I was delighted to again be invited to be a plenary speaker at the annual Latin America
Conference in December 2009. What you will read inside Latin America Adelante is a selection of the contributions made by keynote speakers on the day and articles concerning the key issues facing the struggle for social progress in Latin America.
For progressives in Britain and throughout the world, developments in Latin America in recent years have been an inspiration, showing that another world is not only possible, but is being built. A world built on different priorities to those of the failed Washington ‘Consensus’ – principles of social justice, equality, economic redistribution and environmental protection that are not only correct, but essential for the very survival of our planet. From the remarkable achievements in health and education in Cuba, to the groundbreaking programmes for women’s equality in Venezuela, or the environmental policies of the Evo Morales’ government in Bolivia, the shift to the left in Latin America has brought about examples that can be learnt from across the world, especially in the context of the global crisis of neo-liberalism. But these social achievements are also under threat, which makes solidarity initiatives such as the Latin America
Conferences all the more important. At the end of last year we saw the coup in Honduras and the disgraceful recognition of subsequent ‘elections’ held under the military regime by the US administration. This – along with the recent military agreement between the US and Colombia regarding bases – was a stark warning to all those seeking an alternative to neo-liberalism that the reactionary elites and their international supporters have not gone away. This warning has become all the more stark in the first few weeks of 2010 – with President Correa in Ecuador and supporters of President Lugo in Paraguay uncovering right-wing plots to destabilise their governments and prepare the ground for ‘regime’ change. In this context, Chavez has again in Venezuela warned of the dangers facing the Bolivarian Revolution and Cuban leaders have expressed their disquiet about the direction of Obama’s policy towards the island. What is at stake in terms of the survival of social progress in Latin America is of great importance to For this reason, the work of those who organise the Latin America
conferences, such as the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and Cuba Solidarity Campaign , both individually as effective campaigns to defend those countries’ sovereignty, and together through projects such as Latin America
, will be more important than ever in the year ahead. If you are not already, I hope you will use contacts at the back of this journal to join both these campaigns. I hope you enjoy this supplement and I look forward to seeing you at Latin America 2010.