Havana, Cuba.- Amid an offensive by the right wing with its neoliberal policies and the stepping up of hegemonic stance of the United States, progressive and left-wing forces from Latin America and the Caribbean noted here that they are still struggling.

More than 600 delegates who attended the 24th Sao Paulo Forum from July 15-17 at Havana’s Convention Center set that position after discussing the need for unity to respond to the current situation in the region.

Heads of State, former presidents, renowned figures and intellectuals from Latin America and the Caribbean condemned the thesis on the defeat of the left wing and the supremacy of the right wing, based on coups d’état and elections with negative results for the progressive forces.

In that regard, the Final Declaration adopted at the end of the meeting on Tuesday describes as absurd and inadmissible the notion that the US-sponsored power elites are ruling the region.

The parties and groups of the Forum, created in 1990, agreed to take actions to counter the right wing’s attacks, boost integration mechanisms like the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and fight the Organization of American States (OAS)’s interference.

The documents approved at the 24th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum support the governments that have been victims of foreign aggressions, including those of Venezuela and Nicaragua, and condemned the US blockade of Cuba and the persecutions of popular leaders.

They also demanded the release of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose imprisonment they described as unfair.

The Sao Paulo Forum also expressed support for former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who recalled in a video message the crusade against him, and accused President Lenin Moreno of betraying the Citizens’ Revolution.

The Havana meeting was attended by progressive and popular leaders from the region, including the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), Raul Castro, and Presidents Miguel Diaz-Canel (Cuba), Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia) and Salvador Sanchez Ceren (El Salvador).

Other participants were former Presidents Dilma Rousseff (Brazil) and Manuel Zelaya (Honduras), and the Puerto Rican pro-independence fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera.

In their speeches, Diaz-Canel, Maduro, Morales and Sanchez Ceren insisted on the urgency for the left wing and the sectors opposed to neoliberalism to unite, a stance that was ratified by PCC Central Committee Second Secretary Jose Ramon Machado Ventura in his closing speech.

The third and last session of the 24th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum paid tribute to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and his legacy.

According to Evo Morales, the best tribute to Fidel is to materialize Latin American and Caribbean unity and do not give in, while Maduro noted the Cuban leader’s commitment to the defense of social justice and the peoples’ dignity.

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