HAVANA — Mary-Alice Waters made the remarks printed above at a Feb. 10-11 event here called by its organizers a conference of parties and movements of “the left.” Waters is the president of Pathfinder Press and a member of the National Committee of the Socialist Workers Party. She is the editor of New International, a magazine of Marxist politics and theory published in New York.
Nearly 200 people attended the First International Conference of Theoretical Publications of Parties and Movements of the Left. It was held at Casa de las Américas, a cultural institution founded in the early years of the Cuban Revolution that has encouraged generations of writers and artists throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting was sponsored by Cuba Socialista, theoretical journal of the Cuban Communist Party, whose editor Enrique Ubieta was the central organizer of the gathering.
The meeting coincided with the opening days of the annual Havana International Book Fair, Cuba’s biggest cultural event. The 10-day festival featured dozens of book presentations, panel discussions, music and dance performances, and book exhibits by publishers from Cuba and other countries, including Colombia, this year’s country of honor.
A majority of those attending the conference were representatives of Communist Parties and other political organizations, mostly from Latin America and Europe, with a few from North America, Asia and Africa. Among the Cuban participants were academics, journalists, government officials and party leaders, including Minister of Culture Alpidio Alonso and Rogelio Polanco, director of political work for the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel joined participants for several hours of the discussion.
Four sessions took place over the two days. The topics were “U.S. imperialism and the new world geopolitical configuration,” “Fidel and international solidarity,” “Socialism and youth” and “Discussion of an action plan.” Waters spoke during the session on “Fidel and international solidarity.” That part of the program opened with talks by René González Barrios, director of the Fidel Castro Ruz Center in Havana, and French-Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet, author of My Life, a book-length interview with Fidel Castro. It was chaired by Abel Prieto, president of Casa de las Américas and former longtime Cuban minister of culture.
At the closing session, the chair declared there was “a consensus” for approving the action plan prepared by conference organizers. This came after organizers had accepted an amendment introduced by a representative of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), stating the declaration was agreed to by “the majority” of those present.