By Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
April 23, 2022
Dear Comrades and Friends,
It is a great honor for me, as Founding Chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), to join the Commemoration of the International Day for the Freedom of Revolutionary Political Prisoners and the 4th Meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for Solidarity and for the Freedom of Revolutionary Political Prisoners of the World in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico on April 23 and 24.
It is highly important and urgent to recall that in Lima, Peru on December 3, 2016 in an International Meeting of organizations of former political prisoners in solidarity with comrades who were still in prison; and delegations of revolutionary political organizations from Argentina, Chile and Peru in defense of the rights of peoples agreed to issue the “Declaration of Lima” that created the International Coordinating Committee for Solidarity and for the Freedom of Revolutionary Political Prisoners of the World.
The declaration was solemnly proclaimed in front of the island and former prison “El Fronton” in El Callao. Floral offerings were delivered from several boats as homage to the revolutionary political prisoners who had been viciously massacred in June 1986 by the Peruvian police and military forces by order of the social democratic government of the Aprista party headed by Alan Garcia.
We, in the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), commend the International Coordinating Committee for having held several International Meetings (the first in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2017; the second in Santiago, Chile in 2018 and the third in Mexico City in 2019). These have summed up and advanced the activities to denounce political imprisonment, to demand truth, justice and reparation for comrades and their families affected in different ways by repression and against the growing criminalization of popular protests by the reactionary states.
We admire and appreciate that activities have been developed jointly with the delegations from various countries, such as the commemoration of April 17, International Day of Anti-Capitalist Political Prisoners. This took place in Lima Peru in 2019 with the active participation of Peruvian, Chilean, Colombian, Mexican and Turkish organizations.
We are inspired and encouraged that there are organizations and individuals in the International Coordinating Committee from Peru. Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Paraguay, and there are also contacts in progress with organizations and comrades from other countries beyond Latin America. We therefore regard the International Coordinating Committee as an effective instrument for the benefit of the revolutionary political prisoners as well as in support of the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and peoples of the world.
We agree that in this context the various organizations and individuals participating in the 4th meeting of the Coordinating Committee are determined to expand and enhance the international coordination of work and thus serve better the objective of moral and material solidarity with and support for the various struggles of the working class and peoples facing repression in the world capitalist system, which has been imposing its neoliberal policy in combination with state terrorism, fascism and imperialist wars of aggression.
We praise the International Coordinating Committee for having successfully done its work in exposing and opposing gross and systematic human rights violations in Latin America and giving special attention to the plight of the political prisoners and their families. Even in Mexico, where you are now meeting, the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and its 4th Transformation have not ceased repression. Revolutionary political prisoners are increasing. They include those who engage in social activism and defend political prisoners.
In Colombia, the narco-paramilitary oligarchic state has failed to comply with the peace agreements it signed with the FARC-Ejercito Popular and continues to murder former guerrillas and leaders and activists of social movements. We are outraged that More than 300 former guerrillas and more than 1300 social leaders have been murdered. It refuses to repatriate Simon Trinidad and to free from prison former combatants who are supposed to benefit from the peace agreements.
Despite describing itself as “progressive” and “Leftist” in Peru, the Pedro Castillo government persists in the “terruqueo” to justify the repression of popular mobilizations. Even those who are active in the just struggle for a New Democratic Constitution through a Constituent Assembly are being persecuted and arbitrarily imprisoned (e.g., the so-called Olimpo case).
The revolutionary political prisoners are subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment, kept in prison even after serving their unjust sentences and are deprived of dignified burial when they die in prison. Evidence shows that Comrade Gonzalo de Guzman was murdered and martyred in prison, was cremated and the ashes have not been given to his family. There is now a malevolent campaign in Peru to criminalize and destroy human rights organizations and to punish human rights activists with life-long sentences.
In Chile, the Mapuche and revolutionary political prisoners and the political prisoners from the popular revolt of October to December 2019 continue to be subjected to military and police repression with impunity. The new government of Gabriel Boric has not yet moved forward to decisively uphold truth and justice, end impunity, free all political prisoners and democratize the armed forces and police.
In Argentina, the Alberto Fernandez government describes itself as “progressive” but is still prone to follow the dictates of the IMF and thus assumes a growing repressive attitude towards the popular struggles against the ongoing neoliberal adjustments. It continues the open persecution of political prisoners, including the former FARC-EP fighter Facundo Molares. It collaborates with the reactionary regimes like those of Colombia.
The terrorist state of Paraguay continues to murder young girls and to imprison and persecute entire families to take revenge on the guerrillas of the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP). It denies due process to all revolutionary fighters and popular fighters. It blatantly violates all the international human rights treaties and conventions.
We agree with the International Coordinating Committee that all efforts must be undertaken to end political persecution, criminalization of popular protests and the application of criminal law against organizations and individuals that defends the fundamental rights of the people. State terrorism, fascism and the criminalization of the exercise of civil and political democratic rights must cease.
We expect that the imperialist powers headed by the US and their reactionary puppets will escalate the exploitation and oppression of the proletariat and people of the world, especially because of the rapidly worsening crisis of the world capitalist system. There is a sharpening contest of strength among the imperialist powers to plunder natural wealth and exploit the toiling mass nationally, regionally and globally.
All major contradictions of the world are sharpening: among the imperialist powers, between capital and labor in imperialist countries, between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations and between the imperialist powers and the countries assertive of national independence and socialist programs and aspirations. We therefore anticipate the escalation of crimes against the people, including assassinations, disappearances, tortures and increase of political prisoners.
It is necessary and appropriate to commemorate this April, as in previous years, the International Day for the Freedom of Anti-Capitalist Political Prisoners. We are glad that this has been commemorated since 2004 when in Donostia, Euskal Herria, political organizations from Palestine, the Basque country and Argentina met in an International Conference of Solidarity and agreed to establish that day as a date of homage, resistance and struggle for the release of revolutionary political prisoners worldwide.
In the Philippines as in all other countries, the imperialist powers headed by the US are oppressing and exploiting the people. The fascist puppet Duterte regime has been hell-bent on destroying the revolutionary movement of the people and has unleashed campaigns of state terrorism, mass murder, abductions, torture and rapid increase of political prisoners.
But the Filipino people are determined to carry out the new democratic revolution with a socialist perspective. They are intensifying various forms of revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation in the face of the worsening crisis and the escalation of oppression and exploitation.
We in the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) are therefore desirous of and willing to participate in the International Coordinating Committee for Solidarity and for the Freedom of Revolutionary Political Prisoners. We are hopeful that the further increase of participants in said committee will make it more effective in the whole world. ###