Report on Federation of Green Parties of the Americas (FPVA)
2005 Annual Meeting
Iquitos, Perú – October 12-15, 2005
(FPVA Reporte Reunion Iquitos, en Español)
At the September 2004 Federation of Green Parties of the Americas (FPVA) annual meeting in Curitiba, Peru was chosen as the locus for 2005 meeting. The meeting organized by Alex Gonzales, President, Partido Alternativa Verde de Peru and Flor de Maria Hurtado, International Secretary was held in Iquitos October 12th to October 14th. Our gracious hosts, Alex and Flor, were assisted by many young Greens from Iquitos and nearby Amazonian villages.
FPVA member countries, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and the United States, were represented. The European Green Party and the newly formed Venezuelan Green Party sent observers.
On Oct. 12th prior to the Business meeting, member and observer countries were invited to present their Green Vision at a public Forum attended by 200 people. City officials, a broad array of representatives of NGOs, including the Chamber of Commerce were present.
Nicaragua and Venezuela gave scientific presentations on climate change. Mexico described their restructured party formation and showed a video of the large provincial assemblies held subsequent to the restructuring. Chile and the European Green Party described their respective parties Green political vision.
As to my Green Vision, the first advertisement I saw when I stepped off the plane at Lima’s Chavez International airport was for Clear Channel. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts dominate the airport food court. Searching for a breakfast place I found a city awash in Pizza Huts, Kentucky Fried Chickens, and Blockbuster Video stores. Struck by the incredible visibility of US cultural imperialism in Lima, my presentation partially focused on US Green opposition to the destructive work of transnational corporations. Despite the necessity of translation (I do not speak Spanish) the talk was received with great enthusiasm. I was interrupted by applause many times. The rest of my talk was a call for the audience to join the Dec. 03rd worldwide demand that the US sign the Kyoto Protocol. The young people in the audience responded to the call by committing to organizing a demonstration in Iquitos on Dec. 03rd.
FPVA Business Meeting 10/13-14 The meeting began with country reports.
PERU: The Peruvian Green Party grew out of the environmental movement and opposition to the Fujimori dictatorship. Peru Greens supported Toledo in the last election but the party and the vast majority of Peruvians are alienated by the corruption and his failure to keep campaign promises. For Greens this includes his promise to provide Green candidates with a competitive positions on the list for the general elections This disappointment, however, led to a Green mobilization in which Flor de Maria Hurtado of Iquitos was elected a Regional Council member. In Iquitos and the Amazon region Greens will campaign autonomously. But, in the other regions, e.g., Lima and Cusco, discussions are ongoing with both the Christian Democrats and with Social Democrats. The issue of rainforest logging linked to the Indigenous rights will be major issues for the party in 2006 regional elections.
BRAZIL: Despite a successful 2004 election cycle in which 775 Green local council people and 55 Green mayors were elected, the Brazilian Green Party is experiencing problems. Green Party support helped bring the PT and Lula to power. But, Lula’s subsequent policies relative to the Amazon rainforest, nuclear power and GMOs have been a disaster. The Green Party broke with Lula, not so much on the issue of corruption but on political differences. His economic policy is that of full support to industry whatever the consequences. Marco Mroz, Brazilian delegate to the meeting said, “The country is paralyzed: no laws have been voted for the past three months. He [Lula] has killed all our dreams ” Despite having 8 Federal MPs and 14 Regional Deputies, Greens see no other coalition options for the coming 2006 elections. They expect to run an autonomous campaign. If the party does not elect 5 % of the total MPs it will lose its public financing.
NICARAGUA: The Nicaraguan Green Party that is small hopes to grow in influence by supporting the efforts of a very popular dissident ex-Sandanista, Herty. Edward Cruz, President of the Nicaraguan Greens has kept the USGP well informed of progress in this coalition building effort.
MEXICO: In 2000 with Greens (PVEM) support, Fox of the conservative party PAN was elected President. However, Greens left the coalition when Fox did not keep commitments on environmental issues.
In 2003 70 % of Mexico’s Green candidates ran independent (Green) campaigns, while 30 % ran in coalition with the PRI when there was the risk of the PAN winning. The Greens won 17 deputy and five senate seats in this election cycle. Presidential elections will take place in 2006. The Green candidate, Bernardo de la Garza, recently elected to Congress and at 6 % in the polls will most probably be the candidate.
