Salute Rejection of U.S. Dictate
Salute OAS Vote Handing a Defeat to U.S. Dictate
Voice of Revolution salutes the firm stand taken at the Organization of American States (OAS) against U.S.-style democracy and its aims of annexation and domination. We stand as one with the member states in condemning the effort by the U.S. to continue to impose U.S.-style democracy on the Americas, and to utilize organizations like the OAS as instruments of U.S. dictate. This colonial and backward stand of the U.S. suffered a defeat, as the OAS General Assembly voted to lift the ban on Cuba’s participation. It suffered another blow as member states reflected the demand of the world’s peoples to End the Blockade Against Cuba Now! Indeed the defeat suffered was such that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left before the vote revoking the ban was taken, leaving her deputy to submit to the unanimous acclamation in support of Cuba.
Despite U.S. efforts to claim otherwise, the isolation of the U.S. and anger with its continued efforts to dictate was such that member states are saying the OAS itself no longer has a place in the affairs of the Americas. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Fander Falconi said it is time to “build the new institutions which our dream of regional integration demands.” Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega also called for new organizations representing regional unity. He said that such efforts are not aimed at excluding North America, but in establishing a dialog from the strength of a bloc fully defending the interests of the member countries and not the interests of a single nation.
The U.S. defeat at the OAS also represents the struggle that has been waged by the peoples of the continent against U.S. annexation and domination of the Americas. This has been reflected in the mass demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada (2001), Miami (2003) and Cancun, Mexico (2004). The 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City is where the Inter-American Democratic Charter was introduced and vigorously denounced by protesters as a mechanism for U.S. intervention. It was exposed as being against the OAS Charter, which outlaws intervention and upholds the right of member states to self-determination.
The peoples have long experience with the words of the OAS Charter, which enshrines principles established by the peoples like non-intervention and the right to self-determination, but blocks the peoples from enforcing them. They are open to manipulation by the most powerful. The peoples also have long experience with this same content of U.S.-style democracy, where the ideals of democracy and equality are ever on the lips of presidents and diplomats, but it is the deeds of financial blackmail, economic and political interference, and military intervention that are implemented. The OAS vote struck a blow against this dictate and against U.S.-style democracy.
Oppose U.S. Double Standards
In the effort to justify their position against Cuba, the U.S. insisted on setting conditions for Cuba’s participation in the OAS. The Barack Obama administration put forward that the U.S. was only willing to revoke a “historical impediment,” the 1962 resolution banning Cuba, if it was replaced by a “modern” one, referring to the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The State Department further elaborated that it was necessary for Cuba to release political prisoners, defend “fundamental freedoms” and accept U.S.-style democracy with its multi-party system.
These demands by the U.S. are occurring right while the U.S. refuses to release prisoners at Guantánamo, prisoners that by U.S. admission are not guilty of terrorism. At the same time, the U.S. refuses to either try for terrorism crimes, or extradite Luis Posada Carriles, as requested by Venezuela. Posada Carriles is an admitted terrorist involved in downing a Cubana jetliner, killing all 73 people on board and other acts of terrorism.
It is occurring while the U.S. has unjustly jailed the Cuban Five, political prisoners prosecuted for opposing terrorism. President Obama could easily pardon them, basing himself on a unanimous three-judge ruling that their trial was not legitimate and a UN ruling that their trial and conditions of incarceration are arbitrary.
It is taking place while the U.S. maintains Puerto Rico as a colony, refuses to release Puerto Rican political prisoners and indeed has just again charged six patriots who engaged in civil disobedience in Congress demanding an end to the colonization of Puerto Rico. It is notorious worldwide for its double standard of racist mass incarceration of African Americans and their torture and inhumane conditions in jail.
Double standards, inherently unequal, are antagonistic to democracy and reflect its absence. They reflect a feudal mentality, from the days when Kings could arbitrarily impose more than one standard against the people. The very fact that double standards are deeply rooted in U.S.-style democracy — such as one standard for African Americans, rendering them non-persons with no rights and another standard for white men of property, an inequality still rampant in the country — shows that the struggle for modern democracy still remains. A modern democracy ensures equal rights including the right of the people themselves to govern and decide and guarantee that their majority will is implemented.
