In the course of a few days Cuba was struck by Hurricane Irma, Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria, both monstrous storms who destroyed crucial infrastructure, buildings, and agriculture. Cuba is a poor country without any considerable mineral resources, a former Spanish colony, exploited and neglected like every other colony. After the USA defeated Spain in […]
By Sarah Jaffe Published by the New York Times • JUNE 6, 2017 The Communist, in the American imagination, has always been the ultimate outside agitator. No matter how homegrown a resistance movement was, or how local the organizers were, the first response from those facing protest has always been to blame an outsider. This was […]
By Cameron Orr Landlord-in-chief Donald Trump wants to evict 800,000 people from the U.S. On September 5th, the Trump administration announced it intends to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Many DACA recipients, employed in the construction industry, built the very buildings that made such real-estate moguls rich. Every day the people of New […]
By Cameron Orr On the early morning of Friday, October 13th, 2017, eight young people organized by the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) will fly through Moscow to Sochi, Russia to join over 50,000 youth from over 183 countries for the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS). Running from October 14 – 22, this […]
Billboard as reported lat year’s sale for reggae and dancehall and it does not look good, in fact, it is downright dismal. The sales for reggae overall is good, however the sales for reggae coming out of Jamaica is very weak. To see where Jamaica stacks up against the rest of the world in reggae […]
by Philip Roddis, from Steel City Scribblings One reason Maduro is despised by the opposition is he refuses to follow the neoliberal economic prescription of austerity, privatization, deregulation, etc. Such refusal makes Venezuela almost unique in Latin America now. As Brazilian professor Dawisson Belem Lopes has written, “Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru have […]
A group of journalism students at the University of Delaware has just produced a documentary called “Left Behind” chronicling the history of Chrysler’s plant in Newark, Del. The plant is located just south of the university’s main campus. The 38-minute piece is full of interesting tidbits, like the fact that singer Bob Marley worked at […]
[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] In “The Women of Bob Marley’s Close-Knit Family Circle Are Carrying the Revered Last Name to New Heights,” Tanya A. Christian (Essence) writes about the Marley family women and their various projects. She focuses on Cedella, Eden, and Selah Marley (see photo above): […]
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http://ift.tt/eA8V8J Ever since Hurricane Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico, a looming question has been what will happen to the island’s $74.8 billion in debt, which had crippled its economy even before the storms hit. Protesters in major U.S. cities on … Vía Global Research http://ift.tt/2zlq7r8
Ever since Hurricane Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico, a looming question has been what will happen to the island’s $74.8 billion in debt, which had crippled its economy even before the storms hit. Protesters in major U.S. cities on October 3 called for the U.S. government to forgive the debt. Market analysts say repayment is unrealistic now that the island has suffered an estimated $45 billion to $95 billion in hurricane damage.
“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we’re going to have to wipe that out,” President Donald Trump said on Fox News after a quick stop in Puerto Rico. The following day, the director of the White House budget office, Mick Mulvaney, reversed course, saying:
“I think what you heard the president say is that Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to solve its debt problem.”
A legal battle over that debt has been playing out in bankruptcy court since May, and none of the mutual funds, hedge funds, creditors and bond insurers fighting for their share has indicated they will relinquish their claims.
But who are these bondholders, exactly? Their identities have been largely a mystery: There’s no complete public listing of their names or the amounts of debt they claim.
Public information access in Puerto Rico is a struggle. Public officials often refuse to fulfill requests, and the Government Development Bank (GDB) of Puerto Rico has kept information about the island’s bondholders close to the vest. The GDB did not even fulfill a request for the names from a governor-appointed auditing commission in June 2016.
The Centro de Periodismo Investigativo went to court in July 2015 to challenge the GDB’s claim that creditor information was confidential and private. After a lengthy appeal process, we obtained the identities of 275 firms that purchased bonds in the Puerto Rican government’s junk bond sale in 2014, the largest such sale in U.S. history. Many of these bonds, however, have since changed hands.
Over the past several months, after a review of court filings, documents from financial firms, government bond issues, off the record interviews, press clippings, FINRA, Puerto Rico’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Open Secrets, LinkedIn and other social media sources, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, we have put together the most up-to-date list of the owners of Puerto Rico’s debt, naming dozens of bondholders and providing dossiers on their backgrounds.
Overall, we have identified more than 30 hedge and mutual funds, insurers and financial institutions that collectively claim billions of dollars in Puerto Rico’s debt.
The popular narrative of Puerto Rico’s debt holders is that they are “small” individual bondholders—rookie investors who trusted their savings to financial firms. But our investigation reveals that some of the most aggressive players demanding debt repayment in Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy court are so-called “vulture firms.” These hedge funds specialize in high-risk “troubled assets” near default or bankruptcy and cater to millionaire and billionaire investors.
VULTURES CIRCLE THE ISLAND
When Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy in May, it was the largest municipal bankruptcy debt in U.S. history. Puerto Rico’s more than $74.8 billion in debt and $49 billion in pension system obligations surpasses Detroit, Mich.’s $18 billion bankruptcy in 2013. Much of that debt is interest. According to a report by the ReFund America Project, the financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup that helped structure the bonds built in astronomically high interest rates. Nearly half the debt—$33.5 billion—is interest, and another $1.6 billion comes from fees paid to these firms.
To scrounge up that money, Puerto Rico has been struggling through austerity measures approved last spring by a U.S.-appointed fiscal control board, including school closures and utility bill hikes. In August the control board proposed even more draconian measures, such as massive furloughs.
Then the hurricanes hit. Much of Puerto Rico still lacks access to water, electricity and basic services. As of October 11, 5,037 people (and 82 pets) were living in shelters, 50 percent of banks were closed, 59 percent of land lines and 43 percent of cell towers were down, and 86 percent of the island lacked power. Moody’s estimates that rebuilding will cost between $45 billion and $95 billion.
The fiscal control board has released $1 billion for hurricane relief. According to Gov. Ricardo Rossello, only $2 billion is left in the Treasury Department’s account. The government warns that it may run out of money by the end of the month.
The bankruptcy proceedings have been postponed while the island recovers from the hurricane. But while most of the island has been offline, lawyers for the bondholders have not stopped digitally submitting motions in the bankruptcy case.
The financial firms have organized themselves into alliances to aid their quest to get paid. These alliances include the Mutual Fund Group, which claims $7.1 billion in Puerto Rico’s debt; the Ad Hoc Group, which claims $3.3 billion; the Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition, which claims $3.1 billion; ERS Secured Creditors, which claims roughly $1.4 billion; and the QTCB Noteholder Group, which claims more than $600 million.
The alliances can afford to hire prestigious law firms, like Jones Day, to file motions in Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy case on their behalf. And with the exception of the Mutual Fund Group, these big alliances are dominated by vulture funds.
For example, while the Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition says it represents individual and retired bondholders, it is in fact controlled by vulture funds such as Canyon Partners, GoldenTree Asset Management and Tilden Park Capital Management, which require its clients to invest a minimum of $1 million to $5 million. Of the more than 30 known financial firms vying for Puerto Rico’s debt repayments, at least 24 are vulture firms.
THE TOP 10 VULTURES
Here are the top 10 vulture firms involved the bankruptcy case, listed in order of the amount of debt they’ve claimed in court We have compiled their names, addresses, and a bit of history on their business dealings.
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $937,585,000
Headquarters: 90 Park Ave., 31st Floor, New York, N.Y., 10016 and Floor 2, Conway House, Conway Street, St. Helier, Jersey
Part of an Alliance: Ad Hoc Group ($3.3 billion)
Type of Bond: General Obligation Bonds
Key People: Robert Gibbins, Derek Goodman
History: Autonomy Capital is an affiliate of Autonomy Americas, which is incorporated in the tax haven of the Channel Islands in the English Channel and claims to manage more than $4 billion.
Autonomy’s clients include insurance companies, foundations, public and private pension systems, and high net worth individuals. The minimum amount required to invest in Autonomy’s funds is between $5 million and $10 million.
Autonomy Capital is one of two firms involved in an ongoing legal battlewith the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority, a European watchdog, over millions of dollars worth of assets locked behind Iceland’s capital controls. Iceland, one of the only countries to aggressively regulate banks in the wake of the global financial crisis, instituted the controls after its biggest banks collapsed in 2008.
#2 DECAGON HOLDINGS / THE BAUPOST GROUP
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $912,479,194
Headquarters: 10 Saint James Avenue, Suite 1700, Boston, Mass., 02116 (Decagon is registered in Delaware)
Part of an Alliance: Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition ($3.1 billion)
Type of Bond: Puerto Rican Sales Tax Revenue Bonds
Key People: Seth Klarman
History:Decagon Holdings is a firm within the Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition and owns at least 29 percent of this alliance’s debt—as much as $912,479,194—split among 10 funds, according to court documents.
The paper trail on Decagon is circuitous. These funds were incorporated in Delaware in 2015 as limited liability companies. Decagon is not registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the financial industry’s federal regulator, and it does not have a website.
In a document related to the Puerto Rico government’s bankruptcy case, Decagon Holdings only provided a general address, with no phone number: 800 Boylston Street, the location of the Prudential Tower, Boston’s second tallest building, with 52 floors.
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $624,871,695
Headquarters: 2000 Avenue of the Stars, 11th Floor, Los Angeles, Calif., 90067
Part of an Alliance: Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition ($303,080,000) and QTCB Noteholders Group ($321,791,695)
Type of Bond: Cofina or Sales Tax Senior Bonds and General Obligation Bonds (Issued by the Public Buildings Authority)
History: Canyon Capital Advisors LLC was founded in 1990 by Joshua S. Friedman and Mitchell R. Julis, both of whom have been intimately involved in stressed and distressed markets since the early 1980’s, according to information from the SEC.
As of 2016, Canyon employed “over 200 investment professionals” and had offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Shanghai and Tokyo. The firm advertises itself as having “substantial experience with distressed financials, including liquidations and recapitalizations.”
In 2014, Canyon was one of the hedge funds that jumped on Puerto Rico’s junk bond emission, and requested $50 million of those bonds. It got $28 million.
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $606,600,000
Headquarters: 535 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y., 10022 & 52 Conduit St., 6th Floor, London, England W1S 2YX, U.K.
Part of an Alliance: Ad Hoc Group ($3.3 billion)
Type of Bond: General Obligation Bonds
Key People: Michael Weinstock, Andrew Herenstein and Chris Santana
History: Monarch Alternative Capital has a history of investing in coal power. In February 2017, it became the principal shareholder in Arch Coal, the second largest supplier of coal to power companies in the U.S. The hedge fund owns $190 million (nearly 11 percent of the company). Arch Coal has been accused by United Mine Workers of America of conspiring with Peabody Energy in a scheme to default on $1.3 billion in retiree pension and healthcare obligations.
Monarch Alternative’s team includes former members of JP Morgan and Rothschild & Co, Stone Lion Capital, GoldenTree Asset Management, Davidson Kempner and Och-Ziff Capital.
Founded in 2002 by Michael Weinstock, Andrew Herenstein and Chris Santana, former bankers at Lazard Frères & Co., as of June 30 Monarch managed approximately $4.6 billion and had 63 employees, including 20 investment managers in offices in New York and London.
In 2015, Monarch bought $30 million in Four Seasons Health Care properties, the largest nursing home operator in Great Britain, which was carrying significant debt. In 2006, Monarch bought Oneida Limited, one of the world’s largest designers and sellers of stainless steel items, after that company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $587,253,141
Headquarters: 300 Park Ave., 21st Floor, New York, N.Y., 10022
Part of an Alliance: Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition ($3.1 billion)
Type of Bond: Puerto Rican Sales Tax Revenue Bonds
Key People: Steve Shapiro
History: It is very common for vulture fund executives to be former bankruptcy attorneys, as is the case with Steve Shapiro, the executive director of GoldenTree Asset Management. He was a bankruptcy lawyerfor Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, where he represented bondholder committees and reorganized companies in Chapter 11 proceedings and out-of-court restructurings.
At the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference (an annual gathering of billionaires and global finance power players that cost $50,000 a head in 2017), Shapiro spoke on a panel titled “Trash or Treasure? Finding Value in Distressed-Debt.” He said his firm had its eye on General Motors’ liquidation and found “parts of Puerto Rico…very interesting.” He mentioned the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the government-owned corporation that is the sole provider of electricity to the island. PREPA was already mired in debt, leading to serious maintenance problems. When the hurricane hit, that degraded infrastructure was wiped out, causing 88.3 percent of people on the island to still be without electricity as of October 10, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
GoldenTree has not disclosed whether it currently owns PREPA bonds.
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $473,417,000
Headquarters: 535 Madison Ave., 22nd Floor, New York, N.Y., 10022
Part of an Alliance: Ad Hoc Group ($3.3 billion)
Type of Bond: General Obligation Bonds, Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority Bonds
History: Mark Brodsky, founder and manager of Aurelius Capital, is another former bankruptcy lawyer, who for 16 years worked in major law firms in New York.
Much of that time, in the early 1990s, he served as an attorney and co-head of the bankruptcy practice at Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel. (The firm went on to represent bondholders Franklin Mutual and Oppenheimer Funds in a successful challenge to Puerto Rico’s 2015 Recovery Act, which would have allowed the island’s electric authority (PREPA), sewer authority and transportation authority to restructure their own debt.)
From 1996 to 2005, Brodsky was a partner in Elliott Management Corporation, a vulture fund owned by financial tycoon Paul Singer, who fought alongside Aurelius and other firms for the collection of Argentine debt.
Brodsky founded Aurelius in 2006 with $325 million in capital, of which more than half came from pension funds and foundations. Aurelius Capital has $4.83 billion in funds under management and focuses on investing in high-risk debt.
