Cuba to lead revitalized Non-Aligned Movement

Campaign News | Monday, 18 September 2006

Final declaration approved

The 14th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) came to a close Saturday night with the approval of an extensive final document that will serve as a guiding light for Cuba's leadership of the 118-member body during the coming three years.

The week long summit that made Havana the Third World capital, with the presence of 56 heads of state or government and 90 foreign ministers, reaffirmed the objectives and principles under which the Non-Aligned Movement was founded 45 years ago.

The declaration calls on its members to demand respect for the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law as crucial to preserve and promote social and economic progress, peace and security, human rights and the rule of law.

The NAM consensus encompasses global and regional issues and is oriented to action in order to revitalize the movement. The final document also explicitly supports the nations and governments of Bolivia and Venezuela and rejects foreign aggressions against those nations.

Besides opposing all forms of terrorism, the heads of state and government backed Venezuela's request that the United States extradite those responsible for the terrorist attack against a Cuban airliner in October of 1976 and which claimed 73 innocent lives.

The dignitaries also rejected the protection offered to individuals accused of having perpetrated terrorist acts in Venezuela, preventing the South American country from applying justice in such cases.

The final document further ratifies the movement's rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the US has imposed on Cuba for more than 45 years, as well as the most recent measures adopted to further harden the unilateral measure against the Cuban people.

The NAM clearly rejects Washington's thesis that preventive wars, secret prisons and flights help democracy..

During the summit closing ceremony, the Third World dignitaries also approved four additional documents: The Declaration of Objectives and Principles and the Role of the Non-Aligned in the Current International Situation, another on the Movement's Methodology, a declaration in support of Palestine and another on supporting Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful ends.

Several analysts and diplomats agreed that the Havana Summit marked the re-launching of the political forum now made up of 118 Third World countries, nearly two thirds of the UN membership and encompassing over half of the global population.

NAM backs Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela

Havana,(Prensa Latina) One of the five main documents of the Final Declaration of the 14th Non Aligned Movement Summit Saturday included declarations supporting Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela.

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque revealed that the heads of state and government of NAM, in a climate of unity and consensus, expressed their “firm support and solidarity for Bolivia”, where foreign forces are intent on destabilizing the government of Evo Morales.

The Final Declaration reiterates demands to end the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba and described the blockade as unilateral and contrary to the United Nations Charter, international law, and the good neighbor principle.

The national leaders attending the meeting also expressed their deep concern at the growing extraterritorial character of the blockade against Cuba and rejected measures adopted by the United States government to strengthen it.

Referring to the contents of the document, the chancellor added that it also demands “the return of Cuban sovereignty over the territory occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base and an end to aggressive radio and television broadcasts.

It further states that these measures are a violation of Cuban sovereignty and a serious violation of the human rights of its people.

Regarding Venezuela, Perez Roque told the press the document supports the constitutional government of President Hugo Chavez, who was democratically elected and ratified by the majority of the people.

They acknowledged the proven impartiality and reliability of the constitutional electoral power guaranteeing impartial, transparent and reliable elections to be held in December 2006.

NAM countries expressed concern over the aggressive policies of the US government against Venezuela and manifested the inalienable right of its people to determine their own form of government and choose its economic, political and social system free from foreign intervention, subversion, coercion and restrictions.

They expressed their concern over the increase of actions by the United States to destabilize Venezuela, including the recent establishment of an office to step up espionage and gather intelligence material against Caracas and Havana.

The Summit leaders expressed support for Venezuela?s extradition request to Washington to bring to justice those responsible for the terrorist attack on a Cuban de Aviacion passenger plane in October 1976 that killed 73 innocent civilians.

Kofi Annan pays tribute to Fidel Castro's leadership

From Fox News

HAVANA - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan paid tribute to Fidel Castro for his global leadership and called on developing nations Friday to accept new responsibilities at home and around the world.

Castro, 80, was too ill to preside over the Nonaligned Movement's summit, leaving it to acting president Raul Castro, his 75-year-old brother and defense minister, to accept Cuba's three-year chairmanship of the group representing two thirds of the world's countries.

But pictures of Annan visiting the ailing Cuban leader were displayed prominently in Cuban state media Friday, and the U.N. leader thanked him for "his enormous contributions and leadership role."

"The collective mission of this movement is more relevant than ever," Annan said, noting that the world was divided by U.S. and Soviet superpowers when Fidel Castro last hosted the movement in 1979.

Trade among developing nations has grown twice as fast as world trade, he said, creating new opportunities and responsibilities: Developing nations must build now give equal attention to "the three fundamental pillars of development, security and human rights."

