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.
www.revolutionarycommunist.org FRFI 238 Apr/May 2014
On 27 January, Cuban President Raul Castro and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated the first 700 metre section of a container terminal at the port of Mariel, Cuba, in a ceremony attended by the Presidents of Haiti, Bolivia, Venezuela and Guyana and the Prime Minister of Jamaica. Raul Castro declared: ‘This container terminal, and the powerful infrastructure accompanying it, are a concrete example of the optimism and confidence with which we Cubans see a socialist and prosperous future.’ The heads of state were in Havana for a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (see FRFI 237).
The Mariel Special Economic Development Zone is a 465km2 deepwater sea port and industrial park area in Artemisa Province, 45km west of Havana. The $950m development is intended to ‘increase exports, the effective substitution of imports, [promote] high-technology and local development projects, as well as contributing to the creation of new jobs’, and to stimulate foreign investment in Cuba. Mariel is the nearest port to the US. The Zone will benefit from the expansion of the Panama Canal, to be completed in 2015, and the creation of the transoceanic Nicaragua Canal by the HKND Group, expected to be completed by 2019. With world-leading technology and sufficient depth, Mariel will be able to accommodate huge post-Panamax vessels and act as a transhipment hub for the region.
A scandalous video with false images of Cuba was presented by the NGO UN Watch during the so-called VI Summit for Human Rights and Democracy held in the International Conference Centre of Geneva, Switzerland.
The video is part of the ongoing campaign of UN Watch, an NGO known as "The Trojan Horse" of the CIA in Geneva, aimed at achieving that countries such as Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia, stop being members of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy website.
During its presentation at the Summit, the UN Watch NGO, through its director Hillel Neuer, showed false images of Cuba where riot police officers appear beating some supposed Cuban young persons who are seated on the street shirtless.
Next they publish some images of about twenty of the so-called Ladies in White, women paid by the United States who were marching peacefully down a street of Havana and mix them with another group of women who have nothing to do with the Ladies in White.
Not a single police officer or a single image of repression presented by UN Watch corresponds to Cuba. Every person having lived of visited the Island knows very well that those images do not correspond to the Caribbean country. Cuban police officers wear neither those uniforms, helmets, nor those riot shields... to read more click here...
Cubanos en UK, has indentified the source of footage falsely attributed to Cuba by UN Watch:
It was incorporated into this Cubainformación video which shows Spanish police violently attacking unarmed Spanish youth sitting on the ground. Ironically, Cubainformación had used the clip in a video exposing the hypocrisy of the Spanish and other western politicians and media who denounce imaginary ‘human-rights abuses’ in Cuba, while perpetuating them against their own citizens. That video is available here: http://youtu.be/BHQvyifbRfw
We suggest this documentary be seen by UN Watch and multiple other ‘humanitarian’ organisations which act as fronts for imperialist interests around the world, whilst maintaining silence about the murder and abuse of citizens in the west. In the United States, a black man is murdered by US ‘law enforcement officers’ on average every 28 hours. Almost every one of the police responsible has got off without prison time or any other punishment. To understand the full horror of the situation see this shocking video by the US-based Party for Socialism and Liberation:
The Hummingbird Tweet: An Espionage Tale
by ALFREDO LOPEZ www.counterpunch.org
For two years, starting in 2010, the United States Agency for International Development ran a social networking service — similar to Twitter — for the Cuban people. Its long-term objective was to forment popular revolt against the government and de-stabilize the country.
They called it “ZunZuneo” (Cuban slang for a hummingbird’s “tweet”) and launched it under absolute secrecy about who was really running it. “There will be absolutely no mention of United States government involvement,” according to a 2010 memo from one of the companies supposedly running the service. “This is absolutely crucial for the long-term success of the service and to ensure the success of the mission.”
The “mission” was to reach a critical mass of Cuban users by offering tweets on sports, entertainment and light news over the service and signing recipients up through word of mouth — you call a phone number and your phone is hooked up. With that critical mass in place, the tweets would start getting more political: inspiring Cuban citizens to organize “smart mobs” — mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice to spark a kind of a “Cuban Spring” or, as one USAID document put it, “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.”
