“Across Latin America, labour, social and left-wing movements have mobilised millions in the last period. Just under a year ago in Brazil, that spirit of resistance led to Lula’s return to the presidency, in a triumph for all humanity.”
At the Latin America Solidarity Fringe event during Labour Party Conference 2023, Matt Willgress, Labour Friends of Progressive spoke on the struggle of progressive movements across the region.
It’s important that we speak about the spirit of resistance in conditions of adversity, how different struggles in Latin America show why fighting back is so important. We can take that inspiration from that spirit of resistance here as we face the Tory offensive, and the attacks on democracy in our own movement of course.
Across Latin America, labour, social and left-wing movements have mobilised millions in the last period.
Just under a year ago in Brazil, that spirit of resistance led to Lula’s return to the presidency, in a triumph for all humanity.
And I also want to touch on two other examples, that are particularly poignant as we mark 50 years since Pinochet’s coup in Chile – namely how the people of Bolivia and Honduras have both overthrown US-backed coup regimes and brought to power governments committed to the many, not the few.
In Bolivia, only three and a half years ago a far-right coup took place there leading to a wave of rights abuses.
Throughout its 11 months’ duration, the coup regime accompanied this repression with an approach to economic and social policy thar could be termed Thatcherism on steroids.
Yet the people of Bolivia didn’t stand by and accept it. A heroic alliance of trade union, peasant and indigenous movements and the Movement Towards Socialism resisted the repression and forced new elections to be held, which the Left won by a landslide.
When we say don’t mourn organise, this is why comrades!
Corrupt and crony capitalism best describes many right-wing governments – including here in Britain – but Bolivia proves this approach can be overturned.
And it proves that of you fightback you can win – unity is strength. So does the example of Honduras, where after a decade of reaction, social progress, equality and democracy are again advancing.
And in other countries too ‘Uncle Sam’ is not getting his way – in Venezuela, where years of vicious and deadly US sanctions have failed to get the illegal ‘regime change’ they are aimed at.
We should also remember that in contrast to US imperialism, Cuba’s internationalism is an inspiration to us all, and just as Cuba makes a difference, we need to make a difference by standing with Cuba against the criminal blockade.
We need to stand united with all Latin America’s socialist movements, and loudly say no more coups or US interventions – Yes to unity, internationalism and socialist change!
- This article is a published version of the speech given by Matt Willgress at the Latin America Solidarity Fringe event at Labour Party Conference 2023: Viva La Solidaridad – Latin America Shows Another World is Possible.
- The Latin America Conference 2024 takes place on January 27th with solidarity speakers from the Labour and Trade Union movement, and representatives from Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba and more! Register your place here.
- You can follow Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America on Facebook and Twitter.
- If you support Labour Outlook’s work amplifying the voices of left movements and struggles here and internationally, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.