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Durban: Final Text Declares Slavery A Crime Against Humanity, 9/8/01

In Durban, Cuba Calls For An End To Racist Exploitation
, 9/7/01

Fidel's returns to Cuba, 9/4/01

Durban: Cuba Warns Of Globalization Of Apartheid; Us Delegation Walks Out, 9/3/01

Cuba Calls For Slavery Reparations At Conference On Racism, 8/31/01

The Cuban statement on the Meeting On Racism in South Africa
, 8/30, Granma

Fidel Heads to Africa, 8/29/01

Cuba and the 
World Conference against Racism

For news of the conference, see its site: www.unhchr.ch/html/racism

This conference marks a new level for a strong line on the part of Fidel Castro and various others, including Cuban media organs, exemplified by this quote:

. "...the current economic order imposed by the rich countries is not only unjust, cruel, inhumane and counter to the inevitable course of history, but also the bearer of a racist concept of the world" - Fidel Castro, April 2001

Viewpoint: Globalized Solidarity Confronts Globalization Of Apartheid, Radio Havana, 9/3/01

Fidel Speech in Durban, 9/1/01

Fidel Castro Terms U.S. Emancipation Of Slaves "Purely Formal," 9/1/01

Observers are keen to see how this translate at home in Cuba, where the economic situation (special period, eurotourism, remittances from Miami "whites") has led to a resurgence of racism. This also coincides with a growing campaign on the part right wing Cuban exile organizations, such as the CANF, to paint the Cuban government as racist and shed the requisite crocodile tears.

Durban: Final Text Declares Slavery A Crime Against Humanity, 9/8/01

DURBAN: FINAL TEXT DECLARES SLAVERY A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY Durban¸ September 8 (RHC)--In Durban¸ South Africa¸ the plenary session of the World Conference Against Racism¸ which was extended into the weekend due to lengthy discussions surrounding controversial issues¸ has closed with a final declaration condemning slavery as a crime against humanity. The text includes the basis for a plan of action to ensure future reparations and compensation for acts of slavery. In an ongoing condemnation of Israel's treatment of Palestinians¸ Syria presented a petition on Saturday which called for wording in the document to include reference to the fact that colonization and occupation are paths that cause or lead to racism. Although the state of Israel was not mentioned¸ the reference clearly referred to what most countries at the conference have described as Tel Aviv's policy of apartheid against the Palestinian people. After a number of hours of debate¸ the petition was defeated in a preliminary vote. From the beginning of the final plenary session¸ it was evident that a number of countries had serious reservations about the wording of the final declaration¸ and the South African foreign minister¸ Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma¸ had to call on all participating countries not to torpedo the conference in its final stages. She said that she was concerned that the work of last week would be undone by lack of consensus at the last minute. Evidently relieved that agreement had finally been reached¸ Dlamini-Zuma closed the debate by asking if there were any objections to transmitting the conference findings to the UN General Assembly. With none forthcoming¸ she adopted the final declaration. The extension into the weekend essentially resulted from a need to further discuss the situation in the Middle East relating to Israel's treatment of Palestinians¸ as well as discussion of slavery and its heritage for the former colonial nations. Reparations for those nations of the Third World that suffered from slavery had been much criticised and resisted by the United States and Europe¸ in spite of the fact that their nations got rich on the backs of mostly African slaves¸ say those in favor of some type of recompense. Suggestions in the final declaration include forgiving Third World debt¸ improving access for Third World nations to the world market¸ the eradication of poverty through direct investment and the return and relocation in Africa of the descendents of slaves. Although individual compensation was debated¸ the declaration does not even attempt to touch on this very politically sensitive issue -- especially in relation to the United States.

