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    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R) welcomes Cuban President Raul Castro to the 17th Non-Aligned Summit | Photo: Reuters

The global body meeting in Venezuela has been instrumental in the fight against colonialism, imperialism, racism and oppression.

The conference of heads of state and government is taking place on Saturday at the the 17th Non-Aligned Movement Summit, in Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

IN DEPTH:
Non-Aligned Movement

Leaders and representatives from more than 120 countries will debate key issues such as the need for world peace, increase international cooperation and defend the democratic international organizations, which will be included in the final document of the summit on Sunday, the so-called Declaration of Margarita.

Among the first heads of state to speak during the summit, were the presidents of Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba, who defended the sovereignty of Venezuela during the current economic crisis, reiterated their support for Palestine in the face of attacks from Israel, and denounced the fact that the U.S. continues its economic blockade against Cuba.

Cuban President Raul Castro demanded the end of the blockade in his speech on Saturday, and for the U.S. to return the territory it occupies at Guantanamo Bay.

"Cuba won't renounce to any of its principles, it won't give in from its revolutionary and anti-imperialist ideals," said Castro.

 

In the Declaration of Margarita, members of the non-aligned countries will commit to promote and defend peace across the world, one of the fundamental principles of the movement.

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With the slogan "United on the Path for Peace,” the summit has ratified the defense on the right of the people to fight for peace and sovereignty,

The heads of state and government meeting will be headed by the President of the of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, who will take from Iran the rotatory chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement for the next three years.

Maduro has said he will propose a transformation of the Non-Aligned Movement into an international organization that defiantly says "no" to the new colonialism.

 

With 120 member states, the NAM is the second largest international body after the United Nations. It has 53 members from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 17 observer countries and 10 observer organizations.

This is the fourth time that a Latin American country that hosts the summit, and Venezuela is the third country in the area to assumes the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement. Cuba took the leadership in 1979 and 2006, and Colombia did the same in 1995.


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