Carmelo at the Foro de Sao Paulo meeting in Venezuela
Foro de Sao Paulo
Latin America Moves Left and Forward
The Foro de Sao Paulo (FSP), a forum that brings together most of the Latin American left, had its 18th meeting in the Venezuelan city of Caracas on July 4-6. In attendance were representatives of practically all of the Foro’s member organizations, including El Salvador’s FMLN, Nicaragua’s Sandinistas, Guatemala’s URNG (all three of them former guerrilla groups), the Cuban Communist Party, Ecuador’s Alianza PAIS, Uruguay’s Frente Amplio, Bolivia’s Movement Toward Socialism and the Puerto Rico Socialist Front, as well as leftist and socialist political parties from countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Barbados and Argentina.
The host country’s left pulled out all stops in helping to organize the event. Countless youth volunteers of the ruling party- president Hugo Chavez’s PSUV- looked after every detail of logistics and protocol, and the local communist party, the PCV, was also out in force. There was also a substantial number of observers and dignitaries from other parts of the world, including Russia, China, Vietnam, Saharaui, Lebanon, Palestine, France, Spain and Greece. VIP’s included Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchú from Guatemala, and writers Ignacio Ramonet and Atilio Boron, who sat in places of honor near president Chavez at the closing activity.
The FSP is definitely not to be confused with the World Social Forum, which also began in Brazil. Whereas the Social Fora are non-partisan, the Foro de Sao Paulo is openly, brazenly and proudly partisan and leftist. The terms of debate and discussion at the FSP are far to the left of what most American progressives would be willing to consider. In it there is open talk of class struggle, anti-imperialism, wealth redistribution, and yes, the dreaded “s” word, socialism. Socialism is indeed becoming an increasingly mainstream proposition all over the world- except in the USA, where the word is still used as an insult.