(April 11) – Even before the 7th Summit of the Americas of the Organization of American States (OAS) opened in Panama on April 10, a sharp struggle erupted against flagrant and ugly provocations brazenly organized against Cuba and the principles of sovereignty, democracy and the equality of all nations, big and small.
The stage was four OAS conferences being held in parallel with the 7th Summit of the Americas:
- Rectors Forum of the Americas. The participants were to discuss three objectives: academic mobility; the role of innovation and technology to improve research and higher education in the region; and the importance of university research for entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development.
- Forum of Civil Society and Social Actors. Regional Forum that allegedly seeks to promote mechanisms for consultation, dialogue and exchange for the participation of civil society organizations and social actors.
- Youth Forum of the Americas. Generated by the Young Americas Business Trust, to draw the youth of the region actively into the process of the Summit of the Americas and the OAS.
- Business Forum. A space created by the OAS for more important networking between leading big businessmen and monopolists of the hemisphere, to analyze large trade and investment opportunities present and future in Latin America to secure markets and the region’s abundant human and natural resources.
In addition, a Summit of the Peoples opened yesterday night, convened by Panamanian union and grass-roots organizations under the slogan “Latin America – a homeland for all, with peace, solidarity and social justice.” As an alternative to the OAS-sponsored summits, the parallel People’s Summit represents radically different political objectives and ideological visions. The basis of these differences must be understood in terms of the region’s grassroots support for progressive Latin American governments and respect for national sovereignty and democratic governance. This summit has the assistance of union, rural, indigenous, student, human rights, environmentalist, women organizations and “all those that have something to say about the great and serious problems affecting our peoples,” according to the call, reported by Prensa Latina.
“Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, among others, also already confirmed their assistance. The main issues of the meeting are the need to lift the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba, and the derogation of the decree by U.S. President Barack Obama, declaring Venezuela a threat for his country. Other speeches will be on Puerto Rico’s right to independence, Bolivia’s demand for access to the sea, and the need for reparation for civilian victims of 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.”
The OAS is headquartered in Washington, DC and was brought into being as an instrument of U.S. domination in the Americas on April 30, 1948 on an anti-communist basis, to oppose the people’s aspirations by undermining the progressive and communist forces in the region. One of its first steps was to approve a resolution supporting what it called regional collective intervention in Guatemala in 1954. The U.S. NATO bloc, formed in April 1949, was modelled on the OAS and The Inter-American Reciprocity Treaty.
The OAS Summit of the Americas gathers the presidents of 35 nations from the two Americas and will be marked by Cuba’s first participation in this kind of forum since its beginning in 1994 – after long and intensive efforts by most of regional countries against its arbitrary exclusion. Last year, both the USA and Canada voted against Cuba’s inclusion – the only two states to do so. Cuban President Raul Castro arrived in Panama City yesterday night, leading his country’s delegation to the statesmen’s meeting, but Cuba has averred it has no interest whatsoever in joining the moribund OAS.
In 2014, for the first time, the Summit was unable to adopt a closing communique due to American opposition.
Latin American news agencies widely report that the main issue on the 2015 agenda is to hold the U.S. to account for its long history of interference in the region. Most notably, U.S. President Barack Obama is being held to account for his March 9 executive order and sanctions claiming Venezuela is a threat to the U.S.
The struggle at the Civil Society Forum
The Latin American Herald Tribune describes the Civil Society Forum as follows:
“The event brings together more than 800 civil society organizations from 30 countries in the region, which will hold discussions from [April 9 to 10] with the objective of providing inputs to the 35 Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere, invited to the Summit. The inaugural day of the event also included a speech by the former U.S. President Bill Clinton. […] The Civil Society and Social Actors Forum aims to promote consultation and coordination mechanisms, dialogue and exchange that include the participation of the civil society organizations and social actors of the hemisphere. The forum will offer its input and recommendations for the consideration of the participating States during the ‘Mandates of Action’ negotiations of the Seventh Summit of the Americas.”
The Civil Society Forum demonstrates the fundamental nature of the OAS as an instrument of U.S. imperialism in the Americas, TML Weekly points out in a special supplement on the Summit of the Americas published today. It highlighted two essential features:
“Firstly, the concept of ‘civil society’ promoted by the OAS is intended to disempower the people and ensure they are sidelined from actual decision-making power by neo-liberal governments that serve the monopolies.
