Below is the complete message that Brazilian leader, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, sent to the Sao Paulo Forum in Caracas.
In 1990, when we created the Sao Paulo Forum, none of us thought that in just two decades we would get to be where we are now. At that time, the Left was governing only in Cuba. Today, we govern a large number of countries and even where we are in opposition, parties belonging the Forum are gaining an increasing influence in political and social life.
Progressive governments are changing the face of Latin America. Thanks to them, our continent is developing rapidly, with economic growth, job creation, distribution of wealth and social inclusion. Today, we are an international reference point for a successful alternative to neoliberalism.
Of course, we still have more work to do. Events which have taken place, in Honduras and Paraguay for instance, show why we have to keep struggling, so that democracy prevails in our region. The existence of colonies in our continent, as in the case of the Malvinas, which evidently belong to Argentina, remind us how much we have to fight to maintain national and regional sovereignty and for that we require more Latin American and Caribbean integration.
Our countries are still marked by poverty and inequality. We require more economic growth, social policies and structural reforms to build the developed, fair and fraternal society we long for. In everything that we have done up until now, which is a lot, the Forum and parties of the Forum have played a significant role, which could be even more important if we maintain our main characteristic: unity in the face of adversity.
I would like to say good bye adding that I would really like to be there. Not only to be part of the delegation, the Workers’ Party delegation, but also to give a warm embrace to comrade Hugo Chavez. With Chavez’s leadership, the venezuelan people has made extraordinary gains. The popular classes have never ever been treated with such respect, love and dignity. Those conquests must be preserved and strengthened.
Chavez, count on me, count on the PT (Brazilian Workers’ Party), count on the solidarity and support of each left-wing militant, each democrat and each Latin American. Your victory will be ours. A strong embrace, a fraternal embrace and thanks comrade for everything you have done for Latin America.