progressive manifesto

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In the face of aggressive conservative and neo-fascist nationalism, we must respond with more social rule of law

As democratic and progressive citizens, gathered around the defense of the basic principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, sovereignty and social justice, we declare our agreement on this progressive manifesto. We present it as the starting point of a process of collective construction of an alternative political project for Latin America and the Caribbean. We hope that it can serve as a reference for the formulation of progressive national proposals in our countries.

The members of the Grupo de Puebla, through its Executive Council, its Latin American Council for Justice and Democracy, its Parliamentary Group and its Marco Aurélio Garcia Thought Center consider that:

Humanity faces its greatest challenge: life on the planet is in danger. In this context, the tragic health situation triggered by COVID-19 meant irreparable losses in terms of lives for Latin America, in addition to aggravating and deepening the economic and social crisis that had been dragging on for years, as a result, among others, of brutal coups or hybrids against the progressive governments of the region. Likewise, some governments have defended denialist positions on the pandemic, revealing their incompetence and negligence, harming not only their respective countries, but the region as a whole.

The pandemic has exposed the deep inequalities resulting from the neoliberal model and which are reflected in the distribution of vaccines. These injustices are observed by the strong asymmetries in their production and distribution and on which the lives of millions of people depend. The pharmaceutical industry concentrates the possibility of this endowment, imposing at will the conditions of sale to the countries of the Global South, even affecting the COVAX initiative, launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) to guarantee its equitable access. We are extremely concerned about the possibility that low- and middle-income countries may not have access to medicines. Humanity will only be able to overcome this pandemic if it invokes solidarity and equality.

The neoliberal model, supported by capital financing, promotes extreme inequality and precariousness in the labor market, weakens the welfare state and democracy, undermines social rights, threatens the environment, leads to recurrent economic crises and has made sustainable growth and social justice incompatible. Its exhaustion and the consequent economic and social crisis generated a growth of the extreme right in several latitudes, which puts democracies at risk, even in countries with a significant democratic trajectory. This model that is incompatible with life must be replaced by another that claims solidarity, justice and substantive forms of democracy. We urgently need a new direction for the peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and Ibero-America.

For this purpose, it is essential to recover integration, unity and political “harmonization”, since, few times in history, Latin America and the Caribbean have been so divided, while unity is urgently needed to face complex challenges in the short term. , medium and long term.

In the midst of the pandemic, there are many threats against democracy, the rule of law and the separation of powers and, in particular, legal wars or lawfare that affect basic rights of progressive leaders. It is necessary to make a firm defense of democracy in the midst of a situation in which authoritarianism is an irrefutable possibility. Faced with this aggressive conservative and neo-fascist nationalism, one must respond with more Social State of Law and claim the Social Right to the State.

Considering the above, we propose:

1 – Establish a solidary development model.
We need to set in motion a new solidary model that guarantees the consolidation of Latin America as a zone of peace in the world; ensure the continuity and strengthening of their democracies; allows advancing in the task of reducing social inequalities through greater inclusion; contribute to the internationalization and stable and comprehensive growth of their economies; and make permanent the full observance of human rights.

We are faced with the unavoidable need to implement this solidary model that presupposes an ecological transition strategy; that claims the role of innovation, science and technology and makes them priorities for public spending; that uses social value chains as a mechanism to be competitive while closing the gaps; which incorporates in its ideals the exercise, with rights and duties, of citizenship on a regional scale, especially at times when guarantees to immigrants seem to be questioned and the world transitions to new forms of segregation.

2 – Recover the fundamental role of the State.
One cannot think of a safe, egalitarian, free and democratic future if the State, which has been dismantled and weakened by neoliberal dogma, does not recover an active and protagonist role. It is not a matter of returning to previous formulas, but of developing its potential as an arbiter of the market, in the distribution of collective well-being, and of recovering public management and the guarantee of equal access to universally accessible goods and services that represent such rights. such as health, education, work, culture, food security, drinking water, social housing, energy, communication and information and scientific knowledge.

