Published on 9 April 2015 by www.venezuelanalysis.com

oas protest

Caracas has joined Havana in withdrawing its delegation to the Civil Society Forum at the 7th Summit of the Americas this week, after Cuban delegates broke the news that at least 20 counter-revolutionary Cuban “mercenaries” had also been invited to participate in the event.

Among the highly controversial figures set to participate in the forum are the radical anti-Cuban government dissidents, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Elizardo Sánchez and Rosa María Payá, as well as members of the Cuban exile community. All are known to have financial ties to U.S. funding agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and have a history of trying to subvert the Cuban government. Ex-CIA agent, Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía, better known for his role in the assassination of Argentinian revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, is also participating in the summit.

Although Mendigutía did not fire the bullet which murdered the Argentine revolutionary guerrilla, he is documented to have identified Guevara and chosen the weapon used to kill him. The former CIA agent arrived in Panama earlier this week, where Cubans have been staging a protest against his participation.

“The representatives of true civil society have left because we aren’t going to share a space with representatives from a supposed civil society, which is not our own and which is paid for… We can’t share the same space. There can’t be mercenaries posing as representatives of civil society. It’s impermissible,” explained Cuban legislator Luis Morlote.

“They pride themselves on their friendship with terrorists,” he added. 

The Venezuelan delegation withdrew almost immediately after, citing solidarity with Cuba and its rejection to the nature of the other participants. 

The forum, which was set to begin on Wednesday, was temporarily delayed by the protest but eventually got underway without the presence of the Cuban or Venezuelan delegations. Nonetheless, the Cuban delegation has confirmed that it will participate in the upcoming discussion groups over the next few days, despite the fact that more than twenty of its representatives had failed to receive their official passes for the summit. 

“We don’t understand why, if we are in a list of accepted delegates to the forum, they still haven’t given us the credentials that will allow us to participate,” stated representative of the Union of Cuban Journalists, Yoerky Sanchez. 

Cuban writer, Abel Prieto, is another figure who has so far been denied the official credentials to participate in the forum, despite having been accepted. 

He also echoed the sentiment of other delegates that many of the dissidents at the forum had ties to Cuban terrorists currently being protected in the U.S, such as ex-CIA agent, Luis Posada Carriles, who carried out a terrorist attack against a Cuban plane in 1976 killing 73 people. 

“How can we hope to have a serious, transparent, dignified and civilised conversation in the Americas, if those who protect those terrorists are registered to participate at the forums at the summit?” he asked. 

According to reports, the withdrawal of the two delegations comes after an affray between anti-government and pro-government supporters earlier on this week and the temporary detention of a number of Cuban dissidents by Panamanian immigration authorities on arriving at Tocumen airport over the weekend. 

According to Tweets by Rosa María Payá, Panamanian authorities had expected the subversives to cause a disturbance. 

It is the first time that Cuba is participating in the OAS summit, which has traditionally excluded the Caribbean country due to pressure from the White House. 

Venezuela has been a constant ally to Cuba and has consistently argued that the country should be included in international organisations such as the OAS and the United Nations, from which it has been excluded since the U.S. began its economic blockade of the island.

 

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