Cuba Holds 5th International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases

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By: Laura V. Mor / Photos: Héctor Planes / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano Cuba / May 7, 2017

Last Friday, in Havana, the second day of activities of the 5th International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases took place in the Medical Science University of the City of Guantánamo, with the presence of delegations from over 20 countries.

The day of activities began with an exposition titled ‘A world of peace is possible’, by Cuban artists of the Association of Communicators of Cuba.

The working session featured excellent presentations by comrades from Nicaragua, Argentina, Palestine, Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy) and Puerto Rico, among others. Each gave their testimony on the military presence of foreign powers in their countries, highlighting the imperialist meddling in their internal affairs.

From Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega Reyes, President of the Christian Unity Party and Deputy of the Parlacen, spoke about the role that Guantanamo and the Cuban Revolution have in the region, as a bastion of resistance and dignity.

 Daniel Ortega Reyes.
Daniel Ortega Reyes.

‘It’s important to point out in which political conditions the Guantanamo Bay was rented out to the United States,’ he emphasized, and described the Platt Amend and the way the Cuban government was back then: a government that didn’t represent the interests of the Cuban people and didn’t prioritize the sovereignty of the country.

He recalled the unfulfilled campaign promises made by Barack Obama, who said he would definitively close the prison of Guantanamo—something that hasn’t yet happened and will hardly occur under Trump.

On the road towards normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, it’s indispensable that, besides lifting the economic, commercial and financial blockade it imposed in 1962, the United States gives back the territory it illegally occupies.

Bug Guantánamo is not the only place in Central America with US military bases. El Salvador has the Comalapa air base, Honduras has the Soto Cano air base and the military base at Caratasca; Costa Rica has the air base at Liberia and the US navy operating under an agreement with the government; Curazao has a naval base in the Willenstad harbor and Aruba an air base in Reina Beatriz.

Carlos Aznárez
Carlos Aznárez

Argentine journalist and director of Resumen Latinoamericano Carlos Aznárez, spoke about the role of Argentina’s neoliberal government in the imperialist militarization of the region. Aznárez began his presentation with the unfortunate statements of President Mauricio Macri about how the ‘Malvinas islands would cause a heavy additional deficit to Argentina,’ which made his position on national sovereignty pretty clear.

Going over the history of the military occupation of Malvinas, Aznárez exemplified with the militarization of part of the neo-colonized Argentine territory by the UK and the installation of the Mount Pleasant Military Base, 60 km away from the Argentine harbor, in 1982, after the Malvinas war.

He also denounced the submissive policy of President Mauricio Macri, who has even gone as far as to publicly accept discussing the matter of Argentine sovereignty with Great Britain’s Prime Minister Teresa May, and downgraded the Secretary of Affairs Pertaining the Malvinas Islands to a Subsecretary.

Carlos Aznárez denounced that there’s a plan to create three more military bases in Argentina, with the excuse of controlling drug trafficking: in the province of Jujuy, which has a great lithium reserve, in Misiones, which has the largest freshwater reservoir, and in Ushuaia, which connects both maritime accesses to the continent.

Palestinian engineer and representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Cuba,affirmed that ‘we need to understand the Palestinian cause as one of the models for colonial projects that have existed throughout the history of humankind’. ‘Israel has been a conventional and nuclear military base for the US without any sort of control or supervision by the IAEA nor international organisms, he denounced. Salem also denounced the US financing of the ’military development of the Zionist state, and the invisibilization of the historical struggle of the Palestinian people.

Bassel Ismail Salem
Bassel Ismail Salem

The PFLP representative also reminded the audience that there are currently over 1600 Palestinian men and women peacefully protesting with a heroic hunger strike against the conditions of detention that Israel imposes in the overcrowded prisons with up to 6000 prisoners.

The existence of foreign military bases continues to be a direct form of intervention by imperialist powers in the internal affairs of other states, and constitutes a violation to sovereignty and national independence, and goes against international law. ib view of this situation, we need to continue to struggle with unity, because, if one thing was obvious after listening to the presentations by all of the representatives at the 5th Seminar, is that the struggle of the peoples is one and the same.

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