Milagro de la Caridad Pérez Caballero, a member of the National Secretariat of Cuba's CTC labor federation (Cuban Workers' Central), began a speaking tour in Spain on April 14. Spain's Coordinating Organization for Solidarity with Cuba organized her trip. Her interview with journalist Enric Llopis appeared May 29 on rebelion.org. The link is:http://www.rebelion.org
The opening for emerging sectors like self employed workers or cooperatives, or the arrival of foreign investment in Cuba doesn't mean enterprises of the socialist state will no longer predominate in the country's economy. To the contrary, "That sector assumes the major burden for developing the economy," says Milagro de la Caridad Pérez Caballero, deputy of the National Assembly of People's Power and member of the National Secretariat of the CTC. The labor leader participated in a discussion of "New labor relations and Cuban unionism in the context of updating socialism," organized by the José Martí Cuba Friendship Association of Valencia.
Question: The 20th Congress of the Cuba Workers' Central (CTC) was held in February. What were the main conclusions?
The production-sharing agreement for the Puerto Escondido/Yumuri oil field will now sunset in March 2028. During the new 10-year term, Sherritt — currently Cuba’s only independent oil and gas producer — must drill a minimum of seven additional wells within an initial two-year period following the effective date in 2018.
In the same press release, the Toronto-based company said it was awaiting final approval by the Cuban government for four new exploratory production-sharing contracts, after having completed negotiations.
“After more than two decades in the country, we have developed a great relationship with the government of Cuba,” said David Pathe, president and CEO of Sherritt. “We are pleased to announce this extension as an important milestone towards continuing long-term oil production in Cuba.”
Sherritt currently works under two production-sharing contracts in three commercial oil fields, which contributed an average of 20,042 barrels of gross working-interest oil production per day in 2013.
Sherritt invested US$67 million in oil and gas during the first quarter, most of it in Cuba.
Hugo Moldiz Mercado Granma International
In a tactical shift toward Bolivia, the U.S. State Department has sent Jefferson Brown to the country, indicating a likely increase in subversive activity against the Morales government. He was apparently sent to clean house, and replace all embassy personnel in preparation for the July arrival of a new attaché, Peter Brennan, an uncommon diplomatic practice.
It appears that the White House has decided to make a turn - for the worse - in its relations with Bolivia. After removing Larry Memmott, considered a dove in U.S. secret services circles, the State Department has sent Jefferson Brown, as interim business attaché, who will remain on the job only through June, before handing over the position to the much more experienced hawk, Peter Brennan.
Changes at the U.S. embassy in La Paz are not limited to replacing the business attaché, the highest ranking official present in the country since President Evo Morales expelled Ambassador Philip Golberg in 2008, for engaging in subversive activity in conjunction with hard-line opposition forces in the city of Santa Cruz. All indications point toward the replacement of the entire staff, giving greater weight to secret services and an increase in efforts to destabilize the Morales government, within the framework of a regional counter-offensive.
Enemigo by Raúl Capote, Editorial Jose Marti, 2011 (in Spanish)
Review by Raidel López
In Enemigo (Enemy), Cuban writer and university professor of history, Raúl Capote, reveals his life as a double agent; agent Pablo for the CIA, and agent Daniel for Cuban intelligence. This is not a work of fiction or a classic spy novel. It is the real experience narrated by the protagonist about plans by the CIA and its allies to destroy the Cuban Revolution. His story reveals one of the many facets of the US war against Cuba. For over half a century plans of espionage, sabotage, terrorist attacks, assassination, subversion, military, economic and political aggression, have been made and executed from the US. Most of these plans have failed, thanks to the work and sacrifice of men like Capote.
The US is seeking more than €7.4 billion ($10 billion) to resolve a criminal probe into allegations that the French bank evaded US sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
BNP – the largest publicly traded French bank – is seeking to pay less than $8 billion, the newspaper reported citing people familiar with the case.
Still, the multibillion dollar figure would put the fine among the largest penalties ever imposed on a bank and is far higher than what BNP has provisioned for.
A $10 billion settlement figure would represent a "hit" of around 5 percent to the bank's tangible book value and result in a €5 per share impact on the fair value of BNP Paribas stock, Citigroup analysts said.
