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

By Laura V. Mor on May 7, 2017

U.S. guard tower on Guantanamo. Photo: Bill Hackwel

The three days of activities began with an exposition titled ‘A World of Peace is Possible’, by Cuban artists of the Association of Communicators of Cuba.This past week 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 32 countries.

The main plenary of the symposium featured comprehensive presentations by delegates 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 Parliament, spoke about the role that the Cuban Revolution has in the region, and how the communities around Guantanamo represents a bastion of resistance and dignity.

‘It’s important to point out in which political conditions the Guantanamo Bay was rented out to the United States,’ he emphasized, and described how the Platt Amendment completely usurped the sovereignty of Cuba that was helped along by a compliant government that back then did not represent the interests of the people. That subservience to the empire of the North did not change until the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Ortega Reyes 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 is unlikely to 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,  imposed in 1962, that the United States give back the territory it illegally occupies in Guantanamo to its rightful owners; the Cuban people.

But Guantánamo, while being the oldest U.S. military base abroad,  is certainly not the only one. The U.S. currently maintains over 800 military bases in 70 countries around the world. In Central America the US has military bases in El Salvador including 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 is operating at Curazao as well as a a naval base in the Willenstad Harbor and  in Aruba it has an air base in Reina Beatriz.

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 traitorous statements of President Mauricio Macri about how the ‘Malvinas islands would cause a heavy additional deficit to Argentina,’ making his position on national sovereignty pretty clear. Macri has basically gotten on his knees and offered these Argentine islands to British imperialism.

Going over the history of the military occupation of Malvinas, Aznárez explained how the militarization of the Malvinas by the British began in 1982 after the conclusion of the war with the installation of the Mount Pleasant Military Base, only 60 km away from the Argentine mainland. It should be remembered that in the Malvinas war over 1000 members of the Argentine military were killed.

Aznárez went on to denounce a plan to create three more military bases in Argentina, with the excuse of controlling drug trafficking in the province of Jujuy which just happens to hold a large lithium reserve as well as the largest freshwater reservoir in Argentina in Ushuaia. Strategically these imperial bases would be a Southern foot hold to the entire continent.

Bassel Ismail Salem 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’. Salem also denounced the US financing of the ’military development of the Zionist state, and for relegating the historical struggle of the Palestinian people to obscurity.

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 their overcrowded prisons holding up to 6000 prisoners including women and children,

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 that runs contrary to international law. In 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, it is that the struggle of the people are one and the same.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano