U.S. war exercises threaten Caribbean
May 20 protests to demand: ‘Hands off Cuba and Venezuela’
Published May 10, 2006 11:51 PM
Even as a nuclear-powered U.S. war fleet and
6,500 Marines are conducting maneuvers in the Caribbean that threaten Cuba,
Venezuela and other anti-imperialist countries throughout the Americas, another
kind of mobilization is occurring across the globe.
On May 20,
demonstrations from Austria to Australia, from Brazil to Canada, will coincide
with a march in Washington, D.C., to demand “U.S. hands off Venezuela and
Cuba”—“Manos fuera de Venezuela y Cuba.”
situation is urgent. According to the Cuban newspaper Granma, the scope of the
U.S. military maneuvers dwarfs even the Pentagon’s naval deployment during
the October 1962 missile crisis. Similar maneuvers in the past were used to
gather information needed to launch aggression, like the “exercises”
that preceded the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983.
They can also be used
to send a direct threat, as the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, which is published in
the heavily militarized Hampton Roads area, noted in a March 28 article:
“Some defense analysts suggested that the unusual two-month-long
deployment, set to begin in early April, could be interpreted as a show of force
by anti-American governments in Venezuela and Cuba. ‘The presence of a
U.S. carrier task force in the Caribbean will definitely be interpreted as some
sort of signal by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela,’ said Loren
Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a pro-defense think tank in Washington.
‘If I was sitting in the Venezuela capital looking at this American task
force, the message I would be getting is America still is not so distracted by
Iraq that it is unable to enforce its interests in the Caribbean,’
Radio Havana says this ominous show of force will be
followed by yet another maneuver in the Caribbean involving 4,000 NATO troops
and lasting from May 23 to June 15.
Students, labor, [email protected]
Who is answering the call to be in the streets on May 20?
New York high school students have filled two buses and are getting a
third. The New York Health and Hospital Union, 1199 SEIU, printed leaflets that
were passed out at the massive May 1 boycott demanding full rights for all
immigrants and at the April 29 march to bring the troops home from Iraq.
Cuban Americans and Bolivarian Circle activists are traveling to D.C.
from Miami. Other marchers will be converging on the capital by van from Detroit
and Atlanta, by bus from Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Richmond, Va., and
other areas, and by car and metro in Washington, D.C. They intend to say no in
person to new anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela measures planned by the U.S.
May 20 is also African Liberation Day. Particularly
noteworthy is the collaboration with ALD organizers, who are sharing their stage
and sound at the Malcolm X Park gathering site with this mobilization. There
will also be strong participation of African-American organizations and leaders,
including People’s Hurricane Relief, All-African Peoples Revolutionary
Party and People of African Descent in Solidarity with Venezuela.
Danny Glover, anti-war leader Cindy Sheehan and author Noam Chom sky are all
recent endorsers who have been invited to speak.
The march will begin by
greeting the Cuban Interests Section and then proceed to the quasi-governmental
National Endowment for Democracy, which has heavily funded the right-wing
opposition in Venezuela, on its way to Lafayette Park across from the White
On the West Coast, a march in Los Angeles will gather at the
downtown Federal Building at noon on May 20.
Audio addresses from
national leaders of both Bolivarian Venezuela and Cuba will be aired in
Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Other invited speakers are attorneys Leonard
Weinglass and Jose Per tierra, Reverends Lucius Walker and Luis Barrios,
Colombian trade unionist Gerardo Cajamarca, and Elma Beatriz Rosado, widow of
slain Puerto Rican freedom fighter Filiberto Ojeda Rios.
represents Antonio Guerre ro, one of the five Cuban anti-terrorists held
unjustly in U.S. prisons. Jose Pertierra represents the government of Venezuela
in extradition proceedings against Luis Posada Carriles, an admitted terrorist
who is wanted in Venezuela for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana airlines
flight that killed 73 people, including a young fencing team.
struggle to Free the Cuban Five and extradite Posada will be featured at the
activity. Other themes include stopping U.S. intervention and hostile campaigns
against Venezuela, ending Washington’s economic and political war against
Cuba, allowing U.S. citizens and legal residents to travel freely to Cuba,
normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations, closing the Guantanamo torture camp and
returning Guantanamo to Cuba, and stopping all U.S. military intervention in
Latin America and the Caribbean.
Online donations can be made at
www.may20coalition.org, which also has more information. For West Coast
information, call (213) 383-9283 or (323) 936-7266. There are downloadable Los
Angeles leaflets at www.iacenterla.org.
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