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CARICOM’s Travel Bubble – Something to aspire to

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Four Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have from yesterday put arrangements in place for operating a travel bubble as part of the efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Barbados ambassador to Caricom, David Comissiong, has said.

In a statement, Comissiong said that St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados have all put their arrangements in place and have commenced operating the bubble, which went into effect last Friday in keeping with a decision made at a special emergency meeting of Caricom leaders earlier this month.

“The defining feature of a COVID-19 travel bubble is that persons entitled to participate in the travel bubble are not required to take COVID-19 tests nor to undergo a period of quarantine in order to travel to countries that are within the bubble,” Comissiong said.

“Our Caricom heads of government took a major step towards resuscitating the COVID-19-challenged travel and tourism sectors, with their agreement to institute a travel bubble among Caricom member states and associate members which meet the agreed criteria,” he added.

He said the regional leaders took the decision after they acknowledged that the past six months have been a very challenging period globally and regionally, as countries have struggled to cope with the effects of the novel coronavirus.

“They noted that for Caricom, it has been particularly difficult, given the high dependence in most of the economies on the travel and tourism sectors,” Comissiong said, noting that in agreeing to establish the bubble the regional leaders were guided by a comprehensive report from the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which provided recommendations on how the bubble would operate, and laid out the eligibility criteria for countries to participate.

He said the recommendations included that countries would be categorised ranging from those with no cases to those which had low, medium, high, and very high risk with respect to the rate of positive cases over a 14-day period; the level of risk would be determined by the number of positive cases per 100,000 of the population within a 14-day period.

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The Story behind Soberana (Sovereign) – the name of Cuba’s Covid-19 Vaccine

A name identifies, makes unique, and enamors… It is a calling card and can convey confidence and pride, which is exactly what occurred this month of August, when the people of Cuba heard the long-awaited news that our scientists had come up with an idea, an idea they turned into a vial of vaccine in just three months’ time, as one researcher said.

Author: Yisell Rodríguez Milán | informacion@granmai.cu

Soberana is the name given Cuba’s first candidate vaccine, which began clinical trials August 24, to demonstrate its effectiveness against the virus SARS-COV-2, which causes COVID-19. Photo: BioCubaFarma

A name identifies, makes unique, and enamors… It is a calling card and can convey confidence and pride, which is exactly what occurred this month of August, when the people of Cuba heard the long-awaited news that our scientists had come up with an idea, an idea they turned into a vial of vaccine in just three months’ time, as one researcher said.

Soberana (Sovereign) was the name given the candidate vaccine that, August 24, began its first clinical trials to demonstrate effectiveness against the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, an illness that has taken thousands of lives and cast the world into a deep economic crisis affecting, above all, those who have historically been the world’s most vulnerable.

IT ALL BEGAN…

According to Naturaleza Secreta, that has carefully documented details of the propagation of COVID-19 in Cuba and the battle against it, the name Soberana appeared for the first time, written by hand, at the bottom of a piece of paper along with the information needed for clinical trials of the first candidate vaccine against the virus.

On this same sheet, other possible names had been noted as well, none of which appeared to work, although a designation had to be chosen, as an unavoidable requirement to register the clinical trials, thus obliging experts at the Finlay Vaccine Institute, the Molecular Biology Institute and the University of Havana – responsible for the bulk of the research process that produced the vaccine – to make up their minds.

It was Dr. Meiby de la Caridad Rodríguez González, director of research at the Finlay who had the task of filling out the forms for the registration, who proposed calling the clinical trials project for the Cuban candidate vaccine Soberana 01.

She was at home, working late along with the rest of the team, hoping to have everything ready by August 13, to honor, on the anniversary of his birth, the man who inspired Cuba’s scientific development and especially the biotechnology sector: Fidel.

Upon hearing the proposal, members of the team who developed the vaccine, led by the institute’s director, Vicente Vérez Bencomo, immediately looked at each other and nodded. Soberana was accepted without discussion, without hesitation, with the “01” designation for the project as the first clinical trial of a candidate vaccine, according to Naturaleza Secreta.

The scientists have since said that underlying the selection of the name was the comment made by President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, this past May 19, on the necessity of developing a Cuban vaccine for COVID-19, regardless of what other countries might do, to give us sovereignty.

Referring to a possible Cuban candidate vaccine, the President said at that time, “The development of a vaccine would complete the feat we have accomplished.” He emphasized that adding a vaccine to the achievements of Cuban science, as soon as possible, would be “an important contribution from all points of view.”

The rest is history, Naturaleza Secreta notes in its article. The news that Cuba has its own vaccine entering clinical trials has gone viral on the Internet and the country’s citizens have named it, on their own… sovereignly.

“It was the people who really selected the name Soberana, because of the pride it gives us, and this will be the commercial name of the vaccine used in the country,” stated Vicente Vérez, this past August 20, on the Cuban television program, Mesa Redonda.

This name is now that of the vaccine, not only of the clinical trials project. Nor will it be the name of the second candidate vaccine, already in the works,

Naturaleza Secreta concludes, reporting how difficult it was to get this story, since, “Among the team members who created the Cuban vaccine against COVID-19, no one wants to take any individual credit,” insisting that this project, with all its merits and beautiful, universally accepted name, is a collective work.

Source: http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2020-09-03/how-did-cubas-covid-19-candidate-vaccine-come-to-be-named-soberana

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How does Covid -19 threaten peace and promote discrimination?

Presentation by Jamaica Peace Council submitted to the Talking On Purpose forum on the occasion of UN World Peace Day at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts .

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The Covid-19 disease threatens the health, wellness and mortality of the people of the world at an unprecedented level. In its wake, it unveils many social inequities that are the result of the predominant social system which engenders and thrives on various types of discrimination – class, race, ethnicity, gender, age etc. The following points outline what we see as the social inequities and vulnerabilities revealed by Covid-19.

  1. Covid -19 has exposed the inequality in internet access and unavailability of computer technology in homes. While students from upper class families pivoted seamlessly to online education, poorer students faced major problems. In many cases, the student’s only access to the internet is their parent’s phone data plan. So the disparity in education was widened by the pandemic. There is some effort to close the gap through some excellent television programming but this does not allow for interaction, personal attention and continuity. We must bear in mind that students in poor communities already face deficiencies in face-to-face education given the disparity in the resources in schools across the board. Education is promoted as the major determinant of success. Covid-19 has exposed the disadvantage students from poor families and communities face in trying to grasp the ticket to success

2. The disease disproportionately affects non-whites, especially black people. The main reasons for this is that they are disproportionately exposed to situations that make them vulnerable to contracting the disease. This includes working in frontline jobs, traveling by public transport, living and working in congested spaces with poor ventilation, and having pre-existing conditions. According to an Economic Policy Institute article by Elise Gould, “evidence to date suggests that black and Hispanic workers face much more economic and health insecurity from COVID-19 than white workers”.

The harsh economic effects of the impact of Covid-19 have been felt mostly among working class, in particular, black workers. Job loss is high and climbing, especially as many companies are increasing the use of digitization, automation and mechanization. Added to that is the astronomical increase in the cost of living. The COVID19 pandemic exposes the vulnerability of workers worldwide. We have seen television interviews with frontline workers on short-term contracts who have no health benefits which would be necessary for them to secure adequate health care.

The Secretary General of the United Nations,  Antonio Guitierrez predicted what is now our reality when he said:

“The pandemic’s economic impacts could create “major stressors” in fragile societies or less developed countries, for example, while the ensuing economic instability will have devastating consequences for women as they make up the majority in the worst-affected sectors.”

In that statement, Gutierrez highlighted the fact that there is a gender disparity in the impact of Covid-19. We can add to that age disparity in those affected by the disease. The majority of persons who die from the disease are senior citizens who are not prioritized for life-saving in overwhelmed health systems.

3. Stigma against social groups, in particular, races and nationalities, is one of the by-products of Covid-19 that various nations have had to combat. For example, early in the pandemic, Asian people were stigmatized because one of the first countries in which Covid-19 was identified was China. We have subsequently learned that it developed almost simultaneously in Italy. In the US and elsewhere, Chinese citizens and people of Chinese ancestry have been physically and verbally assaulted by white nationalists and other xenophobic groups. The fact that President of the USA, Donald Trump in an unscientific way attributed  COVID-19 to China, calling it the “Chinese flu”, instead of the environmental issues which gave rise to it, helped to fuel this expression of racism towards people of color in general and the Chinese in particular. Indeed, many individuals suffered severe wounds at the hands of racist thugs in the US and in other countries. Here in Jamaica, we have seen stigmatization of people based on symptoms. In one instance, a man was beaten and thrown off a bus because he was coughing.

Another dimension to our answer to the question about Covid-19’s impact on peace and discrimination, is the fact that governments have had to create extraordinary emergency conditions in the fight against Covid-19. While these extraordinary emergency conditions are necessary to protect the health of citizens, they curtail their human rights and can easily morph into dictatorships without the vigilance of constitutional lawyers, human rights bodies, other civil society groups and mass organisations.

A major danger to peace is the tendency of powerful imperialist countries to the use the severe economic realities faced by poorer countries to manipulate them into supporting actions which are against the thrust towards creating a peaceful world and maintaining our region of the Caribbean and Latin America as a zone of peace. In this region, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are primary targets for regime change, that is, the overthrow of their governments. These countries pose no threat to the imperialist countries. However, their peoples have exercised their right to control their natural resources and use them for the development of their people. The imperialist countries have used many forms of attacks including harsh sanctions to try to force them to bow to their demands. What does this have to do with Covid-19? The fact is that the economic problems of countries in the region have been exacerbated by the pandemic and they are challenged to find the resources to fight the pandemic and revitalize their economies. This makes them vulnerable to manipulation by powerful countries. This is a major threat to peace in our region.

The UN’s Secretary General stated: “In some conflict settings, the uncertainty created by the pandemic may create incentives for some actors to promote further division and turmoil. This could lead to an escalation of violence and possibly devastating miscalculations, which could further entrench ongoing wars and complicate efforts to fight the pandemic.”

We firmly believe that COVID19 which has done so much to expose the structural socio-economic, cultural and political inequities and disparities between races, genders, ethnicities and classes in capitalist societies should be treated as an opportunity to transform these societies to at least minimize, if not eliminate, the threats to peace and stability globally.

Student and other organizations across the globe must play a role in holding public officials accountable for adopting policies to foster peace and protect the health and wellness of all citizens as a matter of priority. This includes access to health care services and legal protection against discrimination and bigotry. They must also be watch dogs in ensuring that the emergency powers created to fight the pandemic are not used to establish dictatorships that rule innthe interest of the minority and against the interest of the majority of the people. They must also be vigilant in ensuring that their governments do not become puppets of imperialism.

Last but not least, we call on student and other organisations to support the nomination of Cuba’s Henry Reeve Medical Brigade for the Nobel Peace Prize for their bravery in providing healthcare to peoples all over the world to combat dangerous diseases such as Ebola and Covid-19.They are setting an example of what peaceful cooperation between nations looks like.

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Cuba and the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade deserve to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – Doctors not Bombs

The heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic are the Cuban health workers who are providing services to several nations in the fight against the dangerous virus.

Cuban Health Team arriving at the Norman Manley Airport today
The Henry Reeve InternationalMedical Brigade greeted on their arrival in Jamaica by the Ambassador Ines Fors Hernandes and Minister Tuftom.

They are committed to the mission of providing humanitarian and medical assistance to the population of countries hit by natural disasters and epidemics, and contribute to their recovery.

The Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade was created on 19 September 2005, in response to the damage caused by hurricane Katrina to New Orleans in the United States, which brought about approximately 1,336 casualties and losses worth 75 billion dollars.  The Brigade was called Henry Reeve as a tribute to an American young man, born in Brooklyn, New York, who joined the detachment of Cuban patriots that landed on the Eastern coasts of Cuba on 4 May 1869 to take part in the independence war against Spanish colonial domination, which had begun in October 1868.  In the history of Cuba, Henry Reeve became a paradigm of international solidarity.

When an adverse healthcare incident takes place, brigade members are immediately mobilized within 24 to 48 hours depending on the type of event.  Most of its members have experience in international health missions, but participation is voluntary.

Up to 10 August 2020, the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade had provided assistance to 45 nations and 5 non-self-governing territories.  In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Brigade has worked in 22 states: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize (twice), Bolivia, Chile (twice), Dominica (twice), Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada, Haiti (four times), Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico (three times), Nicaragua, Peru (twice), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.  It has also provided services in 5 countries of Asia and Oceania:  China, Fiji, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan; in 12 nations of Subsaharan Africa:  Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry (twice), Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone (twice), São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa and Togo; in three North Africa and Middle East countries:  United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait; and in three European states:  Andorra, Azerbaijan and Italy. Additionally, the Brigade has assisted the following non-self-governing British territories:  Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands, and Montserrat, as well as Martinique, which is an overseas department of France.

Members of the Henry Reeve medical brigade, which will provide support to Italy in the face of the crisis generated by COVID-19, pose with a photo of former Cuban President Fidel Castro

Members of the Henry Reeve medical brigade, which will provide support to Italy in the face of the crisis generated by COVID-19, pose with a photo of former Cuban President Fidel Castro | Photo: EFE

More than 9,000 Cuban healthcare professionals have participated in these missions.  They have delivered medical care to approximately 4 million people and have saved the lives of more than 89,000 people.

On 26 May 2017, the World Health Organization awarded the Dr. LEE Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health to the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade which specializes in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics in the 70th World Health Assembly.  This prize was given in recognition of the medical assistance lent by the Brigade in emergency situations.  When presenting the award, Yohan Ihn, President of the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare, said that “the Henry Reeve Brigade has disseminated a message of hope to the whole world”.

On 13 August 2020, the National Congress of Honduras approved the award of the high decoration known as the “Cruz de Comendador” (the Commander’s Cross) to the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade for its outstanding contribution to the health of the Honduran people and the results achieved in combating COVID-19 in their country.

After COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and became the greatest health threat the world has been faced with in the 21st century, the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade prepared to help any nation that would request its assistance.  In the course of five months, the Brigade has gone to 38 states, treating 355,785 people and saving 9,736 lives. More than 3,700 Cuban healthcare professionals have taken part in these missions; 61.2 % of them are women.  

Forty-five brigades were specially created to fight the pandemic, 38 of which are still delivering care in 29 nations (Angola, Azerbaijan, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde, Dominica, United Arab Emirates, Grenada, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Peru, Qatar, Saint Lucia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Togo and Venezuela) and 5 non-self-governing territories (Anguilla, Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Martinique and Montserrat).

The Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade has been present in most regions of the world, including 2 states of Central America, namely Nicaragua and Honduras, and Mexico. In the latter, there were four specialized medical brigades from Cuba.  The six Cuban medical missions in the region have treated more than 80,000 patients. The Brigade has also assisted 12 Caribbean countries, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Jamaica, Grenada, Haiti, Belize, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, where it has provided health care services to around 33,000 people.  Moreover, the Brigade has contributed to combating the pandemic in South America, more specifically in Venezuela and in Peru with four brigades, treating approximately 19,000 people. 

Four Cuban medical brigades have gone to Europe to join the domestic efforts in the fight against the pandemic in Italy (2 brigades were sent to Lombardy and Piedmont), Andorra, and Azerbaijan, where they have provided their services to more than 16,000 people.  Furthermore, the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade has helped several non-self-governing British territories (Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands and Montserrat) and Martinique, which is an overseas department of France, treating more than a thousand patients.

In Africa, 10 Cuban medical brigades have delivered care to over 38,000 people in Angola, Togo, Cape Verde, South Africa, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

In the Middle East, four medical brigades have worked in Qatar (two medical missions), United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, treating more than 138,000 patients.

As a result of the cooperation established with the World Health Organization (WHO), in less than two weeks 5,000 Cuban doctors and nurses from the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade volunteered to assist in combating the Ebola epidemic. Out of them, more than 500 professionals were chosen for training and 256 were finally selected to participate in the fight against Ebola. 

In 2010, Cuban doctors had already been engaged in the fight against a cholera epidemic in Haiti, lending medical assistance to more than 400,000 people and saving the lives of approximately 76,000 patients. Just like in 2010, in 2014 the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade worked in the Ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea Conakry, taking care of more than 2,000 patients.  This was the only medical mission that provided direct medical assistance to Ebola patients.  During this period, two brigade members died of malaria and another one contracted Ebola.

EXPERIENCE IN NATURAL DISASTER SITUATIONS

The first emergency situation the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade had to face took place just a few days after it was created, in Guatemala, where they had to assist the population affected by the floods of October 2005.  A total of 688 healthcare professionals treated over 477,000 people and saved more than 1,300 lives.

Since its creation, the Brigade has completed 20 medical missions specialized in addressing natural disaster situations, more specifically 8 after the floods in Guatemala (2005), Bolivia (2006), Belize (2007), Mexico (2007), El Salvador (2009), Chile (2015), Peru (2017), and Sierra Leone (2017), 7 after the earthquakes that hit Pakistan (2005), Indonesia (2006), Peru (2007), China (2008), Chile (2010), Nepal (2015), and Ecuador (2016), and 5 after the hurricanes striking Haiti (2016), Fiji (2016), Dominica (2017), Mexico (2017) and Mozambique (2019). More than 4,000 healthcare professionals took part in these missions and delivered care to more than 3 million patients.

The Brigade carried out a particularly remarkable work in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Pakistan in October 2005, causing the loss of 70,000 lives and injuries to 100,000 people and leaving 3 million people homeless.  In a time lapse of almost eight months, over 2,000 Cuban healthcare workers treated more than 1,700,000 patients.  Over 14,000 surgeries were performed and more than 166,000 survivors received specialized rehabilitation services; more than 2,000 lives were saved.

In the course of these 15 years, the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade has been part of the international efforts to increase cooperation between nations in the health care sector.  During this period, 71 medical brigades have been formed, including 46 to fight COVID-19, three to deal with the Ebola epidemic, two to combat the cholera epidemic, and 20 to respond to natural disaster situations, out of which eight are specialized in floods, seven in earthquakes and five in hurricanes.

The Brigade has remained actively engaged this whole time, completing between 1 and 4 missions per year.  In the last five months, it has carried out a remarkably efficient work in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION-HISTORY OF THE HENRY REEVE INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL BRIGADE

For more than fifty years, Cuba has engaged in international medical cooperation projects, which have covered more than 150 countries.  We have been motivated to participate by our feelings of solidarity and humanism.  The origins of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade can be traced back to May 1960, when a medical team provided assistance to the Chilean people who had been struck by an earthquake and May 1963, when a group of 50 Cuban healthcare professionals traveled to the Republic of Algeria in North Africa, in compliance with an agreement between the two nations.  After 57 years providing humanitarian aid, at the end of 2019, Cuban doctors had delivered preventive and curative care to a total of 1,931 million people from all around the world, thus improving their individual well-being and state of health, and saving 8.2 million lives.

From May 1960 to February 2005, which covers a span of 45 years, several medical brigades for emergency situations – the antecedent of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade – completed 30 medical and humanitarian aid missions in 19 countries; 2,055 Cuban healthcare workers were involved in those missions, which covered the following countries:  Algeria, Chile, El Salvador, Peru (twice), Nicaragua (5 times), Honduras (4 times), Armenia, Iran, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela, Kosovo, Ecuador, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Guyana, broken down by geographic area as follows: 2 nations in the Caribbean, 4 in Central America, 7 in South America, 2 in Eurasia, 1 in Africa, 1 in the Middle East and 2 in the Far East and the Pacific.  The humanitarian aid extended to these countries was triggered by the occurrence of natural catastrophes, specifically, 11 earthquakes, 7 hurricanes, 1 volcanic eruption, 4 landslides triggered by rainfall and floods, 4 epidemics, 1 fire and 2 tsunamis.  In one particular case, humanitarian assistance was given in the aftermath of an armed conflict.

