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U.S. Colombia solidarity activist speaks in Cuba at seminar against foreign military bases

By Kait McIntyre

Havana, Cuba – Nov. 24 was the second day of the fourth International Seminar for Peace and Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, held in Guantanamo Province. There were several presentations made by select delegates as well as group discussion.

One presenter, James Jordan, a leader in the Free Simon Trinidad/Ricardo Palmera campaign, delivered a lecture entitled “The Imperial Infrastructure: Why Does the U.S. Build Foreign Military Bases and Jails?” It was well received and tied together several struggles, including opposition to police brutality, the prison-industrial complex, and U.S. intervention.

The following is an interview with Jordan.

What are the connections between the movement to abolish foreign military bases and the Colombian solidarity movement? James Jordan: The obvious connection is there are several U.S. bases in Colombia. However, you also can see the connection in that the Colombian government and its military follow all of the whims, decisions and directions of the U.S. government. So, in some ways, Colombia itself is a U.S. military base. In other words, U.S. military has effectively turned Colombia into an outpost of U.S. imperialism. The Colombian military is able to carry out what the U.S. military can’t get away with.

This is day two of the conference. Thus far, in what ways do you see this event uniting forces from countries around the world to move forward in the movement to abolish foreign military bases? Jordan: What I see coming out of World Peace Council is an emerging campaign to shut down NATO. What hasn’t come together yet, but what I hope this event will lead to, is international days of action against war in Syria and ongoing interventions around the world. This seminar brings together an international movement that I believe will be really sharp against NATO and vocal in the call to dismantle it. I hope it will contribute to and call for worldwide action against aggressions that are leading us to the possibility of World War Three and nuclear conflict.

This seminar comes at a historic moment. Not only are the Cuban and U.S. governments taking steps to normalize relations, but there is also the Colombia peace process happening in Havana, Cuba. How do the National Committee to Free Simon Trinidad / Ricardo Palmera goals intersect with the seminar’s goals? Jordan: The seminar has reiterated support for the peace process in Colombia. This is good because the peace process will not endure without international support. All forces working for world peace must pay attention to these negotiations and raise our voices in support. Adding international voices to the demand to free Simon Trinidad is important and absolutely crucial to moving the peace process forward.

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