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Karat rules out change in Left’s stance against imperialism

Special Correspondent

CPI(M) cadre urged to look to Cuba for inspiration and carry on its fight

— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Cuban Minister of Council and Deputy Chief of Mission Eduardo Iglesias Quintana and CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat launching a website at the inauguration of the ‘Cuba Festival,’ organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, in Bangalore on Sunday.

BANGALORE: CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat has ruled out any change in the Left’s stance against “imperialism and neo-liberal policies” despite the electoral setback.

Addressing the “Cuba Festival” organised here on Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, he said the Left parties would cease to be a “force for progressive change” if they gave up their fight against imperialism and neo-liberal policies.

After the setback the Left parties suffered in the Lok Sabha elections, many “friends and critics” suggested that their fight against imperialism and neo-liberal policies had become “irrelevant in the 21st century,” he said. But he rejected their appeal to the Left parties to “accommodate” themselves. “If we do that, we cease to be what we are; we cease to be a force for progressive change.”

He called upon the cadre to look to Cuba for inspiration and carry on its fight despite the electoral setbacks. “We in India [the Left and progressive forces] should also learn from Cuba and not surrender.”

Remarkable progress

Lauding the Cuban people’s “indomitable courage and heroic endeavours,” Mr. Karat said Cuba was not only a symbol of resistance to imperialism but also a source of inspiration for all countries which had faced colonialism and “imperial exploitation.” Cuba had made remarkable progress in various fields, especially in health and education: the country had not only wiped out illiteracy but also had more physicians for every one lakh population than the U.S. “It has an education system which India cannot even dream of.” While India spends just one per cent of its GDP on health, Cuba spends 6.5 per cent.

Cuban Minister of Council and Deputy Chief of Mission Eduardo Iglesias Quintana felt that the Left parties in India should look to Cuba and turn their setbacks into victories by regaining the people’s support. He also called for the immediate release of five Cubans arrested by the United States.

U.S inspections

Speaking to journalists later, Mr. Karat regretted the absence of concern in the Manmohan Singh regime at the inspection of defence equipment India would purchase from the U.S. under the Indo-U.S. military collaboration.

He wondered how India could allow U.S. inspectors access to sites where military equipment had been installed. “They [U.S. inspectors] will come here and we will have to give them access to the areas where they have their equipment … These matters concern the country very much, but the government does not seem to be worried.”

India was getting into a “deeper and strategic entanglement” with the U.S., he said referring to the recent visit to India of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He said the G8 summit had decided to deny certain types of technologies to non-NPT countries, while the Nuclear Suppliers Group would frame certain guidelines. “But the government does not seem to be worried about this.”

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