The former president of Uruguay Pepe Mujica spoke on Friday night (23) to activists and social activists from 26 different countries in an event that marked the end of the Latin American and Caribbean Integration Day, in Foz do Iguaçu (PR) .

“If we don’t have the people, we won’t be able to [a integração]. Governments will change, but people will pressure. History is not made by great leaders, history is made by the masses”, said the Uruguayan, who shared the closing ceremony with the vice-president of Colombia, Francia Márquez, the president of the PT, Gleisi Hoffmann, and the minister of General Secretariat of the Presidency, Márcio Macêdo.

The event, which promoted political events and roundtable discussions for two days and brought together more than 4 thousand people, was launched in October by Mujica, accompanied by other organizations such as Alba Movimentos and the Confederação Sindical dos Trabalhadores das Américas (CSA).

The former president proposed a series of practical actions that, according to him, could be implemented immediately by Latin American countries, “a set of things that we call ‘first generation changes'”.

“Let’s suppose that some presidents want to go ahead. How do I see where we should start? A delegate of the president will speak, on behalf of the president, to the head of the Fire Department and says that they should organize a brigade that is always with suitcases ready to travel whenever a disaster occurs in a country, fires or cataclysms”, proposed Mujica.

According to the Uruguayan leader, “this will demonstrate to the people that there is solidarity among other peoples.” He also mentioned other projects, such as the creation of a common document for travel between Latin American countries, the creation of a common organ bank for transplants and cross-border energy cooperation.

“This does not eliminate politics within societies, it cannot replace issues of power within countries. This is actually a set of measures to make our America stronger, in a world that is globalizing and that cannot solve class problems This does not replace the political struggle and, therefore, it is neither left nor right, it is about being or not being”, he said.

Agreement with EU, single currency and trade

At the same time as he proposed what he called “first-generation changes”, Mujica criticized other integration proposals, such as the creation of a common Latin American currency, despite rejecting the hegemony of the dollar.

“Every now and then we say: ‘we need a common currency’. We always think about the end, the most difficult. We need to learn to negotiate with our currencies and not depend on the dollar,” he said.

The former president also classified trade between Latin American countries as “miserable” and said that the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union “was not going well and nothing good will come of it”. “We lost 22 years,” he said, referring to the time the agreement has been negotiated.

:: Mercosur and EU: understand why the agreement didn’t come through – and that’s not bad news ::

Name, anthem and flag

Mujica, finally, proposed the creation of regional Latin American symbols and said that “we cannot accept the name they left out: ‘Latin America'”.

“And how do we include in this name those we stole from Africa to grow sugar on our continent? And how do we incorporate indigenous peoples in this name? Those who came from the Arab world, the Palestinians, the Asians, the Japanese, from all sides?”, he asked .

“We need a name of our own, we need to invent it. We need an anthem that identifies us, a flag that identifies us, a date. And for what? So that in every school in our America there will be a day for the community”, said the former president.

Editing: Nicolau Soares


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