The absence of such a modern democracy is the basis for the broad dissatisfaction among Americans with the existing electoral system in the U.S. They reject its features that block workers from getting on the ballot and from getting elected. People are dissatisfied with the large majority of candidates, oppose the character of elections as being absent content and money-driven, and are rejecting a role as passive observers once elections are over. Through numerous mass actions, conferences, developing their own media, running their own candidates and more, they are giving expression to their demand to be decision-makers on all affairs of society. Repeatedly their experience is that the will of the majority is opposed by the U.S. rulers and the voice of the people ignored. Given this reality at home and abroad, like participants in the OAS General Assembly, Americans are drawing the conclusion that U.S.-style democracy is not a model for anyone in the 21st century, least of all Cuba. New mechanisms of democracy that empower the people to govern and decide are needed and are being built.
No to U.S.-style Democracy and its Aims of Annexation!
OAS Revokes Resolution Excluding Cuba
The Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly, bringing together 34 Foreign Ministers of the Americas, was held in San Pedro Sula, Honduras from June 2-3. Cuba is excluded from participation in the OAS, as is Puerto Rico, blocked by U.S. colonization of the country.
Cuba, its exclusion from the OAS and the illegal U.S. blockade against it, was the central debate at the Assembly. Despite U.S. efforts to impose its demands that Cuba first meet conditions to “move toward democratic pluralism, release political prisoners and respect fundamental freedoms,” on June 3 the OAS General Assembly voted by unanimous acclamation to lift the ban on Cuba’s participation. The action was recognized by all the peoples of the region as an important victory against U.S. efforts to maintain Cuba’s exclusion and to dictate the affairs of Latin American countries. "This is a moment of rejoicing for all of Latin America," said Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Fander Falconi.
News reports from the Bolivian News Agency (ABN) state that the 2009 OAS Resolution lifting the ban on Cuba’s participation reads as follows: “Be it resolved that resolution six, adopted on January 31, 1962, at the eighth Foreign Ministers Consultative Meeting, which excluded the Cuban government from participation in the Inter-American system is ruled null and void for the OAS.”
One after the other the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean applauded the action, with the Honduran Foreign Minister saying, “The Cold War has ended this day in San Pedro Sula." He added, "We begin a new era of fraternity.” He had earlier emphasized, “Were we to leave this place without rescinding that decision, without correcting that mistake and that terrible wrong, which sanctioned an entire people for having proclaimed socialist ideas and principles that are practiced everywhere in the world, we would be colluding with that mindset of yesterday.” He said passage of the 1962 resolution was a “day of infamy” and that the continued U.S. embargo against Cuba was a grave injustice.
Chile’s Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez said that “It is a truly historic moment for the OAS. As it is known, Chile did not approve the sanction in 1962 and in that sense, our country celebrates the lifting of it.” Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Fander Falconi said that in 1962 Cuba had been isolated as a result of U.S. pressure, in breach of international law. He added that now “It is time to see us, all the nations of the Americas, to regard each other with respect and equality, to honor our differences and seek to complement each other, to rectify our mistakes and build the new institutions which our dream of regional integration demands.”
During the two-day Assembly, many of the ministers questioned whether the OAS could become such an institution. They questioned the legitimacy and validity of an organization that basis its policy on the dynamic of the Cold War and which has functioned as an interventionist weapon of the U.S. in the internal affairs of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. Some expressed doubt that the OAS will even remain as an institution, especially if it did not modernize and act in a manner that recognizes the equality and rights of all the countries of the Americas, including ending its colonization of Puerto Rico and armed interference in Colombia.
