Delegates to the “First International Meeting of Parties of the Left” in Caracas last week had a tough job. They had to deal with a proposal by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ for a fifth, socialist international and with new dangers posed by U.S. imperialism.

The process will continue in April at a meeting in Caracas to convene a new socialist international. A working group will be preparing for “ideological discussion.” The timing coincides with formation there 200 years ago of the first Western Hemisphere government free of Spanish rule. Following up on earlier invocation of a “second independence,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro told reporters it was the socialists’ turn now to organize a “different, solidarity – based society.”

Hosted by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the three-day meeting attracted 120 representatives of over 40 political parties and groups from 39 countries. 

Colombian Liberal Party Senator Piedad Cordoba focused on immediate challenges. At the concluding session she called for worldwide mobilizations December 12-17 against the North American bases established in Colombia. Condemnation of those bases became the first of six major points contained in the final document of the conference, the “Commitment of Caracas.”   PSUV Vice President Celia Flores explained others to reporters, including the fifth point, which demanded “full support of the Honduran people and restitution of the constitutional president.”  Four remaining points were: developing a “platform of conjoined action,” organizing a “world movement of militants for a culture of peace;” “international communication for the emancipation of revolutionary consciousness;” and “solidarity with peoples of the world who struggle for liberty.” 


Flores reviewed three “Special Declarations.” One condemned the “criminal blockade the United States maintains against Cuba” and demanded freedom for the Cuban Five. The second established November 29 as a day of “world vigil” in response to elections imposed that day under the “Honduran dictatorship.” The last one called for a fifth socialist international.  

Piedad Cordoba insisted upon “absolute backing for the revolution led by Chavez.” She represented isolation, or assassination, of Chavez as a danger for all, emphasizing his crucial role in “the transition to socialism of the 21st Century.”  Chavez himself took support for a new international socialist grouping as “ratification that Bolivarian Venezuela is not alone.”

“I assume the responsibility before the world,” Chavez told the gathering. The fifth international “must be of the true left, disposed to confront imperialism and capitalism.”  Earlier he had commented that “debate over ideas is essential so as to not repeat the errors that distorted and weakened the socialist cause in the 20th century.” He envisions “socialism of the 21st century converted, as Mariátegui advised, into a heroic and sovereign creation of each people… not an imitation or copy.”

Chavez reviewed the history of socialist internationals, contrasting their European origins with the Latin American venue of new socialist stirrings.

Venezuelan Communist Party spokesperson Yul Jabour expressed appreciation for PSUV organization of the gathering and his Party’s invitation.  The PCV joined in backing    “coordinated struggle determined by popular and revolutionary forces” in order to confront “terror and the looming military threat.”  He called for a “broad, continental anti-imperialist front,” but not necessarily a socialist one.

On its web site (, the PCV noted as problematic “the ideological heterogeneity of the few left parties that were invited [and] the presence of parties of the right.” “These profound political and ideological differences make convocation of a ‘Fifth Socialist International’ non-viable.” The PCV was joined by other Communist parties in opposing the proposal for a new international socialist coalition.

Other political groupings indicated interest but made no commitments, reported Kiraz Janicke on  They included the Workers Party of Brazil, Portugal’s Left Block, Germany’s Die Linke, France’s Parti de Gauche, the Cuban Communist Party, and Colombia’s Alternative Democratic Pole. Â

The PCV web site provides a full listing of parties and organizations in attendance, along with the complete “Commitment of Caracas.” The governing parties of Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, and Nicaragua were on hand, plus Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party. Communist parties attending included those of Cuba, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, China, and Vietnam. Â

The Commitment of Caracas outlined ambitious goals, in particular: “Our struggle for a better world [means] construction of an ecological and sustainable society.” “The combined economic, ecological, food, and energy crises [represent] a mortal threat to humanity and mother earth.”