Statement by Margarida Botelho, Member of the Political Committee of the Central Committee of the PCP, Conferência de Imprensa

«Do not forget the crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and fight for disarmament and peace»

«Do not forget the crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and fight for disarmament and peace»

1. On August 6 and 9, 1945, US imperialism committed one of the worst crimes in the History of Mankind: the nuclear attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Within a few seconds, tens of thousands of people were killed in an unprecedented massacre. In the following months and years, the death toll would rise to hundreds of thousands. Many others suffered terrible physical and psychological after effects, which also passed on to following generations.

2. The crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki continue to be defended, even today, by all the Presidents of the United States of America, the only country that has ever used the nuclear weapon. The use of this weapon of mass destruction against the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place months after Hitler's defeat and the end of the war on the European continent, and when militarist Japan's authorities had already offered their surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not obliterated to end World War II, but to dictate the rules of the new post-war world. The atomic crime served to affirm the extent to which US imperialism was willing to go in its quest to halt the great wave of national and social liberation that swept the planet in the aftermath of the defeat of Nazi-fascism. A wave of liberation inseparable from the decisive role of the Soviet Union and its glorious Red Army, with the contribution of anti-fascist resistance worldwide, in which communists from all over the world played a key role. At the end of the War, the most reactionary sectors of big business put an end to the antifascist alliance that emerged during World War II, starting the anti-communist and anti-communist offensive that marked the following years - the so-called “Cold War” - marked by the collaboration of all the factions of big business. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a reflection of this.

3. The following decades have shown that the criminal use of weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations is a characteristic feature of imperialism, and in particular of US imperialism, be they chemical or biological weapons, as in the Korean and Vietnamese wars, or with depleted uranium weapons, notably in Yugoslavia and Iraq. Grotesque are the campaigns in which the users of weapons of mass destruction intend to assign their own heinous crimes to their victims. Even countries that have accepted disarmament programs, such as Iraq and Libya, have been attacked and destroyed.

4.On the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the PCP alerts to the enormous dangers of the current world situation, including the real dangers of a confrontation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. All those who love Peace cannot ignore the significance of the militaristic and warmongering escalation that followed the disappearance of the Soviet Union. Imperialist wars of aggression - in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and International Law - destroyed several countries that intended to remain independent from the domination of the great imperialist powers. We are witnessing today a very dangerous escalation of rhetoric and hostile actions by the United States and the European Union against Russia, a capitalist Russia which, since the dismantling of the USSR, has been the victim of a succession of hostile acts, among them: the unstoppable and endless enlargement of NATO; the installation of missiles and anti-missile systems on its borders; successive changes in US and NATO military doctrines to include the possibility of “preventive” nuclear attacks; aggressive acts such as the Georgian attacks in 2008 or the subversion commanded from abroad in Ukraine in 2014, and where fascism plays a key role. This increasingly open escalation of hostility by the traditional imperialist powers is also directed against the People's Republic of China and other countries that refuse to be mere vassals of imperialism. Inseparable from the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism, from the profound change in the correlation of global economic forces and from the fierce growth of contradictions and rivalries on all fronts, the growing militarism and warmongering of the US, the EU and its armed wing, NATO, represent a great danger to all peoples and to world Peace.

5. To remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki is therefore not just about History and the past. It is speaking about the real dangers of the present. It is to recall the urgent need to intensify the struggle against militarism, fascism and war, against the aggressive policy of imperialism, for the dissolution of NATO, for the peaceful solution of conflicts with respect for the sovereignty of peoples, for disarmament and, in particular, to end all nuclear, chemical, biological and mass destruction weapons. The struggle for Peace is inseparable from the struggle for social progress.

6. The PCP, in remembering the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, calls on the workers and the Portuguese people to intensify their struggle for Peace and against imperialist wars; for the dissolution of NATO; against the increase in military spending and militarism decided by both NATO and the EU; for the signing by Portugal of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted at the UN General Assembly in 2017 but refused by the nuclear powers and by NATO.

Particularly serious is the PS government's willingness to increase military spending to 1.98% of GDP by 2024 to meet its commitments to NATO.

The Portuguese government has a Constitutional duty to strive for peace, friendship and cooperation with all the peoples of the world and not to support and engage in the strategy of aggression and interference that the US and the European Union promote. But it will have to be the peoples of the world to impose on the forces of war and imperialist aggression, the defence of Peace and the guarantee that the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never again be repeated.

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