“Secondly, the Forum is a means to provide accreditation and standing at the Summit to various terrorist and counterrevolutionary individuals and organizations.”
Far from equanimously accepting the just verdict of Latin America and the Caribbean on Cuba’s rightful participation, organizers of the OAS forums organized two deliberate and flagrant provocations:
- a decision by the organizers of the Civil Society and Social Actors Forum deliberately not revealed until the last-minute to exclude and humiliate the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC-Spanish acronym) together with a Puerto Rico patriotic organization (Hostosian National Independist Movement) from participating in that particular event, despite it having submitted its request on time. The exclusivist agenda of the forum, which took place April 8-10 just before the start of the Summit and featured themes such as democratic governance, security and citizen participation, came under sharp criticism. “We would have liked to have been part of the Civil Society Forum, but they were not interested in a showing of an authentic gesture of democracy, which our union represents … Nonetheless, we will participate, together with the rest of the trade unions and social movements in the region, in the People’s Summit,” CTC representative Duarte Vazquez stated in an interview with Trabajadores published Monday and reproduced below. The Venezuelan delegation withdrew almost immediately after, citing solidarity with Cuba and its rejection to the nature of the other participants.
- the invitation of infamous mercenaries, terrorists and “dissidents” – including the ex-CIA agent, Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía, better known for his filthy role in the assassination of Argentinian-Cuban revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara – as “civil society actors” aimed at forcing the Cuban and other representatives to sit at the table with counter-revolutionaries under the hoax of “dialogue” with the “opposition” as the price of participation in the Summit of the Americas. This is what is what the imperialists call “engaging with civil society.”
On April 7, representatives of the Cuban civil society that are participating in the parallel forums indignantly issued a statement (see below) denouncing the presence of mercenary groups and individuals serving the US government. The statement was released at a press conference held by the advance delegation of the island’s representatives upon their arrival in Panama.
Caracas has now joined Havana in withdrawing its delegation to the Civil Society Forum, after the Cuban delegates broke the news that at least 20 counter-revolutionary Cuban “mercenaries” had been invited to participate in the event.
The large 100-member Cuban delegation included intellectuals, farmers, cooperative members, entrepreneurs, academics and other social actors, who had taken to Panama worked-out proposals issued and discussed in numerous meetings held over the past weeks in the island republic – proposals developed in open meetings and not behind closed doors according to foreign agendas.
Official participation of at least 10 right-wing opposition organizations side by side with terrorists in Civil Society Forum
Coincidentally, according to teleSUR, organizers of the Civil Society Forum “approved the participation of at least 10 right-wing opposition organizations that have received financial support from the U.S.-backed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) including: the Venezuelan Institute for Social and Political Studies (INVESP); Consortium for Development and Justice and the Consortium for Development and Justice; Alternative Justice; the Ecuadorean Center of Environmental Rights (CEDA); Justice and Participation Network; the National Press Association (ANP); and the Foundation for Parliamentary and Citizen Participation Support; among others.”
According to the text read by the young Cuban deputy Liaena Hernandez, several “mercenaries” have even been publicly linked to known terrorists that have caused infinite pain to the people of Cuba. In addition, the news agency Venezuelanalysis.com documents that among the highly dubious and amoral figures invited to participate in the forum were the anti-Cuban government dissidents, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Elizardo Sánchez and Rosa María Payá, financed from abroad, as well as members of the Cuban exile community resident abroad.
All are known to have financial ties to U.S. funding agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and have a history of trying to subvert the Cuban government. This OAS conference thus concentrates more on what is characterized as the imperialist techniques and tactics of what they call “soft power” that has become fashionable in Washington – “soft power” to complement and prepare the grounds for straightforward military expansion and intervention if necessary. That is, “soft power” serves “hard power,” it is not some policy option or alternative as some intellectuals promote.
These are two sides of the same coin, just as the so-called change from the diplomatic “isolation” of Cuba to “engagement” of Cuba merely indicates a change in the methods being priorized. The Cuban Democratic Union (DDC) has links to terrorism, as well as the Democratic Organization of America (CADO), Cuban counterrevolutionaries whose aim was to undertake provocations against the Cuban representatives. They were joined by ex-CIA agent, Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía, better known for his role in the CIA-organized assassination in Bolivia of Argentinian-Cuban revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a man admired throughout the world, who was also provided credentials to the summit. Prensa Latina informs that this repulsive person also participated in the U.S. invasion of Cuba at Playa Girón as a member of the 2506th Brigade, was involved in the arms and drug trafficking operations supporting the Nicaraguan counterrevolution, which blew up in the “Iran Contra affair,” and attacked civilian ships bringing goods to Cuba.
