Hundreds of young leftists from around the globe roared their approval Saturday night as a mock trial declared the United States guilty of causing most of the ills in their countries.
The mock trial - and the gathering in general - was seen as a chance for Cuban officials to criticize the U.S. government and its three-decade long embargo against Cuba, which many Cubans blame for the country’s economic woes.
“We condemn imperialism … and the United States in particular,” the tribunal declared after hearing two days of testimony from young people who complained of the U.S. embargo, its 1989 military invasion of Panama and its bombing campaigns in Iraq during the Gulf War.
The tribunal was billed as a key event of the communist-sponsored 14th World Festival and Conference of Youth and Students, a weeklong conference that ends Tuesday.
U.S. officials earlier had criticized the tribunal, saying that its judgments were sure to be a “foregone conclusion.”
Organizers claimed more than 11,000 people from 130 countries traveled to Cuba for the gathering, including more than 800 Americans who defied U.S. government restrictions to attend.