São Paulo Forum: Venezuelan and Cuban presidents call for unity against U.S. imperialism
Cuba's President Miguel Díaz-Canel, left, smiles with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro during the closing ceremony of the São Paulo Forum at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 28, 2019. | Ariana Cubillos / AP

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was joined by his Cuban counterpart Miguel Díaz-Canel Sunday as they issued a rallying cry for regional unity “to confront the onslaught of U.S. imperialism.”

The pair were among the speakers at the closing ceremony of the 25th São Paolo Forum in Caracas, which coincided with celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the birth of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013.

São Paulo Forum secretary Mónica Valente said the best way to honor Chávez was “to continue his struggle for the sovereignty and inclusion of the peoples, to combat poverty and imperial forces.”

Chávez’s successor, Maduro, stressed the importance of unity of Latin American and Caribbean left forces “from the moral, spiritual, and political point of view.

“We have to achieve the union of all progressive parties with a great project that manages to unify the popular forces,” he told attendees from more than 70 countries.

A supporter of the Bolivarian Revolution holds an image of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez during a rally on the sidelines of the São Paulo Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, July 27, 2019. | Leonardo Fernandez / AP

The Venezuelan president said that the country faces constant “imperialist calls for despair and division,” including an attempted coup by the U.S. and their “puppet” Juan Guaidó.

He explained that Bolivarianism is “Venezuela’s autochthonous response to the crisis of the model of pro-imperialist domination that was imposed on the country.”

The meeting took place amid a backdrop of escalating regional tensions. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has adopted an increasingly hostile stance towards regional left-wing governments, imposing punitive sanctions and threatening military intervention.

Cuba has been subjected to an economic blockade by the U.S. that the United Nations estimates has cost the country’s economy $130 billion over nearly six decades.

Díaz-Canel told the international delegates: “The U.S. imperialist 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 highlighted the anti-democratic measures by Washington aimed at undermining regional governments. This, he said, included the “criminalization” of progressive governments and their leaders—in April, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton branded Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua the “troika of tyranny.”

The São Paolo Forum was established in 1990 by then Brazilian President Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva and leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

Starting with just 60 participants, the forum now includes more than 120 organizations from 25 countries in “permanent debate for peace and the unity of our peoples.”

Organized under the slogan “Another world is possible,” it functions as a counterbalance to U.S. imperialism.

Morning Star


Steve Sweeney
Steve Sweeney

Steve Sweeney writes for Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. He is also a People's Assembly National Committee member, patron of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, and a proud trade unionist. Steve Sweeney escribe para Morning Star, el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña. También es miembro del Comité Nacional de la Asamblea Popular, patrocinador de la campaña Paz en Kurdistán y un orgulloso sindicalista.