Around 170 activists, intellectuals and members of political parties from 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean gathered in the commune of Recoleta, in the metropolitan region of Santiago, Chile, at the Regional Conference Dilemmas da Humanidade. With the aim of analyzing and thinking about ways to address the main challenges of current emancipatory struggles, the event participants praised the processes in Cuba and Venezuela as what they consider to be the main socialist experiences on the continent.
The meeting held in Chile between the 2nd and 4th of September was the Latin American and Caribbean stage of a formative process that prepares the regions of the world for the 3rd International Conference Dilemmas of Humanity, to be held in October, in Johannesburg, in South Africa. Regional events are also taking place in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
Organized by Alba Movimentos and the International Assembly of Peoples, the Latin American and Caribbean stage lasted three days and ended this Monday (4), a day celebrated in Chile for being the day on which, 53 years ago, Salvador Allende won the election presidential campaign with Popular Unity.
“Humanity’s Dilemmas is a global process that we have been building since 2004. There was a second edition in 2015 and we are now in this process of reflecting on the main problems that humanity is going through. Not only in terms of diagnosis, but also of proposals”, explains Laura Capote, from the secretariat of Alba Movimentos and the Marcha Patriótica de Colombia.
:: ‘There has never been such a strong presence of countries from the South in the global economy’, says political scientist ::
Cuba and the revolution as a process
“One of our dilemmas is the process of building democracy and popular power. Or, as the Bolivarian experience in Venezuela and the Cuban revolution teaches us, the proposal for a popular and protagonistic democracy”, says Capote.
Citing the growth of the ultra-right in different parts of the world, Laura considers that, often, “elections make us end up defending liberal democracy, which is not that of the people. Popular democracy passes through other places: community, territorial, neighborhood processes”, she illustrates.
Cuban Llaniska Lugo, deputy of the National Assembly of Popular Power, participated in the conference in Chile. “The Cuban revolution was a way to structurally transform a colonized society,” she introduced.
“Over time, throughout this struggle to defend what we have created, to look at ourselves from our eyes and walk with our feet, the revolution also reached a moment of disputes over meanings and subjectivities, of great complexity” , characterized Lugo.
“In Cuba, we are discussing what model we want to deepen in this commitment to socialism. That cannot be a path of tiredness, exhaustion, sacrifice. It has to be, as is our commitment to struggles throughout the region, a path to beauty, freedom, emancipation”, assessed Llaniska.
:: One year after the ‘no’, the new Chilean Constitution is open and in the hands of right-wing parliamentarians ::
Also a member of the Martin Luther King Center in Cuba, Lugo argues that “this has to be a sincere discussion with the Cuban people, at a time of great resistance and that we are really harassed by the economic blockade and strategies of punishment and isolation that imperialism applies to anyone trying to implement a model like the one we tried.”
“You cannot talk about revolutions as a memory of the past, as a history museum or as something perfect. It is necessary to discuss the processes and paths to confront capitalism. It is necessary to analyze the distance between the model and what the world really is”, assessed Llaniska Lugo. “And do all this with sensitivity, sincerity, courage and with that humanism that allows us to remain in solidarity”, she added.
Coined by former president Hugo Chávez, the term “participatory and protagonistic democracy” is, for Venezuelan congresswoman Blanca Eekhout, how “socialism of the 21st century” is defined.
In Venezuela’s assembly, Eekhout chairs his country’s Commune Development Commission. Promoted in the last years of the Chávez government, communes are forms of popular, territorial and productive organization made up of community councils. During a speech that became known as the “Timón Coup” in which he self-criticized the Bolivarian revolution, Hugo Chávez argued that, to advance socialism, it was “commune or nothing”.
With different dynamics, there are currently around three thousand registered communes in Venezuela. “The entire Venezuelan revolutionary process takes place within the framework of participatory and protagonistic democracy. And it has had many faces and moments”, assessed Blanca Eekhout.
“In the midst of a brutal blockade, a multifactorial war, with attempts at paramilitary invasion, we maintained the path of building the revolution based on the premise that we can only rule by obeying the people,” said Blanca Eekhout.
Work, culture and environment
Through activities such as debates and discussion groups, the Conference also listed as central dilemmas sovereignty to face imperialism, the cultural and idea battle, the organization of the working class and the defense of nature and common goods.
“What is at risk is not even a left-wing project. What is at risk is our own species, our continuation on this planet”, explained Laura Capote.
“Against the depredation and voracity with which capital has advanced on our common goods, we understand that here in Latin America we have a great wealth of struggles in defense of Mother Earth”, stated the member of Alba Movimentos.
In his view, the process through which peasant and indigenous movements in Bolivia came to recognize the plurality of nations within the same country is a step towards understanding that nature is not made of natural resources, but of common goods.
“We will also see who we meet in South Africa to bring learning from other regions of the world here. Our continent is very big and beautiful, but the world is much more so. So let’s be careful to learn from other dilemmas”, concluded Laura, “and well, to try to resolve them, which is the most important thing”.
Editing: Rodrigo Chagas