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Media Centre | COSATU Press Statements
NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT AND FIDEL CASTRO'S VISIT
1st September 1998
The Non-Aligned Movement Summit currently being hosted in South Africa marks a historic occasion after South Africa's first national democratic elections in 1994, and signifies the leading role of South Africa amongst the poor and marginalised nations of the developing world.
COSATU welcomes the initiative taken by these developing countries to co-ordinate their economic and political initiatives through the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. We support the platform this Non-Aligned Movement Summit provides for enabling the countries of the developing world to speak together with one voice in putting across their positions and demands. We support the role of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in putting firmly on the agenda of international institutions such as the World Trade Organisation, the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the agenda of developing countries. This globalised economy has resulted in huge inequalities between the rich and the poor and between developed and developing countries. To eradicate these inequalities the developing countries require a co-ordinated approach and a joint strategy.
COSATU welcomes all Heads of State and their delegations to South Africa. In particular we welcome the President of the Republic of Cuba, Comrade Fidel Castro. South African workers organised in COSATU share with Cuba and Fidel Castro the socio-economic goals of jobs for all, improved health-care, universal education, housing for all and improved social development in all other spheres.
Together with the people of Cuba and with millions of workers around the world, we believe that the system of capitalism holds no hope of delivering either basic needs or social development to the citizens of the world. Capitalism lurche daily further into crisis across the world, as stock markets collapse and whole economies are plunged into ruin, further exacerbating social and economic disparities, and leading to untold misery, unemployment and other social ills.
COSATU believes that the Freedom Front and the Democratic Party intend to boycott the parliamentary session to be addressed by Fidel Castro on the 4th September 1998. Whilst this is regrettable, it is also not surprising at all, given that both parties remain mired in the legacy of apartheid politics and cold war thinking. Perhaps General Viljoen also still smarts at the memory of the crushing defeat inflicted on the apartheid military machine at Cuito Cunavale by FAPLA with progressive internationalist support from Cuba - a defeat which opened the way to majority rule in South Africa. Perhaps the DP sees the address as its latest opportunity to unashamedly provocate the exploitation of the working class by the handful of bosses who control the global economy.
COSATU believes that socialism is the only viable alternative to the rampant inequalities, unemployment, poverty and homelessness faced by the world today.
To welcome Comrade Fidel and the Cuban delegation, COSATU, together with its Alliance partners, has organised a number of demonstrations by the workers and the poor and marginalised of South Africa in support of Fidel Castro and against the American blockade of CUBA. These demonstrations will be held in the following provinces:
KwaZulu Natal 2nd September '98 Venue: ICC Time: Morning Western Cape 4th September '98 Parliament 10am Gauteng 5th September '98 Hector Peterson Memorial 14h00
COSATU calls on the workers of South Africa, on all those exploited by South African capitalism, on all who support the progressive ideals of socialism and international solidarity, on all who believe in the rights of developing countries to an equitable share in the wealth of this planet, to participate in their large numbers in the demonstrations to welcome Comrade Fidel.
A luta continua! Venceremos!
Nowetu Mpati COSATU Head of Communications
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