Unprecedented in the history of international relations, the governments of four European countries - France, Spain, Italy and Portugal - have closed off their airspace this week to the Bolivian president’s airplane. Is this a case of strict compliance with international laws or further proof of the servility of European ’powers’ towards Washington? To better answer this simple question, French pundit Salim Lamrani sets out a list of 25 facts.
Agencies in Cochabamba, July 5 Bolivia' s president, Evo Morales, has warned he might close the US embassy in his country, as South America' s leftist leaders rallied to support him over the rerouting of his presidential plane.
Morales again blamed Washington for putting pressure on European countries to refuse to allow his plane to fly through their airspace on Tuesday, forcing it to land in Vienna, in what he called a violation of international law. He had been returning from a summit in Russia during which he had suggested he would be willing to consider a request from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for asylum.
"Being united will defeat American imperialism. We met with the leaders of my party and they asked us for several measures and if necessary, we will close the embassy of the United States," Morales said. "We do not need the embassy of the United States."
Imagine the aircraft of the president of France being forced down in Latin America on "suspicion&quo t; that it was carrying a political refugee to safety – and not just any refugee but someone who has provided the people of the world with proof of criminal activity on an epic scale.
Imagine the response from Paris, let alone the "international community" , as the governments of the west call themselves. To a chorus of baying indignation from Whitehall to Washington, Brussels to Madrid, heroic special forces would be dispatched to rescue their leader and, as sport, smash up the source of such flagrant international gangsterism. Editorials would cheer them on, perhaps reminding readers that this kind of piracy was exhibited by the German Reich in the 1930s.
The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales' s plane – denied airspace by France, Spain and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to "inspect" his aircraft for the "fugitive" ; Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders who dare not speak its name.
In May 2013 St. Lucia joined fellow OECS member-states Antigua, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the newest member of ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America).
The decision was announced following the VIII Meeting of the ALBA Council of Economic Complementation in Caracas on April 23, which concluded with a seven-point resolution that announced the inclusion of St. Lucia in the regional bloc.
As an Indiana working-class native, I was deeply moved after Haiti’s devastating earthquake of 2010. I was in Cuba at that time in my forth year of medical school at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).
The school sought out a group of Americans from the 2010 graduating class to incorporate into the “Brigada Medica Cubana.” This is a famous brigade that rushes to the aide of neighboring and developing countries after a disaster.
One of these new doctors and 2010 ELAM graduate, Dr. Gregory Wilkinson, still works as a general practitioner in Haiti, servicing the dilapidated communities from tents. He is completing a family practice residency program.
Wilkinson comes from Oakland, Calif., studied at Merritt Community College, and then sociology at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. With Jamaican roots, Wilkinson said he is proud and eager to complete the medical school’s scholarship requirement of working in an underserved community, as he is doing in Haiti.
Dr. Wilkinson shared his story with me about how he adapted to his new home.
On 29 April, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Organisation for Food and Agriculture (FAO), sent congratulations to Fidel Castro, historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, and the Cuban people, ‘for having fulfilled in advance the goal set by the World Food Summit, held in Rome in November 1996, that proposed to halve the number of undernourished people in each country by the year 2015.’ Da Silva adds that Fidel’s speech at that Summit still lingers in their collective memory, especially his conclusion that: ‘the bells that toll today for those who die of hunger every day, will toll tomorrow for humanity if it refused, failed or could not be wise enough to save them.’
Da Silva refers to Fidel’s comment in the subsequent press conference that even if the target were achieved ‘we would not know what to say to the other half of humanity if it would not be freed from the scourge of hunger.’ Da Silva said the FAO conference in June 2014 would finally make the total eradication of hunger its priority. He ended: ‘At that time, we will pay a tribute to Cuba and 15 other countries that have been most successful in reducing hunger’. Meanwhile UNICEF cites Cuba as the only country in Latin America free from child malnutrition.
Since 1959, nearly 3,500 Cubans have been killed and 2,100 permanently maimed as a result of terrorism launched from the United States by groups with links to the US government. Not a single US citizen has been injured or killed by terrorism linked to revolutionary Cuba. The only Cuban terrorists are counter-revolutionaries recruited by the CIA. Most infamous among them is Luis Posada Carriles, who lives freely in Miami. President Obama has excelled in the US practice of state terror: through its occupying armies, support for dictators, rendition flights, torture of prisoners, forced feeding of hunger strikers in Guantanamo prison camp, drone-strike assassinations around the world and repression of internal dissent. Yet in the topsy turvy world of imperialism, the US labels socialist Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism and points to black revolutionary Assata Shakur to prove it. HELEN YAFFE reports.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-935928-89-8. Ebook ISBN 978-1-935928-90-4
Jack Colhoun is a journalist and archive researcher with a distinguished record of investigating US foreign policy in Vietnam, Cambodia and the Middle East and publicising the impact of special interest lobbies on domestic politics like the Obama Healthcare legislation. He was the leader of the draft and military resistance registers exiled in Canada during the Vietnam War.
