Thursday, July 21, 2005

U.S. Out of Guantanamo

A crowd in Saskatoon, Canada, yesterday heard Cuban peace activist Maria Elena Cabezas denounce human rights violations at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Cabezas was in Saskatoon as part of a cross-Canada tour.

"At this moment, this military base for the U.S. government is a centre of torture, a prison for hundreds of people from all over . . . illegally, without any clear reason," Cabezas, of the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples, said. "The reality is that the people who are there are in the most humiliating situations and the most cruel situations."

Cabezas pointed out, "It's not that we suppose that this is happening there. There are TV videos, photos and declarations from many people."

The Star Phoenix reports that Cabezas is asking the public to send declarations, letters to the United Nations and other organizations as part of an individual effort to stop the abuses. "With the pressure of public opinion, (finally) this situation (can be) solved (and) stopped," she said.

Cabezas announced that he Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the People, in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations from Cuba and other countries are planning to hold an international conference in November in Havana, Cuba. The conference will discuss foreign military bases as a violation of rights and liberties in places where they are located.

In that spirit, a statement signed yesterday by Nobel Peace Laureates Nadine Gordimer, Rigoberta Manchu and Adolfo Perez Esquivel, as well by renowned intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Salim Lamrani demands that the U.S. remove its base and get out of Guantanamo. The statement also denounced the activities of the U.S. at the prison camp there.

The statement recalled the history of the Guantanamo base.

In 1897, when Cuba was nearing victory in the Second War of Independence from Spain, Theodore Roosevelt urged the USA President McKinley to intervene.

In 1898, the USA declared war against Spain to prevent Cuba from gaining its independence.

In 1901, among other forced measures to codify control of Cuba, including that "the U.S. may intervene militarily at any time", was the equally outrageous edict that Cuba must sell or lease to a foreign state, the U.S., "lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specific points". Outrageous because these turned out to be or were always intended to be the invasion and annexation of a country's territory by a foreign state.

Guantanamo was a "specific point". And A U.S. naval base was built.

The signers of the communique declare, “What use this virtual theft of a sovereign territory has been put to eventually is the shame and disgrace of the United States and also of the contemporary world, which, intimidated by U.S. power, turns a blind eye to the prison that has been blatantly established in somebody else's country. The horrifyingly inhuman conditions of isolation, deprivation and torture in this medieval prison, condemned by Amnesty International and an increasing number of human rights organizations, continue to be perpetrated by the foreign power, the U.S.A., which has no right to be there.” Sources: Star Phoenix (Saskatoon), Prensa Latina AIN (Cuba), Political Affairs

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