The US Justice Department and BNP are reportedly currently discussing whether the French banking giant, as part of its punishment, would be temporarily denied the right to transfer money into and out of the United States – a central part of any foreign bank's business dealings in the US.
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.Edited by Walter Lippmann.
In light of the recent and ongoing military activities of the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are increasing reasons to question the claim that --because of the crisis over Ukraine, Syria and the suspension of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians-- the region has lost importance in the imperial strategic design of the superpower.
U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has just visited Guatemala after participating in the Second Conference of Defense Ministers of North America which was held in Mexico.
Mexico's armed forces had been hosting the "Chimaltlalli 2014," international competition, a military training contest for cadets of the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico held on the premises of the Heroico Colegio Militar de México.
With advice from the U.S. Southern Command, special force units of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Forces held an air and sea military simulation assault exercise on the supposed headquarters of a drug lord. It was announced that this exercise was part of a larger month-long training exercise designed to strengthen the response capability of the local authorities against terrorist activities.
The "Bravo" joint assault force of the Southern Command, based in Honduras, along with the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, executed a very peculiar training session at Lake Yojoa. While the helicopter pilots practiced their overwater operations exercising their capacity to operate at low altitude, the members of the strike force practiced jumping from helicopters at a height of ten feet above water.
Tube: Warren Street
Their fight is our fight - Come to this meeting to help break the media blockade and join the fightback.
ACN 23 May
Cuban medical cooperation, which began over half a century ago, has been present in about 120 countries with 135,000 voluntary workers, pointed out Roberto Morales, member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and minister of this sector.
Morales chairs the 67th World Health Assembly under way this week in Geneva, Switzerland, where he said that at present over 50,000 health professionals are offering their services in 65 nations, 25,000 of which are physicians.
Doctor Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) praised in that meeting the medical cooperation that has increased health indicators in various peoples, in the presence of the 194 representatives of the same number of nations that are members of that international organization.
In statements to ACN, Doctor Jose Luis Di Fabio, representative to Cuba of the WHO and the Pan-American Health organizations, praised these contributions and also described as invaluable the training of human resources, not only for the Cuban people but also for nations in need.
He underlined the training at Havana's Latin American Medical School, free of charge, of some 15,000 physicians coming from the most vulnerable populations of various parts of the world, who after graduation return to their countries to serve their communities
Following the release of '14ymedio' the new online newspaper published by the infamous internationally funded blogger Yoani Sanchez, RATB reposts an opinion article from La Alborada 27 May
For more information on Yoani Sanchez see Salim Lamrani's excellent '40 questions for Yoani Sanchez'
Vice-president Joe Biden gave Yoani Sanchez an interview (exclusive!) in time for her new venture's debut. Or so it's said: she once published what she said was an on-line interview with President Barack Obama, but it turned out that both questions and answers were prepared at the US Interests Section in Havana and subsequently attributed to Obama, who never was interviewed by Sanchez. The Biden interview may have followed the same route. It's hard to believe the internet maven.
It's not fresh news, either, because, according to Sanchez, the interview took place in April, at least 28 days ago, while she was in Washington. She was saving the article for yesterday.
Bacardi recently launched their latest deep saturation advertising campaign, with videos on TV, cinema, and YouTube and bill hoardings in train stations and tube stations and bus stops. The adverts brandish the Cuban flag, with slogans such as ‘we survived exile from our own country’ and ‘we thrived during prohibition’. Bacardi, the richest family-owned business in the world has an army of lawyers and marketing and public relations professionals, to clean up their murky past and right-wing agenda. Scratch the surface, however, and the truth is there.
