Protesters around the world are demanding their governments tackle the global warming issues now.
Thousands of people from all over the world took to the streets to join the “Third World Climate Strike” on September 20, a protest triggered by the Fridays for The Future (FFF) movement, which demands from governments concrete actions to resolve the ongoing environmental emergency generated by increased global warming.
In Europe, Asia, Africa and Noth America, hundreds of environmental, social, labor and human rights activists were hosting rallies in many cities throughout their countries.
These demonstrations are taking place a few days before the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opens the Climate Summit in New York on September 23, a high-level meeting in which countries were invited to present concrete and realistic plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent in the next ten years.
In Brazil, a South American country where the burning of the Amazon has increased due to the auspices President Jair Bolsonaro provides for the transformation of rainforests into arable land, citizens carried out demonstrations in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas, Alagoas, Bahia, Amapa, Ceara, Federal District, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, among other states.
“Deforestation caused by the devastating expansion of agribusiness, livestock, mining and pollution of rivers contribute to accelerate global climate change… Amazon rainforests deforestation is progressing at a rate of three soccer stadiums per minute,” said the Brazilian Climate Coalition, which joins organizations such as Greenpeace, Fight for the Forest, Families for Climate, the Landless Workers Movement and the Worker’s Party.
Look at the massive, gorgeous crowd in Kampala Uganda for #ClimateStrike. The planet’s running a fever and the antibodies are kicking in! https://twitter.com/ZaynRahm/status/1175005263239241729 …Zayn Rahman@ZaynRahm
Uganda has come out for the #ClimateStrike. Amazing
In Germany, 1,700 companies joined the climate strike by making it easier for their workers to attend the marches. The same happened at educational institutions where academic activities were suspended so that their students could go to demonstrations.
In the United Kingdom, hundreds of people took to the Westminster neighborhood in London, where the seat of the Government is located. With banners, slogans and songs, they demanded that the right-wing Prime Minister Boris Johnson put in place measures aimed at tackling the climate crisis.
“Young people and workers are coming out to say enough is enough. I’m proud to be joining London’s largest climate crisis mobilization to demand action,” the Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted.
“This climate strike is inspiring – full of people who are demanding change to protect our planet and their future. Labor will honor that demand by kickstarting a Green Industrial Revolution.”
This week, Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist whose actions were generated from the FFF movement, has participated in several public actions aimed at raising awareness about the environmental emergency.
On Thursday, for instance, she and a group of activists demanded that the U.S. Congress, which is the world’s biggest emitter of gases and chemicals that foster climate change, take concrete action and show leadership to confront climate change.
On Friday, tens of thousands of people in Australia and South Pacific island nations also staged protests calling for urgent action on climate change.
Schoolchildren, teachers and parents gathered in Sydney holding placards that read “Time is running out,” “Human change, not climate change”, “There is no Planet B,” and “If not now, when?”
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez at the signing of the agreement between the government and right-wing oppostion in the country. Sept. 18, 2019
The governments of Mexico and Uruguay released a joint statement Thursday to “reiterate” their support for dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition parties.
The governments of Mexico and Uruguay released a joint statement Thursday to “reiterate” their support for dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition parties, applauding the Maduro administration for the release of legislator Edgar Zambrano as part of the negotiations between the two sides up until now.
“The Governments of Mexico and Uruguay reiterate, as we did on February 6 in Montevideo, that dialogue and negotiations are the only acceptable way to reach a peaceful solution to the situation that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is going through,” read a statement published by Mexico’s foreign relations office.
Last February, the two countries offered to act as mediators to the national dialogues, a measure that was eventually taken up by Norway, which has faciliated the talks in both Oslo and also Barbados in the Caribbean.
This week, the government and opposition leaders announced several agreements that were fruit of this round of talks that began in August. On Monday, Venezuelan Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said that the accord included the return of Socialist Party lawmakers to the National Assembly, the establishment of a new electoral body, the release of certain prisoners, and harnessing oil sales to buy medicines and food supplies for Venezuelans – a measure the current government has long-enacted.
Most importantly, both side agreed to reject the illegal United States blockade on the South American country, and to defend Venezuelan rights over the Esequibo region.
The Uruguayan and Mexican presidencies urged for continual dialogue among the Venezuelan factions in a “civil and peaceful” manner “so that real and democratic solutions are reached based on trust between the parties.”
Completing a part of the deal, the Maduro administration released legislator Edgar José Zambrano on Tuesday. Zambraon played an important role in the failed coup attempt of the presidency, along side self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, on April 30 of this year. This was a move that the Uruguayan government under Tabare Vazquez and Mexico, under Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said they “valued.”
“We value the release of the National Assembly Vice President Edgar Zambrano.”
The two administrations ended by reiterating their “firm commitment to collaborate and support any type of initiative for inclusive dialogue between Venezuelans that prioritizes peace and unrestricted respect for human rights.”
STATEMENT BY THE CUBAN AMBASSADOR TO JAMAICA, H.E. INÉS FORS
FERNÁNDEZ, ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE DRAFT
RESOLUTION “NECESSITY OF ENDING THE ECONOMIC, COMMERCIAL AND
FINANCIAL EMBARGO IMPOSED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AGAINST CUBA”
THE 74TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
On November 6 th and 7 th, the United Nations General Assembly will be
examining for the twenty-eighth time in a row the draft resolution entitled
“Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo
imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”
The economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba for
nearly six decades is the most unfair, severe and prolonged system of
unilateral sanctions ever applied against any country.
At current prices, damage accumulated during almost six decades of
applying this policy have reached the figure of $138,843.4 million.
Taking into account the depreciation of the dollar in regards to the price
of gold on the international market, the blockade has caused harm
quantifiable at over $922,630 million.
In this past year, tightening the blockade has continued to be the central
pivot of US government policy towards Cuba, with ever more notable
effects in its extraterritorial application.
The US Department of State has on three occasions expanded the
“Restricted List of Cuban Entities and Sub-Entities”, object of additional
sanctions to taxes due to the blockade regulations. This measure has
caused considerable damage to the country’s economy because of its
effects of intimidating the international business community.
On April 17 th 2019, the US Department of State announced its decision
to permit the possibility under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act to take
judicial actions in US courts against Cuban enterprises or companies or
against Cuban individuals or third countries that do business with
properties nationalized in the 1960s. This decision ended the practice
assumed since 1996 by earlier US governments and by President Trump himself in the first two years of his mandate, which suspended
this possibility every six months.
Since the implementation of this decision, Cuba’s economic activities
have been powerfully affected, especially Cuban relations with foreign
trade operations and those dealing with foreign investments. No citizen
or sector of the economy escapes the negative effects of this unilateral
policy which hinders the development to which every country is entitled
to construct in a sovereign manner.
Added to the foregoing are the provisions of the Office of Foreign Assets
Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department and of the Bureau of
Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Commerce Department to
eliminate, as of June 5 th 2019, the general permits for “people to people”
group educational travel and the permits to non-commercial aircraft and
passenger and recreational ships for temporary stays, including cruise
ships. This measure, besides severely limiting travel by US citizens to
Cuba, directly attacks the emerging Cuban private sector.
All of these actions were made for the deliberate and declared objective
of causing economic harm and depriving Cuba of financial resources.
The behavior of the current United States government is an insult to the
international community which has for 27 consecutive years condemned
the blockade against Cuba within the framework of the United Nations.
It ignores successive resolutions by the United Nations General
Assembly and the declarations of the heads of State or Government of
the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean, the African
Union, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
(CELAC), the Group of 77 and China and the Non-Aligned Movement,
among other organizations that have demanded an end to the blockade
The policy of blockade against Cuba continues to represent an
impediment to the development of all the potential of the Cuban
economy, for the implementation of the National Economic and Social
Development Plan, and for attaining Agenda 2030 and its objectives for
The blockade is a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the
human rights of all Cuban men and women. Because of its declared
aim and the political, legal and administrative framework upon which it is
sustained, these sanctions qualify as an act of genocide according to
the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide of 1948 and as an act of economic warfare according to the
Naval Conference of London of 1909. Moreover, it is in violation of the
United Nations Charter and International Law.
The United States must, without any conditions, put an end to the unfair
blockade which for nearly 60 years has been causing suffering to the
In our battle to lift the blockade, Cuba has received the support of
Jamaica, which has joined the denunciation of this illegal policy within
the United Nations as well as in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
and in other international fora.
Once again, the Cuban people and Government reiterate their gratitude
to Jamaica and its people, while requesting the valuable contribution of
this beautiful country to lift the blockade of the United States against the
We in the Jamaica Peace Council are saddened by the loss of Ambassador Elinor Felix who was devoted to the Vision and Mission of a peaceful world. Elinor, the shortened French version of Eleanor, is an uncommon name for a most uncommon human being. It is uncanny how much she embodied the meaning of her name which we came across on two websites.
Whatisthemeaningofname.com defined Elinor as one with a friendly nature and a desire to please. The website also says, among other things, that Elinor is expressive, diplomatic and easy-going.
The website Urban Dictionary (UD) defines Elinor as an awesome person and eternally loyal friend with great strength of character, an irresistible smile and the most beautiful eyes – a person who gives the best hugs in the world.
The authors of these two websites unwittingly captured the essence of our Elinor in both her personal and professional life.
Elinor was also the name of one of the heroines in Jane Austen’s novel “Sense and Sensibility”. Ambassador Elinor Felix was indeed a heroine for us in the way she dealt with her illness with stoicism and in the outstanding way in which she represented Jamaica as a diplomat in Cuba, despite it. She was an advocate of regional and global peace and participated in many of our discussions on preserving Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace. She will truly be missed by all who had the opportunity to interact with her in different spheres. We remember and salute her on her birthday July 15, 2019 and wish we could dance with her again.
This is a riveting presentation by Professor Carol Anderson introducing her book “White Rage” which explains the insidious nature of white rage cloaked in laws and policies which exclude, disenfranchise, victimize and criminalize blacks.
Code Pink organization said such action is in violation of international law and conventions.
US Police broke into Venezuela embassy in Washington Thursday to arrest the four remaining members Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, Code Pink organization announced saying that such action would be in violation of Vienna Convention and breaking international law.
Four amazingly courageous embassy protectors are still inside the Venezuelan embassy. Heroes.
Updated: May 15, 2019
Writing on Day 36 of the campaign to prevent a US-sponsored coup by protecting the Venezuelan Embassy from illegal takeover.
Events reached a climax this Monday, as well as a new level of absurdity, when for the first time, federal authorities cut the locks and opened the embassy doors to tell us we were being evicted, based solely on orders from a fictional Venezuelan ambassador named Carlos Vecchio. (Vecchio is a member of the tiny, right-wing Popular Will Party in Venezuela, and is living in the US in exile out of fear of arrest in Venezuela for his role in organizing violent protests that resulted in over 100 deaths.)
It began around 5 or 5:30pm when the DC Metropolitan Police, along with federal authorities, began negotiating our eviction and possible arrest with our lawyer, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, outside the embassy. They presented her with an order, not signed by any US agency (or any person for that matter) on plain paper without even a letterhead, saying that we were trespassing in the building and were required to leave.
“Required by whom,” Mara asked, and maintained that we were in the embassy legally, with the permission of the elected Venezuelan government, and that we were not violating any laws.
The police refused to allow her to talk to us, but they did allow her to watch from the doorway when around 7PM, the authorities cut the chains and bike lock placed on the embassy’s front doors by the legitimate embassy staff back when diplomatic relations were severed.
When the authorities opened the door, four of us were right there in the lobby (the authors of this report, along with Adrian Pine and David Paul), and we immediately began chanting, “We are here legally! You are breaking international law!”
There were US Marshalls present, members of Federal Protective Services, and a spokesperson from the State Department. They began to read the illegal eviction order, and as soon as they mentioned Vecchio’s name, we interrupted and told them it was an illegal order, that a fictional ambassador from a non-governmental group of coup plotters cannot give legal orders regarding the legitimate Venezuelan embassy.
They then asked us if we would leave voluntarily. Each of us, in turn, said “no.” We then attempted to open a dialogue with them, to let them know we are here legally, and that the only way we would leave voluntarily is if presented with a mutual Protecting Power Agreement (PPA), signed between the US and Venezuela guaranteeing the protection of both this embassy and the corresponding, vacant US embassy in Caracas. Such PPAs are historically common when diplomatic relations break down between two countries. In that even, neutral third countries agree to maintain staff at each respective embassy, protecting it until relations can be reestablished.
They listened. Then the State Department spokesperson simply repeated, “Will you leave voluntarily?”
Again we said no. We told them that entering the embassy was in the violation of the Vienna convention, and that further action could set a precedent that would put all embassies around the world at risk, including US embassies and their personnel.
They let us continue speaking.
We explained to them that removing us and taking over the embassy would also escalate the conflict between Venezuela and the United States, and that this could lead to a military conflict, creating chaos in the region and resulting in many lost lives, including that of US soldiers. “We do not want Latin America to turn into another middle east,” we said. “This would be a quagmire and would cost the US trillions of dollars. And with Russia and China allied with Venezuela, it could potentially lead to a global conflict. So be very careful. Your actions right now are important. If you cross this threshold, your name could very well go down in history as the officers who violated international law and started World War III.”
They glanced back and forth at each other with seeming concern over what they were hearing.
But the spokesperson simply repeated, “Will you leave voluntarily?”
Again we said no. We told them, “Listen. The coup plotters cut off our power. They cut off our water. The secret service outside has allowed these terrorists to surround us, to assault us, to prevent food and water from getting inside. They have tried all this on us, and we are still here. If this hasn’t forced us to leave, what do you think will? Please understand we are staying until a mutual PPA is reached between the two countries. Either that or you will have to carry us out on stretchers.”