3 – Stimulate the social responsibility of the market.
The guarantee of private enterprise and its legitimate development includes the State's obligation to ensure free competition, defend the consumer, protect decent work and avoid monopolistic and oligopolistic practices. Likewise, favoring shared innovation processes to guarantee the quality of public social goods and eliminate restrictions, especially due to the situation, to intellectual property on social goods. Therefore, we alert to the possibility that patents become an impediment to access to health as a public good.

Private initiative must be in solidarity with the State in respecting the fulfillment of its goals in terms of social inclusion, decent employment generation and more democratic participation. The market cannot continue to be heaven for the few and hell for the many (1).

4 – Assume health as a global public good.
The pandemic has demonstrated the urgent need to consider health as a right for all and to build universal public health systems. In addition, the crisis highlighted the need for States to have the capacity to produce vaccines, drugs and necessary hospital supplies. Therefore, States are required to guarantee the universal right to public health, with real and effective access to citizenship, including immigrants. Health and scientific research policies, production and access to medicines cannot depend on criteria associated with the market, but on the priorities and needs of our peoples.

In this order of ideas, universal access to the vaccine against Covid-19 must be a requirement of progressivism, which is concerned about speculation in distribution and submission to the logic of the market under the regime of private law. The Grupo de Puebla calls on companies, organizations and governments that today control the production and distribution of vaccines to immediately allocate 10% of their stocks to serve, in all countries of the world, medical and health personnel, who are on the front line the fight against the virus, and the elderly population, as well as those with risk pathologies.

5 – Review privatizations and promote more public control and less market in the provision of public goods and services.
Not only health should be seen as a public good. Distribution and redistribution exclusively through the market prevents access to basic goods and services for millions of people in vulnerable conditions, such as education, housing and security, among others. In the same way, innovation, efficiency, general well-being, social justice, income and wealth redistribution and democracy represent ideals that can only be realized with political will, through collective action and not through mechanisms that presume the market as a perfect interaction between supply and demand.

6 – Protect civil society and equal access to social media.
Social movements, their organization, social protests and their free expression on networks must be protected and guaranteed by the State. Such protection will be especially important in current times, both during and after the pandemic, when social discontent resulting from impoverishment, the informalization of work and unemployment increases. Therefore, discontent and protests must find democratic and peaceful channels to express themselves. Democracy must be understood as a process to transform social relations of power inequality into bonds of shared authority (2).

7 – Deepening and consolidating democracies.
The economic and social crisis has been weakening democracies and systems of political representation around the world. In Latin America and the Caribbean, this scenario could be even more critical given the structural fragility of our political systems. We defend structural reforms that strengthen our democracies, making them more participatory and inclusive. It will therefore be necessary to involve excluded, marginalized and exploited segments to make them dynamic actors in the public decision-making process. We need government systems that strengthen and redefine the role of political parties, so that they recover their representative character, while reinforcing the mechanisms of direct participation and advancing towards participatory and radical democracies.

8 – Resist and fight the hybrid war.
In recent times, the region has been attacked by the so-called hybrid war, an initiative led by the United States that consists of altering the course of our democracies. The main strategy of this new form of war consists of coups d'état which, contrary to the past, do not occur by appealing to the military, but by hampering the powers of Congress and violating the rights of opponents with actions such as the violation of homes, repression widespread and intimidation in the media and social media. Such aggression seeks to accommodate Latin America in the geopolitical agenda of the United States and may increase and exacerbate poverty, misery and hunger. This new form of coup was launched against Dilma Rousseff, Fernando Lugo, Manuel Zelaya and Evo Morales.

