Final Declaration of the Afro- Descendant International Congress

Final Declaration of the Afro- Descendant International Congress

The following resolutions were approved by the Afro-descendant International Congress, in the City of Caracas, Cradle of the Liberator Simón Bolívar and Capital of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on November 12, 2019.

We, Afro-descendants of Our America, and Africans, gathered in the city of Caracas, capital of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on the occasion of the Afro-descendant International Congress, in accordance with what was agreed in the framework of the 25th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum and in the framework of the commemoration of the 248th anniversary of the assassination of the Afro-Venezuelan Cimarron “Guillermo Ribas,” leader of the Cumbe de Ocoyta (1768 – 1771), self-government that put in check the colonial power of the time, after the deliberations carried out we have arrived at the following conclusions:

The conquest and colonization of America, a continent so called by the European invaders, constitutes a founding historical fact of the current international order and of the power relations that impact societies until these days. The unjust international order emerging since the aftermath of the 15th century, characterized by an unequal economic-trade system that had its epicenter in Western Europe, was erected on the extermination, subjugation and spoliation of the original peoples of Americas and of the African population. Undoubtedly, the history of humanity does not record in its annals, genocide of such dimensions. This was recognized by the “3rd World Conference against Racism and Racial Discrimination” held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

The colonial world-system was marked by an inhuman trafficking of people from Africa to America in order to invigorate the economic-productive apparatus at the service of Western powers. This required a colonial rationality that would “legitimize” such economic-social practices, thus giving rise to the concept of race as an invention conducive to perpetuating Western predominance over other peoples. Racial segregation seeks to protect a civilizing model created for the systematic exploitation of peoples and the plundering of their natural wealth. Consequently, ever since, racism has become an inherent element of modernity.

Today’s neoliberal globalization is the continuation of modernity stemming from the European invasion of America. This model not only reinforces exploitation, but also deepens it while imposing a cultural homogenization that does not know the history of peoples, their traditions and their identity.

Neoliberalism, through the cultural industry of capitalism, perpetrates a memoricide against the peoples of the world, which is aimed at “justifying” the plundering of peoples’ wealth, the subjugation of women and domination over Afrodescendant people based on the alleged superiority of some over others. It is a model that endorses a conception of life that deepens the separation between human beings and nature. It is an instrumental rationality of nature that condemns it to destruction for the sake of a developmental and extractivist model.

This Eurocentric colonialist logic that threatens biodiversity arises from a secularization that puts material prosperity at the forefront of life. Neoliberalism is part of a global domination project that seeks to perpetuate the colonial model of power synthesized in U.S. hegemony.

Faced with the emergence of new poles of political and economic power such as Russia, China, Iran and India, the West with the U.S. at its head, it clings to the application of neocolonial policies supported by powerful financial, communicational and cultural transnationals at the service of neoliberalism.

However, given the changes resulting from the emergence of a multicentric and multi-polar world, U.S. imperialism has escalated into a global offensive aimed at preserving its supremacy and the perpetuity of the neoliberal model. Forty years after the Washington Consensus, imperialism, led by a corporate state, continues in its hegemonic eagerness to impose the rules of savage capitalism through neoliberalism, for which it relies on the follow up of European governments that in turn operate with the same pretensions in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

In Our America, the offensive of U.S. elites and their allies seeks to end the cycle of progressive governments to impose neo-colonial relations in the so-called “national interest” of the United States. Coups d’état, political violence, unilateral coercive measures, economic-financial blockade, threats of military intervention, military bases and diplomatic pressures have been some of the tactics of the Doctrine of Non-Conventional War implemented against the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. This has led, thanks to the racism inherent in this doctrine, to the displacement of Afrodescendant populations, racial extermination, increased xenophobia, racial discrimination in the justice system, trafficking in persons and hate crimes, among other consequences.

In the cycle of progressive governments, the struggle for peace, national sovereignty, self-determination of peoples and the battle for the rights of the people’s sectors were enhanced. At this stage, thanks to the organized action of Afrodescendant people, the denunciation of the genocide committed by Europe was placed, the struggle to overcome structural racism was intensified, and with the support of progressive Governments, the right call for reparations for women and Afrodescendant people, derived from slavery and colonialism, has been brought to various multilateral bodies.