We continued for quite some time with similar themes about the Vienna convention, and that we were concerned about the personnel in US embassies around the world. We said we hoped the State Department shared our concerns. We told them that the precedent set by violating the Vienna convention would embarrass President Trump and become his legacy. We told them that John Bolton was already making a fool of Trump by misjudging the situation in Venezuela, that the people of Venezuela will not give up their independence or their sovereignty, and that they want peace with the United States. We told them there’s no reason for the US to be enemies with Venezuela, but that if they—right here and right now—cross this threshold by removing us, they could set in motion something they might regret.”
Silence. More glances. Then once again, “will you leave voluntarily?”
We continued, presenting them with an alternative. “Why violate international law,” we asked them? “International law already provides a peaceful resolution to this conflict through what are known as mutual Protective Power Agreements, or PPAs, which have been standard diplomacy since the 1870s.” We educated them that there are currently 29 PPAs in place around the world. “When there’s a peaceful path already established,” we said, “it will be especially bad for your careers and reputations if you violate international law in such a major way that could lead to war.”
Silence this time.
For good measure we added, “Following an illegal order is no defense to criminal prosecution. So we suggest you close the door, go back to your superiors, and discuss with them what we’ve just told you.”
The officer who was acting as a spokesperson left. Another officer took his place.
“Will you leave voluntarily?” he asked us.
We explained the same things to this new officer. Ten minutes later the first officer returned. We told them both that our position hadn’t changed, that we will leave voluntarily only when presented with a mutual PPA.
The officers thought for a moment. Then they informed us that they were going to close the door behind secure it. They said they would station a federal Marshall outside the door.
We told them, “Make sure the entire embassy compound is under police protection because these violent terrorists have broken in three times and have yet to be prosecuted.” He replied that they would, but added that if we changed our mind, all we had to do was knock on the front door and they would let us leave peacefully.” They then shut the door and placed plastic zip ties–the same ones typically used for handcuffs– around the handles of the door.
Mara, our attorney, walked the embassy compound with the police to ensure it was fully protected. It was.
The secret service has been removed from duty, replaced with DC Metro police and officers of Federal Protective Services, which is part of DHS. Finally, for the first time, Federal authorities are now protecting the embassy—and us—from the terrorists who have been attacking us.
Monday and Tuesday night we slept peacefully for the first time in weeks.
What Social Movements Around The World Should Do
We urge social movements around the world to show their solidarity with the Embassy Protection Collective by going to US embassies to demand respect for the Vienna convention and the rule of law, and to urge the US and Venezuela to sign a mutual Protecting Power Agreement (PPA).
Furthermore, people in the United States need to become the media, because despite this being a truly unique event in US history where US citizens have gone into a foreign embassy in DC to prevent a US-orchestrated coup, the corporate media has barely covered the story.
Lastly, people should contact their members of congress. Tell them to support a mutual Protecting Power Agreement, or PPA, the usual procedure for protecting embassies when diplomatic relations break down.
Time is of the essence. Resolution of this conflict should not be a unilateral decision by John Bolton, Elliot Abrams, and Mike Pompeo. It’s up to social movements and people everywhere to elevate this issue to international dialogue.
Updated: May 15, 2019
Venezuelan Embassy: Jesse Jackson, Activists Deliver Food Amidst Violence
News2Share on May 15, 2019
Today marked a small victory for the “Embassy Protection Collective” as their allies – with the support of Rev Jesse Jackson – managed to deliver four bags of food, water, and batteries to the four remaining people inside the Venezuelan Embassy.
The coalition of activists including CODEPINK and ANSWER Coalition had previously been blocked by Juan Guaidó supporters and police in their efforts to make deliveries like this one.
It appears that Jackson’s presence caused the police to stand down. One Guaidó supporter attempted to physically stop the delivery by trying to take the food and physically hold the rope, but activists including Ajamu Baraka managed to hold him back long enough to make the deliveries.
Filmed by Ford Fischer
From the archives:
In this 40th anniversary year of the 1979 Grenada Revolution, the fates smiled upon our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) when it was confirmed that the 22nd Regular Meeting of CARICOM’s Council For Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) would be held in Grenada on the 13th and 14th of May 2019, thereby ensuring that the assembled Caribbean Foreign Ministers would find themselves in a space steeped in the spirit of Maurice Bishop — the great hero and martyr of the Grenada Revolution — and would therefore be impelled to take cognisance of Bishop’s signal contribution to the edifice of CARICOM’s collective Foreign Policy — the notion that our Caribbean region should be legally constituted in International Law and universally respected as a “Zone of Peace”!
It would do us well to recall that a mere seven months after Maurice Bishop’s People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) came to power in March 1979, Grenada attended the 9th Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) at La Paz in Bolivia, and secured the adoption by the OAS of Resolution 456 (1X-0/79) decreeing the Caribbean a “Zone of Peace”.
(Bishop was acting against the background of a 1978 United Nations General Assembly Resolution which resolved that the member nations of the UN should establish “zones of peace in various regions of the world under appropriate conditions to be clearly defined and determined by the States concerned in the zones, taking into account the characteristics of the zone and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.)
Thus, in the operative part of the 1979 Resolution that Grenada successfully piloted through the OAS, the General Assembly of the OAS (inclusive of the governments of the United States of America and Canada) resolved as follows:-
” 1. To express its deep concern over the heightening of tension in the (Caribbean) sub-region resulting from the recent increases in military activity in the Caribbean area.
And, having established this solid International Law foundation for the principle that the Caribbean must at all times be treated and respected as a Zone of Peace, Maurice Bishop then proceeded in the following years to further elucidate the specific elements of the definition of a Caribbean Zone of Peace. For example, in the 29th of June 1981 speech that he delivered in Grenada to CARICOM’s then “Standing Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs”, he enunciated :-
” Some of the substantive requirements to be satisfied in order to have our Caribbean effectively become a Zone of Peace include the following:-
(1) Prohibition of nuclear weapons in the region.
(2) An end to all aggressive military manoeuvres in the region.
(3) The dismantling of all foreign military bases in the region.
(4) The decolonisation of all of our territories and the establishment of machinery to end all forms of aggression, including assassinations, mercenary invasions, propaganda interventions and diplomatic and economic pressures.”
Unfortunately, as we are only too well aware, Maurice Bishop — the great apostle of Peace in the Caribbean– himself became a casualty of some of the worst forms of violence and national subversion that we have ever witnessed in our region, and was assassinated in October 1983.
But the principle that he had planted so firmly in the soil of International Law with that 1979 OAS Resolution lived on and was taken up after his tragic death by other Caribbean statesmen– chief among them being Barbadian Prime Minister, Errol Walton Barrow.
Indeed, in 1986-some three years after the assassination of Maurice Bishop-Prime Minister Errol Barrow reignited Bishop’s noble Zone of Peace mission in a historic speech to the opening ceremony of the CARICOM Heads of Government conference in Guyana. On that unforgettable occasion, the Barbadian national hero stated as follows:-
“My position remains clear that the Caribbean must be recognized and respected as a Zone of Peace…I have said, and I repeat that while I am Prime Minister of Barbados our territory will not be used to intimidate any of our neighbours: be that neighbour Cuba or the USA. And I do not believe that size is necessarily the only criterion for determining these matters. It is important to let people know where you stand…in what is a moral commitment to peace in our region.”
And ever since those heady days of the 1980’s, the political leaders of the Caribbean have continued to adhere to the stipulation contained in the United Nations Resolution of 1978 that they should “define” and “freely determine” the specific content of our Caribbean Zone of Peace, “taking into account the characteristics of the zone and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.
The most significant development in this regard has been the January 2014 Zone of Peace Declaration which was unanimously adopted in Havana, Cuba by the member states of the Community of LatinAmerican and Caribbean States (CELAC)– a hemisphere-wide organization which includes virtually all of the independent nations of the Caribbean and the Americas, with the exception of the United States of America and Canada.
True to the United Nations stipulation, our Governments looked to the Charter of the United Nations for additional principles to flesh out the International Law concept of the Caribbean being a Zone of Peace and enunciated– among other things– a “permanent commitment” to solve disputes through peaceful means “with the aim of uprooting forever the threat or use of force in our region”; the commitment not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State and to observe the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights, and self-determination of peoples; and a commitment “to fully respect the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations”.
It is therefore precisely these “Zone of Peace” principles that our CARICOM Heads of Government were able to look to for guidance when, on the 23rd of January 2019, events in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela– centred around Juan Guaido declaring himself President of the Republic– precipitated a profound concern about our region descending into armed conflict.
Indeed, it is this Maurice Bishop engineered Zone of Peace concept and the principles embedded therein that our Heads of Government have stressed again and again in the several written and verbal Statements that they have issued on the crisis situation in Venezuela, as they have attempted to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the matter.
And so, it is vitally important that we should always keep in mind that we are building on the work of those that went before us and that laboured to create a path for us!
Although I participated in the COFCOR meeting, it would not be possible for me to determine with any certainty to what extent the Foreign Ministers, my fellow CARICOM Ambassadors, the CARICOM Secretariat staff, and the other regional officials who engaged in two days of intense deliberations in Grenada on the 13th and 14th of May were conscious of the fact that we were standing on the shoulders of the late Maurice Bishop and were being willed to validate the great and mighty work that this hero of our Caribbean Civilization had commenced way back in 1979 : but it is precisely that type of consciousness that we will need in CARICOM if we are to fulfill the immense and sacred duty that has been entrusted to us.
Citizen of the Caribbean
“For a world of peace without bases, facilities and foreign military enclaves”
The Sixth International Seminar of Peace and for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases was held in Guantanamo, Cuba, on May 4 to 6, 2019 with the presence of 90 foreign participants from 35 countries, among whom were present leaders of the World Peace Council (WPC) and its member organizations, as well as personalities, fighters for peace, anti-war and solidarity friends of Cuba from Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Dominica, Egypt, United States, Spain, Philippines, France, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Iran, Italy, England, Comores Islands, Jamaica, Japan, Nicaragua, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Dominican Republic, Russia, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela and Zambia.
The Seminar, organized by the Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of Peoples (MOVPAZ) under the auspices of the World Peace Council (CMP), also had the decisive contribution of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and the Organization of Solidarity with the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America (OSPAAAL), the co-sponsor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and the International Committee Peace, Justice and Dignity to Peoples.
The event took place in the context of a growing complex international situation characterized by the increase of all types of aggressiveness and interference of US imperialism, the European Union and NATO in their efforts to impose their hegemonic dictates at the expense of freedom, independence and sovereignty of the peoples of the world.
In the execution of such disastrous objectives, the expansion, strengthening and modernization of foreign military bases and aggressive installations of a similar nature, constitute a fundamental component, as they are instruments of direct and indirect intervention in the internal affairs of the countries where they are located, as well as, of permanent threat against neighboring countries.
The United States continues being the country with the largest number of bases in the world and, together with its NATO allies, has the largest nuclear arsenal and the biggest contingent of military forces in the history of mankind.
Imperialism continues to unleash wars and warlike conflicts of different intensity in various parts of the world, while increasing contradictions, tensions, the genocidal blockade and “diplomacy of sanctions” against the nations that they consider adversaries such as Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and, in Latin America, against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.
It promotes scenarios of political and social destabilization in the Middle East with its unlimited support to Israel against the cause of the Palestinian people as well as in Africa, where they continue to generate waves of disproportionate and disorganized migration to European countries, with a large number of dead and missing persons.
The Administration of President Trump, in consonance with the previous US governments, worsen the more conservatives positions and of confrontation in foreign policy that characterizes his existing presidency, which increases the possibility of major new conflicts at a global scale.
The revitalization of the Monroe Doctrine as the essence of US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean has as its main purpose the reformulation of its mechanism of domination focusing in the progressive, popular and democratic governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua; and with it to strongly hit the solidarity and sovereignty integration processes that started 20 years ago and are being threated today.
In this regard, the US imperialism and its national oligarchic allies and traitors, develop a fourth generation war that roughly combines war and economic blackmail with strong media campaigns aimed at demoralizing the leaders and progressive political forces through the use of fake news.
This reality, which is emerging today in different countries of the region, represents a serious threat to peace and to political and social stability at a regional scale, which is why the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, approved by the II Summit of Latin American and the Caribbean Community of States, CELAC, held in Havana in January 2014, is now more valid in such circumstances.
Considering all of the above, this Sixth International Seminar calls on all pacifist and progressive forces to multiply actions and initiatives against imperialism and its wars and interventionist policies that continue putting in serious danger the future and destiny of all humanity.
From this perspective, and in consonance with the agreements of the Regional Meeting of the Americas and the Caribbean of the World Peace Council, the participants in the seminar reaffirmed their form resolute support for the Global Campaign against foreign military bases and pledged to multiply the actions in support to February 23, date in which United States imposed its first base on Cuba, declared as “Global Day of actions against foreign military bases”
Likewise, the peace fighters gathered in Guantanamo,
COMMIT THEMSELVES TO:
The participants in the Sixth International Seminar of Peace and for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, agreed to transmit their fraternal greeting and recognition to the people of Guantanamo and its authorities for the warm welcome and support provided for the successful completion of the event.
Likewise, they also extended their solidarity to all the Cuban people who continue their great effort to achieve a more just, prosperous, democratic and sustainable socialist society and paid homage to the memory of the undisputed leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.
Guantánamo, Cuba, May
16 May 2019 — MROnline We only have one planet. Let’s save it. Now! Originally published: GUE/NGL (European United Left/ Nordic Green Left ) (April 2019) Introduction The latest IPCC Special Report (October 2018) is our last alarm bell for stopping mass human and environmental destruction caused by human-induced climate change. Its findings were alarming-rapid, […]
16 May 2019 — MROnline
We only have one planet. Let’s save it. Now!
Originally published: GUE/NGL (European United Left/ Nordic Green Left ) (April 2019)
The latest IPCC Special Report (October 2018) is our last alarm bell for stopping mass human and environmental destruction caused by human-induced climate change. Its findings were alarming-rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes before the year 2030 are what is required if we are to have any chance of staying well below 1.5° global warming. The failure of governments to adequately deal with this man-made crisis is already impacting millions of lives, and the most vulnerable worldwide are always hit the hardest. Short-sighted market logic has delayed an adequate response for way too long. We need unprecedented political will to achieve an ecologically just Europe, where we accept our full climate responsibility and where our climate is not sacrificed for the profit of the few.