The author laboured for nineteen years over source material, primarily the US intelligence documents on Cuba from the John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection (JFKAC) at National Archives II in Maryland. This archive collection was created by the President Kennedy Act of 1992, which mandated the declassification of documents with possible relevance to Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963.i The declassified documents offer new insights into US policy making: from Eisenhower’s decision to seek the overthrow of the Cuban revolution in November 1959; to the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961; to Kennedy’s provocative Operation Mongoose in 1962; to the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962; to Kennedy’s covert funding of ‘autonomous’ Cuban exile commando operations in 1963; to back-channel discussions between the Kennedy Administration and Castro in the weeks before President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963; and President Lyndon Johnson’s de-escalation of US policy in Cuba .
Cuba will expand public internet services during June in some 118 cyber centers operating throughout the country, according to a resolution issued by the island’s Communications Ministry.
The Internet services will be offered in all commercial offices of the Cuban Telecommunications Company ETECSA, which count on Internet rooms. With this aim a total of 118 facilities were set up on the island, particularly in main cities, while other similar facilities will progressively be opened.
First published 8 May 2013 by Jorge Martin
See www.marxist.com for video
You couldn’t have made it up. A family of Cuban “dissidents” brought to Spain by the Spanish government over two years ago found themselves evicted from their home in Alicante by the police because they couldn’t afford to pay the rent. Now they say they want to go back to Cuba!
Gilberto Martínez, 50, and his family, arrived in Spain in 2011, as part of a group of a few hundred Cuban “dissidents” in an agreement between the Spanish Socialist Party government, the Cuban government and the Catholic Church. As part of the deal these so-called political exiles were entitled to receive benefits and financial help and they were also given accommodation.
Ironically, with the arrival of the right-wing Popular Party government in November 2011, some of the benefits they were receiving were abolished as part of the austerity cuts. Now, these opponents of the Cuban revolution found themselves in the middle of an acute capitalist crisis in which millions of workers have lost their jobs and as a consequence hundreds of thousands of families have been evicted from their homes.
In July last year they stopped paying their rent of 400 euro a month and then from September they could no longer afford to pay for electricity or water. After the end of the special government subsidies, the exiles had had to rely on charity aid from the Red Cross and Caritas, but even that had dried up.
On May 7, the police arrived at their flat with the intention of enforcing an eviction order for non-payment of rent. Evictions and repossessions of homes have reached epidemic proportions in Spain as a result of the capitalist crisis. In dozens of cities and towns across the country people have organised anti-eviction campaigns (Plataformas de Afectados por las Hipotecas, StopDesahucios) and are using all means at their disposal to highlight the issue and resist evictions and repossessions.
A group of 80 activists had gathered outside the flat to try to prevent the Cuban family from being thrown out. There have been many small victories of the anti-evictions movement. This was not to be one of them, however. Two people were arrested, four were injured and a family of five found themselves out on the streets without a roof over their heads. This was the balance-sheet of a day in the life of capitalist democracy enforced by the armed bodies of men in defence of private property. Ah, but the democratic right of the owner of the flat to make a profit on it was dutifully protected.
3 May 2013 www.freethefive.org
In a huge development in the case of the Cuban Five, the court has finally granted a motion, first made last June, to allow René González to serve the remaining portion of his three-year parole in Cuba, after which he will of course be able to remain in Cuba, outside the jurisdiction of the court. Until this time, the court has required him to spend that parole at an undisclosed location in Florida, requiring him to remain in virtual seclusion because of the danger to his life from the very terrorists whose plots he and the other members of the Five came to the U.S. to expose.
René has been in Cuba for two weeks to attend a memorial service for his father Cándido, who died recently.
Phil Horowitz, Rene's attorney, said: "Rene and I are happy that he will be able to be permanently reunited with his family. Rene's exemplary conduct shows that these are not individuals that the government has made them out to be. We are just so happy and will take all the steps pursuant to the court order."
The 7-page court order by Judge Joan Lenard (click to download), describes the requirements for his right to remain in Cuba. The principal requirement is that he renounce his citizenship, which he willingly offered to do previously (René held dual U.S.-Cuban citizenship). To renounce a U.S. citizenship, it must be done outside of the United States, as per U.S. federal code, Section 1481 a(5).
We are extremely happy for René, who has, along with his Cuban Five brothers, been unduly punished for being a proud defender of his people, his homeland and the Cuban Revolution.
This development must give all the Cuban Five supporters great inspiration to continue the fight so that Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio and Fernando can return home immediately
Statement by H.E. Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, during the presentation of the National Report to the Universal Periodic Review performed by the Human Rights Council. Geneva, May 1st, 2013
Cuba is honored to present its second National Report to the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism (UPR) performed by the Human Rights Council. It does so feeling proud of its humane work and its performance to ensure the enjoyment of all human rights by all its citizens.
The economic, political and media blockade imposed by the United States which Cuba has resisted undefeated for more than fifty years, is a mass, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights which causes damages, scarcities and hardships, but has not managed to hinder the provision of equal opportunities, the equitable distribution of wealth or the realization of social justice.
The relentless attempts by the United States to impose a “change of regime” on the Cuban people is a serious violation of its right to self-determination, which has failed to prevent the active, democratic and direct participation of its citizens in the construction of its constitutional order, the decisions adopted by its government or the election of its authorities.