In Durban, Cuba Calls For An End To Racist Exploitation, 9/7/01

IN DURBAN, CUBA CALLS FOR AN END TO RACIST EXPLOITATION Durban, September 7 (RHC)--The Havana-based Organization of Solidarity with the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America (OSPAAAL) has called for "the doors of the rich and powerful to open to the poor and victims of racist discrimination." Speaking before a plenary session of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, the Secretary General of OSPAAAL, Juan Carretero, stated that Blacks and other peoples of color have been subjected to cruel and inhumane exploitation for centuries -- and that the legacy of racism is reflected in poverty, illiteracy, disease and other social problems. The head of OSPAAAL noted that more than four and a half billion people in Asia, Africa and Latin America have pinned their hopes on the UN Conference Against Racism, confident that their demands for apologies and reparations will be taken seriously. Juan Carretero said that Third World peoples have come to the conference in peace, asking for recognition of the crimes committed for centuries against our peoples and to seek the financial and technological resources necessary to develop. He added that his group was not demanding that the industrialized countries give up their luxurious lifestyles, but that they at least share part of their comfort and economic resources with those who are suffering injustice and exploitation.

Fidel returns to Cuba, 9/4/01

RHCm 9/4/01  In related news, Cuban President Fidel Castro returned to Havana early Tuesday morning, following his widely acclaimed participation in the World Conference Against Racism in South Africa. On his way back to the Cuban capital, Fidel and his accompanying delegation made a technical stopover in Brazil, where he met with government and political leaders, including the leader of the Workers Party, Luiz Inacio da Silva, popularly known as "Lula."

Durban: Cuba Warns Of Globalization Of Apartheid; Us Delegation Walks Out, 9/3/01

DURBAN: CUBA WARNS OF GLOBALIZATION OF APARTHEID; US DELEGATION WALKS OUT Durban, September 3 (RHC)--Leaders from most of the African and Caribbean countries represented in the United Nations Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, have expressed their support for the sentiments of Cuban president Fidel Castro during the gathering. Juan Antonio Fernandez, who is director of Multilateral Affairs for the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commented to the press that Fidel Castro's speech on Saturday had a profound effect on many delegates who punctuated his words with constant rounds of applause. The speech began with the words: "Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are not naturally instinctive reactions of human beings but rather a social, cultural and political phenomenon born directly of wars, military conquests, slavery and the individual or collective exploitation of the weakest by the most powerful in the history of human societies." The president touched on the majority of the objectives of the conference agenda, from slavery compensation to the Israel/Palestine conflict, about which the Cuban leader said that past and present UN resolutions would have to be respected as well as the independence of the Palestine nation. He also offered concrete solutions for these problems -- something that observers said was unusual in international gatherings of this sort. The standing ovation at the end of his speech lasted almost a minute. Juan Antonio Fernandez said that the obstructionist actions of a group of industrialized nations, most notably the US, were the biggest obstacle to consensus in Durban. He added that by first refusing to send anyone and then sending a low-level delegation which Monday walked out of the conference in protest over discussion of Tel Aviv's treatment of Palestinians, the US was attempting to diminish the importance of the conference in the eyes of the world. "However," asked the Cuban diplomat, "if Cuba has managed to live without bowing to Washington, why can't the rest of the planet?" Fidel Castro also spoke at a special meeting in solidarity with Cuba organized by the African National Congress, which Havana supported throughout its struggle against apartheid. He said that there was no better place in the world than South Africa to be the venue for the World Conference Against Racism, because it was there that the epic battle against apartheid took place. In reference to the US effectively boycotting the conference, the Cuban leader asked what kind of morality Washington has that it would attempt to sabotage a world gathering on racism. He reminded those present of the US support of apartheid, its attempt to destroy the independence of Angola and support of South Africa's occupation of Namibia. He added that the looting of Africa by the richest nations of the world continues, and that the current situation could be likened to a globalization of apartheid. The Cuban president pledged his country's continued support for the people of South Africa and exhorted the African nation to maintain the unity of the people that destroyed apartheid. Afterwards, he briefly met with a group of Cuban medical students; some 440 medical personnel are providing health care services in South Africa. Prior to leaving the country, the Cuban president made a point of visiting his old friend former South African president Nelson Mandela, who was unable to attend the conference due to health reasons. In statements to the press Mandela said that it was a great moment to be with Fidel because, he said, what Fidel has done for us is difficult to describe in words. "During the struggle against apartheid," Mandela added, "Fidel did not hesitate in giving us help, and now that we are free, we have many Cuban medical doctors working here, helping us in rural areas, where there are practically no physicians."

