The following is a press release issued by the Caribbean Network for Solidarity with Cuba (CNSC) – Blogmaster
The US must not be allowed to exclude Cuba from the Summit of the Americas!
Speaking in Havana on April 25, Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, denounced the efforts of the US government to exclude Cuba from participating in the upcoming 9th Summit of the Americas which is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles from 8-10 June 2022.
This summit, which is organised under the auspices of the US dominated Organisation of American States (OAS) and held every 3 years or so, claims to present an opportunity for leaders of the Americas and Caribbean to discuss and address key issues facing the countries of the region at both national and regional levels. Historically, as part of its policy to strangle and isolate Cuba, the US has excluded that country from participating in this event. However, at the 7th summit in Panama in 2015, the US was forced to accept Cuba’s participation when the countries which are members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) threatened to boycott the event unless Cuba was invited. Therefore, Cuba participated in the 7th summit and also in the 8th summit in Peru in 2018, while Trump was president of the USA. Therefore, the current efforts by the Biden white house to exclude Cuba represent an even more extreme stand than that taken by Trump.
Foreign Minister Parilla pointed out that in preparation for the event in Los Angeles, action plans are secretly being drawn up on the key issues of health, migration and democracy and human rights which will be the focus of the summit. With regard to the issue of health in the region, he noted that, the US proposed ‘Plan of Action for Public Health and Resilience in the Americas up to 2030’ is a surreptitious, neo-liberal document which lacks the necessary cooperation and funding to enable it to address the structural causes of our region’s precarious public health systems and the tragic consequences of the extremely high number of deaths which result from this. He stated that despite US efforts to sabotage it, Cuba has played an exemplary international role and particularly so in our region, with regard to strengthening the provision of health services for the people. In this regard, he noted Cuba’s medical intervention during natural disasters and epidemics, the provision of tens of thousands of medical study grants for Latin American, Caribbean and American young people on low incomes, the existence of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana and Operation Milagro which restored sight to millions of people on low incomes. In our region, it well understood that whereas the US sends troops, Cuba sends doctors. It is therefore inconceivable that Cuba’s voice should be excluded from any discussion on public health in the region.
The second important topic to be addressed at the summit is that of migration. Foreign Minister Parilla pointed out that in secret and behind the backs of the participants in the summit, the US has prepared a document entitled, ‘Letter of Understanding on Migration Management and Protection of Migrants’ which seeks to impose on the Latin American and Caribbean states an obligation to repress emigration and to absorb those migrants that the US decides to process beyond its shores. This approach reflects America’s racist, xenophobic and exploitative view of migrants from our region while making no attempt whatever to address the real causes of migration. He further explained that, at the same time, the US is creating maximum difficulties for Cuban travellers and migrants by requiring them to travel to “Guyana to obtain migrant visas” at an exorbitant cost and great inconvenience. The US has also cut off the routes to and from third countries, and followed a policy of imposing obstacles on transit countries and of reducing visas for Cuban citizens. Given this reality, it is unacceptable for the US to attempt to exclude Cuba’s voice from the discussion of emigration from the region.
The final important topic to be addressed at the summit is that of ‘democracy and human rights’. In this regard, the foreign minister noted that Washington’s idea is to have all elections in the region certified by the OAS. Given the US domination of that organisation, this proposal, which represents a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the countries in the region, is intended to institutionalise the current practice in which the US arbitrarily gives itself the right to decide which elections are ‘free and fair’ and which are not. It therefore creates an institutional mechanism through which Washington will declare as ‘free and fair’ those elections which bring its agents and puppets to power, while condemning and delegitimising those in which the people vote for candidates not favoured by Washington. Cuba has an absolute right to have its voice heard on this issue.
The current efforts of the US government to exclude Cuba from the 9th Summit of the Americas are part and parcel of its tried and tested colonial policy of divide and rule. This destructive activity was on full display in 2020 when then Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, bypassed CARICOM and invited his chosen group of Caribbean governments to meet him in Jamaica before inviting them to meet Trump in Florida. This ‘divide and rule’ strategy is aimed at weakening everyone in the region and must be resisted. CARICOM must make a clear and principled stand on this issue. It must demand that the US end its segregationist approach to the upcoming summit and facilitate the equal and full participation of all governments in the region who wish to attend, including Cuba. If the US government refuses to accept this demand, CARICOM member states should boycott the summit. Cuba is an important member of the Caribbean family whose contribution to the region is outstanding. CARICOM must stand in unity with Cuba.
Lift the blockade and let Cuba live!
Caribbean Network for Solidarity with Cuba (CNSC)