Climate action is our number one priority in GUE/NGL. We do not see it as a stand-alone struggle; it includes struggles for decent jobs, high living standards and gender and racial equality. We oppose polices that subordinate essential natural resources of life and common goods, like water, energy, air, a clean environment and health, to the forces of profit-seeking. We fight against capitalism, neoliberal policies and corporate capture.
The panic button needs to be hit to declare climate emergency. We need serious action now; there is no more time to waste.
A legal basis for Climate Justice
The principles of climate justice are central to how we approach climate action, ensuring that the transition is fair and leaves no one behind. The struggle for climate action is deeply intertwined with all human rights struggles as well as the ecological crisis. Climate justice needs to have a legal basis and be a fundamental value in the legal systems of the EU and Member States. Only then can climate litigation succeed in ensuring our targets meet the science and are not just political compromises. Only then, can all policy work towards strong and ambitious climate goals, through the prism of climate justice.
- Insert climate justice into the legal bases of the EU and Member States and ensure climate policies follow the principles of climate justice
- Ensure just transition is at the heart of climate action, alleviate energy poverty, guarantee the right to equal access to energy and stop policies that burden vulnerable and marginalised people
- Ensure a long-term vision and road map to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and use the SDGs as essential benchmarks for all legislative actions in every policy field, acknowledging that climate goals are related to all other SDGs
- Give people, especially the youth, a voice in our climate policies and prioritise inclusive climate education
- Gender proof our climate mitigation and adaptation policies and create gender-sensitive and inclusive climate policies
- Revise the EU 2050 long-term carbon-neutral strategy to focus on climate justice, 100% renewables and early action to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 at the latest
An End to Fossil Fuels
A rapid and clear expiry date for fossil fuels is urgently needed to keep global warming well below 1.5°C. We believe in a right to energy, and this becomes a right to renewable energy when considering the human right to live in a safe and habitable environment. Instead of continuing to allow the fossil industry to set the agenda, we need command and control policies at EU and Member State levels. Our only chance lies in a sustainable, decentralised and accessible energy supply, which provides jobs and guarantees our energy sovereignty. We cannot afford to be shy in investing in this renewable future.
- Immediately revise of our 2030 targets to commit to a reduction target of at least 65% of greenhouse gases, and revise all other climate and energy targets to what is scientifically necessary to curb global warming well below 1.5°C
- Commit to a fossil fuel phase out date, which includes gas, by 2030 and a rapid phase out nuclear energy and first generation biofuels, including palm oil and soy, as well as excluding the fossil fuel industry completely from all decision-making processes
- Move away from false ‘solutions’, gas and nuclear reliance and start realising the potential of natural carbon sinks, reject geoengineering and techno-fixes, such as carbon-capture and storage, which facilitate dirty industries
- Increase investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy savings in all sectors
- Enshrine the right to renewable energy, so that energy that does not harm our planet is accessible and affordable to all
Resist the Constant Growth Model
Global capitalism dictates constant growth, and all growth is reliant on natural resources, which are, of course, limited. Ending the constant growth model is a big task, and so immediately, measures must be taken to counteract the constant growth model. This means regulating to ensure sustainable production and sustainable systems all around us and fight for new economic and social policies. Allowing GDP to be the sacred indicator of social progress is ignorant of the ecocide this unregulated growth creates. All sectors, as obliged by the Paris Agreement, must decarbonise. To do this, we need new production models that fully incorporate the polluter pays and circular economy principles and resist the harmful unsustainable forces of global capitalism.
- Implement a European green rule: privilege environment and climate over the free market, end the quest for profit and rethink the functioning of our society according to ecosystem’s limits
- Rapidly shift to sustainable agriculture and fisheries, including shorter supply chains, full environmental compliance and food sovereignty. This means a swift move away from the current agro-industrial intensification model, including the patenting elements of life, towards ecological, sustainable farming and fishing practices and local, sustainable food systems that promote genetic diversity
- Completely transform the direction on the EU’s trade, commercial and investment policies, ensuring only environmentally and socially sustainable trade and investments. This means no trade without ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement, including climate and environment clauses in trade deals, and proper regulation of the climate impact of imports and exports
- Ensure that the true meaning of circular economy principles are fully implemented in all legislation and processes; promote local consumption and production based on these principles of reuse, recycle and repair to stop planned obsolescence business strategies; adapt consumption to the limits of the Planet
- Properly fund social services and increase smart and green spatial and urban planning and ensure accessibility, social justice and equity in the allocation of public services. radically rethink transport, focusing on zero-emission public transport which should be free for all and promote active mobility
- Protect and invest in our biodiversity and carbon sinks, by prioritising sufficient funding for the conservation and restoration of woodlands, peatlands and other habitats, particularly protecting native species; adopt control and surveillance measures on a European scale for the pests and pathogens that are decimating European forests and create specific support measures to prevent and fight forest fires
Direct the Transition
Market ‘solutions’, such as carbon markets, have been successfully pushed for by industry to become the prevalent logic in the EU. Market approaches are inherently incapable of effectively reducing emissions and have led us to the standstill where we are now. They create hands-off, ‘cost-effective’, fake responses to climate change, completely shirking governments of the responsibility to direct the rapid transition to a sustainable society. Carbon credits are a right to pollute, and we utterly reject this concept. Dirty industries must be directly regulated and renewables massively endorsed. The polluter pays principle must apply, the costs cannot be externalised to society and the environment. This means that the companies that extract and sell fossil fuels must pay up, as well as the big polluting industries. Nature, biodiversity and a habitable planet are not commodities that require cost-benefit analyses, their value cannot be monetised, nor can it be ignored.
- End the liberalisation agenda of the EU for energy, recognise it is as a common good and promote the socialisation of the energy sector; allow for massive state investment into public renewable energy
- Democratise and decentralise energy and ensure an expansion in community-level energy projects
- Reject all market-based climate policies because they are climate delaying tactics; stand for goal-based direct regulation on greenhouse gas emissions by directly setting and monitoring legally binding emissions reduction goals for each sector
- Stop reforming the broken market system and immediately abolish the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)
- Democratise and decentralise energy and ensure an expansion in community-level energy projects
- Introduce binding regulations on emissions for shipping and aviation—offsetting schemes such as CORSIA cannot be considered as climate action; directly regulate shipping and aviation in climate policies by mandating emissions reduction goals and emissions performance standards; ensure public investment into alternative sustainable fuels for both and ensure that these industries are properly taxed
- Encourage Member States to green their tax systems making sure that the big polluters pay their share, not the people. Regulate financial markets so that financial actors comply with strict sustainability and social criteria that works towards the necessary transitions
Investment Not Austerity
Climate action needs to be about public investment, not austerity. We reject the neoliberal notions of leaving climate action up to individuals; we place the responsibility firmly on governments and lawmakers, to lead with public investment and ensure that the private sector can only invest sustainably. Climate justice means the burdens and benefits of action must be distributed fairly. People cannot be left picking up the tab to the advantage of the Big Polluters. Ambitious climate action must mean a Just Transition, a framework of social interventions to make sure that no communities or regions are left behind in the transition to a clean planet. A massive mobilisation of funds is needed for the green transition, including its direct and indirect consequences.
- Establish a Just Transition Fund and ensure decent green jobs are created in vulnerable regions particularly; ensure that no community or region suffers disproportionately from the transition to a clean planet
- Revise how Europe spends its funds, take account of the Ecological deficit we create and ensure a massive public Green Investment Plan
- End all direct and indirect subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, including quantitative easing at the European Central Bank
- Ensure public interest research and development on environmentally-friendly low-carbon technologies and introduce the adequate incentives
Ambitious Global Action
Climate action needs to take place at the global level too, with an ambitious and coordinated global response. Those who contribute the least to climate change, are the ones who suffer the most from its consequences. This is why it is essential that the EU and Member States act on their historic responsibility in emitting greenhouse gases and take full account of their financial and technological resources. We must do more and reach low carbon neutrality by 2040 at the latest whilst helping adaptation efforts. Climate justice at the international level should be based on effective partnerships and international solidarity. The Commission and the Council negotiate about climate on behalf of all EU Member States, but Member States need to become more active and involved at the international level and loudly advocate the principles of climate justice.
- Take responsibility for our historical share in global warming; compensate for the climate debt we have built up and ensure the most vulnerable countries are sufficiently resourced to adapt to global warming and rising sea levels
- Limit our global ecological footprint to help protect our oceans and forests worldwide, and support measures to protect and recover these lungs of the earth
- Call for a legal, universal definition of climate refugees, ensure that there are safe and legal ways to the EU and that their right to asylum is respected in every Member State. Call for a legal and universal definition of internally displaced people due to climatic reasons, ensuring that our foreign policies are oriented towards protecting their rights.
- Secure equitable and sufficient flows of climate finance under the Paris agreement and ensure grants are the financial instrument favoured over loans. Ensure that the Green Fund is replenished to €100 billion
- Ensure that all development and trade policies include, and are streamlined with, climate goals, and ensure a readily available funding mechanism for Loss and Damage
- Advocate for an International Convention on Fossil Fuels to keep them in the ground
- Oblige the European Union and all its Member State to act with high ambition at international climate conferences, play a more active role in the yearly global summit, and act on the COP conclusions every year and; that Member State and EU use their climate diplomacy to spur other global actors to pursue adequate decarbonisation strategies
Together we Fight for Change
As one of the richest continents and main contributors to climate change, Europe has a duty to ensure rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We are in dire need of just and sustainable structural reforms throughout society—bearing in mind the historical responsibility of the rich, big polluters. Making capitalism just a bit greener will not succeed in halting climate change, it will only delay climate action further. To date, dirty industries have been influencing our climate policies. Now we need our climate action to be accountable to the people, not the climate confusers. We need to place people and the sustainability of the environment above profit. If we do not implement radical system changes right now, the commercialisation of the earth will continue to put the interests of the multinational companies first. This puts our planet and ourselves atan unacceptable risk. We have a responsibility to avert the climate crisis with urgency and preserve the earth for future generations. The only effective response is to immediately address this crisis as a climate emergency. Together we can change the system to save the climate!
Teachers, doctors and health personnel called to continue a national strike Tuesday to reject the reforms of Congress that will privatize the education and health system.
The day of national protest continues the activities that began last Thursday when a controversial piece of legislation was approved to dismiss a massive amount of public teachers, doctors and health personnel. The measure also calls for the privatization of health and education services.
On Tuesday, the Honduran police repressed a series of protests in the streets of the capital city of Tegucigalpa by teachers, doctors and students. The education and health sectors remain in firm opposition to the reforms that the National Congress seeks to approve to restructure both sectors.
The protesters defend the “right of Hondurans to education and public health,” while the president of the Colegio Medico Hondureño said they are demanding the repeal of the entire decree, not one or two articles, and that “it is not negotiable.”
The Law of Restructuring and Transformation of the National Health and Education System, approved last week by the National Congress, was interpreted by the Medical Association of Honduras (CMH) and other related entities as the beginning of a series of mass dismissals of teachers and doctors from the public sector.
Hundreds of thousands of people are marching this May Day to protest these and other neoliberal reforms by the government.
In one of its articles, it was established that the Secretariats of both sectors could “proceed to cancel the appointment agreements and the termination of service provision contracts, in the context of the decisions taken in the process of administrative restructuring.”
After a series of legislative debates and even physical altercations, Congress approved two controversial laws, although the medical union and the teachers’ organizations allege that the stability of their members is in danger, while maintaining that the reforms push for the privatization of the educational systems and health.
The state-run medical and pension system was already robbed of around US$350 million by President Juan Orlando Hernandez and a ring of politicians within his National Party between 2013 and 2014, diverting funds the party and the president’s 2016 campaign.
The teachers’ union says in addition to the approval of the laws, the way in which is was done, by hand vote is “embarrassing” and violates legislature voting procedures. Members of the medical union agree and say the policy is null because lawmakers didn’t follow voting protocol.
Voices around the world continue to condemn new U.S. sanctions on Cuba, in particular the recent activation of the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III.
The government of Mexico reiterated its rejection of the re-activation of this stipulation in violation of international law, and reaffirmed its commitment to legally protect Mexican companies that may be affected. In an official communiqué, the Ministry of Economy recalled that, in order to counteract the extraterritorial effects of the Helms-Burton, Mexico enacted a law that specifically protects commerce and investment from foreign regulations that contravene international norms, in effect since October 1996.
“Like other countries, Mexico has analyzed the relevant legal procedures to file complaints for violations of international law that the Helms-Burton Act represents,” the Mexican government states.
The Islamic Republic of Iran also confirmed its support for the Cuba. “Washington demonstrated, once again, that it resorts to illegitimate mechanisms to pressure independent countries,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abas Musavi said.
According to Prensa Latina, a professor at the Chinese University of Political Science and Law, Pan Deng, commented that the Trump administration is attempting to pressure Cuba and affecting the entire international community.
Deng said that Title III is a throwback to the colonial era that violates the principles of the world trade, creating barriers to the exchange of goods and services between different states.
The “Friends of Cuba” organization in Belgium adopted a resolution calling on the European Union and its member states to use all possible means to protect companies and citizens from the consequences of legal suits in U.S. courts, filed on the basis of Title III.
Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, yesterday once again tweeted his appreciation for “the widespread international rejection of the Helms-Burton Act by governments, companies, and individuals.”
As our President Miguel Diaz-Canel affirmed: “The U.S. government’s threats, sanctions, measures, falsehoods, and lies against Cuba have found no support among political, academic, cultural, business, or religious sectors, inside or outside U.S. territory.”
Spring Donation Drive CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight. Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair To replace Venezuela’s government with one to its liking, the United States uses special war-making tools. The plan is to make Venezuelans suffer enough so…
Spring Donation Drive
To replace Venezuela’s government with one to its liking, the United States uses special war-making tools. The plan is to make Venezuelans suffer enough so that, desperate, they will accept whatever government is presented. Troops and weapons aren’t required. That approached worked in Chile in 1973, but so far in Cuba it hasn’t – after almost 60 years.
