Given the current situation in Latin America, how necessary is it to build a consensus?
It is a strategic problem. The unity of the left was required yesterday, it is necessary today, and will be necessary always. I believe that without the unity of Latin America – paraphrasing what Fidel said in the year 1993 – Latin America has no future. The work that can be done is therefore very important, the joint policies that can be developed at events, in bilateral exchanges, the daily work of leftist political forces in pursuit of this unity, within their forces, with the rest of the left forces in their countries and with Latin America and the Caribbean in general.
There is sufficient consensus on the need to consolidate the unity of the left. The very existence of the São Paulo Forum, which will hold its 22nd meeting in San Salvador from June 23 – 26, is a sign of that effort and the ongoing search for coordination in a very different world, in a political and ideological reality where different roots converge, but where, in turn, agreement predominates, on programs and strategic objectives of the left, or of progressive forces in general.
What might the first steps be to achieving this consensus?
At a meeting of the Working Group of the São Paulo Forum, which was held on March 13 this year in Mexico, it was agreed to devise a left wing political program, and for each country or each party to propose their views on what this political program should contain. The Communist Party of Cuba is preparing its proposals and the same will occur with the other parties and forces, and also personalities, social organizations, all those who in some way want to contribute to this. We have called this program the “Our America Consensus” to counterpose the so-called “Washington Consensus”, which was one of the founding documents, or attempted to provide an idea, of what neoliberalism would be.
What is the program content proposed by Cuba?
The proposal that Cuba is going to present, in order that people are aware of what we are working on, will have as fundamental aspects, firstly, a preamble in which the main objectives are explained, it is reiterated that our horizon is post capitalist, that our main enemy is imperialism and that our struggle is a single one, with diverse views, roots, but with the same or similar aims.
It also contains an analysis of the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, but this is not an analysis of the current economic situation. We are seeking out deep, enduring problems, such as underdevelopment, impediments to scientific development, the impact of transnationalization and neoliberalism at the current stage, why Latin America remains the most unequal region despite all the advances we already know of, especially those of the progressive governments which have had an impact on improving the form and the quality of life of people with relevant methods and means.
From there on, a series of proposals is made, which have to do, for example, with creating models that are highly productive, that eliminate or overcome the phenomenon of mono-production and mono-exportation or deindustrialization, which in one way or another the region has been suffering in recent years, that propose possible constitutional reforms, the most radical possible, which address difficulties such as the nineteenth-century liberalism that leads this Latin American wave, and which will dig deep to thoroughly solve the problems of wealth distribution.
Perhaps these are things that may seem a utopia, but that is what it’s about: to propose something which seeks that utopia, long-term solutions. For example: for education and health services to stop being commodified and become universal and free; these are things that will take a long time.
Following these, the document has a set of criteria that could be called “Shared Values”, that is, those values and principles that distinguish the left: solidarity, honesty, modesty, the call for unitary, anti-imperialism, the integration of our Latin America and the Caribbean, and CELAC must be strategic to this.
Finally, there is a chapter which could be called the “Political Instrument”, that defines with which political force or which groups of political forces this program will be implemented. The characteristics of those political forces, political and ideological education, integrity, levels of organization, work with the masses, among other things, influence this.
We propose something that has been useful – for national, and if possible, local administrations, to be professionals, that is, to have cadres dedicated to this and for that there must be cadre training.
It is an ambitious project that brings together different things that some have done and others not. It differs from an electoral program mainly because it is long-term and strategic by definition, its guidelines are for longer periods and election manifestos are for less time, and therefore, do not contain all that this political program is proposing.
At what stage are we?
An essential stage, this is just beginning, we know that some political forces have been working but the decision made by the Working Group was that all proposals be received by the Labor Party (PT) of Mexico. Our document is in the approval phase by the Party leadership, it is the proposal of the Communist Party of Cuba, not of a single person, and stems from a process of analysis. I believe that by the end of this first half of the year, we will have this document ready to be submitted to the PT in Mexico.
This is primarily an ideological program, the configuration of a political and ideological proposal that must be undertaken by political forces or political groups or parties, or coalitions or broad fronts, there is no rigid definition of who in each country should draft it. That is why we believe in the context of the São Paulo Forum, and political forces who for certain reasons do not participate in the Forum, but also have the aim of change or who fulfill, respect those shared values, can also participate in this program.
This process has no set completion date, I think because of its complexity this could not yet be determined. It has an educational role, as we have identified political groups on the left that have not even considered the need for a political program, they deal purely with electoral programs, improvisations and even the very struggle in these countries is very complex – people with political, but also academic training, experience, are required.
It (the program) is the sum of many wills, of much knowledge; that’s why it has a pedagogical quality that could stimulate a way of working.
Our adversaries, imperialism, interact, they have a sometimes surprisingly consistent level of coordination, and sometimes we stray, we fail to agree, it requires more work and without real unity, as I said earlier, Latin America and the Caribbean have no future.