[Marxism] Oscar Lafontaine: EU Should Change Its Policy on Cuba (Granma)
walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 31 10:11:12 MDT 2007
("We want to discuss the topic of socialism in the 21st century with
the leaders of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, a subject in which
each country has to find its own answers. But I feel that as
Europeans we can contribute to the debate, starting with the errors
committed in the socialist camp, and find ways that will foster the
better development of our societies.")
August 31, 2007
Interview with Oskar Lafontaine
German Political Leader Says EU Should Change Its Policy on Cuba
ELSON CONCEPCIÓN PÉREZ
Oskar Lafontaine, co-chair of the Left Party of Germany, is an
experienced politician, very interested in social development issues
and the role of the left in the needed changes. He spoke with Granma
in an exclusive interview.
At a time when many so-called leftist European parties divide and
fragment, the German left is undergoing a process of unity that led
to the June 2007 founding of the party that Lafontaine co-chairs with
"The origin of our Left Party was the result of events over the last
years in Germany where there have been several cutbacks to social
programs. Many people didn't feel represented by the existing
political forces and expressed that it was time for there to be one
that represented them," said Lafontaine.
"In Western Germany there was a small party that was comprised of
social democrats and unionists [Labor and Social Justice
Party-Electoral Alliance (WASG)]. In the East, there was the Party of
Democratic Socialism (PDS).
"The merger came out of our belief that having two smaller leftist
groups was a mistake. So we saw that before the elections it was
better to join together and make one bigger party.
"In the Federal Parliament elections we obtained 8.7 percent of the
votes and according to the polls we are currently Germany's third
leading political party.
"Our success is due mainly because we made social justice the central
In the context of the European Union, the topic of Cuba isn't treated
very differently than in Washington. Lafontaine states, "We believe
the EU should change its policy towards Cuba. It should understand
that a new politics is emerging in Latin American countries, not only
in Cuba, since the triumph of its revolution, but also in Venezuela,
Bolivia, and Ecuador among others.
"Europe should strengthen its cooperation with these countries and
should also urge the United States to lift its blockade against Cuba.
"Only good cooperation can lead to positive results, and that's what
should guide European Union policy towards this region.
"Our job is to try and get Europe to strengthen its cooperation and
to do so with other countries that have embarked on a new model of
development in Latin America."
As he was preparing to carry out his last commitments in Cuba before
heading off to the airport, Lafontaine said, "We want to discuss the
topic of socialism in the 21st century with the leaders of Venezuela,
Bolivia and Ecuador, a subject in which each country has to find its
own answers. But I feel that as Europeans we can contribute to the
debate, starting with the errors committed in the socialist camp, and
find ways that will foster the better development of our societies."
August 31, 2001
Leading Member of Germany's Left Party in Cuba
The co-chair of the Left Party of Germany spoke in favor of
strengthening ties with Cuba in a meeting with Machado Ventura
"We see this visit as a gesture of support for Cuba at a time when
the United States, and especially its president, is tightening the
blockade against our country," said Cuban Communist Party politburo
member Jose Machado Ventura in a meeting with Oskar Lafontaine,
co-chair of Germany's Left Party.
MACHADO VENTURA AND OSKAR LAFONTAINE DURING THEIR MEETING AT THE
COMMUNIST PARTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE. Photo: Jorge L. Gonzalez
The German political leader said his party follows events in Latin
America very closely and showed interest in strengthening ties of
friendship and cooperation.
The Left Party delegation also includes Klaus Ernst, vice president
of the party; and Hele Hirsh, who like Ernst, is a federal German
During their stay in Cuba, the Germans held talks with Carlos Lage
Davila, vice president of the Council of State; Foreign Minister
Felipe Perez Roque; Fernando Remirez, member of the Central Committee
Secretariat; and Jaime Crombet, deputy chair of the Cuban parliament.
Lafontaine and his group also visited a neighborhood CDR defense
committee in the Havana municipality of La Lisa and other places of
historic and social interest.
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