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São Paulo Forum

São Paulo Forum
Foro de São Paulo
Formation1990 (first conference)
TypePolitical international
PurposeSouth and Central American network of left-wing to far-left political parties and organisations
HeadquartersSão Paulo, Brazil
Region served
The Americas

São Paulo Forum (FSP), also known as the Foro de São Paulo, is a conference of left to far-left[1][better source needed][2][better source needed][3] political parties and other organizations from the Americas, primarily Latin America and the Caribbean. It was launched by the Workers' Party (Portuguese: Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) of Brazil in 1990 in the city of São Paulo.

The Forum of São Paulo was constituted in 1990, when the Brazilian Workers' Party approached other parties of Latin America and the Caribbean to debate the new international scenario after the fall of the Berlin Wall and rising adoption of some economic liberalization policies implemented at the time by right-leaning governments in the region. The stated main objective of the conference was to argue for alternatives to neoliberalism.[4]

The first meeting held in São Paulo in July 1990 was attended by members of 48 parties and organizations from Latin American and the Caribbean. The original name given to the meeting was Meeting of Left and Anti-imperialist Parties and Organizations of Latin America (Portuguese: Encontro de Partidos e Organizações de Esquerda e Anti-imperialistas da América Latina). Since the 1991 meeting in Mexico City, it started being alternately called Foro de São Paulo in reference to the location of the first meeting.[5] Subsequent meetings have been hosted by many of the parties throughout the region.

Political stance

According to FSP, more than 100 parties and political organizations participate in its conferences today. Their political positions vary across a wide spectrum, which includes: social-democratic parties, left-wing grassroots labor and social movements inspired by the Catholic Church, ethnic and environmentalist groups, anti-imperialist and nationalist organizations, communist parties, and armed guerrilla forces. The latter, however, is true only so far as one is willing to think of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as an actual member of the FSP, when actually the FARC, although never formally banned from the Forum, have been barred from participating in its meetings as early as 2005, when they were refused admittance to that year's meeting of the FSP in São Paulo.[6]

These groups differ on a range of topics which go from the use of armed force in revolutions to the support of representative democracy. The Communist Party of Cuba, for example, has adopted a single-party system for decades, while Brazil's Workers' Party (PT) supports and participates in a multi-party system of representative democracy. Some parties such as Chile's Social Convergence advocate for radical democracy, participatory democracy, and workplace democracy instead of representative democracy as a primary value. These differences grant special relevance to FSP's final declarations, released at the end of each conference, which state the collective position of its members.

Ever since FSP's first meeting (1990), the Declaration which was approved expressed the participants' "willingness to renew leftist and socialist thought, to reaffirm its emancipating character, to correct mistaken conceptions, and to overcome all expressions of bureaucratism and all absence of true social and massive democracy."

The first Declaration manifests "an active compromise with the validity of human rights, of democracy and of popular sovereignty as strategic values, which place the constant challenge of leftist, socialist and progressive forces renewing their thoughts and actions."

At the second conference (Mexico, 1991), FSP expanded its objectives to add the proposal of working toward Latin American integration, an interchange of experiences, the discussion of the political left's differences and searching for consensus in action. The following conferences reinstate the participants' willingness to exchange experiences and develop a dialogue, while at the regional and continental level FSP's influence grows, with some of its members achieving electoral success and their candidates reaching the presidency of many countries.

During the early 1990s, the FSP was seen by some as expressing the emergence of a new Latin American leftist paradigm: non-authoritarian, de-militarized and grassroots-friendly.[7] As others have noted, however, there is a marked contradiction between the fiery and quasi-revolutionary rhetoric about "socialism of the 21st century" indulged in sometimes by many FSP's leaders, and the plain fact that the positions of power held by such leaders depend, on most cases, on their holding positions in governments which have emerged through the electoral road.[8] In a statement made in 2008 in Lima, before a gathering of Peruvian businessmen, however, Brazil's President Lula would declare, approvingly, that the FSP had "educated" the Left in the understanding of the existence of possibilities of running for elections and gaining power through the democratic way – a declaration that prompted a comment from AFP, reproduced at the Rede Globo site, to the effect that the hallmark of FSP's activities had been its "very moderate" character.[9]

Nevertheless, almost since its inception, the FSP has been the target of criticism from the right in the United States and Latin America, especially in Brazil, describing it as an organization promoting terrorism and/or a revival of communism,[10] something regarded even by mainstream conservatives as unfounded and "exaggerated to say the least".[11] The allegedly subversive character of the Foro's activities, however, was revived during the 2010 Brazilian presidential election campaign, as the vice-presidential candidate in the José Serra ticket, Antônio Pedro de Siqueira Indio da Costa, denounced repeatedly the supposed connection, by way of the Foro, between the Brazilian Workers' Party and the FARC.[12] Alternatively, the Foro is seen also as more than a simple regular gathering, in that policies that had been advised by it came to be actively implemented later – such as the strengthening of Mercosur, or the setting up of Unasur – but that the Foro was better understood as a "brainstorming organization", a "think-tank for politicians".[13] [14]