Mexico’s Green party structure has recently been democratized with large assemblies held in many states. The strategy for the 2006 general elections will be voted upon by the Council. The debate now is between a faction wanting to stand autonomously everywhere (Bernardo de la Garza’s group) and those wanting an alliance both to guarantee continued representation in the congress and because Greens could be decisive in determining who will be president.
CHILE: After trying for 10 years to take part in elections on their own and not attaining the necessary 5% threshold, Greens in Chile have opted for a new strategy.
In 2006 they will support Michele Bachelet, Socialist candidate for President with whom they have reached a programmatic agreement that includes a temporary moratorium on nuclear power, 10% of the energy in renewables, GMO labeling (GMOs are already on the market), and the institution of a Ministry of Environment.
The strategy for 2006 is expected to be coalition support for a Presidential candidate and autonomous Green candidates for the general elections.
I reported on 2004 election results and problems resulting from the divisions relative to the Nader and Cobb campaigns. I offered a positive view of party growth and expectations for change as the Iraq war becomes increasingly unpopular.
2005 FPVA Decisions
* The Federation agreed to initiate a call to the UN to establish a protocol to stop the destruction of the world’s forest. We will be asking the UN to create a mechanism similar to the Kyoto Protocol to sustaining the priceless asset, the lungs of our planet, The Amazon rainforest. This work was particularly timely because as the meeting began on Oct. 13th, BBC International News was reporting a severe drought affecting the Amazon. And the following day during an Amazon boat trip arranged for us by our Peruvian colleagues, we scrambled up a multi story river bank landing then walked 30 minutes to visit a butterfly reserve, http://www.amazonanimalorphanage.org/pilpintuwasi.htm. This reserve can normally be reached directly by boat. But, the water in the Amazon River is so low now that navigating the river has become difficult to perilous. Iquitos, a city of 500,000 population often ” under water “, has no water supply in many districts as the pipes no longer reach the river… Food supplies are threatened. The indigenous people can no longer fish for food and river banks on which many straw houses are built on wooden posts are collapsing.
* Because of the extreme climate situation in the Amazon FPVA issued a call for a delegation of elected Greens to meet in the Amazon with the objective of publicizing the consequences of Global Warming and the destruction of Amazonian rainforest that contributes to the warming.
* In 2006 general elections will take place in four countries (Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil and Chile). Greens hope to jointly garner as many as 5 millions votes. The FPVA asks for the backing and support of Greens from the rest of the world. The Federation supports the decisions of member countries in relation to electoral coalitions.
* Officially known as the Eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “COP 11” is the first Conference to be held since the Kyoto Protocol came into effect. The Conference – to be held in Montreal in November/December 2005 – is a strategically important event. Representatives from over 180 countries will be attending the conference to discuss new measures to be taken in the fight against climate warming. The participation of public interest organizations and mobilization is critical. All FPVA countries attending the meeting have agreed to sign on the “Call to Action. US Join the World” and each country will sponsor demonstrations on Dec. 03rd in solidarity with Green Parties around the world. The attention of the world will be focused on this conference.
* Global Green Coordination (GGC) Congress: At the 2004 meeting in Curitiba the FPVA affirmed its wish that the next Global Green meeting be held in Africa. The Federation is very pleased by the choice of Kenya in 2007 for the next Global Green Congress. Some discussion took place as to date for the meeting with Chile expressing a preference for the congress to be held in conjunction with the World Social Forum. The Federation has offered to begin a fund raising effort to provide financial support for the congress. The federation wishes to have an active representative on the congress preparation steering committee.
* Bogota Solidarity Meeting: During the last week in October Green Parties from many countries will meet in Bogota in solidarity with Ingrid Betancourt. Leonardo Alvarez, PVEM Congressman will represent the Federation.
* New member countries
VENEZUELA: Gabriele Rojas and Manuel Diaz, leaders of an environmental NGO have gained recognition for a new political party, Partido Verde de Venezuela that is based on Green principles and values. They have applied for membership to the Federation. Their goal is the building of a third political force between the right and Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian party. The federation has decided to offer them observer status.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (DR) The Dominican Green Party was unable to attend the meeting. Miguel Angel Pimental, President, sent regrets. During a meeting in NY on September 26th, 2005 leaders of the Partido de la Unidad Democratica (UD) and the Green Party of DR provided documents relative to merger and formation of a new Green/UD party. I provided the federation with a copy of this material. After a lengthy discussion the federation decided to offer observer status to the newly forming Partido Verde de la Unidad Democratica (PVUD).
* No decision has been taken on the location or date of the 2006 FPVA meeting.
Report by Julia Willebrand, Green Party of the United States