"For Our America: education, unity and freedom"
The Fourth Latin American Students Congress was celebrated in Havana, Cuba in August 11th, 1966, under the slogan "Unity, solidarity and fight against fascism and imperialism, in defense of public education and university autonomy." To maintain such high values and principles set out in the student movement, which has always written fighting and heroic pages, the Latin American and Caribbean Continental Student Organization (OCLAE) was founded. This fact allowed the unity of the continental student movement with workers and peasants, for the final liberation of our peoples.
In the coming months we will celebrate 45 years of this important event, which calls us to maintain the struggle for peace and the principles we defend. During these years the strength of the Latin American students has been shown against the most terrible dictatorship, imperialism and in defense of sovereignty.
Not only we have fought for the right to education, but also for the protection of better wages for workers, for social justice, elimination of poverty and the indiscriminate exploitation, by confronting the neoliberal governments and the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Several have been the struggles we have undertaken and many more will be our challenges.
Today we call to hold the 16th Latin American and Caribbean Students Congress (CLAE), in a very important moment for the continent and the world. Capitalism falls into a deep crisis that causes wars of occupation, unemployment, hunger, crime, migration, xenophobia and where education is vulnerable to these consequences. In Europe there are cut budgets, rising fees and tuition, having as an answer the mass mobilization of youth in a consistent and irreverent way.
Latin America, as part of the bicentennial of its independence, presents a similar situation. In some countries the attack on public education and the prevalence of privatization attracts thousands of students, but at the same time, free entry, quality and universalization of education are prioritized in other nations and this is the result of accumulated history of our student movement which has resulted in important victories. Today's challenges are even greater but we will not disappoint the just demands and rights for education in our America.
In Montevideo, Uruguay, Artigas´ nation, the birthplace of great men and women of unforgettable exploits, host of the first Congress, we will meet again from August 10th to 15th under the slogan "For Our America: education, unity and freedom." This will be the stage to highly hear the names of Che, Bolivar, Marti, Sandino, Fefel, the postulates of Cordoba Reform and the cry that a different Latin America is possible.
We gladly defend our achievements, to fight for our dreams and turn them into realities. Today, like yesterday, we are raising the flags of hope and solidarity we claim the right to attend a free, public and qualitative education.
"The unity of the people is not just a dream of men, but an inexorable decree of destiny," said the Liberator Simón Bolivar. Let’s the legacy of our martyrs be ours! Let’s close ranks in the struggle for our rights and defend the historic claims of the students!
Long live the Latin American and world student movement!
Until Victory for Ever!