During the fifth meeting (Montevideo, 1995) a dispute arose about the attendance of the Movimiento Bolivia Libre, which was charged, in a motion presented by ten parties, led by Argentina's Partido Obrero, of support to the repressive actions of the neoliberal government of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada in Bolivia. The refusal of the motion by the Foro's plenum led to the permanent withdrawal of Partido Obrero from the meeting. Partido Obrero had already declared itself in opposition to the Foro's positions, having previously made public a note in which it protested against the change in the official name of the organization, as "offering evidence of putting, in the place of actual making of common policies, a kind of purely academic workshop, [a sure sign] of conscious depoliticization leading eventually to the cover-up of rightist policies".[5]

During the 14th meeting in El Salvador, it was resolved that the Foro should organize a number of subordinate organizations and facilities: an electronic bulletin on the Net, a politic-cultural festival, an electoral observatory and a cadre school.[15]

In the final declaration of the FSP's 15th meeting in Montevideo, there is a reinstatement and updating of the Foro's goals: to aid "the progressive forces in the continent who are in power and strive in various ways to build projects which – according to each country's particular characteristics – allow them to face the main problems generated by neoliberalism"[16] – something which added to the statement made at the same time by Belela Herrera, International Relations chargé of the Uruguayan Broad Front, that issues like ecology, exclusion, racism and xenophobia had added themselves inseparably to the Left's traditional agenda.[17] The meeting also debated the ongoing Colombian armed conflict, which prompted a declaration by the International Relations Secretary of the Brazilian Workers' Party, Valter Pomar, who exposed what in his view was the Foro's general stance towards the current Colombian situation: "In Colombia we have a military confrontation that has been going on for decades, having as its players the [Colombian] State, as well as the paramilitary and insurgent forces. The Foro is interested in achieving peace and in having a negotiated process towards reaching this goal".[18]

In the 16th meeting, which opened on 20 August 2009 in Mexico City, the Foro was expected to concentrate discussion on the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis as well as engaging in efforts to the restoration of the deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.[19] The Vice president of the Mexican Senate, Yeidckol Polevnsky, has invited the Honduran MP Silvia Ayala, as a member of the Democratic Unification Party and leader of the manifestations in support of Zelaya held in San Pedro Sula, to attend the meeting[20] – something that attracted the fury of the pro-government Honduran press.[21]

The ongoing meeting in Mexico will also be the first to organize a parallel youth meeting, where member parties will discuss the impact of the global economic crisis on Latin American youth and the responses that could be offered to it.[22]

In January 2010, the European Left – the broad front of European national Left parties formed in view of a common stand in European politics – at the opening of its Third Congress, expressed its interest in strengthening ties with the FSP.[23]

In September 2021, the Democratic Socialists of America applied for membership.[24]


Map showing Foro de São Paulo members as of 2023:
  Member in government
  Member not in government

In government

The following countries are currently being governed by leaders and member parties of the Foro de São Paulo:

Aligned governments

The following centre-left and left-wing parties or coalitions, who are currently in government, even though not members of the forum, maintain good relations and have been integrated with the members of the FSP:

As main opposition

The following countries had members of the Foro de São Paulo as the main opposition parties in their parliaments and/or were the second electoral force in the past elections:

