Alan 23 January 2013
Continuing with U.S. efforts to undermine Cuba's government from within, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2008 contracted with Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) of Maryland to send Alan Gross to Cuba.

Now in prison there with a 15-year sentence for espionage-type actions, Gross is widely viewed as the ideal candidate for an exchange that would return four Cuban anti-terrorists jailed in the United States to their homes. They, the "Cuban Five," include the paroled Rene Gonzalez.

In court proceedings January 15, DAI introduced documents outlining USAID objectives and describing Alan Gross's activities during five trips to Cuba between late 2008 and December 3, 2009, when he was arrested. The company seeks dismissal of Alan and wife Judy Gross' lawsuit alleging that DAI and USAID failed in preparing Alan Gross for dangers a foreign agent would face in Cuba.


Category: Campaigns News

GerardoFrom International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

In 2001 Gerardo Hernandez was condemned to two life sentences, one of them for conspiracy to commit murder for the shooting down of two planes of Brothers to the Rescue. Gerardo had nothing to do with the shooting down of these planes on February 24, 1996 and the U.S. Government could present no evidence to the contrary. That was a decision of the Cuban Government in defense of its sovereignty after 26 violations of Cuba's airspace by this group.

Despite the fact that Gerardo had nothing to do with this incident, the proof of the place where the planes fell holds the key information to this unfortunate episode caused by Brothers to the Rescue. The evidence of NASA satellite images from that day could exonerate Gerardo. Well within his rights, he has requested the U.S. government to present evidence for which he was condemned by that false charge. To this day the U.S. has refused to do so.


Category: Campaigns News


Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters joined the international media campaign of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution, echoing the Venezuelan people who came out in their tens of thousands to proudly declare 'I am Chavez, Chavez is the people!'

Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon Tyne

Category: Latin American

The power is in the streets













First published on 12 January 2013 on

For fifteen years, since Hugo Chavez’s first presidential election in 1998, we have been witness to a popular struggle in Venezuela for political and economic power by working class people which has withstood every attempt by imperialism and its local allies to destroy it.

The Bolivarian Revolution and its leader have given hope to hundreds of millions of people in Latin America and have inspired movements throughout the continent and indeed throughout the world. With the support of Cuba and other countries in ALBA Venezuela has put the US completely on the back foot: no longer can it treat Latin America as its back yard. Such developments should be celebrated by every socialist wherever they are.

Yet throughout this time, the SWP has repeatedly attacked the Bolivarian Revolution and denigrated President Chavez. The latest issue of Socialist Worker (12 January 2013) continues in this reactionary vein, joining the international ‘campaign of psychological warfare’ denounced by the Venezuelan government (see our blog).

In an article which expresses no sympathy for the Venezuelan people let alone for Chavez, Dave Sewell parrots standard media views about the emergence of a leadership ‘crisis’ in the country with Chavez unable to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony on 10 January.

Sewell then succinctly summarises the SWP’s contempt for Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution. Damning the president with faint praise, Sewell admits that ‘at points he took radical measures’ such as placing the oil industry under direct state control and using the money to fund social programmes, and grudgingly concedes that as result, Chavez ‘became very popular with the workers and poor people.’

Yet it is his use of the past tense that is so revealing. Is Chavez no longer popular? Are we wrong to think that he won the presidential election with a landslide?  It is in fact a sleight of hand, necessary because the SWP does not think that anything of historical significance has happened in Venezuela over the last 15 years, and whatever has happened is now dead. Thus, according to Sewell, although the masses rallied to Chavez during the 2002 coup and the bosses’ strike, ‘at the same time a new elite was emerging. This bureaucracy slowly stifled mass struggles.’ And there you have it. The mass struggles were choked, the new elite is in power. There is no more revolution. Now, Sewell says, ‘Venezuela will face a choice between a power struggle at the top, or a mass movement from below that could build a new kind of society.’ It is either one or the other because, as Sewell says, ‘the power of the state [has become] concentrated in Chavez himself.’ Chavez is just an elected dictator.