In 1998, large-scale meteorological disasters devastated vast areas of the Caribbean and Central America, in particular Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and brought about the creation of a new international humanitarian aid project to assist affected nations, which was named Comprehensive Health Care Program (PIS, by its Spanish initials).  This project was complemented by the foundation of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM, by its Spanish initials) in Havana by the end of 1999. The initial aim of this school was to provide medical training to young people from those countries that had been struck by the natural disasters so that they would work as doctors in their communities of origin.  

In the course of 15 years, ELAM has trained 29,749 doctors from 123 nations from every region of the world.  In the current academic year (2019-2020) the school is training 1,358 students from 87 countries.

Official Translation

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We cannot face COVID-19, hunger, unemployment and the growing economic and social inequalities between individuals and countries as unrelated phenomena.

Miguel Díaz-Canel - Wikipedia

Mr. Secretary General, 

Mr. President,

A global pandemic has changed everyday life drastically. From one day to the next, millions of people get infected and thousands die even when their life expectancy was longer thanks to development. Hospital systems with high-level services have collapsed and the health structures of poor countries are affected by their chronic lack of capacity. Drastic quarantines are turning the most populated cities into deserted areas. Social life is nonexistent except in the digital networks. Theaters, discos, galleries and even schools are closed or being readjusted.    

Our borders have been closed, our economies are shrinking and our reserves are dwindling. Life is experiencing a radical redesigning of age-old ways and uncertainty is replacing certainty. Even close friends cannot recognize each other due to the masks that protect us from the contagion. Everything is changing.

Like finding a solution to the pandemic, it is already urgent to democratize this indispensable Organization so that it effectively meets the needs and aspirations of all peoples.  

The sought-after right of humanity to live in peace and security, with justice and freedom, the basis for unity among nations, is constantly under threat.  

Over 1.9 trillion dollars are being squandered today in a senseless arms race promoted by the aggressive and war-mongering policies of imperialism, whose leader is the present government of the US, which accounts for 38 percent of the global military expenditure. 

We are referring to a markedly aggressive and morally corrupt regime that despises and attacks multilateralism, uses financial blackmailing in its relations with UN system agencies and that, in a show of unprecedented overbearance, has withdrawn from the World Health Organization, UNESCO and the Human Rights Council. 

Paradoxically, the country where the UN headquarters is located is also staying away from fundamental international treaties such as the Paris Agreement on climate change; it rejects the nuclear agreement with Iran reached by consensus; it promotes trade wars; it ends its commitment with international disarmament control instruments; it militarizes cyberspace; it expands coercion and unilateral sanctions against those who do not bend to its designs and sponsors the forcible overthrow of sovereign governments through nonconventional war methods.

Along such line of action, which ignores the old principles of peaceful co-existence and respect of the right of others´ to self-determination as the guarantee for peace, the Donald Trump administration it also manipulating, with subversive aims, cooperation in the sphere of democracy and human rights, while in its own territory there is an abundance of practically uncontrolled expressions of hatred, racism, police brutality and irregularities in the election system and as to the voting rights of citizens

It is urgent to reform the UN. This powerful organization, which emerged after the loss of millions of lives in two world wars and as a result of a world understanding of the importance of dialogue, negotiation, cooperation and international law, must not postpone any further its updating and democratization. Today´s world needs the UN just as the one where it came into being did. 

Something that is very special and profound has failed, as evidenced by the daily and permanent violation of the UN Charter principles, and by the ever-increasing use or threat of use of force in international relations. 

There is no way to sustain any longer, as if it were natural and unshakable, an unequal, unjust and anti-democratic International order where selfishness prevails over solidarity and the mean interests of a powerful minority over the legitimate aspirations of millions of people. 

Notwithstanding the dissatisfactions and the demands for change that, together with other states and millions of citizens in the world, we are presenting to the UN, the Cuban Revolution shall always uphold the existence of the Organization, to which we owe the little but indispensable multilateralism that is surviving imperial overbearance.    

More than once, at this very forum, Cuba has reiterated its willingness to cooperate with the democratization of the UN and the upholding of international cooperation, that can be saved only by it. As stated by the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and I quote: “The international community shall always count on Cuba´s honest voice in the face of injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation, and for the establishment of a more just and equitable international order which really centers on human beings, their dignity and wellbeing.” End of quote.

Mr. President,

Coming back to the seriousness of the present situation, which many blame only on the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it is essential to say that its impact is by far overflowing the health sphere.  

Due to its nefarious sequels, impressive death toll and damages to the world economy and the deterioration of social development levels, the spreading of the pandemic in the last few months brings anguish and despair to  leaders and citizens in practically all nations. 

But the multidimensional crisis it has unleashed clearly shows the great mistake of the dehumanized policies fully imposed by the market dictatorship.     

Today, we are witnessing with sadness the disaster the world has been led to by the irrational and unsustainable production and consumption system of capitalism, decades of an unjust international order and the implementation of ruthless and rampant neoliberalism, which has widened inequalities and sacrificed the right of peoples to development. 

Unlike excluding neoliberalism, which puts aside and discards millions of human beings and condemns them to survive on the leftovers from the banquet of the richest one percent, the COVID-19 virus does not discriminate between them, but its devastating economic and social effects shall be lethal among the most vulnerable and those with lower incomes, whether they live in the underdeveloped world or in the pockets of poverty of big industrial cities.     

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projections, the 690 million people who were going hungry in 2019 might be joined by a further 130 million as a result of the economic recession caused by the pandemic. Studies by the International Labor Organization (ILO) say that over 305 million jobs have been lost and that more than 1.6 billion workers are having their livelihoods at stake.

We cannot face COVID-19, hunger, unemployment and the growing economic and social inequalities between individuals and countries as unrelated phenomena. There is an urgency to implement integrated policies that prioritize human beings and not economic profits or political advantages.         

It would a crime to postpone decisions that are for yesterday and for today. It is imperative to promote solidarity and international cooperation to lessen the impact. 

Only the UN, with its world membership, has the required authority and reach to resume the just struggle to write off the uncollectable foreign debt which, aggravated by the social and economic effects of the pandemic, is threatening the survival of the peoples of the South.

Mr. President,

The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and the early signs that it would bring a pandemic did not catch Cuba off guard. 

With the decade-long experience of facing terrible epidemics, some of which were provoked deliberately as part of the permanent war against our political project, we immediately implemented a series of measures based on our main capabilities and strengths, namely, a wellstructured socialist state that cares for the health of its citizens, a highly-skilled human capital and a society with much people´s involvement in its decision-making and problem solving processes.   

The implementation of those measures, combined with the knowledge accrued for over 60 years of great efforts to create and expand a high-quality and universal health system, plus scientific research and development, has made it possible not only to preserve the right to health of all citizens, without exception, but also to be in a better position to face the pandemic.

We have been able to do it in spite of the harsh restrictions of the long economic, commercial and financial blockade being imposed by the US government, which has been brutally tightened in the last two years, even at these pandemic times, something that shows it is the essential component of the hostile US Cuba policy.

The aggressiveness of the blockade has reached a qualitatively higher level that further asserts its role as the real and determining impediment to the managing of the economy and the development of our country. The US government has intensified in particular its harassment of Cuban financial transactions and, beginning in 2019, it has been adopting measures that violate international law to deprive the Cuban people of the possibility to buy fuels they need for their everyday activities and for their development.

So as to damage and demonize the Cuban Revolution and others it defines as adversaries, the US has been publishing spurious lists having no legitimacy by which it abrogates itself the right to impose unilateral coercive measures and unfounded qualifications on the world.

Every week, that government issues statements against Cuba or imposes new restrictions. Paradoxically, however, it has refused to term as terrorist the attack that was carried out against the Cuban embassy in Washington on April 30, 2020, when an individual armed with an assault rifle fired over 30 rounds against the diplomatic mission and later admitted to his intent to kill. 

We denounce the double standards of the US government in the fight against terror and demand a public condemnation of that brutal attack. 

We demand a cease of the hostility and slanderous campaign against the altruistic work by Cuba´s international medical cooperation that, with much prestige and verifiable results, has contributed to saving hundreds of lives and lowering the impact of the disease in many countries. Prominent international figures and highly prestigious social organizations have acknowledged the humanistic work done by the “Henry Reeve” International Medical Brigade for Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics and called for the Nobel Peace Prize to be given to them.   

While the US government is ignoring the call to combine efforts to fight the pandemic and it withdraws from the WHO, Cuba, in response to requests made to it, and guided by the profound solidarity and humanistic vocation of its people, is expanding its cooperation by sending over 3 700 cooperation workers distributed in 46 medical brigades to 39 countries and territories hit by COVID-19.  

In this sense, we condemn the gangster blackmailing by the US to pressure the Pan-American Health Organization so as to make that regional agency a tool for its morbid aggression against our country. As usual, the force of truth shall do away with lies, and facts and protagonists shall go down in history as they should. Cuba´s example shall prevail.

Our dedicated health workers, the pride of a nation brought up in José Marti’s idea that My Country Is Humanity, shall be awarded the prize their noble hearts deserve, or not; but it has been years since they won the recognition of the peoples blessed by their health work. 

The US government is not hiding its intention to enforce new and harsher aggressive measures against Cuba in the next few months. We state once again before the international community that our people, who take pride in their history and are committed to the ideals and achievements of the Revolution, shall resist and overcome.

Mr. President,

The attempts at imposing neocolonial domination on Our America by publicly declaring the present value of the Monroe Doctrine contravene the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace. 

We wish to restate publicly in this virtual forum that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela shall always have the solidarity of Cuba in the face of attempts at destabilizing and subverting constitutional order and the civic-military unity and at destroying the work started by Commander Hugo Chávez Frías and continued by President Nicolás Maduro Moros to benefit the Venezuelan people.

We also reject US actions aimed at destabilizing the Republic of Nicaragua and ratify our invariable solidarity with its people and government led by Commander Daniel Ortega.

We state our solidarity with the Caribbean nations, which are demanding just reparations for the horrors of slavery and the slave trade, in a world where racial discrimination and the repression against Afro-descendant communities have been on the rise.

We reaffirm our historical commitment with the selfdetermination and independence of the sisterly people of Puerto Rico.

We support the legitimate claim by Argentina to its sovereignty over the Malvinas, the South Sandwich and South Georgia islands.

We reiterate our commitment with peace in Colombia and the conviction that dialogue between the parties is the road to achieving stable and lasting peace in that country.

We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed on Syria, with no foreign interference and in full respect of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

We demand a just solution to the conflict in the Middle East, which must include the real exercise by the Palestinian people of the inalienable right to build their own State within the borders prior to 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject Israel´s attempts to annex more territories in the West Bank.

We state our solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the face of US aggressive escalation. 

We reaffirm our invariable solidarity with the Sahrawi people. 

We strongly condemn the unilateral and unjust sanctions against the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea.

We restate our rejection of the intention to expand NATO´s presence to the Russian borders and the imposition of unilateral and unjust sanctions against Russia.

We reject foreign interference into the internal affairs of the Republic of Belarus and reiterate our solidarity with the legitimate president of that country, Aleksandr Lukashenko, and the sisterly people of Belarus. 

We condemn the interference into the internal affairs of the People´s Republic of China and oppose any attempt to harm its territorial integrity and its sovereignty.

Mr. President,

Today´s disturbing circumstances have led to the fact that, for the first time in the 75-year-long history of the United Nations, we have had to meet in a non- presential format. 

Cuba´s scientific community, another source of pride for the nation that, since the triumph of the Revolution of the just, announced to the world its intention to be a country of men and women of science, is working non-stop on one of the first vaccines that are going through clinical trials in the world.

Its creators and other researchers and experts, in coordination with the health system, are writing protocols on healthcare for infected persons, recovered patients and the risk population that have allowed us to keep epidemic statistics of around 80% of infected persons saved and a mortality rate below the average in the Americas and the world. 

“Doctors and not bombs.” That was announced one day by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution and chief sponsor of scientific development in Cuba: Commanderin-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. That´s our motto. Saving lives and sharing what we are and have, no matter any sacrifice it takes; that is what we are offering to the world from the United Nations, to which we only request to be attuned with the gravity of the present time.

We are Cuba.

Let us strive together to promote peace, solidarity and development.

Thank you very much.

….. 

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Kevin Zeese — PRESENTE! The People’s Movement Has Lost One of Its Most Beloved and Treasured Activists

Kevin Zeese — PRESENTE!

The People’s Movement Has Lost One of Its Most
Beloved and Treasured Activists

September 6 is a very sad day for the people’s movement in the United States. In the early hours of this day, we lost one our most beloved and treasured comrades. Kevin was not only a comrade, but a dear friend and brother to all of us. We were honored to have him as our comrade in struggle.

No one can forget Kevin’s heroic act, along with Margaret, Adrienne and David, of refusing to leave the Embassy of the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, at a very high price to themselves, in order to prevent the transfer of its control to the representatives of U.S. puppet, Juan Guaidó. In doing so, they became not only our heroes, but those of all anti-imperialist peoples and movements around the world, especially the revolutionary people of Venezuela.

But Kevin’s outstanding role in the movement was not limited to his last heroic act. For years, he co-directed the Popular Resistance with Margaret Flowers — his partner in life — which has been one of the main sources of truly anti-imperialist information and analysis for the peace movement. As members of the National Board of the U.S. Peace Council, Executive Committee of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, and Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases, Kevin and Margaret played a key role organizing two extremely successful conferences against U.S. And NATO Military Bases, the first in Baltimore, Maryland in January 2018, and the second in Dublin, Ireland, in November 2018.

Throughout these years, we have been benefitting from Kevin’s profound knowledge, wisdom and anti-imperialist commitment and vision. His absence will be felt during every step we will take from now on. But his comradely presence will be with us forever.

Kevin Zeese — PRESENTE!

Executive Committee of
The U.S. Peace Council

September 6, 2020

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Fidel, a Man of Peace – By Jorge Lezcano Pére

The universality of Fidel’s humanist ideas is recognized in every corner of the world, and he is known to be, above all, a man of peace. Naturally, in the process of historical development of humankind and of the peoples’ eternal struggle to obtain their full freedom, independence, sovereignty, dignity, and happiness, our Commander in Chief also stands out for his exemplarity as military strategist, statesman, ruler, politician, and educator, among other capacities.

These reasons lead us to clarify that the present lines are solely dedicated to present some key moments of his dimension as untiring peace fighter.

(…) peace is the secret desire of men’s hearts and their natural condition.1 Based on that thought of Martí and on his ethics, Fidel, from an early stage assumed concepts that remained present in the struggles he later waged in defense of peace, which turned him into an unequalled human being who is present in the struggle being carried out by Cubans and each revolutionary in the world to attain a better world.

By becoming, first a utopian communist and later a Marxist-Leninist – as disclosed in an interview with Ignacio Ramonet – he considerably enriched his political ideas, which timely granted him a better understanding of the obstacles he would have to overcome on the road to peace.

Having embraced the illuminated ideas of Marxism-Leninism, and always keeping in mind the teachings of José Martí, he delved deeply into the causes that generated the injustice, hunger, poverty, inequality, violence and exploitation endured by the Cuban people. And for that reason Fidel dreamed, like politicians should.2 The Moncada, the Granma, and the Sierra Maestra epics, together with the people’s support made his dreams come true.

On January 1, 1959 Cuba became free, independent, sovereign, and from that moment on it would have to struggle to cease being a country of illiterates deprived of culture and health for all. To do that it would have to attain economic development and social equality, a goal that Fidel knew could only be achieved in a context of peace, of civil tranquility, and with the participation of everyone; with the aggravating element of having to face the most powerful empire in history, which would require preparing for war as sole way of preventing it.

With this Cuban reality, our Commander in Chief succeeded in developing a political thought in which peace is inseparably linked with development and with social justice as inalienable principle, valid not just for our nation but for any place in the world where people struggle to build their own destiny.

His first trip abroad after the triumph of the Revolution was to Venezuela, in late January

  1. There he visited the Parliament of Caracas, and on that occasion he thanked the Venezuelan people for the support it had given to Cuba’s struggle for independence. He further explained the experiences of our country in defense of peace: “(…) For example, in Cuba today we have experiences of how there is peace, there is order. Because they speak of peace and order; well, in Cuba there was never more peace and more order than there is today, without police and without force, because it is the peace that the people want and maintain, and it is the order that the people need and maintain.”3 This was perhaps the first time that the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution spoke outside his country about such a sensitive and important theme as peace.

However, it was at the scenario of the United Nations Organization on September 26, 1960, during his historical address on behalf of Cuba, where Fidel disclosed key elements of his standpoint regarding peace and the policy of the Cuban Revolution against war and the arms race.

“(…) Abolish the philosophy of plunder and the philosophy of war will disappear! (…) War is a business. Those who make war a business, those who become rich with war have to be unmasked: it is necessary to open the world’s eyes and show the world the ones that make business with the fate of humankind. (…) Let us struggle for peace and let us struggle for disarmament.”5

From that moment on Fidel used all the tribunes that would allow him to struggle for peace, and explain new ideas and concepts to enlighten the revolutionaries and popular masses on the need to struggle for peace for all citizens. He, who had become a had intensely studied the revolutionary processes taking place in the world, and who was winning one battle after another against the fierce imperialism persisting in defeating the Revolution, achieved the understanding that peace was not only defended with firmness, decision and courage, but also with intelligence.

As expression of the link among peace, sovereignty and the people’s political struggle, on January 15, 1963 he stated: “(…) We want peace with rights, with sovereignty, and with dignity! We want peace without renouncing the revolutionary condition, without renouncing the Revolution!”5

Broaching the theme again on May 1, 1965 at Plaza de la Revolución José Martí, he said: “(…) No one wishes or may wish war; people want peace, to live in peace, work in peace, grow in peace, develop in peace; the people want to build their happiness, but that happiness has to be conquered intelligentl y.”6

Conscious of the value of ideas as main weapon in the struggle against history’s most warmonger empire, which constantly puts the world on the border of a nuclear war, he reiterated the need to sow ideas and conscience among the people, which he did with passion and intelligence.

Also knowing that the struggle for peace had to face the powerful propaganda and disinformation machinery employed by the large transnational communications corporations to poison the minds of the citizens throughout the world, he participated directly in many world forums where that battle was waged.

At the UN, the Non-Aligned, the Group of 77, the Iberian-American Summits, the CELAC, CARICOM, ALBA-TCP and the World Peace Council, among other forums, his voice was always unifying, defender of the just causes of the world’s dispossessed, inspiring guide to channel the peoples’ will in their efforts to attain and enjoy peace with dignity and for all.