"A larger voice brings with it greater responsibility, both internationally and at home," Annan said.

He urged the assembled leaders to fight extreme policy, unemployment and AIDS at home, while also working for peace in the Middle East and a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The daily violence we are witnessing in Iraq and Afghanistan provides a powerful reminder that, without judicious intervention on the political front, the slide to anarchy and civil war becomes inexorable," he said. "The war in Lebanon has been a wake-up call for many governments around the world.",2933,214024,00.html

Cuba takes over leadership of Non-Aligned Movement

From Forbes magazine

Cuba took over the leadership of the Nonaligned Movement from Malaysia on Friday, with Defense Minister Raul Castro standing in for his ailing brother Fidel.

"We all wanted these inaugural words to be pronounced by President Fidel Castro, but for reasons we all know he could not accompany us," Raul said after accepting Cuba's new position with a round of applause from leaders and diplomats representing two-thirds of the world's nations.

"Comrade Fidel has asked that I transmit to you his most cordial greetings," he said.

Many are wondering whether the 80-year-old Castro, a living symbol of revolution for many in the developing world, will be able to guide the group formed during the Cold War in its search for relevance in this era of globalization.

Raul Castro urged the assembly to put up a strong, united front to challenge the dominance of more powerful countries.

"The Nonaligned Movement now has to wage courageous battles against unilateralism, double standards, and the impunity granted to those in power, for a fairer and more equal international order in the face of neoliberalism," he said.

Fidel Castro temporarily ceded Cuba's leadership to his 75-year-old brother and a handful of other top government officials after emergency intestinal surgery in July. And while Cuban officials raise expectations of his return to power, Raul remains acting president.

Wearing a dark suit rather than his typical olive green fatigues, Raul Castro personally greeted scores of leaders and other dignitaries as they arrived at Havana's convention center.

Cuban Foreign Minster Felipe Perez Roque told the assembled leaders and diplomats from two-thirds of the world's nations that Fidel Castro will not preside over the summit, but he didn't rule out an appearance by the Cuban leader.

On Thursday, a pajama-clad Castro met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his close friend and political ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but there was no sign he would be well enough to participate in the two days of sessions with more than 50 heads of state and government.

Chavez said the Cuban leader was walking and singing and "almost well enough to play baseball." Still, even Chavez didn't say whether he thought Castro would make a formal appearance.

Later Thursday, Raul Castro presided over the Group of 15 developing nations on the sidelines of the summit, representing his nation at an international gathering for the first time as acting president.

But Chavez stole the show, saying Fidel Castro had given him permission to speak longer because Raul wouldn't talk much. Raul Castro seemed to take the jab in good spirits, giving Chavez a bear hug after the meeting.

Raul Castro briefly praised Iran and other developing nations for trying to create "a better, more just world." Chavez then pledged Venezuela's support for Iran if it is invaded because of its nuclear dispute with the U.N. Security Council.

The U.N. has demanded Iran suspend uranium enrichment amid concerns it could be used for nuclear weapons. Iran insists the enrichment is aimed solely at producing electricity.

"Iran is under threat; there are plans to invade Iran. Hopefully it won't happen, but we are with you," Chavez told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Under any scenario, we are with you just like we are with Cuba," Chavez added. "If the United States invades Cuba, blood will run ... We will not have our arms crossed while bombs are falling in Havana or they carry Raul off in a plane."

It was not clear what Chavez could actually do to help. In the past, he's vowed to cut off Venezuelan supplies of oil to the U.S. if it invades Cuba.

Ahmadinejad gave a relatively mild speech, urging his fellow leaders to work together to achieve their full potential. Then Chavez took over, saying he didn't want to leave Havana without a statement reflecting resounding support for the Iranian, Cuban and Palestinian people.

Nuclear proliferation and Middle East violence were also major topics; some diplomats said the developing world must unite to demand the creation of a Palestinian state. Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh said the 118-nation Nonaligned Movement would consider a resolution to "condemn Israel for the hideous war waged against Lebanon."

The G-15 organization was formed to foster cooperation between developing nations and international groups such as the World Trade Organization. The Nonaligned Movement was formed with a very different mission: to establish a neutral third path in a world divided by allegiances to the United States and the Soviet Union.

The movement has grown to 118 members and features an array of U.S. critics.

But with a contentious debate looming at next week's U.N. General Assembly session in New York over Iran's nuclear ambitions and Venezuela's campaign for a security council seat, Chavez has been the most outspoken, saying developing countries must confront the "Washington consensus" that free trade and privatization would improve living conditions around the world.

The United States declined an invitation to attend and said it would have no comment on any of the proceedings.

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