Aurelius has successfully profited from debt restructurings more than once. In Greece in 2012, in the midst of the European country’s financial turmoil, the government had to face what was described as a “small well-funded group of investors” who opposed a 75 percent haircut. Aurelius Capital was part of that group. In Brazil’s Petrobras, Aurelius forced a $54 billion default as a “precautionary measure.” The firm also attempted to upset a Tribune Co. bankruptcy plan in Chicago, Ill. that had been approved by most creditors; but in that attempt, they failed.
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $466,084,719
Headquarters: 452 Fifth Ave., 28th Floor, New York, N.Y., 10018
Part of an Alliance: Cofina Senior Bondholders Coalition ($3.1 billion)
Type of Bond: Puerto Rican Sales Tax Revenue Bonds
History:One of the biggest players—and biggest profiteers—in the U.S. financial crisis was Joshua Birnbaum, former managing director at Goldman Sachs and now chief investment officer of Tilden Park Capital Management. During this 15 years working at Goldman Sachs, he led transactions related to subprime mortgages that catalyzed the Great Recession.
After the real estate bubble collapsed, Birnbaum received one of the highest payments in Wall Street history, raking in $17 million in compensation. In his 2007 performance self-evaluations Birnbaum discussed the “very profitable year” and “extraordinary profits” that came from shorting the mortgage market that year, according to the SEC.
Birnbaum left Goldman Sachs in 2008 after he wasn’t named partner, raising much speculation. “The question is really, ‘What’s his encore?’ ” asked Geoff Bobroff, an asset management consultant, in an interviewwith The Telegraph.
The answer was Tilden Park Capital Management, which Birnbaum cofounded with fellow Goldman strategist (and Morgan Stanley alum) Jeremy Primer. Tilden Park handles more than $16 billion in assets.
The law firm of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, which represents the Ad Hoc Group of General Obligation Bondholders in the Title III case, was in turn the legal agent for several Tilden Park transactions, including one of $1,479,825,500 conducted in January.
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $432,140,000
Headquarters: 745 Fifth Ave., 25th Floor, New York, N.Y., 10151
Part of an Alliance: Ad Hoc Group ($3.3 billion)
Type of Bond: General Obligation Bonds, Puerto Rican Sales Tax Revenue Bonds
History: Fundamental Credit Opportunities (FCO), a division of Fundamental Advisors, focuses on high-risk investments in states and cities under “financial pressure.”
FCO CEO Héctor Negroni was one of three executives of firms holding Puerto Rican debt who attended a panel at Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program hosted by the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York in June. Their presence was surprising, as the event was geared toward to journalists covering state and local fiscal issues, and executives from financial firms tend to shy away from media.
During the panel, Negroni wore a vest with the FCO Advisors logo on top of his checkered shirt. Sitting in a back row of the room, he listened to the other lecturers, and when he did not agree, he raised his voice to speak sharply over the speaker. He argued that commonwealth of Puerto Rico “is completely solvent. There’s no reason to be in default, no reason to be in bankruptcy.” (Negroni also took advantage of an pause before the panel to take to the microphone and sing a song, Frank Sinatra-style.)
Puerto Rican Debt Claimed in Court: $410,216,768
Headquarters: 333 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, Calif., 90071
Part of an Alliance: ERS Secured Creditors ($1.4 billion)
Type of Bond: Employee Retirement System Bonds
History: Oaktree Capital Management is an investment firm that manages $100 billion through various hedge funds. It has 900 employees and offices in 17 cities, including London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney. Oaktree’s clients include 75 of the 100 largest U.S. pension plans and 50 primary retirement plans, more than 400 corporations around the world and more than 350 foundations.
Oaktree has major interests in infrastructure, real estate and energy. Its energy holdings add up to $2 billion and it holds a “controlling position” in more than 15 companies in that sector.
In 2013, Oaktree Capital purchased 50 percent of Aerostar Airport Holdings, the operator of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport San Juan. In May 2017, it sold its stake in Aerostar for $430 million to Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste and the Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board.
The firm also purchased $25 million in Puerto Rico’s 2014 General Obligations junk bond issue.
In Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy case, Oaktree Capital claims $410,216,768 in Retirement System bonds through seven funds : Oaktree Funds Opportunities Fund Holdings LP, Oaktree Opportunities Fund IX Delaware LP, Oaktree Opportunities Fund IX (Parallel 2) LP, Opps Culebra Holdings LP, Oaktree Opportunities Fund X Holdings (Delaware) LP, Oaktree Opps X Holdo Ltd and Oaktree-Forrest Multi-Strategy, LLC.
Estimate of Puerto Rican Debt Owned: $325,377,000
Headquarters: New York, N.Y., U.S.
Part of an Alliance: Ad Hoc Group ($3.3 billion)
Type of Bond: General Obligation Bonds, Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority Bonds
History:Stone Lion Capital was founded by Alan Jay Mintz and Gregory Augustine Hanley in 2008. These two men were once risky debt dealers at Bear Stearns, the bank that infected the financial market with toxic mortgage assets, received a bailout from the Federal Reserve Bank and was later sold to JP Morgan.
In 2014, they requested $100 million from the Puerto Rico government’s junk bond issue and received $30 million. However, the firm is claiming, in total, more than $300 million in General Obligation bonds that may have been obtained before or after 2014. It also owns more than $15 million in bonds from Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority.
Eric Michael Friel, senior managing director of Stone Lion Capital, was among the executives who attended the Ravitch event in New York this year. He was formerly a managing director and “risky debt” analyst at Bear Stearns & Co., one of the first banks to collapse in 2008.
“Contrary to popular belief, I believe investors like hedge funds want many of the same things that the people of Puerto Rico want,” he said at the Ravitch event, citing government transparency and Medicaid funding as examples. Noting that his father was a teacher, he added, “I understand the value of a good education, and that’s the last thing we want to see taken away from the people of Puerto Rico.”
However, the alliance of which Stone Lion is a member, the Ad Hoc Group, launched an offensive against the Puerto Rican health and education systems with a report commissioned in 2015 mapping a debt repayment plan. The report, “For Puerto Rico, There is a Better Way,” recommended the dismissal of teachers, cuts in the subsidy granted to the University of Puerto Rico and trims to “excess Medicaid benefits,” among other austerity measures.
At the Ravitch event, Friel spoke to press about the need for more transparency from the fiscal control board and the government of Puerto Rico. When CPI asked Friel to disclose the price at which Stone Lion Capital purchased Puerto Rican junk bonds in 2014, he said, “I don’t know the answer, and I think that’s the wrong thing to focus on. I think knowing that isn’t going to solve any of Puerto Rico’s problems. Literally. It’s not going to help anyone with anything.”
Note: One of the top ten debtholders, SV Capital, a member of the ERS alliance that claims $389,851,034 in debt, is omitted from this list because we could not determine whether it was a vulture firm. The company is a phantom—it was registered as an anonymous firm in Delaware on August 2016 and is not registered with the SEC. We learned it may be related to the Carlyle Group.
THE REST OF THE DEBT
This is necessarily an incomplete list. The alliances, although they are the loudest voices in the proceedings, represent only about 21 percent of the total debt.
Who are the missing players, and how much do they own? More transparency is urgently needed.
We will continue to follow the bankruptcy filings and post more information as it comes to light.
We will also be reporting on another group of debtholders: mutual funds.
Although most of the alliances are dominated by vultures, one, the Mutual Fund Group, is made up exclusively of three mutual funds: Franklin Mutual Advisors, Oppenheimer Funds and Santander Asset Management. Another powerful voice in bankruptcy court is the multinational investment firm UBS, which invested in mutual funds called Puerto Rico Family of Funds. UBS did not join an alliance, but has filed independent court briefs and claims $1.4 billion of the debt.
Mutual funds theoretically represent the interests of small-dollar investors, but many of those involved in Puerto Rico, including UBS and Oppenheimer, have a long trail of fraud claims and lawsuits filed by those investors. We’ll dive into that next.
A version of this story is available in Spanish on the CPIPR website.
Laura Moscoso and Ethan Corey contributed research and fact-checking.
is an assistant editor at In These Times.
is executive editor of In These Times.
The Jamaica Cuba Friendship Association expresses its deepest and heartfelt congratulations to our brothers and sisters in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on the victorious outcome of their gubernatorial elections held yesterday, October 15, 2017.
In a resolute show of confidence which was reflected in a 18 -5 seat majority in this important state-governorship elections,( with one result left to be declared) and a voter turnout of 9,866,425 or 61.4% of the electorate, the highest in the last 15 years of democratic electoral politics, was an emphatic repudiation of the ‘scorched earth’ and terror tactics of the most violent sections of the opposition aided and abetted by its US masters.
We also note the conspicuous absence and silence of the ‘Goebbels- like’ foreign media from reporting on these watershed elections in the life of the Bolivarian people, which also represents the second time in the space of less than 3 months, that they have rallied in defence of peace, democracy and sovereignty which the Nicholas Maduro- led administration has been championing. The first being the historic National Constituent Assembly of July 30, 2017.
While we join with you and celebrate this consolidation of People Power in our sister country, we also call on all our brothers that the most lasting tribute to legacies of Bolivar, Marti, Chavez and Fidel that we who consider ourselves as progressives on planet earth can do, is to stand up and be counted, as we resolutely support our Bolivarian brothers and sisters in their struggle for peace and a better life, away from Imperialism.
One love and one struggle
Trevor G Brown
Hands off Venezuela
Hands off Liberty
How many elections
Must there be
To set Venezuela FREE?
Each time the Venezuelans
Adult after Adult
Go to the polls by the millions
To accept the result!
Yet this is no New Behaviour
A long time ago it began
Their started their Wicked
From the time
Hugo Chavez Won!
They tried to destroy Chavez
But only death did that!
Yet his great ways
With a bright new hat!
Came with Maduro
Whom they all thought was soft
They came with zeal
To eat him as a meal
CONSUMPTION OF A BROFF!
How shock they were to find out
That he was no Push-Over!
He stood Sted-Fast
Survived each blast!
On the WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER!
And MOUNT EVEREST BOW
TWIN TOWERS EVERYWHERE!
Realised that HE
Was born to BE……
A LEADER WITHOUT FEAR!
Staged their Strikes
Became a Norm
And his great People
Defeated every STORM!!
The ANGRY GIANT OF THE NORTH
To the Opposition!
MONEY AND GUNS
To Stop the REVOLUTION!!
The BOLIVARIAN SPIRITS
Called on BROTHER CARICOM
To Support Them
In the Mayhem
The VICTORY was WON!!
One would think
That after this
Would take their seat
Eat Humble Pie
Abort each Lie
And admit their DEFEAT!
These Right Wing
They will Win
The GOVERNOR’S RACE
The PIVOTAL PLACE
And Triumph from Within!
How Wrong was their Prediction!
And their Foals
The Bolivarian PEOPLE
To DEFEAT Them
At the POLLS!!
Long live LIBERTY
How many Eections
Must There be….
To set VENEZUELA FREE?????
Written this morning . October 16th, 2017. From 8.16 a.m. To 8.58 a.m.by Dr. ANTHONY GABBY CARTER.
So, just as I expected, President Nicholas Maduro’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) won 17 of the 23 governorships that were up for grabs in yesterday’s gubernatorial elections in Venezuela.
The Western “international” media might be able to fool people outside of Venezuela with their Psychological Warfare based propaganda, but they cannot fool the people who actually live in Venezuela and know first hand what is going on.
The reality is that the white, elitist, fascist and racist Opposition overplayed their hand and “woke up” the masses of working class Venezuelans with their campaign of orchestrated violent street protests (inclusive of the BURNING of several black or dark skinned Venezuelans), orchestrated shortages of a number of consumer items, and treasonous calls for the United States of America to strangle the Venezuelan economy and to invade and otherwise attack the country militarily.
They so turned off the working class that on 30th July 2017, over 8 million adult citizens defied the Opposition boycott and their intimidatory threats of violence, and voted for the establishment of a National Constituent Assembly to discuss and analyze all the current problems and predicaments facing the country and to devise new governance structures and policies to respond to said problems and predicaments.
This was a sure signal that the working class ( a significant number of whom had refused to vote in the 2015 National Assembly elections, thereby permitting the Opposition to win control of the National Assembly) were energized once again and would support their party– the PSUV– in the gubernatorial elections of Sunday 15th October.
So the socialist, anti-imperialist PSUV is back on track with their Bolivarian Revolution. And It is onward now to a re-election victory for President Maduro in the Presidential elections of 2018 !
In the immortal words of former Prime Minister of Barbados, Erskine Sandiford, the American government and their puppet News Media could “like it or lump it”. Venezuela does not belong to them — it belongs to the people of Venezuela.
Official results from Venezuela’s regional elections show the governing socialist party, Psuv, has won 17 out of 22 governorships – with one still left to count.
Turnout was 61.14 percent in Sunday’s polls.
Ballots were cast at 13,559 polling stations nationwide.
The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said it was the highest turnout in 15 years – more than 10 million people voted. Maduro also said the Psuv won 54 percent of the total vote.
Earlier Maduro said the elections had been conducted in a peaceful, exemplary way, “There has not been a single incident, electoral process in peace, perfect.”
Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua have all sent their congratulations to Venezuela.
The Bolivian President, Evo Morales, posted a tweet which said, “Democracy has won over intervention and conspiracy. The people defend their sovereignty and dignity.”
Kingston, Jamaica, October 13, 2017.
Friends of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounce the actions of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro, who, today — the 13th of October 2017 – in Washington DC in the United States of America (USA), purported to swear in the members of a so-called “parallel” Venezuelan Supreme Court, in gross violation of the principles of international law and sovereignty.
Almagro’s actions are nothing less than a gross and offensive attempt to frustrate the Venezuelan people’s peaceful and democratic process !
On the 30th of July 2017 we were all inspired by the Venezuelan people’s courage, when over 8 million people participated in the elections for a National Constituent Assembly, and thereby halted the campaign of orchestrated violence that sectors of the political Opposition forces in Venezuela had inflicted on the nation.
