Nicolás Blanco - Pressenza Int'l Press Agency

The conference was held from Monday November 30th to Wednesday December 2nd in the Centro Cultural de la Cooperación (Cultural Center of Cooperation) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The speakers, hailing from the spheres of academia, politics, and culture, gave talks on various aspects of the issue of foreign military bases in Latin America.

This 2nd International Conference was organized by Latin American Peace and Justice Service, the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, the Movement for Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity among the world’s Peoples, and the Cultural Center for Cooperation.

The national campaign against military bases was launched at 5:30 PM on the first day of the conference. In a press release, the Movement for Sovereignty and Integration of the World’s Peoples (Spanish Acronym: MOSIP) accepted the challenge laid out by Bolivian president Evo Morales by announcing their intention to promote in Argentina “a broad national campaign to explore the issue in depth and encourage participation and involvement among large sectors of the general population.”

The official opening ceremonies for the conference were held at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, followed by a screening of the documentary film "NATO, 60 Years of Militarization and War", speeches from several participants, and introductions of the delegations from various countries, including Columbia, Panama, Cuba, Uruguay, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and others.

Wednesday’s proceedings kicked off at 10 AM with a speech by Patricia Olguin of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). This was followed by a talk by Pelao Carvallo of War Resisters International (Europe), an organization promoting nonviolence.

Carvallo argued that military bases have always been concentration camps and that they are launching pads for military attacks. He also highlighted the interrelations between military bases and the real estate sector. His discussion of urban military bases touched on the example in Chile, where the rise of neo-Nazi groups has been observed in their areas of influence.

Later, Julio Cesar Incapie, representative of the Columbian National Movement for Victims of State-sponsored Crimes (Spanish Acronym: MOVICE), elaborated on the issue, giving a detailed account of how military bases began to take root. “In 1962, the US government recommended that Columbia create paramilitary groups with the aim of suppressing insurgencies. As you all know, FARC does not exist anymore.” Mr. Incapie also drew attention to cases of “false positives”: extrajudicial executions of villagers dressed up as guerrillas, which according to his data numbered as many as 4000.

The next speaker of the day was Guillermo Sullings for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, who spoke about the demands of the project: “This march, which began in New Zealand and is currently passing through the Americas, demands the dismantling of nuclear arsenals, withdrawal of troops from occupied territories, ratification of non-aggression treaties between all countries, and denouncement by all governments the use of war as a means for resolving conflicts.”

Sullings added that “military bases are also invasive because they are ready to attack any of our countries. Establishing military bases elicits a buildup of arms in response.”

Other attendees included: Robinson Salazar, researcher from the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (Mexico), Julio Yao, of the Panama Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ), José Ramón Rodríguez, President of the Cuban Movement for Peace, Socorro Gómez, President of the World Council for Peace (Brazil), Atilio Borón, Argentinean political and social scientist, and Berta Cáceres, of the Honduran National Resistance Front, among others.

Click here to access the presentations:

[Translation: Patrick Yancey]



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