From the many moments in which his political genius shone in defense of peace we will quote only four: the UN, the Summit of Non-Aligned Countries, the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77, and the Iberian American Summit. United Nations Organization (UN)

  • “(…) Let us say farewell to arms and let us focus in a civilized way to the most stressing problems of our era.”7
  • “(…) It is not possible to speak about peace on behalf of the tens of millions of human beings who die every year of hunger or curable illnesses throughout the

world. It is not possible to speak about peace on behalf of 900 million illiterates.”8

  • “(…) We have come to speak about peace and collaboration among the peoples, and we have come to warn that if we do not solve the present injustices and inequalities in peace and with wisdom, the future will be apocalyptic.”9

 

Summit of the Movement of Non-aligned Countries

  • “(…) Without peace – we are all sure of it – development is not possible, in the same way that without development, peace would not be possible.”10
  • “(…) There cannot be development if there is no peace, nor can there be peace if there is no development for the huge majority of the peoples of the Earth.”11

 

Group of 77

  • “(…) Peace and the right to a comfortable and worthy life should exist for everyone.”12
  • It is an axiom that without peace there will be no development, but it is also an axiom that there cannot be peace without development for eight tenths of the world population.13

 

Iberian-American Summit

  • “(…) Peace requires many things: patience, wisdom, hope, social justice, to acquire all the strength required to achieve it.”14

One of Fidel’s many contributions in his unceasing struggle to make peace prevail as right and enjoyment for all, is to have conceived this battle without making concessions of principles, without the people having to renounce their dreams of social justice, without abandoning their principles, which is perceived in the following ideas:

  • “(…) the defense of peace cannot be a passive defense; the preaching in favor of peace cannot be a beatific preaching; peace at any price: no!”14
  • “(…) peace is not obtained with weakness; peace is obtained with firmness, courage and the peoples’ decision.”15
  • “A peace with respect, a peace with rights, a peace with independence, and a peace with safety for all peoples of the world: that is the peace we must all fight for!”16

 

Nothing escaped Fidel’s vision of the comprehensive approach that must exist to combat all attitudes that endanger the efforts to enable all human beings and world nations to live in peace. He knew that the war would be followed by one of the most terrible and deadly plagues: terrorism, and for that reason he warned:

“(…) We are and will be against terrorism and against war! Nothing will make us stray from that line!17 (…) Search for peace everywhere to protect all peoples against that plague of terrorism.18

When reflecting on the legacy of Fidel, who left us a vast and strategic arsenal of ideas to continue his struggle to conquer peace for all human beings in our planet, we must underline its full applicability even in the complex and dangerous situations in which the imperial oligarchies have placed the world, with the consciousness that there will be peace for all or no peace for anyone, and also conscious, like Fidel himself said at a meeting of the World Peace Council:

“(…) peace by itself is not the solution to all problems. Peace is only the primary condition to be able to apply consequently the huge volumes of energy and resources required to enable all humankind and not just a part of it to live in an honorable, decent and decorous way.”19

August, 2020

 

*Jorge Lezacno Pérez. Bachelor in Social Sciences. Founder of the Communist Party of Cuba. He was First Secretary of the Party in Havana and Vice President of the National Assembly of People’s Power. Nowadays, he is Collaborator of the MOVPAZ.

 

Notes

1Valdés Galarraga, Ramiro. Diccionario del pensamiento martiano. Ciencias Sociales Publishing House, Havana, 2007, p. 508.

2Cien horas con Fidel. Conversaciones con Ignacio Ramonet, Tercera Edición, Publications Office of the Council of State, Havana, 2006, p. 140.

3Susi Sarfati, Salomón. Diccionario de Pensamientos de Fidel Castro. Second revised edition. Editora Política,  Havana, 2016, p. 319.

4 Address by Commander Fidel Castro Ruz, Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government, at the

Parliament of Caracas, Venezuela, on January 24, 1959. Stenographic version of the Prime Minister’s Offices. 5 La Revolución cubana 1953-1980. Selection of Readings 2. Félix Varela Publishing House, Havana, 2002, pp.

150, 157, 158.

6 Susi Sarfati, Salomón. Diccionario de Pensamientos de Fidel Castro. Second edition, revised and enlarged,  Editora Política, Havana, 2016, p.304.

7Creach Corrales, Pedro. Fidel Castro Ruz. Pensamientos. Thematic selection. Enlarged edition. La Gráfica en la Comunidad, abril de 2017, p.188. 8 Ibídem.

9 Ibídem. 10 Ibídem, p. 189.

  • Ibídem.
  • Susi Sarfati, Salomón. Diccionario de Pensamientos de Fidel Castro. Second edition, revised and enlarged,Editora Política, Havana, 2016, p. 306.
  • Creach Corrales, Pedro. Fidel Castro Ruz. Pensamientos. Thematic selection. Enlarged edition. La Gráfica en la Comunidad, April, 2017, p.189.
  • Ibídem.
  • Susi Sarfati, Salomón. Diccionario de Pensamientos de Fidel Castro. Second edition, revised and enlarged, Editora Política, La Habana, 2016, p. 306.
  • Susi Sarfati, Salomón. Diccionario de Pensamientos de Fidel Castro. Second edition, revised and enlarged, Editora Política, Havana, 2016, p. 304.
  • Ibídem, p.306.
  • Creach Corrales, Pedro. Fidel Castro Ruz. Pensamientos. Thematic selection. Enlarged edition.. La Gráfica en la Comunidad, April, 2017, p.190.

19Ibídem.

20 Ibídem.

21Susi Sarfati, Salomón. Diccionario de Pensamientos de Fidel Castro. Second edition, revised and enlarged,Editora Política, Havana, 2016, p. 305.

 

 

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Debt, Racism and the Identity of African Descendants – inseparable issues

The following presentation was delivered by economist Micaheal Heslop o behalf of JPC on August 3, 2020 at the weekly Haitian Platform of Advocacy for Alternative Development (PAPDA) and the the Jubilee South network conference.

Statement:

Thank you so much for inviting me to this important conference!

I would like to begin my presentation with a quotation from the late revolutionary President of Bokina Faso, Thomas Sankara that I believe to be apt to contextualize my presentation.

Sankara states in a 1987 address to the OAU:

“those who lent us money, they are the ones who colonized us, they are the same ones who managed our states and our economies, they are the colonizers who indebted Africa to the donors, their brothers and cousins… If we do not pay this debt, our donors will not die. Let’s be sure of that. On the other hand, if we pay, we are the ones who will die”. Thomas Sankara

I was asked to speak on the critically important topic of “Debt as it Pertains to Racism and its Afro-decendants Identity in Jamaica and the English Speaking Caribbean.”

First, I would like to posit the idea that debt, racism and the identity of African decendants have been inseparable issues throughout the colonial and contemporary history of Jamaica and the Caribbean. The fact is that debt and its servicing as a share of the economy (GDP) whether it was on the sugar plantations of the enslavers or in contemporary Jamaica was and is always used to to enrich the mainly white and later Jewish financiers and to improverish the black majority who in the first place are not the main creators of the debt. The debt in other words originated with colonialism as Thomas Sankar poignantly said and was intensified under neo-colonialism. Today Jamaica’s external debt stands at an estimated US $14.94b though it was only US$3.9b in 2000 while that of the Caribbean stands at more than US $50 billion. Source: CIA’ WorldBook/ECLA

Nonetheless, the servicing of the debt, the “belt tightening” and the fiscal consolidation etc that occured and continue to occur in Jamaica and the Caribbean have always disproportionately impacted the black majority negatively in terms of job losses, in terms of inadequate capital availability for small business loans, in terms of deficient funding for public health facilities, increasing rates of poverty, schools and in other ways that stifle their upliftment. In other words, just like the debt of the enslavers was financed at the expense of the enslaved Africans today, the debt today is largely financed on the backs of the working and poor African decendants. As Bob Marley says in his sing Survival, “ Nothing change, Nothing strange.”

Second, the structures of dependent capitalism that emerged on the ruins of colonial slavery continued to dehumanize the Afro decendants as cheap laborers to subsidize local and foreign capital in keeping with the role their ancestors played during colonial slavery up to 1865 when this form of European savagery cane to a formal end.

Third, I would like to make it clear that I am not here today to bamboozle you with an in-depth analysis of conventional debt indicators such as debt/GDP, Public Debt/GDP, export growth/GDP, trade/GDP ratio, export/ GDP among others as important as they are for scholarly research and for the macroeconomic managers of our indebtedness to imperialism. On the contrary, I believe that to confine our analysis to these debt indicators is a failure of our political and intellectual imagination to capture alternative ways to unshackackle our peoples’ creative energies from the dominance of monopoly capital and the achievement of alternative forms of socio-economic development.

One of the problems with this type of debt analysis is that it typically accepts the capitalist status quo as its reference point though paradoxically capitalism and imperialism are fundamentally the sources of our peoples indebtedness and underdevelopment.

Four, the real challenge of the debt as a part of the socio-economic fabric of Jamaica and the Caribbean is not simply how to manage the debt as a share of the economy or the Debt/GDP ratio but more importantly it is how to fight to cancel the debt that is mathematically not payable. As Fidel Castro said “They blame me for saying the debt cannot be paid. They should blame Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, Pascal or Lovacheski, or any ancient, present, or modern mathematician you prefer. Mathematics and mathematicians’ theories are the ones which demonstrate that the debt cannot be paid.”

To fight in unity as developing countries to cancel our collective debt in the English speaking Caribbean and other developing countries is ultimately the only way to permanently free up resources to finance the development (and not simply economic growth) of our peoples since reducing Debt/GDP through fiscal consolidation only brings more socio-economic pain and marginalization for our Afro decendants. How can economic growth be sustained in the Caribbean when according to ECLA the average Debt/GDP ratio is 76% which is way above the 65% that the IMF considers sustainable? How can growth be sustained to propel development of Afrodecendants when  GDP growth is sluggish and averages about 1.8% in the English speaking Caribbean?

How can growth be sustained in Caribbean economies when the fiscal space is getting smaller to invest in education and other infrastructure, when there there is declining FDI, higher borrowing costs due to higher risk premium on loans to its increasing size among other favors that constraint growth required to foster survival and presumably grow out of our indebtedness?

How can economic growth be achieved and more importantly sustained to advance the domestic structural transformations in Caribbean economies so strategically necessary to end dependent capitalism in order to improve the lot of the Afrodecendants who are required to be at the center of development to address the historical injustices so patently evident in our nations?

How can economic growth occur in the context of COVID without attention to the racist inequities that are more glearing than ever because of the impact of COVID that makes them ever clearer to even those without eyes?

Development, if it is to be taken seriously, must mean that our challenge is to ensure that the marginalized and dispossessed Afro decendants (landless/ small farmers, underprivileged youths, the hopeless and destituted masses etc) must become the principals rather than the agents in Jamaica and  the Caribbean. They must as the creators of wealth become the beneficiaries of the wealth they create. They must be empowered from the bottom up in society to be the decision makers in society. Their days of being second class citizens must come to an end at the same time as debt as a tool of their poverty be ended as its unpayable.

However, if development is to be driven by growth in a sustained way to transform the lives of the Afro decendants and all Caribbean peoples, economic growth as Norman Girvan, George Beckford, Lloyd Best and other regional giants of the economics profession have argued must be driven internally by domestic aggregate demand within these economies.

Indeed, the Haitian people, the Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and others have shown with their blood and examples what’s possible when the working and downtrodden masses construct their own lives free of imperialist domination!!

Fifth, the battle to end the use of debt to strangle our peoples’ development is simultaneously a battle to ensure that our resources are used to invest in health care services, in education, housing, industries to create employment and incomes for our peoples as late PM Manley used to say for the first time at last.

In other words, we must battle with the former colonial enslavers and the imperialists for reparations as we have already repaid the debt many times over. As Fidel said in 1973, we are not debtors, we are in fact creditors to the imperialists. They are the ones who owe us and not the other way around. This must be made very clear to our people.

Finally, we are here to make the case for the full liberation of our Afrodecendants not solely from debt and racism but from the very fountain of debt and racism, namely, the capitalist /imperialist systems that use debt as a leverage, or club against Caribbean  governments to impose their neo-liberal policy agenda of deregulation, privatization and the minimalist state to keep us as neo-slaves within the racist dependent capitalist system.

The fact is that since slavery until now monopoly capital has subjugated our peoples on the basis of a stratified racist system with Afro-Caribbean peoples at the bottom and whites at the top and typically the so-called mullatoes in the middle who acted as intermediaries between the powerful classes and the marginalized and dispossessed black majority. The neocolonialists have never seen us as equals and as a result they have used racism as a means to an end to divide us, subjugate us and exploit us as sub-humans to foster the capital accumulation process using us as unpaid laborers under slavery and as cheap labor today.

Though debt is a powerful tool that is used by imperialism ( the former colonializers) to sustain our dependency on them for funding, for markets for our exports/imports, technology etc,  it is but one as they use culture, education and other means to shackle our minds and if we are not careful our bodies will be shackled too.

To conclude, it’s critical that we recognize that colonialism and neocolonialism are the origins of the indebtedness of Jamaica and the Caribbean as accurately posited by the late Thomas Sankara of Bokina Faso.

Afterall, it is colonialism and neocolonialism that have implanted dependent capitalism in the Caribbean in order to dominate Caribbean economies by making them dependent on imperialism for finance, markets, technology and a lot more. Evidently, colonialism and neocolonialism never worked to benefit the African decendants in the Caribbean because they were never designed to benefit them just like slavery before never benefited our ancestors for the same reason.

Consequently, not only must we fight to cancel our unpayable collective debt that has made us poor and underdeveloped  as Afro West Indians. However,  we must also struggle to end the racist structures that have demeaned and denied us resources because of our African ancestry even as  our labor subsidized and continues to subsidize the creation of wealth to finance industrial capitalism in Europe and North America. Thus, morally, politically and economically as Afro decendants, we who have been crushed, brutalized , cheated and exploited to create wealth like our ancestors before us for the heirs of our collective enslavers have no choice but to fight for Reparations to correct multiple historical injustices. The latter includes the robbery of our resources through debt, trade, technological transfers, underpaid labor and forfeited opportunities.

However above all else, we must radically transform the dependent capitalist system that has been imposed on Caribbean societies and that has disproportionately improverished and marginalized the Afro decendants of enslaved Africans. Indeed, the COVID19 pandemic has exposed the gross inequities in health, income-wealth, education and so many other social indices that only confirm the historical roots of these inequities.

For these reasons and more, the debt must be canceled so as to free up financial resources to fund an internally driven growth process to power a radical development path with the Afro descendants as its principal decision makers and beneficiaries instead of being its agents. The time has long past for this transformation that is required to complement the correction of the historical injustices meted out to our African ancestors and their descendants in the Caribbean!

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BLACK WORKERS OF THE WORLD CELEBRATE BELIZE UNION VICTORY

We, the undersigned labour organisations from the Caribbean, the African Diaspora, the African continent, and other territories, sign this letter to express our solidarity with the Belize Christian Workers Union (C.W.U.), Belize’s workers, and labour movement.

The CWU has recently won a tremendous achievement: they signed a 3-year collective bargaining agreement for Belize City’s stevedores. The CBA comes after 16 years, and an intense 6 months of labour organising by the majority Black longshoremen*.

The Christian Workers Union is a Belize City and Belmopan-based union made up of 1,300 members. They are from two major cities spanning industries as diverse as: the Statistical Institute of Belize, the National Institute of Culture and History, Citrus Products of Belize Ltd., St. Martin’s Credit Union, the Central Bank, the Social Security Department, the Belize City Council and the Port of Belize’s offices and stevedores.

The CWU, an umbrella union, serves a leadership role in Belize’s labour movement. The majority of the workers in the Central American and Caribbean nation of 400,000 people, are employed on a seasonal basis and often under precarious conditions. The era of neoliberalism has ravaged our communities with a vicious assault on labour codes, trade unions, and workers’ rights. Before the global COVID 19 pandemic- and during- organised labour has been on the frontline, protecting working families against corporate greed, persecution of grassroots leaders, mass lay-offs, and insufficient subsidies and social protections.

 

The CWU fights for dignified working conditions, dignified wages and benefits, year-round. They fight for these rights across different trades. The members build multi-sectoral labour power and worker solidarity. We need strong labour unions and strong labour laws and the CWU is a model for the global movement for labour, justice, and #BelizeSupportsBLM.

 

THE BLACK STEVEDORES OF THE CWU

Belize City’s longshoremen are indispensable to the country’s economy. Many of them have been stevedores for most of their lives after taking on the difficult trade from their forefathers in their youth. The job, by tradition, is held by Black or African-descendant Belizeans. It is one of the few in which labourers are able to earn income that approximates a living wage – not without great risk. They handle shipping cargo at ports and operate heavy machinery with expertise, under rain or shine, to move goods in and out of the country. The workers play an important role in African-Belizean livelihoods, history, culture, and well-being. Dock workers are the heart-beat of the working class of Belize City’s Black communities.

 

A HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENT BY THE CWU AND STEVEDORES

On the 2nd of August, after a harrowing 16 years of labouring without a collective bargaining agreement, the stevedores have signed a 3-year collective bargaining agreement. The CWU finalised the marathon of negotiations with the Port of Belize Ltd (PBL), a Michael Ashcroft-owned corporation that took over receivership of the port in 2012. Since the neoliberal privatisation of the Belize City port in 2004, successive government administrations have sided with multinational interests over the welfare of the workers. They failed to ensure fundamental labour protections for the longshoremen.

 

The struggle continues, but today we celebrate: the workers have been victorious! The CBA provides legal protections for health coverage, retirement, earnings, and benefits, and shows the strength of Black workers’ collective power.

CWU President Evan “Mose” Hyde Jr. was the lead negotiator along with long-time labour organisers Mr. Guy Neal, Mr. Kenton Blanco, Mr. Raymond Rivers, Mr. James Neal, Sr., Mr. Wendell Wittaker, Mr. Windfield Dennison, Anthony Sylvester (attorney at law) and CWU Sec. Gen. Floyd Neal.

We hope this will be trend-setting in Belize and in the global labour movement and fight for Black workers and Black lives. Long live strong labour codes and workers’ rights in the face of the global pandemic, and beyond.

 

WE STAND WITH BELIZE’S WORKERS AS THE FIGHT CONTINUES
This victory has not been without serious warning signs of the continued neoliberal attacks against unionisation efforts. The historic antecedents of this trend include when, in 1995, the Belize government sided with multinational interests against banana-growing migrant workers who attempted to unionise. The Central American workers, many of whom were Indigenous and Mestizo, were met with persecution, detention and deportation.

 

This year, the CWU signalled concerns over the impact to port workers that the monopolisation of the sugar export industry might have. In 2015 the Florida-based multinational American Sugar Refineries/Belize Sugar Industry (ASR/BSI) broke up the united front of the northern Belize’s small sugar cane farmers or cañeros/as. Today, the ASR/BSI and Santander, another foreign corporation, have made indications that they may export out of a southern dock, where workers have not yet unionised. CWU President has warned that leaving Belize City’s port will result in  “devastating economic losses to one hundred and fifty stevedores, approximately almost a third of which will become unemployed, and those that remain will have their annual earnings reduce by 40%”*. Workers across the country are being forced to organise against continued threats to their livelihood.

 

On the 22nd of July, we were horrified at the state violence meted out against PBL office workers*. During a protest against PBL’s plan to reduce pay and terminate 36 workers (29 of whom are union organisers), the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) descended upon them and fired at the protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets*. The GSU, a well-funded and militarised police unit, has received consulting from the USA’s infamous William Bratton, formerly of the Boston, Los Angeles, and New York Police Departments *; Bratton is an early supporter of racist Broken Window Policies, a critic of US’s Black Lives Matter and attributed for using “the coercive arm of the state to push vulnerable people out of public view”*.