The process has advanced. Citing a report from Venezuela’s National Survey on Living Conditions, analysts Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs noted recently that 40,000 more Venezuelans died in 2018 than in 2017. The death rate jumped by 31 percent.
The purpose here is to establish that the U.S. government actually intends to make Venezuelans suffer. U.S. deeds and officials’ words are revealing. Those responsible need to be called to account.
Interviewed on October 19, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo conceded that U.S. sanctions against Venezuela “sometimes have an adverse impact on the people of Venezuela.” But on March 11, 2019 he was celebrating: “The circle is tightening, the humanitarian crisis is increasing by the hour. I talked with our senior person on the ground there in Venezuela last night … You can see the increasing pain and suffering that the Venezuelan people are suffering from.”
Answering a reporter’s question in early 2018 about U.S. policies on Venezuela, a U.S. Embassy official in Mexico City commented that, “The economic sanctions we’ve imposed on the Venezuelan government have caused it to stop making payments as much on its sovereign debt as on PDVSA, its oil company … we are seeing a total economic collapse … Therefore, our policy is working.”
Interviewed later that year, former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield declared that, “If we are going to sanction PDVSA, it will have an impact on the entire people … [A]t this moment perhaps the best resolution would be to accelerate the collapse, even if it produces a period of suffering of months or perhaps years”.
Beginning in 2014, the U.S. government instituted economic sanctions. Venezuela was vulnerable. Oil prices had plummeted and inflation had skyrocketed. Contributing to inflation were reduced oil prices, hoarding of merchandise by commercial interests, andcurrency manipulation, which, according to Venezuelan economist Pasqualina Curcio, “is one of the main weapons of war that imperialism has used.”
From 2014 on, Venezuela’s economy contracted by more than 50 percent. Oil production, two million barrels per day in 2017, had fallen to 431,000 bpd by March, 2019. Oil exports provide the government with 95 percent of its income, which pays for social support.Venezuela importstwo thirds of the food consumed there. Difficulties in paying for imported food promote suffering.
Economic sanctions became a weapon of war. Countries now aligned against Venezuela once supplied 46 percent of the medicines needed there, with the United States providing 34 percent. Those countries were the source of 45 percent of food imported by Venezuela; the United States accounted for 33 percent.
Trouble mounted for Venezuelans after the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 113-278 in December, 2014. It authorized the president to use executive action to “impose … sanctions … with respect to any foreign person … acting on behalf of [Venezuela’s] Government.” The term “foreign person” applies to banks and financial institutions abroad.
Sanctions were announced in March, 2015 (by President Obama) and in April 2017; March, May, November of 2018; and January, March, and April of 2019.Theytarget income generated from Venezuela’s oil exports, assets abroad; access to imported goods and credit; and ability to secure, reschedule, or repay loans. Foreign banks are crucial to U.S. purposes. U.S. dollars are the currency of choice in international trade, and Venezuela must use dollars. To avoid penalties, the banks enforce U.S. mandates on transactions involving dollars.
Beginning in 2016, banks refused to handle Venezuelan transactions. They included Commerzbank of Germany, Credit Suisse, the Panamanian and Shandong branches of the Bank of China, Germany’s Deutsche Bank, Citibank, Novo Banco in Portugal, and Russian banks. Sanctions in January 2019 barred U.S. financial institutions from facilitating foreign sales of Venezuelan oil and gold.
Comprehensive reports from economist Pasqualina Curcio and by others detail multiple instances of foreign banks refusing to process individual Venezuelan purchase orders. Among them are: 300,000 vials of insulin, food costing $29.7 million destined for the government’s food-support program, another order of, food, medicines and other supplies costing $39 million, and a $9 million intended purchase of dialysis equipment for 15,000 patients.
Sanctions also blocked delivery of blood products for hemophilia patients, immunoglobulin for 200 children with Kawasaki disease, equipment for surgical repair of congenital heart malformations, and hospital drugs and anesthetic supplies obtainable in Turkey. JP Morgan held up $28.1 million to have been used for leasing food transport ships.
U.S. sanctions also led to the immobilizing – actually stealing – of Venezuelan resources through which citizens might have been protected from sickness and food shortage. Citibank, the Bank of London, Novo Banco, Japan’s Sumitomo bank, North Street Capital (a hedge fund firm), and the Bank of England confiscated Venezuelan assets. The latter bank holds onto Venezuelan gold worth $1.36 billion.
Targeting the state-owned PDVSA oil company, U. S. sanctions in January, 2019 enabled the confiscation of $7 billion in assets belonging to PDVSA’s U.S. affiliate CITGO. The fiction was presented of their transfer to the nonexistent government of U.S. puppet Juan Guaidó. Through sanctions, Venezuela’s government lost access to CITGO income and dividends valued at $11 billion, also to imported diluents, other additives, and repair materials – all essential for producing oil.
Weisbrot and Sachs report that as late as 2018 the United States purchased 35.6 percent of Venezuela’s oil exports. Sanctions now block imports of PDVSA oil by U.S. refineries and those of other countries. U.S. sanctions interfere with payments from third countries on imported Venezuelan oil.
Pasqualina Curcio reports that since 2013 U.S. “coercive measures” have deprived Venezuela of $114.3 billion. Of this, $92.9 billion are losses due to inflation and reduced oil production. The remaining loss of $21.5 billion stems from “unilateral coercive measures, financial blockades, commercial embargoes, and the theft of CITGO assets and other resources.”
Now Venezuela’s government can’t pay for food, medicines, and hospital and school supplies. It can’t rehabilitate water and electricity systems. According to Weisbrot and Sacks, food imports in 2018 amounted to “just $2.46 billion,” down from “$11.2 billion in 2013.” The likelihood of further decline in 2019 implies that “people with untreated HIV, diabetes, kidney failure, severe hypertension, certain types of cancer – 300,000 in all – are at extreme risk of death.” Recent sanctions represent “a death sentence for tens of thousands of Venezuelans.”
They point out that in 2019, “Imports of goods are projected to fall by 39.4 percent, from $10 billion to $6.1 billion.” Oil income will be 67 percent lower than in 2018. What’s happening is“collective punishment of the civilian population.”
Rapporteur and “independent expert” Alfred de Zayas in September, 2018 submitted a comprehensive report on Venezuela to the United Nations Council on Human Rights. It highlights U.S. violations of international law. At issue are “principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.” He mentions U.S. disregard for the United Nations Charter, the General Assembly’s Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States adopted in 1974, the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, and various General Assembly resolutions.
But more to the point: the U.S. government is abusing innocent Venezuelan people, and many die. U.S. officials, it seems here, engage in crimes against humanity. They disregard precepts of moral law.
To be violating prevailing ethical and legal norms apparently doesn’t matter to the U.S. government. But in an alternative world of justice, they do matter. A first step in making things right would be to bring into public view the purposes of U.S. intervention in Venezuela and methods being used. Ideally, the notion would get around that for current U.S. leaders, Venezuela’s oil and U.S. regional domination mean more than does human survival. Calling them to account would come next – in theory.
What’s possible is to approach some of those who have gotten a pass on complicity with crime. They would be the congresspersons who voted for Public Law 113–278 and/or aren’t dealing with its grim consequences. Living in all states, they are accessible.
When those activists now fending off sham diplomats at Venezuela’s Embassy in Washington eventually leave, they and others, logically, would get into a traveling mode. Congresspersons would be confronted in their states with demands to undo the Law.
The Top Private Sector Bosses. Above are pictures of some of them.
Their kids never get shot.
They all live in the prime and expensive suburbs.
They travel abroad for medical treatment when they get sick
Some have bank accounts that are registered abroad and the income earned from some of their businesses does not come to Jamaica.
They are part of the less than 100 persons or entities that own Jamaica.
They all financially support both parties.
They are mostly hidden from the public, only showing up in the
financial gleaner when buying up properties.
Most of them are now buying up reggae assets and investing heavily in REIT (real estate) in Florida and the stock market.
They are efficient in evading and paying little or no taxes.
They are the ones who support and insist that the government stick with the IMF. We owe most of our debt to them (the Private Sector). We are paying out over 240 billion dollars to them yearly irrespective of who is in power.
Questions: How can these people understand how our people live? How can they understand waiting 11 hours in our dilapidated hospitals? How can they understand the hurt felt when parents have to migrate to feed their kids – the trauma our kids go through? How can they understand when parents have to bury their kids? How can they understand the stress impact of not finding a job? How can they understand not earning enough to survive? They don’t know our story!!!
Our heroes did not sacrifice their lives for them. They did that for the majority of black Jamaicans. The corruption of our governments is also a part of their design. They benefit also.
The tribal quarrel between both parties is only a farce to see who best can serve the interest of the Private sector using our people as cannon fodder.
Source: Jamaica Patriotic Movement
WE CALL ON ALL DEFENDERS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY AND PEACE TO IMMEDIATELY CONTACT THE US EMBASSY IN THEIR COUNTRY AND PROTEST AGAINST THE ILLEGAL ACT BEING COMMITTED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT!A few minutes ago, we received this text message from one of the protectors from inside the Embassy: “We are about to be arrested on the order of a fake ambassador of a failed US coup in violation of the Vienna Convention. The US will regret this decision.”
The US police has started to raid the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC. Earlier they tapped the following notice — which has no seal, no signature, and even no header — to the Embassy door and after that they began to cut the chains off the doors:
WE NEED TO URGENTLY MOBILIZE INTERNATIONALLY AGAINST THIS ILLEGAL ACT!
US State Department
Venezuelan Foreign Ministry
From: Embassy Protection Collective
Re: Exiting the Venezuelan Embassy
Date: May 13, 2019
This is the 34th day of our living in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC. We are prepared to stay another 34 days, or however long is needed to resolve the embassy dispute in a peaceful way consistent with international law.
This memo is being sent to the US and Venezuela as well as members of our Collective and allies. We are encouraging people to publish this memo as a transparent process is needed to prevent the US from making a unilateral decision that could impact the security of embassies around the world and lead to military conflict.
There are two ways to resolve the issues around the Venezuelan embassy in DC, which we will explain.
Before doing so, we reiterate that our collective is one of independent people and organizations not affiliated with any government. While we are all US citizens, we are not agents of the United States. While we are here with permission of the Venezuelan government, we are not their agents or representatives.
We are here in the embassy lawfully. We are breaking no laws. We did not unlawfully enter and we are not trespassing.
1. Exiting with a Protecting Power Agreement
The exit from the embassy that best resolves issues to the benefit of the United States and Venezuela is a mutual Protecting Power Agreement. The United States wants a Protecting Power for its embassy in Caracas. Venezuela wants a Protecting Power for its embassy in DC. Such agreements are not uncommon when diplomatic relations are severed.
A Protecting Power Agreement would avoid a military conflict that could lead to war. A war in Venezuela would be catastrophic for Venezuela, the United States, and for the region. It would lead to lives lost and mass migration from the chaos and conflict of war. It would cost the United States trillions of dollars and become a quagmire involving allied countries around the world.
We are serving as interim protectors in the hope that the two nations can negotiate this resolution. If this occurs we will take the banners off the building, pack our materials, and leave voluntarily. The electricity could be turned on and we will drive out.
We suggest a video walk-through with embassy officials to show that the Embassy Protection Collective did not damage the building. The only damage to the building has been inflicted by coup supporters in the course of their unprosecuted break-ins.
2. The United States violates the Vienna Convention, makes an illegal eviction and unlawful arrests
This approach will violate international law and is fraught with risks. The United States would have to cut the chains in the front door put up by embassy staff and violate the embassy. We have put up barriers there and at other entrances to protect us from constant break-ins and threats from the trespassers whom the police are permitting outside the embassy. The police’s failure to protect the embassy and the US citizens inside has forced us to take these actions.
The Embassy Protectors will not barricade ourselves, or hide in the embassy in the event of an unlawful entry by police. We will gather together and peacefully assert our rights to remain in the building and uphold international law.
Any order to vacate based on a request by coup conspirators that lack governing authority will not be a lawful order. The coup has failed multiple times in Venezuela. The elected government is recognized by the Venezuelan courts under Venezuelan law and by the United Nations under international law. An order by the US-appointed coup plotters would not be legal.
Such an entry would put embassies around the world and in the United States at risk. We are concerned about US embassies and personnel around the world if the Vienna Convention is violated at this embassy. It would set a dangerous precedent that would likely be used against US embassies.
If an illegal eviction and unlawful arrests are made, we will hold all decision-makers in the chain of command and all officers who enforce unlawful orders accountable.
If there is a notice that we are trespassing and need to vacate the premises, please provide it to our attorney Mara Verhayden-Hilliard, copied on this memo.
We have taken care of this embassy and request a video tour of the building before any arrests.
We hope a wise and calm solution to this issue can be achieved so escalation of this conflict can avoided.
There is no need for the United States and Venezuela to be enemies. Resolving this embassy dispute diplomatically should lead to negotiations over other issues between the nations.
The Embassy Protection Collective
May 13, 2019
The Guyana Peace Council,(GPC) like the Government of Guyana continues to follow with deep interest and growing concern the evolving political situation in neighboring Venezuela.
The GPC supports unequivocally,the Government of Guyana’s stated position rejecting violence and the threat of the use of force as unacceptable means for the resolution of conflict.
The GPC fully supports the government’s and, by extension, CARICOM’S call for all parties to urgently and vigorously search for a peaceful and democratic solution to the volatile situation obtaining in Venezuela.
Finally, the GPC rejects the invocation of concepts such as ‘Troika of Tyranny’, ‘Axis of Evil’ and ‘ Circle of Crisis’ as incompatible with the peace loving and democratic aspirations of the peoples of the region and those of the world at large.
Such concepts run counter to the unanimous agreement reached by Caribbean and other member states of the United Nations as well as regional stakeholders, that the Caribbean remain a Zone of Peace.