There is nothing new in what Sewell is saying. Back in 2002, just after the defeat of the coup, SWP leader Chris Harman had already doomed Chavez:

‘[Chavez] top-down approach has also led him to attack the wages and conditions of employed workers, even while talking about help to the unemployed, the semi-employed and the rural poor. It was this that enabled union leader Alfredo Ramos to back the employers' shutdown of industry. In this way, Chavez's own policies played into the hands of those who wanted to overthrow him.'

Ramos backed the bosses’ strike because he was a corrupt reactionary in the pocket of the ruling class. And the fiction, propagated at the time by the ruling class and avidly picked up by the SWP, that Chavez was attacking the workers has been disproved by the massive and thoroughly documented social gains made by the working class and oppressed before and since. Not that you would know the details from Socialist Worker.

Yes, Mike Gonzalez, another SWP leader, had to admit in October 2012 that Chavez’s third presidential victory was due to social programmes bringing ‘real improvements to Venezuela’s poor – local health programmes, free education, limited social housing, cheap food.’ But isn’t this part of what socialism should be? This praise is mealy-mouthed: ‘limited’ social housing is in reality, 250,000 units built between April 2011 and October 2012, and a further three million planned by 2019.

House building on such a scale today would require a revolution in Britain let alone in Venezuela. But even then Gonzalez has to get a further dig in, claiming (without any evidence) that ‘these services are deteriorating, largely because of deep and widespread corruption in the Venezuelan state.’ Every phrase discloses contempt for the revolution.

The SWP has never wanted to engage with what is happening on the ground in Venezuela. Their statements are fundamentally ignorant. Gonzalez tells us that the ‘immediate’ question is ‘the need to rebuild organisations on the ground that will be able to act independently of their rulers, whoever they are.’

This sounds radical – but then what are the communal councils and the factory councils that have sprung up across the country as part and parcel of the Bolivarian Revolution? These organisations exist and are multiplying – they do not have to be ‘rebuilt’. But both Gonzalez and Sewell do not want us to see them so they censor their existence.

At first sight there is a stark contrast between the SWP’s critique of the Bolivarian Revolution and its fawning attitude towards the Labour Party in Britain. But they are two sides of the same reactionary coin. Has anyone heard or read the SWP attacking Jeremy Corbyn or John MacDonnell for their continued membership of a racist, imperialist war-mongering party and all the compromises that entails? Or Tony Benn?

The SWP never places any demands or conditions on Labour politicians or councillors; indeed it would regard this as sectarianism and prefers toadying instead. What sort of socialist organisation is it that could support Ken Livingstone in the 2012 London mayoral election? Or Labour in the 2010 General Election? The SWP demands so little of itself and its allies, but so much of Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

Yes there is a crisis in Venezuela. A revolution is made up of a succession of crises. What matters is the outcome of each – does the process move forward, are the revolutionary forces strengthened? Or do they face a set-back requiring a new approach? We are confident that with or without Huge Chavez, the Bolivarian Revolution will move forward. But the SWP has to want the revolution to fail to prove its political point.

We cannot mince words. The position of the SWP on the Bolivarian Revolution is thoroughly reactionary and chauvinist. It has no concept of a real struggle for socialism with all its problems and vicissitudes: instead it serves up a cocktail of idealist schema laced with borrowings from the imperialist media. Its position on the Labour Party is based on the same adaptation to imperialism. We have argued for a long time that it is impossible to remain a socialist and be a member of the Labour Party.  Now we have to ask: how is it possible to be a socialist and remain in the SWP?

