Delegates to the ÂFirst International Meeting of Parties of the LeftÂ in Caracas last week had a tough job. They had to deal with a proposal by Venezuelan President Hugo ChavezÂ 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 Âideological discussion.Â 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 Âsecond independence,Â Venezuelan Foreign Minister NicolÃ¡s Maduro told reporters it was the socialistsÂ turn now to organize a Âdifferent, solidarity Â based society.Â
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.Â
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 ÂCommitment of Caracas.Â Â PSUV Vice President Celia Flores explained others to reporters, including the fifth point, which demanded Âfull support of the Honduran people and restitution of the constitutional president.ÂÂ Four remaining points were: developing a Âplatform of conjoined action,Â organizing a Âworld movement of militants for a culture of peace;Â Âinternational communication for the emancipation of revolutionary consciousness;Â and Âsolidarity with peoples of the world who struggle for liberty.ÂÂ
Flores reviewed three ÂSpecial Declarations.Â One condemned the Âcriminal blockade the United States maintains against CubaÂ and demanded freedom for the Cuban Five. The second established November 29 as a day of Âworld vigilÂ in response to elections imposed that day under the ÂHonduran dictatorship.Â The last one called for a fifth socialist international. Â
Piedad Cordoba insisted upon Âabsolute backing for the revolution led by Chavez.Â She represented isolation, or assassination, of Chavez as a danger for all, emphasizing his crucial role in Âthe transition to socialism of the 21st Century.Â Â Chavez himself took support for a new international socialist grouping as Âratification that Bolivarian Venezuela is not alone.Â
ÂI assume the responsibility before the world,Â Chavez told the gathering. The fifth international Âmust be of the true left, disposed to confront imperialism and capitalism.ÂÂ Earlier he had commented that Âdebate over ideas is essential so as to not repeat the errors that distorted and weakened the socialist cause in the 20th century.Â He envisions Âsocialism of the 21st century converted, as MariÃ¡tegui advised, into a heroic and sovereign creation of each peopleÂ not an imitation or copy.Â
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 PartyÂs invitation.Â The PCV joined in backing Â Â Â Âcoordinated struggle determined by popular and revolutionary forcesÂ in order to confront Âterror and the looming military threat.Â Â He called for a Âbroad, continental anti-imperialist front,Â but not necessarily a socialist one.
On its web site (tribuna-popular.org), the PCV noted as problematic Âthe ideological heterogeneity of the few left parties that were invited [and] the presence of parties of the right.Â ÂThese profound political and ideological differences make convocation of a ÂFifth Socialist InternationalÂ non-viable.Â 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 venezuelanalysis.com. Â They included the Workers Party of Brazil, PortugalÂs Left Block, GermanyÂs Die Linke, FranceÂs Parti de Gauche, the Cuban Communist Party, and ColombiaÂs Alternative Democratic Pole. Â
The PCV web site provides a full listing of parties and organizations in attendance, along with the complete ÂCommitment of Caracas.Â The governing parties of Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, and Nicaragua were on hand, plus MexicoÂs 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: ÂOur struggle for a better world [means] construction of an ecological and sustainable society.Â ÂThe combined economic, ecological, food, and energy crises [represent] a mortal threat to humanity and mother earth.Â