“Although Mendigutía did not fire the bullet which murdered the Argentine revolutionary guerrilla, he is documented to have identified Guevara and chosen the weapon used to kill him. The former CIA agent arrived in Panama earlier this week, where Cubans have been staging a protest against his participation.”
Doctor Aleida Guevara, daughter of Ernesto Che Guevara and who spoke in several Canadian cities in 2005 in defence of the Cuban Five, angrily condemned the shameful presence of Felix Rodriguez Mendigutía, involved in the murder of her father, who gave orders to the assassins. “At that was allowed (…) was the muse,” she said using a common phrase used in Cuba when a person performs an action without meaning, and reiterated several times the word shame to qualify the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency. “Felix was a tool of the CIA and was paid for so vile and low for the murder.”
She also described the presence of Rodriguez as provocation, adding “But at the same time it is totally discredited in public opinion, it is obvious they are trying to create problems and that the summit will not go on track,” she said. “The answer” given through the stand “by Cubans and others attending the pre-summit activities will be muchly rewarded because you know that Che still living example for young boys and honest people in this world,” she affirmed, speaking from Cuba.
The terrorist plot in Panama in 2000
The representatives of the Caribbean island issued a statement denouncing terrorist assistance in Panama and demanded the expulsion of Felix Rodriguez Mendigutía from the Central American country.
Additionally, Iroel Sanchez of the Union of Cuban Journalists recalled that in 2000, when the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, was in Panama to participate in the X Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, a terrorist plot orchestrated by Luis Posada Carriles, who today lives freely in Miami, attempted to assassinate the Cuban President. If the attack had succeeded, he said, it would have claimed the lives not only of the Cubans participanting, but also of dozens of young people who were at students at the University of Panama.
The lethal method: planting C-4 plastic explosives, the missive of choice for the first world Trade Centre bombing and the attacks on hotels in Havana in 1999 that murdered the Canadian Fabio di Celmo, and hardly a precision weapon. Panamanian authorities found 20 kilos of C-4 plastic explosives, detonators, weapons and a detailed diagram of the University of Panama campus in Posada’s car driven by a Puerto Rican and the residence of one of Carriles’ accomplices – everything but traces on their hands and fingernails.
According to the analyst, the organizers of the event allowed the participation of these counter-revolutionaries because they respond to the US policy.
This is consistent with the imperialist concept of “civil society,” which refers to the governed who submit to the governors, and shows how it is put into action against all those who uphold the sovereignty of the people and of the nation. The Cuban democracy is one that empowers the people and imbues them with social responsibility, a concept hostile to the U.S. and Canadian plutocracies.
CEO Summit of the Americas
The Social Actors Forum also coincides with the second CEO Summit of the Americas, at which hundreds of leading big business figures and heads of state from throughout the Western hemisphere will gather to discuss regional economic issues.
The invited guests include keynote speakers such as Thomas J. Donohue, Co-President of Toronto-based Barrick Gold, which just added former Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, who did yeoman’s work for private interests as Canada’s jingoist Foreign Minister putting Canada on war footing against their competitors, as its international advisor. Barrick Gold Corporation is the world’s largest gold mining company by output, with projects in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Zambia. This monopoly is responsible for the deaths, rapes, and abuse of people who have the misfortune of living next to their mines, and the destruction of these peoples’ environments. Meanwhile, Barrick’s Advisory board and board of directors includes some of the most prominent and corrupt political figures of our time. (Mining Watch report on Barrick, click here.)
