In regards to the continent, the declaration recognizes that the region is experiencing an “offensive conservative re-colonization by the United States and local oligarchies,” aiming to “do away with all the gains made by progressive processes in the region regarding social justice, sovereignty, integration and genuine citizen participation.”
Participations in the forum, which brought together global intellectuals and cultural personalities in Caracas over four days, emphasized that Venezuela is currently the number one target of this conservative campaign, thus reaffirming their unwavering solidarity with the country; while also demanding the immediate revocation of the U.S. Executive Order describing the country as a threat to the national security of the United States, and rejection of the Amnesty and Reconciliation Law supported by right wing factions in Venezuela, which would benefit opposition members convicted of violent crimes.
In addition to calling for “large-scale mobilization in defense of the Venezuelan people’s sovereignty and right to self-determination,” the document also demands “a definitive end to coup attempts against the Bolivarian government,” expressing support for all social processes, activists and progressive leaders of the region, who are targets of right wing attacks similar to those carried out under the infamous U.S. backed Operation Condor.
Intellectuals vehemently denounced “the seditious use of the justice system to criminalize popular political leaders such as Dilma Rousseff, Lula da Silva and Cristina Kirchner,” and called for protests outside Brazilian embassies across the globe to stop the impeachment process currently underway against Dilma Rousseff, and repression of the Landless Workers’ Movement by the country’s military.
They condemned the murder of Honduran human rights and environmental activist Berta Cáceres, demanded the release of Argentinean indigenous rights activist, Milagro Salas and Puerto Rican Independence campaigner, Oscar López Rivera; demanded justice for the 43 disappeared Mexican students and denounced attacks by paramilitary forces in Colombia which threaten to disrupt peace talks currently underway.
The Network also criticized attempts to “sully the political and moral authority” of Bolivian President, Evo Morales; coup plots and harassment against Rafael Correa in Ecuador, as well as exploiting crime to destabilize the government in El Salvador.
In regards to the media, the forum added their voice to the global outcry against the censoring ofTelesur in Argentina, and called on participants to create a common anti-hegemonic media platform able to develop, on a large-scale, “a new culture which challenges consumerism, and could contribute to the formation of solidary and critical citizens unable to be manipulated, but rather capable of resisting the destruction and erasure of our common memory, heritage and historic conscience.”
SUPPORT FOR THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT
Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution currently resisting the global capitalist siege and destabilization attempts fomented by the domestic opposition, was the focus of the event’s opening discussions on April 8.
Dozens of artists, intellectuals and activists from various countries around the world came together in support of the government of the South American nation. The Vice President of Venezuela, Aristóbulo Istúriz together with ministers of Higher Education, Science and Technology and Culture Jorge Arreaza and Freddy Ñáñez, respectively, spoke about the complex political, economic and social situation in the country.
Istúriz described the various aspects of the large-scale resistance campaign being carried out by the Bolivarian Revolution “against the imperialist offensive,” persecution by global financial institutions, and economic war led by the domestic oligarchy which also supports and encourages acts of violence, as well as the most intense media campaign ever launched to discredit a nation’s government.”
Speaking to the Cuban press, decorated hero of the Republic of Cuba Antonio Guerrero, one of the five anti-terrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in the United States, likened the unrelenting attacks against Venezuela to acts of aggression endured by the island for over 56 years, something which unites the two countries under a common cause.
“We Cubans know full well that behind the difficulties being faced by the Chavista Revolution is the hand of imperialism, the same hand that is also involved in all the plots against popular movements in the region; however the high level of social justice in Venezuela strengthens the country. The peoples of South America are not the same as before,” he stated.
COMMON FRONT AGAINST NEOLIBERAL MEDIA BLOCKADE
“There is an offensive to restore the conservative past and undo all the progressive processes which have changed the face of the continent,” stated Cuban presidential advisor and author, Abel Prieto, president of the forum, who highlighted the need for intellectuals, activists and artists to join together to form a front able to “bring down the media wall,” responding to neoliberal mandates.
He also emphasized the importance of uniting the various forces struggling against neoliberal interests.
According to Telesur, the Cuban author noted that “Latin America and the Caribbean have ceased to be the back yard of the United States and there is an offensive currently underway to return the region to this deplorable and subordinate position [however] there are many noble people, numerous groups, movements and organizations working to ensure that this does not happen, many good young people that one continues to discover in these encounters.”
He also explained how the right wing mass media uses various outlets to convince people that only the older generation of intellectuals and artists participate in these encounters, as a way of presenting revolutionary ideology as a thing of the past.
“The trick is to ensure people don’t learn about the encounter, to distract youth so that they continue to follow the private lives of famous people, waste their time. To live a life where there is supposedly only the present, and no past,” stated Prieto.
As such the President of the forum stressed the need for participants to exploit all pertinent and available spaces, such as forums, book fairs and festivals, and to use the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements as a tool to defend the truth and humanity, and platform to work as effectively as possible against the hegemonic mass media.