It is for us a special honour to be on the soil and in the warm and fraternal embrace of the Heroic Sons and Daughters of Sandino. Through their epic struggles against the Dictatorship of the Somozas and the forces of Imperialism, the Nicaraguan people have been transformed into an embodiment of the highest revolutionary ideals of the region. We wish to express our thanks to the revolutionary government and people of Nicaragua for hosting this historic conference and for the hospitality extended to us and to all delegations.
Mr. Chairman, since its inception more than two decades ago, the Non-Aligned Movement has played a decisive and critical role in changing the character of international relations. The policy of non-alignment, as expounded by the founders of our movement, has proved to be a dynamic factor in promoting genuine independence of states and in creating conditions more conducive to peace, justice, equality and international cooperation.
Today we are convened there in Managua with a very specific mandate. We are gathered here because the threat of war looms menacingly in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. We are here because certain states of this region are singled out for attacks fundamentally because they espouse the lofty ideals that constitute the very essence of non-alignment. We are here because when the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states are threatened, the collective conscience of this movement is summoned to take resolute action. At this very moment, millions of people in this region and thens of millions more in other parts of the world are focusing their attention on our deliberations. History will judge us unkindly if we fail to take bold and decisive action in favour of peace, justice genuine independence and the right to self-determination.
Mr. Chairman, there exists a threat to peace and security in this region. A threat to peace exists because of the persistence of poverty, hunger and disease. A threat to peace exists because archaic socio-economic structures strangulate the masses of our people. There is a threat to peace because some hold the view that this region is a veritable collection of banana republics sitting in the front yard of the back year, and they believe that our people are economic commodities who exist simply to replenish their treasuries.
Mr. Chairman, the threat to peace and security in the region can be traced directly to the policies of the present administration in Washington. They have unabashedly reintroduced the lexicon of the Cold War. They have rehabilitated gunboat diplomacy. They believe, contrary to the many lessons of history, that peace is attainable only through brute force. Consequently, the number and size of U.S. military manoeuvres in the Caribbean Basin have increased to levels heretofore unknown in this region. According to Admiral H.O. Train, Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command, the regular presence in the Caribbean has increased to the level of 40 ships, supported by 27,000 troops of the Rapid Deployment Force and Air Support from Florida. During August to October of 1981, Operation Ocean Venture brought off the coast of Cuba the largest concentration of naval power since World War II: 250 ships supported by 1,000 aircraft and over 100,000 troops. Operation RED X 82, a major military manoeuvre in the Caribbean Basin area, involved 39 warships including two aircraft carriers and some 200 aircraft. That operation culminated in a mock opposed landing at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, Cuba. During April to May 1982, Operation Ocean Venture 82 involved all services of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. 60 warships, including 2 aircraft carriers, 300 planes and 45,000 servicemen took part. All these recent military manoeuvres were nothing but dress rehearsals for military adventure by the United States against the Revolution of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada and against the struggling peoples of the region.
Mr. Chairman, the peoples of this region have endured centuries of brutal Imperialist and Colonialist domination. Our lands are drenched with the blood of millions of nameless martyrs who have heroically resisted their task masters. Here, as in other parts of the world, resistance is not a new phenomenon as some will have us believe; nor is it a commodity that could be bought or sold, exported or imported. Resistance to oppression is conditioned by objective circumstances.
It is the objective circumstances that form the basis of revolutionary struggles of the peoples of the region. Therefore, it is not by accident that the long-suffering people of Palestine who have been deprived of their homeland are valiantly resisting the scourge of Zionism. Equally, it is understandable that in Namibia and also inside racist South Africa our brothers and sisters are waging a common struggle against Apartheid, which, like Zionism, is a clone of Imperialism.
The evidence of Imperialism's aggressive plans in this region is now so crystal clear that no one can deny it. According to a December '82 issue of Newsweek magazine, the United States Government has launched a 'silent' war against the Government of Nicaragua. The Newsweek story revealed that the Reagan administration has allocated more than $19 million to the CIA for the express purpose of derailing the Nicaraguan Revolution and ultimately overthrowing the Sandinista Government. Even more shocking, Mr. President, is the fact that the present U.S. Ambassador to Tegucigalpa, John Negroponte, has been charged with the responsibility of coordinating the operations of the criminal counter-revolutionary forces against Nicaragua. This same Negroponte had a similar assignment in Vietnam. Stephen Schlesinger, writing in the prestigious Nation magazine of January 1 to 8, 1983 writes: the United States has relied on intimidation and destabilization to disrupt, isolate and replace the Sandinista regime. The Administration has presumed that in dealing with Nicaragua, intimidation and destabilization as as legitimate as diplomacy, though such tactics are forbidden by the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance and the charters of the OAS and the United Nations. Not satisfied with bank-rolling a motley band of modern-day buccaneers who operate publicly on United States soil and others who from neighbouring territories make frequent sorties into Nicaragua, the Reagan Administration, according to Schlesinger, on Jun3 23, 1981 asked Congress "to authorise over $5 million in new grants to provide political and moral support for Nicaragua's Catholic church as well as for non-governmental opponents of the Sandinista regime."
