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President Ch?vez to attend World Social Forum 2009

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, confirmed on Wednesday that he will attend the ninth World Social Forum (WSF) that will take place in the Brazilian city of Belém do Pará.

“Tomorrow I have to wake up in Belém do Pará,” Chavez said during an event with supporters in the state of Zulia.

He noted that he will meet with the Presidents of Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and Fernando Lugo, respectively.

The ninth WSF is taking place between January 27th and February 1st in Belém, which is located in the Amazon.  1,500 indigenous leaders, 500 of whom are traveling from outside of Brazil, are scheduled to take part.  The forum will continue a debate, which began in 2001 in Porto Alegre with the first WSF, about alternatives to neo-liberalism from a diverse group of social movements and non-governmental organizations.

The political and financial situations surrounding the latest forum call for a reflection about initiatives against the prevailing economic model.  On the one hand, progressive governments have burst through in South America, and on the other, a global financial crisis reveals the dangers and consequences of capitalism.  This context proves the motto which has identified the past nine years: “Another world is possible.”

100,000 people from Latin America, Europe and Asia, from 6 thousand social movements, will participate in this year’s WSF.   Among these is the Socialist Tide Movement (Movimiento Marea Socialista) from Venezuela, which is made up of students.  Also taking part are congregations of nuns from various countries, including a Venezuelan nun: Saida Rodríguez who works in the Gran Sabana where she lives among the indigenous.

It is expected that some South American heads of state will also attend.  Although the WSF is a non-governmental forum, its charter allows for invitations to state leaders who share its ideals: social justice, the sovereignty of peoples, and respect for human rights.  In short, state leaders who agree with a more human development.

Indigenous groups from the Brazilian Amazon will have an important role in the forum.  The second day of activities is dedicated to the conquering of indigenous people, their perspectives and protection for the Amazon.  Several rivers converge in the hot city of Belém, including the Amazon.

From January 27th to February 1st, the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) and the Federal Rural University of Amazonía (UFRA) will host conferences and debates relating to the environment, climate change, the economic crisis, poverty, the exclusion of poor countries, and deforestation in the Amazon.

Radio Nacional de Venezuela (RNV), Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / January 29, 2009

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