Bacardi began leaving Cuba long before the revolution, back in 1910 when they moved their bottling to Barcelona, Spain. Later in the 1930s they opened facilities in Mexico and Puerto Rico. This information can found on Bacardi’s own website. Bacardi boasts about how they benefited from the abuse of Cuba as a colonial playground for wealthy Americans during the prohibition years. However, they also claim that their assets were ‘illegally confiscated without compensation’ by the Cuban government in 1960. In fact, they were offered compensation by the revolutionary government, a sum based on the value of the assets they had themselves declared for tax payment purposes. The figure didn’t take into account the international holdings the family held. Pepin Bosch, head of Bacardi at the time of the Cuban Revolution, a man referred to as ‘the saviour’ on Bacardi’s website, was linked to the CIA and exiles groups actively involved in sabotaging and attacked revolutionary Cuba. Later, he and other members of the Bacardi family helped set up the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). Membership was initially admitted to Cuban exiles whose businesses were worth more than $50,000 when they were nationalised by the Cuban government. This exclusive club used their wealth to buy power, cultivating the support of influential right-wing US senators. The fruit of this partnership was the Helms-Burton Act in 1996, which penalises any country trading with Cuba. Even the European Union questioned the legality of the Act, but CANF lawyers found a loophole around this.
The establishment of the campaign Rock around the Blockade (www.ratb.org.uk), set up by members of the Revolutionary Communist Group, coincided with this period. One of RATB’s most prominent campaigns was to expose and oppose the Bacardi corporation highlighting their involvement in the illegal blockade and terrorism against Cuba and progressive movements in Latin America. We did Bacardi bar busts, street theatre, subvertising and appealed for conscientious drinkers to choose Havana Club, real Cuban rum, whose profits are invested in Cuban society. A really useful source of information about Bacardi’s history was the book Bacardi: the Hidden War (Bacardi: La Guerra Oculta) by Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina. This review of the book appeared in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in 2001 http://tinyurl.com/ldlawu3 . The following year the book was published in English with a forward from James Petras.
Rock Around the Blockade photos from our previous Boycott Bacardi campaign.
www.freethefive.org National Committee to Free the Cuban 5
Yesterday morning, the Cuban Ministry of the Interior (MININT) announced that on April 26, four terrorists who live in Miami were arrested for plotting terrorist attacks on Cuba soil. Their names are José Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodríguez González, Raibel Pacheco Santos and Félix Monzón Álvarez.
According to the MININT report, the men have admitted that they planned to attack military installations and they had entered Cuba several times since 2013 to plot their actions.
Santiago Álvarez, Osvaldo Mitat, Manuel Alzugaray, collaborators with terrorist Luis Posada Carriles,were directing the plotters
The four men who are now detained in Cuba have admitted to Cuban authorities that Santiago Álvarez, Osvalto Mitat and Manuel Alzugaray were directing their actions.
Granma Lisandra Fariñas Acosta
Opening minds and breaking new ground
For the first time, Cuba will host the VI Regional Conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC), to be held in tandem with the VII Cuban Workshop against Homophobia.
The VI Regional Conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC) will be held in Cuba for the first time, on this occasion in parallel with the VII Cuban Workshop against Homophobia.
From May 6 thru 9, Matanzas city’s Plaza América Convention Center will be the venue of this event organized in favor of the recognition of sexual such as freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights.
National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) director Mariela Castro Espín said in a press conference that the ILGALAC meetings reflect the increasingly stronger and closes links of fraternity and respect of diversity in the region. “If we fail to develop bonds based on our views to have the political influence we need, we will not make any progress”.
One of the most significant presentations made at the International Commission of Inquiry in London in the case of the Cuban Five was by Angela Wright of Amnesty International. A.I. has now released its full report, which you can read by clicking here.
A.I.'s thorough investigation reviews the legal history of the case, noting for example that the 3-judge Appeals Court panel, which ordered a new trial for the Five (later reversed by the full Court), decreed that the evidence submitted in support of the motion for a change of venue was "massive".
A.I. puts the spotlight on the fact that Miami reporters who reported on the Cuban Five prosecution in a highly biased and inflammatory manner were on the U.S. government payroll, an outrageous situation entirely unknown during trial.
Published on May 1, 2014
Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square) shuddered again this May as thousands and thousands of Havana residents marched in support of the revolution and for the future of an even better, more efficient socialism even better and more efficient. This year, the march was opened by a block of health workers, demonstrating their centrality to the historic contribution Socialist Cuba has provided to its citizens and the world.
By JOSE MANZANEDA– CUBA INFORMACION, April 28th 2014
In the last two months 162 aggressions against Cuban doctors in Venezuela have been registered. A few days ago, the Venezuelan government gave a medal to two of these people, who were almost burnt alive during an opposition attack on a medical centre in Lara state (1).