It was also the uniform view of all, with the exception of the U.S, that lifting the ban against Cuba’s participation was not enough and that, consistent with OAS principles against non-interference and for self-determination, the U.S. must lift its economic blockade against Cuba. Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolas Maduro, said that the U.S. must immediately end the economic and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba. He condemned the fact that the blockade means “Cuba is still hounded for every economic transaction, for every bank account it opens abroad. Which of us would stand for that in our countries? Who would withstand being hounded for every medicine purchase for the children of the country?” He emphasized that ending the U.S. blockade now was a natural step to keep progressing toward new relations based on friendly dialog.
Paraguay’s President Fernando Luga, speaking from Cuba said, “Whatever we do at the OAS will not be enough, compared with all that Cuba has suffered in the last 50 years.” He added that “We have learned a lot from the dignity of the Cuban people, able to resist the embargo and to keep itself alive and provide solidarity — she is an example for many countries.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left the assembly the night of June 2, before the vote was taken, insisting that U.S. demands be met. The U.S. was represented June 3 by Clinton's deputy, Thomas a Shannon, who joined in the unanimous acclamation revoking the ban on Cuba (see article below for more on U.S. stand).
The U.S. remains the only country in the Americas that does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba. El Salvador, with her newly elected president coming to power June 1, re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba as one of the first acts of the new government.
1962 OAS Resolution Excluding Cuba
The following is the content of the resolution passed in 1962 as part of U.S. efforts to isolate and attack Cuba, which had achieved the victory of her revolution in 1959. The OAS resolution followed the failed U.S. attempt at the Bay of Pigs, 1961, and numerous other efforts to overthrow the revolution and re-establish U.S. control. The resolution reads as follows:
“1) That adherence by any member of the Organization of American States to Marxism-Leninism is incompatible with the inter-American system and the alignment of such a government with the communist bloc breaks the unity and solidarity of the hemisphere.
“2) That the present Government of Cuba, which has officially identified itself as a Marxist-Leninist government, was incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system.
“3) That this incompatibility excluded the present Government of Cuba from participation in the inter-American system.”
OAS Resolution Demonstrates We Are Not
With the Resolution lifting Cuba's exclusion from the Organization of American States (OAS), the Latin American countries “demonstrated that we are not colonies of United States anymore,” said the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
During the Ministers Council, the Venezuelan Head of State underscored the importance of attending the 39th General Assembly of the OAS, carried out in Honduras, with a joint proposal by the member countries of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) to demand the end of “an injustice against the Cuban people.”
“We are no more those peoples that were dragged and destroyed by the U.S. empire. We have dignity. And from the core of the ALBA emerged the question, if we live a different reality to the one of 60 years ago, when the U.S. imposed on the peoples of this continent the breaking of relations with Cuba, why is Cuba not in the OAS,” Chavez said.
Furthermore, he stated that the approval by acclamation of the resolution to lift the exclusion of Cuba from the OAS, which came into force in 1962, is “the starting point of a new era, because inside the OAS the mechanisms [for U.S. dictate] are still intact. U.S. imperialism remains intact.” This was evident in the demand of the U.S. for conditions on Cuba if she sought an eventual return to the organization
“Cuba does not have to be committed to do anything, because Cuba is not requesting to come back to the OAS nor is this the issue. The issue is not being discussed based on Cuba's request. It is a matter of our dignity,” Chavez reiterated.
(Cuban News Agency)
Speaking during the OAS General Assembly, President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega said that the OAS is an instrument of U.S. policy, used to attack and intervene against the Latin American peoples. “The OAS judges every Latin American country, but it omits any aggression committed by the United States. How many times have you seen the OAS interfering with the Yankees or judging the U.S. policies that have caused so much damage to Latin American peoples? The truth is that the OAS is a U.S. instrument to dominate our peoples,” Ortega emphasized.
He said that despite the U.S. having a new President, Barack Obama, and Obama’s expressions of goodwill, Obama is trapped in the old U.S. policies of domination and colonization. Ortega commented that Obama has given continuity to the economic measures carried out by George W. Bush to deal with the financial crisis, which consists of protecting bankers and big companies. “I do not see big changes. The president has changed, but U.S. policies have not,” he said.