The CEO Summit will also include an appearance by the Chief Financial Officer of Cargill, Marcel Smits. Cargill, the United States’ largest privately owned corporation, is the world’s largest agricultural commodities trader. Cargill has 97,000 employees spanning 59 countries as part of its nearly 51 billion-dollar annual business. Cargill together with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) – control 75 per cent of the global grain trade, and is one of 10 multinational corporations that controls more than 80 per cent of the world’s seed supply, monopolizing world trade in grains and seeds and criminalizing the ancestral practice of exchanging seeds. Cargill Paraguay sells more than 30 per cent of the total production of soy, wheat, and corn of that country. Together, Cargill and Tyson Foods control over 80 per cent of Canadian slaughter and packing capacity. Cargill, Canada’s largest grain handle, spearheaded the Harper attack to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board and its control of the national market. The Cargill invitation to the summit is in line with ensuring “food security” for the U.S. Empire as it carries out wars of aggression in its drive for hegemony and domination of the world. (See Maple Leaf Forever (7): Who owns the beef? … and the WalMart of beef on this website.)
Another notable invitee is Andrés Gluski CEO of the controversial AES Corporation, a Virginia-based global energy developer, which in 2011 launched the Panamanian Changuinola dam, resulting in widespread protests over the complete relocation of more than 1,000 Ngöbe subsistence farmers whom were affected by the dam.
The invited bigwigs and the monopolies they represent pose a grave threat to Latin American sovereignty and economic future, as they do to Canada’s. All these molochs subvert national economies to monocultural cash crop production or resource extraction according to the dictates and production/distribution strategies of the American monopolies.
Over the years, various Latin American and Canadian social movements have launched massive resistance movements against the unethical practices of these predatory monopolies.
Canadians should be vigilant of developments at the Summit of the Americas, not only being at the ready to defend the sovereignty of all countries from U.S. imperialism, but also to reject any Canadian support for U.S. imperialist intrigues.
The Canadian role in these murky maneouvres is unknown at this point, but it cannot be ruled out nor underestimated. Canada along with the USA were the two sole nations that in 2014 voted against Cuba’s participation and Harper is a virulent anti-communist reactionary. Both Canada and the USA were excluded from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which has steadily been growing in breadth and scope.
When then Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Cuba on February 15, 2013 as part of a state visit to Central and Southern America “promoting and protecting Canadian interests and values,” he provocatively hosted a dinner in Havana for “dissidents”, photographs of which dominated the DFAIT website promoting the trip. This individual also visited a Cuban Jewish educational and cultural organization, suggesting without success like some mediaeval alchemist tying to turning gold into sewage through hocus-pocus that there is a problem of anti-semitism in Cuba.
More recently, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Ron Nicholson announced that the annexed Harper government was turning over an additional $1 million to Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy and it provides funding from the North to the U.S. orchestrated opposition in Venezuela. Reports about the thwarted coup in February referred to a Canadian link, emanating from the Canadian embassy in Caracas.
Meanwhile, HMC Ships Shawinigan and Goose Bay are cruising the Caribbean Sea as part of “Op CARIBBE” or “Operation Caribbe” – an annual military operation conducted under the command of the US Joint Interagency Task Force – a unit of US Southern Command, or Southcom, one of six regional commands traversing the globe of the U.S. Armed Forces. HMC Ships Nanaimo and Whitehorse are currently participating in Op CARIBBE along the Pacific coasts of Central America.
Furthermore, it must be recalled that Canada too has been the victim of the CIA Cuban-American terrorists with the collusion of successive Canadian governments. Two of the terrorists involved in the assassination plot in Panama against President Fidel Castro in 2000, Pedro Remón and Ramon Saúl Sanchez Rizo, both linked to the Omega 7 (later Alpha 66), which had an office on Rosedale Valley Road in Toronto, freely crossed into Canada to bomb the Cuban Consulate in Montreal on December 22, 1980. They were interrogated by American officials at the U.S. border on their way back from Montreal according to FBI reports available on the Internet. Neither the Montreal police nor the Canadian government ever sought their extradition to Canada to be tried in court for this crime, although Canada makes much to-do about “engagement,” being a signatory of the Inter-American Convention on Terrorism, and “sharing information about terrorism with the United States,” which is a one-way exchange in any event. When Pedro Remón and Ramon Saúl Sanchez Rizo were arrested in Panama, the then Liberal government never demanded their extradition for the terrorist crimes committed on Canadian soil.
Furthermore, these CIA-linked terrorist units, as is now known, carried out more than one criminal action in Canada during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, including within the capital city, Ottawa: bombings, drug trafficking and other actions mainly aimed at sowing doubts amongst the Canadian people about the Cuban reality and exerting pressure on the government to break relations with Cuba.
