Back to PLO Bulletin 1-15 September 1979



Members of the non-aligned movement have assembled in Havana, Cuba, to attend the sixth summit conference of the 18 year-old movement. The summit, pursuing its goals as defined by the non-aligned charter of building a new system of international relations free of exploitation, oppression and foreign domination, is expected to discuss Egypt's deviation from non-aligned principles and its betrayal of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Moreover, member nations will discuss stepped-up measures against Israel, including a total boycott directed by the UN. The 89 member nations of the movement are also expected to take measures to confront the deteriorating situation in Southern Africa and the continuing support by imperialist states for the racist and illegal minority regimes of the region. Chairman Yasser Arafat is attending the conference at the head of a Palestinian delegation. He will present the Palestinian point of view about the latest political developments on both the Palestinian and Arab levels.


Nicaragua: The strugge for food
"The comparatively quick normalization of life in our country and the vigorous participation of wide sections of the people in construction are the most significant results of the first month after the victory of the popular forces over the Somoza dictatorship," said Dr. Sergio Ramirez, a member of the government of national reconciliation in Nicaragua, who was interviewed on August 27. He said the revolutionary government was extremely satisfied with the support coming from the people who for the first time in the country's history had taken over tasks of their political organisation and enthusiastically helped implement the immediate measures of the government. In many towns there was movement taking the first difficult steps for the country's rebuilding by way of voluntary, collective work to boost production.

Among the important measures taken are laws on nationalisation of the entire property of the Somoza clan and the private banks, and decrees on partial state ownership of foreign trade enterprises and on implementation of the agrarian reform. One of the most important results of the revolutionary process was the speedy reorganisation of the administration. "Even in the most remote villages Sandinist defence committees were set up which decisively influence democratisation of the country by including the popular forces in local and national decision-making, "the 37-year-old Dr. Ramirez, a lawyer and author, stressed.

Democratically elected local people's representations have been set up in over 80 per cent of the 137 Nicaraguan towns and communities. Over the next few months priority tasks must be solved in the health system, national education, housing, agricultural production and in the food sector. To do so the government has started to build up a uniform health system and to prepare a literacy campaign for which the whole people is to be activated. Special importance is attributed to the speedy revival of agricultural production, mainly the cultivation of staple foods such as maize, beans and rice. The complicated situation in food supply until the next harvest can only be solved with the help of international solidarity and support, he said.

"In foreign policy we are seeking relations with all nations in the world and want to pursue a policy of non-alignment," Dr. Ramirez continued. The government of national reconstruction of Nicaragua has established diplomatic relations with a number of socialist states, and liberated Nicaragua will work for the maintenance of peace and attend the non-aligned summit in Havana in September. Dr. Ramirez thanked the socialist countries for the aid consignments they have sent to Nicaragua, calling the consignments "important contributions to international solidarity."


Iran: Oil workers at Abadan refinery. The struggle to revive the national economy
Life and work in Iranian villages are to become more attractive and productive in order to make the country self-sufficient in food supplies. This has been underlined in a call for Jihad - "holy, war" - made by Ayatullah Khomeini in June to revive Iran's agriculture. Iran's agriculture had been grossly neglected under the Shah's regime. The importation of foodstuffs had been encouraged at the expense of Iranian peasants. Cultivation of cotton, tea, potatoes and onions decreased. The major part of the system of underground water canals, effective for thousands of years, was destroyed. Extremely low incomes made many peasant families leave their villages. Ali Reza Afshar, spokesman of the "jihad" centre, has reported that efforts are being concentrated in three spheres: stepping up agricultural production, improving education and medical care, and general development of the villages. Voluntary helpers for the programme are selected on moral and religious grounds in the mosques, schools, universities and administrations. Former villagers, often now unemployed in urban areas, are to be persuaded to return. Sixty billion rials have been earmarked by the government for the implementation of agrarian projects in the provinces. The rural population is to regain confidence in their own work, Minister of Agriculture Ali Mohamed Izadi has said. The government will give priority to supporting private small and medium holdings.

Of the 165 million hectares of Iran's total area, only about 9.7 million hectares are agricultural acreage, and 3.7 million of them are irrigated. The soil conditions and water conservation allow an extension of soil cultivation to a maximum 20 million hectares.


Only a year and a half after the overthrow of the Daoudi regime, by the Afghani people under the leadership of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, several reforms have been accomplished in the economic and social fields. 350,000 hectars of land has been distributed to 150,000 families under the agrarian reform scheme launched last January, and another 300,000 hectars are being distributed amongst 160,000 families. Over 800 schools have been opened since the revolution as well as 200 dispensaries and 900 farm cooperatives.

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