You may never have heard of the Foro de São Paulo, since Western media tend to ignore it, but it’s the world’s largest and most impactful Marxist international organization.
Rubbing elbows at this summer’s gathering in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, were members of the Chinese Communist Party, Cuba’s Communist Party, and the Democratic Socialists of America—the party of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.; and Cori Bush, D-Mo.
One member of the Democratic Socialists of America who attended the conference, Estefania Galvis, assured the main television station of Venezuela’s Marxist government, TeleSur, that her party was “fighting inside the heart of the empire.”
So we don’t read that at this year’s São Paulo Forum, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the host, along with Brazil’s Communist Party, bragged about how proud he was to be called a communist.
His enemies “accuse us of being communist, thinking that this will offend us,” Lula said in his opening speech, adding:
But that does not offend us. … To call us communist or socialist will never offend us. Never. On the contrary, it makes us proud. The people know that we deserve to be called that.
The enemies of communists, he said, were the narratives of “family, tradition, and patriotism.”
The conference routinely lambasted the United States and defended and praised China, Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela. The group’s opening declaration said São Paulo Forum members would deepen their ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have done nothing but coddle Lula and the region’s other Marxist leaders while treating the São Paulo Forum as a debating society.
But the São Paulo Forum is the world’s largest grouping of Marxist governments, political parties, nongovernmental organizations, third-party groups, guerrilla groups, and terrorists.
Their actions affect Americans and Europeans through drug trafficking, targeted immigration, financing of political parties in the West, and support of violent groups such as Black Lives Matter, whose leaders attend and network at São Paulo Forum conferences.
The São Paulo Forum was formed in 1990 by Fidel Castro, Cuba’s long-time communist tyrant, and Lula, then the leader of Brazil’s Socialist Party.
Two main reasons existed for forming a hemisphere-wide network of communists. First, aside from in Cuba, communists had failed to win power the traditional Marxist way—violent revolution followed by state terror. So another approach was needed.
The second reason: The Soviet Union—the paymaster of all communists since its inception in 1917—was collapsing at the time.
The key strategy for the São Paulo Forum, after switching from bullets to ballots, was for Marxists to run for office not as Marxists per se, but as populists, reformers, or anti-corruption crusaders. Then, after winning, they would change constitutions and society.
The São Paulo Forum’s annual summits, frequent workshops, and smaller gatherings became platforms for planning and sharing “best practices.” In his recent speech, Lula reminded his audience that it was the Foro de São Paulo that introduced the electoral strategy—“and you know we’ve had a lot of victories.”
Using this political do-it-yourself kit, Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, instantly putting that country’s enormous oil revenues—and rapidly growing narcotrafficking earnings—at the disposal of the São Paulo Forum’s other communists.
Lula was elected president of Brazil in 2002 and ruled for eight years, then was elected again in 2022. Evo Morales followed suit in 2005 in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in 2006 in Ecuador.
All except for Lula have been accused by the U.S. government of engaging with terrorist Marxist guerrillas and drug cartels. Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and ELN (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional), as well as Peru’s Maoist Shining Path guerrillas, have taken part in São Paulo Forum meetings.
A second wave of Marxists has been elected since the last conference in 2019—in Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Peru, and, of course, Brazil. A far-left organization called the North American Congress in Latin America boasts that 80% of the region is now in the control of the Left.
A recent addition to the São Paulo Forum’s winning strategy has been to use social media to incite and organize street protests in free societies, and then use the resulting discontent to place Marxists in power in elections.
BLM-style street riots in Chile and Colombia paved the way for the election of their Marxist leaders. As the gathering’s closing declaration put it, this mayhem has been translated into “electoral victories.”
All of these leftist governments are opening the region to China. The São Paulo Forum’s opening declaration was as praiseful of China as it was contemptuous of America.
“The U.S. project of domination over Latin America and the Caribbean is facing an environment marked by threats to its hegemony,” the document said, adding:
The dispute with China, and the growing presence of progressive or leftist political forces in regional governments … constitute an important challenge to a country affected by multiple crises that are manifesting themselves in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres.
Cooperation between China and Latin America is not new, and will grow in the future. China represents a factor for stability and balance in the region … . There are no conflicts of interests between China and Latin America, as the People’s Republic of China has never attacked or illegally occupied any Latin American territory.
The U.S., according to the document, is trying to “reverse its decline and recover its previous hegemonic status, a desperate effort putting world peace at risk.”
The final declaration also characterized Cuba, which hasn’t known democracy or freedom for more than 60 years, as a “universal patrimony of dignity.”
It’s time we took these people seriously, even if our “leaders” do not.
A Spanish version of this commentary first was published by Disenso Fundacion
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