The peace-loving peoples of the world looked on at this spectacle, inspired by the Venezuelan people’s assertion that the only path forward is a democratic and constitutional one.
Today’s unlawful events in Washington, on the other hand, are an ugly and repugnant repudiation of the Venezuelan people’s openly expressed desire for peace and constitutionality, and reflect illicit interference by external forces in the sovereign processes of Venezuela.
While this takes place in Washington D.C., in Venezuela itself, members of the Government, the Opposition and other relevant entities campaign for gubernatorial elections that will take place this Sunday the 15th of October. Furthermore, after many efforts by the Government to establish dialogue, the Venezuelan political opposition has finally agreed to begin talks in a peaceful and lawful manner. In light of this background, one is forced to ask why– at this time of all times– is Almagro carrying out an activity that can only be described as an illegal and destructive intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela?
How can a multilateral organization like the OAS justify swearing in an illegitimate Supreme Court in the territory of a foreign country? This is a travesty beyond all comprehension, and the member states of the OAS would be well advised to take immediate steps to dismiss the organization’s unprincipled and errant Secretary General.
Today’s actions at the OAS disrupt Latin America and the Caribbean’s shared commitment to self-determination and to the sovereign equality of all states, and must be condemned by all right thinking and peace-loving people.
We encourage all Venezuelans to go out and vote in numbers in the gubernatorial elections scheduled for Sunday the 15th of October!
Indeed, we say to the Venezuelan people:- The world celebrates your determination to defend a democratic model that is participatory and protagonist. And we stand with you in safeguarding our region as a Zone for Peace, in keeping with the “Havana Declaration” approved by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Long live the Bolivarian Republic and the Bolivarian Revolution!
In a recent article, the Jamaica Gleaner recently explored the abuse of children, underlining their abuse (such as “brutal beatings”) by members of the family and, in many cases, their mothers. The Child Development Agency is “extremely concerned” and is determined to see the perpetrators of these acts brought to justice: The cruel and inhumane treatment […]
CONFERENCE OBJECTIVE: TO CONSOLIDATE A SERIOUS CARIBBEAN PEACE MOVEMENT EQUIPPED WITH A CONCRETE AGENDA AND GUIDING PHILOSOPHY
Bridgetown, Barbados, Cober 6 & 7, 2017, orgainised by Caribbean for Peace and Integration, Network for the Defense of Humanity, National Union of Public Workers and Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples
Chairperson of the proceedings, Honourable Trevor Prescod; government officials; Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, Francisco Fernandez Pena; Charge d’Affaires of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, HE Francisco Perez; other members of the diplomatic community, fellow presenters and participants, first of all let me thank you for inviting me to the conference and giving me the opportunity to address you. I bring you warm greetings from the members of the Jamaica Peace Council, the Jamaica Cuba Friendship Association and the Solidarity Movement in support of Venezuela and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. I must say that it is wonderful to reconnect with persons whom I met at the Regional World Peace Council conference in the Dominican Republic in 2013. It is also wonderful to meet in the flesh, persons with whom I have interacted in Caribbean Concerns WhatsApp groups and on Facebook. I must also express gratitude for the hospitality that has been extended by our Barbadian comrades through David Comissiong.
I endorse the conference’s objective of consolidating a serious Caribbean Peace Movement equipped with a concrete agenda and guiding philosophy. This is urgently needed based on the current situation, in which several of our countries have been literally devastated by one or two hurricanes so far this season. It is also urgently needed because of our prevailing economic challenges resulting from colonialism and neo-colonialism, which hinder our growth and development to varying degrees. It is also urgent as we witness ostensible moves to reverse progressive developments in Latin America and the Caribbean with Venezuela being the focus of attack at this time, with reversals having been achieved in Nicaragua and Brazil. Let us not forget earlier events in Grenada and Honduras. We must note with concern the recent trends towards a reversal in the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba with the scaling down of both embassies by the US, citing an issue that Cuba has expressed interest in resolving through thorough investigation. Our meeting is also important because of the intensification of contradictions globally which places us at a point where the outbreak of a nuclear war between the US and North Korea is more and more imminent.
There has never been a time when there had been a greater need for PEACE than now. According to the United Nations, at present there are still “some 15 ,000 nuclear weapons” in existence and “more than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances.” As we gather here, nine countries have the capability to destroy the planet in a flash. I find that absolutely chilling. Only PEACE can save humanity and the planet.
Peace is not only necessary for preventing a nuclear catastrophe, it is necessary for development. All that we have achieved or that we strive for on a societal and personal level is of little moment when the monster of war strikes. The people living in war zones can attest to that. Wars destroy precious human resources, the basic infrastructure, and cultural symbols of nations. They displace people who are forced to flee their homelands because of the turbulence and destruction at home. They lead to encroachment on basic social and political rights not only in the war zones, but globally. They also affect the natural environment through the release of a high concentration of toxic gases and dust into the atmosphere and water supplies by military vehicles and ammunition, adversely affecting public health and contributing to Global Warming. They also disturb the ecology, as animal and plant life is threatened.
Women and children are particularly negatively affected by war conditions through sexual violence, disruption of normal family relationships with spouses being dispatched to war zones, often returning with illnesses and dysfunctional behaviours resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction. Women and children (both boys and girls) living in war zones are often victims of rape perpetrated by foreign military personal. Prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases also increase in areas surrounding war zones and military bases. Children in war zones may also develop psychological problems owing to the frightening experiences of witnessing the atrocities committed during military actions.*
An important phenomenon for us to be concerned about is the manipulation of weather conditions and seismic activities targeting specific locations – climate warfare. Dr Rosalie Bertell told the Peoples’ Health Assembly, in December 2000, that “the latest weapons in the arsenal of the US military is Planet Earth itself”. She said that weather would become one of the worst destructive weapons by the year 2025’. She explained how engineered earthquakes and tornadoes could be created and used as strategic forms of attack on nations. That is a lot of food for thought, isn’t it? Or is it conspiracy theory?
Wars and the threat of wars (including economic warfare, media warfare and climate warfare) rob us of the opportunity to concentrate our efforts and our resources on the development of our countries along the path that will bring us greater economic and social stability and strengthen our independence. They undermine our right to self-determination, our dignity and our sovereignty.
When nations are able to focus on their development without interference from external forces, here is what is possible:
- Our governments are not subject to manipulation by external powers and the dictates of international funding institutions.
- We practice regional integration as a synergistic approach to development, cooperation and trade.
- We use our membership in international and regional bodies such as the United Nations, CARICOM, OAS, CELAC, ALBA and others to champion the interests of the developing nations and principles of economic cooperation, the right of nations to self-determination and peaceful coexistence with full respect for national sovereignty.
- The role of the United Nations is respected by all nations and its resolutions and decisions voted on by the member states are accepted and implemented.
- The UN Human Development Index is recognised as a critical objective gauge of social development and it is not downplayed or manipulated for political reasons.
- The full capability of scientific and technological advancement is available to enhance all aspects of our lives – industry, communication, culture.
- We have diverse industries utilizing the latest technology and our skills, creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial talents to produce high quality goods for the local and export markets.
- We exercise control over all our natural resources, and we harness and develop them for our benefit and the benefit of all humanity through models of internationalism and economic cooperation such as Cuba’s Collaboration Programme and Venezuela’s Petro Caribe Agreement.
- All our citizens are able to find employment opportunities that fully utilize their education and skills and they are adequately compensated so that no-one lacks the basic necessities of life and no-one goes hungry or is forced to beg or eat from the garbage for survival.
- All our children are guaranteed high quality free education (up to university), with the highest technological support, no matter what schools they attend.
- All our citizens have the opportunity to improve their skills and education free of cost for the betterment of the countries.
- All our citizens enjoy at least a minimum standard of safe, spacious and secure housing and no-one sleeps on the street, under rocks or in drains as happens now even in the most developed countries.
- There are special programmes and policies to address the unique needs of different sectors of the population – women, children, people with disabilities – and to address other diversity issues.
- All communities have adequate infrastructure to support development in sports, arts and recreation, wholesome upbringing of children and care of the aged, mentally ill, and physically incapacitated persons.
- Public transportation is sufficient, safe, comfortable, orderly and reliable, allowing people to park their cars and use it for their daily commute.
- Free health care is provided to all citizens with an emphasis on promoting disease prevention, healthy nutrition and regular exercise;
- There is public access to all beaches and they are adequately developed and managed for safe and orderly use by citizens and tourists;
- We take the matter of climate change seriously and adopt development standards to counter the effects, environmental protection is a way of life, and we thoroughly investigate, expose and effectively counter any acts of sabotage using biological and climate warfare.
- True rehabilitation of prisoners is implemented so that they can contribute positively without stigmatization, while incarcerated and when they return to society;
- Political representatives are held accountable based on a comprehensive code of conduct and an outline of duties and responsibilities, and they are subject to recall by their constituents at any time during their tenure;
- The rights of all citizens are honoured and protected.
It is important for us to formulate and present to our people a clear vision of what a peaceful country/region/world looks like, a vision of what is possible, a vision of the benefits to be gained individually and collectively from embracing peace. The vision must take into account all of the dimensions of a peaceful society such as sustainable development, food security, cultural diversity, access to healthcare and education and development of women.** We must be able to identify the essential elements of the peaceful society we want to create. The vision I just shared is adapted from a document I drafted on the morning of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of independence (August 6, 2012). Ironically, at that time, the government was contemplating the signing of a deal with the IMF. I think it is very relevant to the peaceful future we are creating for all the countries in our region and for all humanity.
It is amazing that such a beautiful vision is a threat to the interests of those who thrive on the current conditions in which we exist. Creation of this new world is anathema to the proponents of private accumulation and greed.
As we build a Caribbean Peace movement, there are some immediate tasks that we have to address and which must be included in our plan of action:
- We must advocate for immediate and unconditional support to the countries of the region, which were affected by the recent climate disasters. Haiti must be included as that nation has yet to recover from the impact of the 2010 earthquake and was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. This has to be much more than the usual disaster assistance, as these occurrences were way beyond anything that the region has ever experienced. We need to call on the United Nations to set up a fund for assistance to nations in their recovery from the unprecedented magnitude of these natural disasters and for the development of adequate infrastructure to cope with the impact of climate change.
- We must urge countries within and outside the region to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was launched by the United Nations on September 20, 2017 and is compatible with the CELAC declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a one of Peace. We must also urge the United Nations to apply sanctions against all countries that possess nuclear weapons, have not cooperated with the call to dismantle them, and fail to sign and ratify the Treaty within a specified period. The UN must also impose sanctions on those countries that callously persist in destroying their environment.
- A third task is that we must oppose interference in the internal affairs of the countries in the region with a view to effecting regime change, whether by creating unrest, manipulating elections or by direct military intervention, with the ultimate goal of controlling their natural resources and creating puppet regimes as we see being attempted in Venezuela.
- We must also address the matter of the presence of foreign military bases in the region and the practice of military exercises by foreign forces in our waters and on land.
- We must denounce the media and economic war against Cuba by demanding that the UN Resolution on the lifting of the blockade, overwhelmingly supported by the member countries, be respected and implemented. We must also demand an end to the strategy of misinformation and disinformation regarding Cuba and Venezuela.
In coming to a close, I would like to suggest some guidelines for formulation of the declaration from this conference and our plan of action.
- We must be clear about our target audience that has to include the people of the region. The declaration should be articulated in such a manner that it informs and educates the people and makes it crystal clear why they need to take a stand for peace now.
- One of the challenges we have is getting people to appreciate what the peace movement stands for. We must address the general perceptions of peace held by many (conflict resolution, something to talk to the children about on International Peace Day, addressing crime and violence in the society, etc. Those matters are also important but our concern with peace goes way beyond that. We must help our people to understand the urgency of addressing issues related to global and regional peace. They need to understand concretely how it affects them and how it ties in with the narrower perspective that they have.
- We need to bring it home to our people that the threat of nuclear war is a real and imminent danger that affects everyone on the planet, not something that will only affect people far removed from us.
- We must also be careful to connect with other issues that are important, such as reparations for slavery of African people in the Caribbean.
- We must also link our efforts today with the spirit and vision of the heroes of our various countries. In the case of Jamaica that means people like Nanny, Sam Sharpe, Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, the brave women who fought against slavery and those who participated in the Morant Bay Rebellion.
- We also need to connect with the struggles such as Black Lives Matter, the Native American Indians’ struggle, the struggle of the immigrants, and the resistance triggered by Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest. We must emphasize that we are a part of the global movement for peace.
The success of this effort will require an emphasis on unity around critical priorities and principles that we agree on. This is extremely important. Only our enemies benefit from our division.
Finally, we need to find creative ways of convening, by perhaps making greater use of information technology, while being cognizant of its pitfalls. We have to create synergy with other groups that are organizing similar events as well. For instance, in another week or so, there will be a meeting of the Assembly of Caribbean in the Dominican Republic. It is a challenge for us as we know the importance of these events, yet we face resource challenges.
I am confident that we will have a productive meeting and that it is going to bring us closer together in the region as we pursue the common objective of creating a peaceful society.
Let me congratulate the organizers on pulling the conference together – Caribbean for Peace and Integration, Network for the Defense of Humanity, National Union of Public Workers and Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples.
* Thanks to Dr. Myrna Belgrave for kindly suggesting that I include a paragragh on how war affects women and children.