He called on Latin American and Caribbean countries to build new organizations reflecting the unity of the region. He added that such efforts are not aimed at excluding North America, but establishing a dialog from a bloc fully defending the interests of the member countries and not the interests of a single nation. “It is not about cutting the links with the United States and Canada. It is about defining our own space for decision making, dialoging from a better position, which would make us stronger. It will make us more free,” he stressed.
Ecuador’s Correa Forecasts End of OAS
President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said the OAS, “no longer has a reason to exist,” arguing it was time that Latin American issues ceased to be discussed in Washington, DC. “It is time we discuss our own affairs,” without the U.S. Correa made the remarks at a meeting with Honduran President Manuel Zelaya where cooperation agreements in tourism and planning were signed.
Correa and Zelaya condemned the sanctions imposed on Cuba by the OAS in 1962. “All the steps we are taking are to create a big Latin American motherland, which our peoples are demanding,” said Correa. “It is time for the true independence of our region,” he added, saying that the successor to the OAS is already almost a fact. “It is the Group of Rio,” he said
Zelaya said Honduras had the shameful task of being the first country to vote for the suspension of Cuba in 1962, “so now we are vindicating that sin by proposing the annulment of sanctions against Havana,” in the OAS meeting.
Venezuelan Ambassador: The OAS Can Be Revitalized or Remain Fatally Wounded
The OAS has the chance of being revitalized by lifting the sanctions against Cuba or remain fatally wounded if the exclusion of Cuba remains, said Venezuela’s Ambassador Roy Chaderton Matos.
According to Chaderton, the institution must take advantage of the situation to correct its position on Cuba and keep up-to-date. He underscored that at this time, member countries will be testing the legitimacy of the OAS. “The OAS has been judging its member countries in a selective way for the last 60 years. It is about time member countries start judging it back,” Chaderton emphasized. He said that U.S. demands for Cuba to meet certain conditions, such as releasing political prisoners and having a “multi-party system,” contradicts the Charter of the OAS. Article 3 of the Charter establishes the free right of member states to choose their own economic, social and political system. The Charter also has content forbidding intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. “After 47 years, based on a measure that it is totally anachronistic and that belongs to the paleontology of international policy, it does not make sense to try to use hidden arguments or guidelines to keep sanctioning Cuba,” he stated.
(Sources: Bolivian News Agency, mercopress.com)
“The ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the People's of Our America) is a space for the new world, a space to create the social, economic, and political grounds of that new world. The ALBA is the proof that another world is possible,” said Venezuela’s Minister of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, Nicolas Maduro.
During the Second Meeting of Ministers and Cultural Authorities of ALBA, which took place in Caracas at the end of May, Maduro said that the transnational ALBA-Culture project has the honor of giving expression to our love of all our peoples.
The ALBA is an integration project that puts its emphasis on the fight against poverty and social exclusion. Thus, it represents the interests of the Latin American peoples. Its main goal is to create mechanisms for cooperation between nations and to overcome the uneven development of countries of the hemisphere. It is also based on cooperation and use of mutual funds to overcome disparities between the less developed and more developed countries.
ALBA gives priority to Latin American integration and to negotiations among sub-regional blocs, opening new spaces for consultations, to deepen the knowledge of our various positions and to identify common interests that serve the construction of strategic alliances and developing a single position in negotiation processes.
The full members of ALBA are: Bolivia, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela. Ecuador is not yet a full member but takes part in most of the projects of the organization and is expected to join soon.
(Agencia Cubana de Noticias, May 28, 2009)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in the first day of the OAS General Assembly June 2. She left that night, without having given her speech and insisting that U.S. demands “that defend democracy,” must be met by Cuba before the lifting of the ban could occur. At a breakfast meeting with Caribbean ministers present for the OAS Assembly, Clinton said, “We do look forward to the day when Cuba can join the OAS. But we believe that membership in the OAS must come with responsibility. And we owe it to each other to uphold our standards of democracy and governance that have brought so much progress to our hemisphere. It is not about reliving the past; it is about the future and being true to the founding principles of this organization.” A state department official made clear that the U.S. is demanding that Cuba “Has to make moves towards democratic pluralism [a multi-party system]. They have to release political prisoners and respect fundamental freedoms.”