*Author’s note. Although this article was written on April 11, 2015, due to Internet issues it could not be published until after the conclusion of the Summit of the Americas.
Panama (April 8)— This Wednesday, the representatives of the Cuban delegation temporarily abandoned the Civil Society forum of the 7th Summit of the Americas, given the unacceptable presence of a group of mercenaries, previously denounced by the delegation.
The Cuban contingent returned to the workshops this afternoon demanding that the accreditation issued to a group of individuals who do not represent true Cuban society and have proven links to terrorists, be revoked.
“Genuine Cuban civil society has left the room as we will not share the space with representatives of an alleged society, which is not our own, which receives financing from others,” explained Delegate to the National Assembly and member of the delegation, Luis Morlote.
For reasons of dignity we can not be asked to share the same roof with these mercenaries, added Morlote, also vice president of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (Uneac).
Before the event began, shouts of “Out, worms out” and “get them out of here,” were heard from the almost 70 Cuban delegates.
Enrique Alemán, from the Inter-religious Dialogue Platform, sent a message to President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, alerting him to the presence of genuine terrorists in the Hotel Panamá, headquarters of the forum.
Joel Suárez, from the Martin Luther King Centre and member of the delegation, recalled that the Summit of the Americas and its parallel forums have a dark history, and that since 1994, when the regional event began, the people have always been shut out and repressed.
However, we hoped that this time would be different and meetings were held in Cuba in order to bring a constructive agenda to Panama, noted Suárez.
In a previous incident, almost 20 Cuban delegates had problems securing accreditation for the forum, and were still unable to enter the space minutes before the event was scheduled to start. A dozen Venezuelan delegates also experienced the same situation.
A spontaneous protest broke out at the entrance to the forum, to which dozens of people joined in, including other journalists.
The delegations waved Cuban and Venezuelan flags and chanted “We don’t want to be a U.S. colony; yes, yes we want to be a free and sovereign homeland,” “Pin, pon, out, down with the worms” and “Cuba yes, terrorists no.”
Eventually, the organizers of the forum allowed them to enter via the official list, not through the established accreditation system.
Ruben Castillo, Panamanian coordinator of the forum, stated that situation was the result of delays caused by technical problems and denied any type of political selectivity.
Statement by the Cuban delegation
A statement from representatives of the Cuban civil society that is participating in the parallel forums of the Summit of the Americas denounced on April 7th the presence in Panama of mercenary groups serving the US government. The statement was released at a press conference held upon the arrival in Panama of the advance delegation of the island’s representatives.
We, the representatives of Cuba attending the Parallel Forums of the Summit of the Americas denounce the presence in these spaces of mercenaries paid by the historic enemies of our nation.
They make up a scanty “opposition” fabricated abroad, lacking all legitimacy and decency. Several of its members even associate themselves publicly with well-known terrorists who have caused infinite pain to the Cuban people.
It is offensive to see in these forums individuals, who have made betrayal to the homeland a well-paid business and shamefully usurp the name of the country they defame and offend every day.
To a proud and sovereign Cuba that has resisted more than five decades of blockade and harassment, to the overwhelming majority of Cubans, to us, who have come to bring to Panama — with modesty and the spirit of cooperation — the experiences of our social development, the presence here of characters of such a low moral ilk is inadmissible.”
Representatives of Cuba at the Parallel Forums of the Summit of the Americas
Source: Cuba Denounces Presence of Anti-Cuban Mercenaries in Panama Prensa Latina
April 8, 2015, 4:45 p.m.
Since yesterday the Cuban delegation began to discover irregularities in the accreditation process for the Civil Society Forum, despite the fact that its 68 members had met the registration requirements and had received formal acceptance messages from the Organizing Committee. Following complaints, the team responsible for these procedures reported that the credentials were not ready and attributed the delay to organizational and technical issues.
With just half an hour to go before the official opening of the Forum, 28 delegates had still not received their credentials. They were informed that all those included in the list of accepted participants could access the hall by showing their passports, regardless of the fact they did not yet have their credentials. Exercising their right, the members of the delegation presented themselves on time at the entrance of the event hall. Upon arrival, they were surprised to find that there was no list and that they would not be allowed to enter. It was later learned that several of the previously exposed mercenaries were being allowed to enter through another door.
