Yesterday I had the satisfaction of having a pleasant conversation with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I had not seen him since 2006, more than five years ago, when he visited our country to participate in the 14th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement of Countries in Havana. During the summit, Cuba was elected for the second time as president of the organization for a three-year term.
I had become gravely ill on July 26, 2006, a month and a half prior to the summit, and could barely sit up in bed. Many of the most distinguished leaders who participated in the event were kind enough to visit me. Chavez and Evo visited me several times. One afternoon four visitors came by whom I will always remember: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; an old friend, Abdelaziz Buteflika, the president of Algeria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran; and the vice minister of Foreign Affairs and current Foreign Minister of China, Yang Jiechi, on behalf of the leader of the Communist Party and the president of China, Hu Jintao. It was really an important time for me; I was in the midst of intense physiotherapy on my right hand that I had seriously injured when I fell in Santa Clara.
With all four I spoke about some of the difficulties facing the world at the time; problems that have become progressively more complex.
During our meeting yesterday, I noted that the Iranian president was absolutely calm and tranquil, completely unconcerned about the Yankee threats and, fully confident in the capacity of his people to confront any aggression and in the effectiveness of their arms -- which, in large part, they produce themselves -- to inflict an unpayable price on its aggressors.
In reality, we hardly spoke about the topic of war. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was focused on the ideas he had presented at the Main Hall of the University of Havana during his conference on the struggle of humankind: "Moving towards reaching and achieving peace, security, respect and human dignity as a fundamental desire of all human beings throughout history."
I am convinced that Iran will not commit any rash actions that might contribute to setting off a war. If a war were to be unleashed, it would inevitably be completely as a result of the recklessness and congenital irresponsibility of the Yankee Empire.
I believe that the political situation surrounding Iran and the associated risks of a nuclear war that involves us all -- regardless of whether one possess nuclear weapons -- are extremely delicate because they threaten the very existence of our species. The Middle East has become the most troubled region on the planet, the same region that produces the energy resources vital for the world's economy.
The destructive power and the mass sufferings caused by some of the weapons used in World War Two led to a strong movement to ban weapons such as asphyxiating gas and others. Nevertheless, conflicting interests and the huge profits made by arms manufacturers led to the production of crueler and more destructive weapons; modern technology has now added the means and material to build weapons that if used in a world war would lead to extinction.
I support the opinion, undoubtedly shared by all those with a basic sense of responsibility, that no country big or small has the right to possess nuclear weapons.
They never should have been used to attack two defenseless cities such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing and irradiating with horrible and long-lasting effects hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, in a country that had already been militarily defeated.
If fascism indeed forced the allied nations against Nazism to compete with this enemy of humanity in the production of such weapons, once the war ended and the United Nations was created, the first duty of this organization should have been to prohibit nuclear weapons without exception.
However, the United States, the strongest and richest power, forced the rest of the world to follow its lead. Today, they have hundreds of satellites that spy and monitor the entire world from outer space. Their naval, air and land forces are equipped with thousands of nuclear weapons; and they control the world's finances and investments at their whim via the International Monetary Fund.
Analyzing the history of each Latin American nation, from Mexico to Patagonia, by way of Santo Domingo and Haiti, one can observe that each and every country, without exception, has suffered for 200 years, from the beginning of the 19th century up until today. And, in one way or another, they are increasingly suffering the worst crimes that power and force can commit against the rights of a people. Brilliant Latin American writers are emerging in an increasing number. One of them, Eduardo Galeano, author of the book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent that describes the aforementioned, has just been invited to open the prestigious Casa de Las Americas Awards as a recognition to his outstanding body of work.
Events happen incredibly fast; but technologies report them to the public even faster. On any given day, like today, important news comes out a dizzying pace. A cable report dated from January 11 states: "The Danish presidency of the European Union confirmed on Wednesday that a new series of more severe European sanctions against Iran, because of its nuclear program, will be discussed on January 23. The new sanctions will not only target the oil industry but also the Central Bank."
During a meeting with international journalists, Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal said that "We will increase sanctions against the oil industry in addition to sanctions against financial structures." This clearly demonstrates that, in order to impede nuclear proliferation, Israel can go on accumulating hundreds of nuclear warheads while Iran is not allowed to produce 20% enriched uranium.