Source: ALBA Movements / Resumen Latinoamericano / November, 17, 2017
On Wednesday 16, in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Continental Meeting for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism started. During the next three days, three thousand militants of 23 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean will discuss the challenges that threaten their sovereignty and the ways in which to preserve it.
The meeting began on Wednesday with a march on the main avenue of Montevideo. The PIT-CNT union confederation of Uruguay did a partial strike on that day and led a mobilization that began outside the University and finished at the Obelisk.
The meetings began on Wednesday afternoon at the Montevideo Velodrome. In the opening speech, Nalu Faria, a leader of the World Women’s March, said the meeting stands for anti-racism ecologism, sexual diversity, anti-patriarchy, anti-imperialism, anti-classism, and freedom from violence in any of its forms.
In turn, Fernando Pereira, President of the PIT-CNT, also spoke at the opening and remarked on the importance of this event because an internationalist meeting of this magnitude had not taken place on that stage for many years. He encouraged the unity of social movements both in terms of agenda an in joint participation in mobilizations, and expressed that in this place they would be able to discuss and unite struggles across borders.
Lula da Silva, who is currently campaigning for the 2018 presidential elections in Brazil, was present in the meeting through a video. He said the struggle of the peoples is indispensable and called on to continue. People replied by chanting “Out With Temer!”, who usurped the presidency of Brazil from Dilma Rousseff, who belongs to Brazil’s Workers’ Party, led by Lula.
On Thursday 16, the attendees met in different panels to discuss topics like “We’re still struggling: peoples in motion” and “Challenges to confront the conservative wave and attacks on democracy”.
The latter panel included former president of Uruguay José “Pepe” Mujica. He highlighted the importance of militancy and said that we’re all responsible for building the future we want. He also warned that capitalism creates a culture of egotism that is hard to escape. Therefore, governments that intend to bring social justice, may not be able to satisfy the demands created by this capitalist culture. And as a consequence, he proposed being austere as a value to exercise—although he clarified that this is not an apology for poverty, since both concepts are different. “The collective progress of society is the biggest guarantee for happiness”, he expressed.
Friday was the day of “Resistance and Struggles of the People”, with workshops on “Free Trade: The Attacks of Capital Against Life”, “Popular Resistances Against the Power of Transnational Companies”, “Democracy and Sovereignty”, and “Integration between the peoples”.
Then there were panels of debate on the topics of “Free trade”, “Transnational companies”, “Democracy and Sovereignty” and “Integration between the peoples”.
Friday ended with a homage to Fidel Castro, almost one year after his passing away. It was a heartfelt tribute to the man who showed the way for the entire continent.
The first discussion panel, held in open air, was titled “We’re still fighting. Peoples in motion”, and featured representatives from the Movement of High School Students of Brazil, ALBA Movements, the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela, and Friends of the Earth from Uruguay.
The Meeting will end on Saturday, with a plenary session.