Miguel Figueroa, Acting President of the Canadian Peace Congress, addressed a well-attended public meeting in Regina on October 16, the last stop on the western part of his fall speaking tour. Referring to the monuments honouring war veterans in nearby Victoria Park, Figueroa pointed out that these are a reminder of war, and that millions of people died in both World War 1 and World War 2. He observed that we are in the “most dangerous period since 1962.”
Figueroa discussed key hot spots in the world and mentioned that many conflicts are under the radar. He singled out Yemen as an example and explained that Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and the U.S. are acting together against Yemen.
Discussing the interconnectedness of the various conflicts in the world, Figueroa observed that any place that says it won’t follow the dictates of the World Bank finds itself under assault. He discussed the use of economic levers against countries striving for economic independence, the role of the international media to attack leaders who do not go along with the World Bank and IMF, and observed how opposition forces are financed and create crisis.
The current government of Canada, he said, is even more hawkish that Harper’s government, and noted the plan to increase Canadian military by a projected 75%.
However, he also pointed out that the domination of U.S. imperialism is receding, and that it is projected that China will surpass the USA in a few years as an important power in the world. He reminded the audience of the plans and projections of the right-wing Committee for a New Century, noting how NATO is right on the border of Russia, and that the “Pivot to Asia” started under President Obama. He also pointed out how the U.S. is influencing a change in Japan’s anti-militarist constitution, and that US military bases are now in Australia. At the same time, in Latin America there is a shift away from support for agenda of the big monopolies.
Referencing Donald Trump’s threats against the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, Figueroa explained that the DPRK believes it needs a deterrent, after living without a peace treaty since 1953 because the U.S. refuses to sign.
Having recently returned from a solidarity conference in Syria, Figueroa explained that the conflict in that country is not a civil war; but rather a proxy war, and that Syria has been a progressive, secular state which has supported the Palestinian struggle. He reported the good news is that 85% of the country is now out of the hands of Al Qaeda or ISIS.
Touching on Venezuela, which Figueroa also recently visited, he noted the left victory there in the Oct. 15 regional elections, and observed that we in Canada should be responsible for our own government, which along with the US has been undermining the government of Venezuela.
Concluding his talk by discussing Canadian foreign policy, Figueroa said the so-called BMD is not “defensive” – it is a repackaged version of Reagan’s Star Wars, and part and parcel of the U.S. first strike nuclear policy. Canada doesn’t need nukes to protect itself, he said, and it should have been with the 122 countries which voted to abolish nuclear weapons on July 7th at the United Nations. Stressing that it will take great effort to have the NDP and Liberals take a strong position for peace, Figueroa called for the reinvigoration of the peace movement, and concluded that “I am optimistic”.