Afrodescendants have played a key role in building the independence of the peoples of Our America, as well as in the ongoing struggle for the full liberation and profound transformation of our peoples. Likewise, its prominence was important in the constitution of the pan-africanist movement, which from the Island Caribbean was projected to the U.S., Europe, and Africa in the first international advances of a decolonial proposal and of the entrenchment of the most basic freedoms of men, women and peoples of the world. 

Once again, Afrodescendants are uniting with social movements, left-wing political parties, and progressive currents and together with sovereign governments that do not give in to imperialist pretensions, are changing the correlation of classes and social forces in our American continent. The irreducible resistance of the progressive governments, the popular insurrections in Haiti, Ecuador and Chile, as well as the electoral results in Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay, account for the failure of the neoliberal model, express the generalized rejection of that model and the neo-colonial policies of the United States for the region.

“The popular insurrections in Haiti, Ecuador and Chile, as well as the electoral results in Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay, account for the failure of the neoliberal model.”

A particular mention should be made of the anti-imperialist resistance and offensive of the people of Venezuela. It is well known that the multiple attacks of the American imperialism against the Bolivarian Revolution are aimed at undermining the hope created by Commander Hugo Chavez’s liberating work, overthrowing the government of the Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, ending democracy and taking over the country’s natural wealth, which has not been allowed by the brave people of Guillermo Ribas and Simon Bolivar.

In Venezuela, the Afrodescendant Movement has maintained a key role in the construction and defense of the Bolivarian Revolution, with its Cumbes, communes and other forms of people’s power organization. Its historical forms of community life are fundamental in the construction of a communal society; its knowledge contributes decisively to the preservation of planet earth; its traditional mode of production contributes extensively to food security. Their positive evaluation is essential in the battle against the neoliberal model, a great importance issue considering that the Afrodescendant sector, scattered throughout the country, constitutes more than 50% of the population.

Today, when a new progressive cycle emerges in Our America, we understand that the full and irreversible liberation of our societies requires a new civilization that recognizes the millions and millions of people of African descent that populate these lands and thus dismantle neo-colonialism as a cross-cutting element of neoliberal capitalism.

In this context, the Afro-descendant International Congress declares:

* We support the heroic effort of the Bolivian people to preserve democracy in the face of fascism, we condemn racism against the Bolivian indigenous people, we demand that the coup plotters respect the right of President Evo Morales’ supporters, we denounce the generalized repression against the Bolivian people, we call for permanent mobilization to stand with the Bolivian people’s struggle in the building of a new civilizing model and we demand that the White House depose its neocolonial policy aimed at subduing Bolivia.

* We condemn the United States and Western Europe’s interventionist policy in our countries, in order to bend the sociopolitical conquests and appropriate biodiversity at the cost of human life and all forms of life on planet Earth.

* We support the Haitian people’s struggles for their social recognitions and their historic legitimate demands in the face of the serious political, economic and social situation derived from the unpopular decisions of their rulers associated with savage capitalism.

* We denounce the breach of the “Havana Peace Agreement” by the current Colombian president and reject his direct aggression against the people of Venezuela. Likewise, we condemn the subordinate actions of the governments grouped in the so-called Lima Group as a political operator of the United Sates administration, emulating its universal condition of violator of the human rights and the international order.

* We claim the international solidarity with the Ecuadorian people, with their afro and indigenous movements, with the Citizen Revolution Movement’s leadership, all of them who are persecuted and criminalized by a government which betrays the principles and which operate in the mentioned South American country.

* We call for an end to the repression of the Chilean people and support them in their just struggles against neoliberalism and the continuity of Pinochet’s dictatorship in the abovementioned country.

* We welcome the progress made in incorporating into Mexico’s legal framework the afro-descendant population as a step towards their full recognition.

* We condemn the violation of human rights by the American government against the African-American population and against migrants from Our America and Africa, particularly women and children.

* We warn of the discrimination in selection practiced by the European Union against migrants escaping terrorism sponsored by West Africa.