 

In the face of union-busting, brutality and repression by the GSU and other state actors, the PBL stevedores and office workers stood together in solidarity. The CWU President has said that he hopes the CBA for the stevedores “аugurѕ wеll fоr thе реndіng nеgоtіаtіоnѕ оn bеhаlf оf РВL Ѕtаff, whо fоrm а ѕераrаtе Ваrgаіnіng Unіt оf Unіоn”*.

 

We call on the Belize government to stand with the workers and the farmers at the heart of the economy and communities. We celebrate the victory of Belize’s Black stevedores and their union, the CWU. We stand with them as the Belize National Teachers Union, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, and other organised labour stands with them.

 

We join Belize workers in their call: “Let’s make it known that Belizeans deserve to have jobs, a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, a job to ensure we can support our families, a job to allow us to live in dignity.”

 

Signed,

The Global Afrikan Congress

Caribbean Peace Movement

Jamaica Peace Council

The 13th June 1980 Movement

Caribbean Labour Solidarity (UK)

We invite you to sign on and to share this with your networks. Please reach out to union signatories, particularly Black, African Diaspora, African Descendent, African Continent, Caribbean, longshoremen/stevedores, as well as every other workers’ organisation.

FMI, please email: jamaicapeacecouncil@gmail.com

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Laura Chinchilla, the better choice for IDB President – but will she break with the bank’s neo-liberal policies?

by Bongo

In the upcoming September elections for the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Choice must be between the interests of the US Empire and the interests of sovereignty and development in the region

As the push is made against the US reactionary Cuban-American candidate, Claver-Carone for the President of the Inter-American Development (or IDB) and for Laura Chinchilla to be its President, I believe that it is important that the IDB is put in context and not be romanticized as the solution to the region’s multiple developmental challenges.

First, it should be recognized that even if Ms. Chinchilla wins the elections in early September and becomes the IDB President, the power of the US over this regional institution should never be overlooked. The US is a major funder of the IDB and as such it is a major decision maker in the institution. The latter fact will not change and it certainly will not disappear like Trump’s wish for COVID19!

As such, even with Chinchilla at the helm, the agenda of US imperialism through the IDB will still be firmly intact. For example, the power of US imperialism to continue to exclude Cuba from being a full member of the IDB and therefore a recipient of its funding will likely continue whether the president is Ms. Chinchilla or the reactionary Cuban-American Trump supporter, Claver-Carone!

Thus, it’s imperative to ask whether Ms. Chinchilla will shake up the status quo at the regional bank or whether she will even think about raising the issue of Cuba’s exclusion and the economic sanctions against Venezuela. In other words, will Ms. Chinchilla seek to be really inclusive and stand up to the US’ anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela positions and biases.

Finally, and more importantly, will Ms. Chinchilla continue to pursue the pro-US neo-liberal economic policies that have dominated the IDB virtually since its inception? Or, will she, should she become President of the Bank in September, study and reevaluate the economic costs and benefits of the bank’s neoliberal economic policies on the population in the region?

So as the elections for a new IDB President draw nearer to September 12th and 13th, not only should we simply encourage our CARICOM and Latin American governments to vote for Chinchilla, the apparently more inclusive and pro-development of the two candidates, but more importantly we should question whether she will pursue the failed neo-liberal policies of the IDB in the region and whether she will be sufficiently courageous to at least challenge the efficacy of the neoliberal policies of the Bank.

It’s also essential that the IDB’s decision making for loans and technical assistance on a wide range of development projects be made purely on their technical and economic soundness and not on the political ideology and sovereign orientation of countries that the US empire may not like. So the candidate who seeks the depolarization of the decision making process of the Bank is the one to be supported by CARICOM and the rest of the region. That candidate is evidently not President Trump’s reactionary pick Claver-Carone who is decidedly against Cuba’s inclusion in the IDB and who is also in full support of US sanctions against Venezuela!

These countries of the region are being punished because they have rightly chosen to exercise their sovereign right to seek development and survival rather than death by imperialism!

Further, the dependent capitalist structures in the region and their allied consequences such as the high levels of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, child poverty, income-wealth disparities, unemployment and low level of industrial development, particularly in the context of a stubborn COVID pandemic, necessitate a break from the business as usual neoliberal policies of the IDB and a president at least willing to rethink these policies.

Peace ☮️

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Jamaica and the rest of CARICOM urged to support Costa Rican Laura Chinchilla for President of the Inter-American Development Bank!

The Jamaica Peace Council (JPC) urges the Jamaican government to vote for former president of Costa Rica (2010 to 2014) Laura Chinchilla to be elected to the position of president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The  Inter-American Development Bank plays too important a role in the economies of the Caribbean and Latin American  for Cuban American Mauricio J. Claver-Carone, who is a top national security adviser  to President Donald Trump, to emerge with the mantle of leadership from the elections which will be held on September 12 and 13, 2020.

A report in The Costa Rica News states that Chinchilla has given a commitment to strengthening the entity with ‘a vision of union’ so that it may continue to be the main source of access to credit for the region and a partner for recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.  In discussing her candidacy, Laura Chinchilla described the IDB as the region’s most important financing companion and the main source of access to credit and technical assistance. She went on to share the following opinion: “To guarantee the IDB that we need in the future, it is essential to have people with a vision of effective leadership and far from any politicization. An institution and leadership above any specific political ideology, that does not divide or polarize and can summon different forces in and between countries.”

 

The current Costa Rican government which supports her candidacy highlights her ability to manage complex processes, build agreements and mobilize resources,  as well as “her solid knowledge of development challenges in the Latin American region and the Caribbean”. Neil Vigdor, in an article in the New York times, characterises Mauricio J. Claver-Carone as  “known for his hawkish positions on Cuba and the U.S. sanctions against the government of Venezuela” This is a clear indication that he would not be fit to offer the quality of leadership and build unity n the best interest of the region, based on the role that is required of the IDB.

Since the bank’s creation in 1959, its previous four presidents have been from Latin America. The election of an American would therefore be a departure from a significant established tradition. The current president is Luis Alberto Moreno of Colombia.

It is important to point out that the fundamental nature of the IDB as a tool of imperialism to manipulate and dominate the nations of the region through loan conditions will not change with Chinchilla’s election. The fact is that 48  countries contribute funds to the IDB, with  the US as the largest contributor and controlling 30% of the vote. That will not change. However, given the current intensified thrust of the Donald Trump government in the region towards isolating and destroying nations that dare to choose their own development paths and assert their sovereignty over their natural resources, Mauricio J. Claver-Carone would pose a greater danger were he to become president. For example, we see that  the US administration, to which he is security adviser, is attacking Cuba’s medical assistance to the world through the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade, characterising it as human trafficking and pressuring countries to refuse the critical life-saving support. There is no doubt that a Mauricio J. Claver-Carone  presidency would greatly facilitate the translation of such Monroe Doctrine inspired fascist US foreign policies into conditions for IDB loans, with the ultimate result of further endangering peaceful cooperation within the region.

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Join Jamaicans in Paying Tribute to Comandante Fidel Castro and The Henry Reeve Medical Brigade on August 16, 2020, 11 a.m to 1:00 p.m.

It is so fitting that we are saluting the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade on the occasion of the celebration of Comandante Fidel Castro’s 94th birthday. It is in fact the 15th year of noble service across the globe by the Henry Reeve Brigade which was a brainchild of Comandante Fidel. The Jamaica Cuba Friendship Association has arranged a programme that all will enjoy. Please join us wherever you are on the planet to participate in the celebration.

When: August 16, 2020, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

How to attend: Click on this Zoom meeting link: bit.ly/31aEkHc Meeting ID: 898 6052 2848 Passcode: 319519

You will also enjoy a variety of Jamaican cultural performances. Please share the flyer and this message with your friends so that they can join us.

 

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On the 75th Anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki martyrdom we shall strengthen the struggle against nuclear weapons – Socorro Gomes, President World Peace Council (WPC)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

This August 6 and 9, humanity remembers one of the greatest tragedies in history, which was even more nefarious because it was caused by human action, that of US imperialism. The inauguration of nuclear weapons by the United States against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, towards the end of World War II, concluded the most horrendous episode of the 20th century, foretelling the terror and the threat of total annihilation that would befall the world, imposing immediate and protracted, immeasurable suffering to Japanese civilians.

Fatal victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, which had lasting consequences, amount to nearly 200,000. As is known, the power of the A & H bombs pulverized all that was hit and immediately killed 70,000 people in Hiroshima, where dozens of thousands more died up to………. the end of that year, due to sustained injuries. The second, dropped on Nagasaki, killed about 35,000 to 40,000 people and wounded many more. Besides directly victimizing the Japanese people, the novel level of devastation provoked by the bombs terrified every nation, inaugurating a new era based on threats to the very survival of humankind and of the planet by US imperialism.

Expressing solidarity with the Japanese people victim of this heinous crime, the World Peace Council mobilized those opposing war and launched its first document and campaign, the Stockholm Appeal, in 1950, gathering hundreds of millions of signatures worldwide. It made clear that humankind repudiated the perspective of repetition of that tragedy and the consolidation of an international system based on intimidation, threats and terror as pillars of the United States’ power and military hegemony.

The peace-loving forces’ resistance and resilience, including that of our member the Japan Peace Committee, also inspired the strengthening of our unwavering opposition to the existence of nuclear weapons, whose abolition we demand also in commitment to the victims of the atomic bombings, as well as to life and the construction of an international community based on cooperation and mutual respect.

We once more express our sincere homage to the victims and survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and our solidarity with the peace-loving forces dedicated to the struggle against nuclear weapons, which we joined as a founding impulse of our very World Peace Council. May this dreadful anniversary reinforce our determination and the international commitment with the abolition of these instruments of terror and destruction.

For peace,

Socorro Gomes,

President of the World Peace Council

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PEACE BEGINS WHEN THE HUNGRY IS FED – End wasteful expenditure on nuclear weapons Now!

The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

 

As we celebrate with the rest of our nation the 58th anniversary of our Independence, the Jamaica Peace Council (JPC) also must commemorate with deep regret the 75th anniversary of the barbaric atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US Government under President Harry Truman. Humanity will always remember the loss of tens of thousands of lives and the horrific destruction of property in this senseless and totally unnecessary act of aggression against the Japanese people by US imperialism. The threat of war, especially nuclear war, has serious implications for the attainment of our aspirations as a sovereign nation.

 

We will continue to learn and share the lessons of these horrific acts of violence which gave rise to the formation of international bodies and integration movements aimed at promoting peaceful cooperation between nations which is the most civilized behavior to which humanity can aspire. There is an urgent necessity for the peoples of all nations, including Jamaica, to fight against the barbaric practice of bombing nations into submission or oblivion for the furtherance of imperialist objectives.

 

During this first week of August 2020, we witnessed the continuation of the horrific bombing of the Palestinians in the Gaza strip by Israel. In our own region of Latin America and the Caribbean, there have been at least seven imperialist military attacks from the 1950s. The U.S. Special Representative to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, in testifying to the US Senate on August 4, 2020, bragged about continuing efforts to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, the democratically elected president of Venezula. According to an article in the publication Common Dreamsa disturbing new document outlines plans for a US regime-change scheme against Nicaragua’s elected government.  Imperialist regime change efforts use many strategies which include manipulation through aid, destabilization, direct interference in internal affairs and military intervention. Military intervention is always on the table if other efforts fail. Our nation and the peoples of the region must remain vigilant in defending our region as a zone of peace, knowing full well that the imperialists have nuclear weapons in their arsenals and will unleash them if it suits their purpose.

 

Against this background, we also unreservedly call upon all countries that possess nuclear arsenals – including the united States of America, France, China, Russia, North Korea, Britain and Israel – to dispose of these deadly weapons and redirect to positive human development the trillions of dollars they waste on manufacturing arms. We in the JPC fervently believe that the wealth created by the working people in these nuclear armed countries should not be invested in weapons of mass destruction that could end up killing not only them but every human being on the planet.

 

Further, we take note of the fact that COVID19, poverty, hunger, homelessness and growing income-wealth inequalities are startling realities in all the nuclear possessed countries.  Given the dependence of the developing countries on the imperialist nuclear weapons possessing countries, the effect is worst for us, even if our COVID-19 cases are low. Thus, we must educate our people about the situation so that they can add their voices to the demand for all countries with nuclear weapons to divert the resources, including their tax dollars and brain power, to investment in solutions to eliminate the socio-economic disparities within their own countries and across the globe. They must invest in fighting the worsening climate crisis which also threatens human existence on earth. They need to be persuaded that “peace begins when the hungry is fed”.

End nuclear weapons NOW!

Stop nuclear wars!

Stop imperialism!

Defend World Peace!

Peace ☮️

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Carnival for doing business with Cuba


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French workers resist COVID-19 layoffs

By G. Dunkel July 13, 2020

Some big companies with major operations in France have been using the impact of COVIC-19 on their business as an excuse to lay off thousands of workers, even though they have received major subsidies to maintain payrolls.

On July 8, the three unions representing workers at the Airbus facility near Toulouse — France’s Silicon Valley — called for a march from the Airbus facility to the local airport and back. An estimated 6,000 to 9,000 workers showed up for the march to the airport, where they occupied a runway, forcing some flights to divert.  Airbus is a pan-European company and the main competitor of Boeing in the multibillion-dollar aeronautics market. It is planning to lay off 5,000 workers in France by the middle of 2021.

The layoffs at Airbus will have a ripple effect on the whole economy in the region.  Workers at subcontractors, such as parts suppliers as well as service companies, will be devastated. Airbus order sheets are filled for the next 10 years, but 40% of the airlines, which are its direct customers, have postponed taking delivery of new planes. (FranceTVinfo, July 13)

The Finnish company Nokia, which supplies much of the telecommunications equipment in the European Union, has a major operation in France. It is threatening to lay off thousands of its employees. In response, the unions representing workers at a research center in the French region of Brittany leased a train to Paris, filled it and marched to the sound of bagpipes from the Paris train station to the Invalides, headquarters of France’s military. Many of the signs read, “Hired in March, let go in June.”

At the Invalides they listened to speeches from Fabien Roussel, national secretary of the French Communist Party, and Eric Coquerel, a deputy from another left party called La France Insoumise, as well as other political figures. Then they marched back through Paris to the train station, again to the sound of bagpipes.

A lot of union agitation is also happening at Sanofi, a major transnational pharmaceutical and vaccine company based in France.

Attacks on bus drivers

Social tensions, exacerbated by public health measures required to combat the coronavirus plague, have led to increasing attacks on public service workers.  On July 5, in Bayonne, a small city in southwestern France, Philippe Monguillot, a bus driver who asked two passengers to put on masks now required on French mass transportation, was subject to a shockingly brutal attack.

The passengers grew so angry at this request that they pulled Monguillot off the bus, beat and kicked him in front of the other passengers and then fled before the cops came. He later died of his injuries.

On July 8, his family led a march of 6,000 people, dressed in white, from the bus stop where the attack had taken place to the police station investigating the crime. Bayonne is a city of 50,000 people. Buses in many French cities, including Bordeaux, Rennes, Nantes, Strasbourg and Mulhouse, stopped for a minute of silence when the march took off.

The minister of the interior, who is in charge of all the cops in France, and the minister of transportation came to a workers’ meeting at the bus yard where Monguillot worked and pledged justice would be done.

One of Monguillot’s colleagues, with tears in his eyes, told a FranceTV2 reporter that the driver “was a tiger in opposing injustice.” The workers are demanding the state provide more security to prevent future attacks.

France is not the only country where public service workers who request that people wear masks are being attacked. On July 5, in Brooklyn, N.Y.,  bus driver Anthony Reid, who is Black, was assaulted and suffered an eye injury after he asked a passenger to put on a mask.

 

Source: https://iacenter.org/2020/07/14/french-workers-resist-covid-19-layoffs/

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Declaration from Online Reparations Reasoning

“For the only great men among the ‘unfree’ and the oppressed are those who struggle to destroy the oppressor”. Walter Rodney

1. The Struggle for Reparations is Just

We declare that the struggles for Reparations are not only just, but are also necessary to effect reparatory justice for the crimes of the kidnapping and trading in Africans for enslavement, actual enslavement of Afrikans, colonialism and genocide that were directly perpetrated against Afrikan peoples by Europeans, and the resultant structural underdevelopment and dependency that persist to plague our Afrikan decendants in the Caribbean, Afrika, Latin America and elsewhere in the forms of indebtedness, poverty, landlessness, technological and economic inequalities. This also applies to our brothers and sisters who are still living under colonialsm. We advocate their independence plus reparations.

2. Compensation is a Must

We also declare that reparatory justice requires that the former European and North American enslavers and colonizers of Afrikan peoples must be made to compensate Afrikan decendants to develop viable health care, education, housing and other social investments to tackle the social, cultural, technological, psychological and economic consequences of structural underdevelopment and dependency that were and are the direct outcome of centuries of exploitation, theft and primitive accumulation of wealth through the unpaid labor, humiliation and abuses of Afrikans during the trafficking in Afrikans (slave trade), enslavement of Afrikans and colonial rule in the Caribbean, Afrika and other former colonial states.

3.Elimination of all Debt

We also declare that reparatory justice requires that the European and North American enslavers and oppressors of Afrikan peoples in the Caribbean, Afrika and elsewhere eliminate the indebtedness of these regions which is a direct result of structural dependency in finance, markets and technology that cheats us of resources through onerous and unsustainable debt/GDP servicing ratios to finance our social and physical infrastructure without which development is a lost cause.

4. Investment in Research, Re-education and Healing of our People

We also declare that reparatory justice against our collective enslavers and colonial oppressors demands that the appropriate psychological, mental and cultural research be financed that not only critically interrogate the current status of our children and peoples but that also funds our scholars, educators and therapists to rethink, rewrite and re-educate our peoples to learn, understand and know our history and culture as made by us and to heal our collective trauma from colonial slavery and its aftermath.

5. Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and Nations asserting their Right to Self-determination

We declare our unflinching solidarity with all the indigenous peoples of the world and those peoples in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Palestine and Nicaragua and elsewhere who are fighting to assert their sovereign rights to choose their own paths to development against the same colonial enslavers who exploited, plundered and enslaved and underdeveloped Afrikans and Afrika.

6. Demand for lifting of the Blockade against Cuba, an end to Economic Terrorism  against Sovereign Nations and Compensation for the Effects

We declare without apology that the US economic blockade against Cuba and the vicious economic sanctions against Venezuela and Nicaragua, and other nations outside our region, are illegal acts of economic terrorism that imperialism has imposed on these sister peoples that are intended to destroy their capacity to develop and progress, We further declare that they should be paid compensation for the social and economic injuries including deaths that they have suffered, solely for exerting their right to self-determination.

7. Support for the Struggles against Wars and Environmental Pollution

We are fully conscious that our struggles for Reparatory Justice are inseparable from the struggles of humanity against wars to control the natural resources of the world, environmental racism such as the poisoning of the earth with chemicals, pollution, bacteriological and chemical warfare and the climate crisis that threatens human existence itself.

8. Enslavers owe a debt to Humanity

We are fully committed to the Reparations Movement as we are cognizant that Reparations and its allied Reparatory Justice will never be materialized without the tireless and uncompromising struggles of our peoples to make them the center of the development strategy that is so central to our Reparations Agenda that has eluded us for centuries. We are further committed to the movement for Reparatory Justice because not only do the colonial enslavers owe Reparations to the Afrikan peoples but they also owe a debt to humanity and as such they should be held accountable.