These attacks are the result of a huge campaign against Cuba created by the private Venezuelan media – 80% of the media in Venezuela, and totally opposition (2). The campaign has then been broadened by ally international mass media. Over the last two months the message of the supposed Cuban interference in Venezuela has intensified (3). The almost daily publication of rumours, accusations without any basis, and testimonies – some quite insane (4) – of supposed ex intelligence agents (5) have lead many people to firmly believe that it is the Cuban government which makes the main political decisions in Venezuela, or that the Cuban doctors are in reality, agents or spies (6).
In Venezuela there are over 30,000 Cuban doctors (7). They treat around 11 million people, mainly in the working class barrios which, years ago, lacked the most basic health services. Even though the doctors were first deployed on a large scale in 2003 with the inauguration of the Mission Barrio Adentro, the first doctors had already arrived in 1999 as humanitarian personnel after the grave floods in Vargas state (8).
By Jane Franklin • Published on April 28, 2014
“If only they had waited a few more years! Oh well, nobody pays any attention to dates anyway so we’ll just wing it!”
All three Cuban-American members of the U.S. Senate – Robert Menéndez, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz – wish they could say truthfully that their parents “fled Castro’s Cuba”. The embarrassing reality is that their parents left Cuba while General Fulgencio Batista was running the country after the 1952 coup that overthrew an elected government and canceled an election in which Fidel Castro was running for office.
Bacardi Rum Corporation has launched an advertising campaign, based on a ‘macho’, untameable image and posing as victims of the Cuba’s socialist revolution. In fact, Bacardi are the perpetrators of violence and injustice, not the victims.
For 55 years, Bacardi has backed illegal and violent attacks against the Cuban Revolution, including funding the Cuban-American National Foundation, a right-wing Miami-based exile organisation involved in terrorism against Cuba. During this time, more than 3,400 Cubans have been killed by terrorism and sabotage. Many of these actions funded by this corporation.
Bacardi’s lawyers helped draft the US Helms-Burton Act, which extends the US blockade of Cuba to all countries, in breach of international trade laws. Bacardi served as a conduit for funds from the CIA to mercenaries in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Angola and to saboteurs in Cuba.
[Written by RATB in 2004]
Rock around the Blockade launched a Boycott Bacardi Campaign on 13 August 1999 to highlight the organised attempts by the Bacardi company to undermine the Cuban Revolution.
In advertising its white rum, Bacardi played on its Cuban roots, misleading drinkers into believing that Bacardi had some links with the island. In fact the Bacardi empire is based in the Bahamas and the Bacardi company broke all ties with Cuba after the Revolution of 1959, when its cronies in the hated Batista dictatorship were overthrown by a popular guerrilla movement led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara.
The introduction below was given at a recent Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! discussion forum in Newcastle following discussion with Colombian comrades from JUCO - Youth Communist Party of Colombia, at the World festival of Youth and Students in Quite, Ecuador in December 2013. It summarizes the history and highlights some key issues in the struggle for national liberation that has raged for decades in Colombia.
What resources does Colombia have? In 2010, the agricultural sector contributed 7 percent of GDP, accounting for almost $20 billion. there are immense plantations of bananas, sugar cane, rice, cotton, soybeans and sorghum, and large cattle farms that produce meat and dairy products.Coffee, Flowers, are also key exports. The production of tropical fruits, palm oil, timber, shrimp, palm hearts and asparagus is increasing rapidly, with significant export potential.The world’s largest open cast coal mine is located on the peninsula of La Guajira and produces nearly 32 million tons per year, making Colombia the world’s 10th largest coal producer. The two primary destinations for Colombian coal are the Netherlands and the United States.Colombia is the third-largest crude oil producer in South America, with an average 915,000 barrels/day in 2011. Exports of oil and derivatives reached $28 billion in 2011, with main destinations being the United States and the Caribbean. Colombia is the 7th largest supplier of crude oil to the U.S.
Private foreign investment has played a key role in the development of Colombia’s energy sector. The Government has promoted this participation through special incentives, including legal stability contracts and special tax deductions. No wonder there has been such a bloodthirsty battle over the control of these resources.
