Granma International
January 25, 2001

Tricontinental Solidarity Conference

                   BY MARELYS VALENCIA (Granma International staff writer)

                   AFTER 35 years, the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia,
                   Africa and Latin America (OSPAAAL), has reaffirmed that its founding
                   principles continue to be vital for peace and self-determination, and for
                   these reasons it has announced the upcoming Tricontinental Conference
                   entitled "For a Just and United World."

                   During a special session in Havana of the Executive Secretariat of that
                   organization, important government and political representatives from
                   three continents all denounced imperialist interests that injure the
                   independence and interests of poor countries, and only succeed in
                   worsening situations such as the Arab-Israeli conflict.

                   They also demanded a greater focus on Vieques, where the U.S. Navy
                   continues its military exercises, and they proposed to reinforce solidarity
                   with sub-Saharan Africa, given the tense moments it is experiencing and
                   the drastic situation that faces its population.

                   Important political figures also condemned the U.S. blockade of Cuba,
                   and in the case of Central America agreed on the need for follow-up of
                   the Guatemala peace accords, 15% of which has so far been completed.
                   Attention was also given to the peaceful struggle for the unification of
                   the Korean peninsula, one of the most relevant issues in recent Asian

                   In a message recognizing OSPAAAL’s 35th anniversary, President Fidel
                   Castro said that the world is scourged by an unstoppable crisis in the
                   main centers of power. He described the present situation as cruel and
                   unjust, excluding human beings.

                   Fidel stressed that the genocidal blockades, aggressions and incessant
                   violations of countries’ internal affairs all continue, in a message in
                   which he branded humanitarian interventions a "mask for imperialism."

                   The text, read by José Ramón Balaguer, member of the Political Bureau,
                   in the conference room at the Habana Libre Hotel where the 1st
                   Tricontinental Conference was held in 1966, underlined that disunity and
                   everything it involves is a threat to independence.

                   One of the meeting’s proposals refers to the need to establish stronger
                   links between OSPAAAL and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries,
                   with the aim of gaining greater influence in international forums and
                   other meetings and organizations devoted to defending the interests of
                   the Third World nations.

                   Various personalities who have dedicated their lives to solidarity with
                   different causes in the three continents, and the struggle against
                   colonization and apartheid, were decorated at the event with the El
                   Mehdi Ben Barka Order, in honor of an outstanding Moroccan
                   revolutionary kidnapped and assassinated in 1965 by his country’s secret
                   police while he was president of the organizing committee for the 1st
                   Tricontinental Conference. The Solidarity Order was granted post
                   mortem to Patrice Lumumba, who was prime minister of the Congo.
                   Others who received the Order were Cuban citizens Melba Hernández,
                   Osmany Cienfuegos, René Anillo and Ramón Pez Ferro, who were
                   closely tied to OSPAAAL’s work during its first decades and made
                   valuable contributions to the anti-imperialist causes of Africa, Asia and
                   Latin America.


                   "The Arab people are all brothers. We have never been aggressors, but
                   we will not stop fighting for our just cause, nor will we cease to support
                   our brothers¼ It is Israel’s destiny to suffer defeat no matter how long it
                   takes," expressed Abdallah Al Amahr, assistant general secretary of the
                   Arab Socialist (Ba’ath) Party of Syria, in the Arab Union of Cuba.

                   In reference to the activities which took place in Cuba such as those held
                   for OSPAAAL’s 35th anniversary and the meeting of the
                   FEARAB-América executive committee, Al Amahr said that the island
                   was chosen because of the role that the Arab League plays here and also
                   because of Cuba’s support for those countries’ struggles to achieve
                   sovereignty and self-determination.

                   The delegation arrived in Havana on January 14, and one of its main
                   objectives was to analyze, under Cuba’s direction, a series of issues of
                   common interest, and to strengthen the ties of friendship between the
                   two countries.

                   The delegation presided by Al Amahr visited centers of economic, social,
                   cultural and historical interest and held conversations with José Ramón
                   Balaguer, member of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Political Bureau.

                                                                         • Navil García Alfonso