Given the presence of mercenaries, Cuban delegation abandons Civil Society Forum

News from Cuba | Wednesday, 8 April 2015

On Wednesday 8 April, the representatives of the Cuban delegation temporarily abandoned the Civil Society forum of the 7th Summit of the Americas, given the unacceptable presence of a group of mercenaries, previously denounced by the delegation.

The Cuban contingent returned to the workshops this afternoon demanding that the accreditation issued to a group of individuals who do not represent true Cuban society and have proven links to terrorists, be revoked.

“Genuine Cuban civil society has left the room as we will not share the space with representatives of an alleged society, which is not our own, which receives financing from others,” explained Delegate to the National Assembly and member of the delegation, Luis Morlote.

For reasons of dignity we can not be asked to share the same roof with these mercenaries, added Morlote, also vice president of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (Uneac).

Photo: Juvenal Balán

Before the event began, shouts of “Out, worms out” and “get them out of here,” were heard from the almost 70 Cuban delegates.

Enrique Alemán, from the Inter-religious Dialogue Platform, sent a message to President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, alerting him to the presence of genuine terrorists in the Hotel Panamá, headquarters of the forum.

Joel Suárez, from the Martin Luther King Centre and member of the delegation, recalled that the Summit of the Americas and its parallel forums have a dark history, and that since 1994, when the regional event began, the people have always been shut out and repressed.

However, we hoped that this time would be different and meetings were held in Cuba in order to bring a constructive agenda to Panama, noted Suárez.

In a previous incident, almost 20 Cuban delegates had problems securing accreditation for the forum, and were still unable to enter the space minutes before the event was scheduled to start. A dozen Venezuelan delegates also experienced the same situation.

A spontaneous protest broke out at the entrance to the forum, to which dozens of people joined in, including other journalists.

The delegations waved Cuban and Venezuelan flags and chanted “We don’t want to be a U.S. colony; yes, yes we want to be a free and sovereign homeland,” “Pin, pon, out, down with the worms” and “Cuba yes, terrorists no.”

Eventually, the organizers of the forum allowed them to enter via the official list, not through the established accreditation system.

Ruben Castillo, Panamanian coordinator of the forum, stated that situation was the result of delays caused by technical problems and denied any type political selectivity.

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