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Message-Id: <199801180614.BAA27748@hermes.circ.gwu.edu>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 98 12:33:59 CST
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Fidel: A Man and his dream
Article: 25697

/** reg.carib: 211.0 **/
** Topic: Fidel -a Man and his dream.LatinAm **
** Written 2:38 PM Jan 15, 1998 by peg:jclancy in cdp:reg.carib **

from: jclancy@peg.apc.org
subject: Fidel -a MAN and his Dream. LatinAm

Latin American Parliament criticizes US Graham Amendment

By Antonio Paneque Brizuelas, Granma International, [15 January 1998]

President Fidel Castro gave a reception in Havana for some 150 legislators from 15 countries, at a meeting of the Latin American Parliament, during which he alerted them on the new US threats against the Island. The meeting concluded its debates by expressing concern over the application of the Graham Amendment, in which this new threat is embodied.

The region's parliamentarians issued a statement from this meeting the first since the institutions's foundation to be held outside its Sao Paulo HQ, voicing their concern at the military threat against Cuba contained in the amendment recently approved by Congress, and currently awaiting ratification or veto by President Bill Clinton.

The Latin American Parliament (LAP) statement, approved after two working days within 7 commissions (political, labor and social security, health, energy and mining, youth, tourism and emergent economies) emphasized that the Graham Amendment approved as part of the authorization of the Defense Dept's budget, utilizes cold war language and attempts to justify a possible aggression against Cuba.


The resolution, endorsed by the political affairs standing Committee, condemned the new provision for defining Cuba as a danger to the security of the United States, while maintaining the Cuba issue within a framework of confrontation. Members of the body, representing Argentine, Aruba (Carib Island) Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Cuba as the host country,also spoke out against the arms buildup in LatinAm, and confirmed their general opposition to Washington's decisions in relation to liberating sales of ultra-modern arms to states in the region.

LAP representatives called for increased integration work on all levels within the region. This is the entity's central objective and raison d'etre, and was an issue that focused attention on the emerg- ent economies. The Cuban representation proposed including the Central American Common Market and the Association of Caribbean States in any common efforts in that direction. A further important proposal from this meeting, divided into 7 sessions, came from the health commission, which called on all parliamentarians in the world to unite against AIDS. The legislators asked the World health Org'n (WHO) to draw up a practical, scientific and up-to-date document highlighting the socioeconomic impact of AIDS and its L.A projection

The LAP health commission's agreement is proposing that any actions in that context must respect people's basic rights, placing emphasis on educational aspects and increased budgets for the treatment of those affected by this scourge. The Panamanian representative explained that his country had established a Ministry of Youth to deal with an outstanding regional and world issue.

Ricardo Alarcon, President of the National Assembly of People's Power highlighted the fact that the regional institution has already made a contribution to the consolidation of the "Latin American Nation." In that context, the parliamentary leader criticized the US media for not publishing "one single word" on the recent 7th Ibero- American Summit in Venezuela, thus reducing its significance from what, "some people see as irrelevant to us." " Umberto Pelaez, the LAP executive secretary, noted that the Org'n already has seats in the UN, the Org'n of American States, and the inter-parliamentary Union, and is leading the way in advances in the area's integration process.

In a statement to Prensa Latina, Pelaez affirmed that its labors directed at gaining a space in the internat'l sphere, one of the LAP priority tasks, have been acknowledged at the Ibero-American Summits and by the Rio Group, among other internat'l agencies, and that it has signed some 40 cooperation and other agreements promoting closer relations with parliamentarians from other parts of the world.

Referring to CUBA, Pelaez described the deputies' meeting with President Fidel Castro as "exceptional," affirming that "we have always been zealously vigilant in relation to any attack on countries' sovereignty" and, for that reason, "for some time now, we have spoken out against the US blockade of the island, and, in particular, against the Helms-Burton Act."