Viewpoint: Globalized Solidarity Confronts Globalization Of Apartheid, 9/3/01

Viewpoint: GLOBALIZED SOLIDARITY CONFRONTS GLOBALIZATION OF APARTHEID The fact that the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia was held in South Africa prompted many international delegates and observers to recall that not long ago, the appalling apartheid regime existed in that African territory. The Durban forum, organized by the United Nations, also served to confirm that although in today's world the South African case no longer exists as the worst and cruelest system on the planet, there are prevailing tendencies towards what Fidel Castro calls a pernicious globalization of apartheid. Now in the 21st century, the Zionist regime of Israel -- which counts on Washington's unconditional support -- has created 64 militarized areas, or Bantustans, which are home to over 1.2 million Palestinians living under conditions worse than those existing in South Africa during the worst abuses of the apartheid era. Simple and straightforward genocide is what ultra-right Israeli representatives seek against the Palestinian people, the worst being that they and their compatriots were victims of long, historic persecution, discrimination and injustice. In Durban, Cuban president Fidel Castro raised his voice to condemn racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which constitute a social, cultural and political phenomenon which, he said, is not a natural instinct inherent in human beings. Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia stem from wars, military conquests and individual or collective exploitation of the weak by the strong over the course of history in human society. The victims of this age-old savagery are the 4.5 billion people living in the Third World today. We live in an infinitely richer world, and at the same time the poorest world ever -- a world that sees 500 Mexicans die every year at the US border -- a number that is far higher than those who died during the 29 years of the existence of the Berlin Wall. We live in an increasingly unequal and excluding world where commercial advertising costs billions of dollars every year, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy reaches only 30 years and the infant mortality rate has shot up to 200 for every 1000 live births. Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro, who joined in the struggle that wiped out apartheid in South Africa and guaranteed independence for Angola and freedom for Namibia, are again struggling together, this time against racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. "It is a great moment for me," said Mandela, who was visited by the Cuban president. "What the Cuban leader did for us is not easy to describe in words. First in the struggle against apartheid, and now when we are free, we have many Cuban doctors working here, in rural areas where there are practically no doctors." Those who for years criticized Cuba's presence in Africa, while they operated as direct allies of the apartheid regime, are the same ones who tried to boycott the Durban World Conference and who encourage and practice the globalization of racism in today's world. However, they have to face and will continue to be cofronted by those who practice and encourage the globalization of solidarity.

Fidel Castro Terms U.S. Emancipation Of Slaves "Purely Formal," 9/1/01

FIDEL CASTRO TERMS U.S. EMANCIPATION OF SLAVES "PURELY FORMAL" Havana, September 1 (RHC)--Cuban President Fidel Castro, who is attending the United Nations Conference on Racism, said today that it is impossible to analyse racism without linking it to conquest and exploitation. He said that the United States emancipation of slaves had been "purely formal" and that racism against African Americans and Native Americans persists to this day. In a speech punctuated with frequent applause, the Cuban leader added that it was time for countries like the US to pay compensation for slavery. The issue has been a delicate one which has been partly responsible for Washington's boycott of the gathering and the low level representation of European nations. He said that nobody has the right to boycott or attempt to sabotage the conference when it is attempting to alleviate the suffering of the victims of racism and the terrible injustice that racism signifies for humanity. Touching on the other controversial issue of the conference -- that of Israel's treatment of Palestinians -- the Cuban leader said that no nation has the right to tell the rest of the world how to qualify the terrible genocide that is being perpetrated on the people of Palestine. The United States and Israel have boycotted the conference due to what is perceived as "anti-Israel" language employed in the agenda which sought to discuss what other nations describe as the apartheid type of regime employed against Palestinians in both Israel and the Occupied Territories. When Cuba speaks of compensation, said Fidel Castro, it supports the idea as an indelible moral obligation. He drew a parallel with the reparations being given in Europe to Jews who has suffered genocide during the Second World War, saying that the racist holocaust that had occurred there was brutal and terrible. The Cuban President indicated that slavery was alive and well in the United States, saying that the unequal numbers of African Americans incarcerated in US prisons is indicative of the level of racism that continues to plague the biggest power on earth. Aside from being responsible for, and maintaining such racism, said Fidel Castro, the developed world and their consumer societies are also responsible for the degradation and destruction of the environment. He added that these countries have the money to save humanity and proposed what he said was a modest 0.7% of the gross national product of the rich nations to go toward developing the poor nations if we are to save the planet.

