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  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU calls on all workers to actively participate in the coming protests against US President Barack Obama`s visit to South Africa

20 June 2013

COSATU joins the millions of people and workers the world over, particularly on the African continent and in South Africa, who are outraged at the horrifying record of US foreign policy in the world. We are particularly disappointed by the Obama administration`s record in continuing the appalling US foreign policy performance as per the following indicators, amongst others;

  • The militarisation of international relations for the multinational companies and their profit-seeking classes in the US, as evidently manifested in the role of the US in world affairs. For instance, just before the April 14 Presidential elections in Venezuela, RT News reported on a Wikileaks Cable from 2006 in which, in the words of RT, then "ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, outlines a comprehensive plan to infiltrate and destabilize former President Hugo Chavez` government," including through programs of the USAID and its Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). On May Day, Bolivian President Evo Morales informed the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia that he wanted USAID to leave Bolivia because he (quite reasonably) suspected USAID of trying to subvert his own government as well.
  • Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator, ask in a recent paper, "How many wars is the US fighting today?" they then proceed to answer the question by saying that, "today US military operations are involved in scores of countries across all the five continents. The US military is the world`s largest landlord, with massive military facilities in nations around the world, and with a significant presence in Bahrain, Djibouti,Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to long-established bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the UK. Some of these are vast, such as the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, which has recently been expanded to accommodate up to 10,000 troops and 120 aircraft".
  • It must also be further noted that, there are Special Operations forces in different countries, which are largely responsible for the destabilisation of various countries and communities. Jeremy Scahill in Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, writes, "By mid-2010, the Obama administration had increased the presence of Special Operations forces from 60 countries to 74 countries". The world is literally a battlefield with conflicts being waged by the US (or with the "help" of the US). And, no country is off-limits to US military forces.
  • US Africa Command (AFRICOM) is said to be involved in direct or indirect military-to-military relationships with 54 African countries.

The devastating result of all these is that we see the intensification of;

  • The Brutal occupation of Palestine by the Israeli apartheid state, with the full support of the US and the EU, together with their Middle East puppet regimes
  • The Continued jailing of the 5 (now 4) Cuban heroes in US jails for their role in fighting terrorism against the Cuban people
  • The Continued existence of the Guantanamo Bay prison, which has been condemned by various international bodies, including Amnesty International and Nobel laureates as very inhumane and in contravention of international law
  • The ruthless and savage looting of our natural resources by US and other multinational companies in close collaboration with corrupt elites in various countries
  • The US support for oppressive regimes that benefit US narrow interests
  • US aggressive opposition to climate justice and ways to end global warming and destruction of our environment, in pursuit of narrow profit interests
  • US policies that perpetuate unequal and exploitative trade relations and underdevelopment in Africa and the rest of the developing world
  • US policies of nuclear proliferation and arming of space to the detriment of peace, justice, democracy and human rights.

In this regard, COSATU fully supports and actively participate in the growing global and national movement for peace, justice, human rights, environmental justice and the right to development for all.
We call on all workers, communities and activists, particularly working with our alliance partners, the SACP and the ANC, as well as the various progressive civil society formations, to join the announced activities throughout the country, to demand an end to US warmongering and for a new foreign policy based on respect for human dignity and justice for the people of the world, including the people of the US itself.

The world-wide struggle against imperialism must be intensified and the people of Africa must lead the struggle to reclaim their natural resources and rise against oppressive dictators of various kinds that undermine their developmental and democratic aspirations for a better world. This means building progressive and popular working class alternatives to the crisis and failures of capitalism and dictatorship.

A new and just world is not only possible, but necessary NOW!

Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or +27 10 219-1335
Fax: +27 11 339-5080
Mobile: +27 79 499 6419
E-Mail: bongani@cosatu.org.za