Webb-Pullman to CPDS: Cuba, Gaza besieged
The Gaza Center for Political and Development Studies held a lecture on Tuesday entitled “Resistance in Latin America”, delivered by Julie Webb-Pullman, an activist from New Zealand and an election observer in Latin America, who spent much time traveling there. The lecture, attended by Gazan and pro-Palestinian activists, is the first at CPDS to discuss a topic of this kind.
“There had been more than 57 U.S. military interventions in Latin America since 1890. This includes Cuba, Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico”, said Webb-Pullman.
To respond to this, Dr. Gilo Muiragui, a social economist form Ecuador, added Pullman, identified four necessities: the necessity to eat, from which arises the economy, the necessity to be understood in order to live and act in society, from which arises culture, the necessity to make and implement decisions in the name of the community, from which arises the ‘politics’, and the necessity to defend physically from aggressions and impositions, from which arises military.
There are similarities between Latin America and Palestine in terms of suffering from occupation and intervention. The conditions in Cuba over the last 40 years is not so different than the conditions in Palestine.
“In Cuba, they successfully resisted an armed invasion by about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. The economic blockade imposed in 1962, still in effect. Cuba lost 80% of imports and exports almost overnight, with fall of Soviet bloc. There was a severe shortage of gasoline, diesel and food and
electricity for 16 hours per day. They waited for hours for public transport, in spite of the tough conditions. During the 1990s ‘Special Period’, only 30,000 left the country”, she noted.
Literacy in Palestine is the lowest in the world, say experts. Despite the miserable life refugees lead, they are still interested in education and make it priority over other things.
“In Cuba, they have high levels of literacy and education, commitment to the socialist ideology, a culture of mutual aid since the revolution, top-down governance, faith in Fidel Castro’s leadership, and easing of material conditions through tourism income, co-operation with Venezuela – oil for doctors/teachers”, she stressed.
Latin America, for its strategic geographical location, experienced American intervention like the military coup in Honduras.
“19 journalists murdered since June 2009 coup that ousted democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, at least 17 of whom were critical of the coup regime.
None of these murders have been investigated or the perpetrators brought to justice.
There have been at least 65 other extrajudicial killings, including 30 farmers, and other protestors”.
“In Oaxaca, violations including legal, psychosocial and health, and communications sectors took place. In addition to harassment and threats to defenders of human rights, women and indigenous individuals and communities”, she continued.
“In CHIAPAS, the Zapatistas took control. In 2001, in spite of the “March for Indigenous Unity”, Congress introduced anti-Indigenous law. Zapatistas encouraged formation of autonomous rebel Zapatista municipalities”, she added. “Many lack electricity and potable water”.
For learning from other nations struggles is beneficial, there are lessons to learn, she continued. “What is needed is new forms of government and resurrection of successful forms from the past”, she said.
The lecture is one in series CPDS held lately to make use of other national movements’ struggles around the world to contribute to the Palestinian just, yet not well-know, cause.