Appearing before this Council is a country without persons who are helpless or deprived from their dignity; where there are no children lacking quality education; where there are no ill persons lacking a dedicated medical assistance or senior citizens devoid of social protection. Ours is a nation where there are no workers, peasants, intellectuals or students whose rights are not protected by law; a place where public safety is guaranteed; where there is no organized crime or drugs. Appearing before this Council is a united people, with a profound social cohesion; a State where there has not been a single extrajudicial execution; where there are no tortured or disappeared persons; where there are no kidnaps or secret prisons.
This exercise is being held on the International Workers’ Day, which is being joyfully celebrated in Cuba by millions of compatriots and hundreds of friends from all over the world in all streets and squares. They do so as free men and women, in the defense of the rights they have achieved. They are not masses of people who are rightfully outraged, or workers who have lost their jobs, or students besieged by high costs or debts, or immigrants persecuted for reasons of selfishness, racism or xenophobia. May our solidarity go to all those who are struggling, anywhere in this planet, for human rights for all, for peace and development, for the survival of the human species, which is being threatened by colossal arsenals and climate change.
Cuba has become a world-class medical powerhouse with very limited resources, while “the US squanders perhaps 10 to 20 times what is needed for a good, affordable medical system.” As a result, the Cuban infant mortality rate is “below that of the US and less than half that of US Blacks,” and Americans can hardly claim to have a health care system.
by Don Fitz www.realcuba.wordpress.com
“Cuban-trained doctors know their patients by knowing their patients’communities.”
Furious though it may be, the current debate over health care in the US is largely irrelevant to charting a path for poor countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands. That is because the US squanders perhaps 10 to 20 times what is needed for a good, affordable medical system. The waste is far more than 30% overhead by private insurance companies. It includes an enormous amount of over-treatment, making the poor sicker by refusing them treatment, creation of illnesses, exposure to contagion through over-hospitalization, and disease-focused instead of prevention-focused research.
Poor countries simply cannot afford such a health system. Well over 100 countries are looking to the example of Cuba, which has the same 78-year life expectancy of the US while spending 4% per person annually of what the US does.
We wake up in the morning and the media tells us about the world. Among the deluge of headlines in recent days one figure stands out which defies simple mathematical analysis: 48.86% of deputies to the Cuban National Assembly are women. This is an event which cannot be overlooked by the National Secretariat of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) and one we wish to share with our people.
The 299 recently elected deputies did not reach their seats as the result of a quota policy, a strategy utilized in various countries of the world to promote gender equality. They are in the Assembly on the basis of their own merit and popular recognition of that merit. They are a reflection of the development achieved in all spheres of the country’s economic, political and social life set in motion by the Revolution within the Revolution, or the process for equality of rights, possibilities and opportunities between women and men.
An analysis of the 2012 World Map of Women in Politics allows us to appreciate the relevance of this fact beyond our borders: the average of women parliamentarians at the global level is below 20%. Thus, the 48.86% places us as one of the countries of the world with the highest female representation in Parliament.
Nicolas Maduro, candidate of the Bolivarian Revolution, has won the 14 April snap presidential election with 50.66 percent of the vote against 49.07 percent for his neoliberal challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. With the turn out at nearly 79 percent of the electorate, the results were announced with 99.12 percent of the votes totalled and were considered an irreversible trend.
Carrying out the premeditated plan exposed by the Bolivarian government, Capriles and the opposition have refused to recognise the result declaring to Nicolas Maduro, ‘The one who has been defeated is you and everything you represent’. The national electoral body, the CNE, will now conduct a citizens’ audit of 100 percent of the ballot boxes, with the backing of both candidates. Maduro stated: ‘Let’s do it! No problem. Perhaps they will find that my victory will be larger’.
'Arnold August’s 'Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motio'n is an exceptional work that will succeed in the objective of educating its audience. It will assist toward broadening the outlook of all those who read it.
The chapter on democracy in the United States is among the best critical analyses I have read of the American nation’s formation, ideology and political system. The documents linked to the book in the website www.democracyintheus.com have struck me as being very interesting and educational. The commentaries are brief but they go to the very essence of each of the themes, clarifying the reasons for which the political elite in this country operate the way that they do. Everything related to the Puritans and their thought, as well as other idiosyncrasies of the ideology that gave birth to the genesis of this nation, is of great interest, seeing that throughout history they are reflected in domestic and international policy.
Oakland, CA April 8th(IC)
Yesterday another incident of injustice against one of the Cuban 5 took place at the Victorville Penitentiary in the high Mojave desert of California.
In a planned visit well known actor and social activist Danny Glover was prohibited from visiting Gerardo Hernandez. Glover, who has visited Gerardo on 9 different occasions since 2010, was told that he would not be admitted because they did not know he was coming. This is an arbitrary decision; any person who is on a prisoner's list has a right to visitation. Glover had flown yesterday morning from Northern California and then rented a car to reach the remote location of the prison 10 miles outside of Victorville only to have to turn around and go back without having seeing his friend. Undaunted Danny Glover has made it clear that he will return to Victorville soon.