Featured

President of the World Peace Council calls for strengthening solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemns the latest massacre

[Português] For the end of the massacre of the Palestinian people and of the Israeli leadership’s impunity; for a Free Palestine, now! In a provocative, irresponsible measure that goes against all of the democratic and progressive forces’ efforts for a fair political solution to the situation in Palestine – where a people faces heroically one […]

In a provocative, irresponsible measure that goes against all of the democratic and progressive forces’ efforts for a fair political solution to the situation in Palestine – where a people faces heroically one century of colonization and five decades of Israeli military occupation – the US opened up its Embassy in Jerusalem on the 14th of May, as ordered by President Donald Trump.

The unilateral step is a blatant violation of international law and of UN resolutions. Hence, only the US has arbitrarily recognized the historical city, which Israel occupied and illegitimately annexed by force, as this country’s capital, running over the principles put forth in successive negotiations for the conflict’s solution, one which would have a shared Jerusalem.

With fair reason, Palestinians have responded with intense protest, to which the Israeli occupation forces reacted with the usual brutality. The Israeli armed forces’ attacks have already killed at least 55 people and wounded thousands this Monday, the 14th, alone. The US provocation of establishing its Embassy in Jerusalem and the Palestinians’ massacre by the Israeli armed forces constitute a revolting affront to all the peace-loving peoples.

For over one month the Palestinians have been protesting, especially in the Gaza Strip, against colonialism and occupation, reaffirming the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, after 70 years in exile, of dispossession and genocide. Since then, the Israeli forces have been shooting to kill unarmed demonstrators and journalists reporting on the protests, alleging that they are protecting the borders. There are over 100 fatal victims during this round of protests.

The UN estimates that around 70% of Gaza’s population is comprised of refugees from the villages destroyed or occupied by Israel during its creation, seven decades ago. On the 15th of May, a day after Israel celebrates its establishment, the Palestinians mark the Nakba, the catastrophe, the genocide, the massacre of 15,000 people, the destruction of over 500 villages and the expulsion of 750,000 people that became refugees (a population today estimated at around five and seven million people scattered throughout the world).

We must reaffirm, with renewed vehemence, the complete rejection of the persistent colonization and military occupation of Palestine by Israel. While we denounce, with indignation, another episode of Israel’s massacre of the Palestinian people, we do not loose sight of the fact that this is a strategy of the Zionist aggressive, racist and criminal leadership of that country, which persecutes even those who inside Israel dare to oppose such a genocidal policy.

As the World Peace Council has repeatedly done, we express, therefore, our unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people and all the peace forces that, in Palestine, in Israel and all over the world, struggle for a just solution to the question of Palestine.

We reaffirm the urgency of the two-state solution that the Zionist policy and the imperialist complicity try to bury, fulfilling the Palestinian people’s right of self-determination and the establishment of the State of Palestine within the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital; for the refugees’ right of return and for the liberation of over 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners in the occupation’s cells!

We demand accountability for the Israeli leadership for the persistent crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Palestinian people, beginning with the apartheid regime itself, going through the systematic and grave violations of the Palestinian people’s human rights.

For an end to the siege of the Gaza Strip and of the Israeli repression!

For an end to the Zionist colonization and the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, now!

Long live a Free Palestine!

Socorro Gomes
President of the World Peace Council
15th of May 2018

  • Share

via President of the World Peace Council calls for strengthening solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemns the latest massacre — Centro Brasileiro de Solidariedade aos Povos e Luta pela Paz

Advertisements
Featured

Newswire : Poor People’s Campaign launches six weeks of protests around U.S. — Greene County Democrat

Poor Peoples Campaign.jpg

Poor Peoples Campaign demonstration in Washington D. C.

Activists converged on state capitals around the U.S. on Monday to begin six weeks of non-violent protests calling for new programs to help the millions of Americans who live in poverty, an overhaul of voting rights laws and other social change.
Reports by police from seven state capitols and Washington, D.C., showed more than 200 people had been arrested or cited during the first day of the so-called Poor People’s Campaign. In many instances, police said protesters were cited for blocking traffic. In Washington, the two leaders of the campaign were among the protesters arrested outside the U.S. Capitol. Campaign leaders said the protests would cover 35 states.
A statement from the campaign said the Rev. William Barber and the Rev. Liz Theoharis, its two co-chairmen, were among those arrested outside the U.S. Capitol for standing in the middle of a street. Police had no immediate confirmation of arrests there or a specific number of those stopped.
“We’re living in an impoverished democracy,” Barber said. “People across the country are standing up against the lie of scarcity. We know that in the richest country in the world, there is no reason for children to go hungry, for the sick to be denied health care and for citizens to have their votes suppressed. Both parties have to be challenged — one for what it does and one for what it doesn’t do.”
Barber is a North Carolina minister and former president of the state NAACP chapter. Theoharis is co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice in New York.
In Alabama, twelve (12) people were arrested for blocking thec street in front of the State Capitol in Montgomery.
In Missouri, 88 people were issued summonses in Jefferson City for obstructing a lawful police order to move after they blocked a downtown street. Police in Raleigh, North Carolina, led off 49 people after they walked out into the street in front of the legislative building, held hands and refused to depart until each was taken away and cited.
Officers cited 10 protesters at the Iowa Capitol who gathered in and around the staff offices of Gov. Kim Reynolds when they refused to leave the building at the close of business hours.
The campaign cast the protests as a “reignition” of the Poor People’s Campaign, the 1968 movement started by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others to challenge racism, poverty and militarism. According to the campaign, protesters will spend the next 40 days engaged in nonviolent action, including the mobilization of voters and holding teach-ins.
The first teach-in is scheduled for Tuesday in Washington. It is to feature Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund and a part of the 1968 campaign.

 

By Associated Press Poor Peoples Campaign demonstration in Washington D. C. Activists converged on state capitals around the U.S. on Monday to begin six weeks of non-violent protests calling for new programs to help the millions of Americans who live in poverty, an overhaul of voting rights laws and other social change. Reports by police […]

via Newswire : Poor People’s Campaign launches six weeks of protests around U.S. — Greene County Democrat

Featured

Thousands march in South Africa over Gaza killings

 

Thousands march in South Africa over Gaza killings

Source: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/thousands-march-in-south-africa-over-gaza-killings/1146729

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG

Thousands of South Africans on Tuesday marched to condemn the killings of Palestinians by Israeli security forces at Gaza border.

“We are coming here to condemn and express our anger at the Israel apartheid regime,” Mohammad Desai of Boycott Divestment & Sanctions group (BDS) told a large crowd in Cape Town.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 60 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred and thousands more injured by cross-border Israeli gunfire in one of the deadliest single day massacres in the country’s history.

Desai said Palestinians stood with South Africans during the struggle against apartheid and gave them resources to fight the white minority rule. He said South Africans has all the rights to reciprocate the support.

“The UN has failed us all; resolution after resolution, Israel ignores them. It’s time now for an International solidarity movement to stand up against the atrocious Israeli regime,” deputy secretary general of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Jessie Duarte, told local TV eNCA.

Another march was held outside the U.S. consulate in Johannesburg to condemn the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The embassy relocation coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment in 1948 — an event Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” or the “The Catastrophe”.

Duarte said Israel is “currently perpetuating inhumane action against Palestinian people and it must stop.”

Photos published on social media showed protesters carrying a coffin draped in Palestinian flag to show their condemnation of the killing of Palestinians.

In a statement on Monday, the South African government condemned the killing of protesters in the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, the South African government ordered the immediate recall of its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngobane, following the fatal violence perpetrated by Israel troops in Palestine.

Israel has not yet responded in kind.

Thousands of Palestinians staged mass rallies on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border on Monday to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and protest the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 

Source: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/thousands-march-in-south-africa-over-gaza-killings/1146729

Featured

Is the U.S. Meddling in Nicaragua?

 

For the past decade, the United States has been quietly assisting opposition groups in Nicaragua, helping them organize resistance to the country’s popular leftist president Daniel Ortega.

U.S. officials hope the country’s opposition groups will create a new political movement that can defeat Ortega at the polls or pressure him into stepping down from power. They fear that without their support, Ortega’s opposition will remain weak and divided, making it impossible for anyone to mount a successful political campaign against the Nicaraguan president.

“Our assistance programs are primarily directed at civil society, in order to limit engagement with the central government,” State Department official Juan Gonzalez told Congress in September 2016.

The assistance programs appear to be having some effect, especially now that opposition groups are leading majorprotests against the Nicaraguan government. After the Nicaraguan government passed a number of mild reforms to the country’s social security program in April, Ortega’s opponents organized a series of protests that quickly turned violent.

Observers estimate that as many as 45 people died in the protests.

Since the protests began, U.S. officials have declared their support for the opposition, blaming the Nicaraguan government for the violence. They have not said if any of the protesters have benefited from their assistance.

While questions remain about the extent of U.S. involvement, it is no secret that the United States has historically played a heavy-handed role in Nicaragua. During the early 20th century, U.S. marines occupied the country for two decades. When the marines left in the 1930s, they handed things over to the Somoza family, which ruled Nicaragua with U.S. support from the 1930s to the 1970s.

During the late 1970s, the Sandinistas ousted the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship in a popular revolution. Following the revolution, Ortega led a new government that began putting more resources into education and health care, helping to increase literacy and reduce child mortality.

To prevent the revolution from succeeding, U.S. officials directed two major campaigns against the Sandinistas. During the mid-1980s, the Reagan administration organized a terrorist war against Nicaragua, backing counterrevolutionary forces (“contras”) that tried to overthrow the new Nicaraguan government. As the contras waged their campaign of terror, U.S. officials began supporting Ortega’s political opponents, helping them gain political power through the country’s presidential election in 1990.

In the following years, U.S. officials remained closely involved with their political allies. U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks reveal that U.S. officials continued working to keeptheir political allies in power while preventing the Sandinistas from regaining political power. Before the presidential election in 2006, U.S. diplomats spearheaded a multi-faceted campaignto steer campaign funds to their political allies while discouraging voters from voting for Ortega.

In spite of these efforts, U.S. meddling was not enough to tilt the presidential election in favor of U.S.-backed candidates. Ortega won, bringing him back into office and providing the Sandinistas with an opportunity to revive their revolution.

U.S. diplomats in Nicaragua were stunned by the result. They called for an intensification of programs to confront Ortega. “We need to take decisive action and well-funded measures to bolster the elements of Nicaraguan society that can best stop him before he lulls the majority of the Nicaraguan people into complacency, or threatens them into silence,” they reported.

In September 2016, U.S. official Marcela Escobari told a congressional committee that U.S.A.I.D. was working with more than 2,000 “young people” and over 60 civil society organizations to help them play a more active role in Nicaraguan politics and society. “These efforts are allowing them to exercise their political muscle and see results,” she said.

It has not always been easy for U.S. officials to mobilize opposition, however. Since returning to power, Ortega has created a number of popular social welfare programs, providing Nicaraguans with free education, free health care, and various home-improvement programs. The programs have been quite effective, raising incomes and significantly reducing poverty.

The programs have also bolstered Ortega’s popularity, especially among the poor.

In September 2016, a report by the Congressional Research Service described Ortega as “the most popular political figure in Nicaragua.”

That same month, State Department official Juan Gonzalez acknowledged that Ortega was supported by the majority of the population, attributing his support to “a lot of the social investments that he has made in the country.”

Regardless, U.S. officials have not abandoned their efforts to remove Ortega from power. While many officials acknowledge that Ortega has maintained favorable economic policies for U.S. investors and businesses, they insist that he is not doing enough.

Earlier this year, U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Laura Dogu complained that international investors face too much risk in the country. She said the country’s cheap labor, which she called its “main competitive advantage,” was losing its appeal. “As more activities are done by robots, the cost of labor becomes irrelevant,” she said.

Dogu insisted that the Nicaraguan people must accept sweeping economic reforms if they want their country to remain relevant in the global economy. She called for more vocational training for young people and the introduction of genetically engineered crops into the country. “Nicaragua can choose to capture emerging markets and growth industries… or can chose to be left behind as other countries seize those opportunities,” she said.

But the bigger problem, according to U.S. officials, is that Ortega remains the leader of Nicaragua. As long as he remains president, they fear that they will never be able to move the country in their preferred direction.

They view Ortega as a “relic” of the Cold War, as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio once called him. The time for leftist revolutions in Latin America is over, they believe. And with leftist leaders being driven from officethroughout the region, U.S. officials hope Ortega will be next.

 

More articles by:

Edward Hunt writes about war and empire. He has a PhD in American Studies from the College of William & Mary.


Source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/05/10/is-the-u-s-meddling-in-nicaragua/
Featured

My white neighbor thought I was breaking into my own apartment. Nineteen cops showed up.

(The current treatment of blacks in the USA mirrors Apartheid South Africa. Blacks were not the ones who stole the land from the native Americans. – JPC)

The place I call home no longer feels safe.

November 18, 2015

Fay Wells is vice president of strategy at a company in California.

(Kyle Monk for The Washington Post)

On Sept. 6, I locked myself out of my apartment in Santa Monica, Calif. I was in a rush to get to my weekly soccer game, so I decided to go enjoy the game and deal with the lock afterward.

A few hours and a visit from a locksmith later, I was inside my apartment and slipping off my shoes when I heard a man’s voice and what sounded like a small dog whimpering outside, near my front window. I imagined a loiterer and opened the door to move him along. I was surprised to see a large dog halfway up the staircase to my door. I stepped back inside, closed the door and locked it.

I heard barking. I approached my front window and loudly asked what was going on. Peering through my blinds, I saw a gun. A man stood at the bottom of the stairs, pointing it at me. I stepped back and heard: “Come outside with your hands up.” I thought: This man has a gun and will kill me if I don’t come outside. At the same time, I thought: I’ve heard this line from policemen in movies. Although he didn’t identify himself, perhaps he’s an officer.

I left my apartment in my socks, shorts and a light jacket, my hands in the air. “What’s going on?” I asked again. Two police officers had guns trained on me. They shouted: “Who’s in there with you? How many of you are there?”

I said it was only me and, hands still raised, slowly descended the stairs, focused on one officer’s eyes and on his pistol. I had never looked down the barrel of a gun or at the face of a man with a loaded weapon pointed at me. In his eyes, I saw fear and anger. I had no idea what was happening, but I saw how it would end: I would be dead in the stairwell outside my apartment, because something about me — a 5-foot-7, 125-pound black woman — frightened this man with a gun. I sat down, trying to look even less threatening, trying to de-escalate. I again asked what was going on. I confirmed there were no pets or people inside.

I told the officers I didn’t want them in my apartment. I said they had no right to be there. They entered anyway. One pulled me, hands behind my back, out to the street. The neighbors were watching. Only then did I notice the ocean of officers. I counted 16. They still hadn’t told me why they’d come.

[I taught my black kids that their elite upbringing would protect them from discrimination. I was wrong.]

Later, I learned that the Santa Monica Police Department had dispatched 19 officers after one of my neighbors reported a burglary at my apartment. It didn’t matter that I told the cops I’d lived there for seven months, told them about the locksmith, offered to show a receipt for his services and my ID. It didn’t matter that I went to Duke, that I have an MBA from Dartmouth, that I’m a vice president of strategy at a multinational corporation. It didn’t matter that I’ve never had so much as a speeding ticket. It didn’t matter that I calmly, continually asked them what was happening. It also didn’t matter that I didn’t match the description of the person they were looking for — my neighbor described me as Hispanic when he called 911. What mattered was that I was a woman of color trying to get into her apartment — in an almost entirely white apartment complex in a mostly white city — and a white man who lived in another building called the cops because he’d never seen me before.

911 call to Santa Monica Police Dept.

On Sept. 6, 2015, a man called the Santa Monica Police Department to report a burglary in his apartment building. This is an excerpt of that call.

After the officers and dog exited my “cleared” apartment, I was allowed back inside to speak with some of them. They asked me why I hadn’t come outside shouting, “I live here.” I told them it didn’t make sense to walk out of my own apartment proclaiming my residence when I didn’t even know what was going on. I also reminded them that they had guns pointed at me. Shouting at anyone with a gun doesn’t seem like a wise decision.

I had so many questions. Why hadn’t they announced themselves? Why had they pointed guns at me? Why had they refused to answer when I asked repeatedly what was going on? Was it protocol to send more than a dozen cops to a suspected burglary? Why hadn’t anyone asked for my ID or accepted it, especially after I’d offered it? If I hadn’t heard the dog, would I have opened the door to a gun in my face? “Maybe,” they answered.

I demanded all of their names and was given few. Some officers simply ignored me when I asked, boldly turning and walking away. Afterward, I saw them talking to neighbors, but they ignored me when I approached them again. A sergeant assured me that he’d personally provide me with all names and badge numbers.

[I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.]

I introduced myself to the reporting neighbor and asked if he was aware of the gravity of his actions — the ocean of armed officers, my life in danger. He stuttered about never having seen me, before snippily asking if I knew mynext-door neighbor. After confirming that I did and questioning him further, he angrily responded, “I’m an attorney, so you can go f— yourself,” and walked away.

I spoke with two of the officers a little while longer, trying to wrap my mind around the magnitude and nature of their response. They wondered: Wouldn’t I want the same response if I’d been the one who called the cops? “Absolutely not,” I told them. I recounted my terror and told them how I imagined it all ending, particularly in light of the recent interactions between police and people of color. One officer admitted that it was complicated but added that people sometimes kill cops for no reason. I was momentarily speechless at this strange justification.

I got no clear answers from the police that night and am still struggling to get them, despite multiple visits, calls and e-mails to the Santa Monica Police Department requesting the names of the officers, their badge numbers, the audio from my neighbor’s call to 911 and the police report. The sergeant didn’t e-mail me the officers’ names as he promised. I was told that the audio of the call requires a subpoena and that the small army of responders, guns drawn, hadn’t merited an official report. I eventually received a list from the SMPD of 17 officers who came to my apartment that night, but the list does not include the names of two officers who handed me their business cards on the scene. I’ve filed an official complaint with internal affairs.

(The department released some of this information to The Washington Post after an editor’s inquiry.)

[Instead of cash reparations, give every black person 5/3 a vote]

To many, the militarization of the police is primarily abstract or painted as occasional. That thinking allows each high-profile incident of aggressive police interaction with people of color — Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray — to be written off as an outlier.

What happened to them did not happen to me, but it easily could have. The SMPD sent 19 armed police officers who refused to answer my questions while violating my rights, privacy and sense of well-being. A wrong move, and I could have been shot. My complaint is not the first against the department this year.This spring, the local branch of the NAACP and other concerned residents met with SMPD to discuss several incidents of aggressive policing against people of color. The NAACP asked SMPD for demographic information on all traffic, public transportation and pedestrian stops; so far, the department has promised to release a report of detailed arrest data next year.

(Kyle Monk for The Washington Post)

The trauma of that night lingers. I can’t un-see the guns, the dog, the officers forcing their way into my apartment, the small army waiting for me outside. Almost daily, I deal with sleeplessness, confusion, anger and fear. I’m frightened when I see large dogs now. I have nightmares of being beaten by white men as they call me the n-word. Every week, I see the man who called 911. He averts his eyes and ignores me.

I’m heartbroken that his careless assessment of me, based on skin color, could endanger my life. I’m heartbroken by the sense of terror I got from people whose job is supposedly to protect me. I’m heartbroken by a system that evades accountability and justifies dangerous behavior. I’m heartbroken that the place I called home no longer feels safe. I’m heartbroken that no matter how many times a story like this is told, it will happen again.

Not long ago, I was walking with a friend to a crowded restaurant when I spotted two cops in line and froze. I tried to figure out how to get around them without having to walk past them. I no longer wanted to eat there, but I didn’t want to ruin my friend’s evening. As we stood in line, 10 or so people back, my eyes stayed on them. I’ve always gone out of my way to avoid generalizations. I imagined that perhaps these two cops were good people, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what the Santa Monica police had done to me. I found a lump in my throat as I tried to separate them from the system that had terrified me. I realized that if I needed help, I didn’t think I could ask them for it.

Editor’s note: The Santa Monica Police Department told The Washington Post that 16 officers were on the scene but later provided a list of 17 names. That list does not match the list of 17 names that was eventually provided to the writer; the total number of names provided by the SMPD is 19. The department also said that it was protocol for this type of call to warrant “a very substantial police response,” and that any failure of officers to provide their names and badge numbers “would be inconsistent with the Department’s protocols and expectations.” There is an open internal affairs inquiry into the writer’s allegations of racially motivated misconduct. After this essay ran online, Police Chief Jacqueline A. Seabrooks released anadditional statement. “The 9-1-1 caller was not wrong for reporting what he believed was an in-progress residential burglary,” she wrote. Ms. Wells is not wrong to feel as she does.”

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/11/18/my-white-neighbor-thought-i-was-breaking-into-my-own-apartment-nineteen-cops-showed-up/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.aba7ebc69d5a

Featured

Open Letter to the People of Iran  from the American People

PeaceWithIran.jpg

 

Open Letter to the People of Iran  from the American People

Dear Friends,

We, the undersigned, apologize for Donald Trump’s reckless, baseless, and dangerous decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement and we pledge to do everything we can to reverse that decision.

We are ashamed that our government has broken an agreement that was already signed not just by the United States and Iran, but also by France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, and then approved by the entire UN Security Council in a unanimous vote. We are ashamed that our government has broken a deal that was working, a deal with which Iran was complying, a deal  that was making our entire world safer and could have moved our nations closer towards the path of friendship.

Unlike our president, we believe that a deal is a deal. Unlike our president, we want to resolve the conflicts in the Middle East, not escalate them. Unlike our president, we want our nation’s resources to be dedicated to enriching people’s lives, not enriching the weapons makers. Unlike our president, we want to live in peace and harmony with the people of Iran.

We understand that our nation already has a dreadful history of meddling in the internal affairs of your country. The 1953 coup that overthrew your democratically elected government was unconscionable. So was US support for Iraq’s Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran in 1980, including selling him material for making chemical weapons that were used against you. The 1988 shooting down of an Iranian civilian airliner, killing all 290 passengers and crew, was unconscionable. So, too, are the decades of covert actions to overthrow your government and the decades of sanctions that have brought such needless suffering to ordinary Iranians.

We understand that the US government has no business interfering in your internal affairs or in the Middle East in general. We should not be selling weapons to nations guilty of gross human rights violations or sending our military to fight in faraway lands. With all the flaws in our own society–from massive inequality and racism to a political system corrupted by monetary influences–we should clean up our own house instead of telling others how to govern themselves.

We will do everything in our power to stop Donald Trump from strangling your economy and taking us to war with you. We will ask the UN to sanction the United States for violating the nuclear agreement. We will urge the Europeans, Russians, and Chinese to keep the deal alive and increase their trade relations. And we will work to rid ourselves of this unscrupulous president and replace him with someone who is trustworthy, moral, and committed to diplomacy.

Please accept our hand in friendship. May the peacemakers prevail over those who sow hatred and discord.

Click this link sign the petition:  https://www.codepink.org/an_apology_to_the_people_of_iran?

Featured

The World Peace Council (WPC) condemns the march to growing militarization, a general imperialist war in the Middle East, and the recent provocative missile attack on Syria!

The confirmed missile attack on the evening of Sunday 29 April on a number of Syrian airbases has raised the tension massively in the Middle East.  According to “Tishreen”,  Syrian newspaper, quoted from sources claiming: “The recent attack on the headquarters in Aleppo and Hama provinces started from the British and American bases in northern Jordan, and nine ballistic missiles were fired in the attack”.

Although no country has formally taken responsibility for this act of aggression, the fingers are all pointing to the Israeli military as being behind it.  Just hours before the attack, Mike Pompeo, the new US Secretary of State, was visiting Israel before departing for the Saudi Arabia another warmonger country and advocate of the “New Middle East Plan”, the war of aggression against Iran as a means of changing the balance of forces in the region.

The Trump administration is considering – based on its agreements with Israel and Saudi Arabia – to announce its withdrawal from the JCPOA (Nuclear Deal with Iran) or at least force a renegotiation with additional terms which will be detrimental to the Iranian side.

Israel along with the US administration are fabricating new pretexts with regards to Iran’s nuclear activities, for the above purpose and neglecting the statement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made on Tuesday 1 May, that it has no evidence of Iran’s attempt to achieve nuclear weapons.

The WPC believes that unless the plans by the US and its allies in the Middle East are not stopped in their tracks, the Persian Gulf Region and the whole Middle East will be in danger of being engulfed by war and destruction.  The WPC believes that in these critical conditions

it is its duty to call upon the forces of peace internationally to be vigilant and to mobilize public opinion globally against this military adventure directed from any quarters, defending peace in the Middle East.  The escalation of the aggressiveness of US imperialism and its allies will lead to a disaster for the peoples of the Middle East and would plunge the whole region into a generalized war and destruction.  It is our belief that all problems and disputes in the Middle East should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations in the context of the UN Charter and against the imperialist interference.

