The Guadeloupe Communist Party (GCP) is calling for international support for independence for the people of Guadeloupe, which is currently designated as an overseas territory of France. ‘France tries to make-believe that Guadeloupe is not a colony but a French department. Our people has never been consulted about its political status and therefore has not been able to exert its right to self-determination,’ said Felix Alain Flémin, the GCP’s secretary general.
Felix Alain Flémin, secretary general of the Guadeloupe Communist Party (GCP) has called for international solidarity in support of the struggle for independence and self-determination of the people of those Caribbean islands under French colonial dominion.
‘We are a nation whose right to self-determination is not recognised by France. We are looking for international support for the islands to return to the UN list of colonial territories,’ stated Flémin during a recent visit to the Organisation of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa & Latin America (OSPAAAL) headquarters.
Guadeloupe, a small archipelago of the Antilles located some 600km from the South American coasts, was occupied by French troops in 1635 after an extermination war against its native population, the Caribbean Indians. In 1947, the French government succeeded in erasing it from the list of non-autonomous (colonial) territories worked out by the United Nations General Assembly, and turned it into an overseas department of the French Republic.
‘France tries to make-believe that Guadeloupe is not a colony but a French department. Our people has never been consulted about its political status and therefore has not been able to exert its right to self-determination,’ underlined Flémin before a large group of representatives of organisations and political parties accredited in Cuba. He denounced that in the face of the growing nationalist feeling of the population, which is rebelling with increasing force against the ‘unbearable economic exploitation’ to which it is being submitted, France pretends to replace the present population by Frenchmen in order to ensure its permanent dominion of the territory. He explained that the infrastructure is that of a modern, developed country, but it is controlled by France and its inhabitants do not enjoy the same privileges of the French people. ‘As part of that strategy of assimilation, the French are acquiring large extensions of land and other important properties,’ he pointed out. ‘We fight against a brutal assimilation policy. They tell us “you do not exist as people from Guadeloupe, you exist as French people”’. They try to frighten the people telling them they would lose the small or alleged privileges granted by the colonial system, asserted the leader, who took up the GCP leadership in February 2008.
He highlighted the protests that shook the colonial power in Guadeloupe and Martinique – a neighbouring island also ruled by France – which, though motivated mainly by economic claims, could contribute to a favorable climate for the cause of independence in the present circumstances. He denounced that the situation in the island is still tense because the French authorities have ignored the agreements reached with representatives of trade unions and other organisations that took part in the actions. Strikes and protests – though still isolated – are reappearing throughout the territory.
‘We cannot assure that a pre-revolutionary situation exists. We try to create awareness of the need to fight for autonomy, a stage previous to independence. We try to make the people understand that they should not expect any positive change within the present colonial status,’ explained the leader. Flémin, who visited Cuba accompanied by Galou Lafond, GCP foreign affairs secretary, was received at the OSPAAAL offices by Alfonso Fraga, its general secretary; Lourdes Cervantes, head of the political department and Angel Pino, head of the information department. Both Fraga and Cervantes underlined the historical links of OSPAAAL with the Caribbean peoples and confirmed their unconditional support and solidarity with the independence and self determination of Guadeloupe and other territories of the region. ‘There is much political struggle to be developed,’ stated Cervantes. ‘We are committed to contribute to the complex decolonisation process in the Caribbean and that decision was evidenced in a statement of the organisation motivated by the recent protests that took place in Guadeloupe and Martinique,’ she emphasised.