SOAW Youth Encuentro Declaration Print
“Rooted in resistance, sowing sovereignty”

In our America, the political forces that make up our continent have been reconfigured in recent decades by the appearance of several progressive governments, regional integration spaces - UNASUR, ALBA, MERCOSUR, CELAC – and the re-articulation of popular movements which present an alternative in the face of the hegemony of U.S. imperialism.

The response to this dispute for territorial control includes multiple levels of interference -- ranging from military intervention to planned actions with the objective of maintaining the privileges of the dominant classes, who keep power by imposing the capitalist system, currently in the neoliberal phase.

This is why there are approximately 76 US military bases throughout the Americas. Militarization is expressed through joint military exercises and military training courses for the military and police forces of our countries, in addition to continental meetings of military officials. This translates into, among other things, repressive and criminalization policies against popular leaders and activists, undocumented people, indigenous and black peoples, small farmer communities, and the social sector as a whole.

Additionally, legal frameworks are being modified according to a viewpoint that is detrimental to the sovereignty and self-determination of our peoples. Each time we lose more ability to determine our future. In this context, states are implementing policies that favor foreign investment - particularly the extractive industries and infrastructure mega-projects – whose objective is the accumulation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources. This is especially true of mining, which uses huge quantities of water and energy and imposes the plundering of our peoples.

These changes to legal frameworks are also seen in structural reforms to the educational, financial, environmental, energy, telecommunications, health, and social welfare sectors – just to name a few. Among the most damaging reforms – for its direct and immediate impact on the lives of millions of families – is the destabilization and flexibilization of the workforce. One example of this is the oppression and exploitation of millions of immigrants in the United States.

These realities continue a context of human rights violations – torture, forced disappearances, exile, persecution, rape, and more. This increases the long tradition of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for the crimes committed during military dictatorships, authoritarian governments, and colonial practices, many of which continue today. The response to this should be the recovery of historical memory, prosecution of these crimes, reparations to the victims, and the political will to end such reprehensible practices.

We reaffirm our conviction to building a free and sovereign continent, in harmony with Mother Earth, where as the people we determine the direction of our steps, free of imperialism, capitalism, violence, injustice, exploitation, oppression, discrimination, racism, and patriarchy.

Grounded in the understanding of our historical responsibility, we call on the young people of the Americas to organize and continue the struggle for a dignified life, with social justice for everyone.

For the unity of our America!

Venezuela, July 2014