Guantánamo Peace Seminar: A global call for justice and resistance against imperialism

Fernando González Llort, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples (ICAP), opens the international peace seminar. Photos: Yaimi Ravelo/Resumen Latinoamericano

Guantánamo, May 5 — An international peace seminar held in Guantánamo, Cuba, brought together delegates from 30 countries demanding a world free of U.S. imperialist intervention and military bases. 

During the VIII International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Military Bases, participants echoed the international condemnation of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people, demanded the return of Cuban territory occupied by the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo, and repudiated the wars organized by NATO under U.S. leadership. Fernando González Llort, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples (ICAP), emphasized that the seminar is being held amidst a complex global situation.

The seminar expressed solidarity with countries and peoples under occupation and colonial rule, such as Palestine, Western Sahara, and Puerto Rico.

Regarding the genocide committed against the Palestinian people by Israel, with the collaboration of the U.S. and the European Union, participants agreed that a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution requires the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

Speakers highlighted the imperative to end NATO’s expansionism and called for the dissolution of the aggressive military bloc. They also stressed the need to strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle and solidarity for a world of peace and social justice. Iraklis Tsavdaridis, executive secretary of the World Council for Peace (CMP), noted that the U.S. imperialist military presence and NATO are not only the source of the Russia-Ukraine war but also support Israel’s genocide against Palestinians.

Delegates pointed out that the United States has over 900 military bases in 90 countries, with 1.3 million men and women in these military installations, making it the main promoter of wars worldwide. The U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo, Cuba, established in 1902, is the oldest and first U.S. military base in Latin America. Its presence significantly affects the economy of Guantánamo province and causes environmental damage.

Murid Abukhater, a Palestinian medical student in Cuba.

Voices of resistance

Murid Abukhater, a Palestinian medical student in Cuba, expressed gratitude for the international solidarity with the Palestinian cause and Cuba’s unwavering support. He condemned the U.S. blockade against Cuba and demanded the closure of the Guantánamo Naval Base and the return of the territory to Cuban sovereignty.

During the last day of presentations, delegates discussed cyberwar and cyberterrorism as new weapons used by imperialism to undermine the sovereignty of nations. Speakers emphasized the need for Cuba to continue advancing in cybersecurity research and innovation, as the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo poses a real threat to the island. They also highlighted how cyber warfare is silently used to attack countries and manipulate international public opinion.

Guantánamo Bay divided by the U.S. military base in the background and the town of Caimanera in the foreground.

Key points from the final declaration included:

  1. Condemn U.S. and NATO imperialism: Denounce the aggressive and interventionist policies of the U.S. and NATO that threaten world peace through expanding their network of military bases and increasing military spending.
  2. Support Cuba: Support Cuba’s fight against the unjust U.S. blockade, remove Cuba from the illegal U.S. list of terrorism sponsors and express solidarity with Cuba’s pursuit of a just and sustainable socialist society.
  3. Call for base closures: Demand closure of all foreign military bases worldwide, particularly the illegally occupied Guantánamo territory, and oppose NATO expansion and increased military spending.
  4. Support sovereignty and self-determination: Support nations’ rights to self-determination and independence, particularly calling on Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina to abandon NATO partnerships.  Stand in solidarity with countries and peoples facing occupation and colonial domination, including Guyana and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean; Argentina’s Neuquén province and the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in South America; Palestine, Syria, and Cyprus in the Middle East; Western Sahara in Africa.
  5. Solidarity with Haitian people: Stand in solidarity with the Haitian people’s right to determine their own path towards a peaceful, sustainable, and prosperous future. Reject any foreign military intervention and call for solutions that respect Haiti’s sovereignty and independence.
  6. Advocate nuclear disarmament: Warn against nuclear conflict and campaign for a world free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, opposing the militarization of space and cyber warfare.
  7. Promote peace zones: Amplify the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and advocate against the presence of the U.S. Southern Command in the region. Condemn U.S. interference and militarization in the region (e.g., Peru, Guyana Essequibo, Venezuela) and support regional peace processes (e.g., Colombia).
  8. Defend Indigenous and African communities: Demand reparations for the damages of colonialism and slavery while expressing solidarity with Indigenous and African communities of Latin America.
  9. Oppose imperialist actions: Oppose imperialist actions globally, including in Nicaragua, Haiti (supporting its right to self-determination and development), and Ukraine (calling for an end to the conflict and denouncing U.S./NATO involvement).
  10. Establish World Day of Action: Observe February 23 as “World Day of Action against Foreign Military Bases”  for actions and initiatives to be carried out in all countries against these installations.
Town of Caimanera rallies with the delegates of the VIII International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases.

A symbol of hope and resistance

The seminar took place against a backdrop of escalating global tensions fueled by the increasing aggressiveness of imperialism and the interventions of the United States, the European Union, and NATO. These powerful entities continue to impose their agendas through propaganda campaigns and military conflicts, threatening peace and sovereignty worldwide.

The event concluded with a powerful demonstration of solidarity from the people of Caimanera, a town located near the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, a stark symbol of this imperialism. Their joyful resistance in the face of such a powerful symbol of oppression underscored the importance of the seminar’s mission and the ongoing fight for a world free from war and oppression.

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