The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) launched a collective campaign for a Zone of Peace in Our Americas with organizations from across our region in Washington, D.C.; Havana, Cuba; and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The concept of a “Zone of Peace” emerged from the meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on 29 January 2014, who declared that Latin America and the Caribbean should be seen and respected as a “Zone of Peace”.
BAP is leading an effort to activate the people’s movement element of this state-centred declaration by building support for its implementation across the region.
Key organisations and allies such as SOLI from Puerto Rico; Association of Farm Workers (ATC) (Nicaragua); MOLEGHAF (Haiti); the Americas Working Group; the Caribbean Empowerment Organisation; Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos (Mexico); the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations; the US-based United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC); Alliance for Global Justice; and others have come together 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 destabilisation and destruction to our region will be based on the principles of the Black Radical Peace Tradition. The Black Radical Peace Tradition affirms that peace is not the absence of conflict, but the achievement of a world liberated from the interlocking problems that contribute to global conflict through popular struggle and self-defence. This would be achieved through the defeat of global systems of oppression including colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy and white supremacy.
This call for peace is a call to the peoples and states of the Caribbean and Latin America to resist the US/NATO Axis of Domination, as well as the increasing militarisation of the region and US/NATO soft power practices in Our Americas.
“People want peace,” says Erica Caines, co-coordinator of the Americas/Haiti Team of the Black Alliance for Peace. “The Zone of Peace means strengthening people-centered alternative systems through coordinated anti-militarist and anti-imperialist struggle.”
Through a multi-phased campaign, we will create consciousness and political education around the need and purpose of a Peace Zone, as well as initiate the formation of an anti-militarist and anti-imperialist network anchored in popular mass organisations.
“Establishing the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace will be a major achievement for the peoples of the region, removing the military bases of past and present colonial powers, and abolishing 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 achievable,” says Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson of the Caribbean People’s Empowerment Organisation.
Initial basic demands
- Dismantle SOUTHCOM. Close the 76 US military bases in the region.
- End US/NATO military exercises. Close foreign military bases, facilities and enclaves and withdraw foreign occupation troops.
- Dismantle US-sponsored state terrorist training facilities. Close the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation” (WHINSEC), formerly the School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA, and end the training of police forces in the US and abroad.
- Oppose military intervention in Haiti. Support the people-centred movement for democracy and self-determination.
- Return Guantanamo to Cuba. The US must return the territory it illegally occupies to the Cuban people and their government.
- Sanctions are war. End the illegal sanctions and blockades of states in our region, including all economic and legal wars, and recognise their sovereignty.
Raising as a popular demand that our region be free from internal and external 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 of Latin America and the Caribbean continue to find themselves in an existential battle against the geostrategic interests of the hegemonic power of the North: The United States of America.
BAP believes that only through the concentrated efforts of the people, the Americas will be liberated from the anti-human, anti-democratic and violent policies that wars, subversion and militarism have brought to the peoples and nations of our region.