In this regard, any disruption of the extant status quo within the region will be counterproductive and would, engender hostility, instead of promoting good neighborly relations between states, a necessary prerequisite for the peaceful and democratic development of the region at this historical juncture.
Guyana Peace Council
May 1, 2019
The Chairman said CARICOM “has been working earnestly to promote meaningful dialogue and diplomacy, as well as a four-phased process called the Montevideo Mechanism.”
Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, May 1, 2019:– On the last day of April 2019, as the first clear signs of a final, all-out, externally-backed attempt to topple the Venezuelan Government by force became clear, Caribbean Governments reiterated their determination to work with regional and international governments and entities to press for a peaceful solution.
On Tuesday, April 30, U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton all publicly backed what Caracas described as ‘a failed coup attempt’ that featured clear threats to national security and edged Venezuela closer to civil war.
Bolton, in a press conference during the day, also called on the top Venezuelan military officers, including the commanders of the army and the National Guard, to back Guaido, warning of untold consequences if they didn’t.
But Venezuela’s Caribbean neighbors, including those that support Washington’s tough anti-Venezuela stance at the Organization of American States (OAS), all signed-up to the Chairman’s declaration of the regional grouping’s continuing preference for a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis.
Chairman of the 13-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Timothy Harris, worked the phones Tuesday to remain apprised of the situation in Venezuela, where self-imposed U.S.-backed ‘Interim President’ Guaido had called for a national uprising and for the national army to help him unseat President Nicolas Maduro.
Harris, who is also Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, spent much of the day in consultation with other Caribbean leaders and CARICOM Secretary General Edwin LaRocque regarding developments in Venezuela, where an opposition figure serving a jail term under house arrest had joined Guaido’s street protest and participated in what Caracas says was ‘an attempt to mislead soldiers’ at a military base in the capital city.
Venezuela’s military spokesmen had also reported attacks during the day by Guaido supporters on soldiers, resulting in several senior officers being shot and critically wounded.
“I appeal for calm and peace,” Harris said Tuesday afternoon, while reiterating his pledge that “CARICOM will continue to make every effort to help bring a peaceful resolution to Venezuela’s political crisis.”
“My colleague Heads of Government and I are collectively charged with ensuring the continued security and stability of our beloved Caribbean region,” Prime Minister Harris added, noting that “This responsibility is our first and foremost priority, as we work in unison to safeguard our people’s future.”
The Chairman said CARICOM “has been working earnestly to promote meaningful dialogue and diplomacy, as well as a four-phased process called the Montevideo Mechanism, whose aim is an inclusive and lasting solution.”
“Such a considered approach,” he added, “can only redound to the benefit of the country and people of Venezuela — and, by extension, the countries and citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
CARICOM has continued its painful search for a peaceful solution, engaging in the process with Guaido’s forces and working with Latin American states as well as international bodies.
CARICOM has also established a special sub-committee on Venezuela that includes the Prime Ministers of Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago, Mia Mottley, Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Dr Keith Rowley, respectively.
Chairman Harris has led Caribbean delegations to several meetings on Venezuela’s political crisis, including in Guyana, Uruguay and Ecuador, as well as at the United Nations.
The CARICOM Chairman is also scheduled to engage in follow-up high-level talks with the International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela in Costa Rica next week.
The World Federation of Trade Unions, on behalf of its 97 million members in 130 countries of the 5 continents, would like to extend its condolences to the families who lost their loved ones during heavy rains and floods in the eastern coast of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa earlier this week.
We know that in situations like this it is always the poor and the working class that are mostly affected by such unfortunate events. The WFTU expresses its sadness and sorrow with the working class and people of South Africa who now find themselves displaced, without food, clothes and shelter.
The international class-oriented trade union movement would like to pledge a message of support and solidarity with the South Africans and in particular the residents and families of those affected.
The WFTU is deeply saddened by the situation and demands for the lives of the people affected to be back to normal so that they can start work on rebuilding homes and their lives.
The WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos participated in the great May Day demonstration in the Port of Piraeus in Greece and stated:
“All of us, in every corner of the planet, we have to condemn the coup against President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. We condemn the imperialists’ puppet Guaidó. The imperialists and the multinationals want to steal the natural wealth resources of Venezuela. The working class and the people of Venezuela have to crush the imperialists’ puppets. Venezuela is not alone!”.
The World Peace Council (WPC) denounces to the peace loving people in the world the new attempt for a Coup d’Etat in Venezuela,organized by the representatives of the reactionary oligarchy of the country hand in hand with their masters in the USA and the European Union.
The failed attempt to overthrow the legitimate government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela which was elected in 2018, proves one more time that the “opposition forces” have no scruples and limits when acting together with the imperialists, in their economic war, in the actions of sabotage and on all other options in order to secure the control of the biggest oil reserves of the world along with the geostrategic control of the region.
The WPC expresses its vehement rejection to the imperialist manouvers of interference and attempted Coup and its solidarity with the brave people of Venezuela, which is the only one to determine its future and destiny.
We condemn the government of the USA and the leadership of the EU, for its machinations and ultimatums against the sovereign will of the people of Venezuela.
Hands Off Venezuela! Down with Imperialism! Long live the people of Venezuela!
WPC Secretariat Athens 30.04.2019
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This is a pleasant reminder that we began this blog on May 1, 2017, International Workers Day. What a journey it has been! Thanks to all our readers for your interest and occasional feedback.
Photo: Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante founding trade union and political party leaders (Jamaica Observer)
The Jamaica Peace Council wishes the Jamaican workers a happy International Labour Day, otherwise called May Day, which is celebrated all over the world on May 1.
Our workers do not get enough credit for their contribution to building our country but they are the first casualty when private companies and the public sector seek to improve efficiency, achieve targets and guarantee higher profits to shareholders. As organisations downsize more and more, the average worker’s job description is expanded to encompass two, three or many more roles.
One wonders why today’s workers in Jamaica have not followed the tradition of resistance that gave birth to the trade union movement and our two major political parties, the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). The reality is that workers’ representation has been undermined by measures that prevent unionization. One of these measures is contract work. Most frontline and even some supervisory staff are hired on short term contracts which make it difficult or perhaps impossible for them to be unionized. Although these contracts may be renewed, organisations make deliberate efforts to dance around the labour laws by ensuring that there are adequate breaks in rehiring contract staff. This creates an environment in which the workers have no voice and are forced to accept very unfavourable working conditions. Another disadvantage of contract work is that most of the workers have no benefits and the women do not get maternity leave.
This contract work scenario is not the exclusive experience of Jamaican workers. It exists on a wide scale in other countries, including the United States. One of the companies which has been in the news lately about its unfavourable working conditions is Amazon, headed by Jeff Bezos who has become the richest man in the world. This wealth was not created by some magical ability. It was created by workers who are paid an infinitesimal portion of the value they create.
May Day presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the labour movement, the need to restore the strength of the trade unions and the urgent task of blocking organisations, foreign and local, from circumventing our labour laws. Ensuring that our workers are treated with respect, dignity and fairness and are allowed to organize in trade unions is a key element of building a peaceful society.
Workers everywhere are rising up, organizing, striking, and fighting back under difficult conditions. The capitalist elite are hell bent on dividing and oppressing workers on the basis of racism, sexism, xenophobia, ableism and anti-LGBTQ2S oppression. May Day is the day for us to remind the state that workers will bring this system down.
May Day is the historic international workers’ holiday and it is vital that we continue to build global working class solidarity by fighting back against capitalist greed, racism, and growing fascism around the world. We rally on Wall Street this May Day to point the finger at the ruling class and the corporate oligarchs responsible for these crimes.
Every struggle is a workers struggle. Climate change is a workers struggle, the student movements and the teacher’s movements are workers struggles, the struggle against racist police terror and prisons is a workers struggle. Prisoners on hunger strike are a workers struggle, indigenous power and land demands are workers struggles, women trans and non-binary people’s struggles are workers struggles, the sex workers struggle is a workers struggle, the struggle against sexual and domestic violence is a workers struggle. People with disabilities’ struggle for access, rights, and survival is a workers struggle. The immigrant movement is a workers struggle! The antiwar movement, the housing movement, the healthcare-for-all movement are workers struggles! EVERY STRUGGLE IS A WORKERS STRUGGLE!
In addition to Wall Street, we are supporting the workers’ struggle at TYS Laundromat in Harlem. After years of wage theft and unsafe working conditions, the workers have dared to fight back. With community support they have won minimum wage and safer working conditions, but the bosses are still refusing to pay years of unpaid wages and have retaliated by cutting their hours. Come out at Noon on Mayday and stand with these workers to demonstrate the tremendous community support that they have. (215 E 116 St, Harlem)
Join us this May Day to give Wall Street something to worry about as we declare: No Walls in the Workers Struggle!!!
46 organizations have endorsed May Day on Wall Street! Email email@example.com to add your group.
Peoples Power Assemblies NYC • International Action Center • Acción Revolución Estados Unidos y Canadá • Alberta Lovera Bolivarian Circle • Associación do Trancalenos USA • BAYAN • Black Alliance for Peace • A Call to Action of Puerto Rico • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists • Committee to Liberate Jorge Glas • Committee to Stop FBI Repression NYC • December 12th Movement • DECRIM NYC • Domestic Workers United • FIRE-Fight for Im/migrants & Refugees Everywhere • Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition-NYC • Frente Independentista Boricua • Frente Hispano • FUIE-Frente Unido de Immigrantes Ecuatorianos • 7k or Strike • Guyanese American Workers United • Haïti Liberté • International League of Peoples’ Struggle • International Migrants Alliance • Indigenous Solidarity Rebellion • International Support Haiti Network • International Working Women’s Day Coalition • Jericho Amnesty Movement-NYC • Jersey City Peace Movement • Laundry Workers Center • Lynne Stewart Organization • May Day Space • May 32 Coalition • Ministry in Solidarity with the Peoples, Holyrood Church • National Immigrant Solidarity Network Network • New Abolitionist Movement • No War on Venezuela • NYC Shut It Down • OWS Special Projects Affinity Group • The People’s Forum • People’s MTA • Pro Libertad • Punks for Progress • Pakistan USA Freedom Forum • Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement • UNAC-United National Antiwar Coalition NYC • Workers World PartySource: https://iacenter.org/2019/04/29/may-1-may-day-on-wall-street-no-walls-in-the-workers-struggle/
As we stand here today on the brink of the one year anniversary of the spasm of violence and confusion that engulfed Nicaragua last year, it is time to tell the truth and correct the historical record about what actually happened during three months of violence. The Alliance for Global Justice, with contributions by over 20 co-authors plus editors, photographers, videographers, and folks who lived the terror of those times, has produced a free electronic book available in pdf and electronic book formats. Live from Nicaragua: Uprising our Coup? is a reader with both original articles and reprints of articles written during the troubled times.
In 2018, Nicaragua suffered its worst political violence and upheaval since the end of the US backed Contra war of the 1980s. Extremely polarized controversy persists about what caused this conflict, how it developed and what is means for Nicaragua’s people now. This book brings together material completely excluded from mainstream coverage of events in Nicaragua. The book has been produced by people with an unquestionable and long demonstrated commitment to grass roots democracy and community development in Nicaragua and the region based on an anti-imperialist vision of peace and justice for all. The book challenges the mainstream and much of the alternative media coverage of events in Nicaragua over the last year. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand those events.
The book will be available from midday Thursday April 18th 2019
Extracts from Gabriela Luna’s Prologue
The geographical position, extraction of natural resources, exploitation of cheap labor and possibility of building an inter-oceanic canal have been the axes of imperialist interest in Central America. This has bathed the region’s history in blood and resistance, which is why the desperate migrant caravan from the northern triangle of the isthmus is in fact the offspring of U.S. imperialism.
Since 2007, hope and life have been redefined with the return of the Sandinista Front to government. The absolute number of undernourished people in the country has been reduced by half, access to free education and health care has been guaranteed to rural communities, maternal mortality has been reduced by 60% and infant mortality by 52%, while access to electricity has been increased from 54% to 96% of the country’s population.
Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America, and is in sixth place globally for women’s participation in public and civic spaces. Life in the countryside has recovered dignity, thanks to a policy that prioritizes and values the family economy, making it possible to reduce food imports and become 100% self-sufficient in beans, corn, eggs, milk, fruits, onions, peppers, tomatoes and beef.
The attempted coup was intended to eradicate not only the Sandinista Front from political power in Nicaragua but also to tear Sandinismo from the heart and historical memory of the people. The practices of desecrating and burning historical sites of the Sandinista Front, of stripping, beating, torturing, kidnapping and publicly murdering Sandinistas, or publicly burning people, is not new in the history of Nicaragua or Central America.
These practices stem from the Spanish conquest that publicly tortured indigenous rebels. They were then applied by U.S. soldiers in military interventions, by the Somoza dictatorship, and were part of the US’ counter-insurgency handbook, applied during more than 30 years in Guatemala and El Salvador to stop the advances of peoples’ revolutions in these countries.
The CIA’s Contra armies applied these practices in peasant communities during the 1980s.
The opposition’s death roadblocks were mostly manned by socially-excluded poor people who were paid to create chaos and pain. They were politically supported by young upper middle-class university students, who, from the comfort of their homes in gated communities, misunderstood the reality of the roadblocks, and consumed the mainstream media’s version of the crisis.
These media outlets are dominated nationally by the oligarchy. US-owned social media companies provided platforms for a strategy that activated hundreds of young people previously trained by USAID and NED to create a dominant narrative. The coup’s media blitzkrieg used the advertising pages of Facebook to spread lies, foment hatred and encourage violence—accusing the Sandinistas of the violence against Sandinistas.
The first sector to break the psychological and horror siege was the moral reserve of the Sandinista Front: its historic rank-and-file membership. In the face of systematic violence against Sandinista families, the only option was local organizing for the protection of families, neighborhoods, towns and cities. Barricades were formed in the neighborhoods and public institutions to prevent arson attacks and assassinations.