* We demand before international bodies and the old European powers the fulfillment of the historical reparations of the afro-descendant communities based on the recognition of the genocide against the peoples come from of America, Africa and their descendants.

* We stand with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and especially its afro-descendant movement in their struggle for peace, social welfare, self-determination and sovereignty.

The Afro-descendant International Congress assumes the spirit of the “Final Declaration of the XXV Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum” adopted in the city of Caracas in July 2019. Consequently, we approve the following Plan of Struggle:

* To recognize in the legal instruments such as international conventions, summits, constituent processes, constitutions, laws and regulations, the moral, political, social, cultural and spiritual contributions of the afro-descendants in the independence processes, and the struggle for participatory and protagonist democracy in Our America.

* To urge, within the framework of the Afro-descendant Decade, the United Nations to elaborate, discuss and approve an International Convention on the afro-Descendant Rights, which should be binding on all countries of the world.

* To promote and respect the integral protagonist participation of afro-descendant women in political decision-making spaces in favor of justice, equality and equity, and create spaces for international and intercultural meetings of afro-descendant women, with a view to strengthening African approaches in America and the Caribbean.

* To carry out legal and political, socio-cultural, educational and communicational actions that contribute to dismantling and eradicating the racial and class prejudices which underpin the criminalization of young Afro-descendants.

* To establish cooperation mechanisms among young people of the global south, by developing opportunities that serve to solve problems in our territories. Solutions must range from agricultural production to the sustainable management of electronic waste. Such planning goes together with the takeover of power in order to identify mechanisms to face racism.

* To promote, within the political parties and progressive governments, the inclusion of afro-descendant sections in their structures and programmatic schedules.      

* To hold, biannually, the Afro-descendants International Congress in different venues requested by each country. To provide the Congress with basic rules of procedure based on the experiences and proposals of the participating movements.

* To constitute the International Anti-imperialist, Afro-descendant and African Cumbe in order to link and articulate all afro-descendant organizations for the purpose of defining collective purposes, follow up the agreements of the present congress, promote peace, fight against neoliberalism, racism and against any kind of discrimination. The Cumbe is inspired by solidarity, equality, respect, recognition of plurality, independence, dignity and brotherhood among peoples. The International Anti-imperialist, Afro-descendant and African Cumbe will have its headquarters in Caracas, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

* To create the International Centre of South-South African and Afro-descendant Studies, attached to the International Cumbe, with a view to promoting training in the intersectional consciousness, politics, ideologies, social production, by naming an interdisciplinary promoter team based in Venezuela for its formation.

* To compile, configure and promote our own horizons of meanings expressed in the liberating praxis of cimarrones and cimarronas of all times, through the building of the historical routes resulting in training materials.

* To locate reparations not only in the economic and legal field, but also reparations related to epistemicides, culturicides, memoricides, language death, ecocides, filicides and economicides, through militant processes of decolonial and imperialist literacy.

* To promote respect for our spirituality as an ethical code, by avoiding the secularization and commodification of our spiritual conceptions, through encounters of knowledge and recognition of our cultural manifestations.

Finally, the Afro-descendants International Congress, assumes the Agenda of Struggle adopted in the “First International Meeting of Workers in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution”, endorsed by the “First International Women’s Congress”, by the “International Congress of Communes, Social Movements and People’s Power” and by the “First International Meeting of Indigenous Peoples”, held in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2019, agenda that consists in the following:

1. To coordinate in the world capitals a day of activities on December 9, 2019, the day of the commemoration of the Battle of Ayacucho, in order to condemn the United States imperialism’s interventionist policies in our America. NO MORE TRUMP!

2. To hold an international mobilization in support of the Bolivarian Revolution and against neoliberalism on February 27, 2020 with a view to commemorating the 31st anniversary of the first insurrection in Caracas against neoliberalism.

3. To call for a world mobilization in April 2020, in favor of peace in Venezuela, in Our America and against the war plans of the government of the United States

4. To develop an international day of activities on June 28, 2020, in rejection the Monroe Doctrine and the blockade and other unilateral coercive measures.

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“To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth