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Cuban declaration on Guadalajara summit

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  • Walter Lippmann
    (This is an important document from the Cuban government in which it explains the maneuverings which took place in the background at Guadalajara. (Washington
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2004
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      (This is an important document from the Cuban
      government in which it explains the maneuverings
      which took place in the background at Guadalajara.

      (Washington used its influence with the European
      Union to blunt any effort at condemning the use of
      torture as a tool, as well as opposition to the
      unilateral military actions, such as has taken
      place in Iraq, Afganistan and recently, in Haiti.

      (Notice the careful distinctions which the Cuban
      statement makes, not lumping all of the EU states
      into a single undifferentiated mass. This is an
      extremely important aspect of Cuban diplomacy:
      to seek close links to and cooperation with the
      largest possible numbers of states in opposition
      to Washington's attempts to dominate the planet.
      Here we can see the leadership role which Cuba
      plays as a tribune of the peoples of the world.)
      =================================================

      DECLARATION BY THE CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT
      28 May 2004

      As everyone knows, since it has been given wide coverage
      in the press, a very hard battle was fought yesterday,
      Thursday 27 May, in the discussion of the final document
      in Guadalajara. It was a battle against the stubborn
      intransigence of the European Union, which obstinately
      opposed a paragraph that strongly denounced and condemned
      the monstrous murder and torture practiced against Iraqi
      prisoners.

      Humanity had not seen such disturbing images since the
      dismal days of Hitler at the end of the Second World War.
      Billions of people were able to see these images on movies
      and television screens, on the Internet and in newspaper
      photos, and were particularly horrified by the ghoulish
      delight and brutal sadism with which these acts were
      carried out. The methods used showed contempt and disdain
      for the culture and feelings of the Islamic peoples of whom
      there are 1.2 billion that through the Old Testament share
      some ethical and historical roots with Christianity and
      Judaism.

      The paragraph on this subject, initially proposed by Latin
      America and the Caribbean, read:

      “We strongly condemn all forms of abuse, torture and other
      cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment used against
      prisoners of war or any prisoner or against any one, no
      matter where or by whom it is committed. We declare
      ourselves to be dismayed by the recently documented
      examples of this behaviour which are completely
      unacceptable and deserve our strongest condemnation. Such
      practices are and must remain forbidden at all times and in
      all places. In this context, we call on the governments
      concerned to impose all legal sanctions to all those
      responsible and call on them to ensure compliance with the
      ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
      treatment in accordance with the UN Convention against
      Torture and with the Geneva conventions. Such practices
      constitute a serious violation of these international
      instruments”.

      The European Union completely refused to mention the
      subject or to include it in the Final Declaration. Then, as
      it found itself obliged to give up some ground, it refused
      to mention the word “torture”, labelling what had happened
      “mistreatment”. Later, it refused to talk about the recent
      cases of torture of Iraqi prisoners using a non-specific
      formula to condemn them, and most carefully avoiding any
      mention of the governments responsible for this torture.
      The discussion between the president of the European Union
      and deputy foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez, the second
      head of the Cuban mission who was leading our delegation at
      that point, was very heated and controversial.

      Resigned to defeat, they finally accepted the word
      “condemnation”, but in a general not concrete sense,
      in reference to recent events, which they called only
      “mistreatment” of prisoners.

      The fact that the subject was addressed at all and that
      much of the initial paragraph was included is considered a
      huge moral defeat for the European Union.

      Those who on this occasion were opposed to this
      condemnation represented countries which witnessed the Nazi
      concentration camps where millions of people died either
      because of their race or their religious beliefs. Now
      leaders of these countries yield to neo-Nazi methods, ideas
      and dangers which are a thousand times worse because of the
      almost infinite power of those who propound them, that is,
      the extreme right which is in control of the U.S.
      administration.

      The second big battle took place in the afternoon of
      Thursday 27; this time between the Cuban delegation, headed
      by our foreign minister, Felipe Pérez Roque, and
      representatives of the European Union on the thorny issue
      for the Europeans of the Helms-Burton Act and the new,
      recently announced measures against Cuba.

      The paragraph approved in the morning session yesterday
      Thursday 27 by the Latin American and Caribbean countries
      read:

      “We reiterate our strong rejection of the use of
      unilateral, extraterritorial laws and measures that run
      contrary to international law, the freedom of the market,
      shipping and world trade. We agree that these measures
      represent a grave threat to multilateralism. We voice our
      profound concern about additional measures which reinforce
      and expand the scope of such policies and laws, for
      example, the Helms-Burton Act, and we therefore urge the
      government of the United States of America to cease using
      such laws and measures. We reject the use of coercive
      unilateral measures by any state whatsoever, since they
      jeopardize the sovereignty of other states and violate the
      principles and aims of the United Nations”.

      The European Union, acting once again as the U.S.
      government’s ally and underling, responded to this clear
      and strong rejection of the United States government
      genocidal Cuba policy by presenting this timid, ridiculous
      proposal:

      “We reiterate our firm rejection of all unilateral measures
      that run contrary to international law, including those
      which are extraterritorial in scope and run contrary to the
      commonly accepted rules of international trade. We agree
      that unilateral measures that run contrary to international
      law represent a serious threat to multilateralism”.

      In another fierce debate in which our foreign minister
      hurled accusations at, argued against and rebutted the
      European Union representatives position they, demoralized
      and devoid of authority, prestige and arguments proposed a
      new formulation.

      This is how it then read:

      “We reiterate our firm rejection of all unilateral measures
      that run contrary to international law, including those
      (new measures) which are extraterritorial in scope and run
      contrary to the commonly accepted rules of international
      trade. We agree that unilateral measures that run contrary
      to international law represent a serious threat to
      multilateralism. We remind people of the stance taken in
      Resolution UNGA-58/7 of 18 November, 2003”.

      The Cuban delegation opposed this maimed, ridiculous and
      cowardly proposition with all its might, since our country
      is today under threat from the murderous plans and the set
      of interventionist and genocidal measures announced by Mr.
      Bush last May 6.

      The European Union then agreed to mention the title of the
      resolution which Cuba introduces in the United Nations
      General Assembly and which reads: “The Necessity to Put an
      End to the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade
      Imposed on Cuba by the United States of America”.

      The European Union representatives, seething with arrogance
      and irritation at the strong Cuban response, threw down an
      ultimatum: either this formulation was accepted or they
      would not allow the paragraph to be included. The Cuban
      foreign minister rejected this ultimatum with the utmost
      dignity and replied that Cuba held to its position that
      these measures must be specifically condemned and that if
      the paragraph were to appear as drafted by the European
      Union, Cuba would prefer that there be no reference at all
      to the subject in the Final Declaration, but that the
      European Union would have to take full responsibility for
      it not being included. Here we are omitting various details
      in order to be brief.

      What Comrade Fidel said in point one of his Message to the
      Mexican People was fully confirmed:

      “The European Union’s complicity with U.S. crimes and
      aggressions against Cuba as shown by its disgraceful,
      hypocritical behaviour in Geneva and its shameful
      understanding and connivance with the Helms-Burton Act
      whose unacceptable, ignominious extraterritorial nature
      make it unworthy of being taken seriously by our people.”

      Another victory was to come later that evening and night.
      The European Union, giving all sorts of reasons, had
      already refused a week earlier to allow the principles of
      international law enshrined in the United Nations Charter
      to be included in the Final Declaration of this 3rd summit,
      although they had been cited and agreed to at the two
      previous summits. At small, secret meetings Europe’s
      representatives had explained that they could not put their
      signature to these principles because they were unable to
      acknowledge that the principle of non-intervention was
      still valid. There had been an earlier clash between Cuba
      and the European Union over this issue.

      In fact, the most important discussions had been taking
      place around these essential principles for several days.
      The European Union consistently tried to offer to exchange
      our agreement to not mention these principles in the Final
      Declaration for other of our interests, including a
      reference to the Helms-Burton Act. They even went so far as
      to state this publicly. They had requested that this
      paragraph be the last one to be discussed. And that was
      agreed to. Yesterday, as the night was drawing to a close
      they were so demoralized after the debate over the
      Helms-Burton Act which lasted for hours that they lacked
      the strength to enter into a second debate with our
      country’s delegation which might have jeopardised the very
      existence of the whole document.

      It was under these circumstances that the European Union,
      unexpectedly and just when it was the Cuban delegation’s
      turn to address this subject, requested permission to make
      an announcement: it was withdrawing its opposition to any
      reference to the abovementioned principles, which had
      already been accepted in the previous two summits.

      It is the view of many delegations that this was the most
      important battle at this summit.

      Our small country, which has been blockaded and attacked
      for 45 years, a victim of all the crimes of which the
      empire is capable —the same that rules the destinies of the
      world and consists of the most powerful state in history—
      did not hesitate to resolutely oppose it and its allies in
      the European Union. The latter have played a truly
      disgraceful and shameful role year after year, seconding
      the lies, invectives and perfidious resolutions the Empire
      uses in Geneva to justify the blockade and to destroy that
      which can never be destroyed: our Revolution.

      It may be fair to indicate that not all the States that are
      members of this Union are the same. There are countries
      with a long history and influence, such as France and
      Germany, and other smaller states, such as Belgium and
      Luxembourg and several others who were the driving force
      behind a reasonable idea which was met with sympathy by the
      world: the idea of encouraging a union of European peoples
      after the terrible experiences they went through after the
      Fascist assault on humanity in 1939 that used methods and
      concepts which, by the way, differ very little from those
      proclaimed in the doctrine of being ready to launch
      surprise, pre-emptive attacks on 60 or more countries.
      There is nothing strange in the maniacal opposition to an
      international court empowered to judge war crimes or in the
      terrifying, sadistic images of torture which recently shook
      humanity.

      The United Kingdom was always reluctant to join this union
      and still is not part of the common currency; it tries to
      get all possible advantages and avoid any drawbacks. Today,
      it is the enthusiastic ally of the current U.S.
      administration and joins in its adventures and wars of
      conquest.

      Others, like the government of Italy —and until very
      recently that of Spain— servilely put the empire’s plans
      before the true interests of the rest of Europe. Today, the
      United States allies, who are opposed to the group
      favouring greater independence, are getting reinforcements
      from new members like Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia,
      Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia that are
      now the staunchest allies of the very empire which has
      hegemony over the world and intends to subdue Europe
      completely to its political and economic interests.\

      The European Union is in fact much divided and the United
      States has a large majority there. The Union is still
      not a union. If this is not understood, it would be very
      difficult to explain how a group of 25 nations, many of
      them with long-standing historical and cultural traditions,
      could act in Guadalajara like a flock of lambs under
      Washington’s thumb.

      We sincerely wish all their peoples a better fate.
      In fact, countries like Cuba and other revolutionary
      third world countries that are prepared to die defending
      our sovereignty, our dignity and our liberty are also
      fighting for Europe’s union and its independence.

      The future will have the last word.

      28 May 2004
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