For more on the SWP and Venezuela see a review of a pamphlet by Joseph Choonara:

And on the SWP’s support for the Labour Party see:

Category: Latin American

First published on 6 January 2013 on As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remains seriously ill in hospital in Cuba, following complicated surgery for cancer, the vultures of reaction are circling. Counter-revolutionary forces within Venezuela and their backers in the US, UK and Europe are conducting what National Assembly President and United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Diosdado Cabello has described as ‘a psychological campaign of media warfare’ in an attempt to foment the destabilisation of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Vigil for Chavez, Dec 2012Vigil for Chavez, Dec 2012

Despite a clear statement from Venezuela’s vice-president Nicolas Maduro, who recently visited Chavez in Cuba, that the president, although in a very delicate and serious condition, is walking and talking and indeed keen to discuss politics and the economy, Venezuela’s privately-owned newspapers and the international media have consistently exaggerated rumours of Chavez’s condition and accused the president of lying about his illness. They have also attempted to whip up uncertainty about what will happen if, as seems likely, Chavez is not well enough to travel back to Caracas in time to be sworn in for his fourth term as president on 10 January. Some leaders of the opposition group Mesa de Unidad Democratica are demanding that fresh presidential elections be held immediately.

In reality, as the governing party has made clear, Article 231 of the constitution provides for the swearing-in to be held before the Supreme Court at a later date.

But the big lie perpetrated by the bourgeois press is, as ever, that without Hugo Chavez there can be no Bolivarian Revolution – that it lives or dies with him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite Chavez’s definitive victory in the October Presidential elections and the mass popular support and admiration he enjoys as the living embodiment of the aspirations of the Venezuelan people, the Bolivarian Revolution has never been about just one man. It is a revolution being built from below, by the conscious organisation of the Venezuelan working class to transform society from one of neoliberal exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty for the majority, to one built on the model of collective, socialist organisation and production. In the last ten years, Venezuela has achieved the lowest levels of inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient of any country in the region; it has wiped out illiteracy, brought infant mortality down from 25 per 1,000 to 13 per 1,000 live births, slashed levels of extreme poverty, provided free health care and education for all, built hundreds of thousands of units of social housing and ensured that – unlike in Britain – no child goes to school hungry in the morning.

The Venezuelan people will not allow these vital gains to be lost. The tremendous popularity of the governing PSUV was demonstrated again in December’s regional elections, where the party won 20 out of 23 states. On Saturday, the National Assembly will convene for its 2013 session and members of the new executive, chosen by Chavez immediately after the October elections, will take their seats, led by vice-president Nicolas Maduro. They will implement the Programa Patria manifesto on which Chavez was elected – step by step, task by task, with the Venezuelan people, ‘developing socialism beyond the point of no return’. Our task here is to combat the lies of the imperialist press and build solidarity with that process.

The RCG sends it solidarity greetings to Comrade President Hugo Chavez and wishes him a full recovery from his long and painful illness. Comandante, we salute you.

Category: Latin American

iberdrolaBolivia nationalized two electricity distribution  companies owned by Spanish utility Iberdrola on 29 December 2012, the  latest move by leftist President Evo Morales to assert control over the  country's resources. 

Iberdrola will be compensated according to a  valuation to be drawn up by an independent arbiter, Morales said, adding that the measure was aimed at enhancing rural energy services.
"We considered this measure necessary to ensure  equitable energy tariffs ... and to see to it that the quality of  electricity service is uniform in rural as well as urban areas," Morales said. Bolivia has nationalized oil, telecommunications, mining and electrical generation companies.


