Above photo: The Zone of Peace campaign was launched in three cities, including in Havana, Cuba. Here, Black Alliance for Peace members pose with members of Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (ICAP), an organization that encourages people-to-people exchanges. Black Alliance for Peace.
On the Anniversary of the Assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On April 4, the Black Alliance for Peace launched a collective campaign for a Zone of Peace in Our Americas with organizations throughout our region in Washington, D.C.; Havana, Cuba; and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The “Zone of Peace” concept emerged from the January 29, 2014, meeting of the heads of state and governments of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, all of which declared Latin America and the Caribbean should be seen and respected as a “Zone of Peace.” BAP is leading an effort to activate the popular movement element of this state-centered declaration by building support for its implementation across the region.
Organizations and key allies such as SOLI of Puerto Rico; Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (Nicaragua); MOLEGHAF (Haiti); the Task Force on the Americas; the Organisation for Caribbean Empowerment; Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos (México); the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations; the U.S.-based United National Antiwar Coalition; Alliance for Global Justice; and others, have signed on to support a collective campaign for a Zone of Peace in Our Americas.
The effort to build a region-wide campaign to expel the forces that bring death, political destabilization and destruction to our region will be informed by the principles of the Black Radical Peace Tradition. The Black Radical Peace Tradition asserts that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the achievement by popular struggle and self-defense of a world liberated from the interlocking issues that contribute to global conflict. This would be accomplished through the defeat of the global systems of oppression that include colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy and white supremacy.
This call for peace is an appeal to the peoples and states of the Caribbean and Latin America to resist the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination, as well as the increasing militarization of the region and U.S./NATO soft power practices in Our Americas.
“The people want peace,” says Erica Caines, Black Alliance For Peace Haiti/ Americas TeamCo-Coordinator. “The Zone of Peace means strengthening alternative, people(s)-centered systems through coordinated anti-militarist and anti-imperialist struggle.”
Through a multi-phase campaign, we will build awareness and political education around the necessity and purpose of a Zone of Peace, as well as initiate the formation of an anti-militarist, anti-imperialist network anchored by popular, mass-based organizations.
“Establishing the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace will be an important achievement for the peoples of the region, removing military bases of former and current colonial powers, and abolishing the regular military exercises and other forms of interference would be a significant contribution to creating the other world of peace, development and cooperation that is possible and attainable,” says Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson of the Caribbean Organisation for People’s Empowerment.
Initial Core Demands
1. Dismantle SOUTHCOM. Shut down the 76 U.S. military bases in the region
2. End U.S./NATO military exercises. Close foreign military bases, installations and enclaves, as well as withdraw foreign occupation troops
3. Disband U.S.-sponsored state terrorist training facilities. Shutter the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation”
(WHINSEC)—formerly the School of the Americas—in Fort Benning, Georgia, United States, and terminate U.S.—as well as foreign—training of police forces
4. Oppose military intervention into Haiti. Support the people(s)-centered movement for democracy and self-determination
5. Return Guantánamo to Cuba. The United States must give back to the Cuban people and their government the territory it illegally occupies
6. Sanctions are war. End illegal sanctions and blockades of regional states, including all economic warfare and lawfare, and recognize their sovereignty.
Lifting up as a popular demand that our region be free of internal and externally-imposed state violence is even more important today as it was when the declaration was issued in 2014. From the assault on democracy in Haiti to the subversion and illegal sanctions directed at Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the states in Latin America and in the Caribbean continue to find themselves in an existential battle against the geo-strategic interests of the hegemon to the North—the United States of America.
BAP believes it is only through the concentrated efforts of the people that the Americas will free itself of the anti-human, anti-democratic and violent policies that wars, subversion and militarism have brought to the peoples and nations in our region.
Watch the press conference in Washington, DC:
Virtual option: bit.ly/zoneofpeacepressconf