We came here as part of a historic process that brought us together in forums, campaigns, international networks, social sector groupings and various struggles within each of our countries, raising the same battle flags and sharing dreams of a real social transformation.
In Our America, we find ourselves in a new epoch which has found expression in recent years through diverse mobilizations and popular rebellions, the search for overcoming neoliberalism and the building of an alternative society based on justice and inclusion, because this is now both possible and necessary.
The defeat of the FTAA in 2005 witnessed the resistance of social movements and a new hemispheric geopolitical configuration, characterized by the rise of popular governments that have dared to confront the Empire. The greatest commitment towards this, launched in 2004 by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, is what is now called The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA: Spanish acronym for Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra America).
ALBA is an essentially political, anti-neoliberal, anti-imperialist project, based on the principles of cooperation, complementarity and solidarity, that seeks to accumulate popular and institutional forces for a new declaration of Latin American independence, a movement of peoples and for peoples, for people’s integration, for life, justice, peace, sovereignty, identity, equality, for the liberation of Latin America, through an authentic emancipation that envisions Indo-Afro-American socialism.
Nevertheless, the Empire continues to mobilize reactionary forces against the reorganization of popular forces and the rise of new autonomous projects for the integration of the Patria Grande. After the first anti-neoliberal rebellions, the USA has begun to take a new direction in foreign policy in order to recover their hegemony over the Continent in various aspects including the economic, military, regulatory, cultural, mass media, political and territorial dimensions.
The explosion of the capitalist crisis on Wall Street in 2008 reinforced these designs. From that moment we saw an even greater imperialist counter-offensive in the hemisphere, expressed in the increase in transnational presence in different territories, the plundering of our natural resources and the privatization of social rights; militarization of the hemisphere; criminalization and repression of popular protest; US participation in the coups d’état in Honduras and Paraguay; the on-going destabilization of progressive Latin American governments; the attempt to regain political and economic influence through such initiatives as the Pacific Alliance and other international agreements.
In this context, marked by imperialist initiatives on the one hand, but also by the opening of new possibilities with the perspective set out by the project launched by the governments of ALBA, the Coalition of Social Movements in the continent is needed more than ever before. We must meet the historical challenge to coordinate resistance and move to the offensive with original ideas and new proposals for models of civilization, which can recover the best traditions of our peoples.
We ratify the principles, guidelines and objectives of our first Charter of Social Movements, of building hemispheric integration from below and from the left, promoting ALBA and the solidarity of our peoples in the face of the imperialist challenge.
We declare our commitment to the project of Latin American integration, to continue our anticolonial, anticapitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-patriarchal struggles, based on principles of permanent and active solidarity among our peoples, through concrete action against all forms of power that oppress and dominate us.
We reaffirm our commitment to achieve the self-determination of our peoples and popular sovereignty in every dimension: be it territorial, food, energy, economic, political, cultural or social.
We shall defend the sovereignty of our peoples to make their own decisions concerning territories, natural resources, together with a commitment to defend the rights of Mother Earth.
We, social movements of Our America, call for:
· The promotion of unity and regional integration based on an alternative, sustainable, supportable model, marked by solidarity, where the modes of production and reproduction are at the service of our peoples.
· Re-launching the struggles of the masses and the class struggle at the national, regional and continental levels, in order to halt and to dismantle programmes and projects of neoliberal capitalism.
· Establishing networks and effective coordination of popular communication, which will equip us to engage in the struggle of ideas, and to curb the manipulation of information on the part of corporations and the mass media.
· Deepening our processes of political and ideological formation in order to strengthen our organizations, and moving forward with processes of unity that are consequent and consciously in accord with needed transformations.
At the same time,
We affirm our support and solidarity with the people of Colombia in this crucial moment in the process of dialogue and negotiation towards the signing of a peace agreement characterized by social justice, an agreement that would truly resolve the problems that gave rise to the armed conflict. We are monitoring the development of this process, and ready to collaborate and accompany the process in any way that the Colombian people need.
We affirm our support for the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, headed by Comrade President Nicolás Maduro, who represents the unequivocal popular will of the Venezuelan people as reflected in the elections of April 14 2013, in the face of continual attempts to destabilize the country on the part of forces on the right, who seek to overturn the sovereign decision of the people and create a political, institutional and economic crisis in the country.
This Continental Coalition of Social Movements towards ALBA is part of an emancipatory process, reaching from the Haitian Revolution to our own time, seeking to create a more just and profoundly human society. Our commitment is to continue the legacy of millions of revolutionary people such as Bolivar, San Martin, Dolores Cacuango, Toussant L’Ouverture, José María Morelos, Francisco Morazán, Bartolina Sisa and many others who in solidarity committed their lives to these ideals.
Reaffirming our own history, our Assembly is named after one of them, our Commander Hugo Chávez, whom we honour by taking up his struggle for unity and brotherhood among all the peoples of this Great, Free and Sovereign Fatherland.
“The unity and integration of Our America is our horizon and is the path that we follow!”
(Translation: Jordan Bishop. Canada)