Category: Latin American

bolivia 2012Katu Arkonada

First published La Epoca, December 18, 2012
[Translation and notes by Richard Fidler]
2012 has been a year of transition for the process of change in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, notwithstanding the many events, problems and contradictions encountered by the executive branch during the last 12 months of its administration. A year of transition because we have left behind the 2010-2011 biennial of consolidation following the 64% victory of President Morales in the December 2009 election and are now entering a new biennial, 2013-2014, which will take us very rapidly to the presidential elections of December 2014.
By way of a balance sheet
2012 was without a doubt the year of the consulta [consultation] in the TIPNIS [Territorio Indígena and Parque Nacional Isiboro-Secure], the year when the government probably lost an international battle against a major marketing strategy designed in the offices of a certain opposition and some NGOs, but won the war for legitimacy in Bolivia. The result is overwhelming, leaving no room for doubt: of the 58 communities consulted (84% of them, since 11 refused to participate in the consulta), 55 (79%) approved the construction of the highway.[1] This result dismantles the postmodern and Rousseauist analyses that knew little of the history and actors of the TIPNIS, classifying them as good savages living in the woods without needing anything more, and demonstrated to us that the majority of the communities of the TIPNIS want a greater state presence for access to health and education primarily. In any case the conflict has not ended and no doubt during the next two years the opposition will campaign against the construction of a highway in a country so colonized and plundered that it still has no road connecting two of its nine departments.
But 2012 has also been the year of the economy. Bolivia continued to grow at an annual rate of 5.2% (above the rate in Brazil, Mexico or Uruguay, to cite three examples), and the per capita share of GDP increased in 2012 to $2,238, double what it was in 2006 ($1,182). As for foreign trade, exports in the first quarter of 2012 exceeded the total of all exports in 2007: $5.068 billion compared with $4.822 billion, and the international reserves reached $14 billion — almost 50% of the Bolivian GDP, giving the country the highest level of reserves as a percentage of GDP in all of Latin America.


Category: Latin American

cubans residents in europeFirst published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

The new migration laws to be enacted on 14 January 2013 present a challenge to US imperialism and should bring political and economic benefits to Cuba. Announced in October 2012, the legislation removes the requirement of an exit visa, known as a ‘white card’, and letter of invitation for Cubans planning to travel overseas, and extends the period for which Cubans may stay overseas without losing citizenship rights. The measures also facilitate the return to Cuba, either permanently or for visits, of Cubans currently living overseas, including those who left illegally or who abandoned internationalist missions. HELEN YAFFE reports.


Category: Cuba

bolivia evo morales 2012 11 01First published in Granma Written by Hugo Moldoz Bolivian Journalist

Evo Morales hit the nail on the head. The President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, in his remarks to the United Nations General Assembly, asserted that dominating the world scene today are two counter-posed forces: imperialism’s offensive to re-colonize the world, on the one hand, and, on the other, the rebellion of peoples and states seeking their full independence, or at least greater autonomy.

The words of Bolivia’s, and Latin America’s, first indigenous president left no stones unturned. Evo spoke in a measured tone and in the few minutes he stood before other presidents from around the world, he cited concrete historical examples. He insisted on the nefarious role being played on a world scale by imperialism, led by the United States, with the complicity of the United Nations.


Category: Latin American
The fight to free the Cuban 5 continues, and this heartfelt letter of thanks demonstrates the continued importance of building solidarity and raising awareness of the 5 prisoners of imperialism. The Cuban 5 were falsly tried! FREE THE CUBAN 5! For up to date news from the international campaign see

cuban 5 letter002S

November 28, 2012,
Dear Sam and friends at Rock around the Blockade
Thanks for your letter and your support.
We have completed 14 years of unjust imprisonment. If there is something that has given us strength, if there is something that has made us feel optimistic all the time, it is each and every letter that we have received from our friends from all over the world.
This year, 2012, has been a year of intense struggle for our freedom, on the legal plane, as well as with your multiple solidarity activities.
Our appreciation for each friend that has written to us and that has struggled without rest in order to return us home is deep and eternal.
It is painful for us to not have enough time, nor the best conditions, to answer your letter, full of encouragement and brotherhood, more quickly and personally.
I reiterate that we never forget you. You are in our hearts. Here, I’m sending a photo with my family, taken during a visit. On behalf of the Five, I wish you health, prosperity, love and a Happy New Year 2013!
Five big embraces,
Greeting to all our friends in the UK.
Antonio Guerrero.
Category: Campaigns News

The Economic Community of  West African States (ECOWAS) and Venezuela have agreed and begun to implement measures  to execute their 2009 memorandum of understanding (MOU) towards the  elimination of malaria in West Africa. Under the MOU, which was signed during a first high-level ministerial  visit to Venezuela, the country agreed to provide 20 million U.S.  dollars to support an ECOWAS vector control program of malaria  elimination through biolarvidicing. Biolarvicides are sprayed on the  habitats of mosquitoes to eliminate their larvae, one of the stages in  the evolution of mosquitoes.  ECOWAS and the  Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Abidjan, Cote  d’Ivoire on Saturday, 1st December 2012, signed the Work Plan for the  implementation of a 2009 Letter of Intent between them for the  elimination of Malaria in West Africa.The Agreement  was initialled by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desiré  Ouedraogo, and the Venezuelan Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for  Africa,  Reinaldo Bolivar on the sidelines of the 69th  Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.