These demands were not part of the resolution passed and the U.S. was isolated in demanding them. Instead all that was stated was that if Cuba wishes to participate, she will need to follow “OAS principles, values and practices.” As Clinton’s deputy present for the vote, Thomas A. Shannon stated, “We have established a compromise with Cuba, a path toward the future based on OAS principles, values and practices.”
Following the vote, U.S. representatives tried to put a positive spin on the result. But the difficulty faced by the U.S. can be seen in statements by National Security Advisor Dan Restrepo, June 3, at the press conference with Shannon. He said Cuba’s participation must be “In accord with the basic principles, purposes and practices of the OAS, which itself is defined in the resolution to be based on the OAS Charter and other fundamental instruments that defend democracy, self-determination, non-interference, human rights, development and security.” He repeated that the resolution “Ensures that we are defending the basic principles of democracy and human rights and non-intervention and non-interference as the path forward to Cuba’s return to the organization.”
The repeated content on “self-determination” and “non-intervention and non-interference,” coming from the U.S., in relation to Cuba, was systematically rejected by all other participants in the OAS Assembly. Indeed, the many examples of U.S. interference and intervention not only against Cuba but all of Latin America, has been burned into the memory of all these peoples. As some of the ministers also brought out, the OAS Charter includes “the free right of member states to choose their own economic, social and political system.”
One after the other reporters questioning Shannon and Restrepo brought out that the U.S. had said it did not want to revoke the resolution and their agreement to do so represented a shift in the U.S. position. They questioned the U.S. efforts to claim the vote as a “victory for U.S. diplomacy.”
As one U.S. specialist on Cuba admitted, "the era of the U.S. calling the shots has ended." He added, "I think there will be a battle in the coming days to see how to define the practices and principles of the OAS and whether Cuba is meeting them," he said. What he left out is that all the other countries of the Americas are questioning whether the U.S. is meeting them and rejecting a situation where the U.S. is the judge and executioner and they are the victims. Not a few raised the issue of the U.S. political prisoners on Guantánamo, the Cuban Five political prisoners imprisoned in U.S. jails for fighting terrorism, the U.S. refusal to lift the blockade on Cuba, the U.S. armed intervention in Colombia and colonization of Puerto Rico as examples of the failure of the U.S. to uphold democratic principles.
The crisis of legitimacy facing the Organization of American States (OAS) was sharply evident at its 39th General Assembly. U.S. efforts to dominate and utilize the OAS as its instrument suffered a defeat. The vote showed, as a Cuban specialist in the U.S. put it, “The U.S. is no longer calling the shots.” The vote to revoke the ban on Cuba represents an important defeat in U.S. efforts to dictate the affairs of Latin America, while also raising the legitimacy of the OAS itself. As many of the participants in the Assembly brought out, new organizations representing the unity and rights of the peoples are needed.
The OAS was founded in 1947 as an instrument of U.S. imperialism to contain communism in the Americas. As such, it has a longstanding history in the Americas of suppressing the peoples' aspirations to be sovereign in their own affairs. Under the highest ideals such as "strengthening democracy" it has served to legitimize U.S. imperialism's negation of international rule of law. This is especially apparent in the case of Cuba following the Cuban people's successful revolution against U.S. puppet Fulgencio Batista in 1959. After the failure of direct military intervention in the 1961 "Bay of Pigs" invasion, in 1962 Cuba was expelled from the OAS at U.S. instigation in an unsuccessful attempt to isolate the young revolution.
