Puebla Group: from euphoria for the release of Lula to the coup for the resignation of Evo Morales


The second meeting of the Puebla Group was held in Buenos Aires with the slogan 'Change is progressivism' and in the midst of a climate of agitation that went from euphoria to the release of the former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva , to the concern about the crisis in Bolivia that led to the unexpected resignation of Evo Morales.

Unlike the founding meeting of this new progressive bloc, which was held last July in Mexico without major shocks, this time the event was marked by the restlessness in the face of instability that suffer several countries in the region.

Lula's release

The work began on Friday with a presentation and celebration dinner because, just that day, Lula left Curitiba prison because last night the Brazilian Supreme Court had established that a convicted person should only go to jail when there is exhausted all judicial remedies at your fingertips, which has not happened with the former president.

At the table of the Cafe de las Palabras, located in a popular neighborhood of Buenos Aires, the elected president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, celebrated the liberation of Lula with the former presidents of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff; Paraguay, Fernando Lugo; Colombia, Ernesto Samper; and Uruguay, Jose Mujica. The presidential candidates from Chile, Marco Enriquez-Ominami, and Colombia, Clara Lopez Obregon, also traveled to the Argentine capital; and the former foreign ministers of Brazil, Celso Amorim, and Argentina, Jorge Taiana.

The photograph that was taken together, embraced and smiling, was iconic, since they made the 'L' with the fingers of the hand, the symbol of 'Lula Livre' that became popular during the 19 months that the former president spent in prison. The image was reproduced by Lula himself with a message of thanks.

Beyond the injection of political energy that meant the liberation of Lula for progressivism, Rousseff warned that the most important thing is to prove that there was never evidence to condemn him. "Your freedom is not enough, we want your innocence", said.

The enthusiasm continued on Saturday morning, during the opening headed by Fernandez, who became leader of the meeting in his capacity as host and for being the only member who will govern, because the rest of the members of the Puebla Group already It is not in power.

The work sessions of the Latin American progressive leaders were preceded by a recorded message from Lula in which celebrated Fernandez's victory as his own in the presidential elections of Argentina, in addition to announcing his return to politics, as he would later ratify before a crowd in the Metallurgists Union. "Alberto's triumph is as if I had won … I am free and eager to fight, I have the dream of building a great Latin America, of touring Brazil and fighting against the rotten side of justice and politics," he said.

Fernandez, for his part, summed up in his speech the challenges facing Latin America after the years of "overwhelm" suffered by the progress of right-wing governments, the unacceptable concentration of wealth and the weakening of institutions. Just back from Mexico, he praised that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is the president of that country who, for the first time in decades, worries and looks at the rest of the region.

"With Lula Libre other winds blow in Brazil, the unity between Brazil and Argentina is indissoluble, no joint government can break it," said the president-elect despite the tension that exists with President Jair Bolsonaro, who criticized the Argentines for vote for Peronism and will not come to your inauguration to be held on December 10.

During Saturday and Sunday, the Puebla Group held different work sessions with the themes: 'Latin America invertebrate: what is happening in our region and how to lead change?', 'There is no progressivism without feminism', ' Is the future of work of robots? Progressism and the left facing the impact of technology on employment ',' How to make growth benefit us all? ',' How does the China-United States trade war impact in Latin America? ',' Migration as a new phenomenon? ' and 'Justice and Democracy', plus a special table on integration.

Morales's resignation

All the time, however, the crisis faced by Morales in Bolivia over the police mutiny, the violence and insistence of the opposition to demand his resignation and the report of the Organization of American States that detailed anomalies during the presidential elections of the past 20 October.

In the middle of the meeting, the Puebla Group issued a statement to Solidarity with Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and to summon the various international organizations to support peace and democracy in Bolivia.

"(The Group) calls on all political actors to exercise their responsibility to preserve peace and respect for the constitutional order, in order to guarantee democratic continuity in the face of attempts at destabilization and calls for violence that affect institutional life and coexistence. It supports the dialogue and understanding promoted by the Government, which contemplates an audit of international organizations of the results of the electoral process. Peace is a value that must be preserved over any current political interest ", warned the pronouncement distributed on Saturday afternoon.

The meeting ended Sunday at noon, when the Bolivian crisis was in its decisive hours and still with uncertain destiny.

In its final statement of 16 points, the Puebla Group defined itself as "a group of self-called citizens around ideas that are part of a new progressive agenda for Latin America" ​​and that promote Latin American and Caribbean integration and the role of the various organisms and spaces of regional convergence.

They made an "urgent" call to the international community to reject the articulation of the judiciary with the media that, in many countries, "they arbitrarily persecute progressive leaders and leaders to impede their political projects", in clear reference to Lula and the former presidents of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and Ecuador, Rafael Correa.

In the document they reviewed the region and celebrated the release of Lula, whom they considered "the victim of a gross judicial assembly"; supported the Colombia Peace Agreement, they condemned the "anachronistic" economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba Y They ratified the "legitimate claim" of the people of Chile to protest in the face of inequalities and injustices, so they rejected the violent repression of social protests.

Coup d'etat in Bolivia: Evo Morales resigns from the presidency of the country (LIVE)

They also announced that the Puebla Group will send a delegation to open a dialogue with the government of Ecuador and express concern about the political and judicial persecution of opposition leaders; they remembered the serious situation in Haiti, which has already been in mass protests for more than two months without due media interest or from the international community.

With respect to the always harsh theme of Venezuela, were pronounced by the search for a peaceful and democratic exit to the serious political, economic and social crisis that the country suffers, but at the same time defending the legitimate right of self-determination of the peoples and rejecting the imposition of unilateral sanctions such as those promoted by the Lima Group.

The statement included a paragraph on Bolivia in which supported the call for new elections that Morales announced Sunday morning. "We repudiate all acts of physical violence, aggression and intimidation as a form of political pressure. We urge the public commitment to respect the ongoing mandates of all legally constituted authorities until the assumption of the new rulers elected by the Bolivian people, under the new electoral process, based on the integral respect of the constitution, "they said.

Hours later, the pronouncement was old because Morales announced his resignation to stop the violence organized by right-wing opponents.

For the Puebla Group, it was the first major blow against their attempts to reinforce and reposition progressivism in the region.

Therefore, at night they issued a new and urgent statement to repudiate the coup against Morales.

"Once again, the constitution and the rule of law of Bolivia were violated interrupting a constitutional mandate. The serious events that occurred in recent days intensified in Bolivia. Opposition forces triggered political mobilizations accompanied by acts of violence, humiliation of authorities democratically elected, invasion, looting and burning of houses, kidnapping and threats of family members to carry out a coup d'etat and force the resignation of President Evo Morales and his vice president Alvaro Garcia-Linera, legally and democratically elected, "they denounced.

Progressive leaders regretted that the opposition has opted for "intransigence, radicalization and democratic rupture, opening a serious record of a new coup in the long history of democratic interruptions in the country. Particularly serious were illegal and irresponsible behaviors of the police forces and finally, of the armed forces that accompanied the coup. "

Finally, they sympathized with Morales and Garcia-Linera, demanded respect for the physical integrity of all members of the Government, local authorities, militants, social leaders and their families, demanded the continuity of the transparent and unrestricted electoral process and demanded restoration of order, peace, social life and democracy in Bolivia.

Cecilia Gonzalez


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