Category: Latin American

From Granma, November 2, 2012

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Statement

THE U.S. Interests Section in Havana continues to function as the general staff in charge of implementing the government's policy of subversion toward Cuba, which has as one of its principal goals the fabrication of an opposition movement challenging the legitimate Cuban government and fomenting internal destabilization, in order to provoke a 'regime change' in the country.


Category: Cuba

From Realcuba's Blog

As the U.S. tries to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy on our shores, Cuba is facing an immense humanitarian tragedy, with long-term implications for its economy, food security, and its future.

Sandy hit Cuba last Thursday, October 25th, staggering the Eastern side of the island with the knock-out punch of a Category 2 hurricane.  Winds gusted in excess of 108 miles per hour.  According to preliminary estimates, the storm killed 11 Cubans and caused more than $2 billion in losses.


Category: Cuba

cuban52012On Saturday 15 September, Rock around the Blockade activists took to streets in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow to mark 14 years of unjust incarceration of the Cuban 5 in the US and to demand their release.


Rallies in each city publicised the case of these five anti-terrorist heroes who are being held as political prisoners for simply trying to defend Cuba from terrorist attacks that were being planned from within the US.


Speeches at the rallies highlighted the example of Cuba’s Revolution, which shows that there is an alternative to the poverty, war and environmental destruction of today’s imperialist-dominated world. The persecution of the Five is just part of a continual campaign to destroy the revolution and wipe out this alternative.


One of the Cuban Five, Fernando Gonzalez had written to Rock around the Blockade from gaol in the US to support the day of action. His words were read out at the rallies: ‘As you get together today to show your commitment to the struggle for our release from prison, we express our gratitude to all of you as well as our decision to withstand any circumstances and remain in the fight for justice for as long as it takes to achieve it.’


Category: Campaigns News

CUBAN 5EVENT CANCELLATION: Free the Cuban 5: The Struggle Continues, Saturday 15thSeptember 2012

Regretfully we are cancelling the Rock around the Blockade (RATB) meeting, ‘Free the Cuban 5: The Struggle Continues’, which was due to take place at Bolivar Hall in London on Saturday 15 September.

Instead we will be holding a demonstration for the Cuban 5 on the same day, to mark 14 years of their unjust imprisonment (see below for details).

The reason for the cancellation is that our guest speaker, Cuban activist Lázaro Oramas, was unable to get a visa from the British consulate before the date of the meeting. Other invited speakers were also unable to attend for various reasons.

Instead of the meeting we will be marking 14 years of unjust imprisonment for the Cuban 5 with a street rally in Angel, North London on the same day. We hope that you can join us to raise the profile of the case and demand justice for the Five.


Street Rally for the Cuban Five

Saturday 15 September

1 – 3pm

Outside Angel tube station, North London

Category: Campaigns News

mariela LGBTFirst published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 228 August/September 2012

‘Socialism and discrimination are incompatible’. (Mariela Castro, director of Cenesex)

The exuberant parade down the main street of Cienfuegos in Cuba on 17 May to celebrate the country’s fifth annual International Day against Homophobia should lay to rest the old lie peddled by Cuba’s detractors on the right and so-called ‘left’ alike, that socialist Cuba abuses gay rights.

The event, the culmination of three days of arts and music events, film showings, educational events and lectures by different lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groupings in the country, was organised by CENESEX, Cuba’s National Centre for Sexual Education, which over the last ten years has been pioneering the transformation of Cuban society in relation to LGBT rights under the slogan ‘Diversity is Natural’. CENESEX aims to contribute to ‘the education of society in general...about respect for people’s free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity, as an exercise in equity and social justice.’


