Achieving a consensus on the diversity of leftwing parties and movements in Latin America and the Caribbean, and solidarity actions with progressive governments in the region, are objectives of the XXIV Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum that began on Sunday in the Cuban capital.
Gabriela Rivadeneira, president of the National Assembly of Ecuador between 2013 and 2017, Piedad Córdova, senator of the Republic of Colombia between 1994 and 2010 and Puerto Rican independence leader Oscar López Rivera - imprisoned in U.S. prisons for 35 years - came to Havana from distant places, with different ideologies, but with the same objective: to achieve Latin American unity in the face of the siege of the conservative right in the region.
For the young Ecuadorian woman, who at barely 30 30 assumed the presidency of her country's legislature during the government of Rafael Correa, Cuba is an example to follow because of the light it has shed for decades in resistance to imperialism.
She said that the meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum in Cuba, in the context of a neoliberal onslaught, has special importance because the greatest urgency is to achieve unity among the progressive parties and movements of the region.
We have come to write a roadmap for the debate and politicize our societies about these onslaughts, he said.
Former Senator Córdoba, who is part of the Forum as a representative of Colombia's citizen power, agreed with Gabriela Rivadeneira in stressing the importance of building the regional unity of the left in the midst of differences and individuality.
Unity must be achieved in order to move forward, she stressed.
The Puerto Rican fighter, Oscar Lopez Rivera, expressed confidence that the Forum will be successful because it is being held in Cuba, which has done so much for Latin American and Caribbean unity.
This is a special time to touch on the differences between parties and movements of the left in this geographical area and to confront the U.S. government and its allies so that they do not enter our nations.
We should all be united and moving forward, not divided, he concluded.
Rivadeneira told the Cuban News Agency that although progress has been made in the social sphere with the progressive governments of Latin America and the Caribbean over the past few decades, there has been no effective coordination and we have been isolated, especially during the years of greatest regional integration.
From the political and social organizations, it is up to us to anchor an effective network again, in times of necessary and timely responses to the threats we are experiencing in our countries, said the Ecuadorian.
She commented that Vice President Mike Pence's visit to some Latin American countries was no coincidence, they have the neoconservative agenda that Rafael Correa warned three years ago from Ecuador well set up and that is evident not only in the political arena, with adverse results in the polls, but also with parliamentary coups, and judicial attacks against political leaders of the region such as Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva and Rafael Correa.
There are many issues under discussion in Cuba and they must commit us to marching together, she said.
Piedad Córdova considers it essential that at the Havana meeting the political parties and organizations commit themselves equally from their projects, not only to win a battle, but to fight all those who come.
She called for active solidarity with Brazil, Venezuela and Nicaragua and concerted action to support leaders such as Lula Da Silva, Rafael Correa, Dilma Rousseff, Daniel Ortega, Cristina Fernández and Nicolás Maduro, and their respective peoples.
More than 400 delegates from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe are gathering until Tuesday, in this edition of the Forum, which is hosted by Havana, 25 years after the IV meeting held in this city in the presence of the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro.
The Sao Paulo Forum, an important political group created in 1990 under the ideas of the Commander in Chief and former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Da Silva, brings together more than a hundred parties, Latin American left groups and social and progressive movements.