Finally, thanks to the delegation’s protests at the entrance to the hall, just a few minutes before the opening, all the accredited delegates were able to enter. There, we reiterated our complaints regarding the presence of mercenaries in the Forum and we left out of respect for President Varela, who would heading the inauguration.
The Cuban delegation will not sharethe same space as mercenaries and terrorists. Once again we demand that they be banned from the event as they do not represent the dignified Cuban people.
In statements to Cuba’s Trabajadores newspaper, Gisela Duarte, member of the Confederation’s National Secretariat said that their delegation is made up of eight representatives from the unions of health, construction and non-state labor initiatives, who represent all Cuban workers in 17 local unions and more than 400 thousand private workers.
“We would have liked attending the Civil Society Forum, since we wanted to show examples of true democracy…so we send our applications on time, but they did not approve any of us,” said the executive.
“However, we will participate, along other unions and social movements from around the region at the Summit of the Peoples, in which we will address the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, a major point to be tackled by the Cuban delegation. And the main point here is that such a form of aggression disappears, since it is illegitimate and hinders the development of society, the workers and all Cubans,” she noted.
Other issues on the CTC delegation´s agenda include the non-state labor initiative and the integration of the union movement and workers in the decision-taking process, Duarte noted.
Spaces in Cuba where everything in the interest of the workers is addressed
The executive said that the right to strike has always been an issue used to question Cuba. But it is not included in the Cuban Constitution adopted in by 97 per cent of the people. Cuban workers have the right to express their views and their decisions in many spaces where everything in the interest of the workers is addressed, said the executive and put as example the recent collective negotiations throughout the island on the new labor code.
The new legislation establishing the code reserves over 45 moments stipulating links, consultations with the unions, she noted and added that his evidences that Cuban workers do have spaces for debates aimed at finding solutions to any conflicts.
Source: Cuban Workers Confederation excluded from Panama´s civil society forum, Cuban News Agency
Cristal Hall, Hotel El Panama, Panama (April 10) – Civil society representatives and social actors from Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba and Chile, gathered for the Roundtable Debate on Citizen Participation at the Forum of Civil Society and Social Actors, in the presence of the facilitators assigned by the Organizing Committee, Maribel Jae from Panama and Jorge Arguindegui of Argentina, following a harmonious discussion resolve to:
– Denounce the non-accreditation of several Latin American civil society representatives who previously applied and were accepted.
– Condemn the complicity of the Organizing Committee in facilitating the gathering of illegitimate individuals, historic enemies of popular causes, who intend to set themselves up as representatives of a civil society that repudiates them and who left the official space of the roundtable, and did not wait to allow for all participating civil society representatives to be accredited. They do not represent our peoples.
-Demand the accreditation of social actors and members of civil society that have not been accredited, as well as condemning the insult of assembling a parallel forum
– Declare that the Roundtable Debate on Citizen Participation in the Forum of Civil Society and Social Actors was not installed in the official space, in the presence of the facilitators of the event so designated by the organizers.
– Reject the attempted aggression against compañeros of the delegation from Ecuador by César Ricaurte, from Funda Medios, a NGO-funded by USAID, which promotes a coup d’état in Ecuador.
-Demand that the event organizers declare the attempt to install a parallel roundtable to disregard the true representation of civil society and social actors of our America as illegitimate.
– Proclaim our firm decision to build our united, independent and sovereign America, with such powerful integration mechanisms as CELAC.
– Thank the facilitators assigned by the Organizing Committee for their support in the Hall.
Announced in the Cristal Hall of the Hotel El Panama, on April 9, 2015.
THERE WAS NO ROUNDTABLE, THERE IS DENUNCIATION
Panama (April 9) — Various social organizations joined our continent this Thursday in supporting Cuba’s position in the workshops of the Summit of the Americas’ Civil Society Forum and demanded the expulsion of the group of mercenaries who have been accredited to participate in the event.
Edgardo Voitier, of the Panamanian Frente Amplio por Colón (Broad Front of Colon), read a statement on behalf of Panamanian civil society organizations criticizing the presence of people who “do not believe in prosperity or peace and do not come to contribute, but to provoke.”
Voitier noted that Panamanian organizations had come to the Forum, which is taking place in the El Panama Hotel of the capital, as they believed they would have the opportunity to discuss the central theme of the 7th Summit of the Americas – “Prosperity with Equity” – but soon found that the event is being used as a political platform for people with links to terrorism.