Formerly ruling party or coalition partners

Official members

Country Name Government
 Argentina Communist Party of Argentina In opposition
Communist Party of Argentina (Extraordinary Congress) In opposition
Revolutionary Communist Party In opposition
Evita Movement In opposition
Broad Front In opposition
Frente Transversal Nacional y Popular In opposition
Intransigent Party In opposition
Solidary Party In opposition
Socialist Party In opposition
Freemen of the South Movement Extra-parliamentary opposition
Humanist Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Workers' Revolutionary Party-Posadista Extra-parliamentary opposition
Union of Militants for Socialism Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Aruba Democratic Network Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Barbados People's Empowerment Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Belize Belize People's Front Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Bolivia Movement for Socialism In government
 Brazil Workers' Party In government
Communist Party of Brazil In government
Democratic Labour Party Parliamentary support
Brazilian Communist Party Extra-parliamentary support
 Chile Communist Party of Chile In government
Socialist Party of Chile In government
Commons In government
Libertarian Left In government
Humanist Party In government
Revolutionary Left Movement Extra-parliamentary opposition
Allendist Socialism Movement Extra-parliamentary support
 Colombia Alternative Democratic Pole In government
Unión Patriótica In government
Indigenous and Social Alternative Movement (MAIS) In government
Commons In government
Democratic Unity In government
Green Alliance Parliamentary support
Colombian Communist Party In government
Patriotic March In government
Presentes por el Socialismo Extra-parliamentary support
 Costa Rica Broad Front In opposition
People's Vanguard Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Cuba Communist Party of Cuba One-party state
 Curaçao Sovereign People Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Dominican Republic Modern Revolutionary Party In government
Alliance for Democracy In government
Country Alliance In opposition
Dominican Liberation Party In opposition
Dominican Revolutionary Party In opposition
People's Force In opposition
Communist Labor Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Fatherland for All Movement Extra-parliamentary opposition
Revolution Force Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
United Left Movement Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Ecuador Revolución Ciudadana In opposition
Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country In opposition
Socialist Party – Broad Front of Ecuador In opposition
Ecuadorian Communist Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Communist Party of Ecuador Extra-parliamentary opposition
Marxist–Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador Extra-parliamentary opposition
 El Salvador Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front In opposition
 Guatemala Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity Extra-parliamentary support[27]
Winaq In government[28]
Tejiendo Pueblo Extra-parliamentary support
 Haiti Struggling People's Organization In opposition
 Honduras Liberty and Refoundation In government
 Mexico National Regeneration Movement In government
Labor Party In government
Party of the Democratic Revolution In opposition
 Nicaragua Sandinista National Liberation Front In government
 Panama Democratic Revolutionary Party In government
 Paraguay Guasú Front In opposition
Party for a Country of Solidarity In opposition
Citizen Participation Party In opposition
Tekojoja People's Party In opposition
Popular Socialist Convergence Party In opposition
Revolutionary Febrerista Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Paraguayan Communist Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Popular Patriotic Movement Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Party of the Movement Towards Socialism Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Peru Free Peru In opposition
Peruvian Communist Party In opposition
Peruvian Humanist Party In opposition
Communist Party of Peru – Red Fatherland Extra-parliamentary opposition
Socialist Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Peruvian Nationalist Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
Land and Liberty Extra-parliamentary opposition
United People's Party Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Puerto Rico Communist Party of Puerto Rico Extra-parliamentary opposition
Hostosian National Independence Movement Extra-parliamentary opposition
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement Extra-parliamentary opposition
Socialist Front Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Saint Lucia Saint Lucia Labour Party In government
 Trinidad and Tobago Movement for Social Justice Extra-parliamentary opposition
 Uruguay Broad Front In opposition
March 26 Movement Extra-parliamentary opposition
Uruguay Assembly In opposition
Movement of Popular Participation In opposition
Communist Party of Uruguay In opposition
Artiguist Tendency In opposition
Revolutionary Workers' Party In opposition
People's Victory Party In opposition
Socialist Workers Party In opposition
Socialist Party of Uruguay In opposition
 Venezuela United Socialist Party of Venezuela In government
Fatherland for All In government
Movement We Are Venezuela In government
Communist Party of Venezuela In opposition

Former members

Country Name Notes
 Brazil Popular Socialist Party Withdrew from the Foro in 2004 due to the Foro's support of the Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez governments in Cuba and Venezuela.[29]
Brazilian Socialist Party Withdrew from the Foro in 2019 due to the Foro's support of the Nicolás Maduro government in Venezuela.[30]
 Ecuador PAIS Alliance Left the Foro in 2021 following the renaming as the MOVER Movement.

Meetings and organization

Meetings were held in São Paulo (1990), Mexico City (1991), Managua (1992), Havana (1993), Montevideo (1995), San Salvador (1996), Porto Alegre (1997), Mexico City (1998), Managua (2000), Havana (2001), Antigua Guatemala (2002), Quito (2003), São Paulo (2005), San Salvador (2007), Montevideo (2008), Mexico City (2009), Buenos Aires (2010), Managua (2011), Caracas (2012), São Paulo (2013), La Paz (2014), Mexico City (2015), San Salvador (2016), Managua (2017), Havana (2018), Caracas (2019) and Brasília (2023).

