Cuba Takes "Third World" Leadership Role

Cuba’s new leadership of the Non Aligned Movement is good news for socialists and bad news for the rest of us

From the latest Green Left Weekly

Socialist Cuba’s assumption of the presidency of the 118-member-nation NAM for a second time — the first was from 1979 to 1983 — offers the prospect of strengthening unity among Third World nations in opposition to, in particular, US aggression and, in general, the neoliberal economic policies forced on the poor nations by the First World.

When Havana first held the presidency it was instrumental in building international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for national liberation, helping to expose the horrific Israeli-sponsored massacres of refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon. Cuba also used the NAM to fight against Apartheid-era South Africa, backing Namibia’s independence struggle.

Now Cuba will head the NAM in a very different international situation: Only one superpower exists and, under the guise of a “war against terrorism”, the US elite is trying to explore how much it can get away with in a “unipolar” world. But it also occurs at a time when Cuba’s revolution is the least isolated at any time since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which was its main trading partner.

Cuba has long been respected by rebels the world over, particularly in the Third World, for his vigorous defiance of the US and for the Cuban attempt to build a more just society than the model offered by the “Washington consensus”.


Cuba has now been joined by new left-wing governments winning respect for combatting First World domination of Latin America: Venezuela’s, headed by socialist President Hugo Chavez who is leading a radical process dubbed the Bolivarian revolution, and Bolivia’s, led by Evo Morales, who is Bolivia’s first indigenous president and came to power on the back of mass anti-neoliberal uprisings.

Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia are forming a new “axis of hope”, going beyond the hollow anti-imperialist rhetoric of some Third World governments and finding solidarity-based alternatives to the “free trade” model, the primary beneficiaries of which have always been First World-based corporations.

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