Drafted by Bongo on behalf of the Reparations Reasoning orgainsers

 

The Reparations Reasoning was organised by the Caribbean Peace Movement, the Christian Workers Union of Belize, Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, 13th June 1980 Movement, Jamaica Peace Council and the Global Afrikan Congress and other civil society groups.

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Reparations Reasoning, Sunday, July 12, 2020, 11:00 a.m. – more speakers confirmed

The new CARICOM chairman and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon.Ralph Gonsalves headlines an array of passionate speakers from Britain, Africa and several Caribbean countries on the subject of “Reparations for Afrikans (Diaspora and Continental) and Indigenous Peoples” on Sunday July 12, starting at 11:00 a.m.

The other speakers are:

  • Professor Verene Shepherd, Director of the Centre  for Reparation  Research (UWI);
  • Roger Wareham a US attorney-at-law who is active in the Black Lives Matter and the Reparations Movements;
  • Bella Nazaire, an artiste and interpreter representing Martinique’s National  Committee for Reparations;
  • James  Finies leader of Foundation We Want Bonaire Back Bonaire Human Rights Organisation;
  • Pambana Bassett, a project organiser and peace activist with ties to Africa, USA, the Caribbean and Latin America;
  • Paul Works, organiser at the Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory Employees  (UCASE);
  • Kandis Sebro, of the Trinidad Oilfield Workers Union;
  • Thérèse Belisle-Nweke , a Belizean journalist and writer based in Lagos, Nigeria as the Media and Communications Director of the art foundation, the Anatsui Art Initiative (AAI);
  • Andrea King of the Barbados Chapter of the Global Afrikan Congress;
  • Glenroy Watson, Secretary of the Black Solidarity Committee within the railway union RMT; and
  • Hugh Johnson, leader of the Bernard Lodge Farmers group and president of the Small Business Association of Jamaica.

There will also be other trade unionists and reparation advocates from the Caribbean Community in the United Kingdom and across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Please register online now to secure your place in the Zoom room by clicking on this link: https://bit.ly/3fLeLSJ After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a link that you will use to log in on the day of the event.

Kindly log in between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. on July 12 so that the programme may begin promptly at 11:00 a.m.

The Reparations Reasoning is organised by the Caribbean Peace Movement, the Christian Workers Union of Belize, Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, 13th June 1980 Movement, Jamaica Peace Council and the Global Afrikan Congress and other civil society groups.

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Challenges to the World of Work from COVID-19…305 million jobs lost… 1.6 billion workers’ livelihoods jeopardized…Work is a Sacred Right and Value – Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canei at the ILO Global Summit

Statement by President of Cuba, at the Global Leaders’s Day of the ILO Global Summit on COVID-19 and the world of work

 

Statement by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, at the Global Leaders’s Day of the International Labor Organization Global Summit on COVID-19 and the world of work.

Mr. Director General;

Excellencies, Heads of State and Government;

I feel honored to bring into this virtual Summit the voice of Cuba, a small developing country, where workers in power struggle on a daily basis to achieve all the justice, which was the dream and commitment of the founding fathers of our nation.

Today, as has been always the case throughout the last 61 years, Cuba is sharing the new and serious challenges facing the International Labor Organization as it enters into its second century of its existence.

The impact of COVID-19 adds to the challenges that the world of work was already facing under the tough rules of the market, which will have undeniably devastating consequences on the various crises generated by this pandemic in all countries’ economies.

Unemployment has increased several times over. Lack of social protection is on the rise, and so are inequality and poverty.

But we should not deceive ourselves.  The terrible impact and nefarious consequences of the pandemic all over the world are not only a result of this lethal virus. Years of neoliberal policies and wild capitalism, subject to market laws, are the root cause of the serious global situation.

According to experts, 305 million jobs have already been lost and the livelihoods of 1.6 billion workers are being jeopardized. Hundreds of millions of persons will soon be joining the ranks of those who are already suffering from the inequalities of an unjust international economic order, whose survival is certainly at stake.

These times are dramatically serious and demand concerted actions. Neither governments, nor workers or employers, can afford standing by doing nothing. The colossal endeavor we must devote ourselves to demands solutions in the higher interest of workers’ rights.

Those who create jobs, particularly small and medium producers, will also require assistance.

It is imperative to consolidate social dialogue in the process of defining and implementing policies to confront and recover from the pandemic.

Mr. Director General:

Cuba, a small nation that has been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, is suffering from the brutal and opportunistic tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade policy imposed by the United States, aimed at severely curtailing our trade and our access to fuels and hard currency.

Despite the ever-growing worldwide appeal against it, the blockade imposed on Cuba not only has been maintained since this epidemiological threat broke out in the entire planet, but it has been escalating its criminal harassment against a whole people, viciously punishing all Cuban families.

In the midst of this suffocating economic warfare, our government has implemented actions to protect the health of the entire people; maintain employment rates and defend labor rights and guarantees for all, for these have been the main pillars of our social project.

A total of 36 labor, salary and social security measures have been implemented. Distance working and tele-working are increasing; some workers have been re-assigned to other jobs and salaries have been guaranteed to workers who have remained at home, caring for their younger children and elders, as well as persons with poor health or who have failed to be reassigned to another job; more than 240 thousand self-employed workers have been exempted from paying their taxes; the payment of pensions has been maintained and social workers are paying special attention to families in need, among other actions.

Nobody has been left unprotected.  There are now appropriate conditions to initiate the recovery process and move towards the new normality, based on the widest possible participation of the people in the decision-making process.

Mr. Director-General:

International cooperation and solidarity are today more necessary than ever. Nothing is worth more than a person’s life.  That is a fundamental principle of the Cuban Revolution, which is at the basis of our international cooperation in the fields of health and education as well as in every other area that contributes to enhance human dignity.

That is why we strongly reject, condemn and repudiate all unilateral coercive measures imposed against sovereign nations like Cuba, Venezuela and others that are today suffering from the most cruel and massive punishments for having chosen a political or social system different from those of the dominant economic powers. Those measures are inhuman and should be eliminated, all the more so in the context of the current pandemic, when sanctions are pointing to genocide.

The International Labor Organization, with an all-encompassing work in favor of social justice, the promotion of decent employment and the protection of the human rights of workers can contribute, within its mandate, to help the world of work leave behind the crisis caused by COVID-19.

Cuba, as a founding country of this Organization, reiterates its willingness to continue strengthening the indispensable multilateralism, solidarity and international cooperation, and remains committed to continue guaranteeing the protection of workers’ rights and move on towards the construction of a more just world.

Work is a sacred right and value.  As was expressed by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, and I quote: “…only by working will it be possible to move forward; only by working will it be possible to produce the goods that the country needs; only by working will it be possible to produce more food; only by working will it be possible to address the country’s most pressing challenges.

Thank you, very much.

 

Mr. Director General;

Excellencies, Heads of State and Government;

I feel honored to bring into this virtual Summit the voice of Cuba, a small developing country, where workers in power struggle on a daily basis to achieve all the justice, which was the dream and commitment of the founding fathers of our nation.

Today, as has been always the case throughout the last 61 years, Cuba is sharing the new and serious challenges facing the International Labor Organization as it enters into its second century of its existence.

The impact of COVID-19 adds to the challenges that the world of work was already facing under the tough rules of the market, which will have undeniably devastating consequences on the various crises generated by this pandemic in all countries’ economies.

Unemployment has increased several times over. Lack of social protection is on the rise, and so are inequality and poverty.

But we should not deceive ourselves.  The terrible impact and nefarious consequences of the pandemic all over the world are not only a result of this lethal virus. Years of neoliberal policies and wild capitalism, subject to market laws, are the root cause of the serious global situation.

According to experts, 305 million jobs have already been lost and the livelihoods of 1.6 billion workers are being jeopardized. Hundreds of millions of persons will soon be joining the ranks of those who are already suffering from the inequalities of an unjust international economic order, whose survival is certainly at stake.

These times are dramatically serious and demand concerted actions. Neither governments, nor workers or employers, can afford standing by doing nothing. The colossal endeavor we must devote ourselves to demands solutions in the higher interest of workers’ rights.

Those who create jobs, particularly small and medium producers, will also require assistance.

It is imperative to consolidate social dialogue in the process of defining and implementing policies to confront and recover from the pandemic.

Mr. Director General:

Cuba, a small nation that has been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, is suffering from the brutal and opportunistic tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade policy imposed by the United States, aimed at severely curtailing our trade and our access to fuels and hard currency.

Despite the ever-growing worldwide appeal against it, the blockade imposed on Cuba not only has been maintained since this epidemiological threat broke out in the entire planet, but it has been escalating its criminal harassment against a whole people, viciously punishing all Cuban families.

In the midst of this suffocating economic warfare, our government has implemented actions to protect the health of the entire people; maintain employment rates and defend labor rights and guarantees for all, for these have been the main pillars of our social project.

A total of 36 labor, salary and social security measures have been implemented. Distance working and tele-working are increasing; some workers have been re-assigned to other jobs and salaries have been guaranteed to workers who have remained at home, caring for their younger children and elders, as well as persons with poor health or who have failed to be reassigned to another job; more than 240 thousand self-employed workers have been exempted from paying their taxes; the payment of pensions has been maintained and social workers are paying special attention to families in need, among other actions.

Nobody has been left unprotected.  There are now appropriate conditions to initiate the recovery process and move towards the new normality, based on the widest possible participation of the people in the decision-making process.

Mr. Director-General:

International cooperation and solidarity are today more necessary than ever. Nothing is worth more than a person’s life.  That is a fundamental principle of the Cuban Revolution, which is at the basis of our international cooperation in the fields of health and education as well as in every other area that contributes to enhance human dignity.

That is why we strongly reject, condemn and repudiate all unilateral coercive measures imposed against sovereign nations like Cuba, Venezuela and others that are today suffering from the most cruel and massive punishments for having chosen a political or social system different from those of the dominant economic powers. Those measures are inhuman and should be eliminated, all the more so in the context of the current pandemic, when sanctions are pointing to genocide.

The International Labor Organization, with an all-encompassing work in favor of social justice, the promotion of decent employment and the protection of the human rights of workers can contribute, within its mandate, to help the world of work leave behind the crisis caused by COVID-19.

Cuba, as a founding country of this Organization, reiterates its willingness to continue strengthening the indispensable multilateralism, solidarity and international cooperation, and remains committed to continue guaranteeing the protection of workers’ rights and move on towards the construction of a more just world.

Work is a sacred right and value.  As was expressed by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, and I quote: “…only by working will it be possible to move forward; only by working will it be possible to produce the goods that the country needs; only by working will it be possible to produce more food; only by working will it be possible to address the country’s most pressing challenges.

Thank you, very much.

 

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A Grass Roots Perspective on Reparations – A Caribbean and Latin American Peoples’ Virtual Forum, Sunday July 12, 2020

Please register for the July 12 Reparations Reasoning by clicking on this link: https://bit.ly/3fLeLSJ

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d1/Ralph_Gonsalves_2016.jpg/220px-Ralph_Gonsalves_2016.jpg

 

Photographs:
Hon. Ralph Gonsalves,Prime Minister of St Vincent and The Grenadines; Professor Verene Shepherd, Director of the Center for Reparation Research

As the struggle against systemic anti-black and other forms of racism continues to reverberate  across the world,  peoples acros the Caribbean and Latin American region are being  strongly encourage to participate in a virtual reasoning entitled “Reparations For Afrikans (Diaspora and Continental) and the Indigenous Peoples  of the Americas – a Grass Roots Perspective’’, slated for Sunday July 12, starting at 11AM – 3.15PM.

A panel of speakers drawn from across the region will share their perspectives on this very topical issue. They include: incoming chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonzalves; Professor Verene Shepherd, Director  Centre  for Reparation  Research (UWI); Roger Wareham a US attorney-at-law who is active in the Black Lives Matter and the Reparations Movements; Isabelle Sabine Nazaire, an artiste and interpreter representing Martinique’s National  Committee for Reparations; James  Finies leader of Foundation Take Bonaire Back; Pambana Bassett, a project organiser and peace activist with ties to Africa, USA, the Caribbean and Latin America; Paul Works, organiser at the Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory Employees  (UCASE);and Hugh Johnson, leader of the Bernard Lodge Farmers group and president of the Small Business Association of Jamaica. There will also be other trade unionists and reparation advocates from across the Caribbean Community in the United Kingdom and across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Photographs: (left) James Finies, Chair of Foundation Take Bonaire Back; Paul Works, Organiser, Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory Employees  (UCASE)

“This reparations reasoning will focus mainly on the debt owed to Africans in the Diaspora and on the African continent for the destruction of African civilisation, stealing of land and natural resources, the cruel human trafficking of Africans for the purpose of enslavement, and the enslavement of Africans in the Americas,” said Cikiah Thomas, Co-Chair of the Global Afrikan Congress.

It also takes into account the disastrous impact the arrival of Columbus had on the indigenous peoples – seizure of their land and natural resources, destruction of their civilization, and genocide. In addition, the reasoning will treat with the devastating effect of cruel economic sanctions which cripple the development of countries which exercise the right to choose their own development paths.

Photographs:
(left) Isabelle Sabine Nazaire, artiste and interpreter representing Martinique’s National  Committee for Reparations; Pambana Bassett,Pambana Bassett, a project organiser and peace activist 

“All speakers are called upon to adopt a grassroots perspective on the issue of reparation in order to facilitate an inclusive discussion across our societies, taking into account the fact that the majority of our people are in dire circumstances and therefore need to be engaged in the conversation on how to advance the struggle for reparation and how it can address our situation in practical and sustainable ways,” further added Mr. Thomas.

 

 

The discussion usually takes place at a very academic level in language that is sometimes not clear and easy to understand. This results in a lack of engagement of the majority of people whom it should benefit.

This event will be the second in a series of virtual forums hosted by a coalition of organisations across the region. The coalition includes the Caribbean Peace Movement, the Christian Workers Union of Belize, Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, 13th June 1980 Movement, Jamaica Peace Council and the Global Afrikan Congress and other civil society groups. The first virtual forum by this coalition on May 31 focused on the Caribbean And Latin American People’s Online Conference on the COVID-19  Experience and Lessons’ with a view towards creating and sustaining a  regional peoples’ network supporting integration, peaceful cooperation and resilience against environmental and health threats. The declaration from that online conference committed the organisers and participants to supporting the Reparations Movement and other just struggles in the region and across the world.

Please register for the July 12 Reparations Reasoning by clicking on this link: https://bit.ly/3fLeLSJ

After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a link that you will use to log in on the day of the meeting.

Please register before July 12 to secure your place and ensure a smooth login process on the day of the event.

Kindly log in between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. on July 12 so that the programme may begin promptly at 11:00 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reasoning: “Reparations for Africans (Diaspora and Continental) and the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas – A grass roots perspective” – July 12, 2020 11:00 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. (GMT5 Jamaica time)

Please register for the July 12 Reparations Reasoning by clicking on this link: https://bit.ly/3fLeLSJ

Please register for the July 12 Reparations Reasoning by clicking on this link: https://bit.ly/3fLeLSJ

After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a link that you will use to log in on the day of the meeting.

Please register before July 12 to secure your place and ensure a smooth login process on the day of the event.

Kindly log in between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. on July 12 so that the programme may begin promptly at 11:00 a.m.

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Video: Bob Marley – Get Up, Stand Up (Live at Munich, June 1. 1980) — Guyanese Online

Bob Marley – Get Up, Stand Up (Live at Munich, 1980) – 40 years ago Bob Marley And The Wailers performing ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ live at The Open Air Festival in Munich, Germany on the 1st of June during the 1980 Uprising Tour. The audio and video have been carefully restored to ensure the […]

via Video: Bob Marley – Get Up, Stand Up (Live at Munich, June 1. 1980) — Guyanese Online

Featured

Chile’s Covid 19 Cases 90,000

30/05/2020

LATIN AMERICA

A health worker transports a COVID-19 patient at San Jose Hospital in Santiago, Chile, May 20, 2020. Chile’s COVID-19 Cases Surpass 90,000
People at La Latina neighborhood, Madrid, Spain, May 29, 2020. Spain: Tourist Activities Will Gradually Resume in July
Casa Nariño, the government Colombia: 13 COVID-19 Cases at the Presidency’s Headquarters

WORLD

A policeman stands guard outside the Supreme Court, Washington, U.S. US Supreme Court Rejects Church’s Demand, Supports Confinement
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, Teran, Iran, 2020. Iran Condemns US Removal of Nuclear Deal Exemptions
Citizens protest against the murder of George Floyd outside CNN, Atlanta, U.S., May 29, 2020. US: Man Shoots Detroit Protesters From Car and Kills Young Man

SPORTS

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at a press conference during the football federation FIFA Chief Warns Against Restarting Football Too Soon
FC Juventus Cristiano Ronaldo to Donate Ventilators to His Hometown
NBA logo NBA Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

CULTURE

Luis Eduardo Aute, the voice of several generations in Spain Spanish singer-songwriter Luis Eduardo Aute dies at 76
Withers in 1976 Bill Withers, Soulful Singer of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ Dead at 81
The 79-year-old has been accused by multiple women of unwanted verbal and physical contact. Placido Domingo Sexual Harassment Claims ‘Credible’: LA Opera

OPINION

The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega The Strenght of the Sandinista Model
New York police officers scuffle with protestors during a protest in response to the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died while in the custody of the Minneapolis police, in New York, USA, 28 May 2020. Venezuela’s Racist Opposition Wants to Import Trump’s Model
The phase I trials on its putative SARS-CoV-2 vaccine started on April 3. The Giant Virus in the Room: Corporate Vaccine Makers Need More Pandemics to Grow
TeleSUR La Nueva Televisión del Sur C.A. (TVSUR) RIF: G-20004500-0
Featured

Cuban foreign minister condemns death of African-American in US – Via Prensa Latina — The Cuban Window

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Thursday described as a brutal assassination the death of African-American George Floyd, who was a victim of a white police officer who pressed his neck with his knee in the US city of Minneapolis.

via Cuban foreign minister condemns death of African-American in US – Via Prensa Latina — The Cuban Window

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Endorse the May 31, 2020 Caribbean and Latin American Peoples’ Online Conference Declaration Now!

Please read and endorse this conference declaration by sharing  a comment on this post or sending an email to the jamaicapeacecouncil@gmail.com with “Endorse the May 31, 2020 Caribbean and Latin American Peoples’ Online Conference Declaration” as the subject.

Declaration

The peoples of Latin America and Caribbean have a common history.  Despite our differences in language which are legacies of colonialism that tend to divide and keep us apart, our history unites us around the common goal of overcoming the vestiges of domination by the metropoles. These vestiges of colonialism include the plundering of our natural resources, under-development of our economies, and the deliberate distortion of ‘our story’ in order to keep us in our places as the ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’.

It is in this crucible to reclaim our rightful place among humanity, that leaders such as Toussaint L’ Ouverture, Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti, Bussa, Nanny, Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle,  Marcus Garvey, Augusto César Sandino, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez emerged to unite our people, as a critical step towards integration and cooperation which are indispensable components of our struggle to move forward and bring into reality genuine peoples’ development for Our Americas.