Fidel Speech in Durban, 9/1/01

KEY ADDRESS BY DR. FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA,
AT THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION,
XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA. SEPTEMBER 1, 2001

Excellencies:

Delegates and guests:

Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are not naturally instinctive reactions of the human beings but rather a social, cultural and political phenomenon born directly of wars, military conquests, slavery and the individual or collective exploitation of the weakest by the most powerful all along the history of human societies.

No one has the right to boycott this Conference which tries to bring some sort of relief to the overwhelming majority of mankind afflicted by unbearable suffering and enormous injustice. Neither has anyone the right to set preconditions to this conference or urge it to avoid the discussion of historical responsibility, fair compensation or the way we decide to rate the dreadful genocide perpetrated, at this very moment, against our Palestinian brothers by extreme right leaders who, in alliance with the hegemonic superpower, pretend to be acting on behalf of another people which throughout almost two thousand years was the victim of the most fierce persecution, discrimination and injustice that history has known.

Cuba speaks of reparations, and supports this idea as an unavoidable moral duty to the victims of racism, based on a major precedent, that is, the indemnification being paid to the descendants of the Hebrew people which in the very heart of Europe suffered the brutal and loathsome racist holocaust. However, it is not with the intent to undertake an impossible search for the direct descendants or the specific countries of the victims of actions occurred throughout centuries. The irrefutable truth is that tens of millions of Africans were captured, sold like a commodity and sent beyond the Atlantic to work in slavery while 70 million indigenous people in that hemisphere perished as a result of the European conquest and colonization.

The inhuman exploitation imposed on the peoples of three continents, including Asia, marked forever the destiny and lives of over 4.5 billion people living in the Third World today whose poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and health rates as well as their infant mortality, life expectancy and other calamities --too many, in fact, to enumerate here-- are certainly awesome and harrowing. They are the current victims of that atrocity which lasted centuries and the ones who clearly deserve compensation for the horrendous crimes perpetrated against their ancestors and peoples.

Actually, such a brutal exploitation did not end when many countries became independent, not even after the formal abolition of slavery. Right after independence, the main ideologists of the American Union that emerged when the 13 colonies got rid of the British domination at the end of the 18th century, advanced ideas and strategies unquestionably expansionist in nature.

It was based on such ideas that the ancient white settlers of European descent, in their march to the West, forcibly occupied the lands in which Native-Americans had lived for thousands of years thus exterminating millions of them in the process. But, they did not stop at the boundaries of the former Spanish possessions; consequently Mexico, a Latin American country that had attained its independence in 1821, was stripped off millions of square kilometers of territory and invaluable natural resources.

Meanwhile, in the increasingly powerful and expansionist nation born in North America, the obnoxious and inhumane slavery system stayed in place for almost a century after the famous Declaration of Independence of 1776 was issued, the same that proclaimed that all men were born free and equal.

After the purely formal slave emancipation, African-Americans were subjected during one hundred more years to the harshest racial discrimination, and many of its features and consequences still persist after almost four more decades of heroic struggles and the achievements of the 1960's, for which Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and other outstanding fighters gave their lives. Based on a purely racist rationale, the longest and most severe legal sentences are passed against African-Americans who in the wealthy American society are bound to live in dare poverty and with the lowest living standards.

Likewise, what is left of the Native-American peoples, which were the first to inhabit a large portion of the current territory of the United States of America, remain under even worse conditions of discrimination and neglect.

Needless to mention the data on the social and economic situation of Africa where entire countries and even whole regions of Sub-Saharan Africa are in risk of extinction the result of an extremely complex combination of economic backwardness, excruciating poverty and grave diseases, both old and new, that have become a true scourge. And the situation is no less dramatic in numerous Asian countries. On top of all this, there are the huge and unpayable debts, the disparate terms of trade, the ruinous prices of basic commodities, the demographic explosion, the neoliberal globalization and the climate changes that produce long draughts alternating with increasingly intensive rains and floods. It can be mathematically proven that such a predicament is unsustainable.

