The ALBA and Copenhagen

(Taken from CubaDebate)

THE festivities at the 7th ALBA Summit, held in the historic Bolivian region of Cochabamba, demonstrated the rich culture of the Latin American peoples and the joy elicited in children, young people and adults of all ages through the singing, dancing, costumes and expressive faces of the individuals representing all ethnic groups, colors and shades: indigenous, black, white and mixed race people. Thousands of years of human history and treasured culture were on display there, which explains the decision of the leaders of several Caribbean, Central and South America peoples to convene that summit. The meeting was a great success. It was held in Bolivia. A few days ago, I wrote about the excellent prospects of that country, the heir to the Aymara-Quechua culture. A small group of peoples from that area are striving to show that a better world is possible. The ALBA – created by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Cuba, inspired by the ideas of Bolívar and Martí, as an unprecedented example of revolutionary solidarity – has demonstrated what can be done in just five years of peaceful cooperation. This began shortly after the political and democratic triumph of Hugo Chávez. Imperialism underestimated him; it blatantly attempted to oust him and eliminate him. The fact that for a good part of the 20th century Venezuela had been the world’s largest oil-producer, practically owned by the yanki multinationals, meant that the course they embarked on was particularly difficult. The powerful adversary had neoliberalism and the FTAA, two instruments of domination with which it crushed any form of resistance in the hemisphere after the triumph of the Revolution in Cuba. It is outrageous to think of the shameless and disrespectful way in which the US administration imposed the government of millionaire Pedro Carmona and tried to have the elected President Hugo Chavez removed, at a time when the USSR had disappeared and the People’s Republic of China was a few years away from becoming the economic and commercial power it is today, after two decades of growth over 10%. The Venezuelan people, like that of Cuba, resisted the brutal onslaught. The Sandinistas recovered, and the struggle for sovereignty, independence and socialism gained ground in Bolivia and Ecuador. Honduras, which had joined the ALBA, was the victim of a brutal coup d’état inspired by the yanki ambassador and boosted by the US military base in Palmerola. Today, there are four Latin American countries that have completely eradicated illiteracy: Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua. The fifth country, Ecuador, is rapidly advancing towards that goal. Comprehensive healthcare programs are underway in the five countries at an unprecedented pace for the peoples of the Third World. Economic development plans combined with social justice have become real programs in the five different states, which already enjoy great prestige throughout the world for their courageous position in the face of the economic, military and media power of the empire. Three English-speaking Caribbean countries have also joined the ALBA, in a determined fight for their development. This alone would be a great political merit if, in today’s world, that were the only major problem in the history of humankind. The economic and political system that in a short historical period has led to the existence of more than one billion hungry people, and many more hundreds of millions whose lives are barely longer than half the average of those in the wealthy and privileged countries, was until now the main problem for humanity. But, a new and extremely serious problem was extensively discussed at the ALBA Summit: climate change. At no other point in history, has a danger of such magnitude arisen. As Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega bade farewell to the people in the streets of Cochabamba yesterday, Sunday, that same day, according to a report by BBC World, Gordon Brown was chairing a session of the Major Economies Forum in London, mostly made up of the most-developed capitalist countries, the main culprits for carbon dioxide emissions, that is, the gas causing the greenhouse effect. The significance of Brown’s words is that they were not uttered by a representative of the ALBA or one of the 150 emerging or underdeveloped countries on the planet, but Britain, the country where industrial development began and one of those that has released the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The British prime minister warned that if an agreement is not reached at the UN Summit in Copenhagen, the consequences will be “disastrous”. Floods, droughts, and killer heat waves are just some of the “catastrophic” consequences, according to the World Wildlife Fund ecological group, referring to Brown’s statement. “Climate change will spiral out of control over the next five to ten years if CO2 emissions are not drastically cut. There will be no Plan B if Copenhagen fails.” The same news source claims that: “BBC expert James Landale has explained that not everything is turning out as expected.” Newsweek reported that every day it seems more unlikely that states will commit to something in Copenhagen. According to reports from a major American news outlet, the chairman of the session, Gordon Brown, said that “”If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice. He continued by listing conflicts such as “climate-induced migration” and “an extra 1.8 billion people living and dying without enough water.” In reality, as the Cuban delegation in Bangkok reported, the United States led the industrialized nations most opposed to the necessary reduction in emissions. At the Cochabamba meeting, a new ALBA Summit was convened. The timetable will be: December 6, elections in Bolivia; December 13, ALBA summit in Havana; December 16, participation in the UN Copenhagen Summit. The small group of ALBA nations will be there. The issue is no longer “Homeland or Death”; it is truly and without exaggeration a matter of “Life or Death” for the human race. The capitalist system is not only oppressing and pillaging our nations. The wealthiest industrialized countries wish to impose on the rest of the world the major responsibility in the fight against climate change. Who are they trying to fool? In Copenhagen, the ALBA and the countries of the Third World will be fighting for the survival of the species.

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 19, 2009

6:05 PM

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