He recalled that some of the Cuban mercenaries at the event have ties to Posada Carriles, the very same man who tried to blow up the Paraninfo Auditorium of the University of Panama in 2000 in order to assassinate Fidel Castro and another 3,000 people.
“Had it not been for the security of another country (Cuba), I myself would be dead,” Voitier, who attended Fidel’s historic speech that day, added.
As defenders of human rights, he noted, we can not support these people who do not want to talk about peace, but come to show off their impunity, he said.
The National Strategic Alliance, a group of more than 80 Panamanian social, professional and trade union organizations, joined in supporting Cuba.
FRACTURES IN THE WORKING GROUPS AND SUPPORT FOR CUBA AND VENEZUELA
Granma was able to corroborate that the “Democratic Governance” and “Citizen Participation” working groups were fractured by the end of their sessions, given the support of various civil society organizations from our continent for Cuba’s position not to accept counterrevolutionaries with links to terrorism as representatives of the country.
This is not Cuba’s or Venezuela’s problem, a Brazilian delegate said during the Democratic Governance session, but a problem for the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean. She added that no country’s civil society could lend itself to foreign interference.
In the same session, other Latin American delegates expressed their rejection of the presence of Cuban mercenaries, who turned up to participate towards the end of the first day of the event.
Meanwhile, when the Cuban delegation entered to participate in the Citizen Participation session, they found that an important group of counterrevolutionaries were already settled in the room.
Ricardo Guardia Lugo, President of the Continental Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Students (OCLAE), told Granma that our representatives went to complain to the organizers and demand the expulsion of these people as a condition to initiating the debates.
Delegates from Panama, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador seconded this position, which led to confrontations.
Sources from the security team of the 7th Summit of the Americas assured that the conflicts were of a purely verbal nature and no physical violence occurred.
In the morning, Lilian Tintori, wife of Leopoldo López, the Venezuelan opposition leader, who is currently imprisoned for his participation in violent protests in February last year, also attended the Citizen Participation working group.
This reporter witnessed Tintori’s precipitous retreat following the indignation of a small group of Venezuelans belonging to the Comité Contra la Guarimba (Committee Against Violent Street Protests), who represent the families of dozens of people who lost their lives due to the destabilizing attempts of the Venezuelan right wing.
Both the Citizen Participation and Democratic Governance working groups were fractured at the close of the day. Some of those attending both spaces left before the scheduled time, with the idea of conducting a parallel discussion.
It has not yet transcended what procedure will be followed for the final report of the Forum,to be formally handed over to the leaders attending this 7th hemispheric meeting, which begins this Friday.
According to members of the Cuban delegation, other workshops on topics such as Education and Health held their sessions normally and here the prestige and exemplary results of our country were recognized.
Panama (April 9) — Groups of Panamanians foiled an attempted provocation organized by Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía, the terrorist responsible for the identification and murder of Che, who was due to present himself in a nearby park to the Cuban Embassy in Panama, supposedly to lay flowers at a bust of José Martí.
As soon as the news broke, Panamanian trade unionists and members of social networks participating in the People’s Summit in the Panamanian capital, gathered at the Belisario Porras Park, outside the headquarters of the Cuban Embassy, where there is indeed a bust of José Martí and another of Antonio Maceo, according to the Cubadebate website.
Havana City Historian, Eusebio Leal, improvised a moving speech in which he recalled “The Protest of Baraguá”, in response to this disgrace.
The large group includes intellectuals, farmers, cooperative members, entrepreneurs, academics and other social actors who will take to Panama the proposals issued in numerous civil society meetings held over the past weeks on the island.
Cuba will also be represented at the forums of university rectors and entrepreneurs.
To exchange views and share experiences in an open and constructive way
The goal of the Cuban delegation is to exchange, in an open and constructive way, with other representatives of the hemisphere and convey Cuban experiences in issues such as governance, democracy, education, health, energy, sustainable development, innovation and use of new information technologies, among others.
The Cuban delegation will also join other progressive organizations at the Summit of the Peoples and at the meeting of the Social Movements of Our America, to take place April 9-11.
The island’s representatives are also scheduled to participate at a gathering in solidarity with the progressive causes of Latin America and the Caribbean, which will be held at the University of Panama on April 11.
Source: Cuban Civil Society Delegation to Attend Forums in Panama escambray.cu