Category: Cuba

ReneFirst published in

By Louis Martin and Doug Nelson
Recently released court documents concerning requests by Cuban revolutionary René González to return to his country now that he has served his prison term in the U.S. illustrate once again the determination of Washington to impose the highest possible price on the men and women of Cuba who have made and continue to defend a socialist revolution 90 miles from U.S. shores.

An international campaign is fighting to free González and his four comrades—Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González—known internationally as the Cuban Five.

The five were living and working in southern Florida where, at the request of Cuban security services, they monitored activities by armed Cuban-American counterrevolutionary groups with a long record of violent attacks on Cuba and supporters of the Cuban Revolution, and kept Havana informed.


Category: Cuba

assange The decision by Ecuador’s President Correa on 16 August to offer diplomatic asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange exposes sharply the moral and political chasm on human rights between, on the one hand, the progressive socialist government of Ecuador and its allies in the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA), and on the other, the corrupt and vicious British state.

The high-handed threat by British Foreign Secretary William Hague that the UK has a legal basis, under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and arrest Assange, has provoked fury throughout Latin America. ‘We are not a colony!’ stated Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino and described the British threats as ‘unacceptable and a menace to all the countries of the world’.


Category: International

olympics 2012First published in Granma Internacional on 16 August.

CUBA won the most medals among Latin American and Caribbean countries in the 30th Olympic Summer Games, though Jamaica, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Venezuela and Mexico put on brilliant performances in London as well, leading to high hopes for the next time around, the first Olympics to be held in South America, Río de Janeiro 2016.

Cuba (placing 16th in the London medal count) regained the lead in Latin American medals after being replaced by Brazil in Beijing 2008, with five gold medals, two from boxers Robeisy Ramírez and Roniel Iglesias. Cuban boxing, which did not win a single title four years ago, recovered the prestige it has always enjoyed, as one of the best schools on the planet.


Category: Cuba

teofilo-stevenson-610x430First published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 228 August/September 2012

After winning his second Olympic gold medal at Montreal Olympics in 1976, Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson refused all bribes by international promoters to encourage him to defect from Cuba with the words: ‘What is one million dollars compared to the love of eight million Cubans?’

Teofilo Stevenson, the Cuban boxer regarded as one of the greatest in the world, died of a heart attack in June at the age of 60. Born to poor immigrant parents, Teofilo benefited from the new social programmes introduced by the revolutionary government after 1959. He went on to become three-time amateur world champion and three times Olympic gold medallist. Many argued that he was in the same league as, if not better than, Muhammad Ali, regarded by many as the greatest boxer ever to have lived. At his death, Muhammad Ali paid tribute to Teofilo, stating: ‘He would have been a formidable opponent to any reigning heavyweight champion or challenger. He was one of the greats of the world. May he rest in peace.’


Category: Cuba

chavez-electionBy Eva Gollinger first published on 19 July in Postcards from the Revolution

From the first time Hugo Chavez was elected President of Venezuela in 1998, Washington and its allies have been trying to undermine his government. When Chavez was just a presidential candidate, the US State Department denied his visa to participate in television interviews in Miami. Later, when he won the presidential elections, Ambassador John Maisto called him personally to congratulate him and offer him a visa. The following months were filled with attempts to “buy” the newly elected President of Venezuela. Businessmen, politicians and heads of state from Washington and Spain pressured him to submit to their agendas. “Come with us”, urged Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, trying to seduce him with offers of wealth and luxury in turn for obeying orders.


Category: Latin American

More Articles...

  1. Oswaldo Paya's Death: A Tale of Imperialist Lies and hypocrisy
  2. Rock around the Blockade celebrates 26 July
  3. Cuban olympians celebrate Moncada day in London-July 26
  4. The Cuban 5: New Video by Danny Glover and Peter Coyote
  5. Cuban ex-prisoners denounce repression and police brutality Madrid

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