The attitude of the United States runs counter to the most sacred principles of non-alignment. This movement, if it must remain faithful to its declared principles, cannot countenance such despicable actions against a member state or for that matter against any sovereign nation. Nicaragua's calls for dialogue and peace have been answered by active plans to isolate that country.
To put the situation in perspective, we must remember that the United States has a well-documented history of shameless acts of aggression and intervention in Central America. In 1901 the Marines were in Panama, in 1903 in Honduras, in 1909 the U.S. intervened to overthrow a Nicaraguan Government, in 1910 and 1911 the Marines were here in Nicaragua again. This sordid tale goes on. In 1979 the U.S. addressed the 17th Consultative Meeting of the Organization of American States on the question of military intervention in NICARAGUA TO PREVENT A Sandinista victory. Since then the U.S. has gone even as far as blocking food and other economic aid to Nicaragua. It has used its influence in many multilateral organizations to prevent Nicaragua from obtaining financial assistance. Mr. Chairman, we strongly oppose the condemn these acts of military and economic aggression by the United States Administration against the Nicaraguan Revolution.
Since its assumption to office, the Reagan Administration has been peddling a number of dangerous theories. One such theory is that the millions of exploited and oppressed people who are waging just and legitimate struggles for their inalienable right to self-determination must be considered terrorists and criminals. Another dangerous theory suggests that national liberation struggles can only be seen in the context of so-called East-West conflicts. Still another theory attempts to make us believe that those who are seeking to become the masters of their own destinies are the enemies of the so-called Free World. Such conclusions are not only simplistic and erroneous but can lead to risky and dangerous actions.
Grenada, for its part, remains steadfast in its unqualified support for the struggles of oppressed peoples. We vigorously denounce the policies that seek to denigrate the oppressed and deny them the possibilities of overcoming those who hold them in servitude. This is why we unhesitatingly denounce the slaughter of the Palestinian people bu Zionist Israel. To us it is clear that the Zionist policies of expansionism and the occupation of Arab territories are only possible because of the diplomatic, political and military support given to it by Imperialism. Today we reaffirm our undying solidarity with the Palestinian people. We hail the Palestinian Liberation Organization, their sole and legitimate representatives. We reiterate our unswerving support for our brothers and sisters in Namibia and in South Africa who, led by their courageous vanguards SWAPO and ANC respectively, are resolutely resisting the Apartheid monster. History, we believe, is on the side of the oppressed and exploited and the oppressed peoples of South Africa and Namibia will sooner than later, like their brothers and sisters in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, take their struggle to its glorious and logical conclusion.
In the same vein we support the just and legitimate struggles of the people of El Salvador. We condemn the regime's brutalities which have led to the murder of thousands of Salvadorean patriots. We resolutely denounce the machinations of the United States in this conflict and its use of the territory of Honduras as a base for the pursuit of aggressive policies against the Salvadorean people. We reiterate our support for the Franco-Mexican, Mexican-Venezuela and other similar initiatives including those proposed by the FDR-FMLN for a negotiated settlement to the problems of that country. Consistent with our anti-colonialist policy, we reiterate our support for the right of the Argentine Republic to Sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands. In this context, in accordance with the spirit of the most recent United Nations resolutions and also with the stated position of the Non-Aligned Movement, we call upon Great Britain to urgently return to the negotiating table. We also reaffirm our support for the rights of the people of Belize and Guyana to full sovereignty over their national territory. We give our unconditional support to the Puerto Rican people in their struggle to bring an end to the colonial status of their country and win political independence and the right to self-determination.
Mr. Chairman, our movement is daily being tested in its ability to quickly respond in an unambiguous and clear way not only to the problems of our Latin American and Caribbean region or to Asia or Africa but also to the question of world peace. Our movement cannot remain silent or turn a deaf ear to the question of world peace since this is a universal issue which raises the practical question: should mankind survive for further progress and development or should we all be dead in the matter of minutes?