In Canada, at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in April 2001, the OAS' proposed Inter-American Democratic Charter which established mechanisms for the OAS to intervene in the internal affairs of any country — in contradiction with its own charter — was denounced by thousands of protestors as an instrument of U.S. annexationist aims, while its notion of democracy was exposed as thoroughly bankrupt and anti-democratic by the fences, riot police and clouds of tear gas used to attack and exclude the people. Demonstrations in Miami in 2003 and again and in Cancun, Mexico in 2004 also brought out the sham of the OAS and its Democratic Charter, as again the peoples demanded their say and raised their demands for fraternal unity and mutual respect and benefit — and were met with fences, tear gas and riot police.
The recent period has seen governments that favor the interests of the people take power throughout Latin America, including forces that were the victims of bloody U.S.-sponsored coups and counter-revolutions. In addition to their own aspirations, these forces have a profound solidarity with the Cuban people and their socialist nation-building project, which has shared weal and woe with them and selflessly provided them principled assistance of all kinds. They are deeply opposed to U.S. annexationist aims including attempts to isolate Cuba and are demanding that the OAS readmit Cuba and that the U.S. end its blockade.
Cuba has no shortage of experience with the U.S. imperialist conception of "democracy" in the form of military invasion, terrorist attacks, biological warfare and a brutal economic blockade. It considers the OAS a "pestilent corpse" and wants no part of it. Comrades Fidel Castro, In his April 14, 2009 reflection "Does the OAS Have a Right to Exist?" bourhgt out that the OAS "has not provided one single service to our peoples; it is the embodiment of betrayal. If all the aggressive actions in which it was complicit were added up, they would amount to hundreds of thousands of deaths and accumulate dozens of bloody years. Its meeting will be a battleground that will put many governments in an embarrassing situation. Let it not be said, however, that Cuba threw the first stone. Moreover, the supposition that we are desirous of entry into the OAS is offensive to us."
The euphoria of a new president in the White House who purports to bring change is wearing off and the U.S. aim to overthrow Cuba's revolution remains intact. Indeed, Obama’s statements that the U.S. would not support revoking the ban, but instead wanted to replace a “historical impediment” to Cuba’s OAS membership — the 1962 resolution — with a “modern one,” referring to the Inter-American Democratic Charter. In this manner, Obama is openly rejecting the basic democratic principle of submitting to the majority and insisting the all others submit to U.S.-style democracy.
As the OAS action to revoke the ban on Cuba, the broad discussion on the need for new organizations, and the development of them, such as ALBA, all indicate, it is only a matter of time before the OAS is abandoned en masse.
The Trojan Horse
President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, in a visit to Honduras on the eve of the OAS meeting stated: “I think that the OAS has lost its reason to exist; perhaps it never had a reason to exist.” The news carried by ANSA (Italian News Agency) adds that Correa “predicted ‘the death’ of that organization because of the many errors it had committed.”
He stated “that because of geographic conditions the countries on the American continent cannot ‘all be lumped together,’ and for that reason several months ago Ecuador proposed the creation of the Organization of Latin American States.
“‘It is not possible that the region’s problems are discussed in Washington; let us make something that is our own, without countries alien to our culture, to our values, obviously including countries that were inexplicably separated from the inter-American system, and I refer to the specific case of Cuba…it was a real embarrassment and shows the double standards existing in international relations.” Upon his arrival in Honduras, both President Zelaya and Correa declared that “the OAS ought to be reformed and reincorporate Cuba or it would have to disappear.”
Another dispatch from the DPA (German News) Agency states:
“Reintegrating Cuba into the Organization of American Status (OAS) has moved from being a subject per se of the General Assembly of the body in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula to become, yet again, the excuse for a struggle of interests that go far beyond the limits of the Caribbean island and could question (again) the state of hemispheric relations.
“The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, put it perfectly clear when he described the hemispheric meeting starting this Tuesday in Honduras in quasi military terms.
“It will be, he said, an ‘interesting battle’ where if it is shown that the OAS ‘continues to be a ministry of the colonies’ which isn’t changing to ‘subordinate itself to the will of the governments making it up,’ it will be necessary to consider ‘exiting’ from the body and creating another alternative.”
