“Human life can't amount to — as capitalism dictates — working, paying bills and accumulating debt,” said former Uruguayan President Jose Pepe Mujica at a conference in Montevideo aimed at organizing against neoliberal reforms affecting Latin America and the world.
“Defending free time and liberty is a question of principle,” he said during a panel titled, “We Continue Struggling: Challenges While Confronted By a Conservative Wave and Attacks Against Democracy.”
The former head of state with a penchant for life's simple pleasures — dubbed the world's poorest president, making his way around town in his very own 1987 VW Beetle — Mujica defended new strategies of resistance based on solidarity and sustainability. Such measures, he reiterated, are needed to stave off the raw impetus of unfettered capitalism.
Accompanying Mujica on the panel discussion at the Continental Conference for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, was Friends of the Earth President Karin Nansen. Recalling coups in Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti, as well as ongoing attacks the Venezuelan government and President Nicolas Maduro, she emphasized the role transnational corporations play in these destabilizing events.
“These companies are active participants in state coups in our continents due to their interest in natural resource extraction. And it's fundamental that we formulate joint strategies to resist transnationals.”
Speaking at another event, Marcelo Abdala, president of Uruguay's Union of Workers-National Convention of Workers, said the United States no longer has the power to act unilaterally but has to negotiate with India, Russia and China, with whom Uruguayan workers will work to create a better life for all. He added that Uruguayan unions will continue to fight collectively and, “live, love and struggle” for a just world, “like the revolutionaries.”