“We are campaigning against military bases”
The president of the World Peace Council, Socorro Gomes, in an exclusive interview for Pressenza talks about the current campaigns of her organization and demands the withdrawal of troops from invaded countries and the end to military bases.
Socorro Gomes was elected as president of the World Peace Council (WPC) in April 2008, in the World Peace Conference that met in Venezuela. Persecuted and exiled by the dictatorial Government in Brazil and in other Latin America countries during the 60’s and 70’s, she has spent a long time as a militant for peace and justice, before entering politics as a Federal Deputy and as the Secretary of Justice in the State of Para. At the moment she is the president of Cebrapaz – Brazilian Centre for the struggle for Peace – and of the WPC. For Socorro the World March is a fundamental initiative, because it seeks to unite people around the need to generate a consciousness in favour of Peace.
**Pressenza** – How is the World Peace Council organized?
**Socorro Gomes** – The World Peace Council is a civil society institution in existence since 1950. It was created by people, scientists, physicists, intellectuals and artists like Picasso, with the goal of meeting humanity’s desire in that particular moment to defeat and overcome the power of war. Fascism and Nazism had to be defeated but that came with the bomb terror that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it was a horror.
So, The World Peace Council was created with the aim to strengthen worldwide movements that fight for Peace. It operates in over 100 countries: 132 countries if I’m not mistaken and on all continents. It is part of the Consultative Council of the UN and the UN Conference of Human Rights.
**Pressenza** – What are the principal proposals defined by the Council?
**Socorro** – It has taken part in great battles for nuclear disarmament and its axes today are the fight against war, demanding the immediate removal of foreign troops from occupied countries, opposing military bases, of which there are almost 1,000 around the world and it has been fighting for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to work towards the dismantling of all nuclear weapons. So the World Peace Council expresses its solidarity with all people under attack and Cebrapaz is part of the council and is today responsible for its administration.
**Pressenza** – What plans and concrete actions are being deployed?
**Socorro** – This year we launched a campaign to abolish NATO. We were in the anti-NATO demonstrations in Strasburg, at the International Conference. We were in Belgrade for the sad anniversary of the invasion, of the Yugoslavian destruction. We showed our solidarity with the Serbian people. This is one axis. Another is precisely the removal of foreign troops from occupied countries and we are also campaigning against military bases. These are the principal axes.
**Pressenza** – What are the principal actions in Latin America?
**Socorro** – Here, in our continent, we are emphasizing the fight against the Fourth Fleet that was launched last July and is a threat to our countries, to our sovereignty, and an attack on the principle of self-determination of people and countries. Its goal is to intimidate. It is part of the Bush doctrine of preventive war, and of implementing terrorism in the world which was done by Bush during his terms in office. Lula, Hugo Chavez, Morales, Raúl Castro, Correa, many presidents have already expressed their rejection of the Fourth Fleet.
**Pressenza** – What do you think about the World March for Peace and Nonviolence?
**Socorro** – I think it is very important. I personally support this initiative of gathering forces with manifestations of people from all over the world for Peace. The Peace Flag is essential for us because wars threaten the physical survival of humanity. People are not interested in war. War is in the interest of, and is promoted by, imperialist powers that want to dominate the world. For us the question of peace is very connected to the sovereignty and self determination of nations, that is, to the founding principles of the UN Charter. This is fundamental because the UN was created for this, to diminish conflicts and strengthen Peace. But the UN has been discarded by the one belligerent power, uncontested on the planet–the United States–and the Bush doctrine is still in force on the planet. Now a new president has been elected and there is a need for the new president to adopt a new attitude in order to change this picture. This is the big question. But I personally believe that there is a force capable of organising people, to generate a consciousness. That’s why the March is important, because it brings people together and underlines the need for Peace.