Promotion of Free Trade:
Colombia is an important market for America’s farmers and ranchers. In 2010, the United States exported $832 million of agricultural products to Colombia, the second highest export total in South America. President Uribe and his successor President Santos have been central to promoting free trade in Colombia, pushing many of the agreements.
The U.S.-Colombia trade agreements went into effect on May 15, 2012. immediately eliminated duties on almost 70 percent of U.S. farm exports including wheat, barley, soy-beans, flour, beef, bacon, peanuts, whey, cotton, and the vast majority of processed products.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) has estimated that the Agreement will expand exports of U.S. goods alone by more than $1.1 billion and will increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion. (this is from office of the US http://www.ustr.gov/uscolombiatpa/facts)
Group of Three (G-3) UK France ad Germany also have trade agreements with Colombia and signed a similar agreement with the European Union last summer. European Free trade association - EFTA commenced joint free trade negotiations with Colombia and Peru in 2007, which entered into force in 2011, the EFTA is – Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Iceland, Norway)
The effect of this Free Trade – flooding Colombian markets with cheap imports whilst brutally extracting primary resources at favourable prices.Colombian Sen. Jorge Robledo.. "Colombia used to be self-sufficient in food production, but now it is importing around 10 million tons of food" a year, he said. imports are 40 percent cheaper than items produced locally.
.An Oxfam report in 2011 estimates that the with the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement CTPA average income of 1.8 million grossly under-protected small farmers will fall by 16 percent.The study concludes that 400,000 farmers who now live below the minimum wage will see their incomes drop by up to 70 percent and will thus be forced out of their livelihoods.This economic backdrop is exacerbating the causes of the civil war that has raged for over 50 years. The imperialists and their lackeys in the Colombian government are ever more desperate to obliterate insurgency in Colombia and resistance by military means or negotiating them into a corner. The methods depend on the needs at the time, military destruction with proven support from the US is effective but bad for publicity, peace talks provide a cover in order to justify international trade agreements.
www.revolutionarycommunist.org Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 238 April/May 2014
On 9 March, Faribundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren was declared a narrow winner of the presidential election in El Salvador in a run-off against Norman Quijano of the deeply reactionary Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). Ceren’s majority was just 6,600; his victory came despite ARENA death squad intimidation in some communities, employers threatening those voting for the FMLN with dismissal and appeals by ARENA members for military intervention.
A bloody history
From the mid-1970s, the US funded successive Salvadorian governments to use every imaginable method to repress popular demands for basic economic and human rights. The FMLN was formed in response as a coalition of five armed workers’ and peasants’ organisations, to defend the poor and overthrow the US-managed gangster state. By 1989, US imperialism had realised that despite the horrific Carter-Reagan strategy of mass murder, which had accounted for the lives of 100,000 people, mostly the rural poor, its puppet governments could not defeat the FMLN coalition. So it supported negotiations for peace accords which were signed in 1992, ending the 12-year civil war. However this did not stop continued attacks of every type against the working class and small peasantry, and any political party or trend that supported the FMLN. The FMLN consequently struggled to establish itself as one party, but on 15 March 2009, the FMLN’s candidate Mauricio Funes won the presidential elections, and became the first FMLN president.
Juan Pablo Sáenz is an Ecuadorian attorney and representative of the Amazon Defense Coalition (ADC). In 2011 the ADC secured one of the largest judicial victories in environmental litigation history, which saw oil multinational Chevron ordered to pay $9.5 billion in damages for environmental, social and health impacts caused by the operations of Texaco (which Chevron now owns) in Ecuador from the 1960s onwards. Sáenz has received numerous death threats for his role in the ADC legal team.
As Chevron has now disposed of all its assets in Ecuador, the ADC is having to fight for the damages to be paid through courts in the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. In March this year the ADC suffered a further setback as a US district judge ruled that ‘corrupt means’ had been used to influence the Ecuadorian court decision. Chevron had utilised more than 60 law firms and 200 legal personnel to counter-sue the ADC team under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) Act, a law originally designed to deal with organised crime in the United States. If left unchallenged this legal precedent will open the way for corporations to use RICO to see off similar claims for damges in the future. In the meantime the ADC legal team are confident that they will be able to get the damages paid through the Canadian courts.