SANTO DOMINGO.—The denunciation of attempts at militarization and interference by the United States, Puerto Rico’s right to independence, the need to lift the blockade against Cuba and for the return of the territory occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base, were some of the key points of the Declaration adopted by the Meeting of Social Movements and Political Forces, held in the Dominican Republic.
The event, held prior to the 5th Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), was aimed at supporting the existence and continuity of this important bloc for regional integration, and denouncing imperialism.
According to the organizing committee, it also provided the setting for leaders of social movements and political forces to raise their voices, on behalf of the peoples, against imperialism, for sovereignty and self-determination and for the defense of peace, unity and the integration of the Great Homeland.
A feature of the meeting was the reiteration by many participants of their firmest support for the work being done by CELAC in terms of integration, and the call for the body to facilitate greater participation of the peoples in these unitary and solidary efforts.
For example, Halim Khan, leader of the Cuba solidarity movement in Guyana, proposed that the entire region eliminate the need for visas in order to facilitate the movement of workers, and for crops to be exchanged to guarantee food security.
Another participant at the gathering, Dominican trade unionist Juan Hubieres, president of the La Nueva Opción National Transport Federation, told Prensa Latina that CELAC must be strengthened to better function within the framework for which it was created.
Topics such as sovereignty, peace, unity and integration, as well as the human rights situation in the region, were discussed by two working groups which met prior to the gathering.
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS BACK CELAC
The Meeting of Social Movements and Political Forces began on January 23 in the Dominican capital as a combative demonstration of support for the 5th CELAC Summit.
Representatives of social, trade union, campesino, popular, youth, student and solidarity organizations filled the auditorium of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo's (UASD) School of Economics.
In addition to the delegations of Venezuela, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, participating were enthusiastic representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago.
On welcoming attendees, UASD Rector, Iván Grullón, recalled that this is a university of the people, recognized across the Americas, and thanked them for choosing this academic setting to agree on the positions they would present to the 5th CELAC Summit.
You have the responsibility to take the vision of the organizations that you represent on the main themes of the regional meeting, such as migration, the U.S. blockade against Cuba, and the demand for the return of the illegally occupied territory in Guantánamo, to the CELAC Summit, the rector stressed.
He added that issues such as poverty, food security, global drug issues, nuclear disarmament, women’s development, the Las Malvinas conflict, and the scourge of corruption and impunity, would also be addressed.
Dominican campesina leader, Juana Ferrer, welcomed the presence in the plenary of decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Fernando González, who was applauded while the audience chanted the slogan: “Fidel, Fidel, what is it that he has, that the imperialists can’t defeat him!”
Ferrer recalled that Latin America and the Caribbean remains the most unequal region in the world, with high levels of social exclusion, gender inequality and racial discrimination.
She stressed that violations of social, economic, cultural, political, sexual and reproductive rights generate violence, marginalization, poverty and constitute a permanent threat to both the food and national sovereignty of the peoples.