** Thanks to Margaret Harris, PhD candidate, for her suggestion that these dimensions be specified.
A Declaration from the 1st Caribbean Peace Conference Bridgetown, Barbados, Oct. 6-7th, 2017
The Peace organisations existing in the Caribbean — the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI), the Cuban Movement for Peace and People´s Sovereignty (MovPaz), the Jamaica Peace Council (JPC), the Guyana Peace Council (GPC) , and the Caribbean Chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity (NIDOH-C) , as well as several national delegates of other progressive organizations (all together representing eight sister nations of the Caribbean– Barbados, Cuba,, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) and the USA Peace Council met in Barbados over the period of 6th and 7th October 2017 to discuss critical matters relating to world peace and to adopt the Declaration inscribed hereunder.
At a meeting of the World Peace Council held in São Luís ,Brazil from November 18-19 2016 and hosted by the Brazilian Center for Solidarity of the Peoples and Struggle for Peace (CEBRAPAZ), and meeting under the theme “Strengthen the peoples’ solidarity in the struggle for peace, against imperialism” it was determined that “strengthening the World Peace Council is a key task in this solidarity”, and to this end the peace councils of the Caribbean were requested to stage a pan-Caribbean conference in the year 2017.
Given the call from the World Peace Conference in Sao Luis, the Caribbean Peace Movement moved to organize its first Caribbean Peace conference in the island of Barbados between October 6thand 7th, 2017.
The delegates of the First Caribbean Peace Conference view with concern, the neo-liberal counter-offensive of imperialism, which is impacting Caribbean societies largely through the installation of retrograde capitalist forces, which have opened the countries to private sector dominance and the reversal of the social gains in health, education, public housing and transportation, adversely impacting the quality of life of the Caribbean working people.
The First Caribbean Peace Conference also recognizes that climate change poses a major threat to the countries of the Caribbean region, as it impacts negatively on our ecological and economic systems and increases the risk of natural disasters that can wipe out Caribbean economies by wreaking havoc on infrastructure and by causing significant loss of life.
The Conference notes with alarm the extra-ordinarily intense and violent current hurricane season which has resulted in billions of dollars in infrastructural damage, destroyed entire islands, crippling their economies and has resulted in scores of deaths. It has not escaped notice that these natural events that have been exacerbated by the effects of human activity, have occurred following denials by the leadership of the USA — the world’s most eco-unfriendly nation — of the need for any global agreements to combat global warming. From that perspective, the failure to build global consensus around climate change and the necessary responses represents a tremendous threat to Peace in the Caribbean region and militates against the stability and the proper functioning of Caribbean institutions and societies in general.
We also recognize the presence of foreign military bases in the Caribbean as contributing significantly to further environmental degradation and as an erosion of the security and stability of the region. We therefore denounce the military maneuvers and exercises which destroy the environment and undermine the health of the populations residing in proximity to those military bases.
BUT IN addition to their environmental costs, the First Caribbean Peace Conference also views the presence of the large number of foreign military bases and facilities in the Caribbean region as a serious threat to the peace and stability of all the nations given their warlike and interventionist purposes. We consider it to be both urgent and necessary to resolutely join in the actions of the international campaign against foreign military bases and for a world of peace without nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons.
The First Caribbean Peace Conference acknowledges the 1967 Tlatelolco Treaty which established our region of Latin America and the Caribbean as a nuclear free zone, and to this end, we demand the immediate cessation of the transshipment of nuclear waste through the Caribbean Sea.
We also recognize the significance of the fact that 122 United Nations member states have adopted the Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, the first and only international legal instrument that declares illegal all nuclear weapons. However, we forcefully condemn the fact that the superpowers possessing such weapons that can wipe out humanity have deliberately and arrogantly avoided signing this essential treaty.
We also note with alarm that a specific threat to Caribbean peace resides in the proliferation of firearms in the Caribbean , in an environment of economic and social collapse occasioned by neo-liberal capitalism and the corrupt activities of drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking. When coupled with the intense foreign media penetration that the Caribbean has been subjected to, the phenomenon of imported values eclipsing our local values of respect and human decency, and with movies and films perpetuating greed, violence, opulence and selfishness, then the rise in senseless killings and gang warfare, presents itself as a direct threat to our Caribbean civilisation.
AGAINST THIS BACKGROUND, the 1st Caribbean Peace Conference hereby:
- Dedicates the work, results and outcomes of the conference to the memory and honour of the eternal Commanders Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro Rus, and in recognition of both the 50thanniversary of the fallin-combat of Commander Ernesto Ché Guevara and the 1st anniversary of the passing of Dr. Fidel Castro on November 25th We pay homage to these two world visionary leaders, who made extra-ordinary contributions to peace and to the liberation struggle of African, LatinAmerican and Caribbean countries.
- Demands the end of the foreign military presence that MINUSTAH represents in Haiti and its replacement by a civilian and humanitarian support mechanism. In addition, the Conference rejects the notion of a “failed state”, which is a concept that is used by the forces of imperialism as a justification for interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations and as a motive for military intervention for regime change.
- Affirms our determination to safeguard peace in Latin America and the Caribbean in keeping with the Havana Declaration approved by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) at the second CELAC Summit held in Havana, Cuba in the year 2014– a Declaration which establishes our region as a Zone of Peace.
- Re-Affirms our commitment to the principle of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, and our profound respect for the principles and norms of international law, the inalienable right of every State to freely choose their political, economic, social and cultural system without interference of any kind, and the sovereign equality of states.
- Recognizes the role played by women in advancing the peaceful and sustainable future of the planet, and acknowledges that the achievement of peace and an end to violence are dependent on respecting cultural, racial, religious, and sexual diversity.
- Commits to fight against imperialism, neoliberal policies, and foreign military actions which seek to undermine and defeat the progressive and democratic governments and movements of the region.
- Rejects the prevailing hegemonic concept of the “ideal western state”-
– a concept which encourages racism, white supremacy, and discrimination. Instead, we recognize and accept a broader and more inclusive concept of human development, participation and democracy.
- Rejects the interventionist actions, the threat of military intervention, the media campaigns, the psychological threats, the economic war, and the financial blockade orchestrated and directed by the government of the United States of America (USA) and by sections of the national and international conservative oligarchy, which undermine the peace and stability of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as they attempt to destroy the Bolivarian revolution and its positive influence on Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Recognizes the sovereign right of the Venezuelan people to undertake reform of their nation’s Constitution, and accepts the National Constituent Assembly elected by over eight million people as a legitimate expression of the Will and sovereignty of the Venezuelan people: and we also remind the world that the National Constituent Assembly is provided for within the Venezuelan Constitution.
- Supports the efforts made by the revolutionary government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to establish dialogue with the Venezuelan opposition — with the aim of achieving a lasting peace — within the framework of the discussions that are being held in the Dominican Republic with the support of the International Community.
- Expresses the broadest solidarity with countries and peoples under colonial rule in the Caribbean and South America who have been denied the right to self-determination and sovereignty, and in particular we demand the end of French colonialism in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana and commits to giving active solidarity to the people of those countries in their struggle for independence, sovereignty and selfdetermination.
- Demands an end to foreign military presences in Latin America and the Caribbean in general, and in Puerto Rico, the Malvinas, Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in particular. We also reaffirm that the Malvinas, Georgia and Sandwich Islands are part of the territory of Argentina and must return to the sovereignty of the Argentine nation.
- Condemns the refusal of certain Caribbean countries to recognize the legitimate right of the people of Palestine to sovereign statehood.
- Condemns the government of the Dominican Republic for its mass deportation of persons described as “Haitians” and carried out from the year 2015 to the present. The Conference demands the cessation of such deportations, and calls for an internationally supervised determination of the nationality and legal status of the remaining dark-skinned residents of the Dominican Republic in order to remove the anxieties of this group. The Conference also calls for the establishment of an international committee to determine compensation for persons illegally displaced by the mass deportation carried out directly or encouraged by the government of the Dominican Republic.
- Demands the return to Cuban national sovereignty of the territory illegally occupied by the US Naval base in Guantanamo; and further demands that the US government accept the formal proposal made by the Cuban government to include this issue in the bilateral agenda as being a key factor in the process towards the normalization of the relationship between the two countries, as well as a key issue in the quest for regional peace and safety.
- Supports the struggle of Cuba in all fora for the unconditional removal of the illegal economic, financial and trade blockade, which is the longest one in known history, and which not only qualifies as an act of genocide in International Law but is also a fundamental violation of the Sovereignty of third nations in that it is based upon the extra-territorial application of national or domestic USA legislation.
- Rejects the nasty, unfounded and unjustified decision taken by the Donald Trump administration against Cuban diplomats in the USA, and evidently aimed at erasing all the constructive steps recently achieved towards the normalization of the bilateral USA / Cuba relationship, and which is– by extension– a new obstacle to the development of normal relations with the rest of the Caribbean.
- Condemns all acts of terrorism as the anti-thesis of peace, and in particular we recall and condemn the terrorist act committed on October 6th 1976 when a bomb was planted on a Cuban commercial aircraft which resulted in the deaths of 73 persons within the territorial space of the island of Barbados. And to this end we demand that the Government of the USA extradite Luis Posada Carilles, the mastermind of the terrorist act, to Venezuela in order that he may stand trial , and we also reiterate our support for the campaign of the Caribbean Chapter of the International Network in Defense of Humanity to have the United Nations declare October 6th as “International Day Against Terrorism”.
- Supports the people from several Caribbean islands in their struggle to overcome the aftermath of the repeated natural disasters which have destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and to achieve the necessary political and social stability that will enable them to overcome the current situation.
- Expresses solidarity and encourages concrete actions to alleviate the suffering of the victims of recent natural phenomena, which have led to devastation, destruction and loss of life in the Caribbean, and in this regard the Conference demands the creation of global institutional responses that are morally, economically and politically commensurate with the crises which have befallen these countries.
- Insists that global climate change discussions be re-engaged in order to reduce the possibilities of such disasters that have befallen the Caribbean in the 2017 hurricane season.
- Condemns the policies that produce the indiscriminate deportation of Caribbean prisoners from North American prisons, human trafficking and arms trafficking in the Caribbean, and that help to generate high crime rates that threaten the stability of several Caribbean nations.
- Rejects the Media Penetration and the Media Propaganda which dull the senses of Caribbean populations to violence, crimes against the person, the assassination of leaders, invasion and war, and we encourage our governments to create the conditions for local media practitioners and cultural activists to advance our own aesthetics, feelings and concerns.
- Supports the right of the nations and people of the Caribbean to pursue and demand reparations from the colonial powers for the centuries of vassalage and exploitation founded on the genocide of the indigenous people, African enslavement and colonialism.
- Identifies the United States, NATO and the great powers of the European Union and their allies, in their ambition for world domination, as the main threats to peace and the happiness of the peoples of the entire planet and we demand an end to all wars of imperialist aggression.
- Demands the elimination of nuclear weapons and an end to the threat of their use, and further demands that our respective governments and the nuclear-weapon possessing states promptly sign and ratify the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
- Celebrates the renewed commitment to the founding or reactivating of the Caribbean movements and associations of Peace and their linkage to the World Peace Council, and recognizes that it is vital to articulate and engage upon such collective work in favor of Peace in the region and in support of the sustainability and validity of the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
- Expresses gratitude to the hosts, supporting institutions and personalities, and to the Barbadian people as a whole for the warm welcome given to the participants in the meeting, and for supporting all the logistical arrangements of the 1st Caribbean Peace Conference in Barbados.
- Supports and undertakes to — individually or in a collective manner — pursue the actions and initiatives contained in the Plan of Action approved by the Conference.
- Reminds the Caribbean people of our unique history of race and class based oppression, and of our historic struggles to resist, overcome and transcend such oppression and denial of human dignity, and re-affirm that our history has bequeathed to us a sacred mission to advocate and defend the principles of freedom and human dignity, and to stand with and give active solidarity and support to all peoples who are legitimately fighting against oppressive forces, and for freedom, dignity, respect, sovereignty, self-determination and peace.
Recently U.S.Chief Executive Trump spit out unprecedented rubbish that he would “totally destroy” our state and people, daring hurt the dignity of the DPRK’s supreme leadership on the UN arena, the main mission of which is to realize the international justice.
The Supreme leader of the Korean people Comrade Kim Jong Un declared he would surely and definitely make the U.S. chief executive pay dearly for the remarks in which he denied the existence of the DPRK, insulted it and cried for its total destruction under the eyes of the world.
As the world community clearly remember, the U.S. is the first country which developed the nuclear weapon in this world and which killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians by using the nuclear weapon in the war.
And it is none other than the U.S. who openly threatened our country by saying that they were going to use the Atomic bomb during the Korean War in 1950s and firstly brought the nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula after Korean War.
It is the reality today that the chief executive of such a world biggest nuclear power spit out violent words of nuclear threat like “fire and fury” and “total destruction” everyday.
In order to realize the genuine international justice and defend elementary right to existence of mankind, it is necessary to counter the nukes of tyranny with the nuclear treasured sword of justice. This is the truth taught by the DPRK-U.S. Confrontation to the world.
As for the prevailing grave situation that the danger of the nuclear war is to break out on the Korean peninsula, Korean National Peace Committee(KNPC), Consultative Council for National Reconciliation(CCNR) and Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee(KAPPC) and other social organizations strongly denounced Trump’s illegal and outrageous remarks by issuing statements.
If Trump and the U.S. persist in igniting the nuclear war, it will lead to the “total destruction” of the empire of evil – U.S. and will lead to the victory of justice that completely remove the main cause of nuclear war in this world.
Korean Committee for Afro-Asian Solidarity(KCAAS) firmly believe that peoples of different countries loving independence, peace and justice will fully discharge their due mission and duty in realizing the desire of mankind for international justice and peace with sharp vigilance against the heinous and reckless moves of the Trump administration trying to drive the world into a horrible nuclear disaster.