The WPC calls on all peace loving forces around the world to prioritise a campaign against the imperialist plans in the Middle East, preventing a regional conflict of global dimension.

The WPC believes that the struggle of the Iranian people and of all peoples of the region for peace with social justice and for peoples’ and democratic rights, will be undermined if we are not able to block the destructive policies of the US administration and its allies (e.g. NATO, EU, Israel, Saudi Arabia).  We call on the members and friends of the World Peace Council and all consequent and genuine peace organisations across the world to effectively mobilize public opinion against the start of a new imperialist war in the Middle East.  Our urgent action is vital! Tomorrow will be too late!  Act NOW!

World Peace Council

7th May 2018

Featured

Russia Criticizes Calls to Boycott Venezuela’s Elections, US Plans for Regime Change

Spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry Maria Zajarova during a press conference.

Spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry Maria Zajarova during a press conference. | Photo: EFE

A spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry said calls to boycott the May 20 elections are a response to the United States’ foreign policy.

Russia has criticized calls to boycott the Venezuelan elections scheduled for May 20 and accused the United States of isolating the country to promote regime change.

RELATED:
Maduro: Venezuelan Democracy Not Meant to Serve Elites

“The upcoming elections are a great opportunity to achieve civil reconciliation. To lose or ignore them in a premeditated way is shortsighted, and of course, counterproductive,” spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry María Zajárova told reporters.

According to Zajarova the boycott announced by some members of the opposition is a response to U.S. foreign policy.

“The calls to boycott the elections from abroad don’t stop. As the date for the vote approaches, Washington not only does not renounce its objective of change the government in the country, but it also increases pressure on Caracas through unilateral measures in an attempt to isolate,” Zajarova explained.

She insisted that the final goal of U.S.-sponsored economic sanctions “is to provoke a debt crisis and as a consequence worsen the socio-economic situation… to create the bases for widespread popular discontent.”

The decision to hold early elections in Venezuela was one of the results of a series of talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition representatives to establish an agreement for “democratic coexistence.”

Some opposition parties backed out of the agreement shortly after new sanctions were announced by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his Latin American tour.

Following the move, some parties vowed to not participate in the elections. Despite these statements, however, 14 of 18 political parties in Venezuela signed the democratic guarantees agreement before the May 20 elections and former governor, and opposition member Henri Falcon and several others have entered the presidential race with incumbent Nicolas Maduro.

Former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who served as the mediator during the talks, has also criticized the Venezuelan opposition for abandoning dialogue and failing to participate in the election.

Featured

Puerto Rico: Thousands March Against Govt’s Austerity Measures on International Workers’ Day

Demonstrators march during a May Day protest against austerity measures in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Demonstrators march during a May Day protest against austerity measures in San Juan, Puerto Rico. | Photo: Reuters

“The measures are aimed at the middle class and low middle class,” Adria Bermudez, told the Associated Press. “The rich don’t suffer.”

Thousands of protesters took to streets in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, to protest government’s austerity measures, school closures, and slow recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on the International Workers’ Day Tuesday and were confronted by brutal police repression.

RELATED:
After Hurricane Maria, Disaster Capitalism in Education Sector Plagues Puerto Rico

Hundreds of protesters were met with the helmeted police officers wearing gas masks in Hato Rey neighborhood, San Juan’s banking center as they formed lines to block the protesters from moving forward. The officers indiscriminately shot rubber bullets and dispersed tear gas on peaceful protesters.

“We’re overwhelmed,” Carlos Cofiño, a 20-year-old political science student, told the New York Times as he prepared to march. “We need to express our indignation and let the government know that there are people who are suffering.”

Vanessa Rivera, a 25-year-old university student who was overwhelemed by the gas, called the police’s actions “an injustice,” the NPR reported.

Rivera said that it was outrageous that the Puerto Rican government continues to bow to the demands of the U.S. federal oversight board which has proposed some crippling measures to the island’s government such as cuts to pensions, public health programs, and schools.

“The financial oversight board acts as if they control us,” she told the NPR. “It’s as if they can say whatever they want and that’s what has to happen.”

The federal control board, which oversees the bankrupt Puerto Rico government’s finances, ratified a rise in tuition fee on Monday.

 Police detain a man during a May Day protest against austerity measures, in San Juan, Puerto Rico May 1, 2018. | Reuters

Defending the police, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said they were left with no choice. “Freedom of expression cannot come at the expense of people’s safety and well being,” the governor said, holding up a rock he said had been hurled by protesters. “This kind of violence damages the good name of Puerto Rico.”

Adria Bermudez, told the Associated Press, that she was protesting the increase in the undergraduate cost per credit from US$57 to US$115. She called on government officials and legislators to stop implementing more austerity measures and reduce their salaries instead.

“The measures are aimed at the middle class and low middle class,” she said. “The rich don’t suffer.”

Puerto Rico, which is already under massive debt of US$72 billion because of an economic recession that has lasted 11 years, has seen exploitation at the hands of vulture and hedge fund corporations, who have loaned large sums of money in lieu of high-interest rates, and other such damning financial schemes.

Those loaners are now seeing these large corporations profiting off of the island in the form of disaster capitalism, months after hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean island.

In January, Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Roselló Nevares, introduced neoliberal policies Senate Project 825 and Congressional Project 1441 in the U.S. colony, which call for a structural overhaul of the education system.

Source: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Puerto-Rico-Thousands-March-Against-Govts-Austerity-Measures-on-International-Workers-Day-

 

Featured

US Military Enters Argentina Without Congressional Approval

 

Photo: Reuters
Previously President Mauricio Macri signed a security and defense cooperation agreement that allows the installation of U.S. bases.

United States Armed Forces arrive in Argentina Wednesday to begin joint military exercises on May 2 and 3. The exercise was organized in the framework of the Proliferation Security Initiative that aims to curtail the global trafficking of weapons of mass destruction. Argentina is one of 105 countries that endorse the initiative.

Detractors have pointed out that President Mauricio Macri failed to ask Argentine Congress for approval to allow the entry of the foreign troops. The ministry of defense has argued it is a “theoretical” exercise, and that no congressional approval is required because the military personnel entering the country are defense technicians and military intelligence.

According to Elsa Bruzzone, defense specialist of the Center of Military Men for Argentine Democracy (CEMIDA), “the government searches for any excuse to bypass Congress and they don’t say where the exercises will take place because they fear popular reaction.”

According to local media the exercise involves a truck supposedly carrying weapons of mass destruction to a coastal province of Argentina. The South American country’s military and national security forces will have to launch an operation with U.S. forces in which they evaluate possible actions to avoid a potential catastrophe.

Military exercises between Argentina and the U.S. have been restarted since Macri’s administration. Since a diplomatic impasse between Argentina and the U.S. in 2011, during Cristina Fernandez’s government (2007-2015) joint exercises between the countries were halted.

In 2011 a military plane carrying weapons and communications devices landed in Ezeiza, near Buenos Aires. Argentine authorities seized the plane’s cargo and accused the U.S. of trying to smuggle military objects, arguing much of what was found in the plane was not reported in a previous memo.

Bruzzone explains joint exercises are part of the security and defense cooperation agreements signed between Macri’s and Barack Obama’s governments, which also include the installation of military bases in Argentine territory.

“Those agreements establish the installation of a military base in Ushuaia, disguised as a scientific base, and has as its objective the Antartida, the greatest reserve of frozen fresh water in the world… they also establish the installation of a base in the Triple Frontier, in Misiones, were the Guarani aquifer is, the fourth largest water reservoir,” Bruzzone said.

Featured

A Case for Physical Education – A Weak Body Weakens the Mind

Pedrito doesn’t go to gym class, he has a doctor’s note excusing him from 45 minutes of physical activity, because of his asthma. Yoandry doesn’t go out on the school yard either, since a similar document sites an orthopedic problem. What they and their parents don’t know is that they are condemning themselves.

No one picks them for their team in a street game, they can’t handle the ball; they watch a rousing stickball competition from the sidelines, and when they do get a chance, they strike out or don’t make it to first base. Their circle of friends is getting smaller. They are good students, so people begin to predict that they will be scientists, like those who have given our country prestige in this field. But, if those exhausting days arrive, in an effort to provide humanity with a medication as effective as Heberprot-P or a vaccine to eradicate an infectious disease, they may tire quickly, begin to feel aches and pains, that prevent them from making a greater contribution to society.

No child should be denied Physical Education, and the school – its principal, teachers, and staff – and the family are responsible for this. Reasons abound, but the first is simply that movement is an excellent pedagogical tool, that lays the foundation for the development of basic human skills.

We cannot forget that our bodies are fundamentally composed of liquid, and just as stagnant water is not healthy, the same thing happens with our fluids. The regular practice of physical activity protects our anatomy and allows us to take on any task, with energy and vitality, be it one that required physical or intellectual work, which in turn contributes to our emotional stability, diligence, and perseverance. To these advantages of physical activity, three others of much importance must be added: a sense of security, collective spirit, and responsibility.

When we enjoy ourselves, and get excited about an accomplishment in sports, these elements are present. The pride we feel in the scientific role our country plays in the world, or in our Revolutionary Armed Forces that guarantee the country’s security, is also related to the way we were raised, how we shape and prepare our bodies and minds. But where does this begin? In P.E. – which we could very well call the basic cell, or the foundation, of the human edifice.

Back in the 16th century, during the Renaissance, the philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who is considered the creator of the essay as a literary genre, stated, “It is not a mind, it is not a body that we educate, it is a person, who we should not divide in two.” Two centuries later, Jean Jacques Rousseau affirmed that the body and mind are one, saying, “A weak body weakens the mind.”

As soon as we let out our first cry coming into the world, our evolution begins. Logically it is biological, and a point is reached when “involution,” regression, begins. To be clear: we begin to age. And at this moment, what we failed to do on the schoolyard, in that big, fresh air classroom, cannot be recuperated.

Physical education, in any of its formats, is the only effective way to preserve physical strength, the capacity to do physical work, and maintain optimal health. This is what delays the apparition of the negative effects of aging and improves quality of life.

The sooner physical education begins, the greater the benefits in advanced age.

Cuba has options to ensure that children like Pedrito and Yoandry are not denied Physical Education. The P.E. teachers who work in therapeutic environments that serve students with health problems cannot always become involved in the regular curriculum, which is why 28 programs exist in the country’s municipalities that focus on specific chronic diseases.

Photo: Enviada por Ively Valdés Marfil

Additionally in place is a comprehensive system of health promotion, that includes Physical Educational staff to address the needs of older adults, pregnant and nursing women, and aerobic exercise groups. Ours is one of the few nations in the world that has Physical Education established in the elementary school curriculum.

No matter the fact that solid arguments illustrate its importance, without teachers, there is no Physical Education. This is the person who promotes an inclusive environment, for the little guy, the overweight – the person who promotes and demands participation, convinced that in his or her school there is a future Olympic champion or a PhD scientist. If equipment is not available, and many times it is not, the professional educator must be creative. Teachers are the first to afford physical activity the importance it deserves, and make sure others understand that no other academic review or activity should take its place.

Within the vast legacy Fidel left us are his ideas on the subject, as if he were one of these teachers. (He would have been a favorite.) On September 4, 1964, he stated, “One can observe certain shortcomings in our athletes that are the consequence of the lack of physical education precisely at the age when human beings’ muscles and physical conditions begin to develop… that is, as a child… Physical Education is an essential part of the basic education of children.”

Photo: Granma

Source: http://en.granma.cu/deportes/2018-04-30/a-weak-body-weakens-the-mind

Featured

Unemployment to Remain High, Quality Jobs Harder to Find in 2018 – UN Labour Agency — HUMAN WRONGS WATCH

A worker sorts a green leaf tea before it reaches the main processing floor at the Kitabi Tea Processing Facility in Rwanda. Photo: A’Melody Lee / World Bank | Source: UN News Centre

Human Wrongs Watch

While the global economy has kept up modest growth, the total number of unemployed people will likely remain high in 2018 – at above 192 million – and it will be harder to find a decent job, the United Nations labour agency on 22 January 2018 reported.

“Even though global unemployment has stabilized, decent work deficits remain widespread: the global economy is still not creating enough jobs. Additional efforts need to be put in place to improve the quality of work for jobholders and to ensure that the gains of growth are shared equitably,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.

The World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2018, a flagship report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), examines employment and social trends for the world as a whole and for each region, and analyses structural transformation and implications for future job quality.

The report says the global economy grew 3.6 per cent in 2017, after hitting a six-year low of 3.2 per cent in 2016. The recovery was broad based, driven by expansions in developing, emerging and developed countries alike.

Future growth is likely to stay below four per cent, as economic activity normalizes in most major economies without significant stimulus and fixed investment remains at a moderate level.

The projected fall in the 2018 global unemployment rate would also mark a turnaround after three years of rises, and would remain essentially unchanged in 2019, according to the report.

However, with a growing number of people entering the labour market to seek employment, the total number of unemployed is expected to remain above 192 million in 2018, and that number would likely grow by 1.3 million in 2019.

VIDEOWhat to Expect from the Global Jobs Market in 2018. Source: ILO

 

Vulnerable employment is on the rise

The report also notes that the number of workers in vulnerable forms of employment, such as own-account workers and contributing family workers, is likely to increase in the years to come.

Globally, the significant achievements had been made in reducing vulnerable employment but progress has essentially stalled since 2012.

In 2017, about 42 per cent of workers, or 1.4 billion, worldwide were estimated to be in vulnerable forms of employment. This share was expected to remain particularly high in developing and emerging countries, at above 76 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.

Worryingly, the number of people in vulnerable employment is projected to increase by 17 million in each of 2018 and 2019.

Slow pace of reducing ‘working poverty’

Similarly, the global labour market has seen only weak progress in addressing the problem of ‘working poverty,’ or living under poverty lines despite employment, the report says.

In 2017, extreme working poverty remained widespread, with more than 300 million workers in emerging and developing countries having a per capita household income or consumption of less than $1.90 per day.

“In developing countries though, progress in reducing working poverty is too slow to keep up with the expanding labour force. The number of workers living in extreme poverty is expected to remain stubbornly above 114 million for the coming years, affecting 40 per cent of all employed people in 2018,” explains ILO economist Stefan Kühn, lead author of the report.

Emerging countries, on the other hand, achieved significant progress in reducing extreme working poverty, which is expected to affect less than 8 per cent, or around 190 million, of workers there in 2017.

The incidence of extreme poverty should continue to fall, translating into a reduction in the number of extreme working poor by 10 million per year in 2018 and 2019.

Nevertheless, moderate working poverty, in which workers live on an income of between $1.90 and $3.10 per day, remains widespread, affecting 430 million workers in emerging and developing countries in 2017.

The report also looks at the influence of population ageing. It shows that the growth of the global workforce will not be sufficient to compensate for the rapidly expanding pool of retirees. The average age of working people is projected to rise from just under 40 in 2017 to over 41 in 2030.

“Besides the challenge of a growing number of retirees creates for pension systems, an increasingly ageing workforce is also likely to have a direct impact on labour markets. Ageing could lower productivity and slow down labour market adjustments following economic shocks,” says the ILO’s Director of Research Department a. i., Sangheon Lee. (SOURCE: UN).

Human Wrongs Watch While the global economy has kept up modest growth, the total number of unemployed people will likely remain high in 2018 – at above 192 million – and it will be harder to find a decent job, the United Nations labour agency on 22 January 2018 reported. A worker sorts a green […]

via Unemployment to Remain High, Quality Jobs Harder to Find in 2018 – UN Labour Agency — HUMAN WRONGS WATCH

Featured

A Trinidadian man was forced to pay upfront at a Chinese restaurant. He got his meal — and $10,000 — Repeating Islands

A report by Amy B. Wang for the Washington Post. In the early hours of May 3, 2014, Emile Wickham and three of his friends went out to eat in downtown Toronto for Wickham’s birthday. The group chose to celebrate at Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant, a mainstay in the area for nearly two decades, in part because they […]

via A Trinidadian man was forced to pay upfront at a Chinese restaurant. He got his meal — and $10,000 — Repeating Islands

Featured

The United States’ new strategy and the approach toward Our America

Photo: Granma

Less than a year after entering the White House, President Donald Trump announced the new National Security Strategy of the United States on December 18, 2017. On presenting the document, Trump said that his country has entered a “new era of competition,” in which its global leadership is threatened by Russia and China, although he noted, “We will attempt to build a great partnership with these and other countries.”

The document constitutes the strategic guide for the U.S. government’s foreign and security policy over the coming years. Politicians, analysts, and academics from around the world are attempting to assess its 68-page content, in order to determine the implications it will have for their countries and regions. The National Security Act of 1947 states that these reports have both a public and a “classified” version.

The public version of the security strategy has been freely available since 1986. As such, this is a carefully drafted document that presents the vision the United States government wishes to impose on the rest of the world. On this occasion, an attempt is made to define what could be considered the “Trump doctrine” for foreign and security policy, which has a marked imperialist character. The document presented defends the President’s nationalist electoral platform of “America First,” which has meant in practice “The Military-Industrial Complex First,” aimed at reestablishing U.S. global hegemony.


THE “FOUR PILLARS” OF THE STRATEGY

Four vital national interests or “pillars” are identified, which will be the focus of the United States over the coming years, confirming the militarist course of the current administration. According to the document these are summarized as follows:

I. Protect the American People, the Homeland and the American Way of Life: Border control will be strengthened and the immigration system reformed to protect the country and restore its sovereignty. Threats will be confronted before reaching borders and causing harm to the population.

II. Promote American Prosperity: The economy will be rebuilt to benefit U.S. workers and companies, which is necessary to restore national power. Work will be focused toward free, fair and reciprocal international economic relations. The U.S. will use its dominance in the energy sector to ensure that international markets remain open.

Both pillars are presented with a seemingly noble intention, but a strong demagogic character. The broad argument of the document attempts to justify discriminatory policies against minorities that contribute to the U.S. economy, and instigate xenophobic practices and sentiments that divide U.S. society.

III. Preserve Peace through Strength: U.S. military strength will be reinforced to ensure it is the biggest in the world. All state tools will be used in a new era of strategic competition – in the diplomatic, information, military and economic domains – to protect its interests. U.S. nuclear arsenal and infrastructure will be modernized.

IV. Advance American Influence: U.S. influence abroad should continue to extend to protect the American people and boost prosperity. Diplomatic and development actions will seek to achieve better results in all areas – bilateral, multilateral and intelligence – to defend U.S. interests, identify new economic opportunities and face competitors.

Regarding these last two national interests, the document reveals that the use of force will continue to be predominant, combined with the strategy of “public diplomacy.” The proposed objective of modernizing U.S. nuclear strength and infrastructure presents a threat to international peace. In the introduction to the report, Trump notes that his administration is “making historic investments in the United States military,” in reference to the bill he signed a week prior to the announcement of the Strategy, which allocates 700 billion dollars to the Pentagon for 2018 defense spending.


APPROACH TO LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

The region is evaluated in the section devoted to the “Western Hemisphere,” focusing on alleged threats to security and attacking Cuba and Venezuela. It is claimed that “democratic states connected by shared values and economic interests” will be able to “reduce the violence, drug trafficking and illegal immigration that threaten our common security, and will limit opportunities for adversaries to operate from areas of close proximity to us,” in reference to Russia and China, identified in the Strategy as the main threats to the United States.

The text notes that challenges remain such as transnational criminal organizations that “perpetuate violence and corruption, and threaten the stability of Central American states including Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

Referring to Cuba and Venezuela, it is claimed that their “governments cling to anachronistic leftist authoritarian models that continue to fail their people.” The text goes on to add that Russia continues to support its “radical Cuban allies as Cuba continues to repress its citizens,” and that China and Russia support the “dictatorship” in Venezuela, thus undermining the respectful and collaborative relations that exist between our countries.

U.S. allies in the region are invited to build together “a stable and peaceful hemisphere that increases economic opportunities for all, improves governance, reduces the power of criminal organizations, and limits the malign influence of non-hemispheric forces.” A series of priority actions in the political, economic, military and security fields are also outlined.

The Trump administration proposes to “isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity,” adding the desire to see the people of Cuba and Venezuela “enjoy freedom and the benefits of shared prosperity,” of the rest of the “free states” of the hemisphere. It is noted that the United States will “encourage further market-based economic reforms,” and continue supporting efforts to combat crime.

Once again, neighboring countries are treated with contempt, ignoring the values and culture of their peoples. The document is a true manual of imperialist “modesty” in the style of the Monroe Doctrine and the confrontational phase of the Cold War. It also demonstrates the apparently low priority given to our region, by dedicating just a single page of the report. However, one can not underestimate the aggressive and disrespectful rhetoric against Cuba and Venezuela, without recognizing in the least their contribution to guaranteeing regional peace and security, much less their social achievements.

Faced with the risks and threats outlined in the Strategy, the Cuban people will maintain their socialist course and continue to defend the thought of Martí and Fidel regarding a united “Our America.” Such was stated by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, on December 21, 2017, at the close of the 10th Period of Ordinary Sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power 8th Legislature: “the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have a duty to move toward the political, economic and social integration of Our America. As I have stated in various forums, working for “unity within diversity” is an imperative need.”

Regarding the setback in relations with the United States, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, made it clear that our country is not responsible for the deterioration, and ratified that “Cuba is willing to continue negotiating pending bilateral issues with the United States, on the basis of equality and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country, and continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest with the U.S. government.” However, he emphasized an unquestionable reality: “The Cuban Revolution has withstood the onslaught of 11 U.S. administrations of different kinds and here we are and will remain, free, sovereign and independent.”

 

Source: http://en.granma.cu/mundo/2018-05-01/the-united-states-new-strategy-and-the-approach-toward-our-america

Featured

The strategic challenge of the Latin American left/Mass media has become the main opposition to progressive governments of the region – Rafael Correa

Photo: TELESUR

After the long and sad night of neoliberalism in the 1990s – which bankrupted entire nations like Ecuador – and ever since Hugo Chávez was elected President of the Republic of Venezuela at the end of 1998, the right wing and submissive governments of the continent began to collapse like a house of cards, as popular governments, committed to Good Living Socialism, extended across the length and breadth of Our America.

At its peak, in 2009, of the ten Latino countries in South America, eight had left wing governments. Meanwhile, in Central America and the Caribbean there was the Farabundo Martí Front in El Salvador, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Álvaro Colom in Guatemala, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Leonel Fernández in the Dominican Republic. In countries like Guatemala, with Álvaro Colom, or Paraguay, with Fernando Lugo, it was the first time in their history that the left had come to power, in the latter case even breaking with centuries of constant bipartisanship.

In May 2008, UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) was born, and in February 2010, CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) was created, with 33 members. Of the 20 Latino countries of CELAC, 14 had left wing governments, that is 70%.

The first part of the 21st century undoubtedly saw years of gains. The economic, social and political advances were historic and amazed the world; all this in an environment of sovereignty, dignity, autonomy, with our own presence on the continent and in the entire world.

Latin America experienced not an era of changes, but a real change of era, which also substantially altered the geopolitical power balance of the region. For this reason, it was essential for the powers that be and the hegemonic countries to put an end to these processes of change that favored the vast majorities, and which sought to secure the region’s second and definitive independence.

CONSERVATIVE RESTORATION

Although by 2002, the government of Hugo Chávez had to endure a failed coup d’état, it is really since 2008 that undemocratic attempts to end progressive governments have intensified, as was the case of Bolivia in 2008, Honduras 2009, Ecuador 2010, and Paraguay 2012. Four attempts at destabilization, two of them successful – Honduras and Paraguay – and all against governments of the left.

Starting in 2014, and taking advantage of the change in the economic cycle, these disjointed destabilization efforts consolidated and constituted a true “conservative restoration,” with never before seen right wing coalitions, international support, unlimited resources, external financing, and so on. The revival of the right has deepened and has no limits or scruples. Today, we have the economic boycott and harassment of Venezuela, the parliamentary coup in Brazil, and the judicialization of politics – “lawfare” –, as shown by the cases of Dilma and Lula in Brazil, Cristina in Argentina, and Vice President Jorge Glas in Ecuador. The attempts to destroy UNASUR and neutralize CELAC are also evident and, not infrequently, brazen. Not to mention what is happening in MERCOSUR. Attempts to overcome the failure of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement at the beginning of the century are seen in the Pacific Alliance.

In South America, at present, only three progressive governments remain: Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay. The eternal powers that have always dominated Latin America, and that plunged it into backwardness, inequality and underdevelopment, return with a thirst for revenge, after more than a decade of continuous defeats.

THE MAIN PILLARS OF THE CONSERVATIVE RESTORATION STRATEGY

The reactionary strategy is articulated regionally and is based on two fundamental pillars: the supposed failure of the left economic model, and the alleged lack of moral fiber of progressive governments.

Regarding the first pillar, since the second half of 2014, due to an adverse international environment, the entire region suffered an economic slowdown that turned into a recession in the last two years.