These defense barricades, set up over weeks in the cities, towns and neighborhoods of Nicaragua, were made up of members of the Sandinista Front from various generations…but with one common denominator: these barricades were made up of Nicaragua’s workers. In practice, everyone learned from everyone, and natural leaders emerged from the heart of the neighborhoods who often were not part of any of the official structures of the Sandinista Front.
This was political education in practice: young people learned what it means to be a Sandinista, the principles and values of the historic militancy, the historical burden behind their actions. These young people respected and valued the bravery and knowledge of the old guard, while elders respected the strengths of the young people and their understanding of the impact of social media. Since the highways were shut down by rightwing roadblocks, Sandinistas across the country organized themselves to distribute locally sourced food.
The elite in Nicaragua has long believed that the people are ignorant, or “innocent” as the oligarchy’s newspaper, La Prensa, puts it. They assumed that if denied their ability to live normally and safely, Nicaraguans would demand a new government. The plan backfired, and the Sandinista Front mobilized more people in the street from April to September of 2018 than in any other period in its history.
During this period, Nicaraguans saw themselves in a new light and were forced to reckon with the strengths and weaknesses of the political process, of living in a capitalist country with a socialist government, under the shadow of the United States. Above all, those three months of resistance clearly demonstrated the immense courage of the people of Nicaragua, especially those without land, without a car, the workers from the inner-city neighborhoods. History again demonstrated the Nicaraguan people’s capacity for resistance and survival, dignity and strength. It was the people’s wisdom that defeated the coup.
How to obtain Live from Nicaragua: Uprising or Coup?
For the e-book version
– Click on the link to save the file to your device, then
open the .zip file to access the version you want.
For a Kindle hand-held device
– Open the compressed e-book file on your computer and
connect the Kindle device to your computer
– Use your mouse to move the ‘Kindle content’ folder in the opened e-book file to the ‘documents’ folder on the Kindle device
– Once copied, disconnect the Kindle. ‘Live from Nicaragua’ should appear on its home page.
For the PDF version
– Click on the link and save the file to your device
Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Sandinista Triumph, and Nine Other Reasons!
By Erika Takeo, Friends of the ATC National Coordinator & Avery Raimondo, Friends of the ATC Testimonies Project Coordinator
The “Solidarity with Nicaragua!” delegation will be taking place from July 11th to July 21st. This delegation is organized by a group of US and UK-based solidarity organizations (the Friends of the ATC, Alliance for Global Justice, and Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign) as well as Nicaragua-based social movement organizations (principally the Rural Workers’ Association or ATC). To explain our work and what delegates can expect in Nicaragua, participants from our January trip recently put together a report back webinar. It’s definitely worth a watch, but for those who don’t have 56 minutes and 44 seconds to spare, we’ve come up with a list of 10 reasons to come on our July delegation!
To join our delegation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
10 Reasons to come to Nicaragua in July for the “Solidarity with Nicaragua!” delegation
Read more about the experience of our delegations to Nicaragua:
Fresh Eyes on Nicaragua: A Renewed Sense of Internationalism by delegate David Archuleta of Alliance for Global Justice
How A Women-Led Coffee Cooperative Transforms their Society through Food Soveriegnty, Feminism, & Family by delegate Colin Lawton of WhyHunger
Food Sovereignty & Agrarian Reform in Nicaragua by delegate Betty Fermin of WhyHunger
Food Sovereignty & Peasant Agroecology in Nicaragua by delegate Tyler Short of Sustainable Grown Louisville
One of the first to ratify support for the coup was U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, tweeting 30 messages expressing his desire to see President Maduro deposed.
International law seems to matter little to the United States (U.S.) government as they once again have publicly expressed support for a coup attempt against the constitutional and democratically elected government of Venezuela.
One of the first to ratify his support for the destabilizing attempt was U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who as news of an attempted coup reached the world early Tuesday morning, has tweeted 30 messages vehemently expressing his desire to see President Nicolas Maduro deposed.
Venezuelan state officials responded, denouncing the comments of foreigner government leaders.
Vice President of Venezuela Delcy Rodriguez tweeted Tuesday: “In a shameless and immoral way, the U.S. government recognizes its authorship in this criminal attempt of a coup in Venezuela! They show the world their desire to destroy our Homeland!”
Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez reported that a group of about 50 soldiers located in the Altamira highway, in eastern Caracas, to promote a coup supporting the far-right’s agenda.
To @jguaido, the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad—Estamos con ustedes! We are with you! America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored. Vayan con dios! #FreeVenezuela
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 30, 2019
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that his government “fully supports” what both the far-right and the U.S. have dubbed as “Operation Liberty.” Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Rick Scott (R) have also shown how invested the U.S. is to the destablization of the South American nation.
“What is the point of having international law, what is the point to having the United Nations,” international analyst Marcus Papadopoulos told teleSUR after questioning the role of the U.S. powering an illegal coup attempt.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced these U.S. initiatives, especially that issued by Pompeo, saying that he “makes a spectacle of diplomacy, by promoting and financing a violent coup in Venezuela. Washington’s obsession with controlling Venezuela’s oil wealth leads them to clumsiness”.
The government voices from the U.S. keep piling on. Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip in the Senate has also supported the attempt as well as National Security Affairs (NSA) Director, John Bolton. While the White House said that Donald Trump was being kept informed about events in Venezuela as they unfolded, no statement has been provided yet. As the situation unfolds, the “usual suspects” show their clear standing.
TeleSUR La Nueva Televisión del Sur C.A. (TVSUR) RIF: G-20004500-0
Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ)
From March 28-April 7, 2019 people from the U.S., Canada and Turkey were in Venezuela to observe and better understand the affects of sanctions on Venezuela’s economy, it’s people and institutions. The 12 participants represented many different backgrounds, experiences and geographic areas across the U.S., Canada, Costa Rica and Turkey.
This delegation, which was entirely self-funded, went to Venezuela at a critical time, following the defeat of the U.S.-backed attempted coup d’état by Juan Guaido. While the delegation was in Venezuela, the U.S. government continued to escalate sanctions against Venezuela, and to state that, “all options are on the table,” referring to possible U.S. military action against the sovereign country.
During the 10-day fact-finding delegation participants, including medical professionals, social justice activists and journalists, heard first-hand from government officials, community leaders, human rights organizations, journalists and grassroots organizations in both rural and urban Venezuela.
What the delegation observed was that the economic sanctions, referred to as unilateral coercive economic measures in Venezuela, which illegal under the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN) charters, as well as the U.S. threats of war, have had a significant negative impact on the everyday lives of people in Venezuela.
“We saw a very different Venezuela than what we are hearing, seeing and reading across mainstream media. We were eye-witness to the significant difficulties that Venezuela is facing due to the illegal U.S., Canada and European Union sanctions, but also to the many ways that the government and people of Venezuela are adapting and continuing to defend their sovereignty and self-determination,” said delegation organizer Teri Mattson.
“The people in Venezuela that we met with and what we observed first-hand re-affirmed our responsibility as people living in North America to work to end war on Venezuela, end all sanctions, and call on the governments of the U.S. and Canada to respect the sovereignty of Venezuela,” Mattson continued.
Participants in the delegation, who are located throughout the U.S., Canada, Turkey and Costa Rica are available for interviews and speaking engagements. Please contact email@example.com with any inquiries.
Testimonio de Venezuela – Delegación de EE.UU y Canadá a Venezuela regresa de una misión de investigación para estudiar el impacto de las sanciones
Del 28 de marzo hasta el 7 de abril, 2019, personas provenientes de los EE.UU, Canadá y Turquía estuvieron en Venezuela para observar y entender mejor a las afectaciones de las sanciones en la economía, el pueblo y las instituciones venezolanas. Los doce participantes representaron a varias profesiones, vivencias y áreas geográficos dentro de los EE.UU, Canadá, Turquía y Costa Rica.
Esta delegación, completamente auto-financiada, visitó a Venezuela en un momento crítico, después de la derrota del intento de golpe de estado por Juan Guaidó, apoyado por los EE.UU. Mientras la delegación estuvo en Venezuela, el gobierno de los EE.UU seguía aumentando las sanciones contra Venezuela, declarando que, “todas las opciones están sobre la mesa,” refiriendo a una posible acción militar estadounidense en contra del país soberano.
Durante los diez días de la delegación investigadora, los participantes—entre ellos profesionales de la salud, activistas por la justicia social y periodistas—intercambiaron directamente con funcionarios del gobierno, líderes comunitarios, organizaciones de derechos humanos, periodistas y organizaciones de base en zonas rurales y urbanas de Venezuela.
Lo que observó la delegación fue que las sanciones económicas—conocidas en Venezuela como medidas económicas coercitivas unilaterales, y ilegales bajo las cartas de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) y la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA)—junto con las amenazas de guerra por parte de los EE.UU, han tenido un impacto negativo significativo en la vida cotidiana del pueblo venezolano.
“Vimos a una Venezuela bastante diferente de lo que estamos oyendo, viendo y leyendo en los medios de comunicación masivos. Fuimos testigos oculares de las dificultades significativas que Venezuela se está enfrentado debido a las sanciones ilegales de los EE.UU, Canadá y la Unión Europea, pero también observamos las numerosas formas en las que el pueblo y el gobierno venezolano se están adaptando y continúan defendiendo su soberanía y auto-determinación,” dijo la coordinadora de la delegación, Teri Mattson.
“Las personas en Venezuela que conocimos y observamos de primera mano reafirmaron la responsabilidad que tenemos como individuos viviendo en América del Norte de trabajar a ponerle fin a la guerra contra Venezuela, acabar con todas las sanciones, y llamar a los gobiernos de los EE.UU y Canadá a que respeten la soberanía de Venezuela,” continuó Mattson.
Los participantes de la delegación, dispersos por los EE.UU, Canadá, Turquía y Costa Rica, se disponen para entrevistas y ponencias públicas. Para solicitudes de prensa, favor de comunicarse con firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Venezuelan president highlighted the FANB’s loyalty in neutralizing the coup.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro stated that the La Carlota Military Base was never taken, but that a group of rebellious soldiers concentrated in the Altamira highway. In this regard, he highlighted the loyalty of the Bolivarian National Armed Force in neutralizing the attempted coup.
He went on to say that the government has faced attempted coups as never before in history because of the extreme right’s desire to “impose an illegitimate government and subject the country to a neocolonial model.” “Today was a contrast of peace and violence in Venezuela, a coup d’état, delivered to foreign interests and the gringo empire,” said the president regarding the attempted coup on Tuesday.
Juan Guaido and Donald Trump made a huge mistake picking May 1st as the day to stage yet another failed coup attempt. May 1st is International Workers Day, a day when many thousands across the world come into the street to raise righteous resistance in solidarity with the working class across the globe. If they are attempting to demoralize our forces, they have instead increased the militancy and number of those who will be in the streets tomorrow.
Only a few hundred people from the Venezuelan military, most of whom are currently outside of Venezuela, have defected so far in what will go down in history as the saddest attempt at U.S.-led regime change known to human history. Only a few hours after Juan Guaido appeared on Twitter calling for an armed uprising with a dozen or so people in uniform, tens of thousands of Venezuelan working class people have mobilized outside of Miraflores to support the Bolivarian revolution.
As the President of the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly said from the steps of the Presidential headquarters this morning: “We are a conscious, warrior and revolutionary people. Imperialism can understand it however it wants, but to the Palace of Miraflores they will never return.”
While a handful of coup-supporters and their U.S. government armed escort try and take the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C., only a small showing in the most affluent neighborhoods in Caracas have come out to support this affront to Venezuelan sovereignty. The working class and oppressed of the world outnumber the warmongers and capitalists, and we will continue to prove this through active and militant presence in the streets.
The best way to show solidarity with the people of Venezuela and prove that this coup will continue to fail is to mobilize! Tomorrow is our day, and Juan Guaido, Donald Trump and their lackeys in the Pentagon and CIA are not invited!
Click here to find a May Day mobilization near you and join the rest of the world’s working class and oppressed in declaring: NO WAR ON VENEZUELA!
Juan Guaido y Donald Trump cometieron un gran error al elegir al Primero de Mayo como día para montar otro golpe de estado fallido. El Primero de Mayo es el Día Internacional del Obrero, cuando miles de personas en todo el mundo toman las calles para demostrar su resistencia y su solidaridad con la clase obrera en todo el planeta. Si lo que buscan es desmoralizarnos, lo único que han logrado es aumentar los números y la militancia de los que tomaremos mañana la calle. Encuentre aqui una acción para el Primero de Mayo.
Solo unos pocos centenares de integrantes de las fuerzas armadas venezolanas, la mayoría de las cuales actualmente se encuentran fuera de Venezuela, han traicionado a su patria en lo que la historia recordará como el intento más triste de cambio de régimen estadounidense. Pocas horas después de que apareciera Juan Guaidó en Twitter con una docena de personas en uniforme llamando a la insurrección, decenas de miles de venezolanas/os se movilizaron al Palacio de Miraflores para apoyar al gobierno.
Como dijo el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente de Venezuela en las escaleras del palacio presidencial hoy en la mañana: “Somos un pueblo consciente, guerrero, y revolucionario. El imperialismo puede entenderlo como quiera, pero al palacio de Miraflores nunca podrán regresar.”
Mientras un grupo pequeño de golpistas y su escolta armada del gobierno estadounidense intentan apoderarse de la embajada venezolana en Washington, D.C., sólo aparecieron unas pocas personas en los barrios más ricos de Caracas para apoyar este ataque a la soberanía venezolana. La clase obrera y los oprimidos del mundo superan numéricamente a los capitalistas y los que buscan guerra, y seguiremos demostrándolo mediante una presencia activa y militante en las calles.
La mejor forma de solidarizarse con el pueblo venezolano y demostrar que el golpe seguirá fallando es movilizarse! Mañana será nuestro, y Juan Guaidó, Donald Trump y sus lacayos del Pentágono y la CIA no están invitados!