Published by Alma By Martha Andrés Román/Prensa Latina Besides being young doctors and live in the United States, Lucia Agudelo, Mercedes Vela Charles and Abraham Vela have another thing in common: the passion for Family Medicine and desire to exercise in their communities. However, this is not a simple coincidence, but a vocation that found […]
Why is there such an urgent need to pause from our personal endeavours to focus on awareness of global and regional threats to peace and the need to deter the countries which possess nuclear weapons from deploying them? The fact is that all that we have achieved or strive for on a personal level is of little moment when the monster of war strikes. The people in war zones can attest to that. Wars destroy precious human resources, the basic infrastructure and cultural symbols of nations. They displace people who are forced into refugee status because of the turbulence and destruction at home. They lead to encroachment on basic social and political rights not only in the war zones, but globally. They also impact the natural environment through the release of a high concentration of toxic gases and dust into the atmosphere and water supplies by military vehicles and ammunition, adversely affecting public health. They also affect the ecology as animal and plant life is threatened.
Another important phenomenon is the manipulation of weather conditions and seismic activities targeting specific locations. Dr. Bertell told the Peoples’ Health Assembly in December 2000 that “the latest weapons in the arsenal of the US military is Planet Earth itself”. She said that weather would become one of the worst destructive weapons by the year 2025’. She explained how engineered earthquakes and tornadoes could be created and used as strategic forms of attack on nations. That is a lot of food for thought, isn’t it?
Add to this scenario the danger posed by the potential deployment of nuclear weapons which can wipe everything off the planet. This is no exaggeration. According to the United Nations at present there are still “some 17,000 nuclear weapons” in existence and “more than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances.”
In our region although 33 countries have signed the treaty to maintain the region as a zone of peace, we still have to be alert in order to ward off all attempts to create enmity between the nations of the region in order to achieve predatory imperialist objectives. We see the situation which has arisen between Venezuela and Guyana, the primary objective being imperialist control of oil resources in the disputed territory and creating an avenue for attacking the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela.
The world needs peace so that we can manifest the true greatness of humanity and permanently eradicate diseases, hunger, poverty and underdevelopment. What can we do practically today to advance the cause of peace? We can talk to our family and friends about the importance of peace to the realization of all our HOPES and DREAMS. We can invite persons to events such as this. We can share information in social media. We can expose imperialism as the primary threat to peace in the world. While we pursue our personal goals it is imperative that we act in defense of humanity.
MESSAGE FROM THE JAMAICA PEACE COUNCIL FOR THE UN INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE TOTAL ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, SEPTEMBER 26, 2017
The Jamaica Peace Council (JPC) is urging all goverments of the Caribbean and Latin American region to act in keeping with the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) objective of preserving the region as a Zone of Peace by signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was launched by the United Nations on September 20, 2017.
Further, the JPC is calling on the United Nations to apply sanctions against all countries which possess nuclear weapons, have not cooperated with the call to dismantle them, and fail to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons within a specified time-frame.
While countries with nuclear weapons invest trillions of dollars in maintaining and upgrading their nuclear arsenals, insufficient resources are available to address the issue of global warming which some of them deny, but which is very real for the countries in the Caribbean region and other parts of the globe which recently suffered its disastrous effects.
We also call on the United Nations to impose sanctions on countries which carry out wars of aggression (including economic and media wars) for the purpose of regime change and control of natural resources.
The funds accrued from imposition of these sanctions should be used to assist affected nations in their recovery from natural disasters and to develop strategies for coping with and reducing the impact of climate change.
We further call on the United Nations to censor leaders who use the podium of the General Assembly to provoke a nuclear crisis, to promote hostility, and to malign and threaten nations such as Cuba and Venezuela which have chosen their own path to development and are setting a positive example of peaceful international cooperation.
On the eve of the observance of September 26, 2017, the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, we view with alarm the escalation of the conflict between the United States and the Democratic Republic of North Korea. As both leaders face off, bringing humanity to the brink of annihilation, we call for peaceful dialogue and respect for the United Nations’ thrust towards a nuclear weapons free world. The world community is gravely concerned that despite the declaration of the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in December 2013, little or no progress has been made towards the objective of destroying nuclear weapons.
The United Nations website states, “…some 15,000 nuclear weapons remain. Countries possessing such weapons have well-funded, long-term plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals. More than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances. As of 2017, while there have been major reductions in deployed nuclear weapons since the height of the Cold War, not one nuclear warhead has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty, bilateral or multilateral, and no nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway.” (http://www.un.org/en/events/nuclearweaponelimination/ )
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was opened on September 20, 2017 at United Nations headquarters in New York, requires 50 nations to ratify or accede to it in order for it to come into force. So far 53 countries have signed but only three have ratified it. None of the nine countries which possess nuclear arsenals have signed, namely: United States of America, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Fourteen countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have signed so far, namely: Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. The three countries which have ratified the treaty are Guyana, Holy See and Thailand.
The peace-loving people in the nine nuclear weapons possessing countries along with other peace-loving peoples all over the world must assert themselves, alert their compatriots and steer humanity away from imminent disaster.
Jamaica Peace Council
The Federation of American Scientists provides the following breakdown of countries possessing nuclear arsenals:
|COUNTRY||NUCLEAR PROGRAMME||SIZE OF ARSENAL|
|United States||The first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have used them in war. It spends more on its nuclear arsenal than all other countries combined.||6,800 warheads|
|Russia||The second country to develop nuclear weapons. It has the largest arsenal of any country and is investing heavily in the modernization of its warheads and delivery systems.||7,000 warheads|
|United Kingdom||It maintains a fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines in Scotland, each carrying 16 Trident missiles. Its parliament voted in 2016 to overhaul its nuclear forces.||215 warheads|
|France||Most of its nuclear warheads are deployed on submarines equipped with M45 and M51 missiles. One boat is on patrol at all times. Some warheads are also deliverable by aircraft.||300 warheads|
|China||It has a much smaller arsenal than the US and Russia. Its warheads are deliverable by air, land and sea. It appears to be increasing the size of its arsenal at a slow pace.||270 warheads|
|India||It developed nuclear weapons in breach of non-proliferation commitments. It is increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and enhancing its delivery capabilities.||110–120 warheads|
|Pakistan||It is making substantial improvements to its nuclear arsenal and associated infrastructure. It has increased the size of its nuclear arsenal in recent years.||120-130 warheads|
|Israel||It has a policy of ambiguity in relation to its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence. As a result, there is little public information or debate about it.||80 warheads|
|North Korea||It has a fledgling nuclear weapons programme. Its arsenal probably comprises fewer than 10 warheads. It is not clear whether it has the capability to deliver them.||<10 warheads|
Source: Federation of American Scientists 2017
While the most powerful countries in the world
Signature/ratification status of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 and will remain open indefinitely. Once 50 nations have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force.
- Full text of the treaty (adopted 7 July 2017)
- Further information on national positions
- Guide to signing and ratifying the treaty
|Algeria||20 September 2017||–|
|Antigua & Barbuda||–||–|
|Austria||20 September 2017||–|
|Bangladesh||20 September 2017||–|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||–||–|
|Brazil||20 September 2017||–|
|Cabo Verde||20 September 2017||–|
|Central African Republic||20 September 2017||–|
|Chile||20 September 2017||–|
|Comoros||20 September 2017||–|
|Congo||20 September 2017||–|
|Costa Rica||20 September 2017||–|
|Cote d’Ivoire||20 September 2017||–|
|Cuba||20 September 2017||–|
|DRC (Congo)||20 September 2017||–|
|Ecuador||20 September 2017||–|
|El Salvador||20 September 2017||–|
|Fiji||20 September 2017||–|
|Gambia||20 September 2017||–|
|Ghana||20 September 2017||–|
|Guatemala||20 September 2017||–|
|Guyana||20 September 2017||20 September 2017|
|Holy See||20 September 2017||20 September 2017|
|Honduras||20 September 2017||–|
|Indonesia||20 September 2017||–|
|Ireland||20 September 2017||–|
|Kiribati||20 September 2017||–|
|Laos||21 September 2017||–|
|Libya||20 September 2017||–|
|Liechtenstein||20 September 2017||–|
|Madagascar||20 September 2017||–|
|Malawi||20 September 2017||–|
|Malaysia||20 September 2017||–|
|Mexico||20 September 2017||–|
|Nepal||20 September 2017||–|
|New Zealand||20 September 2017||–|
|Nicaragua||22 September 2017||–|
|Nigeria||20 September 2017||–|
|Palau||20 September 2017||–|
|Palestine||20 September 2017||–|
|Panama||20 September 2017||–|
|Papua New Guinea||–||–|
|Paraguay||20 September 2017||–|
|Peru||20 September 2017||–|
|Philippines||20 September 2017||–|
|St Kitts & Nevis||–||–|
|St Vincent & Grenadines||–||–|
|Samoa||20 September 2017||–|
|San Marino||20 September 2017||–|
|Sao Tome & Principe||20 September 2017||–|
|South Africa||20 September 2017||–|
|Thailand||20 September 2017||20 September 2017|
|Togo||20 September 2017||–|
|Trinidad & Tobago||–||–|
|Tuvalu||20 September 2017||–|
|United Arab Emirates||–||–|
|Uruguay||20 September 2017||–|
|Vanuatu||20 September 2017||–|
|Venezuela||20 September 2017||–|
|Vietnam||22 September 2017||–|
Overseas tours are always a special student experience. Our Guest Post recalls a tour to revolutionary Cuba just over a year after Fidel Castro’s forces took power – more than a half-century ago. UWI MODERN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT TOUR OF CUBA by Hazel Spence-Ogilvie (Thanks to George Morris for the photos) In March 1960, Professor Gabriel […]
The grave situation is prevailing on the Korean peninsula due to the anti-DPRK sanctions maneuvers and war racket against DPRK of the U.S. and its following forces.
In August, only within this month, the illegal and unjust sanctions and nuclear war maneuvers of the U.S. against DPRK has reached to its extremes.
Questioning our test launch of ICBM as “a threat to international peace”, the U.S. cooked up UNSC “Sanctions resolution” 2371 against DPRK on August 6th to completely block the economic development and the improvement of people’s living standard.
The personnels of political circles and military authorities in U.S. mouthed rhetoric words that they were concerning the DPRK-targeted military option. Even Trump who have full command of the armed forces said that even if a war break out, it would be fought on the Korean peninsula and if thousands die, that would be on the peninsula only, not in the U.S. mainland.
Timed to the coincide with this, the 82nd airborne division, the 25th light infantry division and the division for mountain warfare are under their large scale military drills, anticipating its involvement in the Korean front.
Navy SEAL and other special warfare units, specialized in terrorist operations, were urgently dispatched to south Korea and the plan for bringing strategic assets to south Korea was in the pipeline.
And also the nuclear strategic bombers from Guam frequently fly above south Korean to openly stage actual war drills and muscle-flexing to strike the strategic bases of the DPRK.
Under the prevailing grave situation, the KPA Strategic Force sent a serious warning signal to the U.S. to stop its reckless military provocation against the DPRK that could bring about any conflicts and if the U.S. would not listen to our warnings then it would lead to take a practical actions to counter it.
In spite of unanimous denunciation at home and abroad, the U.S. has staged the Ulji Freedom Guardian Joint military exercises.
Taking advantage of the U.S.’ strategy of world domination, Japanese reactionaries has also incurred the serious dangers in peace on Korean peninsula and in the world.
Japanese reactionaries has decided to introduce the U.S. missile defence system and also to increase the military expenditure to the maximum in next fiscal year.
As well as they conducted the DPRK-targeted drills of “PAC-3” missile deployment in the U.S. military bases in Japan on August 29th.
The acts of the U.S. and surrounding countries in concerting with the U.S. hostile policy against DPRK has jeopardized the regional peace and security.
These countries received “thanks” from the U.S. by raising their hands for anti-DPRK “Sanctions Resolutions”.
Coping with the sanctions and pressure of the U.S. and its vassal forces, DPRK is taking the actions to strengthen the self-reliant defense capability.
On August 29th The KPA Strategic Force conducted the intermediate-and-long range strategic ballistic rocket launching exercise.
The possession of the nuclear force of our country is the justice and righteous measures to defend our sovereignty and rights to existence and development against the highhanded and arbitrary practices of the U.S who is resorting to the nuclear threats and blackmail and extreme hostile policy against DPRK through over half a century.
This complicated international situation gives us the lessons that no one can make a gift of peace. It proves that the aggressive and predatory nature of imperialists cannot be changed and it is the only way to defend the true peace to fight against the enemies of the peace to the end while strengthening the national defense capability continuously.
Korean Democratic Lawyers’ Association
Korean Committee for Solidarity with World Peoples
Korean National Peace Committee
TEN FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF REPARATIONS
“I, and I know you, too, believe in time, and we shall wait patiently for two hundred years if need be, to face our enemies through our posterity……When I am dead wrap the mantle of the Red, Black and Green around me, for in the new life I shall rise with God’s grace and blessing……. Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you…… I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life….. I shall write the history that will inspire the millions that are coming and leave the posterity of our enemies to reckon with the hosts for the deeds of their fathers.”
The Hon. Marcus Garvey
February 10, 1925
The fundamental point that the Honourable Marcus Garvey was making in the passage quoted above is the central message that is encased in the demand for Reparations, and it is that there is and will be no impunity for the commission of any crime against humanity. In other words, whosoever commits a crime against humanity must expect that justice will be demanded of them or their posterity—even if it takes two hundred years!
And so it is with the demand for Reparations for the multiplicity of genocides and crimes that have been committed against the sons and daughters of Africa by the nations, governments, and institutions of Europe and North America.
The good news is that the campaign to achieve the payment of Reparations to the nations and people of Africa and the African Diaspora for the atrocities committed against their ancestors and the damage inflicted on their civilization during the centuries of European-imposed slave trade, slavery and colonial domination is well and truly underway!