The results are different between countries and sub-regions, reflecting the different economic structures and economic policies applied, but the economic difficulties of countries like Venezuela or Brazil are taken as an example of the failure of socialism, even when Uruguay, with a leftist government, is the most developed country south of the Rio Grande, or when Bolivia has the best macroeconomic indicators on the planet.

The second pillar of the new strategy against progressive governments is morality. The issue of corruption has become the effective tool to destroy the national-popular political processes in Our America. The most emblematic case is that of Brazil, where a well-articulated political operation succeeded in removing Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency, only to be shown to have nothing to do with the issues that she was accused of.

There is great global hypocrisy surrounding the fight against corruption.

THE LEFT, VICTIM OF ITS OWN SUCCESS?

The left is perhaps also a victim of its own success. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), almost 94 million people were lifted out of poverty and joined the regional middle class during the last decade, the vast majority as a result of the policies of left governments.

In Brazil, 37.5 million rose above the poverty line between 2003 and 2013, and now form part of the middle class, but those millions were not a mobilized force when a Parliament itself accused of corruption impeached Dilma Rousseff.

We have people who overcame poverty and now – due to what is often called objective prosperity and subjective poverty – despite having seen their income level greatly improve, ask for much more, and they feel poor, not in reference to what they have, worse still to what they had, but to what they aspire.

The left has always struggled against the current, at least in the western world. The question is, is it fighting against human nature?

The problem is much more complex if we add to this the hegemonic culture constructed by the media, in the Gramscian sense, that is, to have made the wishes of the masses functional to the interests of the elites.

Our democracies should be called media democracies. The mass media are a more important component in the political process than the parties and electoral systems; they have become the main opposition parties to progressive governments; and they are the true representatives of business and conservative political power.

It does not matter what suits the majorities, what has been proposed in the election campaign, and what the people – the principal element in every democracy – have decided at the polls. The important thing is what the media approve or disapprove in their headlines. They have replaced the Rule of Law with the Rule of Opinion.

IS THERE A “STRATEGIC CHALLENGE”?

The regional left faces the problems of exercising – or having exercised – power, often successfully, but exhaustingly.

It is impossible to govern by pleasing everyone, and even more so when so much social justice is required.

We must always be self-critical, but it’s also about having faith in ourselves. Progressive governments are under constant attack, the elites and their media do not forgive us any error, they seek to lower our morale, make us doubt our convictions, proposals and objectives. For this reason, perhaps the greatest “strategic challenge” of the Latin American left is to understand that every transcendental work will have errors and contradictions.

 

Source: http://en.granma.cu/mundo/2018-02-26/the-strategic-challenge-of-the-latin-american-left

Featured

Minute by minute: 2018 May Day celebrations in Cuba

1ro de mayo.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

9:27 a.m. May Day march winds up in the capital

This year’s May Day march in the capital has come to an end, but the celebration of Cuban workers continues throughout the country under the banner: Unity, Commitment and Victory!

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

9:20 a.m. Scenes from Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución

The Joy, commitment, and revolutionary spirit of the entire Cuban people filled Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución this May Day.

Photos: Cubadebate

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

9:17 a.m Cuban youth march for their Revolution

Today, International Worker’s Day, Cuban youth are marching in support of their Revolution under the banner: Unity, Commitment, and Victory

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8:54 a.m. The Cuban Five march with the people

Decorated Heroes of the Republic of Cuba and anti-terrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in the United States, also known as the Cuban Five, accompany their compatriots on this joyful May Day of commitment and unity.

PHOTO: Radio Habana Cuba

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8:50 a.m. Cuba-Venezuela forever! Students from the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela march alongside the Cuban people this May Day.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8.32 a.m. Scenes from Granma

Correspondent Dilbert Reyes shares photos of May Day celebrations underway in Granma province. FOTOS: Dilbert Reyes Rodríguez

Photo: Dilbert Reyes

Photo: Dilbert Reyes


Photo: Dilbert Reyes

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8:22 a.m. CTC Secretary General addresses the Cuban people

Minutes before the May Day march began in the capital, CTC Secretary General Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento spoke before thousands gathered in the Plaza de la Revolución.

At this historic time for the homeland, we workers are undertaking this massive national mobilization under the maxim: Commitment and victory, and based on the organic processes underway in the lead up to the 21st CTC Congress, set to be held next year, stated the trade union leader.

“We are called here today to commemorate transcendental occasions and the legacy of our union leaders, whom we honor today. Here, we express our thanks for their commitment and loyalty,” he noted. Guilarte de Nacimiento went on to state that the spirit of the Cuban people will be present in squares across the island, where islanders will reject the U.S. blockade against the country.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8:17 a.m. A brief history of the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC)

The Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC) was founded in 1939 and played a key role in the establishment of the Constitution of 1940, the most progressive of its time in the Americas. High-jacked by the island’s oligarchic governments during the 1940s, the CTC became an instrument to exploit Cuban workers. Following the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959, the trade union movement began to strengthen with the CTC playing an important role in the construction of a new society in Cuba.

The CTC is composed of a congress, National Council, National Committee, National Secretriat, national trade unions, provincial committee, trade union enterprise bureau, and trade union office. There are 18 national trade unions in Cuba representing almost three million workers.

Membership is voluntary and Congresses are held every 5 years to elect the Secretary General and new members of the National Council, Committee and Secretariat. 96% of Cuban workers are members of the CTC which works to defend the rights and interests of the people and the Revolution. The organization’s official newspaper is Trabajadores (Workers) published weekly nationwide.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8:10 a.m Viva Cuba, Viva Fidel

“We have reasons and grounds to make this May Day a day of support for the Revolution and tribute to Fidel, “ stated CTC General Secretary Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento. “Like never before, the strategic battle in the productive field requires the support of the workers.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8:07 a.m. Cuba marches for continuity

This May Day the Cuban people are leading a massive, colorful, vibrant, conscious march, reaffirming to the world the unity and commitment of the island’s workers to the new government, Raúl and the Party.

This according to Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, a member of the Party political bureau and Secretary General of the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC), noting that “to talk about the impact of the Cuban Revolution, one must necessarily, talk about its workers’ movement.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

7:50 a.m. We are all Fidel

Residents from the capital march through the Plaza de la Revolucion to chants of “Todos somos Fidel” (We are all Fidel).

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

7:30 a.m. May Day parade kicks off in Havana

This year’s May Day parade kicks off in the Cuban capital presided by First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

7:18 a.m. The José Martí (ITM) Technical Military Institute receives honorary standard

Officials and workers from the José Martí (ITM) Technical Military Institute, received the standard for Outstanding Work, awarded by the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC), in recognition of their contribution to recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma.

The flag was presented to Colonel Manuel Osoria Neyra, director of the institution, by CTC Secretary General and member of the Party Political Bureau, Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, who praised the work of officials, soldiers, sergeants, civil employees and students in response to the call made by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz to work with sacrifice and dedication to repair Havana’s infrastructure.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

7:08 a.m Cuban youth to close May Day parade

A bloc of some 50,000 students, young workers and soldiers will close this year’s May Day march through Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, according to Diosvany Acosta Abrahante, a member of the Young Communist League (UJC) National Bureau. She noted that the group will be led by athletes from high performance training schools, including those set to participate in the Central American and Caribbean Games Barranquilla 2018.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

7:01 a.mMay Day parade kicks off in Santiago de Cuba

…………………………………………………………………………………….

6:50 a.m. How was May Day first celebrated in Cuba?

According to the book Historia del Movimiento Obrero Cubano 1865-1958, in solidarity with strikers in Chicago and following the decision, adopted in Paris in July 1889, to celebrate the first International Workers’ Day on May 1, 1890, the Workers’ Association of Cuba joined the global celebration with some 3,000 workers congregating at the old Parque de Marte (today Plaza de la Fraternidad) in Havana before marching along some of the capital’s main avenues.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

6:20 a.m. The history of May Day

May Day – or International Workers’ Day – grew out of the 19th-century movement for labor rights and an eight-hour work day in the United States.

At the height of the Industrial Revolution, thousands of men, women and children were dying every year from poor working conditions and long hours.

In an attempt to end these inhumane conditions, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which would later become the American Federation of Labor, or AFL) held a convention in Chicago in 1884. The FOTLU proclaimed “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.”

On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers (40,000 in Chicago alone) from 13,000 business walked out of their jobs across the country. In the following days, more workers joined and the number of strikers grew to almost 100,000.

Today, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but ironically it is rarely recognized in the country where it began, the United States of America.

(www.history.com)

…………………………………………………………………………………….

6:15 a.m. Santiago de Cuba ready to march

Residents of the Heroic City of Santiago de Cuba will be showing their support for Fidel and new President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, in a genuine celebration of workers, and a united and victorious people, reports correspondent Claudia González Catán.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

6:13 a.m. International Brigades participating in May Day celebrations in Cuba

Friends from around the world have travelled to Cuba to join workers from the island as they celebrate International Workers’ Day. Photos of solidarity brigades from Brazil, the Congo and Canada can be found on the

Cuban Workers’ Federation official Facebook page. …………………………………………………………………………………….

6:05 a.m. Plaza de la Revolución ready for the May Day march

Cuban youth gathered at Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución express their commitment to continuing the island’s historic and Revolutionary process, reports correspondent Thalía González.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

6:00 a.m. Cuba prepares to march this May Day

From the early hours of Tuesday, May 1, people of all ages have been making their way to plazas (squares) across the island where May Day parades will be taking place. Many carry posters or signs, while some hold photos of Fidel, Raúl, Jesús Menéndez, or other figures of historic importance. Follow Granma on social media as we provide live coverage of May Day celebrations across the island this 2018.

Featured

Putting Cuba’s Election System into Focus – HE Ines Fors Fernandes

Cuba’s new President Miguel Diaz-Canel (left), and former President Raul Castro, salute, after Diaz-Canel was elected as the island nation’s new president, at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, on Thursday, April 19. Castro left the presidency after 12 years in office when the National Assembly approved Diaz-Canel’s nomination as the candidate for the top government position. (Photo: AP) 

MUCH has been said and published by the foreign media about the recently concluded general elections in Cuba and the designation of Mr Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez as President of the Councils of States and Ministers, succeeding Army General Raul Castro.

A lot more has been written on Cuba´s electoral system, at times with not-so-accurate information leading to biased articles or comments.

The Cuban election system is different from others around the world, and it is relatively young institutionally. Established in the 1976 Constitution, which took effect on February 24, 1976, the People’s Power structure has been in place for more than 40 years.

Unity is among the main elements that characterise elections in Cuba as it is essential to maintain our nation’s independence. The country is led by a single party that is not electoral in nature, it does not nominate candidates, but serves as the guiding force in state affairs and society.

Last April 18th, the National Assembly of People’s Power was constituted, with 605 representatives elected by the people and representing all provinces and municipalities. It is the second in the world with the largest presence of women with 53.22 per cent and it has a representation of black and mixed-race legislators of 40.49 per cent.

In the case of the Council of State, the average age decreased to 54 years, and 77.4 per cent of its members were born after the triumph of the Revolution. Three women were elected vice- presidents of the Council of State, two of them of black race, not only for being black, but for their virtues and qualities, which is a further demonstration of the fulfilment of the objectives of the Revolution.

The fact that today Cuba has a new president is not only the result of an electoral process. There is a great deal of responsibility and symbolism in this transition from one historical generation to another, which was not forged in the Sierra but has risen to the occasion to preserve the victory, without losing the way, to found, transform and triumph.

Speaking of newly-elected President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Army General Raul Castro has explained that “his rise to the highest state and governmental responsibility of the nation has not been the result of chance or haste. In his gradual promotion to higher positions (…) it was ensured the transition through different party and governmental responsibilities with intentionality and foresight, so that he would acquire a level of comprehensive training that, together with his personal qualities, would allow him to successfully assume the leadership of our state and government, and later the highest responsibility in the Party”.

Furthermore, there is much humility in those who leave to others the leadership of the great work of the Revolution to which they have given their all to now accompany those bearing the crucial responsibility, in Raúl Castro’s case, as the highest authority in the political vanguard.

In President Díaz-Canel own words: “Raúl, who firmly prepared, steered, and led this process of generational continuity, without attachment to positions and responsibilities, with a high sense of duty and the historic moment, with serenity, maturity, confidence, revolutionary resolve, with altruism and modesty, remains through legitimacy and his own merit at the forefront of the political vanguard”.

Cuban people and Government remain committed to the social and economic development of the country and to the same fundamental principles that have guided us all up to the present. And such and as it was stated by President Diaz-Canel: “We will continue to live on, with a sense of the historic moment, changing everything that must be changed; emancipating ourselves on our own and through our own efforts; challenging powerful dominant forces in and beyond the social and national arena; defending the values in which we believe at the price of any sacrifice; with modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity, and heroism; fighting with courage, intelligence and realism; never lying or violating ethical principles, and the deep conviction that Fidel transmitted to us with his concept of Revolution.

 

Her Excellency Inés Fors Fernández is Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Jamaica.

 

Source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/putting-cuba’s-election-system-into-focus

 

Featured

Calling Peace, Activist and Civil Society Organisations to a CARICOM PEOPLES’  SUMMIT Concurrent with the CARICOM Heads of Goverments Summit in Montego Bay, July 4-6, 2018

Our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is slowly dying !
 
This regional organization which was established 45 years ago as a vehicle to take the Caribbean people’s historical emancipatory struggle to a new and higher level has gradually degenerated into a staid, exclusive, uninspiring “old boy’s club” of Prime Ministers and salaried regional bureaucrats.
CARICOM has become divorced from the living, pulsing masses of the Caribbean people and is in danger of simply stagnating and withering away.
It is against this background that we have launched a CALL for the progressive activist community of the Caribbean to take the initial lead in a Caribbean people’s effort to appropriate CARICOM and transform it into a dynamic people’s organization.
 
Let us be very clear — what we are advocating is a people’s “take-over” of CARICOM in the sense of our people beginning to exercise the rightful, engaged and participatory type of “ownership” that Citizens should have over their Governments and governmental organizations : and we are proposing that the effort commence with the various activist organizations of the Caribbean, who will take up the task as representatives of the masses of Caribbean people.
The end result that we envisage is a CARICOM that is suffused with a  philosophy and mechanisms of people participation : and a CARICOM with a concrete agenda that goes way beyond issues of trade, and that is consciously designed to reconnect with our people’s historical struggle to emancipate themselves and to construct a higher reality of cultural, psychological, political, economic, national, regional SOVEREIGNTY and SELF  DETERMINATION.
We plan to begin our effort by staging a parallel PEOPLE’S  SUMMIT to the official CARICOM Heads of Government Summit that is scheduled to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica between the 4th and 6th of July 2018.
 
We intend to inform the Secretary General of CARICOM that representatives of Caribbean civil society will be meeting in Jamaica in a regional PEOPLE’S SUMMIT that will overlap with the Heads of Government Summit; that the civil society representatives will be addressing several of the items on the Agenda of the official Summit as well as other issues of great importance to the Caribbean people; and that we are requesting / demanding the opportunity / right to address the Heads of Government and share with them the product of our deliberations.
If we are to be successful in this effort we will need the “buy in”, participation and support of a large and truly representative number of Caribbean civil society organizations from across the entire region.
 
Indeed, we would wish that when we write to CARICOM in about a week’s time  that we are in a position to say that we are writing on behalf of a large and diverse body of Caribbean organizations, and to specify the names of those organization.
I am writing to you in my capacity as President of the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados, but you should note that this initiative is also already being supported by such Pan-Caribbean organizations as the Caribbean Chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity, and the Caribbean Peace Movement. And once we get positive responses to this CALL we will establish a truly representative regional organizing / coordinating committee.
Please therefore give your urgent and speedy consideration to this matter and respond to me at clementpaynechambers@gmail.com (cell no. 246 283 5357) and let us know if we have your and your organization’s buy in and support.
 
Looking forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.
Regards,
DAVID  COMISSIONG
PRESIDENT
Featured

Ziggy Marley: Help End the War on Palestinians, Cancel your concerts in Israel! – A petition by Code Pink

Dear Ziggy,

Your music speaks to your commitment to build a better world. So, we ask you to respond to the Palestinian call for human rights, dignity and freedom by canceling your July 31 and August 1 shows in Israel.

Palestinians living under Israel’s system of occupation face a nightmare of daily humiliations, roads divided between Jews and Palestinians, a military court system where children are taken from their homes in the middle of the night and abused, and massacres of unarmed protesters. Israel openly institutes two sets of laws for two groups of people — the definition of apartheid — and is the only country in the world with a juvenile military court system.

Palestinians are calling on the international community to support their struggle for freedom and equality in the same way that was effective in ending South African apartheid. In accordance with your lyrics: “people for peace more than people for war, and people for justice it’s never too far,” we ask you to cancel your July 31 and August 1, 2018 concerts in Israel. Just as artists’ refusal to play Sun City helped end South African apartheid, you canceling your shows in Israel can make a significant impact towards ending Israeli oppression and violence.

Please join the artistic boycott of Israel by canceling your Israeli concerts.

Sincerely,

CODE PINK

Sign the petition: http://www.codepink.org/ziggy?

Featured

Cuba Elects 2 Black Female Vice Presidents

Inés María Chapman, Beatriz Jhonson. thegrio.com

Ines Maria Chapman and Beatrix Johnson

Esteban Lazo, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, invited Alina Balseiro, president of the National Electoral Commission, to report the results of the vote that took place to elect the Council of State. All deputies present exercised their right to vote and their ballots were all valid, stated Alina. The results were as follows:

Voting for all candidates on the slate: 602 ballot papers

Voting for selected candidates on the slate: 2 ballot papers

President: Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez: 603 votes (99.83%)

First Vice President: Salvador Valdés Mesa: 604 votes (100%)

Vice President: Ramiro Valdés Menéndez: 604 votes (100%)

Vice President: Roberto Tomás Morales Ojeda: 604 votes (100%)

Vice President: Gladys María Bejerano Portela: 604 votes (100%)

Vice President: Inés María Chapman: 604 votes (100%)

Vice President: Beatriz Johnson: 603 votes (99.83%)

 

Source: http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2018-04-19/minute-to-minute-continuity-of-the-revolution-with-a-new-council-of-state-in-cubaCuba is being hailed as becoming more progressive as the country takes leaps toward diversity and moves away from its white dominated legacy.

Cuba now has more Black leadership with two Black women vice-presidents in Inés María Chapman and Beatriz Jhonson. The women will take up residence and signal a major changing of the guards by taking on these leadership positions, reports the New York Times

Cuba’s newly appointed President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermudez took office last week.

Source: https://thegrio.com/2018/04/24/cuba-announces-two-black-women-as-new-vice-presidents/

Featured

Please Remove the Word “Democratic” from the Name of the DLP! — Barbados Underground

So, the would-be “Emperor” of Barbados has finally deigned to set a date for General Elections after subjecting our country to a seven and a half week demonstration of utter contempt for our system of governance — the system of Parliamentary Democracy.

Barbados — as Mr Freundel Stuart well knows is a Parliamentary Democracy.

The Constitution of Barbados makes it clear that Parliament (comprised of the House of Assembly and the Senate) is the fundamental institution around which the office of Prime Minister and of every other cabinet Minister revolves.

Section 64 of our Constitution makes this clear when it asserts that “the Cabinet shall be …..charged with the general direction and control of the government of Barbados and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament”.

As does Section 65 of the Constitution which establishes that the very existence  of the Prime Minister is based solely on him being the person who — in the judgment of the Governor General — is best able to command the confidence of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly.

So, in light of the foregoing, how was it possible for Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, or our newly appointed Governor General for that matter, to consider it permissible to rule over Barbados for an extensive seven and a half weeks after the dissolution of Parliament, without setting a date for or decreeing a General Election to establish a new Parliament ?

Who — in the absence of a functioning Parliament — was Mr Stuart and his fellow Democratic Labour Party ministers accountable to over the past seven and a half weeks ?

A proper respect and regard for the principles of Parliamentary Democracy would have impelled Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, and our Governor General to recognize that where a governmental administration has permitted the life of Parliament to run its full course and to be dissolved, that they were under a duty (established by the Constitution and owed to us, the people of Barbados) to IMMEDIATELY set a date and issue writs for a General Election.

That they seemingly did NOT appreciate this, and instead, subjected our country to seven and a half weeks of unaccountable Cabinet rule was unconscionable !

Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, and indeed their party — the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) — thoroughly discredited themselves over the past seven and a half weeks in the eyes of all right thinking Citizens who believe in the tenets of Parliamentary Democracy.

Indeed, their contempt for democracy has become so obvious and offensive that perhaps they should now do the decent thing and remove the word “Democratic” from the name of their political party !

ONWARD  TO  GENERAL  ELECTIONS fellow Citizens, and let us ensure we elect thirty Members of Parliament who understand what DEMOCRACY entails and who truly appreciate that we — the people of Barbados — are the real and permanent owners of the country, and that the temporary political administrators that we vote into office are merely there to serve us and must always be accountable to us.

 

DAVID  COMISSIONG
PRESIDENT

So, the would-be “Emperor” of Barbados has finally deigned to set a date for General Elections after subjecting our country to a seven and a half week demonstration of utter contempt for our system of governance — the system of Parliamentary Democracy. Barbados — as Mr Freundel Stuart well knows is a Parliamentary Democracy. The […]

via Please Remove the Word “Democratic” from the Name of the DLP! — Barbados Underground

Featured

CALL TO THE WORLD PEACE COUNCIL REGIONAL MEETING FOR THE AMERICAS AND THE CARIBBEAN September 12-15, 2018 – Dominican Republic

The World Peace Council, the Journalists for Peace Union of the Dominican Republic, and the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples, as WPC Regional Coordinator for the Americas and the Caribbean, call to the Regional Meeting of peace organizations attached to the WPC, to take place in Moca, Dominican Republic, on September 12-15, 2018.

 

The meeting will be held in a regional political context signed by the strengthening and sharpening of the imperial offensive against the progressive and social change processes of the region, in conspiracy with the national oligarchies and the Organization of American States (OAS), with the purpose of re-establishing neo-liberal and neoconservative policies through the enforcement of violent methods, economic war, and strong media campaigns of discredit against the leftist political forces and their main leaders.

 

The brotherly Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been facing for years a brutal political, economic and media war waged by imperialism and its allies in Latin America and the Caribbean with the purpose of overthrowing the Revolution with non-conventional war methods and the imminent threat of a military intervention of the United States government.

 

The hardening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba and the new decisions of the United States government that have imposed a backward movement in the process of normalization of relations between the two countries initiated in December 2014, is another evidence of the reactionary spirit moving the present Washington administration, which also seeks to give life anew to the Monroe Doctrine of such unfortunate memory for our peoples.

 

There is concern due to the increase in the budgets for military expenses and the arms race, and also because of the increased military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean through the re-establishment and opening of new military bases and installations in the region and the positioning of the 4th Fleet in the seas of the continent.

 

Under these circumstances, the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as Peace Zone approved by all Heads of State and Government participating in the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC, its Spanish acronym) in Havana, Cuba, in January, 2014, gains new significance.

 

One of the purposes of the Regional Meeting will be to draw a balance of the work since the last continental meeting held in Toronto, Canada, in July 2015, as well as to analyze the present political situation in the region and promote new initiatives and actions among the peace organizations in the region in favor of peace and to denounce the aggressions of imperialism and its lackeys.

 

The meeting will also be the framework for the Fourth Trilateral Conference of Peace Organizations of North America among the United States Peace Council (USPC), the Canadian Peace Council (CPC) and the Mexican Movement for Peace and Development (MOMPADE).

 

The Journalists for Peace Union of the Dominican Republic, as host of the meeting, is actively working to ensure to all participating organizations and representatives the best conditions for the success of those  events.

For more information, please contact: Silvio Platero, Regional Coordinator for the Americas and the Caribbean (presidente@movpaz.cu y especialista2@movpaz.cu) and to Juan Pablo Acosta, President of the Journalists for Peace Union of the Dominican Republic (fundacionpro_unaa@yahoo.com),

For peace and solidarity among the peoples.

 

Featured

Report: 2.5 Millions Murdered in Latin America Since 2000

The startling numbers were released by the Igarape Institute, a Brazil-based think-tank focused on security and development issues.

Despite recent pronouncements by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and other regional organizations declaring Latin America a zone of peace, over 2.5 million people have been murdered in Latin America since the year 2000. The startling numbers were released Thursday by the Igarape Institute, a Brazil-based think-tank focused on security and development issues.

RELATED: 
Black People Are a ‘Genocide Project’ in Brazil Says Researcher

“The sheer dimensions of homicidal violence are breathtaking,” the report noted. Despite having just eight percent of the world’s population, Latin America is home to a whopping 33 percent of worldwide homicides.

Twenty-five percent of all global homicides are concentrated in four countries – BrazilMexicoColombia and Venezuela – all of which are preparing for presidential elections this year, according to The Guardian.

Robert Muggah, one of the authors of the study, said “The overall trend right now in Latin America is one of increasing homicides and deteriorating security. Latin America is a large area and there are lots of variations. But as a region – including Mexico down to Central America and South America – the rate of homicide is set to continue increasing up until 2030. The only other places we are seeing similar kinds of increases are in…some war zones.”