The Foro's chief authority is its meeting itself. Between meetings, the Foro is represented by an Executive Group (Grupo de Trabalho) composed of a sample of its overall membership that usually meets thrice a year as well as by an Executive Secretariat (Secretariado Executivo).[31]

See also


  1. ^ Gonzalez, Mike. "The Marxist Influence of the São Paulo Forum in Latin America". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2024-03-05.
  2. ^ "The Marxist Hurricane in South America". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2024-03-05.
  3. ^ Fantini, Ellen (2023-02-05). "The São Paulo Forum and the Future of Latin America: An Interview with Alejandro Peña Esclusa". Retrieved 2024-03-05.
  4. ^ Cf. Carlos Baraibar & José Bayardi: "Foro de San Pablo ¿qué es y cuál es su historia?", 23 August 2000, "No Se Encontraron Resultados Para Va Internacionales Noticias 7026753 Asp". Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  5. ^ a b "Fundação Perseu Abramo". Archived from the original on 20 November 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  6. ^ Cf. Folha de S.Paulo May 31, 2005
  7. ^ See, for instance, William I. Robinson,"The São Paulo Forum: is there a new Latin American left?", Monthly Review, December 1992, available at [1]
  8. ^ cf. Inés Hayes, "XIV São Paulo Forum: Left parties debate the current historic conjuncture", available at [2]
  9. ^ "G1 > Mundo – NOTÍCIAS – Foro de São Paulo ajudou a democratizar esquerda latino-americana, diz Lula". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  10. ^ Such as the material found at [3] Archived 2011-05-11 at the Wayback Machine organized by Unoamerica, a coalition of conservative Latin American political groups; see also Luísa Roxo Barja, "A face obscura da política: governo e eleições no Mídia Sem Máscara", Aurora-Revista de Arte, Mídia e Política, no. 4(2009), available at [4], retrieved July 20, 2014; and Angelo Kirst Adami, "Hugo Chávez, o ditador : o discurso da revista Veja sobre o presidente da Venezuela", B.Sc Monography IN Communications/Jornalism, UFRGS, 2008, available at [5], retrieved July 20, 2014
  11. ^ Cf. Kenneth Maxwell, "Brazil: Lula's Prospects", The New York Review of Books, December 5, 2002, available at [6]
  12. ^ cf., e.g., Venezuela's El Universal, August the 17th. 2010: "FARC causan polémica en debate de candidatos brasileños".
  13. ^ Bruno de Paula Castanho e Silva, "THE SÃO PAULO FORUM AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF LATIN AMERICAN REGIONAL INTEGRATION".Paper presented at the XXIInd World Congress of Political Science, Madrid, 2012. Available at [7].Retrieved July 20, 2014
  14. ^ Oliveira, A. Marques, T. Carvalho, F. “REDES PARTIDÁRIAS TRANSNACIONAIS” NA AMÉRICA LATINA? COERÊNCIA IDEOLÓGICA ENTRE PARTIDOS E CANDIDATURAS PRESIDENCIAIS (2000-2015) “Transnational Party Networks” in Latin America? Ideological coherence between parties and presidential candidates (2000-2015), Mural Internacional, Rio de Janeiro, Vol.13, e66621, 2022. DOI: 10.12957/rmi.2022.66621| e-ISSN: 2177-7314. Available at [8]. Retrieved Dec 23, 2022
  15. ^ "Cf. Brazilian Workers' Party Site".
  16. ^ "Cf. Brazilian Workers' Party site".
  17. ^ "Página não encontrada – iG". Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Foro de San Pablo abre debates: entre las viejas banderas y nuevos desafíos". LARED21. 23 May 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Frum de So Paulo discutir sobre Honduras". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  20. ^ Cf. Prensa Latina
  21. ^ "El XV Foro de Sao Paulo contra Honduras por Alejandro Peña Esclusa". Diario La Tribuna. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  22. ^ DEMOS, Desarrollo de Medios, S.A. de C.V. (20 August 2009). "La Jornada: Hoy, reunión regional de izquierdas". Retrieved 16 December 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ cf. "EUROPEAN LEFT: European Left convenes third congress in Paris". Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 13 January 2010
  24. ^ Kerson, Roger (21 September 2021). "Democratic Socialists of America Make a Strategy for the Biden Era". In These Times.
  26. ^ "Primer ministro sanvicentino destaca importancia de Foro de Sao Paulo". Trabajadores. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Alianza a la vista: "definir las candidaturas es lo más difícil, todos quieren su espacio"". 21 September 2022.
  28. ^ "Alianza a la vista: "definir las candidaturas es lo más difícil, todos quieren su espacio"". 21 September 2022.
  29. ^ "Blog do PPS: Algumas verdades sobre o "Foro de São Paulo", o PT e os tiranetes que enxovalham a esquerda democrática". Blog do PPS. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  30. ^ Morais, Esmael (2019-08-30). "PSB aprova saída de Foro de São Paulo e critica Maduro". Blog do Esmael (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  31. ^ "Cf. Brazilian Workers' Party site".
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São Paulo Forum
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