popular forces, to build true democracies and promote a political project of unity of transformation of a popular nature in Latin America and the Caribbean. There can be no democracy without participation, without wealth distribution, without access to information and justice.”
- We, the movements, social organizations and diverse expressions of the popular sectors of the Americas, heirs and protagonists of the struggles against imperialism and military regimes in Latin America and the Caribbean, who rise up against the neocolonial agenda of free trade, privatization, plunder, and poverty represented by the defeated FTAA project, reaffirm the principles of solidarity and internationalism that unite us, as well as the commitment to continue to fight for systematic change against capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, and racism.
- Gathered in the Continental Encounter for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, held in Montevideo, Uruguay, November 16-18, after an intense exchange of experiences and struggles, we ratify the united agenda and the articulation of social and political forces that we agreed upon at the Havana Encounter, in November 2015. We reaffirm the need to re-articulate the various popular alternatives and initiatives to confront the model of neoliberal capitalist domination.
- The advance of Capital over peoples and their territories shows us that capitalism, racism, and patriarchy form an intertwined model of multiple domination. The new offensive of neoliberal forces intensifies the same mechanisms of land grabbing, looting of common goods, exploitation of work, and control of bodies. Profit rates are guaranteed by adjustments that are based on more work without rights, and the excess of unpaid work by women, who guarantee that life is sustained in the context of increasingly precarious nature of their living conditions. Transnational corporations (TNCs), and the associated national elites, are the main beneficiaries of the neoliberal globalization model. The architecture of this domination is expressed in free trade, new and old generation investment agreements, whose guarantor is, among others, the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- In turn, the system of perpetual indebtedness is a mechanism of domination, conditioning the productive model and expropriating public resources and collective goods, while expanding the earnings of local elites, increasingly corrupt and dependent on the international financial system.
- This same alliance exacerbates the dispute between the permanent process of capital accumulation and the sustainability of life, generating an explosion of socio-environmental conflicts in the region, facilitating land grabbing and the displacement of large masses of campesinos and indigenous peoples, creating a migratory, environmental, and food crisis. By deepening the financialization processes of the economy and nature, the national bases and sovereign powers of states to develop public environmental and labor policies in favor of the peoples are being destroyed.
- The institutions of formal democracy and the exercise of human rights have become an obstacle to this dynamic of capital. This explains the reduction of the democratic spaces, the disregard of popular will, the criminalization and judicialization of politics, whose culminating expression, among others, has been the parliamentary, legal, and media coup against President Dilma Rousseff and the intention of preventing the candidacy of former president Lula da Silva in Brazil.
- The process of monopolization, concentration and control of information and technology by media corporations, with ramifications in other branches of the economy, is an attack on the foundations of democracy. Given that in a globalized world, he who controls and distributes information has power even over and above political powers and popular sovereignty.
- The continental right seeks to advance the precarious state of labor relations and the elimination of collective bargaining. The deregulation of those relations contained in the Brazilian and Argentine reforms, as well as the offensive of Uruguayan employers against collective bargaining in the ILO, are clear examples of this strategy.
- This new conservative and reactionary advance reinforces hate and misogynistic discourse, materialized in racist and discriminatory practices against people of African descent, indigenous peoples, migrants, and the young population of popular sectors. Control over bodies and sexuality is imposed through feminicide, the criminalization of abortion, violence against women and the LGBTI population. The xenophobic, racist, and criminalization policies against settled migrants in the political discourse in the U.S. and the European Union are dangerously imitated by the fascist right of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- To this must be added the attack on human rights, the criminalization of popular movements, the assassination and disappearance of social leaders. The impunity of yesterday’s state terrorism becomes the founding basis for today’s impunity for big capital.
- As part of this advance, the U.S. government seeks to reinforce its imperial influence in the region, and deploys a policy of open interventionism that, using all diplomatic, cultural, economic, and military devices, attacks the sovereignty of the countries of the region. The strategy of militarization through the expansion of military bases and the presence of troops undertaking “humanitarian” exercises hide the ambition of territorial control over the strategic commons of the region. The permanence of foreign security forces in Haiti, as part of the new UN mission, the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), continues the occupation of that nation and reflects this same logic.
- This imperialist strategy intensifies in the multidimensional war against Venezuela, which features moments of paramilitary violence, economic blockade, financial asphyxiation, international sanctions, media criminalization, and diplomatic isolation.