For example over the past two decades Mexico has been breaking every year’s record in the number of murders in the country and 2018 is on its way to become the deadliest in two decades.

Recent government figures show that nearly 7,667 people have been killed in Mexico so far in 2018, a 20 percent rise from 6,406 violent deaths reported in the first quarter last year, making this the most violent year in nearly two decades.

The report also highlights how young people living in Latin America are disproportionately affected by the violence. Almost 50 percent of all homicide victims are between the ages of 15 and 29.

Muggah pointed out that “In addition to having these exceedingly high, epidemic levels of homicide, the vast majority of these homicides are committed with firearms. Over 75% of homicides are gun-related,” while the global average is about 40%, Muggah pointed out.

Source: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Report-2.5-Millions-Murdered-in-Latin-America-Since-2000-20180426-0005.html?utm_source=planisys&utm_medium=NewsletterIngles&utm_campaign=NewsletterIngles&utm_content=8
Featured

# LulaLibre #FreeLula! – Caribbean Peace Movement

Photo: Lula with Graca and Nelson Mandela
THE  CARIBBEAN  PEACE  MOVEMENT (CPM) is disgusted and outraged by the latest episode in the orchestrated illicit right-wing oligarchical campaign to target and “bring down” by foul means the most outstanding and respected leaders of Latin America’s 21st century Socialist Movement : namely, the conviction by a powerful right-wing Judge of Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva (former President of Brazil) on trumped up corruption charges, and Lula’s incarceration on a 12 year prison sentence.
We Caribbean people find it almost beyond belief that a respected and revered people’s champion like Lula — the highly principled President who lifted millions of downtrodden Brazilians out of miserable poverty and who gave Brazil a new and outstanding image in the international community — could be so brazenly attacked and victimized in this manner by the Brazilian capitalist establishment and their traditional right-wing collaborators in the U S State Department.
For us in the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to arrive at some understanding of the injustice and infamy of this conviction and imprisonment of Lula, we would have to imagine our greatest and most revered historic political leaders — Barbados’ Errol Barrow and Jamaica’s Michael Manley for example — being hounded down by corrupt and vindictive establishment Prosecutors and Judges and railroaded into Prison !
As profoundly difficult (if not impossible) as it is for us to contemplate such a scenario in our Caribbean Community, this is precisely what has been unfolding in Latin America over the past five years or so !
We need to recall that  an  historic Latin American anti-imperialist and socialist  Movement emerged in the early years of the 21st century, and that by the year 2012 several outstanding socialist or progressive nationalist leaders had been elected to power by the Latin American masses throughout the region :– Hugo Chavez in Venezuela; Evo Morales in Bolivia; Rafael Correa in Ecuador; Nestor and Cristina Kirchnerin Argentina; Fernando Lugo Mendez in Paraguay; Lula in Brazil ; Jose “Pepe” Mujica in Uruguay; Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua; and Michelle Bachelet in Chile. And of course they joined Fidel Castro’srevolutionary Cuba, which had been carrying the banner of Socialism in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1959 !
This was a truly historic development, and constituted the high point of the centuries long historical struggle of the masses of working-class and impoverished Latin Americans to transform the unequal, elitist, oppressive, capitalistic and oligarchical societies that had been foisted upon them ever since the Spanish imperialists had colonized the region in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Here then was a tremendous breakthrough in the progressive, working-class Movement to develop  new, just, equal and inclusive Latin American societies. And the impressive results were there for all to see in the millions of people who were lifted out of poverty, and the hundreds of new socially uplifting programmes and institutions that were birthed in virtually all of the countries in question, but especially in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
But of course, the powerful traditional Latin American oligarchical classes and institutions (and their North American and European masters and collaborators) did not simply fade away !
Rather, they (in partnership with the powerful U S State Department and the international Capitalist establishment ) have carried out  a vicious and unprincipled counter-offensive in which  they have deployed every conceivable weapon — ranging from physical assassination, to economic sabotage, to trumped up corruption and impeachment charges — against  the Latin American socialist leaders and their governmental administrations.
The tragic outline of this treasonous political, economic, and judicial insurgency campaign against the Latin American Left is as follows :-
(1) 2012 — the impeachment of Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo Mendez on ridiculous charges of “insecurity” and “nepotism” ;
(2) 2013 — the suspected assassination of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez;
(3) 2016 — the impeachment of Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff on  ludicrous charges of so-called “administrative misconduct” and “disregard for the federal budget”;
(4) 2016 — the effort by the fascist Opposition in Venezuela to launch impeachment and recall processes against President Nicolas Maduro ;
(5) 2017 — the prosecution of Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner on a trumped up charge of “trying to defraud the government”; and
(6) 2017 — the prosecution and conviction of Lula on an equally trumped up charge of accepting a bribe when he was President  of Brazil.
And it should be noted for the record that the witch hunts against both Lula and Cristina Kirchner are also “preemptive strikes” that are designed to eliminate them from contesting up-coming Presidential elections that they are both highly favoured to win !
We in the Caribbean Peace Movement fully comprehend that nothing less than a “war” is being waged against the socialist, nationalist, and other progressive forces of Latin America and the Caribbean, and that a variety of legal and constitutional processes are being twisted out of shape, bastardized, and prostituted, and used for illicit political purposes.
At this time however, we wish to place our focus squarely and specifically on Brazil.
We hereby denounce the egregious injustice that has been inflicted on Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva ! We wish him, the officers and members of the Workers Party of Brazil, and the masses of working-class Brazilians to know that we are with them in this struggle.
The Caribbean Peace Movement (CPM) hereby CALLS upon the governments of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) , and indeed upon ALL nations and Governments that have a commitment to decency and justice, to raise their voices and publicly demand that Lula be freed and that he be permitted to contest the upcoming Presidential election in Brazil.
 
We say :- “FREE  LULA !”
Featured

Brazil: Workers’ Party Releases Lula’s Government Program

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The plan was presented in front of the Federal Police Headquarters in Curitiba where Lula has been imprisoned since April 7.

 

Brazil’s Workers’ Party has confirmed former President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silvais still the party’s presidential candidate for October’s general elections and has released a series of documents with details about his governmental plan if elected.

The plan is divided into seven key points and list issues to be solved through consultations with the population. The issues include:

1. The international system, sovereignty, and national defense.

2. Integration and national cohesiveness, as well as providing public services.

3. Justice and the rule of law in the country.

4. Improving the quality of life of citizens.

5. How to increase the availability of consumable goods.

6. The reduction of inequality and assurance of social inclusion throughout Brazil.

7. Economic and sustainable development, how to use natural and industrial resources, guaranteeing wealth for all.

The plan was presented at the Federal Police Headquarters in Curitiba where Lula has been imprisoned since April 7.

Marcio Pochmann, an economist, and president of the Perseu Abramo Foundation said: “It’s fundamental that this government plan impedes the dismantling of the nation and sale of national assets. He emphasized that the government program has been constructed over the past 18 months, amid high levels of unemployment and a sharp increase in poverty. “We are organizing this great program so that it is implemented democratically starting in January 2019.

Despite his conviction and imprisonment on corruption, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.

Lula’s two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.

Featured

COLIN KAEPERNICK: AMBASSADOR OF CONSCIENCE – AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

 The award was officially presented at a ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 21 April 2018, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of Amnesty International’s national section in the country.

“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognised for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“Just like the Ambassadors of Conscience before him, Colin Kaepernick chooses to speak out and inspire others despite the professional and personal risks. When high profile people choose to take a stand for human rights, it emboldens many others in their struggles against injustice. Colin Kaepernick’s commitment is all the more remarkable because of the alarming levels of vitriol it has attracted from those in power.”

 

Colin Kaepernick
THIS IS AN AWARD THAT I SHARE WITH ALL OF THE COUNTLESS PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD COMBATING THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OF POLICE OFFICERS, AND THEIR USES OF OPPRESSIVE AND EXCESSIVE FORCE

Take a Knee

During the 2016 pre-season of the American National Football League, Colin Kaepernick knelt during the US national anthem, as a respectful way of calling for the country to protect and uphold the rights of all its people. The bold move was a response to the disproportionate numbers of black people being killed by police. It sparked a movement that follows a long tradition of non-violent protests that have made history.

While the polarised response to the “take-a-knee” protest has ignited a debate about the right to protest and free speech, Colin Kaepernick has remained focused on highlighting the injustices that moved him to act. His charity, the Colin Kaepernick Foundation, works to fight oppression around the world through education and social activism, including through free “Know Your Rights” camps which educate and empower young people.

“I would like to thank Amnesty International for the Ambassador of Conscience Award. But in truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force. To quote Malcolm X, when he said that he, ‘will join in with anyone — I don’t care what colour you are —as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth,’ I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence,” said Colin Kaepernick.
“While taking a knee is a physical display that challenges the merits of who is excluded from the notion of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, the protest is also rooted in a convergence of my moralistic beliefs, and my love for the people.”

Eric Reid, professional American football player and Colin Kaepernick’s former teammate, continued to show his support, as he presented Colin Kaepernick with the Ambassador of Conscience award.

The Ambassador of Conscience Award is Amnesty International’s highest honour, recognizing individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights through their lives and by example.

Source: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/04/colin-kaepernick-ambassador-of-conscience/

Featured

THE  CARIBBEAN  PEOPLE  MUST  PROTECT  CARICOM !  – CARIBBEAN PEACE MOVEMENT

We know that we can’t speak for all of our fellow Caribbean citizens, but we would like to publicly declare that one of the major things that we hold on to as sons and daughters of the Caribbean  to give ourselves a feeling of pride, accomplishment, and hope for the future, is our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) !
We Caribbean people currently live in an era that is filled with much disappointment and despondency. In many of our countries, several of our most important national institutions have precipitously declined and fallen into various states of crisis and dysfunction, and many of the most precious social gains that previous generations had fought for and won have slipped away from us.Truth be told, even our once mighty world championship West Indies cricket team has fallen from its exalted perch and is no longer the automatic and constant source of pride and accomplishment that it used to be.
But in the midst of such decline and disillusion we Caribbean people can still celebrate the fact that we have managed to keep our regional integration institution (CARIFTA / CARICOM) going for a solid half century now, without ever having any member state break away, or without falling victim to any crisis — financial or otherwise — that threatened the destruction of our splendid regional headquarters and Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.
And we say “a solid half century” because it was on “Labour Day” in the year 1968 that the CARIFTA agreement — the agreement that would morph into the 1973 CARICOM Treaty of Chaguaramas— came into effect.
So, this year of 2018 is the very very significant 50th anniversary year of our CARIFTA / CARICOM regional integration institution ! And we want to emphasize that it has been 50 years of accomplishment ! Not — admittedly — unrelentingly constant and ever increasing accomplishment, but accomplishment none the less.
Indeed, we would like us all to recognize that CARICOM constitutes the highest institutional expression of the Caribbean people’s historical struggle against enslavement, genocide, colonization, racial and social oppression, big power domination, exogenously imposed separation and division, poverty, and under-development.
CARICOM — properly understood — constitutes the zenith of a super-human effort on the part of our people to construct an autonomous Caribbean Civilization out of the detritus of centuries of colonialism  — a Caribbean Civilization that is built upon and that exemplifies and upholds the principles of freedom, national sovereignty, self determination, anti- racism, anti-imperialism, people empowerment, and the inalienable right to human dignity and to personal and national development.
Let us recall, for example, that when the four great Caribbean politic! al leaders of the decade of the 1970’s — Trinidad & Tobago’s Eric Williams, Barbados’ Errol Barrow, Guyana’s Forbes Burnham, and Jamaica’s Michael Manley — met at Chaguaramas in Trinidad in October 1972, that they not only decided to transform CARIFTA into a Caribbean Community (CARICOM), but that intrinsic to that process were their simultaneous decisions to commence the practice of coordinating the foreign policy of all CARICOM member states and presenting one unified CARICOM front to the outside world — commencing with such “outside” international organizations as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Economic Community (EEC) –and to defy the mighty United States of America (USA) and establish diplomatic relations with the revolutionary Republic of Cuba.
In other words, these historic leaders of the Caribbean were clearly and boldly establishing that at the very core of CARICOM would be a commitment to unity, self-determination, Third World solidarity, and a courageous willingness to speak truth to power and to stand up and champion important principles of International Law.
So that is our record ! That is our heritage ! That is what we are entitled to celebrate !
 
But even as we celebrate our CARICOM in this 50th anniversary year, we would like to draw to the attention of our fellow Caribbean citizens some recent very disturbing happenings that should cause all of us to pause and take stock !
After some 45 years of our CARICOM functioning as THE solid and outstanding bloc of nations within the OAS, we suddenly learnt  — a mere 7 months ago — that a rival bloc of nations had emerged in the OAS in the form of the so-called “Lima Groupof States”.
 
It was in August of 2017 that, on the  invitation of one President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of P! eru — one of the most corrupt Heads of State in the world — some eleven OAS member states met in Lima, Peru and established the ” Lima Group of States” and dedicated themselves to do the bidding of the Capitalist establishment of the USA by engaging in a hostile and illegal “regime change campaign” against the current Socialist government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
To date, the most striking so-called “achievement”of the Lima Group has been its collusion with the corrupt President Kuczynski in withdrawing President Nicolas Maduro’s invitation to attend the 2018 “Summit of the Americas” that is scheduled to be held in Peru — a thoroughly illegitimate and despicable act, but the type of thing that the corrupt Kuczynski is known for.
(Incidentally, it has since transpired that the president who definitely will NOT be attending the Summit of the Americas is the said Kuczynski himself : on the 21st of March 2018 Kuczynski was forced to resign from office in disgrace, in order to avoid impeachment on several charges of corruption! )
The tragedy for CARICOM in all of this is that two of our CARICOM member states — St. Lucia and Guyana — broke ranks with CARICOM and actually joined corrupt President (now former President) Kuczynski and his johnny-come-lately Lima Group of States, and no less than three other CARICOM member states have gone on record as being “supporters” of the Lima Group —Barbados, Jamaica and Grenada.
 
Surely and truly, Errol Barrow, Michael Manley, Forbes Burnham and Eric Williams must be turning in anguish in their graves !
 
How do we go from leading the entire Western Hemisphere in 1972 by breaking the USA’s diplomatic isolation of Cuba and extending recognition to the Fidel Castro-led government, to becoming sheepish followers of the likes ! of corrupt Kuczynski in a thoroughly unprincipled and cowardly attack on a socialist Third World government that is determined to wrest its people’s precious petroleum resources from the hands of greedy American multi-national corporations ?
 
How do we justify or rationalize that type of supine, divisive, and myopic behavior in the 50th year of existence of our regional integration institution? How can we countenance an imperialistic big power like the USA using a lackey like Kuczynski to break up our precious “CARICOM  Consensus” and employing a few errant CARICOM governments to do their dirty work ?
 
If Prime Ministers Chastanet, Holness, Stuart and Mitchell, and President Granger don’t know any better, it is up to us — the masses of ordinary citizens of the Caribbean Community, the true heirs of Manley, Barrow, Williams and Burnham — to speak up and admonish them, and set them right in this 50th anniversary year of our CARIFTA / CARICOM regional institution.
And it is particularly important that we make this intervention now — approximately one month before the Summit of the Americas — if we are to ensure that all of our governments attend that important convocation solely and exclusively as members of our CARICOM bloc of nations, and equipped with ONE common and righteous CARICOM foreign policy position on Venezuela and on every other important international issue.
CARICOM is too important to us — too critical to our future — for us to sit back and allow it to be divided and brought into disrepute by a small group of unwise, neophyte, temporary politicians.
 
Let us ensure that we do not permit our still mighty and impressive CARICOM to go the same way that our ONCE mighty and impressive West Indies Cricket Team so unfortunately went !
 
Cari! bbean people wake up and protect your CARICOM !
Featured

Boehner Benefits From Weed. Blacks Are in Prison for Using It.

By Vincent M. Southerland and Johanna B. Steinberg

Image
A 56 year old inmate in California who has been to prison four times for possession of marijuana.CreditAndrew Burton/Getty Images

If you want to see an example of staggering hypocrisy in the criminal justice system, consider the contrast between Fate Vincent Winslow, a prisoner in Louisiana, and John Boehner, the Ohio Republican who is a former speaker of the House of Representatives.

A decade ago, an undercover police officer approached Mr. Winslow, a homeless black man, and asked for help buying marijuana. Mr. Winslow desperately needed the money, so he helped the officer buy two dime bags for a $5 profit. For that, he is serving life without parole for distribution of marijuana in the infamous Angola prison.

Last week, Mr. Boehner announced that he will join the board of Acreage Holdings, a marijuana cultivation and distribution company, citing the drug’s therapeutic benefits for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. This is the same John Boehner who declared himself “unalterably opposed” to legalization in 2011 and who voted to prohibit medical marijuana in the District of Columbia in 1999.

 

The tide has turned. Thirty-nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes. The legal marijuana industry raked in$9 billion in sales last year and is expected to bring in $11 billion this year. Nevada netted $30 million in tax revenue in the first six months of legal sales, while Colorado has earned more than $500 million in tax revenue since recreational marijuana sales became legal there in 2014.

Image
John Boehner recently announced that he will join the board of Acreage Holdings, a marijuana cultivation and distribution company. In a statement the former speaker of the house said he was joining the company, “in pursuit of their mission to bring safe, consistent and reliable products to patients and consumers who could benefit.”CreditAlex Brandon/Associated Press

The problem here is not Mr. Boehner’s evolution in thinking on marijuana. Drug policies should be informed by science, and Mr. Boehner’s shift on marijuana mirrors that of a majority of Americans who now support legalization.

The problem is with race. As white people exploit the changing tide on marijuana, the racism that drove its prohibition is ignored. So are the consequences for black communities, where the war on drugs is most heavily waged.

In the early 20th century, the campaign to prohibit marijuana was built on racist myths and xenophobic propaganda. Henry Anslinger, the head of what was, in 1930, called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, reportedly said that “reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

Richard Nixon’s war on drugs continued the trend. Consider what his former aide John Ehrlichman told Harper’s Magazine: “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” he said. “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.”

This narrative, reinforced over decades of marijuana prohibition, is reflected in racial disparities in marijuana arrests. In 2010, black people were nearly four times as likely to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession as whites, even though they use the drug at about the same rate.

 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/opinion/boehner-marijuana-blacks-prison.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

Featured

Acknowledge And Address Past Wrongs, Britain – Bert Samuels

Bert Samuels

The National Council on Reparation welcomes the decision of the UK government to make an apology and grant compensation to our brothers and sisters who had been denied the rights and benefits to which they were entitled as citizens of the UK. Although there was no formal recognition of their British citizenship, the government has promised to ‘put this right’. The result reached in the Windrush matter demonstrates that, regardless of how powerful a state may seem, pressure from ordinary folk can force a reversal of its inhumane policies. We, in the reparation movement, will never lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to see an apology followed by action to deal with justice with the crimes committed against the fore parents of that very Windrush generation.

The ship HMT Empire Windrush was not the only one to transport our people to work and build Britain. Less than two centuries ago, other British ships transported our enslaved ancestors to work in the Caribbean. The difference being that then they were unpaid forced labourers. They were the great grandparents of the Windrush generation who are in their 80s today.

We call on Britain to accept that now is the right time to acknowledge and address past wrongs. In the name of justice, Britain cannot now recognise the work and worth of the Windrush generation, while hiding from the forced labour of their enslaved fore parents. There is not only a bloodline connection between the two groups, but Britain has profited greatly from the former, and immensely for centuries from the latter.

 

Move Beyond Apology

 

The move beyond apology to compensation for present and past generations is more than justified. Britain must acknowledge that justice is whole and cannot be meted out in degrees. The call for justice for the Windrush generation echoes the call for Britain righting its earlier wrongs. She cannot build a monument in Whitehall outside her Houses of Parliament to the memory of Jews and their Holocaust, and ignore her own crimes against humanity, and the dehumanising of African people over centuries, of which the consequences are still being suffered.

The reparation claim for compensation for trans-Atlantic slavery is indistinguishable from Windrush demands. The lesson learnt from this unjust immigration scandal is that when a just cause is supported by the weight of public opinion, British ships cannot withstand the Windrush.

Let us join hands and demand reparations now!

Bert S. Samuels

Member of the Reparation Council of Jamaica

Featured

Commonwealth celebrations dishonour our forefathers

By Ras Miguel Lorne

This past week there was a massive 70th anniversary celebration of the Commonwealth in England. At a time when Britain is parting ways, politically, with the European Union she seeks to get closer to her long-time babies — those whom she ruled and exploited with murder and violence to build her empire; many of whom still hang on to her skirt tail in making their highest court the British Privy Council, even though its judges have described us as a burden in many ways.

We can well understand why Britain would want to celebrate, but how can countries like Kenya, Uganda, Jamaica, etc, celebrate colonialism and the legal murders carried out against our freedom fighters? Is this not a blatant disrespect to our ancestors who shed their blood at the hands of the British to give us some of the freedoms we have today.

When I see people like Uhuru Kenyatta present this must be accepted as a victory for the British. Knowing the extent that his father, Jomo, and the Mau Mau Warriors fought the British for freedom in the early 1950s, how can he now participate in the celebration? His father fought to get out, now he dresses up to go in.

Because the Mau Mau, who were dreadlocked warriors, in Kenya, defeated the British by 1955 the British carried out viscous, grudgeful and spiteful behaviours against our Rastafarian community in Jamaica. Many brothers and sisters here in Jamaica were killed, shot down or jailed for daring to say that Haile Selassie I is our God — a son of the Nile Valley Civilisation from whence human beings descended. Rastafarians were denied entry to schools, jobs, or even being passengers on public buses. We were classified as “south sea cannibals”, “deluded creatures”, and programmes such as rearmament were suggested by the British governor.

So, therefore, when our Prime Minister Andrew Holness goes and celebrate with Britain it makes his apology to Rastafarians for Coral Gardens, etc, artificial and meaningless. To celebrate with Britain also makes the Act of Parliament to decriminalise our national heroes a mere poppy show and lacking in understanding of their struggles. It was Britain who ‘lawfully’ saw to the death of Paul and Moses Bogle and the 437 brothers and sisters in the mass graves that are buried behind the Morant Bay Courthouse.

The time and money spent celebrating with Britain would have been best spent to exhume the mass graves and carry out DNA testing, using samples from the families of St Thomas, so as to identify our freedom fighters and give them a proper send-off.

The celebration of the Commonwealth is not just 70 years, but over 500 years of shameful acts overseen by the monarchs of England and their ancestors against Africans, at home and abroad. To celebrate with them runs counter to the call for reparation and is a ringing endorsement of Britain’s policies.

Our pride and dignity have been seriously compromised by Andrew Holness, his Government, and the Opposition in Parliament, and makes a mockery of what is called democracy in Jamaica.

The crumbs from the Commonwealth table cannot appease the blood of our martyrs. The journey continues….

Source: Jamaica Observer

Featured

 IN DEFENCE OF CUBA ON THE  ISSUE  OF  RACE – DAVID COMISSIONG

Photo: Meeting of Cuba’s new Council of Ministers (Granma)

How easy it is  for the Nation Newspaper’s columnist of East Asian descent, Mohammed Iqbal Degia, to get up on his journalistic soapbox and assume a posture of being “blacker” than all the Pan-Africanists and Afro-centrists of Barbados  by self righteously railing against what he characterizes as the Republic of Cuba’s inexcusable deficiencies in tackling and eradicating black inequality and anti-black racism.

But the “super black”Mr Degia conveniently doesn’t tell us what he is comparing Cuba’s record in tackling black inequality and anti-black racism with !

As we all know, in 1959 revolutionary Cuba — a society with a large minority black population — inherited a socio-economic system that was severely disfigured by entrenched black inequality and anti black racism from the pre-Revolutionary era. And therefore, if we are to assess  the record of the Cuban revolutionary government in dealing with and transforming that negative heritage, we would have to make comparisons with other white majority / large black minority societies such as the United States of America, Columbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the United Kingdom, France and the list goes on. And the reality is that not a single one of these countries have come anywhere close to Revolutionary Cuba in dismantling anti-black racism and black inequality !

The “super black” Mr Degia seems to be demanding that by now Cuba should have eradicated black inequality and all vestiges of anti-black racism. But let’s be honest —  which nation on the face of this earth can be credited with having eradicated black inequality and anti-black racism?

Can we make such a claim for our own Barbados — a nation that possesses a 95% black population? Do we possess a society of racial equality in Barbados? Have we rid Barbados of all or even most aspects of anti-black or anti-African sentiments and discrimination? I, for one, think not.

No-one — certainly not me — is claiming that Cuba is some exemplary post-racial paradise, but I truly find it hard to think of any other nation that has made a more solid contribution to the cause of Black dignity and upliftment over the past half century.