Cuba has historically served as a laboratory for the application of U.S. non-conventional warfare methods, Cuban media are charging today as reports about the unveiled ZunZuneo program continue to surface.
Assassination attempts, introduced diseases, support for armed counter-revolutionary grouplets, invasion, and the application of an economic, financial and trade blockade are all part of the history of Washington's aggressions against Havana over the past 50 years.
ZunZuneo, an invention of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) meant to promote destabilization in the country through a text-messaging platform similar to Twitter is one more for the list.
According to the Granma newspaper, there is a striking similarity between the data revealed by the Associated Press report, and training manuals that are part of the U.S. Army's guides for Non-Conventional Warfare, such as Training Circular (TC) 18-01.
The Cuban program of anti-vectorial struggle to control malaria and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, rats and mice continues in a satisfactory way in 18 Angolan provinces de Angola, asserted a health authority in Luanda on Friday.
Cuban doctors have filed March 26 in Havana, the result of 14 years of research, a solution of antitumor peptides whose natural analogue is able to offer positive dynamics in cancer treatments.
According to Cuban specialists, what makes this solution unique is that peptides can act in areas of the human body that are impossible to operate on or treat with chemotherapy or other modern therapies.
A clear example of the success of the new method is the child, Leo, who was suffering from brain cancer. Now the boy looks like a regular guy and it is hard to tell at first glance that a few months ago he won a battle against death. The place where Leo had the tumor did not allow submission to the operation he needed, as undergoing the operation meant running a great risk of losing his life. The only possible remedy was using the minor drug developed by Cuban researchers Labiofam business group based on natural peptides.
Brasilia, 31 March Presna Latina
The "More Doctors" Program will have about 13,235 health experts in April, to assist about 46 million Brazilians, the country's President Dilma Rousseff stated today.We are going to fulfill the objectives proposed almost one year ago, when we conceive the "More Doctors" program, to expand free health care throughout Brazil, Rousseff said in her usual Monday radio program Coffee with the President.
We have now 9,490 physicians distributed in 3,025 municipalities and 31 special indigenous districts, ensuring direct health care to 33 million citizens near their houses, the president stressed.
We will resolve with this the 80 percent of people's health problems, because doctors provide the first medical aid, reducing emergency
services at hospitals.Rousseff stated that recent researches confirm the positive results of this program, which includes national and foreign physicians.
The presence of Cuban physicians in Brazil was achieved after the signing in July of an agreement between the Pan-American health
Organization and authorities from this nation
Socialist Cuba has paid tribute to ‘the heroine of Moncada’, Melba Hernandez, who recently died at the age of 92. She was one of two women who took part in the historic Moncada Barracks assault which led to the 26th July Movement and the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.
Melba died of complications related to diabetes on 2 March in Havana. She was born on 28 July, 1921, in the town of Cruces, in the former Las Villas province, today’s Villa Clara. She graduated as a Lawyer from Havana University in 1943. A Cuban Communist Party statement released the day after her death read ‘She is one of the most glorious and beloved combatants of the revolutionary quest, [and an] imperishable example of the Cuban woman.’
Melba was responsible for obtaining 100 army uniforms prior to the Moncada assault. Herself and fellow combatant Haydee Santamaria sewed army rank insignia onto the uniforms, in a farm house in the hours before the assault. Both women were arrested and, while incarcerated, witnessed the torture and deaths of many of their comrades. Melba was instrumental in smuggling correspondence whilst imprisoned. She smuggled a letter from Fidel Castro, denying the lie that he was too ill to represent himself legally. Once free, she maintained correspondence with Fidel, who sent her the text of his famous court speech ‘History Will Absolve Me’, which became a programme for the 26th July Movement.
Cuban-American groups gathered in the city of Miami, Florida, demanded the lifting of the U.S. economic and financial blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 50 years, local media reported today.