9 – Reject legal wars (lawfare).
Grupo de Puebla rejects legal wars (lawfare), which are part of the hybrid war and which seek to restrict the rights of progressive organizations, movements or parties. These processes that have been practiced, with the support of the United States, against progressive leaders in the region, try to prevent them from electing and being elected by suppressing their rights to due process of law and the stigmatization of the media by the factual powers. , which displaced the democratic spaces occupied by the parties. Progressive leaders have the full right to exercise their role with guarantees of life, freedom, mobility, expression and geographic origins. Let us remember that the Judiciary belongs to the people, therefore, it must be rescued as a public service, with judges who defend this popular power from sectarian postulates against citizens, opposition leaders and in favor of the governments in power. In this sense, we highlight the work being carried out by the Latin American Council for Justice and Democracy (CLAJUD), created by the Group, against the judicialization of politics and the politicization of justice.

10 – Defend Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela from the aggression and interference of powers or third States.
Several of the countries in the region have been the object of actions aimed at destabilization through the imposition of blockades, economic sanctions and unilateral policies contrary to international law. These anachronistic and outdated positions are even more serious in the context of the health crisis, as they affect access to inputs, medicines and means to contain the pandemic. The Puebla Group considers such postures to be aggression against the most vulnerable segments of our peoples, as well as a threat to the integration process. Progressivism promotes solutions aligned with the peaceful resolution of conflicts, non-intervention and support for democratic, peaceful and negotiated solutions.

11 – Promote an effective fight against political corruption.
Grupo de Puebla understands that the fight against public corruption – and its private counterpart – begins with the rescue of the concept of public service and the State's eradication of market practices that converted government decisions into private auctions of public goods and services. In the specific case of political corruption, it proposes, as an initial step, the full state financing of all political campaigns. Finally, in this fight against corruption, it is necessary to draw attention to the losses generated by “tax havens”, which make it difficult to track funds withdrawn from public guarantees and boost capital accumulation strategies on the part of transnational companies.

12 – Generate social value chains. The creation of value, through reindustrialization, must begin with the development of social value chains of small and medium-sized companies that act by associating inclusive and environmentally sustainable productive links. This project must be accompanied by more investment in innovation, in the development of regional infrastructures and in the creation of more logistical facilities in an international environment in which “selling” has become more important than “producing”.

13 – Promote equality, eliminate poverty, create decent jobs, raise wages and implement robust policies for social inclusion and elimination of the sexual division of labor.
We must work to actively promote social equality and eradicate poverty by creating decent work, recognizing assistance work, increasing base salaries and implementing comprehensive social inclusion policies focused on the new growth cycle and in a solidarity model of development.

14 – Establish the Solidarity Basic Income.
The Puebla Group proposes, as a starting point to face the social crisis aggravated by the pandemic, which has driven millions into poverty, a Temporary Basic Solidarity Income (RBS), for the period in which the economic and social effects of the pandemic last. RBS should complement existing income transfer programs. RBS would cover the 83 million Latin Americans who remained in extreme poverty after the pandemic: 16 million more after the pandemic and the 214 million already in poverty, according to ECLAC data.

15 – Promote tax justice.
To recover the role of the State, it will be necessary to promote progressive tax reforms, with direct and progressive taxes on income and wealth, the elimination of exemptions and the penalization of tax evasion, easing the tax burden on the poorest, the middle classes and the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). On the other hand, more progressive taxes should be generated on large companies and actors in the financial system that generate more profits.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), as a result of tax evasion, the region loses the equivalent of 6,3% of regional GDP every year, so that the implementation of such a program proves to be feasible, as long as they adapt to the different economic and social realities of each country,

It is important to set fiscal targets to implement a solidary economic policy. We echo the call of the Independent Commission on Corporate Taxation Reform, for those that generate the most profits to pay a 25% tax to finance the post-pandemic.

16 – Refinance the external debt and support an international financial mechanism to overcome the crisis.
Latin American countries could support, when considered necessary and on a voluntary basis, the refinancing of the external debt before international credit organizations and private creditors. It is estimated that a two-year refinancing of the regional external debt, assuming that all countries request it, would mobilize resources in excess of US$ 250 billion, which would help finance the reconstruction of the productive structure whose cost was estimated to be between 10% and 12% of GDP in the coming years.