We, therefore, outline in this declaration the following commitments towards carrying forward the mission handed to us in the legacy of our ancestors:

  1. Build unity among the social forces and peoples’ movements with regard to plurality, diversity and the right to freely choose their own form of organization;
  2. Strengthen the integration movement by linking and mobilizing broad sectors of societies across the region, especially the farmers, trade unions, students, youth, women, unemployed and other groupings for coordinated action and in solving problems they have in common.
  3. Develop a communication strategy to bypass the traditional media blackout on issues affecting the daily lives of the peoples within the region, in order to draw us closer together through the use of new communication technologies, including social media. In so doing, we will keep each other abreast of our common challenges and experiences while advocating peaceful solutions for our social and economic development.
  4. Encourage the broadening and strengthening of the mechanisms of cooperation, integration and communication between countries in the region which we have been forced to utilize for the containment of Covid -19 pandemic.
  5. Acknowledge Cuba’s internationalist assistance in the global deployment of medical personnel from the Henry Reeves Brigade (currently 26 brigades in 23 countries) and the development of medicines to safely treat Covid-19 patients, based on their fundamental principle that all lives matter and should be saved whenever possible. This Global Medical Mission to save humanity was also seen in action in Cuba’s medical intervention in West Africa which helped to stem the Ebola epidemic. Cuba was the first country to respond with medical and other support tothe Haitian people after the massive 2010 earthquake.
  6. Join the rest of world in endorsing the proposal and campaigning for Cuba to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for outstanding contribution to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic
  7. Encourage and support measures to build resilience against food insecurity, environmental and health threats.
  8. Endorse the United Nations and World Health Organisation’s call for discontinuation of all military aggression, the dedication of available resources to saving humanity and for the removal of cruel and illegal sanctions against nations such as Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Zimbabwe, which are among at 39 countries  facing such a cruel obstacle to peaceful development.
  9. Cooperate with necessary measures to end or contain the pandemic while being vigilant in ensuring that the situation is not used as an opportunity to undermine our hard won democratic rights by enforcement of measures that are not in the interest of the majority, such as the unbridled use of force by agents of the state and bypassing of court rulings on the unconstitutionality of previously proposed regulations.
  10. Advocate economic growth strategies that benefit the majority of people and effectively utilize our available labour and talent, thereby eliminating poverty and unemployment.
  11. Place a high priority on the protection of workers’ rights across the region, ensuring that violation of our labour laws are not sacrificed on the altar of encouraging investments, whether foreign or local, which have never benefited the majority of people.
  12. Protect women and children across the region and raise our voices against the increasing murders of women in rising incidents of domestic violence in particular countries in the region and right across the globe during the COVID -19 lockdowns, which has left many women and children at the mercy of their abusers.
  13. Ensure that our region remains a ‘Zone of Peace’, in accordance with our CARICOM fundamental principle and the Tlatelolco Treaty of 2014, by resisting any attempt to divide and rule our countries in order to satisfy the interests of foreign powers and multinationals.
  14. Resist any attempt to violate the United Nations’ international law guaranteeing our inalienable right to self-determination, national sovereignty and non-interference in our internal affairs by external powers as has occurred in Honduras and Bolivia, and is being attempted in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
  15. Support and participate in the just demand for reparations for the enslavement of African people in the region and lobby for the elimination of its lingering effect which is manifested in the uneven distribution of resources and development opportunities.
  16. Monitor and support peoples’ struggles globally against all forms of “human wrongs” such as sexism, classicism, systemic racism, apartheid, genocide, xenophobia and repression, which, in the Americas, affect Black and indigenous peoples to the greatest extent, as reflected in the death toll from Covid 19, unemployment rates, homelessness, incarceration and incidents of excessive use of force by police and the criminal “injustice” system and war .
  17. Monitor and support the struggles for decolonization and economic independence of all countries within the region and elsewhere across the globe.
Featured

The pandemic is killing us. So is neoliberalism – What we need is a union

BY:Joe Sims|May 22, 2020

The pandemic is killing us. So is neoliberalism.

A lot of hope—and rightly so—is being placed in what a post-Trump country and world might look like. And yes, almost anything would be better. (As a popular lawn sign reads, “2020: Any Functioning Adult.”) Proposals for union-friendly organizing rights, student debt relief, a wealth tax, a green infrastructure bill (if not a Green New Deal), a rejoining of the Paris Climate Accord undertaken by a new administration would allow most everyone to breathe a sigh of relief. And breathing, in light of the 90,000 plus dead in this COVID-19 crisis, is not a thing to be taken for granted.

The scale and intensity of the crisis, however, and the public’s response to it, will determine what’s needed, party planks now contemplated be damned. With unemployment today at 25 percent or more, the shock to the capitalist system is profound. With a 3-to-1 ratio of African American and Latino to whites deaths, the racial implications are clear. Some, recalling William Patterson’s formula, that when are government is aware of the implications of its policy but does nothing, the result is genocidal. Overcoming these factors will be no small feat. But the question looms: how will this “overcoming” be defined?

International supply chains, for example, have been disrupted and with them perhaps the whole model of just-in-time production. There are now growing calls to bring parts production back home, and rightly so. What that will mean with respect to imperialist globalization is unclear. But it’s not a given that resuming domestic manufacturing will result in job creation. At least that’s the considered opinion of Columbia University professor and Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz in a recent interview. In his view, potential workers in newly constructed factories will be replaced by robots. In fact, Stiglitz says, the trend toward deindustrialization and a service economy will only deepen.

Big sections of the economy may be radically reshaped. Airlines, for example, along with nursing homes, theaters, restaurants, retail outlets, meatpacking factories, indeed, anything and everything that was done in confined spaces are in for a severe retrofitting. Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft are fast forwarding work-from-home alternatives, with possibly half of their employees working remotely in a decade.

Surprisingly, even the healthcare industry has been affected, experiencing the second largest job loss in April. According to some, 42 percent of all the current jobs lost will not be replaced.

The country is in the midst of a profound systemic crisis of capitalism.

The very future of work, already subject to restructuring by artificial intelligence, big data, and robotics, has not-too-certain prospects, particularly in light of predictions by Larry Summers, a current advisor to the Biden campaign.

Summers foresees a dramatic downsizing in general, with the airline industry being a case in point. Dismissing subsidizing employers to maintain current payrolls, the former Obama White House official remarked, “What conceivable logic is there to tell Delta Airlines that it has to retain every employee until October 1st? Delta airlines is years away from needing to retain the number of flight attendants that it has now. And there’s zero probability to want to have those flight attendants back.”

Summers went on to call for a strategic market-based culling. “Why does New Haven need 10 Indian restaurants when it only needs 4?” he asked.

The depth of the current crisis, which Summers thinks is at least twice if not three times as severe as the Great Recession, may also threaten the banking system. Stress tests, aimed at measuring a bank’s viability in times of crisis, he argues, are not credible. If Summers is right, Wall Street may be in big trouble.

There’s no going back to the way things were.

Importantly, both economists see the need for generous financial support for unemployed workers in the near term, with Summers arguing that the best stimulus lies in financing health care. But what will happen down the road? Here the two accept that there’s no going back to the way things were in terms of employment levels. Translated, that means the working class one way or another is going to pay the heaviest price.

Are there alternatives? Apparently not, if you’re stuck within the framework of liberal or neoliberal thinking. On the other hand, Jared Bernstein another economic advisor to the vice president say that the presumptive nominee “recognizes the need for an “urgent expansion” that better insulates the American economy from the “shocks that are coming fast and furiously” not as a direct result of the pandemic but from climate change and income inequality.”

Pressure is also coming from trade unions and progressive elected officials. Still demands for shortening the work week, socializing the hospital system or other industries, cancelling all debt—a debt jubilee—radically cutting the military budget, etc., so far have not entered the conversation. And they won’t, without mass public pressure and protest from the very ones most affected by the crisis—the growing army of the unemployed and their unions.

But it’s going to take more than public pressure. Along with such pressure, in fact by means of it, the balance of power in the country must be changed.

At this stage, a new Democratic administration is the only alternative to Trump’s neo-fascist impulse, even if the measures now proposed inadequately address what’s coming. However, for that door to be opened, even partly, the door to the Trump White House must be firmly and completely closed and the current occupant thrown out.

Can we advance if we fear to advance toward socialism?

Clearly, in light of the prognostications of some of the Democrats’ chief economists, the post-November political battlefield will be the site of intense class and democratic struggle. There are but two paths to solve the crisis—either on the backs of the rich or on the backs of the poor. In other words, it’s going to mean either more capitalism or more socialism. Can advances be made without massive public investments in health care, education, infrastructure, industry, housing, and science? Can we really advance if we fear to advance toward socialism?

A lot will depend on what happens in the Congressional elections as well.  Recall that in 2008 Democratic majorities in the House and Senate could not prevail in the battle for a larger stimulus.

The crisis today however, is on another scale of magnitude and the caring-for-each-other sentiments, a material force brought to the fore by the pandemic, give us much to build on. In this regard, Joel Wendland writes,

The interventions that have been undertaken, reliance on science, mobilization of public spirit of commitment and sacrifice, the re-organization of activity into necessary and essential services, the sense of solidarity and shared work toward the goal of resolving the crisis, the calls for re-directing production to needed goods, the immediate expansion of aid to workers in the form of extended unemployment, the provision of free test and care for victims of the pandemic, all serve as models for a socialistic model of democratic planning, expansion of publicly operated services for need not for commercial value, and economic waste.

He continued, “For example the collapse of oil markets and finance capital reveal how little we benefit from the existence of those sectors or how little we are harmed when they fall apart. The increased hostility toward price gougers and profiteers could translate into policy.”

In this broad democratic and socialist moment, the sole force capable of seeing this through are the workers and people most affected by the crisis. They, along with the broader movement that brought the new House of Representatives to power  in the midterms must give leadership to the fight.

It’s time to, as Bobby Seale once said, “seize the time.”

The pandemic is killing us. So is neoliberalism.

Featured

100,000 dead – The cost of Trump’s failed COVID response

By People’s World Editorial Board

100,000 dead – The cost of Trump’s failed COVID response

As the nation mourns 100,000 lives lost, President Trump prefers to look away and cover his ears, repeating excuses for his failures and casting blame on everyone else. | AP

If the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States has not yet surpassed 100,000 when you are reading this, tragically, it soon will. In the space of the first five months of this year, we have long passed the milestone (just under 60,000) of Americans killed in the long Vietnam War. We know, of course, that some people died of the pandemic in the early part of 2020 before health authorities even knew what they were dealing with. We also know that others died at home, their families only at most suspecting what the cause of death might have been.

The United States leads the world in COVID-19 deaths. No advanced country was so unprepared for a health catastrophe as the U.S. under President Donald Trump. It’s hard even to say the numbers will abate in the coming weeks and months. We may not have peaked yet. With the president’s push to “reopen” the economy and secure his re-election in November, tens of thousands more in America could be exposed to the virus and require treatment. In new waves of infection, the death toll will continue to rise.

The bodies of some of the lost souls are loaded into a refrigerated truck in New York City, April 29, 2020. | Craig Ruttle / AP

It seems like no one in the White House ever heard of the Six P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance (We threw in an extra P in honor of Vice President Pence and his coronavirus task force).

The prize for best preparedness no doubt goes to Vietnam, with a population of about 100 million, which shares a border with China and yet, because of its highly coordinated planning, has registered exactly 0 deaths from the coronavirus. This model needs to be studied closely.

Has your city been wiped out?

Numbers are often hard to grasp. Well, the city of Roanoke, Va., has just under 100,000 people. So imagine that the entire city of Roanoke—every single person in town—has been wiped off the earth. If you’ve never been to Roanoke and can’t picture it in your mind, how about Kenosha, Wis., or Clinton, Mich., both of them inching up toward 100,000 population?

Here are the names of most of the American cities with a population between 90,000 and 100,000. Imagine every resident of any one of these cities dead, not to mention whole populations of hundreds of smaller cities. To list them all would be numbing, and most Americans are probably pretty numb already from the staggering loss of human life that could have been avoided so early on with rational, science-based policy coming from the federal government.

Miami Beach, Fla.; Lynn, Mass.; Plantation, Fla.; San Marcos, Tex.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Carson, Calif.; Hesperia, Calif.; Quincy, Mass.; Yakima, Wash.; West Albany, N.Y.; The Woodlands, Tex.; Lawrence, Ks.; Yuma, Ariz.; Roswell, N.M.; Livonia, Mich.; New Bedford, Mass.; Dearborn, Mich.; Brockton, Mass.; Sparks, Nev.; Portsmouth, Va.; South Gate, Calif.; Beaverton, Wash.; Lawton, Okla.; Ventura, Calif.; Vacaville, Calif.; Mission Viejo, Calif.; Allen, Tex.; Flint, Mich.; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Compton, Calif.; Albany, N.Y.; Spring Hill, Fla.; Richmond Hill, N.Y.; Portsmouth Heights, Va.; Erie, Pa.; Columbia, Md.

Is your city next?

Community groups and labor unions organize a car caravan through Brattleboro, Vt., to show solidarity with essential workers and lift up calls for crisis responses that focus on workers’ health and welfare on May 1, 2020. | Kristopher Radder / The Brattleboro Reformer / AP

What happens after 100,000? The virus just goes after warm, available bodies. It doesn’t know from numbers. We’ll shortly be recording the next 10,000 deaths.

These cities rank in population between 100,000 and 110,000, in order from low to high. Do you live in one of them? Your city may be the next to go.

Renton, Wash.; San Angelo, Tex.; Davie, Fla.; Greeley, Colo.; Vista, Calif.; South Bend, Ind.; Las Cruces, N.M.; Hillsboro, Ore.; Edison, N.J.; Davenport, Iowa; Rialto, Calif.; Brandon, Fla.; San Mateo, Calif.; El Cajon, Calif.; Tyler, Tex.; Louisville, Ky.; Clovis, Calif.; Lakeland, Fla.; Wichita Falls, Tex.; Santa Maria, Calif.; Green Bay, Wis.; Burbank, Calif.; Sandy Springs, Ga.; Daly City, Calif.; Broken Arrow, Nev.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Norwalk, Calif.; Boulder, Colo.; Pompano Beach, Fla.; Palm Bay, Fla.; College Station, Tex.; Everett, Wash.; North Charleston, S.C.; Enterprise, Nev.; West Covina, Calif.; Waterbury, Conn.; Pearland, Tex.; Pueblo, Colo.; Richmond, Calif.; Centennial, Colo.; Murrieta, Calif.

Is a cure in sight?

A cure or vaccine for the coronavirus may not come for many months, maybe never. But a cure does exist for numbness. It’s called “action.”

Education, advocacy, sharing on social media, caravans, letters to the editor, communicating with your elected officials, voter registration and voting, campaign contributions, phone banking, precinct walking if and when it’s safe. On-the-job walkouts, sitdowns, strikes, demonstrations. Supporting your family, friends, and neighbors. Expressing gratitude for workers who remain on the job under highly stressful conditions. Writing articles about local developments for People’s World, and supporting PW financially. Solidarity.

And unity. Lots of it. To remember and honor our fellow Americans and those who came to our shores seeking a better life.

To protect life. To save democracy. To stop fascism.

Unity. Unity! Unity!!

 

Source: https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/100000-dead-the-cost-of-trumps-failed-covid-response/?fbclid=IwAR2o35Nu7fDLw6nJ2KTNCODmJ6Js2GoIJnhELahtWXqTtBCWMLuHsKu_BqM

 

Population data: World Population Review.

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Grassroots Action to Fight the Covid19 Crisis in the Caribbean and Latin American – May 31

On Sunday, May 31, 2020, the Caribbean and Latin American professionals and   community leaders will convene an online conference to discuss experiences and solutions to fight Covid 19 and future pandemics, especially at the grassroots level.

The pandemic has spread exponentially across South America, with Brazil now having the most significant number of active cases in the world.  Political leadership in confronting the pandemic in Brazil has been at best sporadic.  The government’s responses have proven ineffective, particularly for those living on the margins of society: the Blacks, poor, seniors, women, young people, and the unemployed. Recent information coming out of Brazil indicates that the indigenous peoples are severely threatened by the pandemic and could face extinction.

“It is about time we take the bull by the horns and tackle the issues in a fundamental way. We need to approach the situation from the bottom up, instead of from the top down as this has failed us every time,” remarked Mr. Mose Hyde, President of the Christian Workers Union.

This is the first time that a conference of this nature will be spearheaded by civil society and grassroots organizations across the various language groups in the Caribbean and Latin America. It will feature presentations by diplomats, economists, sociologists, doctors, lawyers, trade unionists, journalists,  community women and youth organizers, and other interest groups.

“While we reside in different countries, we all share the same history of being torn from Africa, enslavement and colonial domination. It is up to us to play a major role in figuring out what works for us,” added Mr. Hyde.

Mr. David Denny, another organizer, emphasized the importance of establishing the regional peoples’ network to support integration, peaceful cooperation and resilience against threats to the environment and human health. He noted that while the peoples of the region remain relatively isolated from each other, we are weak in facing the common issues that affect us and we are incapable of participating effectively in charting the way forward as a region.

“Our discussion will undoubtedly address the deleterious effects of illegal sanctions and military threats against countries in the region which have been condemned by Caricom, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean (CELAC) States, the United Nations, and the World Health Organisation, the Catholic Pope and most faith-based organisations, including Rastafari,” said Mr. Denny.

A stalwart in the trade union, reparations and peace and solidarity movements in Barbados and the region, Mr. Denny said that he hopes the conference will highlight the need for regional peace and cooperation to address the myriad of social and economic issues unmasked by the Covid19 crisis. He also hopes that the conference will enable peoples of the region to be more aware of subtle and overt threats to our United Nations enshrined right of nations to self-determination and to be free from internal interference in our affairs with the objective of regime change as has occurred in Grenada, Bolivia and Honduras, and is being threatened in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. This lack of awareness is hampering the growth of nations in the region and makes us easy pawns in a multitude of games that only serve to keep us in a position of dependence.

“We are in this together, despite our linguistic or regional differences which are legacies of colonialism,” noted Mr. Denny.

The online conference will take place on Sunday, May 31, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (GMT5/Jamaica time). It is being organised by the Caribbean Peace Movement, the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, the Christian Workers Union of Belize, the Jamaica Peace Council and the Global AfriKan Congress, with the support of several civil society and grassroots organisations across the region. The Haitian social movement Konbit ayisyen pou pwogrè (KAP) will be represented at the conference.You may join the conference by clicking on the following link.

 

Zoom Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82162618917

Meeting ID: 821 6261 8917

Password: 013604

Sign in early to guarantee you place.

If you already have the Zoom app on your device, you may just open it, click on “Join Meeting” and then fill in the Meeting ID and Password when prompted.

For more information contact:

Mr. David Denny

General Secretary

Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration

Email: ahsaki66@hotmail.com

Tel: 1 246 546 5697  (or) 1 246 286 4052

 

Mr. Trevor Brown

Member of the Steering Committee, Jamaica Peace Council

International Working Committee Caribbean Representative

Global AfriKan Congress

Email: scribe.brown@gmail.com

Tel: 1 876 834 4184

 

–  30  –

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Italy Recommends Cuban Medical Brigade for Nobel Peace Prize — HUMAN WRONGS WATCH

Human Wrongs Watch Cuban doctors held over five thousand consultations in Italy and discharged 210 Covid-19 patients after the severe outbreak in March. Homage to Cuban doctors in Plaza Duomo, Crema, Italy. May 23rd, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@BrunoRguezP . 25 May 2020 (teleSUR)* — Italian authorities, ecclesiastic representatives, and social organizations acknowledged on May 23 […]

via Italy Recommends Cuban Medical Brigade for Nobel Peace Prize — HUMAN WRONGS WATCH

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“The Caribbean and Latin American Peoples’ Conference on our COVID-19 Experience and Lessons” kicking off regional peoples’ network on May 31, 2020

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The online conference on May 31, 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Jamaica time (real time, not traditional) will kick off the thrust towards creating a Regional Peoples’ Network, from the grassroots right across all levels of society, to support Integration, Peaceful Cooperation and Resilience against Environmental and Health Threats. The theme of the conference is “The Caribbean and Latin American Peoples’ Conference on our COVID-19 Experience and Lessons”.

