OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Photo: Heidy Villuendas Photo: Granma

LIMA.–With broad participation from youth, trade unions, indigenous peoples, social groups, and progressive political parties from across Latin America and the Caribbean, the Alternative Summit of the Peoples opened in Lima, Peru, yesterday, April 10.

The event was officially inaugurated in the capital city's Derrama Magisterial auditorium and will continue through the 14th, with an extensive agenda of workshops on the region's principal problems.

Gerónimo López, secretary general of the Peruvian General Federation of Workers, one of the Summit's organizers, assured the Cuban press that U.S. President Trump's decision to cancel his trip to Peru will not stop the planned anti-imperialist mobilizations.

A massive march to protest the United States' interventionist policy is scheduled for the 12th, to demonstrate Latin American unity and solidarity with peoples and progressive governments being attacked by Washington, López said.

The march will demand the removal of the 24 foreign military bases currently operating in Peru, as well as freedom for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the unjustly imprisoned former President of Brazil who is facing political persecution from the right.

The trade union leader pointed out that the People's Summit is open to all who oppose neoliberal policies and U.S. intervention in our region, and the response has been great, he said.

Another of the central themes of the gathering is solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, unilaterally excluded from the 8th Summit of the Americas, which will meet April 13-14 in Lima.

Jacobo Torres de León, national coordinator of the Bolivarian Socialist Federation of Venezuelan Workers and a member of the Constituent Assembly, is one of the country's 70 representatives who traveled to attend the Summit of the Peoples.

"We came to demand respect for our country and an end to the blockade and sanctions," he said, "It makes no sense that those who come to Lima to talk about democracy deny the process underway in Venezuela, with 24 elections held over the last period."

A Cuban expert from the World Economy Research Center, Gladys Hernández, is attending the Summit, and rejects the idea that progressive governments in Our America have failed.

"We are in a new moment for neoliberalism, in which we could say that they have had some victories, but what is today a step back, could tomorrow be two steps forward," she told Granma.

"If we are here," Hernández continued, "it is to defend a small country, that doesn't have great economic resources, but has been able to guarantee its people a dignified life."

Scheduled for the 14th, when the Summit of the Peoples concludes, is a grand Cultural-Political Festival on the University of San Marcos esplanade, with performances by Cuban artists, including the popular dance band Elito Revé y su Charangón.

"The group is well known in Lima and there has been lots of interest in our performance," Elito Revé told Granma, "We are going hold up our country and our flag's colors high."

Likewise, Fermín Quiñones, president of the Cuban United Nations Association, told the Cuban press that the official Civil Society Forum initiated its activities on Tuesday the 10th, and that 14 of its 28 theme-based coalitions met the first day.

The remainder will meet today, he said, including number 15, with the central theme of "For an inclusive, more respectful world," and in which the majority of Cuba's delegation is participating.

The Civil Society Forum, scheduled as part of the 8th Summit of the Americas, as was the case in the 2015 event in Panama, has facilitated the participation of mercenaries and groups with terrorist links, that have no legitimacy whatsoever to represent Cuban society, which has been denounced well in advance of the gathering.

Expected today is the opening of the Youth Forum and a meeting of legislators from the region.