At the same time, we could support an international financial effort to overcome the crisis, with the participation of multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), or regional development banks, to access a program of resources and credits in order to boost investments and resume regional economic growth. This bet would depend on a global negotiation and could be supported by an international financial architecture at the service of the real economy and job creation, financed with taxes on global capital mobility, such as the Tobin Tax and taxes on large digital platform companies.

17 – Resort to direct issuance from central banks to governments.
European countries are demonstrating that in cases of calamities like the one we are going through, funding programs with transmission resources is legitimate. The space left by negative inflation rates and the need to expand demand to reactivate the economy and rebuild the social fabric would fully justify this mechanism in some Latin American and Caribbean economies. One idea that should be contemplated is the elimination of the fiscal rule and that governments, and not private banking, should directly manage the resources for the recovery.

18 – Establish a new solidary economic policy.
Social policy cannot be subordinated to short-term economic priorities. The region requires a countercyclical economic policy, generous in times of scarcity, subject to social priorities in terms of employment and equality, supported fiscally by progressive taxes and with sovereign control of the inflows and outflows of international capital. Progressive governments at the turn of the century demonstrated that macroeconomic stability could be achieved without sacrificing goals of growth and social inclusion.

19 – Generate jobs and development while guaranteeing macroeconomic stability and rejecting austerity.
Orthodox austerity policies do enormous damage to our economies and societies, especially in an environment of economic contraction, stagnation of world trade and depletion of private investment. We believe that it is the State's obligation to guarantee a macroeconomic policy that combines inflation control, the generation of decent jobs and the promotion of sustainable development. In many cases, this will imply the modification of monetary policy targets by central banks with an autonomy that depends on protecting the general and collective interest.

20 – Establish a new regional financial architecture.
The Solidary Development Model (MSD) could be based on a new regional financial architecture capable of guaranteeing its independence. This structure would be composed of a network of regional banks that would serve sectoral financing and the resurgence of the idea of ​​the Bank of the South. An expansion of the current Latin American Reserve Fund (FLAR) is needed to finance the balance of payments. The region must free itself from the conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. For infrastructure financial operations and technological development projects, temporary alliances would be sought with international banks, especially in countries of the Global South, such as the organizations that serve the Brics and Asian financial agencies, which have already shown interest in supporting investments in Latin America and the Caribbean. The scenario of the Latin American Integration Association (Aladi) could be used to promote payment agreements in national currencies or strengthen existing mechanisms.

21 – Implement a new industrialization and green transition.
In terms of job creation, a new development model should be sought based on the replacement of extractive activity by a new industrialization under the parameters of environmental sustainability and in terms of ecological transition. Likewise, we must work on an integral rural reform that guarantees access to land for peasants and peasants, supporting family and peasant agriculture, promoting low-carbon agriculture aimed at the production of healthy foods compatible with the environment, with criteria for increasing productivity based on new information and communication technologies. This implies broader support for the demands of environmentalism in its fight against transgenics, in the defense of biodiversity and in the protection of seriously threatened ecological reserves.

22 – Include buen vivir or vivir bien as a paradigm.
Returning to the teachings of the original peoples, the concept of sumak kawsay (living well) or suma qamaña (living well) must be adopted as a reference point for improving the quality of life within the framework of a historical, cultural and spiritual fraternity. This notion of the original Andean peoples coincides with Pope Francis' proposal to encourage global fraternity, leaving aside the "culture of walls" that ends up enslaving those who build them, locking themselves in their own prisons, if it leaves room for the recognition of the " another”, basis of global coexistence (3).

