Amilcar Cabral

National liberation and peace, cornerstones of non-alignment

First Published:1969
Source: Amilcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea, stage 1, London, 1974, pp
Translated: Richard Handyside
Transcription/Markup: Steve Palmer
Copyleft: Copyright stage 1 .

Extracts from a speech made in Cairo to the 2nd Conference of Heads of State and Governments of Non-Aligned Countries, 1964

For some days we have been following with great attention the speeches in the general debate. For us these speeches have given us grounds to feel proud and have greatly encouraged us in our liberating struggle.

In your speeches, you have unanimously condemned imperialism and every sort of foreign domination as being the main source of the tensions, the suffering and the dangers which burden humanity. You have unequivocally reaffirmed your hatred of war, of foreign military bases and of recourse to violence as a means of settling conflicts between ideolo­gies, between nations and between states. You have fiercely defended peaceful co-existence, loyal and constructive inter­national co-operation and the need for equitable sharing of the world's riches, which have been created by man. By an argument as intelligent as it is free from prejudice you have shown that the banning of nuclear tests and weapons, as well as general and total disarmament, have become a necessary condition for guaranteeing the survival of the human species and even of our planet. In your just and exemplary aspiration to serve humanity you have reaffirmed your support for the principles of the United Nations Charter. You have thus shown your firm determination to work effectively for the immediate liberation of that Organisation, which is at present a giant with its hands tied, so that, its structure renewed, its institutions democratised and its voice strengthened to include those of hundreds of millions of human beings, it may fully serve the noble causes of freedom, fraternity, progress and happiness for mankind.

But you have done more than this. Faithfully translating the unanimous feelings of active solidarity of your peoples with our liberation struggle, you have given a striking proof of your position as combatants for liberty. You, our fellow combatants, at present occupy the place of honour which history has reserved for you and which allows you to con­tribute by all necessary means to the pressing elimination of colonial domination in our countries.

In the framework of your concrete solidarity with the national liberation of peoples and with their inalienable right to control their own destinies-one of the cornerstones of non-alignment-you have also, directly or indirectly, given your fraternal support to the peoples of heroic and socialist Cuba, of South Vietnam, indefatigable and victori­ous combatants, of Cyprus and of the Congo, tragically related by the blow of brazen foreign intervention, of martyrised Arab Palestine and of Puerto Rico, that small island which is so often forgotten and in which, as the evidence of its delegation has shown us, more than two million human beings are still suffering under the double yoke of imperialism and colonialism and are struggling, despite the power which faces them, for national independence.

Mr President, Your Majesties, Your Exellencies, the walls of the University of Cairo will guard with understandable zeal the echoes of your speeches, which have been so many commitments and lessons of humanism. And tomorrow, in the course of research into notable contributions to the well­being of humanity, people may well ask themselves whether, given the limitations imposed on the United Nations in this year 1964, the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries, in which no spectre can stifle the freedom to be free or fidelity to principles, has not constituted the most important or at least the most effective international organisation of our times.

Mr President, before returning to continue the political and armed struggle for the liberation of our peoples, we wish to reaffirm our active confidence in the practical value of this high international gathering. For our part, we are aware that the complex nature of our struggle is not limited simply to the elimination of the colonial yoke. Whether we wish it or not, we are fighting against imperialism, which is the basis of colonialism, in every form.

It is on the basis of this universal principle that we would like to express our firm conviction that our struggle, be it purely political or armed, is also an expression of the great struggle for peaceful co-existence and for peace. We want to carry out, at least, a policy of peaceful co-existence and peace with all peoples and all states, but in our concrete situation we consider that our very existence as free and independent nations and states is a sine qua non for this policy of co­existence and peace. To co-exist one must first of all exist, so the imperialists and the colonialists must be forced to retreat so that we can make a new contribution to human civilisation, based on the work, the dynamic personality and the culture of our peoples.

To make this contribution in independence, fraternity and equality with all peoples, it does not seem to us to be necessary to get involved in the ideological disputes and conflicts which are splitting the world. We do not need to follow any line: our position must be and remain based on the fundamental aspirations of our peoples. There is, how­ever, in our ethic of non-alignment one vital need for align­ment: we must be capable-and free-to adopt without equivocation any position which aims to serve the dignity, emancipation and progress of peoples.

Mr President, Your Majesties, Your Excellencies, you all represent peoples who have had experience in the struggle for national liberation, albeit to differing degrees, according to the diversity of your historical conditions. Thus you know better than we do that this struggle is in its very essence a daily capitalisation of efforts and sacrifices for a better life and for social liberation. Allow us to affirm to you that the policy of non-alignment which was defined three years ago in Belgrade and has been strengthened during this Con­ference, is a guarantee for the efforts and sacrifices capitalised by our peoples for their total liberation from every sort of oppression.