Speakers drawn from various countries in the region will share the COVID 19 experiences and lessons learned in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Haiti, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Bolivia and Martinique. A panel of healthcare professionals from Jamaica, Belize and New York will share their ideas on the way forward in preventing and coping with pandemics in the interest of saving lives. Another panel will discuss the way forward from an economic, social and cultural perspective. Apart from participating in the Q&A after each panel presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas in breakout groups followed by a plenary presentation.

 

One of the highlights of the day will be a conversation with noted Jamaican economist Dr. Michael Witter who co-authored the book “Small Garden Bitter Weed” with his late colleague Dr. George Beckford.

The conference is being organised by the Caribbean Peace Movement,  the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, the Christian Workers Union of Belize, the Jamaica Peace Council and the Global African Congress. The Haitian social movement Konbit ayisyen pou pwogrè (KAP) will be represented at the conference.

You may join the conference by clicking on the following link.

Zoom Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82162618917
Meeting ID: 821 6261 8917
Password: 013604

NB. If you already have the Zoom app on your device, you may just open it, click on “Join Meeting” and then fill in the Meeting ID and Password when prompted.

 

You won’t want to miss this online conference. Please share.

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New York Botanical Gardens: Exploring the Conservation Status of Jamaican Root Tonic Plants — Repeating Islands

A report by Elizabeth A. Gjieli and Ina Vandebroek for The New York Botanical Gardens. Jamaican root tonics are fermented beverages composed of roots, bark, and other parts of various wild harvested plant species, which are consumed to strengthen the body, increase stamina, cleanse the blood, and improve libido. These concoctions are widely popular across Jamaica, […]

via New York Botanical Gardens: Exploring the Conservation Status of Jamaican Root Tonic Plants — Repeating Islands

 

A report by Elizabeth A. Gjieli and Ina Vandebroek for The New York Botanical Gardens.

Jamaican root tonics are fermented beverages composed of roots, bark, and other parts of various wild harvested plant species, which are consumed to strengthen the body, increase stamina, cleanse the blood, and improve libido. These concoctions are widely popular across Jamaica, and among the Jamaican diaspora in New York City, London, and Toronto. In order to produce the tonics, knowledgeable people collect bark, roots, and vines of plants from the forest, typically three days before or after the full moon. These plant parts are left to dry, and when they are ready for brewing, they are chopped and boiled in water. The boiling process can last a few hours to an entire day, depending on individual preference and the desired strength of the tonic. When this stage is complete, the concoction is stored in a bottle and left to ferment.

Despite their popularity today and an integral part of Jamaican biocultural heritage, the use of wild and (semi-) domesticated plants for these health tonics remains vastly understudied. Dr. Vandebroek and her colleague Dr. David Picking from The University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica are actively researching and documenting the ingredients of these tonics. The data collected in this project can be used to investigate the conservation status of these native and endemic species by mapping them in NYBG’s GIS Lab, led by Liz Gjieli.

3_roots boiling

More than 200 plant species used in root tonics have been recorded across five parishes in Jamaica. Since many species are collected deep inside forests, it is likely that some are vulnerable from a conservation perspective. GIS analysis showed that this was the case for several species, by analyzing the range of their naturally occurring geographic distribution. This is done by compiling all known occurrence records for a species, derived from NYBG’s C.V. Starr Virtual Herbarium and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), a repository of information from major herbaria worldwide. GIS software is used to map all of the known localities of the species and calculate an “extent of occurrence” (EOO) polygon. This polygon represents an estimate of the spatial area that a species occupies. Species with an EOO of less than 20,000 square kilometers, and which are also experiencing severely fragmented habitat or a decline in populations or range, are considered “vulnerable”. This is according to the global authority, the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

4_chainy root Smilax canellifolia

Identifying species that are potentially at risk with this rapid assessment will warrant further “on the ground” investigation into their proper conservation threat status.  With this analysis, we hope to contribute to preserving the valuable biocultural plant diversity of Jamaica.


Funding courtesy the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration Grant #HJ-161R-17 to Ina Vandebroek.

References:
IUCN. 2012. Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN.

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Questions for Mark Myers of KFC following “layoff” warning to staff amid COVID-19 pandemic

Jamaica: As sales drop by more than 50%, KFC, Pizza Hut set to reduce staff

I WATCHED a video of Mark Myers, head of Restaurants of Jamaica, where he speaks to his staff warning of impending lay-offs due to falling sales at his KFC and Pizza Hut locations.

He ends the video by saying how much the team means to him and imploring them to “keep safe”. I have a few questions for Mr Myers:

1) Are your stores losing money on falling sales or simply making less money?

2) How do you expect your employees who will be laid off to “keep safe” if they are not earning?

3) Does Restaurants of Jamaica have no reserves on which it can fall back on during this pandemic?

4) Did you compute the cost of paying your mostly low-salaried workers for a few more months versus the cost of reputational damage your business may suffer as a result of these planned lay-offs?

5) While I can see how your profits would be negatively impacted by shortened business hours, wouldn’t your expenses – light, water, security, etc – be likewise reduced?

6) Can you honestly say that your business had no alternative but to lay off staff? What about just making less profits but being humane?

Mr Myers, my small bucks may mean nothing to your bottom line, but I will spend my money with establishments that show that they value mankind over profits. I wonder if all of Jamaica chose to boycott your stores for even one day if you would then recognise the folly of your ways.

Lloyd’s COMMITMENT

On the other hand, I was delighted to read a story about Lloyd Pearson and Lloyd’s in Montego Bay; Mr Pearson said he will continue to pay his staff fully and just wants to sell enough to meet payroll demands. This commitment to his team must mean the world to them, and they are blessed to work for a man with such compassion and empathy for the plight of the common man.

Here is a small establishment – when compared to the mighty KFC – but a businessman who clearly has a heart and conscience and loves his ‘team’ not just by word, but by action.

Jamaica is a funny place, though: such is the hypocrisy that one can look for honours to be bestowed on Mr Myers in the months ahead, or perhaps his appointment to government think tanks or task forces, while poor Mr Pearson will have to await his well-deserved reward, hopefully, many decades down the road, in the afterlife.

Donkey was right when him seh di world nuh level.

Lydia Roberts

Kingston, Jamaica

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COVID-19 Exposes Stark Disparity Between the Standards of Living of Social Classes in Jamaica

No photo description available.

 

Two recent letters to a Gleaner newspaper have compelled me to respond. One is titled ‘Social distancing an uptown phenomenon’ and the other ‘Examine NHT matches-box housing’.

These letters bring into sharp focus the inequalities in housing that exist in our island. They bring to mind what our politicians of the past have spoken about, the “haves” and the “have-nots”.

In the not-too-distant past, three houses were burnt to the ground. One had 70 occupants, one had 55, and the other had 40 occupants. A total of 165. These houses were originally built for a family of six. (One of these was in Sirgany in east Kingston).

Jamaica has 753 squatter settlements, which house over 800,000 squatters, identified by the Ministry of Housing. This approximates to 30 per cent of our population.

There are 3.4 million acres of land in Jamaica. Each acre can be divided into 10 housing lots, thereby creating 34 million housing lots in Jamaica. If the Government allocated a housing lot for every Jamaican, there would still be 31.3 housing lots left (or over 3 million acres of land).

The statistics show that 90 per cent of our crime emanates from our ghetto/inner-city/garrison communities. This costs the nation 7.5 per cent of gross domestic product, which translates to multiple billions of dollars annually.

The Rt Excellent Marcus Garvey in 1929, as the president of the People ‘s Political Party, championed the creation of an egalitarian society. Fast-forward to today, we have a deeply divided and crime-filled society.

We indeed have two Jamaicas today. One in which a family of four lives on an acre of land, and the other where 70 persons live on a quarter of an acre plot.

The challenge ahead for us as a nation is to create a homogenous society, where equal rights and justice prevails for ALL. Where equal opportunities are the societal standards. And where, as our anthem demands, true respect for ALL is the order of the day.

 

 

 

HERU ISHAKAMUSA MENELIK

High Commissioner

UNIA and ACL

Jamaica

 

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 UNDP Warns COVID-19 Means a Systemic Human Development Crisis while  US Prevents Cuba From Acquiring Pharmaceutical Raw Materials – and more regional news fromTelesur

29/04/2020

LATIN AMERICA

Sample of the products made by FarmaCuba, Havana, Cuba, April, 2020. . US Prevents Cuba From Acquiring Pharmaceutical Raw Materials
Migrant woman heads to Piura in national exodus . Lima, Peru, April 29. Peru: Authorities Report Increase in Femincides Amid Quarantine
Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), La Habana, Cuba. Cuba: Interferon’s Effectiveness Against COVID-19 Confirmed

WORLD

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey Pledges Support to US in Fight Against COVID-19
Brazil Brazil Admits Country Is Getting Worse Due to COVID-19
People queue to buy vegetables, Guwahati, India, April 29, 2020. COVID-19 Means a Systemic Human Development Crisis, UNDP Warns

SPORTS

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at a press conference during the football federation FIFA Chief Warns Against Restarting Football Too Soon
FC Juventus Cristiano Ronaldo to Donate Ventilators to His Hometown
NBA logo NBA Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

CULTURE

Luis Eduardo Aute, the voice of several generations in Spain Spanish singer-songwriter Luis Eduardo Aute dies at 76
Withers in 1976 Bill Withers, Soulful Singer of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ Dead at 81
The 79-year-old has been accused by multiple women of unwanted verbal and physical contact. Placido Domingo Sexual Harassment Claims ‘Credible’: LA Opera

OPINION

Social Distancing = Communism: this is the ideological angle of Trump’s most belligerent storm-troopers. Trump’s Zealots: White Supremacists and Evangelicals Gearing up for a New Civil War?
 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L), Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (C) and Benny Gantz, former Israeli Army Chief of Staff and chairman of the Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance (R) join hands A Machiavellian Fiasco: How ‘Centrist’ Gantz Helped Netanyahu
Peerzada Ashiq (L), Gowhar Geelani (C), and Masrat Zahra (R) are all Kashmiri journalists targeted by India India’s Charges Against Kashmiri Journalists Send Colleagues at Sword’s Point
TeleSUR La Nueva Televisión del Sur C.A. (TVSUR) RIF: G-20004500-0
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Foreign Minister responds to the attack on the Cuban Embassy in the USA on April 30, 2020

Bruno rodriguez
Photo: MINREX

Statements by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla

Good afternoon:

As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs timely informed, around 2 o’clock today, that is, in the early hours in the morning of today, Thursday, April 30, 2020, a terrorist attack was perpetrated against the embassy of the Republic of Cuba to the United States in Washington. An unidentified individual shot at the building of the Cuban embassy in the US using an assault rifle.

None of the members of the staff of the mission was injured, who is safe and protected, but some material damages were caused to the building as a result of the numerous gunshots.

Cuba’s diplomatic mission in Washington has a security and protection system in place against any threat that may jeopardize the diplomatic officials, their relatives and the facilities.

The individual, whose identity has not been reported to the Cuban government, was arrested by the local authorities and remains under their custody.

We appreciate the professional behavior of the law enforcement agency officers who very quickly arrived at the scene of the incident.

Today, at noon time, I summoned the Charge d’ Affairs of the US embassy in Havana, Mrs. Mara Tekach, to discuss this serious incident.

I stated our strongest protest for the grave terrorist attack perpetrated against the Cuban embassy. I asked her: How would the US government react to such an attack against any of its embassies? I remember the unfair actions and threats made by the US Government without a minimal explanation or evidence on the so call “acoustic attacks” supposedly against American diplomats.

It is the obligation of all States to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of a diplomatic mission accredited to that country against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity or its normal functioning, as established by the Vienna Convention about Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

I demand utmost cooperation from the US government authorities to clarify the facts and the assurances that such incidents will not happen again or remain unpunished, including this incident that has just occurred

This attack against the Cuban embassy in the United States has in any case been encouraged by the increasingly hostile rhetoric against our country that has both publicly and systematically involved the US Secretary of State as well as high officials of that Department in charge of relations with the Western Hemisphere, and even the US embassy in Havana.

It is impossible not to establish a connection between such action and  the strengthening of the aggressive and hostile policy that the US applies against Cuba, or the tightening of the blockade, which includes non-conventional measures even in times of the COVID-19  pandemic, which affect the whole planet.

The accts to instigate violence against the Cuban medical personnel in third countries, as was the case recently in Bolivia, even with the participation of US officials; the slanders and demonization of the health staff, also encourage violent actions.

At the moment of the attack, as I expressed to the US diplomat, there were ten Cuban officials and diplomats inside the building, who were in grave danger.

It is likewise impossible to separate this type of actions from the effect of policies and speeches of hatred that promote division and social violence.

There have been serious historical antecedents of violent and hostile actions, including terrorist actions, against Cuban diplomatic officials assigned to the United States, both at the Washington mission and at the Cuban Permanent Representation to the United Nations in New York.

I also remembered that several groups and individuals have operated for many years and are still operating inside the US territory with impunity, who have in the past committed terrorist actions against Cuba,  something that is well known by the law enforcement agencies of the government of the United States.

I am surprise to see that more than 15 hours have elapsed from the attack against our embassy and neither the official US government authorities or the State Department have contacted our authorities; there has not been any  official statement, not even tweets, which are so frequent when referring to Cuba, from any US official or its embassy

I urge the State Department to adopt, with the utmost urgency, the measures necessary to ensure full compliance with the responsibilities it is entitled to under the Vienna Convention and ensure the security and safety of the Cuban embassy, the Cuban Permanent Mission to the United Nations, and the staff that works at both missions and the relatives accompanying them.

Finally, I offer the cooperation of the Cuban authorities to carry out the appropriate investigation.

Thank you, very much.

Cubaminrex

 

Source: http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2020-04-30/statements-by-the-minister-of-foreign-affairs-of-the-republic-of-cuba-bruno-rodriguez-parrilla

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We need grants, not loans, PM Browne tells IMF

By Shermain Bique-Charles
Shermainbique.charles@antiguaobserver.com

“It has nothing to do with us”, said Prime Minister Gaston Browne, about a decision by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to approve US $65.6 Million for Dominica, Grenada and St Lucia to address Covid-19 challenges.

Browne, who has had a wishy-washy relationship with the IMF, wrote to the financial entity earlier this month, requesting debt write-offs and grants to help the twin island state fight the coronavirus pandemic, but received no favourable response from the world body.

“We requested debt write-offs and grants. That is what the Caribbean needs, not loans,” he said

While the prime minister appeared to be grateful for what he called “small concessional loan windows”, he insisted that it cannot solve “our problem”.

“That cannot solve our financial problems that have been created over decades, by and large by repeated hurricanes recovery costs and exogenous shocks,” he added,

Furthermore, an adamant Browne said high debt and debit service ratios requires debt relief and grants to place these countries on a sustainable fiscal and financial pathway.

Meantime, the funding for Dominica, Grenada and St Lucia is being made available under the Rapid Credit Facility.

IMF financing support provides resources to the countries’ authorities for essential health-related expenditures and income support to ease the impact of Covid-19 on the population.

Dominica will receive US $14 million, while St Lucia gets US $21.4 million, and US $22.4 million goes to Grenada.

Tao Zhang, deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF, said these countries are small states that are very vulnerable to shocks, including large natural disasters, with Dominica in particular still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Tao Zhang, deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF (file photo)

“The Covid-19 pandemic poses a major challenge to Dominica, Grenada, and St Lucia. Their key tourism sectors have been hit hard by the shock. The contraction in tourism is expected to have a major impact on their economies, by causing ripple effects across all economic sectors, eroding fiscal revenues, and creating urgent balance of payments pressures. In addition, these three small states are also highly vulnerable to natural disasters,” Tao said.

The IMF, according to him will continue to engage these countries and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed.

Dominica, Grenada, and St Lucia are members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), and the disbursements would support macroeconomic stability and facilitate the subsequent economic recovery of the region.

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It’s Our Blog’s Anniversary! 3 Years

Message from WordPress today:
3 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 3 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Thank your WordPress.

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P.J. Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Policy Advocacy calls for an “INTERNATIONAL SOLUTION, TO THE COVID PANDEMIC”

https://stluciatimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/PJ-Patterson.jpg

 

Kingston: Most Hon P.J. Patterson, Statesman in Residence at the P.J. Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Policy Advocacy, located at The University of the West Indies, (UWI) has stated that given the level of global connectivity and interdependence, the fight against COVID-19 demands a multilateral response.

“Less than six months ago”, he adds, “the world became aware of the emergence in Wuhan of a new corona virus. For a short while, it was regarded only as a health problem which China had the capacity and adequate resources to handle. Subsequently, it became the global pandemic known as COVID-19, engulfing with deadly effect Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. To date, the global pandemic has infected 2,471 ,046 and killed 1 70,096 and even this now appears to be an underestimate. It is not possible to accurately predict how and when the pandemic will be brought under control.

The pandemic is just beginning to mutate in Africa where public health systems are fragile and poverty makes populations extremely vulnerable. Here as elsewhere people of African descent have suffered disproportionately, particularly in the United States, as minorities and migrants. Globally dispersed African peoples are seriously at risk in the Caribbean and Latin America.

for Africa-Caribbean Policy Advocacy, expresses its profound sympathy and condolences to the families of the many bereaved including those of deceased frontline staff in medical and emergency services worldwide.

“We commend and encourage continued co-ordination of health protocols to combat the virus across the African continent by the African Union and Ministries and National Centres for disease control supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). This coincides with a similar process taking place in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with the involvement of CARICOM Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Health in advancing protocols to mitigate and control COVID-19”, states the former Jamaican Prime Minister.

Former Prime Minister Patterson also applauds the generosity of the government and people of CUba in sending hundreds of doctors, nurses and other health experts to countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Italy to be on the front-line in their fight against COVID-19. Cuba’s sustained training of its medical and technical personnel and those of other countries, and its scientific research in developing medicines, have enabled it to provide invaluable support to many other countries around the world.

Calling for an international response to the impact of the global pandemic7 “To date”, Mr. Patterson notes, “the response has been national in fOCUS, but it is clear this cannot address the international spread of COVID-19. Multilateralism and the institutions which give tangible expression to this approach are now fragmented and demoralized, consequent on the failure by the most powerful country to realise that putting one’s nation first cannot ignore that we all live in a single universe. This epidemic in the era of globalisation requires international solution, at a time where there is now a palpable vacuum in global leadership”.

In these circumstances, he states, the only thing certain is that the world we knew will no longer exist.

“The world that emerges will be entirely different from the one we all knew. Trade, travel, the workplace, health control, study will never be the same. The reconfiguration of global power and the restructuring of the global economy cannot be left to the market or the dictations of a few, determined to continue to shape the future by unilateral decisions without international consultation. In such a dispensation, the interests of the less developed, less powerful and most vulnerable will not be taken into account unless we take the decision to make our collective voices heard and our interests reflected in the new world order. Pandemics thrive on poverty, ignorance, hunger, stress and social inequities”

Against this background, the Centre holds that it is therefore incumbent on the peoples of African descent to forge through dialogue, a consensus agenda to articulate a vision of a re-ordered world in which their governments and regional organizations have a leadership role. “The crisis engendered by the COVID-79 virus provides the basis for the urgent mobilization of a trans-global coalition,” emphasises Mr. Patterson.