Perhaps Mr Degia could tell us–  in measuring a country’s commitment to the cause of black dignity and equality– what weight should we attach to the fact that thousands of Cuban soldiers (most of them being volunteers) sacrificed their lives on the very soil of Africa fighting the forces of white supremacy?

Or what weight do we attach to the fact that for several decades now literally tens of thousands of Cuban doctors, nurses, engineers, and a host of other technicians have served in Haiti and in a plethora of other Black and African countries in an effort to contribute to their development?

In addition,what weight should we attach to the fact that Cuba has opened its schools and universities — free of cost — to hundreds of thousands of of black and African students over the course of the sixty odd years of the Cuban Revolution?

You say — Mr Degia — that Cuba made mistakes in its approach to fighting racism. You imply that it was a mistake for the revolutionary leadership to believe that the establishment of socialist programmes geared towards fostering social equality and delivering education, health, housing and other social services to the people at the bottom of the social ladder would be enough to disrupt and rectify the inherited racist social structure. Well, maybe it was too optimistic to think that a sheer commitment to socialist equality and human development would be enough, but which country has not made mistakes in its approach to fighting racism ?

Mr Degia, you write vaguely and glibly of a white Cuban elite that represses black Cubans. But — tellingly — you provide not a scintilla of evidence, other than your nonsensical pointing out that the three Presidents of Revolutionary Cuba thus far have been white. In case you don’t know Mr Degia, two of those Presidents– the Castro brothers– were the historical leaders of the Revolution, and they happened to be white.

Though, truth be told, it is really difficult to think of Fidel Castro as merely a “white” man, for at an ideological level Fidel was such an enemy of the system of white capitalist supremacy that most of us consider him nothing less than a “black brother”. In fact the great Black Power advocate, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) once described Fidel as the blackest man in the Americas !

Pray tell us Mr Degia, when was the last time you heard news of a police officer in Revolutionary Cuba shooting down an unarmed black man? Or when was the last time you heard of the state intelligence or law enforcement agencies of Revolutionary Cuba setting out on a campaign to subvert and bring down black office-holders? If you are looking for a society that is oppressive of black people, Mr Degia, you are looking in the wrong place— you have to shift your gaze a little further North.

Permit me to conclude — Mr Degia — by sharing with you the following FACTS about the racial make-up of the governmental administration that was elected to office in Cuba less than a week ago :-

(1) The National Assembly

The President of the National Assembly or Parliament of Cuba– Esteban Lazo Hernandez — is a black man, and of the 605 Deputies, some 36% of them are black or of African descent.

(2) The Council of State

The Council of State or Cabinet comprises 31 members, and close to half of its members (45.1 % to be precise) are black or of African descent.

(3) The Leadership of the Council of State

The leadership of the Council of State consists of eight persons — a President, a First Vice President, five other Vice Presidents, and a Secretary. Three of the eight members of this leadership cohort are black, including the First Vice President.

All the facts underlie that Cuba is making progress — very substantial progress — in solving the historic problem of racial inequality that the Revolution inherited ! I wish the same could be said for several other countries that are well known to us.

DAVID  COMISSIONG

Featured

Jose Marti 4th International Conference For World Balance – January 28 – 31, 2019, Havana Cuba

 

The José Martí Project of International Solidarity sponsored by UNESCO was created in 2003 when approved by the General Conference of that international organization, and has the support of the Organization of Iberian American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI, the Spanish acronym) and other international institutions of different nature that have joined this Project, governed by a qualified leading organ of more than thirty renowned and outstanding intellectuals from different countries who make up its World Council.

The Project is coordinated by the Office of Cuba’s Martí Program, and is currently regarded as the sole supranational initiative in today’s world to promote the study, knowledge and dissemination of information on the life and work of a paramount figure in the field of ideas.

Since its start, the José Martí Project has propitiated a large international movement aimed at expanding the legacy of the Apostle and National Hero of Cuba. This has already become evident in the convoking capacity and in the number of activities connected with Martí that take place in the most dissimilar world regions and countries, including the awarding of the José Martí International Prize of UNESCO.

The Project’s work programs are drawn up for three-year periods, which are conceived to culminate with the celebration of a world forum of plural ideas such as the one we are hereby convoking.

On this occasion it will be the 4th International Conference FOR WORLD BALANCE, to take place at the Palace of Conventions of Havana on January 28-31, 2019.

The event that preceded it, the Second International Conference WITH ALL AND FOR THE GOOD OF ALL (January 2016) was attended by more than one thousand delegates from 53 countries of all continents. The papers, oral presentations and reflections of this forum were gathered in a digital book that has been distributed to universities and libraries in different places of the world. The same will be done with this conference we are convoking for January 2019.

Those who register in this world meeting of plural thought will receive diplomas accrediting their participation, with the corresponding academic credits.

The 4th International Conference FOR WORLD BALANCE is, in addition, an extension of the debates of the World Congress of Humanities held in August, 2017 in the city of Liege, Belgium, which was sponsored by UNESCO and the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences.

The following themes will be debated in this world forum, among others:

  • The importance of the intercultural dialogue.
  • The arts: perspectives of diversity
  • The role and challenges of the new social movements.
  • The struggle for peace.
  • Solidarity as bulwark of coexistence.
  • The need to stop the unceasing destruction of vital ecosystems for the existence of our species.
  • The scarcity of drinking water and the rural population drift.
  • Risks and hopes offered by the technological and scientific development, particularly the information and communications technology (ICT)
  • The access to education and culture for the exercise of basic human rights under the circumstances of the 21st
  • The struggle against all forms of discrimination – of gender, race, creed, age and social condition – that validate inequality and criminalize the struggle for social justice.
  • Health as the inalienable right of all human beings.
  • The role of feminine organizations in the transformation of society. The right of women in society
  • The role of the youth, students and their organizations. Their insertion in the process of changes
  • The trade union movement and its role in the struggles for a better world under the new situation created by the global crisis
  • The need to imagine and construct new economies based on harmonious relations among the human beings and their environment, aimed at a sustainable development.
  • From theory to practice: incorporation of realities for social equity projects
  • Integration and solidarity in Latin America and the Caribbean. Possibilities and dangers
  • Religious organizations. Ecumenism, its contribution to peace and to the earthly world longed for by human beings of good will
  • Indigenous populations and the ethnic minorities: the need of policies of inclusion and respect in the face of exclusion and marginalization
  • Drug consumption and drug traffic. Causes, consequences and opposition to that widespread scourge
  • Promotion of participative democracy as means for the construction of new societies
  • Need to oppose terrorism in all its forms.
  • Justice as universal value of peace.
  • The ethical framework of reference for social action in the face of the crisis, based on the best contributions of Latin American thought, from Simón Bolívar and José Martí to the most relevant thinkers of the 20th century and our days.

Each one of these fields and themes can and must be the object of multiple initiatives and variants by the participants. All of them shall be welcome.

The Conference’s scientific program will include– in addition to the work commissions according to themes, where the presented papers will be discussed – special participations, panels on issues of international interest, a symposium on bioethics and development, a wide spectrum youth forum and other modalities of reflection.

We call upon all progressive intellectuals in the world, upon educators, artists, writers and journalists; upon all social fighters, union leaders, leaders of political parties, of juvenile, feminine, peasant, indigenous and professional organizations,  parliamentarians, and upon non-governmental organizations moved by principles of justice and equity; universities and other educational, scientific, religious and cultural institutions, and upon governments formed by persons of good will, to disseminate information on and participate in this meeting convoked in the light of José Martí’s ideas, which intends to contribute to the efforts to sensitize the international public opinion to create a world conscience against the evils endured by humankind today and which endanger the very existence of our species.

For the purpose of preparing the documents and including them in the Program, the participants who will present papers must register them with the Organizing Committee before November 30, 2018. The registration information must include the paper’s title, author’s data and abstract with a maximum of 100 words in Arial 12 type, indicating what audiovisual device will be required for the presentation. It cannot be assured that the abstracts received by the Organizing Committee after November 30, 2018 will be printed in the Program of the event.

You may consult the Forum’s website: http://www.porelequilibriodelmundocuba.com   for more details and to register.

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Pan African Coalition of Organisations Presents Artwork to the Venezuelan People in Memory of Orlando Figuera

In Photo: Tania Parra (visiting representative of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP); Rev. Onkphra Wells,  President, Pan African Coalition of Organisations (PACO); and Indira González, the Charge D’affairs of the Venezuelan Embassy who received the gift of art work in memory of Orlando Figuera from PACO. 

As the anniversary of the burning of the young black Venezuelan chavista, Orlando Figuera, draws nigh, the Barbados- based Pan African Coalition of Organisations (PACO) presented to the Venezuelan people a symbolic work of art created by its president Rev. Onkphra Wells who is both a sculptor and musician. The presentation was made at the Pelican Arts Centre in Barbados on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. The gathering was a reception organised by PACO to receive Tania Parra, a senior officer of the Caribbean division of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), who is on a working tour through six sister Caribbean nations.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The Burning of Orlando Figuera by Right-wing Protesters in Venezuela in 2017

Orlando Jose Figuera was burned alive on May 20 in Caracas’ Altamira neighborhood, one of the capital’s affluent areas, after opposition protesters suspected that the 21-year-old Black man was a government supporter.

Venezuela’s Minister of Communication and Information, Ernesto Villegas, announced the news on his Twitter account Saturday evening.

“Orlando Figuera, stabbed and burned alive by minds diseased by hate in Altamira on May 20, just died of cardiopulmonary arrest,” Villegas wrote, adding that international mainstream media has continued to paint the opposition protests as “peaceful” despite cases like Figuera’s.

Figuera’s mother, Ines Esparragoza, blamed the opposition for the tragedy and her son’s suffering ahead of his death in a video shared on Villegas’ Twitter, saying as she began to cry that the attackers treated her son like an animal.

“Why does (National Assembly chief) Julio Borges allow this, and (opposition leader) Henrique Capriles allow this?” she questioned.

“Who am I going to blame?” she continued. “The opposition. Because they are the ones that threw gasoline on my son like an animal … if it wasn’t my son it would have been someone else.”

Figuera suffered first and second degree burns on 80 percent of his body, as well as stab wounds in various parts of his body. He later died while receiving treatment for his injuries.

Venezuela’s ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, condemned right-wing violence on his Twitter account, calling Figuera “the fourth victim of unpunished hate crimes” amid ongoing opposition protests, launched in early April with the intent of toppling the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

“Orlando Figuera beaten, stabbed and burned alive by ‘demonstrators’ is the symbol of hate crimes in Venezuela,” Saab wrote. “As long as the Venezuelan justice system fails to give maximum sentences against murderous lynchers, hate crimes will increase.”

Source: Telesur

Featured

SACP and COSATU Gauteng’s clarion call to workers and communists to attend funeral of Mama Winnie Mandela

Winnie Mandela with the African National Congress Women’s League delegation in Limpopo province

 Source: Guardian

12 April 2018

The South African Communist Party (SACP) and COSATU in Gauteng Province calls on workers in the public and private sector to sacrifice their resting period over the weekend to attend the funeral of Mama Winnie Mandela to be held this coming Saturday at Orlando Stadium. We recognise that Gauteng province is a predominantly workers' and working class province.

This clarion call recognizes that most workers could not attend the memorial service held yesterday due to the fact that their employers expected them to be at work.

We recognize that weekends are the only times that workers have to rest and spend time with their families away from brutal class exploitation.

We therefore call on workers and all communists, in their overwhelming numbers, to join millions of the revolutionary people to pay their last respect to the mother of the nation, uMama Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

Whilst we applaud the remarkable work done by the provincial government yesterday with a befitting memorial service, we appeal to the hosting Premier, Honourable David Makhura, who is also Acting Provincial Chairperson of the ANC, to decisively intervene and ensure that our law enforcement agencies create favourable conditions for a swift and smooth access to Orlando Stadium.

We are deeply convinced that workers and the working class broadly may feel alienated and estranged from Orlando Stadium considering heavy handed security arrangements as was certainly perceived during the government memorial service held yesterday.

We appreciate the revolutionary role played by uMama Winnie Madikizela Mandela to unite the working class and revolutionary people during difficult times of our struggle for national liberation to create a non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous society free of all forms of exploitation.

Issued by the SACP and COSATU Gauteng province

Contact:
Jacob Mamabolo – SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary

Featured

5-Point Programme to CARICOM on behalf of the Windrush Generation – David Comissiong #WindrushGeneration #Reparations

22nd June 1948: The ex-troopship 'Empire Windrush' arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
The Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica (Picture: Getty Images)23 April 2018
 
Ambassador Irwin La Rocque
Secretary General
Caribbean Community
Caricom Secretariat
Turkeyen
Georgetown
GUYANA 
 
Dear Sir
I write to you on behalf of the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados, the Caribbean Chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity, and the Pan African Coalition of Organizations (PACO).
On Saturday 21st of April 2018 the three above-mentioned organizations staged a “Community Grounding” at the Clement Payne Cultural Centre situated at Crumpton Street, Bridgetown, Barbados on the issue of the systematic and racist infringement of the civil and human rights of the so-called “Windrush Generation” of British nationals of Caribbean origin by the current Conservative or Tory governmental administration of the United Kingdom (UK).
The said “Community Grounding” benefitted from the personal testimonies of a number of Barbadian and other Caribbean nationals who had resided and worked for extensive periods of time in the United Kingdom, and who are therefore extremely knowledgeable about the plight of our predominantly black brothers and sisters of Caribbean origin resident in the UK.
After comprehensive discussion of the issue it was unanimously resolved that the Clement Payne Movement, the Pan-African Coalition of Organizations, and the Caribbean Chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity would – acting on behalf of all participants in the Grounding – address a letter to the leadership of CARICOM, informing you of our findings, opinions, and recommendations as follows :-
  1. All persons of Caribbean origin in the UK – whether or not they be British nationals or be entitled to British nationality – remain part and parcel of our Pan-Caribbean family, and are entitled to the interest, concern, solidarity and support of the Caribbean people and governments.
2.One of the core functions of CARICOM is to develop for the 15 Caribbean member states a collective foreign policy and a collective platform for dealing with the outside world and with powerful foreign governments such as the government of the United Kingdom (UK) in a unified manner.
3.In light of the foregoing, CARICOM is obligated to take a collective position in relation to the plight of the members of the so-called “Windrush Generation” who have been subjected in the UK to a systematic state-orchestrated racist campaign of unlawful deportations, detentions in custody, denial of medical and other social services, and denial of the right to gainful employment. (And it must be noted that there are several cases of the mental and physical stress generated by this racist campaign resulting not only in physical and mental illness but also in actual cases of death!)
4.The affected members of the Windrush Generation have suffered the type of racist group injury that requires the application to it of the concept and principles of Reparations: that is, the British government must be called upon to fully and unreservedly acknowledge the wrong that has been committed; to genuinely apologize to the victims; to immediately bring a halt to the injurious racist policies and practices; to put in place alternative and remedial policies and practices that are designed to genuinely assist the affected group with confirmation and certification of their legal status within the UK ; to immediately extend to deportees the right of return to the UK at the expense of the British government; and to financially compensate all  victims for the injuries and damage suffered.
5.CARICOM is under a duty to seek justice for our UK based brothers and sisters, and to do so by speaking forthrightly to and engaging with the government of the UK in the terms outlined above.
The participants at the Community  Grounding noted that there are a number of black grassroots activists organizations in the UK that are fighting for justice for the Windrush Generation, but it was the unanimous consensus that these organizations are up against a very powerful foe and will require the active solidarity and support of the Caribbean governments and of their collective regional organization – CARICOM – if the fight for justice is to be brought to a successful conclusion.
It is in this spirit, and with this understanding, that we address this letter to you, and through you to the political leadership of our CARICOM member states, and urge that CARICOM take up this matter with the Theresa May governmental administration of the UK in a very serious, determined and committed manner.
We would be grateful if we could receive a response from you giving us some indication of your proposed course of action.
Yours faithfully
DAVID  COMISSIONG
cc: The General Secretary, Clement Payne Movement
cc: The Chairman, Pan-African Coalition of Organizations
cc: The Coordinator, Caribbean Chapter, International Network In Defense of Humanity
Featured

The Secret Agenda Behind the Venezuela-Guyana Conflict

 

It all began in 1835 when the British Empire sent a German-born naturalist and explorer to conduct geographical research in the South American territory it had colonized and named British Guiana. In the course of his explorations, a map was drawn that well-exceeded the original western boundary first occupied by the Dutch and later passed to British control. Sparking the interest of the Empire’s desire to expand its borders into the area west of the Essequibo River that was rich in gold, the British government commissioned the explorer to survey their territorial boundaries. What became known as the “Schomburgk Line”, named after the explorer, Robert Hermann Schomburgk, usurped a large portion of Venezuelan land, and provoked the beginning of a territorial dispute that has remained unresolved to this day.

In 1850, after decades of arguing over the boundary line dividing Venezuela from its colonized neighbor, both sides agreed not to occupy the disputed territory under further determinations could be made. But as the demand for gold and other natural resources grew in the region, the British again tried to claim the territory declaring the Schomburgk Line the frontier of British Guiana, in clear violation of the previous accord with Venezuela.

Ironically, Venezuela appealed to the United States government for help at the time, using the Monroe Doctrine as a justification to prevent further colonization by the British Empire in the hemisphere. US President Grover Cleveland eventually declared the matter of US interest and forced Great Britain to sign a Treaty of Arbitration with Venezuela in Washington in 1897. Two years later, the Arbitration Tribunal, which had no representatives from Venezuela but instead two arbitrators from the United States said to be acting in Venezuela’s interest, ruled in favor of Britain. Venezuela rejected the decision, alleging there had been political collusion and illegal pressures in favor of the other side. These claims were supported by a letter written by Severo Mallet-Prevost, the Official Secretary of the US/Venezuela delegation in the Arbitration Tribunal who revealed the President of the Tribunal, Friedrich Martens had pressured the arbitrators to decide in favor of Great Britain.

More than half a century went by until the dispute was re-introduced on the international stage, this time at the United Nations. Venezuela denounced the corruption that had led to the arbitrators decision in 1899 and reiterated its claim over the territory known as the “Essequibo”. In February 1966, at a meeting in Geneva, all parties to the conflict – Venezuela, British Guiana and Great Britain – signed the agreement to resolve the dispute over the border between Venezuela and British Guiana, known as the Treaty of Geneva. They agreed neither side would act on the disputed territory until they could resolve a definitive border, acceptable to all parties. Months later, in May 1966, Guyana achieved its independence from the United Kingdom, further complicating matters. On subsequent maps of Venezuela and Guyana, both countries claimed the territory as part of their sovereign land.

Despite minor disagreements since 1966, the dispute did not become the source of escalating regional tensions until 2015, when a large oil discovery was made by Exxon right smack in the middle of the Essequibo, and claimed by Guyana.

OIL

The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is the second poorest country in the Caribbean, only surpassing desolate Haiti in per capita income. The country’s main economic activity is agriculture, specifically rice and sugar production, which account for over 30% of export income. Despite being surrounded by vast oil and gas reserves in neighboring Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves on the planet in its Orinoco River Basin, and nearby Trinidad and Tobago, up until recently Guyana had no known oil reserves within its territorial boundaries.

Enter Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, and a declared enemy of Venezuela. Until 2007, Exxon had a significant investment through its Cerro Negro Project in Venezuela’s Orinoco River Basin. Initially, U.S. oil and geological experts had classified the oil-based substance found in mass quantities in that area to be bitumen, a thick black tar-like asphalt, therefore rendering it not subject to the 1976 Hydrocarbons Law in Venezuela that nationalized oil and gas reserves. After President Hugo Chavez suspected the area actually contained huge oil reserves, he had his own research done and was proved right: the Orinoco River Basin was certified with over 300 billion barrels of heavy-crude petroleum.

On May 1, 2007, Chavez officially declared all hydrocarbons in that region subject to the prior nationalization laws, legally binding any foreign companies operating there to engage in joint-ventures with the Venezuelan public oil company, PDVSA. The law required a minimum of 51% ownership by the Venezuelan state, with a maximum of 49% for foreign companies. Only two companies refused to cooperate with the new laws. Both were from the United States: ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. Both sued Venezuela over the nationalizations.

ConocoPhillips’ claim was significantly smaller than Exxon’s, which demanded over $18 billion for the expropriation. Venezuela offered market value and the case went to an international arbitration tribunal that eventually ordered the Venezuelan government to pay Exxon $1.6 billion, a mere fraction of what the US oil giant had expected.

In an apparent act of revenge, Exxon found a way to get Venezuela’s oil without following Venezuela’s rules, albeit through illegal and potentially dangerous channels.

EXXON-US AGENDA

As the Obama administration was amping up hostility against Venezuela, declaring it via Executive Decree an “unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security” and imposing potentially vast-reaching sanctions on government officials, Exxon was making a deal with Guyana to explore oil deposits in the disputed Essequibo territory.

In May 2015, just as Guyana was swearing in a new president, the conservative military officer David Granger, a close U.S. ally, Exxon was making a huge discovery in the Atlantic Ocean near the Venezuelan coast. According to reports, the deposits found by Exxon in the ’Liza-1 well’ hold over 700 million barrels of oil, worth about $40 billion today. The find could be a major game changer for Guyana, representing more than 12 times its current economic input, that is, if the oil actually belonged to Guyana instead of Venezuela.

On January 26, 2015, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hosted the first Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, bringing heads of state and high-level officials from Caribbean nations together with multinational executives in Washington. The stated goal of the new initiative is to help Caribbean nations “create the conditions to attract private-sector investment”, but Biden made the true objective clear when he declared, “…whether it’s the Ukraine or the Caribbean, no country should be able to use natural resources as a tool of coercion against any other country.”

Without mentioning it by name, Biden was referring to Venezuela and its PetroCaribe program that provides subsidized oil and gas to Caribbean nations at virtually no upfront cost. PetroCaribe has been fundamental in aiding development in the region during the past ten years since its creation. And clearly, its perceived as a threat to U.S. influence in the Caribbean, and an affront to traditional corporate exploitation of small, developing nations.

In addition to the Obama administration sanctions aimed at isolating Venezuela in the region and portraying it as a ‘failed state’, the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative takes a direct stab at Venezuela’s lifeline: oil. In the U.S. Senate Report on the Department of State’s Foreign Operations Budget for 2016, $5,000,000.00 was recommended for “enhanced efforts to help Latin America and Caribbean countries achieve greater energy independence from Venezuela”. Falling oil prices have already done damage to Venezuela’s economy, but forcing it out of the regional oil trade would hurt even more.

The main conundrum of figuring out how to replace Venezuelan oil in PetroCaribe was resolved with the stroke of a pen by Guyana’s new president, a former instructor at the U.S. Army War College who made a secret trip to the United States just three days after taking office in May. Hours later, Exxon’s oil exploration rig, Deepwater Champion made its first major lucrative discovery in the large Stabroek Block in the disputed coastal territory.

The Venezuelan government warned Exxon to leave the area, citing its claim over the Essequibo territory and the ongoing dispute with Guyana subject to UN mediation. But Exxon paid no heed to Venezuela, following President Granger’s lead in openly defying the Geneva Agreement and Venezuela’s calls to solve the conflict through diplomacy, involving the UN Good Offices in the resolution of the centuries-old dispute.

UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon has pledged to send a commission to both Venezuela and Guyana to seek resolution for a problem that now, as Washington hoped, is dividing the region. President Maduro and his Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez have been making their case before regional leaders, encouraging other Caribbean nations to support their claim over the Essequibo, or at least approve the involvement of the UN to arbitrate the dispute. In the meantime, Guyana continues to aggressively push forward with Exxon to pursue what could become the largest oil theft in the Americas.

 

Source: Counter Punch  https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/24/the-secret-agenda-behind-the-venezuela-guyana-conflict/

Featured

I come to fulfill the program that we have implemented with the guidelines of Socialism and the Revolution – Miguel Díaz-Canel, new president of Cuba

otra

On the morning of April 19, a historic date on which not only is the first defeat of Yankee imperialism in the Americas commemorated, but Cuba also sees the inauguration of a new government that makes evident the continuity of the new generations with the legacy of the historic generation that founded the Cuban Revolution in the highest leadership positions of the country, compañero Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, offered his first speech as President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of Cuba.

He began by recognizing the leadership of Army General Raúl Castro, the candidate for deputy to have received the most votes in the recent general elections; as well as the Comandantes of the Revolution, “who on being in this room offer us the opportunity to embrace history,” he noted.

He also referred to the “dark attempts to destroy us” of those who have not been able to destroy “our faith.”

With the inauguration of this new legislature, he emphasized, the electoral process comes to its conclusion. The Cuban people, who have massively participated throughout, are conscious of its historic importance. They have elected their representatives based on their capacity to represent their localities, without media campaigns, corruption or demagoguery. Citizens have elected humble, hard-working people as their genuine representatives, who will participate in the approval and implementation of the country’s policies.

In his opinion, “This process has contributed to the consolidation of unity in Cuba.”

On the people’s expectations about this government, he stressed that the new Council of State must continue “acting, creating and working tirelessly, in a permanent bond with its dignified people.”