At an historic 2013 Summit meeting of the Heads of Government of the nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) — Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, St. Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Haiti, Dominica, Belize, Montserrat, Suriname and Grenada — a decision was taken to collectively pursue a Reparations claim against the national governments of those European nations that actively participated in the genocide that was inflicted on the native or indigenous people of the Caribbean, and in the centuries-long imposition of slavery on the African-descended population of the Caribbean, and to establish a regional governmental “Reparations Commission” to pursue the Claim.
And so, not only do we now have a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparations Commission representing 14 independent national governments and nation-states of the Caribbean, but we have also witnessed the recent establishment of such important Black civil-society institutions as the National African-American Reparations Commission of the United States of America (USA) and the European Commission For Reparations, and we are aware that similar Brazilian and Canadian initiatives are currently in various stages of preparation.
In addition, the government-owned university of the Caribbean– the University of the West Indies (UWI) — has announced that its newly established Reparations Research Institute will be situated at the Mona , Jamaica campus of the University, and will be officially launched in October of this year.
It is anticipated that this new scholarly institution will help us to structure an “outwardly directed” process in which we level demands at the liable Governments and institutions for the compensatory money payments, developmental programmes, transfers of resources, and international and national institutional reforms that all go to make up a package of Reparations “payments”, as well as to pursue an “inwardly directed” struggle that we must engage in ourselves to repair those aspects of the damage that pertain most directly to our minds and psyches.
Furthermore, these important developments are taking place against the background of the commencement, on 1st January 2015, of the United Nations International Decade For People of African Descent– a specially designated ten year period during which the critical issues facing people of African descent are to take centre-stage and to engage the full attention of the international community.
In light of these historic happenings, there can be no better time than now for a concerted effort to be made to construct a truly global Reparations Lobby centred primarily around the African or predominantly African nations, governments and population groups of the continent of Africa, the Caribbean and other regions of the African diaspora, but also extending to important governmental and civil society allies in Latin America, Asia, and Europe .
But, it must be acknowledged that if such a development is to be actualized it will be essential that the African Union (AU) commit itself to partnering with its kith and kin governments in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in pursuit of this sacred cause.
And there is a clear historical basis for such a partnership, in that the continent of Africa suffered just as much — if not more– from the ravages of the European-imposed and orchestrated “Slave Trade” than did the slavery-based, plantation societies of the so-called New World.
Indeed, the famous international multi-disciplinary Pan-African scholar, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima (author of the ground-breaking “They Came Before Columbus”) succinctly described the impact of the European-orchestrated Slave Trade on the African continent as follows:-
“No human disaster, with the exception of the Flood (if that biblical legend is true) can equal in dimension of destructiveness the cataclysm that shook Africa. We are all familiar with the slave trade and the traumatic effect of this on the transplanted Black, but few of us realize what horrors were wrought on Africa itself. Vast populations were uprooted and displaced; whole generations disappeared; European diseases descended like the plague, decimating both cattle and people; cities and towns were abandoned; family networks disintegrated; kingdoms crumbled; the threads of cultural and historical continuity were so savagely torn asunder that henceforth one would have to think of two Africas: the one before and the one after the Holocaust.”
(Extract from “Blacks In Science”)
But in addition to the continent’s historical grievance and cause of action, it should be noted that it was actually the continent of Africa that– through the work of the now defunct Organization of African Unity (OAU) — provided the Caribbean region with much of the initial inspiration and impetus on the issue of Reparations.
You see, the people and organizations of the Caribbean really began to reconnect with their historic claim for Reparations when, in the year 1990, word reached the Caribbean about the First International Conference on Reparations that was held in Lagos, Nigeria. This effort was pioneered by the late Chief Moshood Abiola of Nigeria and his Caribbean collaborator, the late Ambassador Dudley Thompson of Jamaica.
This International Reparations conference led to the OAU establishing a Group of Eminent Persons as well as a Commission on Reparations in 1992. And those developments led, in turn, to the staging of the OAU’s First Pan-African Conference On Reparations in Abuja, Nigeria in the year 1993, and to the issuing of the historic “Abuja Declaration” with its demand that the international community recognize that “there is a unique and unprecedented moral debt owed to the African peoples which has yet to be paid”, as well as its clarion CALL to the Heads of States and Governments in Africa and the Diaspora to establish National Reparations Committees to pursue the claim for Reparations in tandem with the OAU.
As we are all aware, in or about the year 1999 the OAU was succeeded by the African Union (AU), and as a result both theGroup of Eminent Persons and the Commission on Reparations became defunct.
Fortunately however, the historic developments of 1992 had laid a groundwork that made it possible for the Governments of Africa and the Caribbean to collaborate (even if informally) during the preparatory stages of the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism (UNWCAR) , and to ensure that resolutions acknowledging that the European-orchestrated trans-Atlantic slave trade and chattel slavery were “crimes against humanity”; that Africans and African descendants continued to suffer from the consequences of these crimes up to the present day; and that reparative measures to repair the still existing damage are necessary and justified, were placed on the Agenda of the Conference and ultimately adopted.
What made this successful African/Caribbean collaboration all the more impressive is that it was engaged in against the background of strident demands by the governments of the USA, Canada, and Western Europe that the UNWCAR was not to be concerned at all with issues related to the trans-Atlantic slave trade; to the centuries of European-orchestrated slavery; or to any notion of reparative justice for these historical crimes.
However, these arrogant Western “stipulations” all came to naught as a result of the African and Caribbean delegations at the various World Conference preparatory meetings engaging with Latin American and Asian allies to defy the Western powers and to force resolutions pertaining to slavery, trans-Atlantic slave trade and Reparations unto the agenda– resolutions that the Western powers (with the sole exception of the USA, which petulantly walked out of the Conference when it became clear that it would not be getting its way) actually acceded to during the deliberations in Durban , South Africa.
This experience demonstrated conclusively that where nations — even relatively small and supposedly “powerless” nations– pursue a manifestly just and righteous cause with passion and commitment, that they will not only win over the majority opinion of the World community but will also generate a moral force that is irresistible, even for the most intransigent and powerful Governments and nations !
And then, some ten years later, in August 2012, at the AU’s “Global African Summit” in Johannesburg, South Africa, it was resolved by the governmental representatives of Africa and the Caribbean that the AU would seek to collaborate with the governments of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in pursuing the quest for Reparations.
It is against this background that we would now like to present a brief but important outline of the Reparations concept in its holistic comprehensiveness by exploring what we have termed the ten fundamental principles of Reparations.
These ten principles are as follows:–
1. VALIDATION OF OUR HUMANITY
The first and most basic principle of the Reparations Movement is that the very demand for Reparations constitutes– in itself– an indispensable validation by African and African-descended people of our own precious humanity!
You see, if we Africans or Afro-descendants fail to demand that the present-day representatives and beneficiaries of those persons, institutions and nations that committed the most horrible crimes imaginable against our ancestors be held accountable and made to pay restitution, we would be implicitly sending a message to ourselves and to the world at large that we do not consider our ancestors (or ourselves) to be sacred beings imbued with inalienable rights and deserving of respect and justice!
And so, the mere act of demanding Reparations is important, and is a critical component of the process, that we must engage in as individuals and as a collective, of repairing ourselves and of reaffirming the value of our civilization and heritage!
But clearly, any such validation of our humanity will have to begin with a knowledge of who we Africans or Afro-descendants were as a people before the criminal European impositions of slavery and colonialism. Thus, the Reparations Movement and the African and Caribbean governments that lead it must make it a priority to promote the study and the dissemination of information about our pre-slavery, pre-colonial African civilization, as well as of the history of European orchestrated enslavement and its effects on the civilization of Africa and on the development of the modern world.
2. COMPLETION OF THE EMANCIPATION PROCESS
Of course, the point must also be made that the racist oppression of black or African people did not end with the formal abolition of slavery! Indeed, after the abolition of slavery in the 19th century our historical oppressors deliberately entrapped our ancestors in economic, political and social arrangements that were designed to handicap them and to serve the interests of the former enslavers– arrangements that have persisted (in modified form) down to the present day.
The struggle for Reparations must therefore be– among other things– a struggle to expose and put an end to such arrangements and to complete the Emancipation process! This is the second fundamental principle of the Reparations Movement.
It goes without saying therefore that the Reparations Movement (and our Governments in particular) must engage in an examination of our post-slavery history (with a view to identifying the many ways in which our historical oppressors unlawfully enmeshed and entrapped post-slavery generations down to the present era) , as well as in an examination of the many examples of resistance to these oppressive stratagems that were engaged in by our fore-fathers and mothers, inclusive of their many decisive contributions to anti-colonial victories against European colonialism and to the founding of independent African and Caribbean nations .
And having properly informed ourselves we must be prepared to undertake efforts to expose and deprecate such racist present-day arrangements; to advance demands that they be terminated; and to undertake relevant protests and boycotts as well as forms of individual and collective State action to bring about the termination of all such still existing racist arrangements.
3. COMPENSATION MUST BE PROPORTIONATE TO THE CRIME
The demand for compensation from the present-day representatives of those who inflicted horrendous crimes on our ancestors and who damaged and disabled succeeding generations must consist of a demand for the transfer of material resources in an amount proportionate to the enormity of the crimes and their deleterious effects—resources to enable present-day African and African-descendant populations to counter the economic and social imbalances derived from those centuries of criminality.
The Reparations Movement and the African and Caribbean governments that lead the Movement are therefore expected to collectively discuss and work out with civil society and other popular organizations, ideas for appropriate Reparations initiatives, payments and programmes that are capable of achieving such an objective.
4. REPARATIONS MUST PRODUCE THE JUST SOCIETY
The fourth fundamental principle of the Reparations Movement is that the campaign for Reparations or for Reparative Justice must be designed to produce the “just society”, in that the demand for Reparations must be formulated as a demand for a fundamental transformation of the currently existing inequitable and exploitative economic and power relations that exist in the international arena and in many of our domestic societies.
It should be noted that this principle has implications not only for the restructuring of such international entities and phenomena as the United Nations Security Council, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the terms of international trade and finance, but also for the manner in which our domestic African and Caribbean societies and Governments function. Implicit in the demand of our Caribbean and African Governments for Reparations must be a commitment to themselves deliver justice to their own people! And this is a commitment that the masses of African and Caribbean people must be prepared – through dynamic activism and advocacy– to hold our Governments to!
And here again, it will be incumbent on the international Reparations Movement and the African and Caribbean governments that lead the Movement to collectively discuss, work out and document ideas for appropriate initiatives, programmes and payments that are imbued with the potential to achieve this very ambitious (but critical) goal of producing the just society—internationally and domestically.
5. AFRICANS MUST EXERCISE AUTONOMY THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS
An integral strategy of the Reparations Movement is to present the demand for the payment of compensation (in financial and material resources as well as in developmental programmes) to the present-day representatives and beneficiaries of the evil system of slave trade and slavery and to invite their collaboration in addressing the tragic effects of this monumental historical crime. This, indeed, has been the approach of the CARICOM governments to date — they have collectively written to the relevant Governments of Western Europe calling upon them to acknowledge the crimes that were committed and the damage that was caused, and requesting them to agree to a collaborative approach to engaging in developmental programmes and transfers of resources designed to repair the still existing damage.
But even while adopting this approach, we Africans and Afro-descendants make it absolutely clear to all and sundry that even though we value the concept of collaboration, that the strategies and tasks to be implemented for our psychological repair and for our economic and social empowerment are our own responsibility and will be conceptualized, directed and controlled by us!
|6. WE MUST REPAIR OURSELVES
A critical component of the campaign for Reparations is the African’s and Afro-descendant’s own inwardly directed struggle for psychological, cultural and spiritual self-repair. Thus, African or Afro-descendant members of the Reparations Movement and their governments must be committed – as individuals and as collectives – to seek to identify all of the ways in which we have been and continue to be negatively affected by false notions of white supremacy and black inferiority, and to rigorously attack them and eradicate the negative effects that impact on our individual and collective psyches!
7. SELF-REPAIR WILL GENERATE MASS SUPPORT FOR REPARATIONS
The effort to “prosecute” and hold accountable the present-day representatives and beneficiaries of the historical oppressors of the African and Afro-descendant people will require the widespread participation of Africans and Afro-descendants: and the attainment of such widespread popular participation will, in turn, be dependent on the inwardly directed struggle for self-repair and its capacity to persuade a critical mass of the African population to re-evaluate themselves and their history; to perceive the gravity of the injustice; to feel the tragic historical loss they have suffered; and to be sufficiently motivated to get involved or otherwise support the campaign for Reparations.
The Reparations Movement and the African and Caribbean governments that lead it must therefore engage in a comprehensive mass education outreach programme to the community that is designed not only to educate about the relevant history, but to also help as many of our people as possible to emotionally connect with that history and the tragic loss and injustice suffered.
8. REPARATIONS MUST BE A BROAD MOVEMENT
The campaign for Reparations must be designed, on the one hand, to bring on board with us all of our natural allies in Africa and the Diaspora, Latin America and Asia and to enlist the tremendous weight of world opinion on our side, and, on the other hand, to isolate and publicly hold up to international embarrassment and critique all those entities that perversely and unreasonably seek to deny and resist the manifest justice and righteousness of our claim to Reparations.
This will call for a concerted effort in the field of international diplomacy by the Ambassadors, Embassies and foreign Missions of the nations of CARICOM and the AU. It will also require consistent effort at the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Commonwealth and in other relevant international organizations.
The Reparations Movement should therefore set about to bring allies (in the form of Governments and important civil society organizations) on board by reaching out and educating such entities about the African Reparations cause.
We will surely win the Reparations struggle when, wherever in the world representatives of the legally responsible governments go, other governments and people of goodwill are constantly asking them about their long outstanding moral and legal debt to the people and nations of Africa and the African Diaspora !
Just as virtually the whole world has come to know about the horrors of the Jewish holocaust and to acknowledge and respect the legitimacy and moral rightness of the Jewish demand for Reparations, we too must bring about a similar state of affairs in world public opinion in relation to the African Reparations cause.