The developed countries and their consumer societies, presently responsible for the accelerated and almost unstoppable destruction of the environment, have been the main beneficiaries of the conquest and colonization, of slavery, of the ruthless exploitation and the extermination of hundreds of millions of people born in the countries that today constitute the Third World. They have also reaped the benefits of the economic order imposed on humanity after two atrocious and devastating wars for a new division of the world and its markets, of the privileges granted to the United States and its allies in Bretton-Woods, and of the IMF and the international financial institutions exclusively created by them and for them.

That rich and squandering world is in possession of the technical and financial resources necessary to pay what is due to mankind. The hegemonic superpower should also pay back its special debt to African-Americans, to Native-Americans living in reservations, and to the tens of millions of Latin American and Caribbean immigrants as well as others from poor nations, be they mulatto, yellow or black, but victims all of vicious discrimination and scorn.

It is high time to put an end to the dramatic situation of the indigenous communities in our hemisphere. Their own awakening and struggles, and the universal admission of the monstrosity of the crime committed against them make it imperative.

There are enough funds to save the world from the tragedy.

May the arms race and the weapon commerce that only bring devastation and death truly end.

Let it be used for development a good part of the one trillion US dollars annually spent on the commercial advertising that creates false illusions and inaccessible consumer habits while releasing the venom that destroys the national cultures and identities.

May the modest 0.7 percentage point of the Gross National Product promised as official development assistance be finally delivered.

May the tax suggested by Nobel Prize Laureate James Tobin be imposed in a reasonable and effective way on the current speculative operations accounting for trillions of US dollars every 24 hours, then the United Nations, which cannot go on depending on meager, inadequate, and belated donations and charities, will have one trillion US dollars annually to save and develop the world. Mark my words! One trillion US dollars every year! There are no few people in the world who can add, subtract, divide and multiply. This is not an overstatement! Given the seriousness and urgency of the existing problems, which have become a real hazard for the very survival of our specie on the planet, that is what would actually be needed before it is too late.

Put and end to the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people that is taking place while the world stares in amazement. May the basic right to life of that people, children and youth, be protected. May their right to peace and independence be respected; then, there will be nothing to fear from UN documents.

I am aware that the need for some relief from the awful situation their countries are facing has led many friends from Africa and other regions to suggest the need for such prudence as would allow something to come out of this conference. I sympathize with them but I cannot renounce my convictions, as I feel that the more candid we are in telling the truth the more possibilities there will be to be heeded and respected. There have been enough centuries of deception.

I have only three other short questions based on realities that cannot be ignored.

The capitalist, developed and wealthy countries today participate of the imperialist system born of capitalism itself and the economic order imposed to the world based on the philosophy of selfishness and the brutal competition between men, nations and groups of nations which in completely indifferent to any feelings of solidarity and honest international cooperation. They live under the misleading, irresponsible and hallucinating atmosphere of consumer societies. Thus, regardless the sincerity of their blind faith in such a system and the convictions of their most serious statesmen, I wonder: Will they be able to understand the grave problems of today's world which in its incoherent and uneven development is ruled by blind laws, by the huge power and the interests of the ever growing and increasingly uncontrollable and independent transnational corporations?

Will they come to understand the impending universal chaos and rebellion? And, even if they wanted to, could they put an end to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related issues, which are precisely the rest of them all?

From my viewpoint we are on the verge of a huge economic, social and political global crisis. Let's try to build an awareness about these realities and the alternatives will come up. History has shown that it is only from deep crisis that great solutions have emerged. The peoples' right to life and justice will definitely impose itself under a thousand different shapes.

I believe in the mobilization and the struggle of the peoples! I believe in the idea of justice! I believe in truth! I believe in man!

Thank you.