The conference was sponsored by four organizations that back the improvement of ties between the two countries, including the Cuban-American for Relations (known as CAFE), the Foundation for Normalization of Relations, Generation Cubano Change and Educational Travel to Cuba.
Those attending the event, held on Saturday, discussed the bilateral dynamics in recent years and called for the abolition of all kinds of unilateral sanctions of Washington against Havana, in order to boost bilateral trade and restore normal relations between the two countries.
Arturo Lopez-Levy, director of CAFE, demanded the White House to remove Cuba from the list of terrorist countries and questioned that the Caribbean nation is seen as a threat to U.S. national security, the newspaper The Miami Herald said.
The expert said that most Cubans living in this country oppose the blockade, which he described as illegal, contrary to international law and condemned on multiple occasions by the UN General Assembly. A recent survey by the Atlantic Council of the United States shows that 56 percent of Americans support the normalization of relations with Cuba, and that figure reaches 63 percent in Florida, which has the largest population of Cuban Americans.
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 17 www.cubanews.ain.cu
Some 1 684 Cuban doctors made up the seventh medical contingent to offer services in Brazil, making it up for a total of 11 thousand 430 physicians as agreed to between Cuba and the Brazilian government as part of the program known More Doctors.
Nearly 100 percent of all those Cuban specialists have met internationalist missions in previous occasions, according to Granma newspaper.
During a ceremony with the doctors on Sunday, Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales said that the professionals have expressed their commitment to their mission, since most of them had just finished their work in Venezuela.
Brazilian health official Angela Cristina Pistelli, who is advisor to the cabinet of the Labor and Education Secretariat at Brazil's Health Ministry stressed the importance of the Cuban mission , which has the support of over 80 percent of the Brazilian people.
The ceremony was attended by the general secretary of the Cuban Workers' Confederation Ulises Guilarte and deputy health minister Marcia Cobas, along Brazilian and Cuban health officials.
This video shows Elizardo Sánchez and his wife, Baby, selling the equipment they receive from the United States to perform their work as 'dissidents'. The video was filmed by fellow dissidents, in protest that they are not receiving resources sent via this dissident 'vanguard' to be shared out between them all. It shows how US taxpayers' money ends up being used in the 'dissident' business.
Elizardo Sánchez is one of the main characters behind accusations of supposed human rights abuses in Cuba. Not only does he earn a living by reporting fictional mass arrests on the island, he also sells computers, printers, portable DVDs, mobile phones, and so on, on the black market.
This video shows the internal contradictions within the counter-revolutionary movement and the mercenary character of those individuals who are prepared to sell their country to the US government.
The United States government invests at least $20 million annually attempting to create a loyal and viable opposition in Cuba to assist in the objective of regime change. The policy has failed throughout the 55 years of Revolution.
Public Meeting: Women in Cuba
@ Apple Tree Pub
45 Mount Pleasant, Clerkenwell London WC1X 0AE.
Tube: Chancery Lane. Bus: 341, 19, 38
In Britain, it is working class women who are hardest hit by the savage austerity program. All around the world, women bear the brunt of the racism, violence and oppression which characterises a world dominated by imperialism. Another way is possible.
Socialist Cuba, which fought to liberate itself from imperialism, has been developing a new society since the triumph of the revolution in 1959. Women are a driving force of the revolution, and the democratic organisation of society to meet peoples needs ensures that women are represented in all sectors of society.
Vilma Espin was among the leading woman who fought with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to overthrow the Bataista dictatorship. Afterwards, she was instrumental in establishing the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) - the first mass organisation established in revolutionary Cuba. The FMC is an independent body which represents the interests of women throughout society. 4 million women are affiliated. Women make up 73% of the technically qualified workforce in Cuba and in the municipalities over half of the Popular Power representatives are women. The FMC know that their work is not complete, and they continue to struggle and organise for progress within the revolution. From contraception and childcare, housing and employment, to representations of women and sexism, women are discussing, organising and taking action.
Come along to our public meeting to hear more about the advances for Cuban women, and how we can take lessons from their struggle in the fight against austerity and oppression in Britain.