- The serious breach of the Havana accords puts the peace process in Colombia in serious danger and intensifies the violence in the occupation of territories by paramilitary forces, with the resurgence of assassinations of popular social leaders. At the same time, the dialogue process with the ELN is stalled by the government, which simultaneously disregards the participation of agrarian, campesino, and Afro-Colombian sectors in this process.
- Meanwhile, imperialism continues the attack on the processes that progressive and popularly oriented governments are undertaking, tightening the criminal blockade against Cuba and pushing back the process of normalization of relations between the U.S. and the island; takes action against the government of Nicaragua; promotes sabotage of the government of El Salvador; and harasses the government of Bolivia.
- New regional institutions promoted in recent years are also threatened, such as UNASUR and CELAC, which, even with deficits in their content and participation, constitute important efforts toward an integration that is not subordinated to U.S. policy toward the region. Likewise, we denounce the setbacks that affect the Mercosur process and redirect it toward a neoliberal agenda.
- Defending the important social and political achievements of popular governments in recent years, we recognize the limitations we face in these processes, especially the lack of recognition of the importance of organized social mobilization to advance this transformation and overcome the predatory logic of the capitalist system.
- From Montevideo and under the enriching influence of having shared different experiences of struggle, resistance, and creativity, of communities, collectives, and organizations that build different ways of confronting the power of capital, and of solidarity alternatives from and for the peoples, we ratify our commitment to the Continental Encounter for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, as a broad, diverse, plural and united process and a space for articulating the resistance and alternatives of our peoples.
- It is essential to reinforce the political action of mobilization, organization, and struggle of popular forces, to build true democracies and promote a unified political project of transformation of a popular nature in Latin America and the Caribbean. There can be no democracy without participation, without wealth distribution, without access to information and justice.
- We will continue to fight for the integration of our peoples and nations, reclaiming our cultural, social, political, and economic diversity, centering on the rights of the peoples.
- We will confront the reactionary offensive, upholding the free movement of persons and the recognition of universal citizenship.
- We will assume the nonnegotiable defense of the autonomy and freedom of women, the fight to put an end to feminicide and all machista violence; we also affirm the right to legal, public, safe abortions.
- We will confront transnational corporations and their strategies of capture and submission of democratic institutions, promoting concrete actions to reduce the space they have to evade and avoid their responsibilities.
- We will mobilize to establish national and international instruments that prevent the rights of companies taking precedence over human rights and those of the peoples, participating in the process to adopt an Internationally Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights.
- We will promote popular integration that respects the diversity of our cultures. That is built from the protagonistic participation of our peoples. That defends peace and self-determination in our territories, free of military bases and interventionism, with complementary economies and relations of solidarity and cooperation.
- We will continue to demand comprehensive and popular agrarian reform, as a process that guarantees campesinos’ access to land, water, and territory, as well as the protection of native seeds and ancestral knowledge, thus promoting the development of food sovereignty and agroecology to feed our peoples.
- We will continue to promote the articulation of our alternative and popular media, under a coordinated communications strategy, and we will also maintain the struggle for the democratization of communications in each of our counties as a way of limiting media power in the region. We will confront the power of transnationals, defending open Internet and open technologies.
- We will maintain our solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their sovereign right to develop their social, political, and economic project without aggression or interference, with guarantees of peace and respect for their institutions.
- From Montevideo, we call upon all social actors that are not part of the Encounter and the political forces of the continent to build together a strategy that allows us to strengthen popular mobilization and struggles in the region.
- This path of unity is a condition to transcend the dominant economic frameworks and propose other ways of organizing social, productive, and reproductive relations that, based on equality, solidarity and social and environmental justice, build the food and energy sovereignty of our peoples and dignified life in our territories.
In this regard we call to:
- Mobilize to repudiate the WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December, 2017.
- United mobilization of all movements on March 8.
- Be present and position our agenda against free trade and transnationals in the Alternative World Water Forum (FAMA), in Brasilia in March.
- United mobilization of all movements on May Day.
- Mobilize to denounce the holding of the Summit of the Americas in Lima, in June 2018, as a scenario which aims to reinstate the neocolonial and imperialist domination agenda in the continent.
- Organize united action around the G20 Summit in Argentina, in the second half of 2018.
- Finally, we call on all peoples of the continent to mobilize in a united, combative and solidary way in all our countries, the week of November 19-25, defending the agenda agreed at the Montevideo Encounter, as an expression of the action of our peoples in Defense of Democracy and Against Neoliberalism.
Continental Encounter for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, November 18, 2017, Montevideo, Uruguay.