First 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.
First 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.
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.
From Granma, November 2, 2012
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.
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.
On 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.’
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
First 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.’
First published in www.themilitant.com
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.
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’.
First 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.
First 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.’
By Eva Gollinger first published on 19 July in Postcards from the Revolution
On 22 July, Oswaldo Paya died in a car accident on the Las Tunas-Bayamo highway in the proximity of Las Gabinas, Granma Province. Paya was a leading member of the counter-revolutionary organisation Christian Liberation Movement, a group that has been involved in trying to destabilise the socialist government of Cuba since 1987. In 2002 Paya received the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for his counter-revolutionary attempts to undermine Cuban Socialism. Whilst not having been officially in the pay of right-wing counter-revolutionaries in Miami, Oswaldo Paya had been receiving funding from right-wing organisations in Spain and Sweden, including the governing Popular Party in Spain. The car crash has sparked a barrage of accusations and internet rumours from Cuba’s enemies, alleging that his death was political.
Activists from Rock around the Blockade, a campaign of the Revolutionary Communist Group took to the streets on Saturday 28 July to celebrate six decades of socialist Cuba, commemorating the 59th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks which marked the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. Following the military coup of US-backed dictator Batista in March 1952, Fidel Castro and others organised an armed movement against the tyranny and repression meted out by Batista. On 26 July 1953 in Santiago de Cuba the revolutionaries carried out an audacious attack on the Moncada Barracks. It failed militarily but succeeded politically, sparking the mass movement and guerrilla struggle which led to the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on 1 January 1959.
In Newcastle at Grey’s Monument, in London in Angel, Islington, and in Manchester at Piccadilly Gardens, comrades held colourful street rally celebrations with speeches and music, flying Cuban, Palestinian and Venezuelan flags symbolising resistance to imperialism. In Manchester the events were followed by a showing of the film Salud! which documents the impressive example of Cuba’s international health brigades that have treated millions worldwide. The political message was clear....No to War! No to Austerity! Socialism is the alternative! Viva Cuba!
Representatives from the Revolutionary Communist Group and its campaign in solidarity with the socialist revolution in Cuba, Rock Around the Blockade had the privilege of meeting with members of Cuba’s Olympics team in London during an event mark Moncada Day on 26 July.
Moncada day commemorates 26 July 1953 when, in response to the military coup of US-backed dictator Batista the previous year, Fidel Castro and others carried out an audacious attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. It failed militarily but succeeded politically and sparked the mass movement and guerrilla struggle which led the Movement for the 26 July to power in January 1959.
Among the athletes present were previous Olympic and World Championships medallists in athletics, judo, archery, wrestling and more. It was a special privilege to meet Alberto Juantorena who in 1976 became the only athlete ever to win both the 400 and 800 metre Olympic titles. He is now President of Cuba’s Olympic Committee and Vice President of the National Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER). In February this year, during a solidarity brigade in Cuba, Rock Around the Blockade donated £650 worth of sports equipment to INDER to contribute to its 'Project for Life', which promotes open air physical activity in all communities throughout the country.
In socialist Cuba access to sport is a right, not a privilege and this has been reflected in Cuba’s sporting success in the international arena. In the Olympics, Cuban medals per capita have consistently seen them among the top performing countries in the world. There are 110 athletes, including 45 women, competing in 14 of the 26 Olympic disciplines in London 2012. While the Olympics as an institution has a history of corruption and racism, RCG and RATB activists will be wishing the Cuban team all the best.
Around the country, RATB will be celebrating Moncada Day. In London, there will be a street rally outside the Angel tube station (northern line) on Saturday 28 July from 12-3pm, with music and speeches. Everyone is welcome.
The Cuban 5 came to the U.S. during the 90's to monitor the activities of anti Cuba terrorist groups operating in Miami. Their intention was to stop the attacks that since 1959 have been responsible for the deaths of almost 3,500 innocent people in Cuba. The Five are heroes to the people of Cuba who see them as unarmed defenders of their soverignty and security. They have been in prison in the United States for almost 14 years.
Reported by Joseph Manzaneda, Coordinator of Cubainformación.
Translated by Rock around the Blockade
On 23 May, the Cuban ‘dissident’ ex prisoner Diosiris Santana described a scene of police brutality towards several of his compatriots: ‘They were dragged on the floor, hit in the face and arm, one has been left with a broken nose and foot’ (1).
First published on 26 June2012 by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism
On 21 June 2012, Paraguay’s reactionary Chamber of Deputies voted 76-1 to impeach President Fernando Lugo. The Senate confirmed this with a 39-4 vote the following day.
This ‘constitutional coup’, reminiscent of the removal of President Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, has been condemned across South America. Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba refuse to recognise the change and Venezuela will cease providing oil.Brazil and Argentina have called their ambassadors home and Uruguay has expressed concern. On 25 June, the Mercosur trade bloc suspended Paraguay from taking part in a summit in Argentina.
First published June 2012 in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 227
In the context of deepening economic crisis, the US and Europe are losing their grip on Latin America as Cuba and Venezuela strengthen regional ties.
Bullies, blunders and prostitutes
The Organisation of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948 on lofty-sounding ideals including non-interference in the internal affairs of other member states. In reality, it acts as a cover for US imperialist interests in Latin America. The OAS summit held in Cartagena, Colombia, in April reflected this, as the United States once again vetoed Cuba’s attendance. Leader after leader condemned the US veto and Rafael Correa of Ecuador boycotted the meeting in protest. Even staunch US allies Mexico and Colombia demanded Cuba’s inclusion. Countries belonging to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) made it clear that without a radical change in the nature of the summits, they would not attend the OAS again. Before President Obama even arrived, his bully boy Secret Service agents were setting the imperialist tone as they were caught taking prostitutes back to their hotel, flaunting their ID cards in an arrogant attempt to get past the reception desk.
The summit ended without a final declaration. Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales abandoned the summit early after the United States refused to recognise or even discuss Argentina’s claim over the Malvinas – which Obama in any case confused with the Maldives. Hopefully this catalogue of errors sounds the death knell for the infamous OAS and signifies the decline of US influence in the region.