Cuba Calls For Slavery Reparations At Conference On Racism, 8/31/01

CUBA CALLS FOR SLAVERY REPARATIONS AT CONFERENCE ON RACISM Durban, August 31 (RHC)--The Cuban foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, said in Durban, South Africa today that Cuba supported the right of Third World nations to seek compensation for colonial enslavement of their populations. Attending the United Nations Conference on Racism, which was inaugurated today by UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan, Perez Roque added that his words would antagonize Western nations who preferred to avoid the issue. The United States has boycotted the conference to protest the issue of slavery reparations being included in the agenda, as well as accusations against Israel of employing apartheid-like laws and programs against Palestinians, while European nations have downplayed the importance of the Durban gathering and not sent any heads of state. Cuban president Fidel Castro, who is leading a large delegation from the island to the conference, said that it was vital to hold such meetings to raise the level of consciousness on such issues. He added that the 1992 Rio conference on the environment was an important tool in bringing a focus to bear on the problems the world faced relating to pollution and natural resources. South African president Thabo Mbeki spoke to the more than 6,000 delegates from some 150 countries, saying that the conference was essential to gather together resistance to the racism of rich whites over poor blacks. In his address to the conference, Kofi Annan urged the delegates to put away their differences with each other and to focus on dealing with what he called the "worst elements in each of our societies." While acknowledging the crimes committed against Jews in the past and saying he understood why Israel would be so sensitive to criticism, he added that by the same token one cannot expect the Palestinians to accept forced evictions, occupation, blockade and now extrajudicial executions. His words were met with a storm of applause. In an indication of what international NGOs called a lack of respect for the past and present, only one European foreign minister is attending the conference: Germany's Joschka Fischer.

The Cuban statement on the Meeting On Racism in South Africa, 8/30, Granma

Date sent: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 10:58:04 -0700

DURBAN SUMMIT AGAINST RACISM

Bush evades being put in the dock

. "...the current economic order imposed by the rich countries is not only unjust, cruel, inhumane and counter to the inevitable course of history, but also the bearer of a racist concept of the world" - Fidel Castro, April 2001

BY JULIO CESAR MEJIAS CARDENAS (Special for Granma International)

DURBAN has already welcomed to South Africa more than 14,000 delegates from 194 countries who are deliberating on how to eradicate the human suffering constantly eating away at life on the planet.

The city/port on the coast of the Indian Ocean, is host to the 1st World Conference against Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance, sponsored by the United Nations, but vetoed by that organization's main debtor: the United States.

While thousands of voices will be calling for justice throughout the world, due to the heavy burden of human distress at such levels of cruelty and poverty, President George W. Bush is refusing to accept the demands of the sufferers, much less sit down to talk in order to make the life of the world's peoples a genuinely humane one.

That multinational capital, shaped over the centuries by the exploitation of peoples and the suffering of slaves, is now opposed to being judged. The rich nations of the globalizing North cannot believe that there is something new under the sun: the angry protest of the oppressed.

Those nations that are imposing misery and death on entire continents, devastating the environment and plundering the peoples, cannot face the charge which is hanging over them.

Bush, for example, has stated that he will not attend because those present are going to upset Israel by accusing its government of being racist. With this attitude, the U.S. president is once more demonstrating his complacency at the genocide being committed on a daily basis by the Israeli regime against the Palestinian people.

Neither is the meeting to be graced by Colin Powell, secretary of state and the first African American to ascend to such heights within Washington power circles. It is thought that if Washington participates, it will does so in a low-level capacity and on the condition that Zionism is not made synonymous with racism, a thesis accepted by many Arab states.

In any case the United States has to face demands for reparations for the holocaust provoked from 1619 to 1865 in its own country by the system of slavery that tore Africans from their own land, a denigrating phenomenon that passed into posterity as the slave trade.

Japanese Koichiro Matsura, director general of UNESCO, is insisting that that phenomenon should be researched with maximum rigor, so as to forge a universal awareness of the tragedy attributable to slavery.

Why should Bush and Powell attend a world conference that is to precisely condemn the politics of the government they represent, whose police daily oppress the African-American population or other ethnic and racial minorities; or what could be termed the homicide of a young black father with no criminal convictions by a white police agent a few weeks ago in Philadelphia. An incident which led to huge street protests, but no punishment for the perpetrator.

Although African Americans only constitute 12% of the total U.S. population, they represented 62% of U.S. citizens sent to prison in 1996-the only year for which figures are available-on drug trafficking charges. In case anyone should be in doubt of the racist nature of U.S. politics, external and internal, here is one more example: the attempt to present Mumia Abu Jamal and other political prisoners as common criminals and frame them for crimes they did not commit in order to convict and send them to Death Row. In real terms, it does not suit Bush or Powell to be in Durban, as they would be the first to be dispatched to the huge dock.

