Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cuba and the Pan-African Struggle

Next month I will be attending the national Model United Nations conference in Washington D.C., representing The Republic of Cuba in the General Assembly's 3rd Committee on Human Rights. Having studied the way in which Cuba representatives, as well as Fidel and Raul Castro, speak towards the United Nations and towards other socialist countries, I have articulated a speech I will give on the subject of the crisis in Zimbabwe. Fidel Castro, a gadfly figure at the UN body, has historically taken several hours of time to give speeches at the United Nations, while most keep it down to one hour. For the purpose of being succinct, I have articled a short Pan-African history lesson and a message of solidarity for Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government in the following way:

As Africa herself must be the land base for the pan-African Movement, it is crucial for there to be at least one beacon of revolutionary progress and resistance against imperialism for the people of Africa, scattered and suffering around the world. Zimbabwe’s anti-imperialist stance makes her that beacon. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana and an influential Marxist, referred to such bases as liberated zones and urged pan-African revolutionaries to protect our liberated zones at all costs. This is because such zones are to serve as the launching pads of the struggle for a Unified Socialist Africa.

Zimbabwe has a very pivotal role in this neo-colonial phase of the pan-African Movement for several reasons. Not the least of which are the land reforms that have boldly swept the country. Nowhere on the continent have Africans taken as radical a measure toward land reform as in Zimbabwe, and not only have Zimbabwe’s land reforms been an inspiration for people in other African states, they have gained respect in Diasporan countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro have publicly praised Zimbabwe’s land reform process as a model we would like to see emulated in other countries. Another thing that makes Zimbabwe pivotal is its role regarding our sister states: such as aiding Mozambique against the foreign inspired counter insurgency of RENAMO; military assistance for SWAPO’s liberation struggle in Namibia; recently helping the Congo to secure its borders against CIA backed incursions; and lending troops to the AU mission to stabilize Sudan. In this sense, Zimbabwe is taking on the role of commitment and leadership in social change that Cuba historically has. Historically, Cuban doctors and fighters have fought alongside Africans in independence revolutions and struggles against imperialism, for example, the independence revolutions in Angola and Algeria. No other African state is upholding such a cooperative position at this time as Zimbabwe, which even strategically held off on its land reforms at the request of South Africa and other Southern African states, so not to strengthen the belligerence of white settler colonialists in those countries. And they did this at great cost to the integrity of their own struggle. These things are concrete expressions of pan-African cooperation.

Politically, Zimbabwe is in an intriguing situation that is grossly misrepresented by the Western World and even by too many so-called progressives, Africans alike. Claims of an atmosphere of repression and volatility that are propagated by British and U.S. media are pure lies. From what Cubans who are currently working in Zimbabwe have seen, life is relatively peaceful in Zimbabwe. The police do not even carry guns, as they a do in the United States. What kind of dictator or repressive government is it when the police do not even carry guns? In fact, there is hardly any uniformed police presence in the cities. They are mostly on the main roads where they had checkpoints trying to catch smugglers of currency and foreign exchange.

Furthermore, President Mugabe is a leader who also publicly keeps the inspiration of a Unified Socialist Africa alive. That is, not only have all the aforementioned things been done under the leadership of Mugabe, he also often mentions pan-Africanists like Nkrumah and his ideals in speeches addressing other Africans. He is not afraid to speak of socialism at a time when no other African leader dares utter the word. President Mugabe openly condemns imperialism with the boldness and clarity we have only come to expect from leaders such as Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez. That is why President Mugabe receives such resounding applause wherever he goes on the continent of Africa or when he speaks at UN or AU summits. No other African leader is doing what he is doing right now, and because he is, Zimbabwe stands as an inspiration to African people the world over. We need to see and hear such things. They serve as political education for pan-Africanism and examples of the courageous political work of socialism everywhere.

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