"Hands off Cuba'' will be an important slogan when Bush visits India: Karat
CHENNAI: The third Asia Pacific Regional Cuba Solidarity Conference called upon organisations associated with Cuba solidarity to observe July 26 as 'Cuba Solidarity Day.'
A declaration read out by A. Vijayaraghavan, MP and convener, National Solidarity Committee with Cuba, condemned the "cruel and unlawful blockade" of Cuba by the United States and wanted political and social organisations of workers, farmers, agricultural labourers, youth, women, students, intellectuals and artists to come together in Cuba solidarity activities. "As the machinations and manoeuvres of U.S. imperialism is being intensified in the recent past, the solidarity activities, both political and material, also need to be further strengthened in different regions of each country as well as at national and continental levels."
The conference reiterated its "firm resolve to intensify multifaceted solidarity activities with Cuba in the region." It noted that "the joint movement of various organisations transcending political, philosophical and religious differences in the region in solidarity with Cuba is the most powerful socio-political activity of people in any region."
Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat and Communist Party of India national secretary D. Raja said the Left parties were organising an anti-imperialist movement across the country. This would culminate in a protest during the visit of U.S. President George Bush to India in the first week of March. "When he [Mr. Bush] visits India, the slogans 'hands off Cuba,' 'stop the hostile activities against Cuba,' will form an important part of the campaign," Mr. Karat said. All major political forces in Tamil Nadu had affirmed support for Cuba during the conference.
He was confident that in the near future, all democratic and patriotic forces in India - not merely the Left parties - would come forward and join the movement to support Cuba.
"I do not think that any other country has evoked such tremendous emotions, sentiment and support," Mr. Karat said. He recalled how, cutting across ideological divides, political parties in India came forward to send food grains to Cuba. He said his party fully supported the call for observing a solidarity day on July 26.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi recalled his support for the Cuban cause and said he wanted to identify himself as a Communist by championing the cause.
Mr. Raja said defending Cuba was not merely the task of the people of Cuba alone. It was the job of right-thinking people all over the world. Cuba was "the symbol of a fight for a new world, based on equality and justice." Cuba was not alone in this fight. History had absolved Cuba and recognised its contribution to the world.
Sergio Corrieri Hernandez, president, Institute of Friendship with People (ICAP), Cuba, who spoke in Spanish (translated by Sonia Gupta, Professor of Linguistics, University of Hyderabad), said the solidarity meet might have ended but the struggle against imperialism would go on. Cuba would continue to fight for the oppressed people all over the world because it believed that a better world was possible.
M.A. Baby, former MP, who built the Cuban solidarity committee in India, introduced the foreign delegates from 16 countries to the audience.
Broad-based campaign needed: N. Ram
N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu and chairman, Reception Committee, who presided, said "a deeper and broad-based campaign" was needed for Cuban solidarity, which had weathered a cruel U.S. embargo for the last 46 years. "New things need to be done. We cannot remain complacent."
G. Ramakrishnan and V. Rajmohan, conveners of the third APRCSC, said Cuba was not alone in the fight against imperialism. Earlier, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Umayalpuram Sivaraman gave a concert and demonstrated the significance of thala in Carnatic music.