A meeting such as this one is undoubtedly a contribution to our common struggles. Today, even more than yesterday, the interrelationship between national and international struggles cannot be underestimated. In fact, the international scenario is a determinant factor in the progress or retreat of our peoples in each nation in terms of the respect for their rights and the materialization of their aspirations for a better life.
The contrast between the formidable possibilities to satisfy human needs generated by the development of the capacities of humankind and the waste of material resources, lives and intelligence is the dramatic paradox of this era. Such accumulated capacities would enable the resolution of the jost severe global problems: hunger, extreme misery, massive unemployment, illiteracy and the insecurity of life on the planet. However, within the framework of neoliberal globalization imposed under imperial rule, those capacities are used to further exclusion and inequality among and within nations. Overcoming this situation is the common task of all peoples.
The political, military and economic aggressiveness of American imperialism in different parts of the world, seeking to consolidate its unchecked domination is a determinant feature of today’s world. The use of force is a condition for the existence of neoliberal globalization: without the recourse to violence, the realization of the interests of transnational capital would be impossible.
For this reason, American imperialism uses the pretext of a supposed struggle against terrorism that implies the deployment — with the collaboration of its jost servile allies — of a brutal state terrorism, which together with the open aggressions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, promote the arms race, anti- democracy, the legitimacy of torture and the limitation of the civil and democratic rights of its own people.
In Latin America, these policies are also disguised behind the reports of “narco-terrorism", the deployment of the so-called Forward Operative Emplacements (EOA), American military bases with sophisticated technological resources, capable of speedily assembling military intervention forces comprised of thousands of soldiers. On top of this, undercover destabilization operations with the collaboration of their internal allies in each country and other control and penetration methods.
The main objective continues to be the elimination of the revolutionary experience in Cuba: the tightening of the embargo is now accompanied by an interventionist plan aimed at recovering control of the island to turn it into a vassal state.
Another key objective is the destabilization of the Venezuelan process. The call made by Condoleeza Rice to create a Latin American front against the government of Hugo Chávez and the boycott of his candidature to the Security Council is evidence of this objective.
To support this policy, they seek the support of docile governments such as Uribe’s government in Colombia, Alan García’s government in Peru and others, and will continue to try to co-opt the governments of Chile that have supported se efforts to impose the FTAA.
However, those hegemonic pretensions find increasing barriers in all latitudes.
The heroic resistance of the peoples of the Middle East has bogged down Bush’s Government and has been decisive in its growing domestic loss of prestige. Its European allies, such as Aznar and Berlusconi have suffered defeats and people impose the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Blair loses even more power. France and other countries seek to distance themselves even more. There is an increasing rejection of preventive wars and the disastrous effects of neoliberal transnational.
Movements against capitalist globalization continue to develop, the World Social Forum and the Continental Social Fora, especially those of Latin America and Europe, become stronger. Within them, there is an increasing trend for a left-wing political parties and movements to establish coordination.
In Latin America there is a movement towards the left and we are working so that it may influence the development of the political scenario in Chile.
Efforts have been made to use the health condition of our Comrade Fidel to end the revolutionary process. The result has been exactly the opposite. The Cuban leadership has demonstrated that one of Fidel’s merits is to have contributed to the creation of a firm and solid revolutionary leadership rooted in the people. Renewed policy-making, the courage and dignity to uphold national sovereignty, and the practice of internationalism expressed in the Solidarity in all fields, including key aspects of peoples lives such as health and education, increases Cuba’s prestige and influence in Latin America and the world.
The Bolivarian revolution becomes stronger in Venezuela, based on the increasing protagonism of the people, enabling the defeat of imperialism’s destabilization and military coup efforts. The Bolivarian revolution begins to play an increasing role in the emerging integration processes in Latin America.
Brazil’s centre-left coalition government headed by Lula, a metallurgical worker, leader of PT, one of the founding parties of the Sao Paulo Forum, was a strong encouragement in the region. This government, in the midst of complex contradictions, played a decisive role in the failure of the FTAA and launched new types of integration initiatives with Venezuela and other countries. Its reelection, in the second round, brings hopes of an even greater contribution to the improvement of living conditions of its people and the strengthening of popular forces in the continent.
The resounding popular victory of Evo Morales in Bolivia, who nationalized fossil fuels and other companies, is an expression of this liberating trend. Another example is the newly elected government of Frente Amplio in Uruguay which is promoting democratic policies in situations that are not free of contradictions.
In Colombia, despite the reelection of Uribe, Polo Democrático Alternativo obtained 22% of the votes and became – for the first time in history — the second largest political force in that country. In the meantime, the struggle waged by FARC continues, confronting the increasing American intervention and the government’s right-wing policies, seeking also a peace agreement.
A central issue in the continent is the trend to establish a new form of Latin American integration and solidarity. This is expressed in ALBA, and example of the integration process between Cuba, Venezuela and now Bolivia. Its agreements and prospects for cooperation in the sphere of politics, economics, finances, cultural and health openly defies the FTAA and the imperialist globalization process. On the other hand, other governments launch cooperation initiatives in the areas of energy, finances and telecommunications, evidencing various degrees of autonomy from the United States.
Chile is presented as the paradigm of success of imperial policies. However, a new political situation arises in our country influenced by the democratic and progressive successes of popular struggles in the world and especially in Latin America and the Caribbean resulting from the failure of the neoliberal system and the disastrous effects of transnational globalization.