Facebook event: Public Meeting: Women in Cuba
Meeting organise by Rock around the Blockade: www.ratb.org.uk
Call to action from CISPES - Wednesday 12 March 2014
It’s hard to believe that only two days have passed since the FMLN’s thrilling victory on Sunday night – so much has happened in the meantime. The right-wing is moving swiftly to derail the democratic process and stop Salvador Sanchez Ceren from being announced as president – we need your help.
RATB hosts international rally in London
The sun was out in London, as members of Rock around the Blockade (RATB) were joined by activists, writers, musicians and academics from around the world to demand freedom for the Cuban Five and to show solidarity with socialist Cuba. The rally was held in support of the International Committee of Inquiry into the Case of the Cuban Five, which took place in London over the previous two days.
Supporting organisations included the US National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, Free the Cuban 5 Committee - Vancouver, The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), London Guantánamo Campaign, Cubainformación TV, Marcha Patriotica (Colombia), Cuba Solidarity (Barcelona, Dublin, and Copenhagen), Revolutionary Communist Group, Hands Off Venezuela, Cubanos en UK, Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), MERU Verdadero, Communist League, Movimento Micaela Bastidas (UK), Coordinadora de Cubanos Residentes en Francia, Colectivo entre Amigos (Francia).
The rally was opened with a speech from Kenia Serano from ICAP, who thanked RATB for the initiative of organising the rally and inviting those representatives who had travelled to London for the Commission. Other important speakers included Gloria La Riva (National Committee to Free the Cuban Five), Janine (Free the Cuban 5 Committee - Vancouver), Bill (Ireland Cuba Solidarity), Jairo (Marcha Patriotica), as well as speakers from the Revolutionary Communist Group, which set up RATB in 1995.
At Trafalgar Square an enormous Cuban flag made by supporters was unveiled, accompanied by banners and placards highlighting imperialism’s role in trying to undermine Cuban self-determination and efforts to build socialism throughout Latin America.
The protesters condemned the British government’s refusal to grant a visa to Rene Gonzalez, the first of the Cuban Five to have been released, and consequently preventing him from attending the Commission of Inquiry in London. Rene returned to Cuba in 2013 after serving his sentence in the US and is now a tireless campaigner for the release of his three comrades (Antonio, Ramon, and Gerardo) who face much longer sentences. Fernando Gonzalez was the second of the Cuban Five to have been released and returned to Cuba just days ago.
During the two days preceding the rally, RATB members were among 300 people who attended the International Commission on 8 and 9 March to hear from witnesses and experts about the case of the Cuban Five and about the six decades of terrorism against the Cuban people, launched from the US, which the five Cuban agents set out to prevent. Family members of the Cuban Five were present, as well as Cubans whose loved ones had been killed in such terrorist attacks.
RATB activists in Newcastle and Glasgow also held vibrant demonstrations in support of the Cuban Five. They explained the Five’s case and the need to defend socialist Cuba to the public and argued that the social benefits of the Cuban Revolution should serve as an example in the fight against cuts and privatisation in austerity Britain.
RATB will continue to contribute to the international movement demanding justice for the Cuban Five and redouble its commitment to support and defend Cuban socialism. The rally was a great forum to strengthen our links and unity with other groups from around the world to consolidate future collaboration and solidarity.
Who are The Cuban Five?
Fernando, Ramon, Antonio, Gerardo and Rene are five Cuban men arrested in Miami in 1998, convicted on trumped up charges and condemned to long prison sentences. They were in fact trying to prevent acts of terrorism against Cuba by infiltrating violent anti-Cuban groups in Miami. None of the charges against them involved violence, weapons or damage to property. Since 1959, nearly 3,500 Cubans have died and over 2,000 have been injured as a result of terrorist attacks or aggression – mainly launched from Miami. To read more about the history of the Cuban Five click here.
The Revolutionary Communist Group and its campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba, Rock Around the Blockade (RATB), send their condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Bob Crow, who died this morning. Bob Crow was the militant and vociferous General Secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, one of only two major British trade unions to have disaffiliated from the Labour Party.