9. THE MASS OF OUR PEOPLE MUST BE INTIMATELY INVOLVED
The masses of our African and Afro-descendant populations must be intimately involved in the campaign for Reparations: they must be permitted enough time and opportunity to thoroughly discuss and understand the issue; their right to have the final and decisive say on the concrete details of the Reparations claim must be respected; and they must have a say – through representatives specifically selected by them – as to how the compensatory resources are utilized.
Furthermore, at a national level– within our many nation states–the Reparations Movement should systematically appeal to and challenge all of the relevant local and national organizations to put support for Reparations on their agenda and to include it in their programmes and Manifestos – political parties, trade unions, youth organizations, churches, women’s organizations, educational institutions, local government administrations, and the list goes on.
There must also be no compromise on the requirement that the “trustees” of any Reparations Fund that emerges out of the Reparations Campaign must include- along with the elected Governmental leadership– trusted representatives of the people directly selected by the people themselves for the special purpose of overseeing the expenditure of Reparations resources.
10. NETWORK AND ESTABLISH A NEW INTERNATIONAL LEGAL STRUCTURE
The successful pursuit of Reparations will require the establishment of a world-wide network of community, regional, national and international organizations. Indeed, at the grassroots level, the community based Reparations organization must be linked into a national network, while at the level of our African and Caribbean governments we should establish a trans-Atlantic international network that is preparing and engaging in legal, diplomatic and political strategies at the international level to achieve Reparations.
The African and African-descendants Reparations Claim (s) will either be consensually negotiated between mutually respectful State parties gathered around an international negotiating table, or it will have to be litigated in a series of international law cases brought against the Governments of the liable nations.
And since the Reparations claim that is being advanced on behalf of the sons and daughters of Africa and the Diaspora is of a magnitude and complexity hitherto unknown to the currently existing international court system, it may in all likelihood require the setting up of a special new International Tribunal specifically designed by the member states of the General Assembly of the United Nations to deal with and do justice to a claim of this historical importance and magnitude.
The time has come for the African and African descendant people of the world and their Governments to finally present their Reparations Bill to the current day successor Governments of those national Governments of Europe and North America that organized, facilitated, legitimized, financed, and benefited from the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the associated system of racialized Chattel Slavery — the governments of Britain, Spain, France, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the United States of America (a former colony that perpetuated the enslavement of African people for nearly one hundred years after attaining its independence).
Onwards to the achievement of Reparations in this United Nations International Decade For People of African Descent!
Caribbean Pan-African Network (CPAN)
This may seem far-fetched for many. It is hard for peace-loving people to conceive of the levels to which the powerful will go to extend their dominance. Many do not understand the tremendous capability of developments in science and technology which is being used for both good and evil. Check out the information shared in the videos below.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/01/harvey-another-storm-of-the-century/
You tell me over and over and over again, my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.
— The Eve of Destruction, Barry McGuire
If you’re living anywhere along the Gulf Coast, you must be tired of hearing that this is the storm of the century. If you’re living in the city of Houston, you might recall Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 or Hurricane Rita on the heels of Katrina in 2005. Rita was the “most intense tropical storm ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico.” It took one hundred and twenty lives and cost an estimated twelve billion in damage. Of course that pales in comparison to Katrina, which took well over a thousand lives and cost over one hundred billion. 
I refuse to reenter the debate on whether you can blame global climate change for any specific climate catastrophe. If you’re in the path of the storm or know someone who is, the game is over. You can no longer deny the overwhelming truth without inviting a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
It is bitterly ironic that those who reside in the victim zone are most likely to deny the realities of global warming. Of course, the rich and powerful from Florida to Corpus Christi will always escape the danger posed by hurricanes, tropical storms and floods. Their homes are built on higher grounds and they can afford to evacuate at a moment’s notice. The poor and working class find housing where they can – inevitably in flood zones – and simply cannot afford to get out of harm’s way.
Katrina was an opportunity for the moneyed class to reconstitute their city, to rid themselves of tens of thousands of poor black folk with their substandard housing, and bring in gentrification. A lot of money was made on the backs of the poor who lost their homes and their places in the city of jazz.
What will happen in Houston?
Hurricane Katrina uncovered a slew of dirty little secrets. The most damning was this: The Army Corps of Engineers knew the levees would fail – if not from Katrina, then some other storm. The work of shoring up the levees was neglected and substandard. Katrina was a catastrophe waiting to happen. The people in the lower ninth ward and other low-lying areas slammed by a twenty-foot wall of water would lose their lives, their homes and their roots. The insurance companies would not cover even those who bought substandard policies. The government would offer little assistance – pennies on the dollar – for a lifetime of hard work and accomplishment.
As the residents of the New Jersey shore would learn years later after Hurricane Sandy, government talks a good game while the cameras are still rolling but the money comes up short when it’s time to rebuild the lives of working people.
Of the hundreds of thousands who fled New Orleans, as many as half that number never made it home. They were poor people and the city that gave them life and raised them from generation to generation could no longer afford them. They were replaced with people who had more to offer – in terms of money and resources. The color of New Orleans lightened. Significantly more black people than white people were permanently displaced.
Ironically, the city that inherited more of Katrina’s diaspora was Houston, Texas, where they became trapped in a deadly cycle of poverty and tragedy. A disproportionate number of the displaced from Katrina and Rita ended up in FEMA apartments in the high-crime neighborhoods of Houston’s southwest sector. They suffered the Memorial Day floods in 2015 and the Tax Day floods in 2016. Now this. [2,3]
In New Orleans, decades of industrialization and lack of planning destroyed the wetlands that protected the city. In Houston, the dirty little secret that will come to light as this disaster unfolds in slow motion on the news station of your choice, is that the development on the prairies and wetlands surrounding the city have hastened the city’s demise. Those wetlands and prairies used to soak up water – water that now flows through the city streets.
Much has been and will be said about the failure to call for a mass evacuation. The truth is: The state of Texas, the city of Houston and indeed the entire nation is not prepared for mass evacuations. We don’t have the transportation infrastructure. It would require a massive influx of expenditures with elevated mass transit from every major coastal city to inland evacuation centers stocked with warehouses of food, water, medicines, fuel, generators and shelters. We are in fact not even willing to invest in our roads, tunnels, bridges and the dams that now stand between the current disaster in Houston and a tragedy of truly biblical proportions. Those dams were built in the 1940s.
Our president has proposed cutting the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency by $600 million. So much for emergency preparedness. It won’t happen again. Right. It can’t happen again. Right. It’s fake news. It’s a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Right. Unless you’re in the path of the storm.
Our president would rather invest more blood and treasure into the bottomless pit of war in Afghanistan than rebuild our own nation or prepare for the inevitable disasters to come.
Whatever happened to America first?
We don’t need a wall on the southern border. We need flood walls on the Gulf of Mexico. We don’t need money for endless wars across the globe. We need money to mitigate the harm from global climate change.
1. Wikipedia: Blake, Eric S; Landsea, Christopher W; Gibney, Ethan J. National Hurricane Center (August 2011). The Deadliest, Costliest and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010 (And Other Frequently Requested Hurricane Facts).
2. “10 Years Later, There’s So Much We Don’t Know About Where Katrina Survivors Ended Up” by Laura Bliss. Citylab, August 25, 2015.
3. “Houston Wasn’t Built for a Flood Like This” by Henry Grabar. Slate, August 27, 2017.
Chasing Coral is a documentary about the effects of climate change on coral and coral reefs. It is a highly emotional, beautiful and a dramatic film about documenting how coral reefs are dying and the majority of the world’s population doesn’t even know it. The Netflix Originals documentary filmed by the Exposure Labs has won […]
Click on this link to read the entire article – via Chasing Coral —
Free Movie (derived from other sources) Despite increasing personal financial hardship, most Americans remain unaware of the economic world war currently unfolding. An all-pervasive corporate and government propaganda campaign has effectively obscured this blatant reality. After extensive analysis, it is evident that World War III is a war between the richest one-tenth of one percent […]
Click on this link to read the entire article – via Economic Terrorism — Living Income
Interesting article on the crime situation in Jamaica.
Published: August 25, 2017
Many of those about to be vaporized did not grasp the fragility of the “prosperity” they assumed was both solid and permanent.
Business-cycle recessions are not just inevitable, they are necessary to flush bad debt and marginal investments/projects from the system.
The next recession–which I suggested yesterday has just begun–will be more than a business-cycle downturn; it will be a devastating meteor storm that destroys huge chunks of the economy while leaving other sectors virtually untouched.
The dynamic that’s about to play out is simple: wages for the bottom 95% have gone nowhere for 17 years, while costs have soared far above official inflation for everyone exposed to real-world costs.
We have filled the widening gap between stagnant household income and rising expenses with debt. This stop-gap works for a while, but eventually the cost of servicing debt consumes the entire budget, leaving little to nothing to save or invest.
Absent savings and incentives for productive investment, productivity falters once productivity falters, wealth is no longer being generated or distributed widely.
After eight long years of filling the widening gap with borrowed money, the jig is up: the returns on adding debt have diminished to zero, and the financialization games that were supposed to be temporary emergency measures are now permanent.
Like a field exposed to toxins for 8 long years, all this permanent monetary and fiscal stimulus has weakened the productive economy while causing the most destructive weeds to flourish.
When credit expansion stops, the effect is like a meteor storm: marginal borrowers and lenders crater, and every sector that depends on marginal borrowers and lenders for sales and profits also craters.
Those sectors that are heavily in debt and dependent on marginal borrowers for sales implode once sales slump. As these enterprises default, all the lenders who issued this commercial debt also blow up.
Every node of the economy that is heavily indebted and dependent on marginal borrowers for sales, profits and taxes will be struck by a financial meteor. Every sector that avoided debt and sales funded by debt will escape with only light damage.
Here’s total credit in the U.S.: up from $26 trillion 2000 to $66 trillion today.The $12 trillion increase since 2009 required trillions in monetary and fiscal stimulus and hundreds of billions of dollars in savings diverted to the banks via zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP).
While explode higher, wages for the bottom 95% stagnated. Only the top 5% of households experienced any real (inflation-adjusted) income expansion.
Wage Stagnation in Nine Charts (Economic Policy Institute)
Meanwhile, the engine of real income/wealth expansion, productivity, has faltered:
Many of those about to be vaporized did not grasp the fragility of the “prosperity” they assumed was both solid and permanent. The difference between earned income and sales derived from earned income and debt-based income and debt-based sales is about to become painfully clear: the coming financial meteor strike will vaporize debt-based activity and leave whatever isn’t dependent on debt relatively unscathed.
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http://ift.tt/eA8V8J Many of those about to be vaporized did not grasp the fragility of the “prosperity” they assumed was both solid and permanent. Business-cycle recessions are not just inevitable, they are necessary to flush bad debt and marginal investments/projects from the system. The next recession–which I suggested yesterday has just begun–will be more than a business-cycle […]
http://ift.tt/eA8V8J We discuss the narcissism of central banks holding $15 trillion in their own assets. We also discuss Morgan Stanley saying that some of their investorshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp9knB_U_R8 see Bitcoin as a better hedge to inflation than gold. Max continues his interview with Dan Collins of TheChinaMoneyReport.com to discuss the looming trade war between the US and […]
A report by Amílcar Sanatan for TeleSur. The New World Quarterly and the intellectual developments that followed the journal left an indelible mark on Caribbean intellectual thought. The Caribbean and the developing world were places of high intellectual and political excitement by the late 1950s. Political leadership in the Caribbean was occupied by the likes of […]
A report by Adnan Hossain for The Conversation. Caribbean cricket fans were dismayed in early June when, for the first time since the ICC Champions Trophy started in 1998, the West Indies Cricket Team did not qualify for this prestigious international competition, which recently concluded in England and Wales. Winner of the Champions Trophy in 2004 and of the 1975 […]
As activists unite to confront white supremacy in the United States, it is important for us to study other societies outside the U.S. that have made true strides in racial and economic justice, in order to better envision the world that we want to create.
After listening to President Donald Trump’s June speech on Cuba, in which he reversed all the steps that the Obama administration had made to improve relations, one might not think to look towards this island nation as such an exemplary society. However, one must understand the history of Cuba to see why the U.S. government is escalating the six-decade war and embargo against the socialist country. It is not hard to see that the issue of race is central to the capitalist empire’s war on this socialist stronghold.
The Revolution’s Early Measures Against Racism
Like most colonial nations, institutional racial oppression was brutal in pre-revolution Cuba. Black Cubans formed the most oppressed sector of society: they faced rampant job discrimination in which they had no access to most positions in government, health care, transportation, and retail. A system of Jim Crow-style segregation relegated Afro-Cubans to specific neighborhoods and schools, and they were banned from hotels and beaches.
Illiteracy was widespread among the most oppressed sectors, and medical care was out of reach. Few know that after Castro’s failed guerilla attack on the Moncada Garrison in 1953, it was a black lieutenant from then Dictator Fulgencio Batista’s army that found him in the hills, and — sympathizing with the rebel cause — saved Castro’s life by sending him to jail in Santiago rather than to the Moncada Barracks where he would have been shot and killed along with the 70 guerilla soldiers who met such a fate. History works in mysterious ways.
When the revolution triumphed six years later, one of new government’s first measures was to abolish racial discrimination in employment and recreational sectors. When the rebel army tanks entered Havana, they crushed the hotel fences, which represented the old racial order signifying where the black and poor could not go. Castro’s government abolished the private school system of the white Cuban elites and established a well-funded and integrated public school system for all.
Revolutionary laws were passed to outlaw racial discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare and education. Hence, while the white upper class Cubans fled to Miami, there were no questions of loyalty from working class blacks as to whether they would support the socialist government. The fight against racism and the struggle for socialism go hand in hand.