“‛Latin America is making Cuba the litmus test for the sincerity of the Obama administration’s true rapprochement in the region, Julia Sweig, the Cuba expert of the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, declared to the Washington Post on the eve of the encounter in Honduras.”
By resisting the aggressions of the most powerful empire ever to exist, our people struggled for the other sister nations of this continent. The OAS was an accomplice to all the crimes committed against Cuba.
At one time or another, every one of the Latin American countries was the victim of interventions and political and economic aggressions. There is not one that could deny it. It is naïve to think that the good intentions of a president of the United States could justify the existence of that institution that opened the doors to the Trojan horse that supported the Summits of the Americas, neoliberalism, drug- trafficking, military bases and economic crises. Ignorance, underdevelopment, economic dependency, poverty, the forced return of those who emigrate in search of jobs, the brain drain, and even the sophisticated weapons of organized crime were the consequences of the interventions and pillage coming from the U.S. Cuba, a tiny country, has demonstrated that it is possible to resist the blockade and move forward in many areas, even to cooperate with other countries.
The speech given today by President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras at the OAS General Assembly contains principles that may go down in history. He said admirable things about his own country. I shall limit myself to what he said about Cuba.
“…At the Assembly of the Organization of American States starting today in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, we must initiate the process of making wise repairs to old errors committed.
“We, Latin Americans here present, a short while ago, a few weeks or months ago, had a great summit meeting of the Rio Group in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. There we entered into a commitment. That commitment, taken down in writing and by the unanimity of all of Latin America, is that in this San Pedro Sula assembly, by majority of votes or by consensus, that old and timeworn error committed in 1962 to expel the people of Cuba from this organization should be redressed.
“My fellow dignitaries, we should not leave this assembly without abolishing the decree of that eighth meeting which sanctioned an entire people for having proclaimed its socialist ideas and principles, the very same ideas that today are being practiced everywhere in the world, including in the United States and in Europe (Applause). Today, the principles of seeking different development alternatives are evident in the change that has occurred in the United States with the election of President Barack Obama…
“We cannot leave this assembly without redressing that error and that infamy because based on this OAS resolution which is now more than four decades old, this sister nation of Cuba has been kept under an unfair and useless blockade, precisely because it has not served any purpose, but it has indeed shown that over there, a few miles away from our country, on a small island, there are a people ready to resist and sacrifice for their independence and sovereignty.
“…to not do so would make us accomplices of a resolution in 1962 to expel a state of the Organization of American States simply because it espouses other ideas, other thoughts, and because it proclaims the principles of a different democracy. And we are not going to be accomplices to that.
“…We cannot leave this assembly without abolishing what was done in that era.
“José Cecilio del Valle, an exceptional Honduran and one of our national heroes, who was called “Wise Man Valle” in our country, said on April 17, 1826, in his famous article ‘Sovereignty and Non-intervention’ — we had just declared our independence from Spain: ‘The nations of the world are independent and sovereign. Whatever their territorial size or the number of inhabitants, a nation must treat others in the same way it wishes to be treated by them. A nation does not have the right to intervene in the internal affairs of another nation.’”
With these words spoken by Cecilio del Valle and mentioning Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Morazán, Martí, Sandino and Bolívar, he concluded his address.
Minutes later, at the press conference following the opening of the assembly, he answered questions and reiterated principles. He then gave the floor to Daniel Ortega who was the author of one of the most profound and articulated presentations at the OAS assembly. By invitation of Zelaya, the following also spoke: President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay and Rigoberta Menchú, both expressing themselves in the same vein as Zelaya and Daniel.
The assembly has been in session for hours. At the moment I am finishing this Reflection, practically nighttime, there is still no news of the decision. We know that Zelaya’s speech had an influence. Chávez chats with Maduro and urges him to be firm on the fact that no resolution can be passed that places conditions on the repeal of the unfair sanction against Cuba. Never had so much rebellion been seen. It is certainly a tough battle. Many countries depend on the index finger of the hand of the U.S. government, the one pointing to the Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank or any other outfit to punish rebellion. Having waged this battle is in itself a heroic deed of those who are the most rebellious. The date of June 2, 2009 will be remembered by future generations.