Apartheid, that ignominious regime of white supremacy, has ended in South Africa, but at least 250 million people on the planet are still living under the yoke of segregation and servitude.

Are those demanding of the former slave powers an explicit plea for pardon for the brutal slave trade of former centuries in the right?

Does anyone doubt the cruelty and savagery of Israel's Zionist politics as a manifestation of racism and discrimination at the beginning of the third millennium?

Is not the AIDS crisis in Africa the bitter harvest of a global discrimination which subjects it to ostracism as a consequence of five centuries of racism, slavery and impoverishing colonialism?

Is not the anti-drug policy within the United States a racist one given that the government uses it as a shield in order to persecute representatives of ethnic and racial minorities?

Whether the powerful nations of the North like it or not, in Durban the responses to these and other questions are going to be confirmed and, moreover, the movement of the oppressed in their struggle for equal rights will gain in unity and awareness. This could just be the beginning of the pending revolution-hopefully peaceful-of the sufferers in search of justice and peace.

Fidel Castro Heads to Africa, 8/29/01

By ANITA SNOW
The Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) - Fidel Castro left Cuba on Wednesday for the ancestral motherland of a majority of people in this heavily black Caribbean nation, winging to Africa for a global racism conference.

A heavily symbolic trip, Castro is traveling from a country where most of its 11 million citizens have some African ancestry to the continent where thousands of Cuban troops died helping free black nations from white colonialism.

Although there was no official confirmation of Castro's trip in Havana, the United Nations has confirmed that the Cuban leader will speak Sept. 1, the second day of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

He had a stopover in Brazil on Wednesday evening, where he was greeted in the city of Rio de Janiero by a delegation led by Anthony Gartinho, the governor of the surrounding state of Rio de Janeiro.

Castro last visited South Africa in 1994, when he attended Nelson Mandela's presidential inauguration. His last visit to the African continent was to Algeria earlier this year.

This week's visit will be the first major road trip for Castro, 75, since a June 23 fainting spell that sparked concerns about his well-being. Castro and his aides insist his health is good.

Since the fainting spell, Castro's only international trip has been to celebrate his birthday with President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Communist Cuba began forming links with Africa in the first years after the Jan. 1, 1959 revolutionary triumph that brought Castro to power.

As early as 1964, revolutionary Ernesto ``Che'' Guevara portrayed Cuba as an advocate for black Africa in its struggle against racism and colonialism.

``The brutal policy of apartheid is being carried out before the eyes of the whole world,'' Guevara declared at the U.N. General Assembly that year. ``Can the United Nations do nothing to prevent this?''

Cuba's early embrace of small African nations resounded with the Caribbean island's blacks and people of mixed black and white heritage.

``I think the hand of Cuba has touched every African nation,'' said Nerza Ruiz, a 74-year-old retired educator.

Estimates of the Cuba's racial breakdown vary somewhat, but most put the number of people with at least some African roots at about two-thirds the population.

Castro first traveled to Africa in 1972. He stayed for a week in Guinea - later a staging area for Soviet-Cuban military and political influence on the continent.

But even as early as 1963, Cuban troops were reportedly sent to Algeria to help in a border dispute with Morocco.

Also during the 1960s, Cuban units were dispatched to Congo, where they backed a military government for more than two decades.

Those early forays into Africa were minor compared with Cuban interventions in Angola and Ethiopia, beginning in the last half of the 1970s.

Cuba sent several tens of thousands of troops to back Ethiopian forces after a Somali invasion in 1977-78.

In Angola, tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers helped that government and the Namibian Liberation Movement defeat U.S.-supported rebels and South African government troops in the mid-1970s.

The presidents of South Africa, Nambia, Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso have all made separate official visits to Cuba in the past two years.

While reaching out to black Africa, Castro also has courted American blacks ever since he rose to power.

Castro first visited Harlem in 1960, where he also met with Malcom X. His last visit there was for the U.N. Millennium Summit last year.

AP-NY-08-29-01 2040EDT

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.

 

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