The main event that shapes this new moment is the increasing mobilization of different social sectors. This is linked to the tactical step taken by the Party in the second round of the presidential election when we decided to support the present President based on programmatic objectives including explicit commitments that have significantly contributed to the development of the latest events.
Today, a wide social and political convergence is being created around the views promoted by our Party as a condition of our support:
1) To end the present binominal electoral system which excludes from Congress all those forces that do not form part of the two major coalitions which support the system (at a national level, Communists and their allies obtain over 7% of the votes but are excluded from both chambers) and advance towards the democratization of the institutional political system that can give rise to participative democracy.
2) Expand workers’ rights doing away with the legal bindings inherited from the dictatorship that limit the right to strike and facilitate layoffs and wage cutbacks, whilst promoting divisions, weakening and atomization of trade union organizations.
3) Reform the social security system. Today the system is in the hands of major economic groups, primarily foreign groups, that exploit workers with extremely high commissions and where employers contribute nothing to workers’ social security. Under these conditions, workers conclude their working life with miserable pensions.
4) Reform the educational system that has weakened and damaged free public education, permanently cutting-back resources and favoring the proliferation of private companies which profit from education. Thus conceived, education becomes a fundamental element in the reproduction of the neoliberal system.
5) Obtain the truth and justice for human rights violations.
6) Recognize the rights of native peoples.
7) Achieve respect for biodiversity and the environment.
The idea was to focus on actions involving major social sectors, paving the way for mobilizations to promote new demands, challenging neo-liberalism as a system.
This year has been characterized by major struggles waged by health workers, secondary school students, teachers, copper mine workers subjected to discriminatory subcontracting and housing debtors in cities.
Chile is no longer the same country that it was a few years ago. Today, political forces and popular social movements are decisive actors and have opened great possibilities to challenge the hegemony of neoliberal sectors.
The present government headed by Michelle Bachelet, which we oppose, continues to essentially apply the same neoliberal policies of its predecessors. However, faced with the question of maintaining unchanged a model confronted by large-scale social mobilizations, or certain changes regarding its future permanence, and taking into consideration the increasing social discontent that right wing forces try to capitalise in a demagogical fashion, and the critical expression of the left, the government and its parties have been forced to reposition the model. The internal appearance of contradictions between privatisers and those that favor greater state intervention, between defenders of fiscal expenditure restriction and those that support the need to increase social expenditure, between those that seek protection in repressive measures and those that favor a dialogue with the social mobilization evidences the changes that are taking place. Despite minor differences, these contradictions exist in all the government coalition parties, and a greater presence has been achieved by those that criticize market oriented and anti-popular policies implemented to date. This is what explains the fact that for the first time there is a certain willingness to recognize the need for change and the legitimate role played by social movements and the excluded political forces.
We take into consideration the experiences that in Latin America have highlighted the possibilities offered by wide-ranging fronts and convergence against neo-liberalism.
In Chile, until 1989 the main obstacle for democratic popular forces was the dictatorship and the main contradiction was clear: “democracy or dictatorship”.
The mass popular rebellion policy that implied the use of various forms of struggle was able to resolve that main contribution and displace Pinochet from power, but the negotiated nature of the end of the dictatorship has meant the exclusion from the political scenario of those that for 17 years were at the front of the mass struggle for democracy. This was instituted in Pinochet’s constitution and has been maintained by the present government coalition the Concertación.
Concertación governments consolidated and strengthened the neoliberal model. jost of our basic resources and state owned companies were privatized or put in the hands of transnational companies. This has meant that today the State is unable to intervene to protect the country from the continuous crisis of globalised capitalism, as occurred in 1998 and 2003, when unemployment increased and the revenues obtained by our country were reduced. The international financial openness that neoliberal policy has produced, even more acute as a result of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, has made Chileans more vulnerable, facing new and serious dangers, especially exporters and domestic producers, as demonstrated by the impact of the devaluation of the dollar.
In consequence, Party congresses defined that the main contradiction for this period is between neo-liberalism and democracy, and set forth the democratic revolution as the valid strategic historical objective.
Those processes are confirmed as a correct strategy, with tactics that based on the decisive and resolute social mobilization open new possibilities for electoral processes, which can become an instrument to win a government and launch economic social and political transformation measures.
Progress is made in the accumulation process demands of the unity of left wing and revolutionary sectors with sectors from the reformist and nationalist movements willing to break away from neoliberal hegemony. For this reason, we work to recover the full activity of Juntos Podejos Más, the left-wing coalition that was able to make important progress, so that it may become the basis for the construction of a wide anti-neoliberal front. A powerful left wing cannot be constructed away from the widest possible anti-neoliberal unity. Likewise, the anti-system unity that we require will not be possible without a left-wing capable of promoting and driving it forward.
The emergence of a new political moment in Chile has created favorable conditions to generate a convergence of social and political forces, including sectors in the right that in one way or another and in various moments agree on the rejection of neo-liberalism and converge on a programme of profound democratic and social justice transformations for Chile.
It is in pursuit of this objective that we have set out to win a new type of government to overcome the neoliberal governments upheld by Concertación, the coalition in power, and by the right wing forces that governed together with Pinochet. We seek the creation of a democratic, sovereign government of social justice, supported by an active and participative national majority.
Lisbon, November 3, 2006.