23 – Promote the construction of citizenship.
The concept of citizenship has to do with the place where one is born and lives and the right to have rights, as well as the possibility of exercising them anywhere in the world. The free mobility of people in a geographic space is the essence of integration in the XNUMXst century. How to understand the permanent requirement to facilitate the mobility of goods, services, capital and data in the face of the obstacles placed to impede the mobility of people? Mobility to be born, work, study, know, elect, be elected or elected, retire or die with dignity. The construction of Latin American citizenship, through the elimination of all barriers that hinder the exercise of their rights in the region, constitutes the most important challenge of the XNUMXst century. The goal is that, at the end of the process, there will be no immigrants, but citizens of the region and the world.

24 – Guarantee access to information, freedom of expression and promote a more democratic information order.
The proliferation of information has not resulted in massive and balanced access. A few years ago, it was thought that platforms and social networks would serve popular causes and broaden democratic participation by themselves. Reality shows us an almost monopolistic picture of large conglomerates whose arrival strengthens their business models based on obtaining and selling personal data and profiles and facilitating anti-democratic discourses. This not only widened the gaps from an intersectoral perspective, but also allowed for illegal interference in electoral processes. Today, broad sectors of society are deprived of access to information and new technologies. We must work to democratize communications in such a way that access to information and new information and communication technologies is guaranteed as a right, and that everyone's data is protected.

25 – Strengthen convergence towards integration.
The Puebla Group proposes a process of convergence of its current sub-regional integration mechanisms (4) until reaching a scenario of articulation and dialogue in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), where 34 countries of the region. From the convergence matrix, designed by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the potentialities, duplications and specialties of each organism are identified to define the field of action of a reinvigorated CELAC, empowered through a General Secretariat, with technical support, representing the region before a multilateral system of government. Convergence does not presuppose the elimination of forums, conventions or regional coordination bodies, but a dynamic articulation of those that make up the universe of integration in Latin America and the Caribbean.

26 – Promote sovereign Latin American integration.
Spaces for regional integration must have as main objectives the preservation of the region as a zone of peace, the construction of citizenship, the promotion of common development, the enforcement of Human Rights, the consolidation of sovereignty and the strengthening of the regional market. Likewise, it is essential to give new impetus to Latin American integration so that, together, the countries of the region recover their autonomy vis-à-vis the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and institutions of international financial capital, such as risk rating agencies. , which, under threat of revision of the assessment by country, provoke exchange rate crises and compromise the sovereign performance of economic policy. It is also necessary to prioritize Human Rights in the face of obligations arising from trade and investment treaties and link them to respect for social and environmental standards, preventing international arbitration processes from violating the rights of people, peoples and nature.

27 – Support the reform of the United Nations system to strengthen multilateralism and multipolarity.
Grupo de Puebla supports the long-awaited reform of the existing United Nations system to strengthen it. Symptoms of its weakening are: lack of funding for its social subsystem (Unesco, ILO, FAO, among others); the excessive focus of its military peacekeeping operations; the social conditions imposed by the organizations that make up its economic subsystem (International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization); and the absence of democratic decision-making systems in its political bodies (General Assembly and Security Council). By supporting the necessary reform of the United Nations system, the Puebla Group also reiterates its support for multilateralism as a formula for global coexistence, its rejection of hegemonies and the need to create a more symmetrical, fair and multipolar international order.

28 – Promote the knowledge revolution.
The new industrialization and a new model of sustainable development will demand that knowledge becomes the source of the economic, social and political changes proposed here. The region must invest massively in quality public education at all levels, so that it can count on an informed citizenry as the foundation for a development model based on solidarity and innovation. The Puebla Group proposes to bring investment in science and technology to 2% of GDP in 2030, a flexible target adapted to the different conditions of the countries in our region. Likewise, we suggest the composition of a Scientific Mission that identifies and prioritizes the fields to which this effort should be directed, emphasizing biological research, the development of social value chains, the quality of social services, the care of tropical diseases , the development of vaccines and medicines, the conservation of biodiversity, the development of alternative energies and the protection of forests and waters. The Puebla Group also proposes that countries make significant investments in digital inclusion, as an instrument to boost the promotion of education and the dissemination of information.