He also added that if anyone wanted to see Cuba in all its composition, it would be enough to look to its National Assembly, with women occupying decisive positions in the state and the government. However, he warned, it does not matter how much we resemble the country we are, if the commitment the present and the future of Cuba is lacking. The raison d’être of the Councils of State and Ministers is the permanent link with the population.

THE FLAG OF THE REVOLUTION IS PASSED ON TO YOUNGER HANDS

Díaz-Canel pointed out that during the closing of the last Party Congress, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz made it clear that his generation would hand over the flags of the Revolution and Socialism to the younger generations. This emphasizes the importance of the crucial mandate given by the people to this legislature, and as such its work in all areas of the nation’s life must be perfected.

“I assume this responsibility with the conviction that all we revolutionaries, from any trench, will be faithful to Fidel and Raúl, the current leader of the revolutionary process,” the new President of Cuba stated.

He then stressed that the men and women who forged the revolution “give us the keys to a new fraternity that transforms us into compañeros and compañeras,” and highlighted, as another inherited achievement, the unity that has become indestructible within the Cuban Party, that was not born from the fragmentation of others, but from those who intended to build a better country.

For that reason, he said, “Raúl remains at the forefront of the political vanguard. He remains our First Secretary, as the reference that he is for the revolutionary cause, teaching and always ready to confront imperialism, like the first, with his rifle at the ready in the moment of combat.”

Regarding the revolutionary and political work of the Army General, he highlighted his legacy of resistance and in the search for the continued advancement of the nation. “He put his sense of duty ahead of human pain,” he said in reference to the loss of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro on November 25, 2016.

Likewise, he highlighted Raúl’s grandeur as a statesman, forming a national consensus, and the manner in which he led the implementation process of the country’s social and economic guidelines. He also highlighted how he had made the return of the Five Cuban Heroes a reality, so longed-for by Fidel.

Raúl has marked Cuba’s international relations with his own spirit: he directed diplomatic relations with the United States; he led the rotating presidency of CELAC; Cuba’s hosting of the Colombian peace talks; and he has been present in all regional and hemispheric summits, always defending Our America. That is the Raúl we know, Díaz-Canel stressed.

The new Cuban President also recalled how the Army General, still very young, participated in the Granma expedition, undertook the struggle in the Sierra Maestra, was promoted to Comandante, and developed government experiences that would be applied in the country after the revolutionary triumph.

REGARDING THE NEW MANDATE

I am aware of the concerns and expectations at a moment like this, but I know the strength and wisdom of the people, the leadership of the Party, the ideas of Fidel, the presence of Raúl and Machado, and knowing the popular sentiment, I state before this Assembly that compañero Raúl will head the decisions for the present and future of the nation, Díaz noted.

I confirm that Cuban foreign policy will remain unchanged. Cuba will not accept conditions. The changes that are necessary will continue to be made by the Cuban people, he added.

He also called for the support of all those who occupy leadership responsibilities at different levels in the nation, but, above all, of the people. “We will have to exercise an increasingly collective leadership. Strengthening the participation of the people,” he summarized.

I do not come to promise anything, as the Revolution never has in all these years. I come to fulfill the program that we have implemented with the guidelines of Socialism and the Revolution, the President underlined.

And as for the enemies of the revolutionary process, he said: Here there is no space for a transition that ignores or destroys the work of the Revolution. We will continue moving forward without fear and without retreat; without renouncing our sovereignty, independence, development programs, and independence.

“To those who through ignorance or bad faith doubt our commitment, we must tell them that the Revolution continues and will continue,” he clarified, adding: “The world has received the wrong message that the Revolution ends with its guerrillas.”

Source: Granma http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2018-04-19/miguel-diaz-canel-i-assume-this-responsibility-with-the-conviction-that-all-we-revolutionaries-will-be-faithful-to-fidel-and-raul

Featured

Let’s demand firmer gun control in the US as part of Ja’s crime plan

 

Hundreds of high school and middle school students from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia staged walkouts and gather in front of the White House in support of gun control. (Photo: AFP)

Dear Editor,

Watching the millions of schoolchildren participating in the ‘March for Our Lives’ gave me goosepimples. I was touched by their determination to make their voices heard on the important issue of gun control in the USA without which they will continue to be in constant fear of mass shootings as have occurred at 18 schools since the start of the year.

I have previously called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness “to lead a resolution at the United Nations calling on the Government of the USA to implement stringent gun control measures and to take all necessary action, using the full might of their Homeland Security mechanisms, to stop the flow of illegal weapons to Jamaica and all other countries”. To date I have not heard a peep out of our prime minister on this very important matter which has been having such a disastrous impact on our national security resulting in record-breaking gun violence and murder rates since the beginning of this year. The situation is so serious that the prime minister has had to implement and extend states of emergency in St James and St Catherine North, in addition to the zones of special operation in Mount Salem and Denham Town, which are not very dissimilar to states of emergency.

The little children, including Martin Luther King Jr’s nine-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, and teenagers from several high schools have connected the dots between lack of gun control and the safety of their society in general, and schools in particular, and summoned up the courage to speak truth to power. Yet our prime minister has neither assured us that he is making the connection of liberal gun laws in the USA with our local violence and murder rates since most of the weapons are made in the USA, nor has he shown the courage to demand that the USA implement gun control and take responsibility for stopping the flow of illegal weapons to Jamaica and other countries in the region. The prime minister’s silence is deafening and disconcerting. The people of Jamaica expect him to stand up for us on external issues that threaten our national security. The prime minister needs to make the call on the US to effect gun control a part of our crime plan. We must attack the problem at the source of the illegal weapons.

I was heartened by the fact that not only was there a massive nationwide protest against gun violence and demanding gun control in the USA, but similar marches were held in solidarity across the world. I am saddened by the fact that no such solidarity event took place in Jamaica. I am therefore calling on the teachers to show and discuss with the students in their schools the many videos from the ‘March for Our Lives’ which are available on YouTube. They should discuss with the students the positive example of children speaking out on the type of society in which they want to live and taking action to create it. It is a great platform from which to launch into a discussion on civic responsibility. This is something worthy of emulation, compared to the host of negative influences from the USA to which they are exposed.

I closed my letter on February 13 with the following thought: “The whole world would breathe a sigh of relief if the USA would take this action to stem the problem from their end. Their own citizens would feel safer with tighter gun control measures because it would lead to a reduction in the numerous mass shootings that occur there.” Little did I know that there would have been a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day which would lead to a mass uprising demanding gun control. We must join in this demand in the interest of reducing gun violence and murders in Jamaica.

Source: Jamaica Observer Letter to the Editor

Featured

‘It’s Racism’: Protest Supports UK’s #Windrush Generation

"It

“It’s racism… The Windrush Generation has been treated abysmally by this government and it needs to stop,” said protester Ros Griffiths. | Photo: Reuters

The British government destroyed thousands of arrival cards in 2010, sparking widespread outrage among the affected Caribbean immigrants.

Windrush Square in Brixton, in the United Kingdom, filled with protesters on Friday in solidarity with the ‘Windrush Generation,’ which is being threatened with deportation and the denial of social services.

RELATED:
Whistleblowers: UK Home Office Destroyed Windrush Generation’s Landing Cards

“It’s racism… The Windrush Generation has been treated abysmally by this government and it needs to stop,” protester Ros Griffiths told teleSUR.

“The issues are relating to the policies that have made it very hostile for immigrants and even when they arrived – some in the late 40s, some in the 50s and in the 60s, when my parents got here – it was hostile.

“Their policies and procedures alienated them; it marginalized them and it brought around segregation. They had to fight for their very existence. They were invited to this country to help build it and they were treated with disrespect and it continues into 2018. It has to stop.”

The rally, organized by Stand Up To Racism, called for ‘an amnesty for the Windrush Generation who were invited to the United Kingdom as British citizens.’

Journalist Gary Younge and the Labour Party’s Dianne Abbott were among several speakers at the rally. “I don’t want to live in a country that is hostile to migrants,” Younge said.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Stand Up To Racism@AntiRacismDay
 Weyman Bennett, from Stand Up To Racism, countered the narrative promoted by some media that the difficulties being faced by the Windrush Generation are simply a “mistake.”

“This is not an office mistake, the reason why we’re here is because people like Theresa May are racist… Amber Rudd is a racist,” Bennett said.

Caribbean immigrants who arrived in the United Kingdom from countries which were then British colonies between 1948 and 1971 have faced increased threats of deportation, denial of social services.

Reports recently emerged that they had been labeled ‘illegal immigrants’ and might face deportation, news which prompted widespread outrage and forced an apology from British Interior Minister Amber Rudd and Prime Minister Theresa May.

A former Home Office employee told The Guardian this week that the Home Office had destroyed thousands of landing card slips documenting the arrival, despite warnings the move would make it difficult to check the records of Caribbean-born residents.

A change to immigration law in 2012 required people to show documentation for work, property rentals or benefits access, leaving those without such documentation in a precarious situation.

Source: Telesur https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Its-Racism-Protest-Supports-UKs-Windrush-Generation-20180420-0019.html?utm_source=planisys&utm_medium=NewsletterIngles&utm_campaign=NewsletterIngles&utm_content=16

Featured

#TodosConMaduro #EveryoneWithMaduro

 

Venezuela

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters during a rally in Caracas, Venezuela April 14, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Venezuela’s National Assembly Approves Maduro ‘Trial’

By Mision Verdad

A session of Venezuela
Photo: Reuters
The conspiracy of siege against Venezuela in its judicial variant increasingly seems to be moving towards completion, writes Mision Verdad.

A session of Venezuela‘s legislature, temporarily disqualified for its disregard of the Supreme Court of Justice, has approved consideration and discussion of the theoretical issue of President Nicolas Maduro‘s forced removal from office

This decision follows the opening of a trial of President Maduro by the so-called ‘Supreme Court in Exile,’ a group of Venezuelan lawyers named by the disqualified legislature as ‘magistrate’ acting in an illegal, parallel way out of Colombia.

This is an event unprecedented in Venezuelan and world politics from a judicial and institutional point of view. Such an unusual event only makes sense as part of the political siege, supported and promoted by the United States, to which Venezuela and its national authorities have been subjected.

The Fundamental Aim of the ‘Trial’

The move by the ‘Supreme Court in Exile’ towards notionally removing Maduro and issuing an arrest warrant is prompted by and for international bodies self-evidently controlled by the United States government, such as Interpol. The announcement clearly implies the useless nature of such an order in Venezuela, given its irregularities and obvious constitutional violations coming from an illegal body outside Venezuelan territory with no right of defense for Maduro.

Even so, designed by overseas players, this strategy was launched as an overbearing step towards the creation of a judicial case against Maduro, which has legitimacy for the Venezuelan opposition living abroad, given its clear sponsorship by the Organization of American States in the person of Luis Almagro, supported by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, both key players in the regime-change operation against Venezuela.

Prepared for this move and after the decision of the ‘Supreme Court in Exile,’ Venezuela’s legislature had avoided this debate until April 17. Then a session was held with the required quorum, involving 107 deputies: fewer than the 112 out of 167 seats required for a qualified majority. The debate developed with some surprising changes of position and divided between the opposition parties that said valid conditions for such a ‘trial’ of President Maduro did not exist and those who vehemently support the ‘adventure’ of breaking Venezuela’s laws.

In the end, the debate deferred a final decision pending a new debate within the week, thus giving life and continuity to the ‘pre-trial.’ With 107 deputies, following the incorporation of two from the Great Patriotic Pole, National Assembly President Omar Barboza announced that the proposal had sufficient merit. He authorized the spurious legal process to continue against President Maduro in relation to the Odebrecht case, based on accusations by the outlaw fugitive ex-Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz, that he engaged in corruption, extortion and conspiracy.

Foreign Actors in Control

Although the anti-Chavista deputies state that this action will have no effect inside Venezuela, they have made clear that it’s the foreign anti-Chavista forces that are applying pressure to keep it going.

It’s worth noting the context for this move, which is defined by a new emphasis in the system of U.S. foreign policy, blatantly applying pressure simultaneously on every front, especially in Venezuela’s case, imposing sanctions and political, economic and diplomatic pressure. So the ‘trial’ of President Maduro is being made to look like a mechanism ‘by Venezuelan institutions’ to legitimize coercive measures already underway and other measures that are on the way.

One has to emphasize the pressure brought to bear by overseas anti-Chavista figures on legislators in Venezuela to carry out the decision of the illegal ‘Supreme Court in Exile.’ Julio Borges and Antonio Ledezma are the main lobbyists and promoters of the sanctions against their country and fulfill a role legitimizing the decisions cooked up in U.S. institutional offices. Ledezma figures as a likely ‘president-in-exile’ if the National Assembly goes ahead with the planned removal of President Maduro.

The danger of this move necessarily recalls other contexts. The creation of parallel institutions and baseless withdrawal of recognition of political leaders still in office are the fundamental components of conspiracies leading to war. Or at least they were in Libya, when three parallel factions to Muammar al Gaddhafi disputed power, both from exile and on Libyan soil.

RELATED:
Venezuela, Spain Agree to Normalize Diplomatic Ties

The danger of illegal international moves against President Maduro, ‘legitimized’ by instances outside Venezuela, would set a disturbing precedent given the growing judicialization of politics in Latin America.

Institutional harassment is increasing of left-wing leaders such as Lula da SilvaCristina Fernandez and now Rafael Correa, and is another component of the de facto interruption of politics. The unprecedented aspect of the move against President Maduro is the enactment of an ‘international trial’ without the relevant bodies authorized to hold one, and that ‘courts in exile’ may try to remove him from office. The precedent is absurd, but of enormous significance as a variant of the judicialization of politics, this time in its overseas version.

Knowing that Maduro may well win the presidential elections of May 20, and given the limited room for maneuver of the Western powers to convince the region to follow the route of total diplomatic and financial boycott, the ruse of the ‘Supreme Court in Exile’ could give the U.S. government an opportunity to increase pressure on Venezuela. This would raise the case in international forums such as the U.N. Security Council as if it were a ‘failed state’ and fabricating a climate of non-recognition of Venezuela’s institutions in the region, so as to develop the U.S. plan of ‘humanitarian intervention.’

Diplomacy Abandoned

More and more U.S. foreign policy is abandoning diplomatic courtesy and appearances. In Latin America there is a clear rupture of institutional frameworks encouraged by the U.S. government’s current foreign policy; even the self same institutional frameworks the United States helped to create are being undermined. How things get done no longer matters. Politics get suspended and rendered meaningless.

The barefaced abandonment of the forms and mechanisms of the OAS so as to coerce Venezuela has accelerated since 2014, when OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro sought to push though the application against Venezuela of the OAS Democratic Charter. That tendency has brought about and only made stronger what we are witnessing today. It is taking on the most sinister tonalities, only serving to deepen the creation of a framework of instability at a regional level.

It seems less and less relevant that the ‘trial’ of Maduro is illegal and supremely inconsistent. The conspiracy of siege against Venezuela in its judicial variant increasingly seems to be moving towards completion.

Source: Telesur

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Venezuelas-National-Assembly-Approves-Maduro-Trial-20180419-0024.html?utm_source=planisys&utm_medium=NewsletterIngles&utm_campaign=NewsletterIngles&utm_content=32

 

Featured

Anti-imperialist march in #Lima — Alma Cubanita

 

Por   | internet@granma.cu 

Trade unionists, indigenous peoples, farmers, popular movements, and delegations to the Summit of the Peoples in Lima gathered yesterday in the city’s Plaza de Marte, to denounce U.S. intervention in the region.

Under the watchful eyes of a strong police presence, hundreds marched through the city’s central municipality of Jesús María.

Demonstrators demanded the release of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; an end to political persecution of progressive leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean; the removal of foreign military bases in Peru; and no more intervention in the domestic affairs of Venezuela, in particular.

Gerónimo López, national secretary of the Peruvian General Federation of Workers, told the Cuban press that the march was held to denounce the United States’ hostile policies toward Latin America, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s absence.

Peruvian journalist Carlos Rombambil commented, “Social movements are awake and ready to do what is necessary to show we are not in favor of intervention.”

In the meantime, presidents and heads of state continued to arrive for the Summit, to be inaugurated this afternoon.

 

Publicado por Alma Por Sergio Alejandro Gómez | internet@granma.cu Trade unionists, indigenous peoples, farmers, popular movements, and delegations to the Summit of the Peoples in Lima gathered yesterday in the city’s Plaza de Marte, to denounce U.S. intervention in the region. Under the watchful eyes of a strong police presence, hundreds marched through the city’s central municipality of […]

via Anti-imperialist march in #Lima — Alma Cubanita

Featured

News From People’s Summit in Lima, Peru. #PueblosDeAmerica #PorLaPazDelMundo #PeopleOfTheAmericas #ForWorldPeace

 

 Updates From David Comissiong

I just participated in a joint meeting of the Cuban and Venezuelan coalitions at the Summit of the Americas.

We exchanged ideas about how to make our participation in the Summit as effective as possible.

 

I attended the official opening session of the People’s Summit ( an initiative of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru, and not to be confused with the civil society segment of the official Summit). I was shocked to discover that I was the Only person there from the English speaking Caribbean. We really have to correct this separation.

xxxxxxxxx

Just returned from a Free Lula demonstration in front the Brazilian embassy in Lima.

There was a beautiful spirit in the demonstration — much singing of revolutionary songs (accompanied by musicians on quattro) , much chanting of slogans.

I did a television interview at the demonstration with Venezuela’s ATV.

The only downside was that the Police “arrested” one of our buses and took it to the Police station. They claimed it was parked in a prohibited location. So at the end of the demonstration we all had to pack into one bus and drive to the Police station to retrieve the arrested bus.

 

           Cuban youth participate in forum in Peru despite exclusion – ICAP

 

LIMA, Peru, Apr 11 (ACN) A delegation of Cuban youth will participate today in the sessions of the 5th Youth Forum of the 8th Summit of the Americas in this capital city, despite having been excluded from the dialogue between social actors and high-level government representatives, scheduled for Thursday 12 April.

In the San Isidro business center, located in the municipality of the same name, there will be an event where 10 Cuban youth represent their country among 150 delegates from the continent.

According to Ronald Hidalgo Rivera, a member of the Cuban delegation, when he presented himself for accreditation, he told the press that he was interested in participating in the dialogue with the representatives of the States and that they had not been selected.

This is a malicious exclusion, because in the youth meeting 50 of the more than 150 participants were to be admitted by the organizers of the V Forum and “coincidentally” they did not choose any Cubans, he said.

Hidalgo Rivera denounced the non-transparent way in which the Young Americas Business Trust (Yabt) and the Organization of American States (OAS) – the organizers of the V Forum – made the selection of the 50 who will participate in tomorrow’s dialogue at the Sheraton Hotel in Lima.

The forum has not yet begun and they are already trying to ignore Cuba’s presence and voice, he said.

The young man also denounced the interference of three elements of the Cuban counterrevolution as supposed representatives of the Cuban youth in the V Youth Forum.

He revealed that they do not represent any legitimate organization on the island because the 10 accredited youth are the ones who have participated in all the events prior to the V Forum that will take place in Lima.

What participatory democracy is going to be discussed here, when the criteria of all the participants in the meeting are not taken into account, when there are no legitimate representatives of Cuban youth, he stressed.

He added that they called the organizers’ attention, so that these lies would not remain uncalled for.

Although Ronald Hidalgo does not trust that the Organizing Committee will give a convincing response, since they didn’t it at a similar event in 2015 at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, as they have only presented justifications, without arguments.

The organizers of the Young Americas Business Trust (Yabt) and the Organization of American States (OAS) said they will be conducting a review process, but so far there has been no response.

He assured that the youth delegation will not allow the V Forum to meet with the three “little people” in the room, because “we are not willing to dialogue with elements financed by counterrevolutionary and terrorist organizations”.

According to what happened in the Peruvian capital, the more than 150 participants of the V Youth Forum will begin the work in plenary in the morning and then will be grouped into three teams to discuss the fundamental axes of the VIII Summit of the Americas: governance and corruption, to make proposals that will be presented to the high-level segment tomorrow, Thursday.

In parallel, this Wednesday they will meet in Lima as part of the events prior to the VIII Summit, the inter-religious forum of the Americas, the III Meeting of the Open Parliament Network of ParlAmericas in the Congress of Peru and will continue the Alternative Peoples’ Summit that began this Tuesday, with the participation of Cuban representatives in all cases.

Coalition 15 For an Inclusive and Respectful World, in which the island’s genuine civil society has 68 participants, is expected to meet in the afternoon at the Sheraton Hotel, elect its spokeswoman and discuss the crucial issues that have been agreed in advance.( Jorge Legañoa Alonso)

 

Featured

Peace Lovers in the US Spring into National Day of Action Against Wars at Home and Abroad – April 14-15, 2018

 

Spring Action 2018

– End U.S. overt and covert wars, drone wars, sanction/embargo wars, and death squad assassination wars.

—  Close of all U.S. bases on foreign soil.  Dismantle all nuclear weapons.

—  Bring all U.S. troops home now. Self-determination not military intervention. U.S. hands off the Middle East, Africa, Asia and

      Latin America. End military aid to apartheid Israel. Self-determination for Palestine. The U.S. cannot be the cop of the world.

– $Trillions for human needs… for jobs and social services, quality debt-free education and single payer health care. No to anti-

    union legislation.  For $15 and a Union Now.

– Defend the environment against life-threatening fossil fuel-induced global warming.  For a just transition to a 100 percent

    clean, sustainable energy system at union wages for all displaced workers.

— No to white supremacy, police brutality/murder. End racist mass incarceration. Black Lives Matter

— No human being is illegal. No to mass deportations. Yes to DACA and TPS (Temporary Protective Status)

The U.S. government and its leading Pentagon generals openly and repeatedly threatened nuclear war or massive military intervention against sovereign nations. Such is the case today with North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.  Simultaneously, U.S. military forces are at war in several nations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen,  and Somalia. Hundreds of U.S. military bases circle the globe in more than 170 foreign countries at the cost of $trillions while these same $trillions are subtracted from critical social programs at home. $Trillions in tax cuts and corporate bailouts are granted to the super rich while the war at home takes on virulent racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and homophobic forms.

Source: http://SpringAction2018.org

Featured

The Way Forward for Latin America & the Caribbean Taking Inspiration from Fidel Castro – Manifesto from the 2017 Sâo Paulo Forum Working Group

LATIN AMERICAN CONSENSUS: Perspectives for a political program of agreements of the Left, the popular parties and movements of Latin America & the Caribbean – Sâo Paulo Forum Working Group – Managua, Nicaragua 10 January 2017

Fidel Castro, example of unity and internationalism

Among the incomparable examples left by Fidel as his legacy to the revolutionaries of Latin America & the Caribbean, two stand out as having been decisive in the struggles of our peoples, our parties and movements. They are: unity, and reasoned internationalism.

“The duty of the oppressed and exploited nations to fight for their freedom; the duty of every people to act in solidarity with all the oppressed, colonized, exploited and wounded peoples, regardless of where they are in the world and the geographical distance that separates them…………Being internationalist is a way of paying our debt to
humanity”. (Fidel Castro).
This Sâo Paulo Forum Working Group dedicates the results of its modest efforts to the example and revolutionary integrity of Comandante Fidel Castro.

CONTENTS

  • Aims of this document (foreword)
  • The values and principles that unite us
  • The reality we want to change (diagnosis)
  • Strategic guidelines. What is to be done?
  • The political instrument for change
  • Conclusions and recommendations

Aims of this document (foreword):

This document is the result of work based on a set of ideas and concepts designed to contribute to developing progressive and revolutionary processes in the various regions and countries of Latin America & the Caribbean. It is now a collective document, adopted by parties and organizations of the subcontinent. The name refers to unity, both as regards declarations and a program and its associated political practice.

 

Over 500 years have passed since the start of the European invasion, at Abya Yala, an event which Latin America’s popular movements proclaim as being the beginning of still unfinished indigenous, black and popular resistance. The fight against the conquistadores, the indigenous uprisings of the 18th century, the rebellions of African slaves, the Haitian revolution – the first heroic anti-colonial and anti-slavery campaign to triumph in these lands – and the struggles that produced Latin American independence, are a precious historical legacy which feeds our present battles for emancipation. In his turn, over 200 years ago, in his well-known Letter from Jamaica, Simón Bolívar defined the seminal moment in which, with the new independent republics, a new world was being born, destined to become a great nation.

“The veil has been torn aside: now we have seen the light and they want to send us back to the darkness; the chains have been broken; we have become free; and our enemies are trying to enslave us again”, he wrote, and added with visionary certainty: “Without doubt, what we lack to complete the work of our regeneration is union”, thus completing his description of the triumph of Latin American and Caribbean popular hegemony over its own destiny.

