In September, 2015, the 7th Asia Pacific Regional Conference for Solidarity with Cuba (APRCSC) was held in Hanoi after which an eponymous declaration was presented to the world. Significantly, Cuba and the United States of America had just re-established diplomatic relations (December, 2014). The last of the “Cuban Five” or “Miami Five,” Cuban intelligence officers arrested in Florida in 1998, was released in 2014. The Obama administration also removed Cuba from its list of terrorist states.
The Hanoi Declaration mentioned all of the above followed by a list of condemnations and demands, which, I believe, were contained in all other previous declarations of this regional conference for solidarity with Cuba. Should you want to know, the salient points of the Hanoi Declaration are: The economic, commercial, and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America five decades ago was strongly condemned as illegal and inhuman.
The continued occupation of Guantanamo, a naval base of the USA, was decried as “a flagrant violation of Cuban sovereignty.” The 7th APRCSC vowed to continue “spreading the truth about Cuban realities” by using all channels of discussion availablein order to belie the “manipulated and negative information about Cuba.”
As in previous conferences, the participants reiterated their resolve to strengthen and expand the solidarity movement, and at the same time advocate world peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity.
With regard to the 8th APRSCS, which will be held in Metro Manila, at the Holiday Inn (corner Ortigas and ADB avenues) on 8-9 April (8:30 a m- 5 p.m.), 72 foreign delegates from 19 countries have confirmed their attendance. There will be four representatives from Cuba. Members of the Philippine Organizing Committee are preparing the draft of the Manila Declaration, which will be discussed and finalized during the conference. It starts by referring to how the USA and Israel were constrained to abstain, for the first time, from voting against the 2016 UN General Assembly Resolution condemning the blockade.
Because this is the first APRCSC after the demise of Comandante Fidel Castro, the Manila Declaration will pay homage to Cuba’s beloved leader for his unwavering defense of the Cuban revolution; it will challenge“the vain illusions of reactionary forces that aim to reverse the gains of the Cuban Revolution,” now that the Comandante is dead.
While stating the advantages of renewed diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA, the Declaration will point out its perils; Cuba will be more accessible to spooks and all manner of covert actions that might attempt to bankroll a “few counter-revolutionary characters inside Cuba.”
The Declaration will condemn “the unjust, illegal, and criminal blockade imposed by the USA on Cuba,” the most extensive and cruel in modern history.” The USA continues to disregard the demands of the international community to stop this criminal policy that imposes grave burdens on the Cuban people.” Whether or not it is a waste of time and space, the Manila Declaration will demand the abrogation of the Helms-Burton Act (of the Bush administration), which extends the embargo to foreign companies trading with Cuba. The Torricelli Act of 1992 did not “wreak havoc on Cuba” as its author predicted” so it should be invalidated nonetheless. However, with a president like Donald Trump and the Congress under Republican control, who knows?
The delegates will demand the return to Cuba of the 117-square-kilometer territory of the Guantanamo Naval Base, located in the eastern part of Cuba and illegally occupied by the USA. It is also being used as a prison and torture center for over a decade now.
Says the draft: “We condemn the distorted way that Cuba’s reality is being presented byimperialists and the mass media at their service. By denigrating the Cuban revolutionary process, these imperialist forces enforce aggressive policies against Cuba intended to provoke and impose a “regime change.” For this reason, we reaffirm our unequivocal commitment to promote awareness of the Cuban reality and the work of the Cuban government and people, by all possible means.”
As always, the delegates will affirm their complete support for and solidarity with the heroic government and people of Cuba and salute them for their unassailable achievements in health, education, agriculture, and food security. The international community is grateful for the Cuban people’s selfless assistance to many developing countries, intimes of calamity and dire need.
The governments and people of Cuba should be applauded tor appropriating funds for culture, for the conservation of the country’s architectural heritage, its landscapes and biodiversity, its history, music, the arts. As a result, the UNESCO has declared many places in Cuba World Heritage sites and treasures of humanity.
The Declaration will strongly demand the extradition to Venezuela of the terrorists Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, both US citizens, who bombed a Cuban civilian aircraft, and had perpetrated brutal crimes against the Cubans and other Latin American peoples.