President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, in a visit to Honduras on the eve of the OAS meeting stated: “I think that the OAS has lost its reason to exist; perhaps it never had a reason to exist.” The news carried by ANSA adds that Correa “predicted ‘the death’ of that organization because of the many errors it had committed.”
He stated “that because of geographic conditions the countries on the American continent cannot ‘all be lumped together,’ and for that reason several months ago Ecuador proposed the creation of the Organization of Latin American States.
“‘It is not possible that the region’s problems are discussed in Washington; let us make something that is our own, without countries alien to our culture, to our values, obviously including counties that were inexplicably separated from the inter-American system, and I refer to the specific case of Cuba, it was a real embarrassment and shows the double standards existing in international relations'”. Upon his arrival in Honduras, both President Zelaya and Correa declared that “the OAS ought to be reformed and reincorporate Cuba or it would have to disappear”.
Another dispatch from the DPA Agency states:
“Reintegrating Cuba into the Organization of American States (OAS) has moved from being a subject per se of the General Assembly of the body in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula to become, yet again, the excuse for a struggle of interests that go far beyond the limits of the Caribbean island and could question (again) the state of hemispheric relations
“The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, put it perfectly clear when he described the hemispheric meeting starting this Tuesday in Honduras in quasi military terms.
“It will be, he said, an ‘interesting battle’ where if it is shown that the OAS ‘continues to be a ministry of the colonies’ which isn’t changing to ‘subordinate itself to the will of the governments making it up,’ it will be necessary to consider ‘exiting’ from the body and creating another alternative.”
“‘Latin America is making Cuba the litmus test for the sincerity of the Obama administration’s true rapprochement’ in the region, Julia Sweig, the Cuba expert of the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, declared to ‘The Washington Post’ on the eve of the encounter in Honduras.”
By resisting the aggressions of the most powerful empire ever to exist, our people struggled for the other sister nations of this continent. The OAS was an accomplice to all the crimes committed against Cuba.
At one time or another, every one of the Latin American countries was victim of interventions and politic and economic aggressions. There is not one that could deny it. It is naive to think that the good intentions of a president of the United States could justify the existence of that institution that opened the doors to the Trojan horse that supported the Summits of the Americas, neoliberalism, drug- trafficking, military bases and economic crises. Ignorance, underdevelopment, economic dependency, poverty, the forced return of those who emigrate in search of jobs, the brain drain, and even the sophisticated weapons of organized crime were the consequences of the interventions and pillage coming from the North. Cuba, a tiny country, has demonstrated that it is possible to resist the blockade and move forward in many areas, even to cooperate with other countries.
The speech given today by President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras at the OAS General Assembly contains principles that may go down in history. He said admirable things about his own country. I shall limit myself to what he said about Cuba.
“At the Assembly of the Organization of American States starting today in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, we must initiate the process of making wise repairs to old errors committed.
“We, Latin Americans here present, a short while ago, a few weeks or months ago, had a great summit meeting of the Rio Group in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. There we entered into a commitment. That commitment, taken down in writing and by the unanimity of all of Latin America, is that in this San Pedro Sula assembly, by majority of votes or by consensus, that old and time-worn error committed in 1962 to expel the people of Cuba from this organization should be redressed.
“My fellow dignitaries, we should not leave this assembly without abolishing the decree of that eighth meeting which sanctioned an entire people for having proclaimed its socialist ideas and principles, the very same principles that today are being practiced everywhere in the world, including in the United States and in Europe (Applause). Today, the principles of seeking different development alternatives are evident in the change that has occurred in the United States with the election of President Barack Obama.
“We cannot leave this assembly without redressing that error and that infamy because based on this OAS resolution which is now more than four decades old, this sister nation of Cuba has been kept under an unfair and useless blockade, precisely because it hasn’t served any purpose, but it has indeed shown that over there, a few miles away from our country, on a small island, there are a people ready to resist and sacrifice for their independence and sovereignty.
“To not do so would make us accomplices of a resolution in 1962 to expel a state of the Organization of American States simply because it espouses other ideas, other thoughts, and because it proclaims the principles of a different democracy. And we are not going to be accomplices to that.
“We cannot leave this assembly without abolishing what was done in that era.
“Jose Cecilio del Valle, an exceptional Honduran and one of our national heroes, who was called “Wise Man Valle” in our country, said on April 17, 1826, in his famous article -‘Sovereignty and Non-intervention’ -we had just declared our independence from Spain: ‘The nations of the world are independent and sovereign. Whatever their territorial size or the number of inhabitants, a nation must treat others in the same way it wishes to be treated by them. A nation does not have the right to intervene in the internal affairs of another nation.'”
With these words spoken by Cecilio del Valle and mentioning Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Morazan, Marti, Sandino and Bolivar, he concluded his address.
Minutes later, at the press conference following the opening of the assembly, he answered questions and reiterated principles. He then gave the floor to Daniel Ortega who was the author of one of the most profound and articulated presentations at the OAS assembly. By invitation of Zelaya, the following also spoke: President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay and Rigoberta Menchu, both expressing themselves in the same vein as Zelaya and Daniel.
The assembly has been in session for hours. At the moment I am finishing this Reflection, practically night-time, there is still no news of the decision. We know that Zelaya’s speech had an influence. Chavez chats with Maduro and urges him to be firm on the fact that no resolution can be passed that places conditions on the repeal of the unfair sanction against Cuba. Never had so much rebellion been seen. It is certainly a tough battle. Many countries depend on the index finger of the hand of the U.S. government, the one pointing to the Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank or any other outfit to punish rebellion. Having waged this battle is in itself a heroic deed of those who are the most rebellious. The date of June 2, 2009 will be remembered by future generations.
Cuba is no enemy to peace, nor is it reluctant to exchanges or cooperation between countries with different political systems, but it has been and will be uncompromising in its defense of its principles.
Fidel Castro Ruz
June 2, 2009