Our Latin American and Caribbean societies have been reshaped and diversified. Our way of organizing ourselves and seeing the world have also been transformed, enhanced by the experience of popular power and of access to extensive social benefits, which have enabled the progressive transformation of our region’s socioeconomic and political realities – a situation reflected in changed perceptions of political and economic efforts and the visions of power.
In its need for survival, capitalism has resorted to predatory behavior in relation to society and nature, placing at risk the progress in the quality of social relations achieved by contemporary society, and especially the advances as regards democracy and the guaranteeing of human rights, engineered by the continent’s progressive governments. Mankind is languishing under the onslaughts of a financially-speculative capitalism in crisis. At the same time, this reflects the worsening of the effects it produces within our societies. These are to do with a sense of neoliberal accumulation under practices that take place in two settings: go for firms of the national states and appropriate the public budgets in order to socialize the losses of the private companies; accordingly, this should be cause for encouragement of our struggles against the system.

Financial capital, the “bankocracy” cited by Karl Marx, performs its role as speculator; it is the tool of neoliberalism which breaks the rules of liberal capitalism; it is the voraciousness of a ruthless model derived from the spirit of capitalism’s epicenter: accumulation. In this corrupting phase of the capital accumulation process which neoliberal imperialism seeks to impose on us, we see this as the moment to build the Latin American Consensus. This Latin American Consensus does not accept the notion of an end to the progressive cycle or that it is the moment for regretting the reverses suffered on the political or electoral plane. It is the moment for constructive self-criticism and for learning from our good decisions and from our mistakes. At every level, we are continuing to struggle for power within all the institutions and to harness it to serve the alternative project, improving the coordination between forces in all the forms of power existing in society.

Taking account of the specific conditions in each country, the entire continent should share and intensify the events manifesting our struggle. We of the progressive and left-wing political parties are keeping up the fight against the system. In this struggle, we are advancing shoulder to shoulder with the social movements of every kind. Despite temporary setbacks and the aggressiveness of today’s capitalism, our fight for power is undeterred. We perceive a shift in the balance of forces in the region, and see the present as a time of political and social deceleration and de-accumulation – the result of an imperial counteroffensive, our own mistakes and a capitalism that shows intensification of certain trends possibly indicating a change in the capitalist cycle within its current phase. In any event, this is not a time for lamenting past political or electoral setbacks; our proposal consequently also reflects our own accumulation, political and social, which creates a joining of forces in favor of the popular democratic camp, to keep up the struggle against unbridled capitalism and towards a socialist horizon. To that end, we need to redefine the role of the individual and society, and the production relations prevailing in today’s world.

This political program is a horizon that encompasses the political concepts, values and perspectives appropriate to the left-wing and progressivism, with the aim of steering the changes in Latin America & the Caribbean. In this context, we should view Latin America & the Caribbean not as an isolated entity, but as an integral part of a worldwide socioeconomic production system with a tendency to multi-
polarity, in the throes of an organic structural crisis of overproduction of goods derived from the development of the forces of production, and that if distributed on the basis of changed relations of production with social justice, these would enable society to prosper.

This political program has the primary aim of promoting unity among the political and social forces and organizations that subscribe to it. In this way, it seeks a broad appeal, based on a wide-ranging approach, free of sectarianism and other attitudes threatening to fragment us. This program must respect and contain ideological diversity, within the limits implied by the shared values enumerated below, and constitutes – by definition – a strategic proposal. The program consequently embraces the ideal of the transformation of our societies, beyond the singularities and specific characteristics of each country and the ideological differences between the political and social organizations involved. Given the scope of its aims, its mobilizing role will be paramount, as regards not only the Sao Paolo Forum forces and organizations but also all the political movements that can and should contribute to this struggle.

With this program, we are aiming to surmount an exploitative system in crisis, responsible for underdevelopment, inequality, destruction of Mother Earth, the alienation and permanent loss of the sovereignty of our peoples. We believe that a better world is possible, that it is already progressing in the freeing of our peoples from imperialist and capitalist domination. Our horizon is a society which seeks to close the ever-widening gap between rich and poor and overcome the inequalities associated with gender, ethnic group and age.

We are witnessing a time of changes in the relations of forces, highlighting the prospects of the Left in Latin America & the Caribbean. Based on our successes and failures, teachings and lessons, we believe we have learned enough to be able to vindicate our struggle and our plans. We are ready to confront and, with resolution and unity, rise above this state of things. It is what our peoples expect of us, and we must channel our efforts, corrections and plans to that end. This political manifesto is based on a priceless historical heritage that spans from the very dawn of the pre-Columbian civilizations to the emancipating struggles against European colonialism and the fighting traditions of our native peoples, of country folk, of laborers, of intellectuals and workers in general. It is intermixed with concepts such as that of “living right”, the humanist, revolutionary, Marxist and progressive currents which emerged in Europe and the authentically Latin American and Caribbean manifestations, not to mention the inheritance of those who were at the forefront in our battle with European colonization: Hatuey, Tekun Uman, Diriangen, Guaicaipuro, Cuauhtémoc, Rumiñahui, Túpac Amaru, Diriangen, Bartolina Sisa, Atahualpa, Túpac Katari and Lautaro; and the thinking of our liberators: Louverture, Bolívar, Manuelita Saenz, Sucre, San Martin, Artigas, Javiera Carrera, Policarpa Salavarriera, Hidalgo, Morazán, Alfaro and Martí in the 19th century; and of Sandino, Farabundo Martí, Mariátegui, Flora Tristán, Zapata, Villa, Cárdenas, Camilo Torres, Manuel Marulanda, Albizu, Allende, Torrijos, Seregni, Manley, Hándal, Kirchner and Chávez in the 20th and 21st centuries. We bring the best teachings and reflections left to us by the revolutions of the 20th century and the collapse of Eastern European “real socialism” and by the kinds of organization offering resistance to dictatorships, fascism, imperialism and the emergence of new popular and unitary structures, fruit of the process of accumulation of forces. In turn, we benefit from the ethical and internationalist legacy of Che Guevara, and from the example of resistance and ideological and humanist stance of the Cuban Revolution, especially the seminal thinking of Fidel Castro. Its complete implementation requires political tools, characterized by discipline, rigor in their application and readiness to cooperate with other organizations with similar aims.

This manifesto is not a specific plan for any particular country or political force. The reality we are seeking to change varies widely from country to country, and also within these, and even among the political and social organizations called on to participate. Nonetheless, it reflects a view of Latin America as a whole, with a common path and destiny. Its validity resides in being a document of reference democratically approved within the Sao Paolo Forum, the regional political body most representative of the revolutionary, progressive and democratic organizations of Latin America & the Caribbean.

In the words of the champion of Cuba’s independence, José Martí: “Our enemy is working to a plan: to unsettle us, scatter us, divide us, stifle us. So we work to a plan of our own: to show the best of ourselves, stand shoulder to shoulder, bind to one another, evade him, and finally make our homeland free. Plan against plan”.

The values and principles that unite us. The countries and peoples that form Latin America & the Caribbean have similarities and differences, but we see ourselves as a community and as a large homeland. The similarities, especially, are the product of socioeconomic and political structures derived from a common history, which in each era have suffered and are still suffering subjugation by the hegemonic powers of the times, be they the European colonists or the American imperialists. The values defended by the Left are our points of reference, and can be summarized as follows:

1- Equality, fairness and social justice. Our aim is that this should exist to the greatest possible extent among our countries, peoples and individuals, under the principle of fairness. Economic and social policy should be designed to ensure a fair distribution of wealth. From each according to his means. The object of economic and social decision-making is mankind: human beings in the most all-embracing and collective sense. The large majority, especially those historically discriminated against, should be the primary object of these policies.

2 – The common good should be our priority and consequently defense of the common assets. Sustainable use of natural resources and care of the environment should be our commitment, as the premise for safeguarding the survival of Mother Earth, the totality formed by the human race and nature. In this context, we emphatically reject the commercialization of such resources.
3 – Democracy and the struggle for freedom. We are at a stage of resistance, fighting also within our own forces (self-criticism). That is why the struggle to regain continuity and progress by the left-wing forces and governments and the progressivist initiatives implies a commitment to democracy, which should of necessity reinforce its popular, direct, participative and community character, and also the building of a Latin American national identity as a mechanism for creating hegemony and people’s and political power. We reject arbitrariness in politics and authoritarian decision-making,
4 – The unity of our forces and organizations and the inseparable relation with our peoples are of paramount importance to the development and dissemination of this Latin American Consensus. Thus it is possible to bring about change despite not being in government, if we are able to discern when people are ready to carry the struggle forward, through the social organizations, and dispute the economy and production with the bourgeoisie, such that these are aligned with organizational structures that ensure fair distribution of wealth.

5 – Ethics, integrity, modesty and being an individual and collective example are values of the left-wing organizations, reflecting the need for mobilizing these in pursuit of our goals. These elements form a substantial part of our ethical principles, since they contribute to ensuring the necessary climate of society’s trust in us and in the work we are defending.

6 – Transparent exercise of government and administration, of public and collective assets, while social control of these must reflect a genuinely left-wing approach. A relentless assault on corruption, as an inherent feature of the system we need to change; this is essential and forms part of our integrity and the ethics in our processes to take measures against the corrupt and show the tools for combating corruption.

7 – Rejection of any manifestation of fascism, racism, xenophobia, discrimination of any origin or nature, and other expressions of exclusion for social, religious, racial, gender or sexual-preference related reasons, should be part of the agenda of the Left.

8 – Solidarity, with other individuals and nations, complementarity between man and nature, is the basis of the humanist vocation of our positions in every sphere.

9 – Full exercise of the right to peace is a prerequisite for enjoyment of all the other human rights and should be a priority for the Left. We reject all forms of terrorism, assassination of social or political leaders, and the arms race, by virtue of the ethical character of our struggle, of our belief in peace, in respect for national sovereignty, for freedom, for human dignity and the guarantees of a decent life.

10 – The right of every country to choose the political and social system democratically determined by its peoples, should be respected. We reject any kind of intervention that breaches the sovereignty of our peoples. As a fundamental premise, we consider that there can be no national sovereignty without comprehensive Latin American sovereignty, implying the requirement for complete institutionalization of the integration mechanisms, such as CELAC, UNASUR, ALBA, Petrocaribe etc.

11 – Pro-Latin American and internationalist sentiment is intimately related to our desire for integration as a major regional bloc, able to preserve everything formally achieved in the last 200 years or more, in an emancipating, liberating, non-subordinated sense. Accordingly, we regard the development of the Community of Latin American & Caribbean States (CELAC) as a strategic aim, and that its proclamation of Latin America & the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, approved at the 2nd summit in Havana in 2014, provides the political and legal framework for uniting us in all our diversity, and defending ourselves.

12 – Patriotism and internationalism should be intrinsic to the Left. One cannot be left-wing and not feel the utmost outrage at any injustice committed against any human being, anywhere in the world, as we were taught by Che Guevara.

13 – Our struggle seeks new ways of living, abjures violence of all kinds, ethnic and social discrimination and especially the daily abuse of women and children.

 

The reality we want to change (diagnosis)

Imperialism and the oligarchies constitute our primary adversaries and the main factor in our basic problems; they are a growing threat to the foundations of civilization and to survival of the human race. Our region is suffering the effects of a wide-ranging imperialist offensive against progressive governments, designed to undermine the morale of our forces and recover lost ground. They seek to turn back the clock to the worst stages in the implementation of the neoliberal model, with its sequel of impoverishment, subjugation to the large transnationals which reinforce monopoly power and erode sovereignty in their efforts to subjugate our peoples and impose on us the most retrograde and conservative values in the political and ideological landscape We find similarities in our main structural problems, be they of a socioeconomic or political character, beyond certain situations.

The evolution of the progressive and revolutionary processes during the last 15 years has not been sterile. In any case, the present situation can be characterized as open confrontation between the progressive popular forces and the pro-imperialist right wing, as suffering occasional political setbacks but at the same time generalizing the popular movement’s resistance struggles.

The Right has identified the strong and weak points in our proposals, and takes advantage of the systemic crises by venting them on our peoples. The adversary has sought to characterize this moment in history as the end of our processes. And that is totally false. Our commitment addresses new collective lessons and the prospect of reconquering the processes of transformation. In other words, we must make progress in the development and dissemination of our processes of political and social change, to achieve new victories. To this end, our progressive and left-wing movements, organizations and parties should recreate our methods, theories and practices so as to underpin the development of this Latin American Consensus. In this respect, there is a basic need for mass generation of leaders and leaderships able to listen and learn from the experience and wisdom of our peoples.

From the economic point of view, there are no longer any doubts that globalization, which in the economic sphere has been of a neoliberal character and predominantly financial, represents a new chapter in the history of capitalism, distinguished from the initial, basically commercial capitalism which lasted until the 19th century, and the capitalism of a largely industrialist character which occupied almost the whole of the 20th century.
The imperialist model whereby the global economy evolved and continues to evolve is erected basically on a great financial fiction, which in the form of a bubble has spawned the issue of credit and money supply in the most diverse and complex ways, creating a highly fragile system in which the cracks began to appear between 2007 and 2012. All the signs are that its steady demise will continue. There is breakdown of agreements within the societies, including those regarding work and social security. This rupture in the world of work is causing massive unemployment, insecurity among the citizenry and is destroying the social security systems. The end of the welfare state in the industrialized world is a central aspect of the policies pursued in the wake of the crisis in 2008 and also among those governments associated with a right-wing recovery in Latin America. The progressive, left-wing administrations have effectively restored the human rights that neoliberalism has destroyed:

1 – The capitalist system and its history of conquest, colonialism and neocolonialism is the cause of the underdevelopment that characterizes our economies, our societies and the social awareness of individuals. Reproduction of secular backwardness and dependence on power centers outside the region constitute the main obstacle to the achievement of full independence and to progress among our nations.

2 – The subordinate way in which we have participated in globalization poses serious obstacles to modernizing and expanding the industrial and other elements of our production system, increasingly making us mere exporters of raw materials with scant or no value added.
3 – In effect, financial speculation, as the hallmark of the world economy, has a cyclical impact on the prices of those exports, causing spells of ephemeral prosperity, reflecting the existing structural limitations. We should therefore affirm our resistance to the attempts to control international financial capital, typified as the modern expression of a world-wide tyranny, ubiquitous and deregulated.

4 – The reluctance of successive Latin American governments to invest in scientific development, coupled with the obstacles and restrictions applying to access to industrial credit, unfair control of intellectual property by the transnationals and the brain drain and other factors, have hampered the ability to progress independently, contributing to the present degrees of dependence. The contradiction between wide-ranging commercial projects undertaken by major capital, mainly in agroindustry, and self-sufficiency and food sovereignty, can only be resolved when our actions make progress in meeting the need to close the gaps between town and country, between social classes, in equality of rights, based on social distribution. In this context, we should recognize the economic and social imbalances among our countries, in some of which there are national oligarchic groups bigger than the transnationals. Given the above, there is a need for an educational model aimed at accelerated technological innovation.

5 – The dominance of the large transnationals, which impact our economies with little or no state control, which are party to the predation on our societies and the environment – to cite only two of the evils that urgently require remedies – causing the destruction of the labor force and of nature.
6 – The scourge of foreign debt, an eternal burden, far from having been resolved, continues to erode our economies, operating as one of the main tools of imperialist domination. This involves extreme forms of speculation and legalized financial blackmail, such as the workings of the “vulture funds”

7 – The imposition of the FTAs (free-trade agreements) which encumber government purchases, patent rights, intellectual property and jurisdiction over disputes foreign to the parties, while perpetuating relations on unequal terms, tend to intensify subordination, imply loss of sovereignty and make no real contribution to trade, economic or social development, as claimed by their imperialist promoters. A new era of mega-TLCs, such as the Transpacific Partnership for economic cooperation (TPP) or the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), or that negotiated by the US with Europe, are blatant examples of the sort of treatment we can expect.

8 – Capitalism, in its neoliberal phase, is in the throes of a crisis of its own making as another means of accumulation and concentration of capital, while its dynamics result not only in expansion through financialization and transnationalization, but also damage in the form of de-industrialization of national production bases, denationalization of state enterprises, outsourcing of strategic economic sectors, privatization of the land and appropriation of the income generated – mainly in the mining and energy sector.

9 – The political and social bloc seeking change should have a popular, democratic national development plan for direct foreign investment constrained by a state legislative framework designed to ensure that key development areas are prioritized, and that it does not become a mechanism for domination and irrational exploitation of the natural world. The struggle for the surplus is key, enabling the setting up of co-participation and incorporation of various layers in our struggle, and thereby integration of further participants; dealing with issues such as ecology becomes essential. The emphasis in these considerations is on unity, dialectics in the processes and the popular struggle.
10 – Our region, from the Rio Bravo to Patagonia, including the insular Caribbean, is a part of the world blessed with substantial mining-energy and water resources, extensive biodiversity and intellectual and human development, with every potential for becoming an area of sustainable prosperity for its inhabitants, and able to contribute to the well-being of other peoples of the world. We regard natural resources as common assets, use values – not exchange values – which belong to the people, while their administration is a matter for the state. They are not privatized and are managed so as to preserve the balance between society and Mother Earth, seeking harmony and restoration of the diversity of life systems.

11 – The existence and coexistence of various types of plural economy (state, community, cooperative social and private) is recognized, under a planning regime in which the state controls the strategic sectors and organizes their interrelation, with a view to raising the quality of life of the population, food security, redistribution of wealth and Latin American & Caribbean economic integration. Nevertheless, we should respect all the forms of ownership, democratizing the factors of production, defending in a spirit of solidarity the small and medium-sized industrialists and producers, fostering and disseminating the types of state ownership and association which confer greater freedom of production and association.

12 – We recognize the successes of these 20-plus years of work by the Left organized at the Sao Palo Forum, and almost 20 years since the victory of President Hugo Chávez. There are gains from the colossal economic and social battle waged, although we have not yet been able to change the capitalist production relations. We must change the script written by the Right unbridled capitalism and imperialism, rewrite our inclusive manifesto and develop our proposals for building hegemony, establishing new structures for accumulation enabling comprehension and empowerment of the achievements of our governments, in order to meet the needs of the peoples.

We reaffirm our support for what has been done and propose to build cooperation, consolidating our forces for change, the working class, farmworkers, small producers, the self-employed, self-management projects, individuals organized in cooperatives, addressing the new problems that arise and ensuring organization and action by area or locality, such that these units can move up the value chain, recouping the gains that the system deprives them of through the market. From the social point of view:

1 – Our region is still the world’s most unequal place, despite the notable social progress achieved in recent years by the progressive and left-wing governments.

2 – The concentration of wealth associated with the above is the main reason for the persistence of poverty and social marginalization, phenomena impossible to overcome without a new basis for the distribution of wealth that recognizes the work contributed – very different from the redistribution processes we have seen so far, based on the market. A radical review of the existing taxation and financial systems is essential.

3 – Poverty has a lasting impact on the quality of life of our citizens, both male and female, even in the middle or rich segments, to the extent that the exploitation of capital affects us all via the market, the intensification of insecurity, trade and trafficking in persons, organized grime and trafficking in narcotics, among other problems. At the same time, we should see these conditions as incentives for progressing political and social change, reforming the state and designing a new economic framework that favors the interests of the large excluded majorities.

4 – Health as a basic human right, is far from showing encouraging indicators. It is unaccountable that despite the notable advances in the development of medical sciences, we are still seeing high rates of infant and maternal mortality and of deaths from preventable diseases. The hospital and general medical infrastructure remains inadequate.
5 – The education situation is also worrying. Millions of Latin Americans and people of the Caribbean are still in an age-old condition of backwardness, reflected in hundreds of thousands of illiterates and semi-literates. Education in general remains poor, as does the quality of instruction in the schools and universities. A shortage of teachers at both secondary and primary levels, and their low salaries and poor preparation, are factors in this problematic situation.

6 – Access to decent employment, providing wages that are fair and based on skill level, without discrimination on grounds of gender, race or origins, is still a right whose full enjoyment is denied to millions of women and men in our region, who have access only to informal employment, jobs on precarious terms and poorly-paid, in which their basic rights as workers are not respected.

7 – As an aside, we should reflect on the serious downgrading implied in the neoliberal concept of work, the material and subjective effects generated at the grassroots level in today’s production relations, also implying new kinds of exploitation of human beings, entirely regardless of whether those exploited are adults, young people or children. We must establish, at the heart of our societies, discussion of the impact of the new technologies on the world of work. The replacement of manpower caused by robotization and the applications of the new information and communication technologies (ICTs), and how we are to retrain these excluded workers for new areas, and analyze the impact on social security, including retirement pensions and similar benefits.

8 – Social security has been severely affected by the neoliberal policies. The insurance companies and pension funds, mostly privatized, remain a mechanism for extortion from the workers and for financing the bourgeoisies and economic groups that control activity. This causes insecurity and hopelessness among hundreds of millions of people who are consequently not guaranteed a decent life in the future.

9 – Access to resources and technology capable of mitigating the repercussions of climate change remains restricted and with strings attached for our countries. The centuries-long indiscriminate use of fossil fuels by the capitalist industrial model has led to the phenomenon of global warming, an escalating threat to life on the planet. This situation is aggravated by the pollution of the atmosphere, seas, bodies of water and “úselos” resulting from lack of planning in the rational use of natural resources; the predatory practices of the transnationals, especially those in the mining and petrochemical sectors; the destruction of woodlands, and runaway desertification. This highly irresponsible and destructive confrontation with Mother Earth by major economic interests is leading to impoverishment and insecurity among numerous countries and peoples, reaching an extreme whereby climate change threatens to cause the partial or complete disappearance of Caribbean insular states and territories. From the political point of view:

1 – Latin America & the Caribbean is marked by the colonial domination of various peoples by a number of European powers and by the United States. Colonialism represents a shameful historical anachronism which has been repeatedly condemned by the international community. Contributing to the final, total elimination of colonial domination in Latin America is one of the great challenges and responsibilities of the Latin American & Caribbean Left.

2 – The current political and electoral systems, established in the wake of the wars of independence, bear the stamp of liberal bourgeois democracy and with the passage of time have become tainted by authoritarian practices, that of obtaining votes in return for government posts etc., and other types of habitual fraud undermining the interests of the voters.

3 – The powers that be have demonstrated the ability to control the legal and electoral system. Any scheme for purported separation of powers generally conceals concentration of political power in the hands of elites elected by no-one. The reactionary offensive does not stop at trying to derail progressive and left-wing policies: it threatens the entire Left in any country; it is a plan to eliminate any emancipating alternative that opposes imperialist domination.

4 – The politics crisis, and the merger and transnationalization of the media concerns has led to consolidation by the mass media of their role as a source and wing of power. The results include the imposition on the peoples of a homogenization of information and cultural expression. The traditional transnational media and the new media players that emerged from the revolution in information and telecommunications technologies, promote imperialist interests by simplifying the language, trivializing the political message and imposing a pensée unique. At the same time, these mechanisms are being used as a means of denunciation and resistance which we should support and disseminate with technological independence and sovereignty.

5 – Culture is a battlefield, of resistance to invasion and manipulation by imperialism and the local oligarchies. This occurs not only in the arena of the mass media, but also in the form of the “global entertainment industry”, carrier of a colonizing message that discounts our history, aimed at domesticating awareness and against any critical or emancipating thinking. At the same time, the global market in art and literature has established itself as the judge and jury in matters of dissemination. The aim of this cultural war against our peoples is to underpin imperial hegemony.

6 – Imperialism and the local oligarchies have undertaken an offensive directed from Washington targeting the countries with left-wing administrations. It is applied via a route that seeks changes of government in short order, or undermines them by forcing them back to the polls. These policies underline the concept that the main enemy of the Left and of our peoples is imperialism.

7 – Transnational organized crime, including femicides, which have increased in several countries in the region, associated with the trafficking networks and the drug consumption markets, traffic in migrants and illegal trade in persons for the purposes of exploitation as workers or of sexual exploitation, with the arms trade, with contraband, with financial crimes and terrorist acts, has become a tool of blackmail and political domination at the service of the global hegemonic powers. Its devastating effects on social cohesion and its promotion of a new scale of anti-values threaten the fragmentation and virtual collapse of the national states, under the premise that reducing them to chaos will facilitate the plans of subjugation and national and regional plundering of our wealth

8 – The efforts in our region towards integration are at risk of failure if we cannot create a majority social awareness in its favor. Undertaking this task, sharing the ideal of unity in diversity, is a priority task of the progressive and left-wing political and social forces.
Strategic guidelines. What is to be done?

The transformations needed to change and develop Latin America & the Caribbean and contribute to the ideal of a better world go beyond any national program; the requirement is for development of a common set of general aims and principles on which the changes should be founded. Those aims and principles should be adopted jointly, by all of us who are committed to such change, with recognition of national differences but in an integrationist and internationalist spirit. On the economic plane:

1 – In this context, the emphasis should be on liberating – not subordinated – integration, with a view to the economic and social development of Latin America, obtaining the greatest possible degree of coordination among the countries. Promotion of international enterprises and associations could be a good starting point, by enabling deployment of economic strengths such as the available natural resources, and technological and scientific development of the workforce in each zone, country or group of nations. An essential step will be to draw up an infrastructure plan to improve connectivity, communications, transport and supply, and also setting out in detail the industrial, trade and financial proposals between our countries and developing countries elsewhere in the world.