Cuba is no enemy to peace, nor is it reluctant to have exchanges or cooperation between countries with different political systems, but it has been and will be uncompromising in its defense of its principles.
Fidel Castro Ruz
As part of a concerted effort to wrap-up and control large areas of the world through a network of political, military, financial, cultural and religious organizations, numerous institutions in the United States spearheaded the founding of the Organization of American States, the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), InterAmerican Development Bank, the United Service Organization (USO) and many others, tens of Foundations, Study Groups, the promotion of dictators and tyrants with their academy of higher education embodied in the School of the Americas and a worldwide media network, of which the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe are its best exponents. As a precondition, the United States demanded and received the prerogative of paying the largest portion of these institutions budget, limiting the independence of these marionettes or quasi satellites —on call, ready to comply organizations. This facilitated Cuba's expulsion from the OAS in 1962, after paying Haiti a large bribe to join this infamous chorus.
Although Cuba has publicly expressed its disdain for the OAS, this unburied, rotting political cadaver, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found this OAS gathering in Honduras an appropriate setting for her to present a list of archaic, immoral demands on Cuba. She should have known most other OAS members would vociferously reject, creating a stalemate with the U.S. positioned against the majority of other member states. She presumed most peoples in the world today have forgotten when the U.S. wholeheartedly embraced [dictators like] Somoza of Nicaragua, Stroessner of Paraguay, Videla of Argentina, Papa Doc and Baby Doc of Haiti, Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Gairy in Grenada, D'Aubusson in El Salvador, Batista of Cuba, Noriega in Panama, Banzer in Bolivia, Fujimore in Peru and tens of other assassins. Or that it was the United States that brutally decapitated President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic, Salvador Allende in Chile and many others, while the OAS with its complicit silence, tolerated or condoned these atrocious actions.
As the world watches the final days of the OAS, we are forced to reflect on how U.S. arrogance and lack of political sensitivity towards Latin America and the Caribbean peoples enabled it to impose, for nearly half a century, the most brutal blockade on Cuba, a small, sister nation. The U.S. hoped to decimate Cuba’s people, force them to rebel against their government or cry uncle.
The discord that has plagued the current OAS gathering is the fruit of the sordid behavior of the U.S. during the past two centuries. Everyone living south of the Rio Grande can relate their own experience with the colossus from the north. Be it depriving Mexico of one third of its territory, imposing naval bases on Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Ecuador and who knows where else, gobbling up the most fertile lands in our countries, controlling all important industries, banking and infrastructure in each nation under its domain. And also by instilling its egotistic sentiments and its insatiable consumerism and drug addition to corrupt the minds of our people.
Cuba has suffered like no other country in this region at the hands of 10 different presidents of the United States, which has steeled her people to withstand 10 more U.S. presidents if need be. Most objective and impartial individuals around the world believe that the administration of Barack Obama have taken an honest and sincere approach to solve a litany of intractable problems accrued by the United States over years of neglect. Still, some of his efforts seem to have stalled or been placed on the back burner by members of his administration, still caught up in their visceral anti-communism, which was graphically expressed in the absurd position of the U.S. State Department posture in Honduras [against lifting the ban on Cuba’s participation].
Then today, in the clearest expression ever, of Latin America and the Caribbean nations arriving at full adulthood, they inflicted a resounding defeat to a set of demands the U.S. State Department wanted to impose on Cuba, as a pre-condition for it to rejoin the OAS. Winners or losers are of no consequence. What really matters is the pride, respect our region has earned. This was reflected in the words of Fander Falconi, Ecuadorian Foreign Relations Minister when he declared: “This is a moment of rejoicing for all of Latin America.” And still more in the incisive statement from President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras when he stated: “The Cold War has ended in San Pedro Sula. We begin a new era of fraternity and tolerance.” Long Live Latin America, for achieving its independence, dignity and sovereignty, after 500 years of impositions, submissions and indignities.