Cornell University’s Creative Writing Program (Department of English) will host “In a Word,” featuring Carole Boyce Davies and Ishion Hutchinson in conversation at the Klarman Hall, Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium (232 East Avenue, Ithaca, New York) on Wednesday, May 1, 4:30pm. The topic of the conversation will be “Caribbean Migrations and Imperial Projects.” A reception will follow in the English Lounge, 258 Goldwin Smith Hall, Cornell University. This event is free and open to the public.
Description: Professors Carole Boyce Davies and Ishion Hutchinson will engage in a wide-ranging conversation about their creative and scholarly work archiving the Caribbean experience during global conflicts.
Carole Boyce Davies is a professor of English and Africana Studies at Cornell University. She has held distinguished professorships at a number of institutions, including the Herskovits Professor of African Studies and Professor of Comparative Literary Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject and Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. Her most recent monograph is Caribbean Spaces: Escape Routes from Twilight Zones and a children’s book, Walking.
Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He is the author of two poetry collections: Far District and House of Lords and Commons. He is the recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize, the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among others. He is a contributing editor to the literary journals The Commonand Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art.
In A Word is a series that showcases the Creative Writing Program’s influences and contributions to the literary world by its dedicated faculty of poets and fiction writers. This event is presented by the Department of English / Creative Writing Program at Cornell University.
Source – Repeating Islands
April 29, 2019
President Trump has submitted a 2020 budget targeting $750 billion, a staggering 69% of the budget Congress votes on, to wage even more wars and profit the Military Industrial Complex. He pays for it by stealing funds from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and gutting public services like food stamps, clean air and water, education and much more. Join with the Peace Council to build massive opposition to defeat and reverse this cruel and devastating budget.
On March 11, President Trump submitted his $750 billion FY 2020 military budget to the Congress. According to the Wall Street Journal, his proposed military budget includes “adding $33 billion to fund efforts against China and Russia … North Korea and Iran,” and expand the so-called US war on terror “in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other nations.” According to the Journal, the Pentagon’s proposed 2020 budget, which shows “a 5% increase” over the 2019 budget, “includes $165 billion for overseas military operations.”The $750 billion number, however, is absolutely misleading. This number does not include other war and military-related expenses that are listed under other government agencies’ budgets. The actual FY2020 military budget includes the following items: $576 billion baseline budget for the Department of Defense; an additional $174 billion for the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), i.e., the war budget; $93.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs; $51.7 billion for Homeland Security; $42.8 billion for State Department; an additional $26.1 billion for State Department’s Overseas Contingency Operations (regime change slush fund); $16.5 billion for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (nuclear weapons budget); $21 billion for NASA (militarizing outer space?); plus $267.4 billion for all other government agencies, including funding for FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice. The FY2020 Discretionary Budget also includes $8.6 billion in funding for the southern border wall, split between increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security and funding for military construction.In fact, the proposed FY2020 military and war budget makes up $989 billion of the Federal Government’s $1,426 billion Discretionary Budget. This represents a staggering 69 percent of the total Federal Discretionary Budget for FY2020!Since 2015, the total US military and war budget has jumped from $736.4 billion to $989.0 billion, a $252.6 billion (about 35%) increase in five years! And since 2001, the government has spent $2.4 trillion (more than 10% of United States’ annual GDP) on the so-called “War on Terror!” As a result of these astronomical military expenditures, which have consistently increased in the past several decades, the Federal Government’s total national debt currently stands at $22.028 trillion (105% of the current GDP and more than three times that of 2000); and the amount of interest the government will be paying on this debt is $479 billion for fiscal year 2020 alone.
As mind-boggling as these numbers are, their true destructive impact will not be clear unless we look at the simultaneous cuts in the government’s non-military spending. In Trump’s FY2020 proposed Discretionary Budget, the total funds allocated to the Departments of Education ($64 billion), Health and Human Services ($89.6 billion) and Housing and Urban Development ($37.6 billion) together add up to a mere $191.2 billion, i.e., less than 13 percent of the total Discretionary Budget, less than 20 percent of the total military budget, and less than 40 percent of the interest being paid on the $22 trillion debt accumulated as a result of excessive military expenditure through decades. Trump’s FY2020 budget, while increasing the military budget by $33 billion, openly proposes direct cuts in spending on all social needs — Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, food stamps, clean air and water, education, and much more. Here are some of biggest proposed budget cuts:
An important feature of the Trump administration’s proposed military budgets has been the consistent reduction in the share of Pentagon’s normal operational budget and a drastic increase in the share of its Overseas Contingency Operations (war) budget. The US is currently involved in at least 14 ongoing wars and the Trump administration is pushing for new ones with Iran and Venezuela, while Cuba, Nicaragua and others are on their waiting list. The increase in the OCO portion of the military budget is also aimed at accelerating the building of a vast arsenal of weapons, including new nuclear weapons, and expanding military bases in foreign countries on nearly every continent as launching pads for new aggressive wars against other countries.
There is no doubt that this huge redirection of social funds toward military and war expenditure is a result of the increasingly belligerent and militaristic US foreign policy, which is being carried out under the guise of the so-called “War on Drugs,” “War on Terror,” and “Humanitarian Intervention” — all covers for the US imperialism’s violent drive to dominate the world.
To stop this belligerent and militaristic foreign policy, which is pushing the whole of humanity toward an irreversible catastrophe, the source of its funding must be urgently cut off. We must stop the runaway United States war budget if we want to safeguard the survival of humanity.
Where is the Congress?
Where are the Presidential Candidates?
Where is the National Debate on the Military Budget and the War Policy?
One would expect that the gravity of the present situation — 14 ongoing wars, allocation of 69 percent of the social resources to war and destruction, drastic cuts is social services, thus causing tremendous suffering for the majority American people, especially the most vulnerable social groups: the aged, poor, low-income working families, communities of color, immigrants, unemployed, etc., etc.) — would bring the issue of the military budget and the war policy to the top of the national agenda in this election cycle. But, ironically, there is almost a total silence about all of this both in the Congress and among the presidential candidates of both establishment parties.
Rather than totally rejecting the obscene funding of this militaristic drive, the “opposition” Democratic Party in Congress is once again compromising on the lives of the people of the United States in exchange for some crumbs thrown at them by the Trump Administration. But we cannot provide for the desperate needs of civil society as long as the treasure of our people is poured into weapons and war.
It is long overdue that the American people raise their voices and take to action against the economic and militaristic crimes that are being committed against them, and the rest of the world, by both ruling parties.
We call on the American public to resist and oppose this military attack on our communities, our livelihoods and our lives. We must act urgently to force the Congress to reject and reverse the Trump Administration’s military budget and the US Government’s militaristic foreign policy. We must act decisively now!
— Demand that your Representative and Senator vote against the military budget and the militaristic US foreign policy. Take a delegation to their offices.
— Demand that the issue of war and peace and the military budget be included in every presidential debate.
— Educate and organize members of your community against the US war policy.
— Sign the U.S. Peace Council Petition against the military budget and ask all your friends and acquaintances to do the same.
Urgent action is needed to stop this runaway war machine!
 Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2019.
 Kimberly Amadeo, The Balance, https://www.thebalance.com/current-us-discretionary-federal-budget-and-spending-3306308, updated March 13, 2019.
 Federal Government’s Discretionary Budget includes all Federal Budget categories except Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are under Mandatory part of the Federal Budget.
 Kimberly Amadeo, op. cit.
 op. cit., https://www.thebalance.com/current-u-s-federal-budget-deficit-3305783
 Tara Golshan, Vox, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/3/11/18259789/trumps-2020-budget-proposal-cuts, March 11, 2019.
A new April survey revealed that President Evo Morales is leading the polls for this year’s elections, whereas a survey by the same pollster last month had shown him in second place.
A new survey by the local outlet Pagina Siete revealed that Bolivian President Evo Morales is ahead of his opponent Carlos Mesa by six points. Around 34 percent of the interviewed said they would vote for Evo while 28 percent said would vote for right-wing politican Carlos Mesa.
Edgar Monatño, a lawmaker from Evo’s party Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) said the poll reflects the wish of the majority of the people who “accept” the president’s candidacy.
The fieldwork was carried out from April 13 to 17, in 35 cities of the country. The survey has an expected margin of error of 3.47 percent.
In previous Pagina Siete polls Carlos Mesa was ahead of Morales. However as the country gets closer to the October elections, Morales seems to be leading the latest polls, which corresponds with a survey carried out by Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (CELAG) which put Evo ahead at 45 percent to Mesa’s 35 percent.
En Bolivia siguen saliendo encuestas de cara a las presidenciales. Lo bueno es que ya @PaginaSIETEBolno dice que gana Mesa (no se lo creía nadie!). Y da 6 puntos arriba a Evo. Ipsos también da 8 arriba a Evo. Y en @CELAGeopoliticanos da 10 arriba a favor de Evo como Presidente pic.twitter.com/HrJy4gum51
— Alfredo Serrano Manc (@alfreserramanci) April 28, 2019
In the latest survey, eight percent said they would vote for Oscar Ortiz and Edwin Rodriguez, another candidate.
The results also revealed that the percentage of uncertainty rose from 20 percent in March to 24 percent in April.
The CELAG study highlighted that Evo Morales is the only candidate with a positive balance regarding his public image. Carlos Mesa is the one with the highest negative image index, according to almost half of the respondents.
According to the survey, the improvement of education and health should be the priority of the next president of Bolivia, as well as the construction of hospitals and schools, according to 69 percent and 65 percent of the respondents, respectively. The fight against corruption is the third preoccupation of Bolivians.
The Bolivian elections are scheduled for Oct. 20.
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On April 17 United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the activation for the first time ever of a measure that will allow the filing of lawsuits before United States courts under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, a decision that will take effect on May 2. Also, on April 17, United States National Security Adviser John Bolton announced additional restrictions on Cuba, including visas and travel.
By virtue of the very Helms-Burton Act, all United States presidents since 1996, including Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018, have consistently made use of the executive power to suspend the implementation of Title III every six months. They have recognised that it is the most gross and unacceptable aspect of the Act, contrary to international law and the sovereignty of other states. They have also realised that Title III implementation will bring about insurmountable obstacles to any prospective solution to claims and compensations to legitimate United States owners.
Title III authorises United States nationals to bring action before United States courts against any foreign citizen that is “trafficking” in United States properties that were nationalised in Cuba in the 1960s by means of a legitimate process, as was recognised by the United States Supreme Court, that was carried out by the Cuban Government, in full adherence to its national legislation and in conformity with international law.
All nationalisations included processes of fair and appropriate compensation. Cuba reached and honoured global compensation agreements with other nations which are today investing in Cuba, such as Spain, Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
The Helms Burton Act was conceived to codify and tighten the economic, commercial and financial blockade policy officially imposed in 1962 with the purpose of subverting and overthrowing the Cuban Government. It is intended to suffocate the Cuban economy and generate or increase shortages among the population with the purpose of imposing in Cuba a Government that serves the interests of the United States.
It consists of four titles and has been implemented since its enactment. It is characterised by having an extreme extraterritorial scope, violating the rules and principles of international law, contravening the rules of trade and international economic relations and being harmful to the sovereignty of other states, particularly because of the implementation of its provisions against companies and individuals established in their territories.
The declaration of the Cuban Government issued on April 17 “rejects, in the strongest terms possible, the decision that now allows actions to be taken in United States courts against Cuban and foreign entities, and to aggravate impediments to entering the United States faced by leaders and families of companies that legitimately invest in Cuba, in properties that were nationalised”.
The statement also repudiates “the decision to reinstate limits on remittances that Cuban residents in the United States send to their families and friends, to further restrict travel by United States citizens to Cuba, and impose additional financial sanctions”.
The aggressive escalation of the Trump Administration and the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act have been rejected by the governments of Canada, Russia, China, Mexico, as well as by the European Union.
On April 17, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini; Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom; and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, issued a joint statement criticising the US decision to implement Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. The statement expresses that “The decision by the United States to renege on its long-standing commitment to waive Title III of the Helms-Burton is regrettable, and will have an important impact on legitimate EU and Canadian economic operators in Cuba. The EU and Canada consider the extraterritorial application of unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law.”
On the other hand, a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico states, “The Government of Mexico regrets the decision of the United States to apply Title III of the Helms-Burton Act for the first time ever… As it has done historically, Mexico rejects the unilateral application of extraterritorial trade legislation, as it violates the norms of international law.”
For almost three decades the Helms-Burton Act and the blockade have aroused universal rejection at the most important regional and international fora, given the illegitimate character of the goals they pursue. The most recent example of that was the United Nations General Assembly meeting held on November 1, 2018, when said policy was rejected through 10 consecutive votes, thus leaving the US in complete isolation.
Specialised international bodies and regional organisations, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the African Union, have also rejected unanimously the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against the people of Cuba for 60 years.
In our long battle to end the US blockade, Jamaica’s solidarity has been shown. The Cuban people deeply treasure the fact that the Parliament of Jamaica has adopted motions against this cruel policy for 10 consecutive years.
The recent United States Government decision imposes additional obstacles to Cuba’s economic development and progress goals, but the United States will keep on failing to achieve its main purpose of submitting by force the sovereign will of Cubans. The principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace should prevail, for the benefit of all. The feelings of the peoples of Cuba and the United States in favour of improving relations and establishing a civilised and respectful coexistence shall prevail.
By Joseph Rosen
U.S. Supports Wealthy Few Who Want to Destroy Gains
Venezuelan workers, peasants, women, Afro-Venezuelans and Indigenous people are demonstrating and arming themselves to stop an attempted U.S./CIA coup. Over the past few weeks, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have poured into the streets to rally against U.S. imperialist aggression, in defense of their homeland and in support of their government.
On February 27, thousands commemorated the 30th anniversary of the mass uprising called El Caracazo. Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Constituent Assembly, addressed the assembled masses: “Thirty years ago, the Venezuelan people made their voices heard by taking to the streets. They demanded freedom. They called for imperialism and neoliberalism to stop running over them. To the imperialist powers, I say: I don’t know who you’ll have to rule over Venezuela in the event that your coup succeeds because you will face Venezuelans protesting and fighting back every day in the streets.”
