OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Meeting in Havana for the 2nd "Thinking the Americas" forum were some 200 members of Cuban civil society. Photo: Dunia Álvarez

Close to 200 members of Cuban civil society, meeting in Havana for the 2nd "Thinking the Americas" forum, broke into applause when diplomat Juan Antonio Fernández denounced the provocation of an anti-Cuban grouplet in Lima, Peru.

"Don't mess with Cuba," insisted the Cuban diplomat, referring to the offensive comments of Jorge Luis Vallejo, a member of the so-called Latin American Network of Youth for Democracy and representative of coalition number 26 to the Hemispheric Dialogue, which took place yesterday in the Peruvian capital, prior to the upcoming 8th Summit of the Americas.

The event's proceedings were followed live in Havana, on screens in the Cuban Workers Federation theater, where the 2nd Cuban Civil Society Forum was held simultaneously.

The gathering in Lima consisted of an exchange among representatives from countries in the region and members of 28 thematic coalitions which will be meeting in a civil society forum, during the Summit of the Americas, April 10-11 in Lima.

In his comments, Juan Antonio Fernández denounced the composition of coalition 26, which includes among its coordinators "persons and organizations with dubious histories, and political agendas of provocation and subversion."

The Latin American Network of Youth for Democracy is a project financed by Washington, and includes a selection of members from the Cuban counterrevolution and the regional ultra-right, all ready to participate in any aggression undertaken by the Organization of American States (OAS)

Vallejo, one of the Network's leaders, addressed coalition number 26 to offend Cuba and recall the provocation recently attempted in Havana, involving a prize awarded to a pair of former Latin American Presidents, whose only merit is having attacked progressive governments.

After his official remarks, Juan Antonio Fernández stated, "Cuba profoundly laments the exclusion of the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and would like to register our inconformity.

"Our America is mutilated by the absence of one the countries on the continent which has contributed the most to liberatory and integrationist ideas in Latin America and the Caribbean," he continued.

Also followed closely onscreen in Havana were the comments in Lima by Yamila González Ferrer, vice president of the Union of Cuba Jurists, who was representing coalition number 15, which has as its theme, "For an inclusive, respectful world," on which the majority of Cuba's delegation participated.

THINKING THE AMERICAS

The meeting of Cuban civil society, parallel with the event in Lima, served to chart a course for participation in activities associated with the Summit of the Americas next month.

Some 30 speakers agreed in emphasizing that Cuba is not a perfect society, but has achieved many successes that should be shared with peers on the continent.

Those commenting included Yuri Pérez, deputy dean at the University of Havana Law School, Marisol Pérez, representing the Federation of Cuban Women, and Fermín Quiñones, president of the Cuban United Nations Association, which organized the forum.

He told Granma that expectations for the event had been surpassed, with the vitality and diversity of Cuban civil society made clear.

"With the outcomes of this Forum, the Cuban delegation is going to Lima strengthened, and will be able to give timely, well-reasoned responses to any counterrevolutionary provocation or attempt to legitimize those with no legitimacy whatsoever to represent our people," Quiñones said.

Cuba attended the Summit of the Americas for the first time in 2015, for the 7th edition held in Panama. Our inclusion was demanded by the majority of Latin American and the Caribbean countries, clearly demonstrating a lack of support for the aggressive policies toward Cuba of the United States, where the idea of these gatherings emerged in 1994.