The revolution dramatically improved the socioeconomic conditions of black workers and farmers, cutting rents in half, redistributing land, and providing universal free education and healthcare to all. Before 1959, over a quarter of Cubans were illiterate. The revolution launched a massive literacy campaign, sending brigades of student teachers into the most remote areas of the countryside, and in 1961, Cuba was declared free of illiteracy. Today Cuba has a 99.8 percent literacy rate, the highest in Latin America.
Solidarity with African-Americans
Cuba has always been a guiding light in the black freedom movement. Fidel’s historic visit with Malcolm X in Harlem’s Theresa hotel in 1960 was symbolic of the Cuban revolution’s blow against colonialism and world white supremacy. Both Malcolm and Castro understood the centrality of racism to the capitalist system: “you can’t have capitalism without racism,” Malcolm once famously said. Along the same vain, at the 2001 World Conference against Racism , Castro argued that:
“Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are not naturally instinctive reactions of the human beings but rather a social, cultural and political phenomenon born directly of wars, military conquests, slavery and the individual or collective exploitation of the weakest by the most powerful all along the history of human societies.”
Assata Shakur, former leader of the Black Liberation Army and one of “America’s Most Wanted’, escaped prison in the 1970s, and sought refuge on the socialist island. Cuba has vowed to protect this revolutionary heroine, a crime for which the empire will never forgive her. This past June, when President Donald Trump demanded that Cuba return Shakur, Cuba’s Deputy Director of American Affairs said: “It is off the table .” Throughout the ‘70s, other African-American revolutionaries such as Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton and Stokely Carmichael all visited the revolutionary Caribbean nation. Over the decades, black pastors and community leaders have led key US-Cuba solidarity initiatives such asPastors for Peace which has made over 20 annual trips to Cuba and raised awareness to end the embargo of the island. Indeed, the African-American people have been the most consistent and loyal of friends to the Cuban people.
Cuba’s Contribution to African Liberation Movements
Less well-known is Cuba’s historic and pivotal role in supporting the African Liberation movements of the 1960s and ‘70s. For a period spanning over a decade, the small island nation sent over 300,000 volunteer soldiers to Angola, not in pursuit of diamonds, oil or natural resources like the imperialist nations, but to assist the anti-colonial fighters of Angola in their struggle against the South African apartheid army which had invaded the newly independent nation.
As Guinea Bissau’s legendary independence leader Amilcar Cabral once said of this selfless solidarity: “When the Cuban soldiers go home, all they will take with them are the remains of their dead comrades.” Cuban forces struck the decisive blow to defeat the apartheid army in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale.
“Half a million Cubans have carried out internationalist missions in numerous countries in different parts of the world, especially Africa. They have been medical doctors, teachers, technicians, construction workers, soldiers and others. When many were investing in and trading with the racist and fascist South Africa, tens of thousands of voluntary soldiers from Cuba fought against the racist and fascist soldiers.”
It was these historic feats of internationalist solidarity that prompted Nelson Mandela to visit the Caribbean nation after his release from prison, where he proudly stated : “The Cuban people have a special place in the hearts of the people’s of Africa.”
Socialist Health Care
One of the landmark pillars of the revolution has been the establishment of a world-class health care system which provides free, quality medical care to all Cuban citizens, and has disproportionately benefitted the island’s black and historically marginalized citizens. While all Cubans have free access to comprehensive medical care, people of color in the United States (the richest country on earth) face extreme health disparities and make up over half of the 32 million nonelderly uninsured. Cuba has twice as many primary care doctors per capita than the United States, due to its prioritization of community-level preventative care.
Infant mortality rate is an important indicator of a country’s health. In pre-revolution Cuba, the infant mortality rate was over 50 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Now it is down to 4.3 . Meanwhile the United States, one of the richest nations on earth, has a rate of 7.7 . Further, when you look at underserved regions of the US like Mississippi — which has the largest black population of any state – the infant mortality rate is 9.6 , double that of the Cuba’s. In other words, Black babies matter in Cuba — more so than they do in the US.
If there’s one accomplishment the international community cannot ignore it is Cuba’s ‘medical internationalism’ which in 2014, saw 50,000 Cuban doctorssaving lives in over 60 developing nations across the globe. While activists around the world attend protests, Cuba demonstrates her belief that black lives matter by sending doctors and medical personnel overseas to African and Caribbean nations to literally save black lives. Cuban doctors operate a comprehensive health program, which makes 3,000 doctors available for the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Speaking on Zimbabwe, a nation where the former apartheid regime did not train any black doctors, Fidel explains that, “We sent teams of 8 to 10 doctors to every province: specialists in comprehensive general medicine, surgeons, orthopedic specialists, anesthiologists and x-ray technicians.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Cuban government assembled the Henry Reeve Brigade — 1,500 fully equipped health professionals trained in disaster medicine — which were brought together on an airstrip, ready to depart for New Orleans immediately to help save black lives.
President Bush rejected the offer. Many of these same doctors then went to Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s first free black republic, where today there are several hundred Cuban doctors and specialists providing free health care to 4 million people. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, Cuba health professionals arrivedwithin 72 hours as some of the first responders.
The United States, on the other hand, sent thousands of marine soldiers to the island. This juxtaposition speaks volumes regarding the values of capitalist and socialist societies. In the aftermath of catastrophic disaster, one society exploited the crisis and sought to control black life; the other sought to save it. More recently, the same international Medical brigade spearheaded the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, sending surgeons, intensive-care doctors, epidemiologists and pediatricians. These efforts earned Cuba an award from the World Health Organization.s
If it were not enough to export its own doctors to countries in need, the Cuban revolution has also taken up the admirable task of training doctors from other countries free of charge in Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). ELAM currently has an enrollment of over 19,000 students most of which are from Africa and Latin America. Medical school is free for all students, and this includes over 100 scholarships for African American and low-income students from the United States who have agreed to use their training to serve low-income communities at home.
Despite these social gains, Cuba is far from a racial utopia; blacks are stillunderrepresented in high-level government positions and in the lucrative tourism industry, and whites have had disproportionate access to the new market-driven sector of the economy that emerged during the special period. However, most can acknowledge that it is quite difficult for a society to overcome a racial legacy of 400 years of colonialism, in just 50 years of revolution. The struggle against racism in Cuba is an ongoing process.
It is precisely because of these anti-racist and pro-worker policies, and Cuba’s audacity to stand tall in the face of empire, that the U.S. government has labeled her “a violator of human rights.” On the contrary, it is the U.S. government whose police forces continue to take black lives with impunity, and wage a war on the poor, who is the real human rights violators. Let us lift the embargo on Cuba and put the embargo on US capitalism and racism. Let us not forget that if there ever was a place where black lives truly matter, it’s Cuba.
Andrew King is a public policy doctoral student at UMass Boston, an activist-scholar, and has supported Black Lives Matter organizing and other racial and economic justice campaigns. Andrew has also done solidarity organizing with and research on Latin American social movements and has traveled to Venezuela and Cuba. He can be reached at email@example.com.
If all you can do is judge a person by their appearance, because you don’t have the spirit to judge someone from within, you’re in trouble. Last time I was down South I walk into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, ‘We don’t serve colored people here.’ I […]
This link is provided because of the current situation in Venezuela.
By Joe Emersberger
In reference to article under the following headlines:
Dear Mr. Pritchard (Observer readers’ editor)
First of all, article’s headline is false as even the article itself reveals. Venezuela’s constituent assembly (ANC), not President Maduro, took over various National Assembly functions.
Nowhere does the article inform readers that the ANC was elected by Venezuelan voters. The opposition refused to field candidates for the ANC election, urged it supporters to boycott the vote, and resorted to violence, in particular in opposition strongholds, to prevent people from voting.
Nowhere does the article inform readers that the Venezuelan constitution, which was ratified by voters in a referendum in 1999, allows for the election of an ANC.
Articles 347, 348, 349 of the Venezuelan constitution are shown below this note. It is clear that the ANC has broad powers under the constitution above other elected bodies, including the president.
The dispute over the constitutionality of the ANC elections that President Maduro ordered hinges over whether or not voters had to approve the ANC election beforehand in a referendum as they did in 1999.
It is obvious from art. 347 that the ANC would have to be directly elected by Venezuelan voters – as it was.
It is obvious from art. 348 that the president has the authority to initiate the process of convening an ANC. It is not clear that an initiating referendum is required or even a referendum on changes it makes to the constitution.
In 1999, Venezuela was in the process of replacing a constitution that made no provision at all for an ANC. Maduro has, despite vagueness of the 1999 constitution on the matter, committed to holding a referendum on any changes the ANC proposes to the constitution.
The only thing your article tells readers is that the opposition and its staunch supporters in the US government and other right wing governments in the region, have declared the ANC illegitimate. The notion that foreign governments have any right at all to impose an interpretation of the constitution on Venezuela is outrageous. Many readers would see that if you provided more information.
I realize a single article can’t get into every bit of nuance, but this article was totally one-sided and misleading.
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Relevant articles of the Venezuelan Constitution
Article 347: The original constituent power rests with the people of Venezuela. This power may be exercised by calling a National Constituent Assembly for the purpose of transforming the State, creating a new juridical order and drawing up a new Constitution.
Article 348: The initiative for calling a National Constituent Assembly may emanate from the President of the Republic sitting with the Cabinet of Ministers; from the National Assembly, by a two-thirds vote of its members; from the Municipal Councils in open session, by a two-thirds vote of their members; and from 15% of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry.
Article 349: The President of the Republic shall not have the power to object to the new Constitution.
The existing constituted authorities shall not be permitted to obstruct the Constituent Assembly in any way.
For purposes of the promulgation of the new Constitution, the same shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Venezuela or in the Gazette of the Constituent Assembly.
This article was first published by Z Blog–
http://ift.tt/2wso9aL by Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution The picture above represents Improved facial circulation (right image) after 20 minutes of grounding, as documented by a Speckle Contrast Laser Imager (dark blue=lowest circulation; dark red=highest circulation). Image Source: Scientific Research Publishing Grounding, or ‘earthing,’ as some people call it, involves placing your feet directly on the ground without shoes […]
Reggae artist Ky-Mani, one of Bob Marley’s sons, showed solidarity with revolutionary Venezuela during this month’s Rototom Sunsplash festival in Valencia, Spain.
Several other reggae artists also expressed support for the democratically-elected government of President Nicolas Maduro, which has been directly threatened with military intervention by a Donald Trump administration which came to power after garnering second place in the popular vote but selected nonetheless by a minority electoral college.
During the festival, Ky-Mani held up a sign that read: “Respect Venezuela. Trump Hands Off Venezuela,” according to a video posted by Noticias 24.
Tiken Jah Fakoly, famed reggae artist from the Ivory Coast, also offered his opinion, “We love Venezuela. Africa loves you.” After recalling that Africa is the “mother of humanity” he concluded that the continent is “singing to you and, Viva la Revolucion. Rastafari!”
This year Rototom Sunsplash welcomed organizers and participants from the Venezuelan Festival Otro Beta whose performance installations and headquarters were completely burned to the ground in the Venezuelan city of Maracay, near the Caribbean coast on June 24. The arson attack occurred during violent opposition protests against the government.
Festival Otro Beta organizers released a public statement which read, in part, that they “reject those who discriminate and exclude Black people, poor people, women, gays, Santeria devotees, and marijuana smokers.” It added that the “burning of Otro Beta leaves a clear message: that those directing the Venezuelan opposition protests have either lost control over their people or are in agreement with a youth movement that believes in the extermination of the other — of the different — as the only means to achieve ‘liberty’.”
Despite mainstream outlets that often depict Reggae artists and Rastafaris as nothing more than dreadlocked, marijuana smokers, the precursor to both movements is Black liberation leader Marcus Garvey.
He advocated for African descendants across the diaspora to embark on a return — physical, spiritual, cultural and political — to their African roots via the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation. Established in 1919, the shipping line was envisioned by Garvey as a way to help Black people in the Americas to return to their homeland and to boost the African global economy.
Garvey also established The Negro World publication which spread the message of freedom to Black people worldwide. The paper grew to a weekly circulation of 200,000 across the Americas, Africa and Europe.
Malcolm X praised the activist for his achievements. “Every time you see another nation on the African continent become independent you know that Marcus Garvey is alive,” he said, adding that “the freedom movement that is taking place right here in America today was initiated by the work and teachings of Marcus Garvey.”
Later this year the Namibian government will rename the main street of Windhoek, the country’s capital, to Marcus Garvey.
A report by Ravi Chatuverdi for South Florida Caribbean News. Sabina Park is a scenic cricket ground and the home of the Kingston Cricket Club since 1895. The spectacular Blue Mountains, (world famous for Blue Mountain coffee) form a picturesque and ornamental backdrop with Kingston harbour adding to its scenic beauty. The stands have their own […]
Southampton County (1831) includes a list of the enslaved men hanged in September 1831 for having taken part in a slave revolt led by Nat Turner on August 21–22, 1831. The list includes the names of the slaves’ owners and the dates on which each slave was executed. The “Nat” listed here, owned by “Ed, […]
A report by Christina Smith like Loop Barbados. Fighting words, soothing words, funny words – the ‘Word for Word’ Literary Signal Event of CARIFESTA XIII had it all. Patrons came out to the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium on Tuesday night to lend an ear to contemporary West Indian writers who paid homage to literary icons who […]
[Many thanks to Humberto García for bringing this item to our attention.] The full title of the article is “What Guyana needs to know about ExxonMobil—Pt 4… ExxonMobil shows two faces to investors, partners” (Kaieteur News, 27 June 2017). The article underlines many problems with doing business with the giant, especially its history of underpaying […]
A report by Tangerine Clarke for Caribbean Life News. Legendary Guyanese newspaperman Godfrey Wray, who returned to the Guyana Chronicle newsroom after an absence for many years, and Trinidad