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We need to “end with the right-wing that today is dishonestly occupying the spaces we, somehow, have left open”, said Francisca “Pancha” Rodríguez, of the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women of Chile (Anamuri) at the opening ceremony of the Meeting in Montevideo. Just like her, Marcelo Abdala, secretary general of PIT-CNT, restated the need to be united in this struggle.
Addressing a crowd filled with workers and activists from 23 countries of the Americas, Pancha Rodriguez launched the opening ceremony of the Meeting in Montevideo as part of the Continental Day for Democracy and against Neoliberalism. She remembered Uruguayan singer-songwriter Daniel Viglietti, who died on October 30th. She said that he left us the job “to destroy the walls not only in our territory, but the walls of capital and imperialism”. Pancha said that this meeting is the prelude of the mobilization that will take place during the WTO meeting in Buenos Aires early December, and encouraged everyone to combat patriarchy together.
As host of the meeting, Abdala welcomed the massive turnout and did not hesitate to state that capitalism is going through a huge crisis, which explains the ruthless way in which it is attacking peoples and democracies, in the search for more resources.
Particularly, he said that the US is not alone as it used to be, and that the economic growth of countries such as China has strengthened its onslaught against communities and its intention to “go after “the backyard” of the US imperialism, as envisioned by the Monroe doctrine”. He then made reference to the different attacks suffered by Latin American people.
After making reference to Brazil, Abdala gave the floor to Wagner Freitas, president of the Unified Workers´ Central of Brazil (CUT) who shared the situation experienced in the country after the coup d´Etat perpetrated by Michel Temer that ousted elected president Dilma Rousseff.
Wagner shared a video sent by former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva for the Meeting in Montevideo. In the video, the former president said that Latin American progressive governments may have failed to do everything that was necessary, but highlighted the advance of Latin American integration and the building of a sovereign voice, which caused anger amid big transnational capital.
Then Abdala spoke again and made reference to the labor reform in Brazil, and the intention by businesses to reproduce it in order to weaken the rights obtained by workers. About the national agenda, Abdala rejected the complaint submitted by employers to the International Labor Organization against collective bargaining. He also demanded the government to open discussions around budgets with “sufficient time”, unlike this year, when the Executive Branch sent the annual budget bill to Parliament before the deadline, thus closing the dialogue with workers. He demanded the government to ensure needed investments on health, education, infrastructure and for state companies to be able to fulfill their investment role.
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