29 – Present a cultural agenda for identities.
Integration is born of identity. The Grupo de Puebla rejects the paradigm of a single, global culture and defends multiculturalism as a path to regional coexistence with the alterity that implies the recognition of the other. In order to respect this diverse and inclusive identity, it is necessary to build a regional cultural agenda that validates common roots, narratives and values, supports cultural managers and workers and promotes cultural industries that, in addition to making such identity contents explicit, make them socially and economically productive.

30 – Promoting gender equality as an engine of progressive transformation.
The health crisis has made visible, to governments and citizens, the serious situations of inequality and discrimination experienced by women, especially those from ethnic communities, peasants, informal workers and the elderly, among others. The pandemic, health measures such as home confinement, affect women, children and adolescents in two aspects: violence, which was aggravated by the need to live with the aggressors and the impossibility, in many cases, of asking for help and going to to instances of administration and justice. And, secondly, the impact on their economic autonomy, since many women form part of the informal sector of the economy, which has been heavily affected by the health crisis. Added to this is discrimination at work; the limitation of sexual and reproductive rights; the lack of recognition for the unpaid domestic and care work they perform, and the lack of equal access and participation in the public sphere. The omission and slow reaction of the authorities to restore their rights and dignity aggravate the situation.

The elimination of all forms of invisibility, violence, oppression and discrimination against women, girls and adolescents must be an unavoidable commitment. And it is precisely for this reason that the perspective of gender and human rights, intersectionality and the promotion and protection of women's human rights must be a hallmark of progressivism.

31 – Combating structural racism and all forms of discrimination.
In addition to fighting patriarchy, it will be essential to fight structural racism and all other forms of discrimination, such as lesbophobia, homophobia, transphobia and all those related to sexual orientation and gender identity, which create enormous inequalities and place women and men at odds. extreme conditions of vulnerability, violence and exclusion. Our goal must be to build post-racial, post-patriarchal, deeply egalitarian and non-discriminatory societies.

32 – Achieve and preserve peace.
As an expression of progressive forces, the Puebla Group encourages any initiative that leads to the establishment or strengthening of peace in Latin American nations, on the continent and in the world. It rejects the use of violence in any of its forms, incitement to hatred, foreign intervention or the promotion of war to impose the domination of national or transnational power groups. It also encourages the reorientation of resources currently used by States for the production, purchase or sale of weapons, allocating them to the health and education system. Likewise, it urges all governments in the region to contribute to the international ban on the use of nuclear weapons on the planet, preventing their proliferation, as well as to encourage the dismantling of nuclear arsenals.

33 – Support social mobilization.
Grupo de Puebla supports social mobilizations as a genuine expression of non-conformity and change that must be guaranteed as a right. For its part, the Group expresses its concern about the militarization of responses to social protests. Social mobilization is a right and a guarantee inscribed in democratic systems, for whom the disproportionate use of force to combat it constitutes a serious threat to democracy.


Our duty, as progressives, is to read, understand and understand the powerful, yet painful message to stop, reflect and move on that the pandemic leaves us. We are urged to work on a political project that moves and convinces the survivors of the old model that there are still possible alternative utopias in Latin America and the Caribbean. The possible utopia that brings us together today is the construction of a new progressive Latin American being: more socially supportive, more productive economically, more politically participatory, more peaceful with nature, and, above all, more proud of its status. of citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean.

* Puebla Group is a political and academic forum composed of left-wing political representatives.


(1) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

(2) De Sousa Santos, Boaventura (2017). Democracy and social transformation. Bogotá: Siglo del Hombre Editores.

(3) Encyclical Brothers All, 2020.

(4) Andean Community, Unasur, Mercosur, Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, Alba, Caricom, Pacific Alliance, Caribbean States Association and SICA.

Originally published on the website of Puebla Group []


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