NZ Report on the 4th Asia-Pacific

Regional Conference

for Solidarity with Cuba


by Julie Webb-Pullman, in Colombo

 

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If there was ever any doubt about the universality of the condemnation of the illegal economic blockade of Cuba, it was surely laid to rest in Sri Lanka this weekend.

 

Colombo was the scene of the 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference for Solidarity with Cuba, and despite being a country wracked with its own internal ethnic, religious and political differences, in a rare show of unity Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, the leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, and members of several other political parties  such as the Peoples' Liberation Front (JVP), Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, all put aside their differences to support and endorse the achievements of the Cuban Revolution as it approaches its 50th anniversary.

 

Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa made particular mention of Cuba's ongoing commitment to settle disputes between countries by means of negotiations based on mutual respect and recognition of state sovereignty, and expressed the enormous gratitude of his people for the assistance Cuba provided following the tsunami, sending much-needed medical personnel and equipment.

 

The leader of the oppopsition party, the United National Party, said their fraternal ties with Cuba go beyond the ideological sphere, and emphasised their admiration for "the Cuban people for their magnificent spirit in building their country on socialist principles," and transferring agricultural and medical technology to their country.

 

Over two days, delegates from 19 countries in the region discussed a wide variety of issues facing both Cuba, and the world. Delegates from both North and South Korea joined those from India, Laos, Nepal, Australia and New Zealand amongst others, to analyse the achievements of Cuba's revolution in the past 50 years, and the challenges it faces for the future. A Commission on the media and mass communication identified an interesting dichotomy in the demonising approach to international relations of the capitalist countries, compared to the humanising approach of Cuba, whose medical and educational diplomacy has benefitted so many in this region.

 

The Conference concluded with the Declaration of Colombo:

 

Asia-Pacific Regional Conference for Solidarity with Cuba

 

Final Declaration

 

This 4th Asia-Pacific  Regional Conference for Solidarity with Cuba held on 14-15 June in Colombo, Sri Lanka, expresses its solidarity with the efforts of the government and people of Cuba to develop its society and economy according to their own wishes without hindrance by any foreign forces.

 

The 286 delegates from 18 countries extend their full support for future development of Cuba in the interests of its own people.

 

This conference energetically condemns the continuing imprisonment of the Five Cubans held illegally under false charges and demands their immediate release.

 

We consider this an act of double standards because at the same time self-confessed terrorist Posada Carriles walks free on the streets of Miami. We demand that he should be extradited to Venezuela so justice can take its course.

 

This Asia-Pacific Regional Conference calls on the U.S. Government to free the Cuban Five immediately.

 

The Conference also calls for the immediate cessation of the economic, financial, and trade blockade by the United States of America on Cuba.

 

The people of the Asia-Pacific region salute the Cuban people and its government on the achievements during the 50 years of their socialist revolution and we continue to support Cuba against any foreign intervention and to safeguard its sovereignty.

 

Long live Cuba!

 

Long live the Cuban Revolution!

 

Long live solidarity with the Cuban people!

 

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