Accordingly, for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy is calling for a dialogue at the level of Heads of Government to agree on a common agenda and initiate a programme of international cooperation among countries in Africa and its global diaspora of people of African descent. The stated objectives are three-fold as follows:

The P.J. Patterson Centre calls on the African Union and CARICOM to:

The P.J. Patterson Centre holds that there is a compelling need for the African Union and CARICOM to act in tandem in the international organizations to ensure that the regions’ and rights and interests of their peoples, especially women, children and persons with disabilities, are actively defended.

“The prompt and pre-emptive actions taken by many countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean are to be commended, especially many led by women, whose actions in response to the pandemic have saved thousands of lives,” Mr. Patterson states.

In the current context of a global health and economic crisis, the P.J. Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Policy Advocacy calls on CARICOM and the AU to actively combat global racism wherever in the world this is manifested, and to promote a deeper understanding of the historical processes that have engendered poverty and social injustice on our Planet Earth.

 

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Heed the Call for Regional and International Economic Bodies, such as CARICOM, OAS, OECS, ACS, CELAC Now!

grayscale photo of woman in panty
Photo: Tai’s Captures https://unsplash.com/photos/Lhb-zwQ-QGI

REMITTANCES TO the Caribbean and Latin American regions is immensely critical for the sustenance of millions of families.

In light of the foregoing, it is evident that the COVID-19 outbreak will result in a severe loss of economic and social gains globally. The growing threat of the pandemic has already begun to adversely impact critical sectors, resulting in a debilitating global economic slowdown. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean chief, Alicia Barcena, stated that “the effects of COVID-19 will cause the biggest recession that the region has suffered since 1914 and 1930. A sharp increase in unemployment is forecast, with negative effects on poverty and inequality”.

CALL TO INTEGRATE

Now more than ever, we must heed the call for regional and international economic bodies, such as CARICOM, OAS, OECS, ACS, CELAC, among others, to integrate and promote deeper regional solidarity during this harsh economic climate and anaemic growth trend, to ensure stability and buoyancy is recovered in the least possible time frame.

This amalgamation, undoubtedly, will allow for cost-sharing and risk pooling initiatives, resulting in prompt and effective mobilisation of resources and funds to critical areas. The adoption of countercyclical fiscal policy regionally, in which governments increase spending and cut taxes during a depression, should also definitely aid in such a recessionary environment. With its utilisation, it promotes an inducement for growth, as it provides an opposing force to cushion frequent economic shocks during volatile periods, when businesses and consumer spending lessens dramatically. This increases aggregate demand, thereby facilitating economic recovery.

The Caribbean and Latin American region is filled with vast potential to counteract any crippling circumstances we might face. The fight against COVID-19 demands a regional response. I know, innately, that individual governments are safeguarding their own interests, but I firmly believe that the efficacy of these countries’ initiatives will be further strengthened through regional coordination to effectively mitigate, and win our fight in counteracting, this highly resistant outbreak.

It is hoped that as the pandemic continues to create paths of chaos and instability Caribbean governments will be ultra-prudent and make a concerted and urgent effort to fight together, at all costs, to ensure normality, and that economic viability is achieved throughout the region in short order.

TARA HENRY

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Cuban Ambassador responds to claim of xenophobia by Jamaican students – extending solidarity arm as long as Jamaica needs it

Dr. Christopher Tufton (right) is seen here with Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica Inés Fors Fernández (left) as they welcome the team of 140 Cuban medical professionals to support Jamaica in its national COVID-19 response efforts. The team came into the island on Saturday, March 21. (MOH photo

THE EDITOR, Madam:

 

In its April 27 issue, The Gleaner reports that “approximately 40 Jamaican medical students in Cuba are pleading with the Holness administration to come home, claiming that food shortages, xenophobia, and limited sanitation products continue to threaten their mental and physical health.”

 

It is no secret to anyone that food, hygiene products and many other supplies and items necessary for the normal development of the economic and social life of any country are in short supply in Cuba. For more than 60 years, my people have faced one of the most ruthless blockades in the history of humanity, imposed by the richest and most powerful country in the world against a small and poor country that refuses to get down on its knees. Even the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic has not deterred the US government from continuing to strengthen its economic siege against Cuba.

 

Even in such difficult circumstances, the Cuban people continue to practice solidarity to help other peoples in the world, including Jamaica. Currently 433 health professionals and 77 Cuban teachers serve in this sister land. As a result of a fruitful cooperation that has been going on for decades, hundreds of Jamaican professionals from various specialties have been and continue to be trained in Cuba.

 

Today, when Covid-19 has paralyzed teaching activities in all Cuban higher education centres and poses a serious threat to life, the desire of Jamaican students who are in Cuba to return to their country seems completely legitimate to us. However, we are deeply shocked by the unsustainable reference to xenophobic behaviour by the Cuban people as part of the arguments used to justify the return to Jamaica.

 

Xenophobia, according to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), supposes all kinds of distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference motivated by race, colour, lineage or national or ethnic origin that has the aim or result of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, under conditions of equality, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other areas of public life. It is usually expressed with discriminatory actions or openly hostile and deliberate expressions of hatred towards foreigners.

 

Few things are as alien to the Cuban people as xenophobia. From our National Hero José Martí we learned that “Homeland is Humanity”. It is in that spirit that our internationalist fighters have shed their blood and our health professionals have saved lives in countries geographically distant but close by the certainty of shared feelings and ideals. We were, we are and we will continue to be, a people of solidarity.

 

The brotherhood between the peoples of Cuba and Jamaica is beyond doubt. It has passed and will pass any test, no matter how difficult it may be.

 

Cubans are and will be here, sharing what we have – whether it is a lot or a little – and extending our solidarity arm as long as Jamaica needs it.

 

H.E Mrs. Inés Fors Fernández

Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba

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Discrimination against Domestic Workers on the Rise in Guatamala, Bondholders in Argentina Reject Debt Restructuring Proposal, while Teachers Reject Resuming School Year in Chile – and more news from Telesur

20/04/2020

LATIN AMERICA

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Argentina Argentina: Bondholders Reject Debt Restructuring Proposal
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WORLD

US President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks on the Coronavirus pandemic during a coronavirus task force news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing room at the White House in Washington DC, U.S., April 19, 2020. Trump Was Real Time Informed During COVID-19 Outbreak in China
About 60 percent of all children around the world are currently in a country that is maintaining some level of a lockdown. COVID-19 Lockdowns Harmfully Impacting Millions of Children: UN
Protesters observed the social distancing rule to fight coronavirus, and called on Gantz not to join in a coalition led by an indicted PM. Israel’s Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Demonstrate Despite Pandemic

SPORTS

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at a press conference during the football federation FIFA Chief Warns Against Restarting Football Too Soon
FC Juventus Cristiano Ronaldo to Donate Ventilators to His Hometown
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CULTURE

Luis Eduardo Aute, the voice of several generations in Spain Spanish singer-songwriter Luis Eduardo Aute dies at 76
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Bolsonaro Closes Brazil’s Embassy in Venezuela and Wants Borders Reopened Despite Coronavirus Pandemic Saying It is Worth the Risk – and more news from Telesur

18/04/2020

LATIN AMERICA

President Jair Bolsonaro leaves the Palacio do Alvorada, Brasilia, Brazil, March, 27, 2020. Bolsonaro Closes Brazil’s Embassy and Consulates in Venezuela
Construction workers request help from the Mexican government outside the National Palace, Mexico city, Mexico, April 17, 2020. Mexico Prohibits Cremation of People Killed by COVID-19
President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil’s Bolsonaro Wants Borders Reopened, Says Worth Risk

WORLD

Robotics experts show prototype of lifesaving ventilator, Herat, Afghanistan, April 15, 2020. COVID-19 May Exacerbate Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan
Tom Moore(C), a retired civil servant and Second World War veteran, talks with members of the 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, after completing his final lap at his garden in Bedfordshire, Britain, on April 16, 2020. 99-year-old Veteran Raises Millions for UK’s Health Workers
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo New York Governor: Trump Is ‘Passing Buck’ on Pandemic Response

SPORTS

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at a press conference during the football federation FIFA Chief Warns Against Restarting Football Too Soon
FC Juventus Cristiano Ronaldo to Donate Ventilators to His Hometown
NBA logo NBA Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

CULTURE

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Withers in 1976 Bill Withers, Soulful Singer of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ Dead at 81
The 79-year-old has been accused by multiple women of unwanted verbal and physical contact. Placido Domingo Sexual Harassment Claims ‘Credible’: LA Opera

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Central American migrants move forward after crossing the Suchiate River on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico, on January 23, 2020. Immigrants in the United States Have Always Been Essential
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Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari. Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff Dies of COVID-19
Protest against the assassination of social leaders, Colombia, 2019. Colombia: Not Even the Pandemic Halts Killing of Social Leaders

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Chinese scientists at the forefront for the search of a vaccine for the coronavirus. China Denies the Coronavirus Came from One of Its Labs
Putin Assures Russians that COVID-19 Situation is Under Control Putin Assures Russians that COVID-19 Situation is Under Control
U.S. Black people are being disproportionately affected by coronavirus. US Blacks Toll Hit by COVID-19 Grows as More Data Emerges

SPORTS

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at a press conference during the football federation FIFA Chief Warns Against Restarting Football Too Soon
FC Juventus Cristiano Ronaldo to Donate Ventilators to His Hometown
NBA logo NBA Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

CULTURE

Luis Eduardo Aute, the voice of several generations in Spain Spanish singer-songwriter Luis Eduardo Aute dies at 76
Withers in 1976 Bill Withers, Soulful Singer of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ Dead at 81
The 79-year-old has been accused by multiple women of unwanted verbal and physical contact. Placido Domingo Sexual Harassment Claims ‘Credible’: LA Opera

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Playa Giron remembered: Cuba’s solidarity in the world – a vision of “sharing not what was left over but of sharing the little that they had”

In this April 1961 file photo, Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro jumps from a tank as he arrives at Giron, Cuba, near the Bay Of Pigs. On April 17-19, 1961, the beach was the stage for one of the most memorable chapters in the struggle between Washington and Havana: the invasion of Cuba by a CIA-trained band of armed exiles. (Bohemia Magazine/AP)

But he is no ‘one battle’ hero trading on former glories. He is a veteran of numerous campaigns and is still as enthused today about the revolution he witnessed 52 years ago as he was then. Rejoicing in the equality that was achieved for everyone in socialist Cuba Dreke praised every aspect of a revolution made by the people for the people.

He is a living representative of Cuba’s selfless internationalism and determination to struggle to maintain the revolution and their independence. He spoke movingly of his rights as a black man – rights not given because of how much money he had – but because he had the human right to be treated the same as every other Cuban.

He talked about Cuba’s solidarity in the world – a vision of “sharing not what was left over but of sharing the little that they had”.

“Cuba will continue to struggle in this world for peace “he said “We created a socialist revolution under the noses of the empire and we will defend it. When Cubans go to other countries we are all volunteers. We don’t go to steal petrol or destroy a people’s dignity. We go in defence of dignity and the right to freedom and a better life” he said to thunderous applause.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro (lower right) sits inside a tank near Playa Giron, Cuba, during the Bay of Pigs invasion, April 17, 1961. (Raul Corrales/Granma/CP/AP)

After the triumph of the revolution then (vice president) Richard Nixon met Fidel Castro in New York in 1959 for a brief meeting – which lasted about 30 minutes – and in which Nixon treated Castro as dirt. Afterwards he sent a classified memorandum to then President. Eisenhower stating that Castro was just another Communist and that “we should get rid of him”. And so began the war that continues to this day.

On April 17 1961, the day following air strikes by the US led mercenaries, a CIA trained invasion force consisting of more than 1500 men, landed on the southern coast of Cuba in Playa Giron in the Matanzas Region,

This area was chosen for the invasion for two strategic reasons: firstly, the area which is surrounded by swamps provided natural barriers and therefore protection against Cuban forces and secondly, this area with only limited access would give them an opportunity to defend themselves against attack.

The brigade consisted of members of Cuba’s past ruling class and former Batista allies. In total the counter revolutionaries owned in pre revolution Cuba: 27 square miles, 10000 houses and buildings, 70 factories, 10 sugar refineries, 5 mines, 2 banks and 2 newspapers.

Dreke told of the Cuban plans made to ensure that if the invasion was successful the Cubans would resort again to guerrilla warfare having carefully deployed troops throughout the island. As it was, tactical superiority and the determination of the people and the armed forces ensured the invasion was immediately defeated and most of the rebels captured.

Kevin Courtney from the NUT drew on the inspiration of Dreke as a student leader in Cuba to praise our student demonstrators today and the need for all of us to build on the inspirational march on the 26th. Recognising the first thing the Cuban’s did as revolutionaries was to prioritise education as a means to achieve social justice, he reminded the audience that it is still their priority today and how important education professionals are viewed in socialist Cuba.

Andrew Murray from Stop the War coalition celebrated this landmark in history of anti imperialist struggle by relating it to the struggles today in the so called ‘war on terror’. The war on Libya is an ambitious attempt to rehabilitate the doctrine of liberal intervention – a strategy that has already seen millions killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Recognising this is not an international war but a neo-colonial war fought by neo colonial powers he ridiculed the lack of intervention in states like Bahrain and Yemen where western power interests are at one with the state.

Award winning journalist Reinaldo Taladrid Herrero, was born 3 months after the Bay of Pigs and represented yet another Cuban generation dedicated to the fight for social justice for the people. He spoke of the legacy of that victory both at home and abroad. “Even with the blockade imposed by the most powerful country in the world Cuba has always responded to disasters or health needs around the world – from the hills of Pakistan to the continent of Africa – the spirit of Playa Giron lives on to this day” “It represents not mission impossible but the building of something new” he said to applause “and if all you people here in London tonight can celebrate the victory of poor people against the empire then truly another world is possible”

The meeting ended with a call for everyone to support the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, demand justice for the Miami Five and continue to struggle for Cuba’s right to its own sovereignty and self determination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:http://en.cubadebate.cu/news/2011/04/21/playa-giron-remembered/

 

 

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The Jamaica Peace Council endorses the #GlobalDayOfActionInSolidarityWithVenezuelaApril192020

The Jamaica Peace Council endorses this Day of Global Solidarity with Venezuela.

We call for the immediate lifting of economic sanctions against Venezuela, Cuba and Iran especially against the background of the global emergency with COVID-19.

We call for the immediate withdrawal of the US ships which are currently threatening the peaceful nation of Venezuela.

We call on the US and UK to return the assets of the Venezuelan people which they have seized unjustifiably intensifying the hardship of the people during the current pandemic.

We call on the US and their allies to respect the will and sovereignty of the Venezuelan people and the government which they have duly elected.

We call on the US to immediately withdraw the trumped up narcotics charges against President Nicolas Maduro and other members of the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, and instead  to go after the Columbian drug lords who are the highest suppliers of narcotics to the US which is the world’s greatest consumer.

We call on the US to cease weaponizing COVID-19 by blocking of the urgently needed medical supplies to Venezuela and other nations in the region.

We call on the US to desist from its warlike posture and join with the rest of the world in saving lives, especially in its own country which is now leading the world in deaths from COVID-19.

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Caricom Demands End of US Sanctions Against Cuba and Venezuela #GlobalDayofActionInSolidarityWithVenezuelaApril192020

At an emergency Summit, CARICOM also condemned the U.S. decision to suspend funding to the WHO.

The members of the Caribbean Community -CARICOM-, called this Wednesday for the lifting of the U.S. sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela.

“All countries must be part of the global effort to combat Covid-19,” the region’s heads of government agreed during the emergency Summit convened by Caricom.

The meeting, which took place via videoconference, also condemned the U.S. decision to suspend funding to the World Health Organization.

“It is unfortunate that the resources of the WHO are under threat, in days that demand unity in leading the fight against the pandemic.” Caricom said in a statement.

During the Summit, convened by Barbados, the health situation, food security and protection of the elderly from disease were also addressed.

In general, “the region has responded quite well to the pandemic,” the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CPHA) Executive Director, Dr Joy St John, said at the meeting.

According to the CPHA Executive Director, the early implementation of measures in the region helped to contain the virus. But a more coordinated approach is needed to address the next phase of the virus.

CARICOM will consider a proposed protocol on the reopening of borders. Once the decision is taken, all Member States will at the same time adhere to this proposal.

They also agreed that the inter-regional transport of people and goods by air and sea will also be scrutinized.

They made particular reference to the operations of regional air carriers, which have been adversely affected by the measures taken to contain the virus.

 

Source: https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/caricom-demands-end-us-sanctions-against-cuba-and-venezuela-20200416-0001.html?fbclid=IwAR35CMGTkHUJYanpH3hldGkblHYNwcbEHHwYVV_83b3qBnetZRfvE6ySjTI
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ICAP message to the World Movement of Solidarity with Cuba in the time of Covid19 #BlockadeNoSolidarityYes

Havana, 9 April, 2020

To the World Movement of Solidarity with Cuba.

Dear friends,

With deep humanistic conviction, the government and people of Cuba offer the world, once again, the example of militant Solidarity at a time when the planet is facing the global pandemic of the new Coronavirus Sars Cov-2, Covid-19, which has already claimed the lives of more than 70 thousand people in the world in a very short time.

In the time of Covid-19 the eyes of the world look with hope to Cuba and Cuba, in the midst of an inhuman and genocidal blockade, did not hesitate to respond that with an army of white coats made up of more than 593 health professionals, of them 338 Women, organized in 15 brigades of the Henry Reeve Contingent, already provide their services in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, faithful to the Martian and fidelity maxim, ratified by our President Miguel Diaz Canel Bermudez. “Cuba does not go around begging, sisterly”.

Contrary to our humble gesture, President Trump encourages insulting anti-Cuban campaigns to try to discredit the principles of humanity and solidarity on which our medical collaboration defending health care as a human right rests.

This is the time in which the inefficiency of consumer societies of the capitalist system is reveled,   as a result of the anti-popular policies of neoliberal governments subordinated to big capital and US imperialism. Humankind demands solidarity as never before. It is urgent to unite and promote international cooperation.

Our institute proudly recognizes the support of the friendship associations, political organizations, members of Parliament, trade unionists and other political forces that make up the World Movement for Solidarity with Cuba, to our collaborators in the countries where they are already campaigning against Covid 19, as well such as the messages of appreciation sent to the government of Cuba and its people for the solidarity, humanist and altruistic dimension of the Revolution.

For our doctors also our special recognition, respect and admiration wherever they are. They are confronting this pandemic with altruism inside and outside Cuba, as a response of the call of the Cuban government to spread the humanitarian seed of Marti and Fidel, in opposition to actions like those of the United States and other NATO countries, which they spend huge military budgets to the detriment of the living conditions of their populations, fostering fear, hatred and hopelessness.

In the same line, we appreciate the permanent solidarity of the entire Movement that, now in the times of the new Coronavirus, has not stopped acting to demand the lifting of the blockade against Cuba, much more criminal in the current circumstances, also demanding the full application of Resolution “Necessity to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America”, approved in 2019 at the UN by the vast majority of its members.

Together we generate this battle that today tests solidarity between peoples and governments and when it happens, we will embrace with great joy for the victory against the pandemic that is striking us today, to give life to life and celebrate in brotherhood the 60th anniversary from our ICAP.

Fraternally,

Fernando González Llort.

President

ICAP message to the World M… by siempreconcuba on Scribd