Venezuela�s Elections Crucial to Latin American Left
By Humberto M�rquez <http://www.ipsnews.net/author/humberto-marquez/
[image: The S�o Paulo Forum expressed its support for Nicol�s Maduro in the
upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela. Credit: Ra�l Limaco/IPS]
The S�o Paulo Forum expressed its support for Nicol�s Maduro in the
upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela. Credit: Ra�l Limaco/IPS
CARACAS, Apr 2 2013 (IPS) - The S�o Paulo Forum, which groups leftist
political parties and organisations of Latin America and the Caribbean,
sees a victory by Venezuela�s acting President Nicol�s Maduro in the Apr.
14 elections as key to the future of the left in the region, and to
�containing the right�.
Maduro, the new leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV),
and Henrique Capriles, the candidate of the heterogeneous opposition
coalition, will face off at the polls to win the six-year term to which the
late Hugo Ch�vez (1954-2013) had been re-elected in October.
�For us the elections here are key, because an eventual defeat (of
Chavismo) in Venezuela would mean a setback in the regional process of
integration,� historian Valter Pomar, executive secretary of the
a leader of Brazil�s governing Workers Party (PT), told IPS.
�It�s not the Brazilian or Argentine economy that would be affected in the
case of a defeat (of Maduro) � which won�t happen � but the entire economy
of Latin America, especially the weakest countries or the ones that are
lagging the most in terms of industrial development,� Pomar said.
Parties that belong to the Forum, created in 1990 in S�o Paulo on the
initiative of Brazil�s PT � in opposition at the time � currently govern
Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El
Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Several of those countries belong to the Bolivarian Alliance for the
Peoples of Our America (ALBA), Latin America�s alternative integration bloc
founded by Venezuela and Cuba, or are beneficiaries of Venezuela�s
which provides oil to 17 Caribbean and Central American nations under
preferential payment conditions.
According to the Forum, Ch�vez�s initial election as president, in December
1998, marked the start of the rise to power of several of the group�s
member parties. And since then, it says, none of them have been defeated in
That does not count Chile�s Socialist Party, defeated by rightwing
President Sebasti�n Pi�era in 2010, because it was just one member of the
centre-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy that governed since 1990.
The Forum working group, with 38 delegates from 27 parties in 18 countries,
met Monday Apr. 1 in Caracas to pay homage to Ch�vez � who died of cancer
on Mar. 5 � and express support for Maduro.
�This is an excellent show of support, which indicates to the popular
movements of Latin America and the Caribbean that Venezuela is strategic
and that the victory of Nicol�s (Maduro) will also be a victory for the
people,� Rodrigo Cabezas, a PSUV leader and Latin American Parliament
lawmaker who hosted the gathering in Caracas, told IPS.
Maduro, meanwhile, said �this is the time of the greatest expansion of the
struggles for the new independence of Latin America from U.S. hegemony and
imperial domination. The road is just beginning in this new phase.�
The acting president and candidate, who joined delegates to the Forum in a
visit to the mausoleum that holds Ch�vez�s remains in Caracas, expressed
�special recognition of the Cuban revolution, as a forerunner to this Latin
American and Caribbean process�It drove in the first peg, liberated the
first territory, and generated the dynamic of resisting, fighting and
winning,� he said.
�Yes, we are worried that the right is setting up an international
operation, not only national operations, to deal us a blow. There is a
counteroffensive by the right in the region, as seen in Honduras and
Paraguay � the latter involving a coup by parliament,� Pomar said.
He was referring to the Jun. 28, 2009 coup that overthrew Honduran
President Manuel Zelaya and the Jun. 22, 2012 toppling of Paraguayan
President Fernando Lugo.
Nevertheless, �we see a situation of equilibrium. The right has failed to
defeat us in the main countries where we govern, and we have not managed to
get them out of power in Mexico, for example. But this relative equilibrium
will not last forever,� Pomar said.
According to the Brazilian politician, �what could work in our favour is
accelerating the changes in each country and deepening integration, a
fundamental issue, because for many countries in the region it is
impossible to forge ahead with the processes of change in an isolated
manner. That�s why the presidential election in Venezuela is essential for
This is reflected by the fact that the Forum has focused more on the vote
in Venezuela than the Apr. 21 presidential elections in Paraguay, where the
left is participating without a real chance of winning against the
front-runners, who belong to the country�s traditional political forces:
the Colorado and Liberal parties.
The Forum working group�s meeting also briefly discussed other
international events, particularly the threats to global peace posed by the
heated situation between South Korea and North Korea, the conflict in Syria
and Iran�s nuclear programme.
Although the group agreed to protest what it called the provocation caused
by U.S. military activities in South Korea, there were also voices in the
meeting that complained that North Korea�s behaviour �facilitated�
Washington�s alleged provocation.
In the debate on the situation in the Korean peninsula, the theory was set
forth that the conflict there strengthens U.S. protagonism in the
Asia-Pacific region to the detriment of China and its partners in the BRICS
bloc � Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa � of emerging powers.
On the regional front, the meeting agreed that the most urgent situation
involves the peace
the Colombian government and the FARC rebels, taking place in Havana.
As in nearly every Forum meeting, the Puerto Rican independence activists,
this time through the words of H�ctor Pesquera of the Hostosian National
Independence Movement, insisted that the fight against the remnants of
colonialism in Latin America not be forgotten, and called for the release
on humanitarian grounds of Oscar L�pez Rivera, who has spent nearly 32
years in maximum security prisons in the United States on charges of
seditious conspiracy and armed robbery.
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