Solidarity a first step to regional integration
- Odeen Ishmael Guyana Chronicle
April 1, 2004

Related Links: Articles on caribbean concerns
Letters Menu Archival Menu

SOLIDARITY is a first step towards promoting regional integration and a political leader must show that to the people and states in the region where the concept is being pursued, Guyana's Ambassador to Venezuela, Dr. Odeen Ishmael said last week.

He was delivering a lecture entitled 'Cheddi Jagan's vision for Caribbean and Hemispheric Integration' at Cheddi Jagan Research Centre in Kingston, Georgetown.

The occasion was to observe the 86th birth anniversary of the late Guyanese President's and Leader of the People's Progressive Party (PPP).

The diplomat said Dr. Jagan excelled in his activism for Latin America from the 1960s to the 1990s.

"Cheddi Jagan relied heavily on support from the hemisphere during the epic struggle for Guyana's independence," Ishmael said.

He recalled that, on December 30, 1959, Dr. Jagan penned a letter to leaders of political parties, trade unions and various organisations worldwide, soliciting support for and solidarity with Guyana's fight for independence.

Ishmael said Latin America was specially targeted and the leading newspapers highlighted the case for immediate independence.

According to the envoy, some Latin American governments later endorsed the demand when the United Nations Committee on Decolonisation debated a resolution following Dr. Jagan's address to that body in December 1961.

Ishmael noted that, interestingly, Venezuela was most vocal in supporting the drive and, on March 12, 1960, the prestigious Venezuelan Confederation of Workers, representing more than two million people, sent the British Government a message firmly supportive of the anti-colonial position on the American continent and declaring its solidarity with the people of Guyana in their just struggle for independence and sovereignty.

He said the Federation of University Centres organised students and sent cables to 19 Latin American tertiary institutions, requesting meetings to demonstrate solidarity with Guyana, too.

Ishmael said all those actions were the result of Dr. Jagan's political activism in the Latin American arena, where he was also a vocal participant in the Inter-American Conferences at which he advocated solidarity and integration most profoundly.

The lecturer said, at the 1960 second Inter-American Conference in Caracas, Venezuela, Dr. Jagan stated that Latin Americans were not only interested in freedom and democracy but wanted, most of all, economic democracy and a concentrated fight against poverty.

Ishmael asserted that the situation has not changed much after four decades.