2 – A comprehensive economic and social integration process, addressing not just the markets, is key to guaranteeing our sovereignty, seen in a patriotic light, and also as a prerequisite for our insertion into a globalized world, preserving the capacity for decision-making on our future.

3 – We should develop an internal regional market favoring the sustainability of the economic model we plan to adopt and as an alternative to the instability of the external market. This does not imply isolating ourselves from the world, but creating links based on a better position in terms of economics, social development and preservation of our independence.

4 – We need autonomous financial systems, also as part of the integration process. We should establish a Latin American & Caribbean development bank and introduce a common currency – instruments potentially contributing to such independence. Initiatives such as the Bank of the South, the Banco de ALBA and the existence of SUCRE are practical experiments for consideration, without affecting national plans for development banks.

5 – There is a need to work towards consensus economic planning at regional levels, enabling the countries of Latin America & the Caribbean to act as an independent bloc in dealings with the rest of the world’s economic actors. The aim should be full employment, which is basic to development of society. The political parties and popular and left-wing movements should support this call to their governments, on a permanent

6. Any development plan must seek to replace the policies that favor mono-culture and exclusive export of raw materials and basic products. Other priorities include modernizing strategic sectors in industry, renewable energy sources or those that ensure food and technological sovereignty, among others. This will necessitate maximum deployment of science and its practical application to economic processes.

7 – The repercussions of neoliberalism create an imperative need to generate productive, prosperous, sustainable economies, with equitable distribution of wealth. In this context, it is especially important to restore agrarian reform to the political agenda. The new society to which we aspire cannot be built on poverty, incompetence and inequality.

8 – Regional integration should include the building of a new trade, economic and financial architecture, using our own institutions and financial resources, thereby capable of financing development projects, industrial coordination and ensuring the region’s economic and financial stability. To that end, we must revive the strategy for industrialization, reindustrialization and agro-industrialization, replacing imports, to counter the effects of de-nationalization and de-industrialization caused by the dominance of the neoliberal model in our countries.

9 – A post-capitalist economy should adopt as a principle the search for quality, by applying plans that ensure high levels of productivity, efficiency and effectiveness in the production processes. Redesign of taxation policies should bring progress in the redistribution of wealth. Fiscal reforms and the role of direct taxation on production and consumption should have an effect in the reduction of purchase taxes as a basic priority, based on their impact on the basic shopping basket and on the adverse effects they produce for wide sectors of society; policies should be developed for replacing purchase taxes with progressive taxes on income and wealth.

10 – The state should play the basic role of directing and regulating economic activity; consequently it should ensure fair distribution of wealth and implement plans for economic and social development that enjoy popular support and are consistent with the Latin America & the Caribbean regional integration program. The state should have enterprises that are productive, efficient and healthy, especially in strategic sectors such as energy, finance and telecommunications. The profits generated by these should be used to stimulate the economic and social development of our countries on a self-financing basis.

11 – Our progressive and left-wing governments have demonstrated the possibility of initiating a process of gradually transferring to civil society certain management functions hitherto reserved exclusively to itself by the state. The aim is to strengthen the role of the people’s power, to reinforce and empower the social fabric, and promote active participation in the form of co-management and self-management, while accepting the importance of leaving the function of allocating resources in the hands of the state.

12 – This does not exclude the role of the private sectors, either national or foreign, but in all cases under the guidance of a national development plan aimed at strengthening the internal market, at value-added exporting, aligned with a regional integration process and compliant with the labor, environmental and other areas of legislation. A long-term development strategy should prioritize structural transformation and technological change compatible with macroeconomic balance and focused on the goals of human development, equality and environmental sustainability. This strategy implies giving the state a central role in setting objectives and in determining systems of incentives and the building of ideologies and values; its role will consequently not be to replace the various social actors, but to secure wide-ranging consensus and lead the process of institutional construction, based on the development of a dense network of institutions and diverse forms of organization of civil society.

13 – There is an imperative and urgent need to formulate and resource a new economic and social model, whose central aim is “zero poverty”. On the social plane

1 – The fair distribution of wealth is a hallmark of a left-wing program. Fiscal policies should be designed and applied under the principle that there can be no genuine development without the greatest possible social inclusion, equality of opportunity and access by all citizens of both sexes to the socially-produced goods and services, according to the contribution of each.

2 – The education and health services must be accessible by every citizen, designed under principles reflecting humanism and solidarity.

3- Education should be a public policy, compulsory, free, secular and scientific; and it should extend from the beginnings of infancy to the higher level, passing through the basic and middle-higher levels. A higher level of public investment in early-infancy education is needed. Girls, boys and young people should be the priority beneficiaries of the development and progress achieved by progressive and left-wing administrations.

4- The most recent discoveries in the field of nutritional research and the neurosciences indicate the urgent need to provide a diet for children marked by extremely high levels of proteins and neuronutrients, essential to growth and development in this formative stage of the brain, and also early education from pre-conception, the prenatal stage and early infancy, in a setting rich in stimuli; this will ensure our children enjoy comprehensive growth, with the aim of enhancing the development and the societies and countries of Latin America.

5- The progressive and left-wing movements, organizations and parties, as well as the governments, should commit to higher levels of public investment in science and technology.

6 – In applying its public policies, the state should be constantly concerned to eradicate the neoliberal scourges of poverty, indigence, drug addition, social alienation, and neglect of the disabled, elderly, children and the other most vulnerable sectors, women, people of African descent, aboriginal peoples, the LGBTI community and others historically victims of discrimination, among other evils.

7 – The state must guarantee respect for the social interests of all its citizens, both male and female, giving greater weight to those decisions that favor the large majorities.

8 – Dialectic balance between the need for development and the rights of nature is an aspiration which must be realized. We are heirs of centuries-old processes that ignored this approach, and we must now commit ourselves to adopting it. Our development must be sustainable, as distinct from the fabrications of “green capitalism” and the developmentalist vision of society.

9 – The economic and social precariousness prevalent in numerous countries of Latin America & the Caribbean has obliged millions of people to emigrate to other countries in our region or to America. These migration flows turn the migrants into second-class citizens or victims of transnational crime. Even the left-wing governments have not been able to change the socioeconomic, political and security conditions which stimulate these flows; these governments need to adopt safe migration policies that guarantee in law and in reality full enjoyment of the human rights of their citizens of both sexes.

10 – The existence of organized crime is a threat to every democratic state. The head-on fight against the traffic in narcotics and organized crime requires comprehensive policies that include punitive state action, while recognizing the social dimension of these phenomena and seeking to apply salutary measures in resolving the problems. Special policies are needed, for instance, to remedy the poverty and marginalization in the precarious urban concentrations where these evils flourish.

On the political and ideological plane:

1 – In our perception of the winning of power, we must look beyond the recovery of its symbolic trappings – the presidency and government of a country – and develop strategies for its devolution it to the various levels – borough, province, state, nation – emphasize the role of parliaments, public debate, and ways of protecting and promoting the success of public enterprises and the forms of collective management and ownership. Similarly, we must prevent the use of judicial power in ways that serve the interests of the Right. We need to democratize and subordinate the military command structures and forces of law and order to the political power freely instituted by the will of the people and to serve national interests. These bodies are the guarantors of the processes of Latin America’s liberation, sovereignty and independence.

2 – We must work every day to strengthen and defend our conquests, understand that our adversaries will hinder or sabotage them, learn that the oligarchies always act in concert at local and regional level and in close alliance with imperialism and its local representatives. This includes the adoption of (partial or total) constitutional reforms wherever possible, which enable the institutional obstacles created by the system introduced under the predominance of the bourgeoisie to be overcome.

3 – In this context, there is a need to confront the mechanisms used by imperialism to undermine, destabilize or replace the legitimately elected governments, involving the use of all the means at their disposal, including military and parliamentary coups d’état, judicialization of politics, and ultimately through subordination of judicial power to its interventionist policies.

4 – A left-wing government which lacks absolute respect for the human condition and human and social rights is unthinkable. In this respect, the role of the state in guaranteeing the enjoyment of human rights – which are universal, indivisible and interdependent – is irreplaceable.

5 – Building and consolidation of the people’s power in the economic and political spheres is fundamental. As a prerequisite for implementing the program and the strategic aims of necessary structural changes that enable grassroots democratization of institutionalism, aligned in all cases with the particular conditions in each country or region.

6 – It is equally necessary that the organization, structure and working of the parties of the Left – both those in government and those in opposition – each adapted to its own reality, respect the autonomous agenda of the people’s power, its open and participative character. The People’s Power as a programmatic national expression of the totality of local and social dual powers, is the foundation of a new kind of political and ideological relations between the governing and the governed, in all sections of society. It is a concrete expression of hegemony at a given time. The People’s Power is the fount of legitimacy. As a people organized in permanent self-construction and formation it is also a guarantee of proper performance and operation of the progressive and left-wing governments, and the antidote to “soft coups” and other means of destabilization.

7 – We also need to modify the rhetoric and the political language, based on new codes, which include an appropriate class- and gender-related approach, which maintains honesty, direct and reliable communication with people, able to listen and reflect their worries and interests, which contributes to the development of independent thinking, committed to revolutionary change.

8 – We need radical changes in matters of communication. This inevitably implies confronting the processes of information concentration, the media and culture. There is a need for far-reaching reforms that democratize access to information and respect diversity of opinion, culture and history, that are at the service of our peoples. While the presence of the traditional mass media is being extended, we should increase the involvement of the new media, in particular the internet-based social networks, where our technological disadvantages are apparent.

9 – We must progress the development, strengthening, dissemination and enhancement of our peoples’ cultural wealth, thereby equipping us for an all-out cultural battle against the alienating values of capitalism; we must work to establish a front of intellectually-mobilizing thinking of the kind that has been excluded by the hegemonic power and is able to generate content of a truly decolonializing character, endowing people with solid cultural references in a world increasingly overrun by consumerism and banality.

10 – The continuous building and maintaining of social consensus and trust in the left-wing agenda are key to the sustainability of our plans. Consensus is built through permanent dialogue with society and the peoples, ensuring the prevalence of accords over differences, with a clear intention of uniting in order to grow and progress, on the basis that the struggle for truth and justice must be permanent and can never be abandoned.

11 -The Left’s foreign policy should be founded on the universally recognized values of international law enshrined in the UN charter, and should be expressed in solidarity, the desire for peace, and coexistence and cooperation between nations. It should include a profound anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist commitment, which vindicates the peoples’ right to independence, sovereignty and self-determination.

12 – We hold onto the dream of Latin American nationhood, unique and indissoluble, in accordance with the ideals of our ancestors. Our plan should propose models for promoting and stimulating a regional integration that is not subordinating but liberating. This is why we strongly advocate promotion of the integration processes under way in our region, through UNASUR, MERCOSUR, SICA, CARICOM, ALBA-TCP and other mechanisms. In these circumstances, the Community of Latin American & Caribbean States (CELAC) occupies a position of particular significance, constituting the most important and far-reaching of all the integration initiatives undertaken. It is imperative that we demand that our progressive and left-wing governments progress the integration process, derived from a plan adopted by all the popular and left-wing parties and movements. There is consequently an urgent need to draw up a plan for integration of the Latin American nation.

13 – We advocate a stronger role for gatherings such as the Sao Paolo Forum and other platforms for debate, among both the political forces and the popular social organizations, and for building alternative ways of combating the advances of imperialism. The political instrument for change We must equip ourselves with the political instruments needed to implement this program. The bases for organizing these will differ from country to country and place to place, based on accumulated experience, the history of struggle and the concrete reality of the location. This does not imply the existence of a single organization, should this prove impossible, but rather to apply predetermined principles in seeking the best forms of association for effective, comprehensive use of our knowledge and our experience of struggle.

Despite diversity, a set of valid principles can be adduced for creating political organizations able to meet the challenges that face us, lead the processes of change and achieve the aims embodied in these proposals.

1 – Collective building of a political program is needed. History has shown that any proposal outside the formally-agreed political program ends up as some individual’s pet project with limited prospects.

2 – No political force can survive without a permanent unitary policy. Division, sectarianism and the cult of personality, among other diversions, contribute to exacerbating [sic] the interests of our adversaries.

3 – The vitality of a political force resides primarily in the form and content of its basic structures, depositories of the democratic vocation of that organization and guarantee of permanent interrelation with the people. In this context, it is vitally important to promote, develop and reinforce the grassroots interchange between left-wing governments, popular parties and movements in the economic and social as well as political arenas.

4 – To the extent permitted by the possibilities and concrete reality, we need local and national administrations dedicated full time to this important task.

5 – The ability to summon and mobilize should find the way to generate propaganda and use the networks and other mass media to persuade with direct and customized messages. Neither should be mechanically supplanted by the other.

6 – A political force that fails to develop permanent relations with popular organizations or social movements has little chance of implementing a political manifesto of this nature. A true popular, left-wing force should have specific policies towards such social sectors as the workers, small and medium-sized enterprises, young people, students, women, excluded minorities. It should also have specific policies addressing all the state’s institutional sectors.

7 – The social and popular movements have a wealth of experience in struggles and resistance against the predatory patriarchal capitalist model, and imperialism’s hegemonic policy. Their organizational structures vary widely, are plural and general reflect their sectoral origins and character as vehicles of protest. However, they do constitute legitimate expressions of popular demand for radical social change. The essence of the indispensable relations of tactical and strategic coordination between the political organizations and the social movements resides in the necessity for these to be based on an open relationship that preserves identities and autonomy.

8 – Unity of action is needed, coupled with trust, to enable our adversaries’ manipulation of legitimate social demands to be detected and neutralized. The political practices of favors for votes and welfarism must be replaced by joint responsibility. The organized peoples possess the strength to undertake transformation, embed the process of change and ensure its success.

9 – We reiterate that popular mobilization is capable of winning and maintaining power for the people. We are convinced that there is a dialectical relation according to which, to the extent that our policies fully reflected the great aspirations of the masses, we will receive greater and lasting support by these. In this context, the left-wing governments should have policies for all the people and for every class and social sector. In this respect, it is especially important to develop policies addressing all the state institutions, so as to orient their working to defend a sovereign national and regionally integrated agenda. Only an organized and aware people can be the originator of a new history, a history of freedom, equality, fraternity, justice, democracy and happiness.

10 – A political force needs at its heart a permanent debate, but when resolutions have been passed, it must undertake to implement them to the full.

11 – The political training of leaders, with special reference to youth, is essential to the most effective working and a guarantee for the future, including that of cultural development. The political leader is the backbone of any of our left-wing organizations. He or she should feel the constant need to progress in every way, have a sense of the historical moment, clarity of mind and analysis, and the ability to work in tandem with all the other representatives of the Left. His or her training, and that of his/her deputies and alternates, coupled with their mutual defense and integration, is an ineluctable responsibility. And this training should include the ability to develop and direct social and production processes.

12 – A permanent political and ideological educational effort addressing the population should be maintained. This assumes greater importance when in government. The link with the people cannot be lost. The political and electoral setbacks we suffered should enable us to learn from our mistakes, and then renew the debate, basically with the young people, who are part of a generation that has theoretical and practical knowledge based on having experienced the development stage of our governments, but should take into account the historical background to our initiatives for change.

13- The great challenge for any political instrument is to secure, by political and ideological work and persuasion by its leaders and militants, the participation of the entire people in the tasks involved in making the changes to society aimed at ensuring economic and social wellbeing. Add and multiply. Never divide or take away. A basic element of this challenge is the need for greater knowledge and skill in communicating the ideas underlying our plan and program, and especially in integrating them into our peoples’ daily practice.

14 – One of our priorities is to learn how those to whom our message is addressed – especially the younger generation – see life and their objective and subjective needs. Active and militant participation by the new generations in the struggle for better societies is an urgent need. Youth is already in the vanguard in several scenarios and we must recognize the importance of their participation as one of the primary historical subjects; we must consequently fight to prevent the enemy from de-politicizing or neutralizing or taking control of this large sector of society.

15 – An effective electoral strategy is required, to enable access to the present era’s various entities of government. It should include proactive, ambitious approaches and avoid short-termism, voluntarism and the discouraging effects of the beguiling postmodernist debate. Our strategies for fighting elections, building the People’s Power and exercising government should include both the rational and emotional elements.

16 – Our need for efficiency in the electoral arena requires that we prioritize territorial presence, precisely where the electors are; however, reality has shown that in the places we govern, it is wise to establish basic structures in strategic locations, such as large companies, universities and other places where politics is a daily phenomenon. Experience has shown us that in the places we govern or establish people’s power, there is a need to organize permanent basic structures, for example in the large companies, the universities, areas of customary concentration and other places where politics is a daily phenomenon.

17 – The changes in certain Latin American societies have generated new needs among the citizens who benefit from economic development, and are paving the way for building collective identities with a new vision of well-being and of life. Today’s social subjects rely on a far-reaching alliance between various sectors of society which come together in the search for a new social paradigm. They aspire to a change in the qualities of the individual in his or her collective life, as well as struggling for material well-being. They are constructed, transforming simultaneously reality and themselves. Conclusions and recommendations We, the continent’s progressive and left-wing political parties and social organizations and movements are called upon to achieve and consolidate unity in diversity. Putting our shared views above our cultural, regional, ethnic, religious and other differences must be the banner under which we prevail, over the destabilizing and interventionist attempts of the empire The popular and left-wing parties and movements have the responsibility of reinforcing our political organization at regional level, equipping it to take on the task of steering and leading revolutionary Latin America, the true builder of the Great Homeland and a post-capitalist society free of exploitation and injustice Experience of social revolutions, of popular parties and movements which have reached government on our continent, constitute a body of lessons that merit in-depth analysis. We recommend that the Sao Paolo Forum should contribute to the systemizing and socializing of the experience in building people’s power and social economy in Latin America.
In our turn, the political organizations and social movements should promote the creation of our own political, social and economic indicators, above and beyond those proposed by the international organizations. An immediate task is to convert this document into an instrument of debate and political action, circulating it and submitting it for elaboration by our political bases and the social movements. With the guide, the teachings and example handed down, we have a single option: Fight and grow. Fight and win. Fight till victory. Always!
Official Translation
EQUIPO DE SERVICIOS DE TRADUCTORES E INTÉRPRETES

Featured

JACKIE  OPEL: Forgotten Hero of Jamaica and Barbados – David Comissiong

 

The Barbados born Jackie Opel – one of the most important architects of Jamaica’s Ska beat; creator of Barbados’ Spouge beat; and arguably the Caribbean’s greatest musical innovator – died on the  9th of March 1970, some 44 years ago. And in those 44 years, the governments and musical establishments of both Jamaica and Barbados have shamed themselves by failing to acknowledge Opel’s seminal contributions and to confer upon him the honour, acclaim and respect that he so richly deserves!

A typical example of this shameful neglect can be seen in ex-Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga’s recent publication on the history of Jamaican music – “Reggae’s Golden Jubilee: The origins of Jamaican Popular Music”. Mr. Seaga’s essay was published in 2012 to coincide with the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence, and constitutes the core historical text that accompanies a four compact disc  aural retrospective of fifty years of musical development in Jamaica.

One will search Mr. Seaga’s fifty page text from top to bottom and not find a single reference to the great Jackie Opel– the Barbadian multi-dimensional singer, dancer, composer, musician, arranger and musical inventor who was brought to Jamaica by the late Byron Lee at the beginning of the 1960’s! And what makes Mr. Seaga’s omission all the more glaring and inexcusable is that Seaga– as owner of the WIRL recording company in 1960’s Jamaica– was one of a handful of record producers who recorded the late Jackie Opel back in the 1960’s. (The others were Leslie Kong, Coxsone Dodd and Justin Yap.)

But Jackie Opel has not been treated any better in his own homeland of Barbados! Back in December 2013 I took it upon myself to write to the General Manager of the government of Barbados’ radio and television company– the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)– pointing out Barbados’ shameful neglect of Jackie Opel, and requesting that CBC make a special effort during  the month of March 2014 (the month of Jackie Opel’s tragic death in a car accident) to share Jackie’s story and his awesome musical legacy with the people of Barbados. Needless-to-say, I did not even receive a letter of acknowledgement, much less a positive response.

And of course, it is not only me who has publicly complained about Barbados’ neglect of their greatest musical son! Such doyens  of the Barbadian entertainment industry as Richard Stoute, Mark Williams and Al Gilkes have long denounced the shabby treatment of the ‘poor boy’ from the inner city “ghetto” of Chapman Lane who bestowed upon Barbados the inestimable gift of a national musical genre known as “Spouge”.

In my letter to the General manger of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation , I tried to explain Jackie Opel’s historical significance to him as follows:-

“I recently met Bunny Wailer – the last surviving member of the Bob Marley / Peter Tosh / Bunny Wailer trio – and I asked him about Jackie Opel.  His response was to gush that Jackie Opel was the greatest ofthem all; that the Wailers provided backing vocals for many of Jackie’s recordings; and that the only act that dared to take the stage after a Jackie Opel performance in Jamaica was the Wailers.  The legendary Bunny Wailer was paying respect to an artist that he considered to be greater than himself, and yet, in Jackie’s own homeland he is relatively unknown and under-appreciated.

Jackie’s significance and genius can be seen from the following:-

(1)     He was the lead singer of the legendary Jamaican band known as “The Skatalites” —  the band that was primarily responsible for developing the Ska beat– the music that went on to spawn reggae.

(2)     Jackie was the composer of many of the songs of the Skatalites . And, along with Roland Alphonso, was the band’s musical arranger.

(3)     Jackie is reputed to have composed more than 700 songs in the genres of Ska, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Gospel, Calypso and Spouge, in spite of his early death at the age of 32 years.

(4)     He was voted “Entertainer of the year” in Jamaica on several occasions.

(5)     Jackie was  one of the few persons in history to develop a new genre of music — Spouge.

Jackie Opel died on the 8th of March 1970 , and has never been given his rightful place in the annals of Barbadian history.”

Perhaps the reason I did not get a response to my letter is that what I was saying sounded so fantastical  that CBC’s General Manager didn’t quite believe me! But trust me- it is not only me (or Bunny Wailer) who testify to Jackie Opel’s greatness! Listen, for example, to the testimony of legendary Jamaican artist, Desmond Dekker, as recorded in “The Encyclopedia of Reggae”:-

“ According to vocalist Desmond Dekker, Opel “just come and dominate the scene”…Dekker also   commented that this occurred to such an  extent that other singers on Kong’s Beverly’s Record label, including Bob Marley, sought different producers…”

The international music Journalist, Greg Burgess, also tries to convey a sense of Jackie Opel’s unique multi-faceted brilliance in his essay “The Jackie Opel Story” as follows :-

“Alton Ellis says to see Jackie Opel was a life affirming event – he was a performer in the style of young Jackie Wilson…Opel would spin and fall to the ground in a crescendo of legs drooping and flailing arms, a small man in stature but a big man in heart and personality…his talent was such that he could turn up at a studio and write songs on demand, seemingly with little preparation…he could also sing anything, in any key and with perfect timing”

But the best way to get a sense of the genius of Jackie Opel is to actually listen to his classic compositions and performances across a range of no less than seven different genres of music – Calypso, Gospel, Rhythm &Blues, Ska, Rock Steady, Soul and Spouge. Listen, for example, to such classic Ska recordings as Old Rocking Chair, My Sweet Lover and Say Say Business. Listen to Jackie’s searing soul renditions of Cry Me A River, Shelter The Storm, Wipe These Tears and Forever And Ever, and to such magnificent Rhythm and Blues compositions as Eternal Love, Don’t let Me Die, Every Word I Say Is True, and One More Chance.

And then of course there is Spouge — the totally new beat that Jackie invented and launched just prior to his untimely death in 1970. Jackie’s Spouge runs the gamut from the slow and groovy Welcome You Back Home to the hard- driving You’re No Good and You Got to Pay. It is just such a pity that Jackie was not around to nurture and guide the development of the new Barbadian beat in the years after its launch at the commencement of the 1970’s.

No objective analyst can doubt the genius and historical significance of Jackie Opel! And so, the question must arise – “Why has he been written out of the history of Jamaican music”? Greg Burgess thinks he has found an answer to the question, and expresses it as follows:-
“The subsequent years have not been kind to the memory of this great, great singer…he is only a footnote in the history of Jamaican music. Maybe his Barbadian origins are held against him…”

If Mr. Burgess is correct, this is indeed a great shame, for Jackie Opel is a member of an historic  trio of great Barbadians who lived in and served  Jamaica, and who identified with Jamaica as much as they identified with their own Barbadian homeland. The other two are the great cricketer, Sir Frank Worrell, and the great poet/historian/educator/culture scholar, Kamau Brathwaite.

But if that is Jamaica’s excuse for neglecting and marginalizing the great Jackie Opel, what can Barbados’ possibly be?

Davis Comissiong

President

Clement Payne Movement of Barbados