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Assisi 04: Focus on Latin America

Venezuela, Bolivia, Mexico

22. July 2004

Three hotspots of the new Latin American resistance will be represented in Assisi which will allow for a thorough reflection on the anti-imperialist prospects of this continent historically having played a decisive role in the formation of the international revolutionary anti-imperialist movement.

Maria Bencomo will speak on behalf of the “Movimiento Popular de Base” (Popular Base Movement, MPB) from Venezuela which is a militant anti-imperialist organisation forming part of the Bolivarian current in support of president Hugo Chavez. The MPB is engaged in the current clashes with imperialism and the oligarchy and the comrades are preparing themselves for the intensification of the conflict. The enemy tries to impede the spread and radicalisation of the Bolivarian revolution by the help of the pro-Yankee opposition which happens to call itself civil society. The MPB has announced that it will submit a proposal for anti-imperialist unity throughout the continent taking advantage of the momentum created by the ongoing revolutionary process. In this sense they are considering to host the next anti-imperialist camp in the border region between Venezuela and Colombia.

Felix Patzi, a Bolivian sociologist of the “Community for Alternative Studies” and close collaborator of the “Indigenous Movement Pachakutik” (MIP) of the Aymara community, will address the question of the national liberation from a radical indigenous point of view. In a situation of instability and weakness of the pro-imperialist regime the leadership of the left including Evo Morales´ MAS (who scored a respectable success in the presidential elections and was dubbed the Bin Laden of the Andes by the US ambassador) is lending support to president Carlos Mesa. Mesa took office saving the regime from collapse after a popular mass movement had brought down his predecessor Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. Meanwhile a strong social movement against the surrendering of the national gas resources has been shaking the government. The indigenous Aymara movement under the leadership of Filipe Quispe has stepped up its revolutionary struggle with road blocks facilitating the establishment of local popular power in some communities.

Oralba Castello Najera of the “Collective Liberty” from Mexico will propose a different reading of the Zapatist experience. It started with the uprising of 1994 breaking the post Cold War silence and strongly influenced the emerging anti-globalisation movement. Instead of the organised and politicised poor classes as the revolutionary subject it embraced the “civil society” popularising this notion which implied the refusal to fight for state power and thus unspokenly accepting imperialist capitalism as eternal. But not only this neo-reformist concept was frustrated but also the attempts of the revolutionary left. Actually the neo-liberal pro-Yankee right around Vincente Fox´ PAN succeeded in normalizing and stabilising the situation. Today the once hyped Mexican experience risks to be forgotten pouring out the baby together with the dirty water. Oralba Castello Najera will attempt to draw conclusions of the last cycle of struggles in Mexico opened by Zapatism valid also for the international movement.