By Socorro Gomes*
On the 21 April, the World Peace Council celebrates its 70th anniversary. It has always struggled against wars, denounced the imperialist system, cultivated solidarity among peoples and united with democratic and peace-loving forces. The WPC, its member organizations and friendly entities prioritize the strengthening of unity and the breadth of its action to face the growing threats in our struggle for peace.
As it celebrates its seventieth anniversary, the WPC performs not only celebratory actions. In the good fight, it honors its course, developing the priority actions of its agenda of struggles against wars, aggressions, oppression, colonialism and the militarization of the planet.
Photo: Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie, scientists and peace activists.
The founding of the World Peace Council has its origins in the conferences held by intellectuals and workers in 1948, 1949 and 1950. In August 1948, in the devastated Polish city of Wroclaw, peace-loving men and women gathered at the World Congress of Intellectuals and issued a firm appeal to all mankind. The response was a meeting of delegates from 72 countries to the First World Congress of Defenders of Peace held simultaneously in Paris and Prague in April 1949. In his opening address, the first president of the organization, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, the renowned and distinguished scientist, said: “Peace is henceforth a concern of all peoples. No man alone, no country alone, but only all, together, can defend peace and prevent war.”
Thus, these brave men and women, many already engaged in anti-fascist resistance, organized a large and active international movement to defend a new world after the catastrophe of World War II. This is the commitment we strengthen today, given the serious threats of the new situation.
The WPC has always been on the peoples’ side and has mobilized with friendly entities such as the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the Women’s International Democratic Federation and the World Federation of Trade Unions, among others, expanding the struggle for peace, the emancipation of peoples and friendship, for social progress. Of this primordial objective depends the anti-imperialist resistance, the defense of democracy, the peoples’ independence and self-determination and the validity of institutions able to build a new relationship between the peoples.
It is not by chance that imperialist policies lead to a systematic violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter adopted in 1945 – such as non-interference in internal affairs and equality among nations, foundations for the construction of world peace.
From early on US imperialism is the main antagonist of these principles. Following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US led the creation of the largest imperialist war machine on the planet, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949; it went to war on the Korean Peninsula in 1950-1953; engendered bloody military coups to establish subservient regimes in Latin America from the 1950s until the present, although today it does so with new tactics; and led the horrendous war against Vietnam, committing crimes against humanity for which it continues unaccountable, such as the use of Agent Orange against the population, with catastrophic and long-lasting consequences.
The WPC strongly opposed each of these US-sponsored wars and coups and supported, without hesitation, the peoples struggling for national liberation against colonialism and occupations in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. It has recently opposed the US and NATO wars against the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, which continue to face the consequences of imperialist aggression.
On one of the most important fronts of action, the WPC fights the destabilizing maneuvers of US imperialism in alliance with coup and reactionary forces in Latin America and the Caribbean. These forces’ contempt for democracy and dialogue is evident in the aggressiveness of their media, political and economic warfare against sovereign countries and their national institutions, in order to impose subaltern governments faithful to their vile goals.
That is why this April we visited the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in solidarity with its people, together with our sister the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY). In that country we saw the vigor of the people’s resistance and that of their legitimate leadership, the government of President Nicolás Maduro, reelected and countersigned in the polls and on the streets. The WPC rejects outside interference, threats of military aggression and the illegal recognition of a self-proclaimed putschist president, who enjoys no popular backing. The WPC reaffirmed its support for the Venezuelan people in defense of their right to live in peace.
Also with the WFDY, in October 2018, we visited Syria to express our support for this heroic people, who since 2011 have been facing the armed and terrorist groups that the US-led powers and their allies are using to destroy the Syrian nation. It is already nine years of a bloody war that provoked great destruction, but it did not destroy the popular will to defend the nation.
In resolute support for those who resist and fight, we also mobilize in solidarity with the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara for the end of the military occupation and colonization of their territories, for national liberation and peace; with revolutionary and humanist Cuba, who has been facing the criminal blockade of the United States for six decades and is an example of solidarity and friendship; with the Korean people for the rapprochement between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea for peace, denuclearization, stability and the end of US military threats; with the people of Puerto Rico for their independence from the United States; with the Argentinean people for the recovery of the Malvinas usurped by the United Kingdom; with the Yemenite people victim of the catastrophe caused by the Saudi-led war of aggression, backed by the imperialist powers; with the Iranian people facing the repeated threat of US and Israeli war under the pretext of its nuclear program, already subject to the diplomatic agreement that the Trump government denounced unilaterally, among others.
We have fought and rejected the accelerated militarization of the planet and the arms race that threatens the humankind’s very existence.
In this context, we reinforce and expand initiatives for the abolition of nuclear weapons, always inspired by the example of the Stockholm Appeal, the inaugural document of the WPC, launched in 1950 and signed by hundreds of millions of people; for the dissolution of NATO; and the international campaign for the abolition of foreign military bases, with actions such as the International Seminar already in its sixth edition, which will be held on May 4 and 5 in Guantánamo, from where we have launched our vehement declaration of direct opposition to the odious and permanent violation of sovereignty of the brave Caribbean nation; and the global campaign we joined, with a first world conference held in Dublin in 2018.
Our challenges are immense. We face obscurantist forces that seek to impose their dictates to the peoples, with the objective of guaranteeing the looting of their resources and the control of strategic routes, backing servile regimes or promoting destabilization and coups to establish submissive forces in the countries where patriotic and popular governments are in place. Where there is resistance, as we see in Syria and Venezuela, the tactic of imperialism consists in the military, economic and political siege, in the threats and aggressions, of which the greatest consequence is the suffering of the peoples.
The forces of peace unite in the face of the gravity of the historical crossroads in which humankind lives. We resist wars and aggressions and the civilizational retrogression that is heralded by the rise of undemocratic and obscurantist forces that attack nations and peoples, endangering the future of humanity, while the powers coalesced in NATO, with the United States at the forefront, declare war to any and all government that resists its dictates, under the most spurious pretexts.
People raise the voice that resounds throughout the world, the voice of the struggle for liberation and peace. Amplified by unity among all forces opposing war, in solidarity and fraternity, our struggle will be able to stop the catastrophic march of imperialism to defeat it and finally build a world of friendship and respect among the nations.
Long live solidarity among the peoples!
For a world of Peace!
Long live the World Peace Council!
*President of the World Peace Council
The former president says peaceful China “ahead of us in almost every way.”
The only U.S. president to complete his term without war, military attack or occupation has called the United States “the most warlike nation in the history of the world.”
During his regular Sunday school lesson at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, Jimmy Carter revealed that he had recently spoken with President Donald Trump about China. Carter, 94, said Trump was worried about China’s growing economy and expressed concern that “China is getting ahead of us.”
Carter, who normalized diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing in 1979, said he told Trump that much of China’s success was due to its peaceful foreign policy.
“Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody?” Carter asked. “None, and we have stayed at war.” While it is true that China’s last major war — an invasion of Vietnam — occurred in 1979, its People’s Liberation Army pounded border regions of Vietnam with artillery and its navy battled its Vietnamese counterpart in the 1980s. Since then, however, China has been at peace with its neighbors and the world.
Carter then said the U.S. has been at peace for only 16 of its 242 years as a nation. Counting wars, military attacks and military occupations, there have actually only been five years of peace in US history — 1976, the last year of the Gerald Ford administration and 1977-80, the entirety of Carter’s presidency. Carter then referred to the US as “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” a result, he said, of the US forcing other countries to “adopt our American principles.”
China’s peace dividend has allowed and enhanced its economic growth, Carter said. “How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?” he asked. China has around 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of high speed rail lines while the US has “wasted, I think, $3 trillion” on military spending. According to a November 2018 study by Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, the US has spent $5.9 trillion waging war in Iraq,
Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations since 2001.
“It’s more than you can imagine,” Carter said of U.S. war spending. “China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way.”
“And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure you’d probably have $2 trillion leftover,” Carter told his congregation. “We’d have high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that aren’t collapsing, we’d have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of say South Korea or Hong Kong.”
While there is a prevalent belief in the United States that the country almost always wages war for noble purposes and in defense of freedom, global public opinion and facts paint a very different picture. Most countries surveyed in a 2013 WIN/Gallup poll identified the United States as the greatest threat to world peace, and a 2017 Pew Research poll found that a record number of people in 30 surveyed nations viewed US power and influence as a “major threat.”
The U.S. has also invaded or bombed dozens of countries and supported nearly every single right-wing dictatorship in the world since the end of World War II. It has overthrown or attempted to overthrow dozens of foreign governments since 1949 and has actively sought to crush nearly every single people’s liberation movement over that same period. It has also meddled in scores of elections, in countries that are allies and adversaries alike.
Brett Wilkins is an independent journalist and activist based in San Francisco. His work, which covers issues of war and peace and human rights, is archived atwww.brettwilkins.com.
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This report by the US Peace council totally contradicts what the US government is saying about Venezuela.
Watch this video. Warning: It may turn your stomach.
You never see smoke without fire. This explains why the Jamaica gave the Prime Minister of the Dominican Republic one of our highest honours. This was a very controversial issue in Jamaica.
The Quintet of Evil, The Quest for Oil and A Pack of Lies
Officials of the US Government, the Quintet of Evil, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Mike Spence and the devil’s twin Elliot Abrams have been at pains to convince the world that the government of Venezuela must be overthrown because the people are suffering. However, the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) tells a different story.
Though the unconventional warfare manual is notable for stating so openly that “independent” financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF are essentially extensions of U.S. government power, analysts have noted for decades that these institutions have consistently pushed U.S. geopolitical goals abroad. Ecuador – whose current president has sought to bring the country […]
To all those who share our sense of urgency about the worsening international situation, and the grave danger that war poses for the world today, we issue this Appeal for a united and powerful response.
At this critical moment, ending militarism, aggression and war, averting climate catastrophe, and tackling poverty, social disparity and related global problems should be humanity’s top priorities. Instead, political elites, especially in the countries of the NATO alliance including Canada, are pushing the world in the opposite direction.
We are witnessing the emergence of a ‘new cold war’ and the deliberate cultivation of Russophobia and Sino-phobia, along with other forms of fear-mongering and demonization. In North America, rearmament, bullying tactics and glorification of militarism seem the order of the day. While US President Donald Trump has been particularly shrill in his attacks against peace, his Democratic Party rivals frequently attempt to out-flank him with their hawkish rhetoric. The principles of international law – respect for the full equality and sovereignty of all countries, non-interference, and the resolution of disputes through peaceful negotiation, not threats and aggression – are being increasingly violated. Important agreements such as the Iran Nuclear deal (JCPOA) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces/INF treaty are being unilaterally cancelled.
The arms race is accelerating, and weapons systems relentlessly “modernized”. Globally, military spending is now over a trillion dollars a year, with the expanding US military budget leading the way. Foreign military bases are spreading like a metastasizing cancer, and the world’s armed forces are now the largest single global source of carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption.
As regional and international flashpoints sharpen, the danger of global war – involving the main nuclear powers – looms ever larger. The NATO encirclement of the Russian Federation is tightening, and economic and military pressures, as well as propaganda attacks against the People’s Republic of China are growing. Backed by Washington, Israel’s rulers are escalating their repressive, apartheid policies against the Palestinian people in besieged Gaza and the Occupied West Bank. Imperialist “regime change” campaigns are targeting Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries around the world. The US occupation of Afghanistan is now entering its 18th year, with no end in sight. Canada’s arms sales are helping the Saudi regime conduct a vicious war against the people of Yemen. Even the hopeful signs of progress on the Korean peninsula towards a peaceful resolution of that longstanding conflict are being undermined by hawkish forces inside the US Administration and the military-industrial complex.
The widespread advance of racist, national chauvinist, and neo-fascist movements is adding to global instability. The deepening economic crisis of capitalism is fuelling increased rivalries, trade and tariff wars, even predictions of another global economic meltdown. The crisis of climate change is already bringing destructive weather systems, droughts, rising ocean levels, and other dire consequences.
In the face of this rapidly deteriorating situation, Canada should and must be a voice of reason and restraint, and a principled advocate for peace and disarmament. Instead, however, Ottawa has become one of the most bellicose voices marching to the ‘drums of war’. The current Liberal government of Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland has tilted Canadian foreign and defence policies in a far-right, militarist and interventionist direction, and its bloated war budget squanders valuable resources which would be better spent on socially useful purposes. Any hope that this government would slash carbon emissions, or prioritize the needs of workers, Indigenous peoples, the poor and marginalized, seniors and youth, has vanished. Instead, Canadian military spending is skyrocketing, from the current levels of $20 billion, to a projected $36 billion by the middle of the next decade.
Across Canada, a number of useful and important peace & solidarity initiatives are taking place. But we must face the reality that overall, the peace movement in Canada and internationally today is not sufficient to address these many dangerous and interrelated threats. Unlike earlier periods – the 1980s with its huge mobilizations against the danger of nuclear war, or the early 2000s when millions protested the invasion of Iraq – the anti-war movement today is far smaller. The doctrine of “responsibility to protect”, which the imperialist powers use as a pretext for their geopolitical agenda, has disoriented and neutralized popular resistance.
Today it is more urgent than ever to foster greater cooperation, and unity of action among all of the forces for peace, solidarity and social justice. In the view of the Canadian Peace Congress, the absolutely imperative task of our times is to build powerful mass mobilizations for a decisive shift in Canadian and global politics, away from confrontation and militarism, and towards peace and disarmament. Only such a change can give the human race a realistic chance to save the planet from war and environmental disaster, and to improve the lives of billions of people.
But success requires far more than well-meaning phrases. Common action to transform Canadian foreign and defence polices toward peace and disarmament is needed now! We call upon all the diverse forces in our movement to set aside differences, unite around our shared concerns, and build campaigns to push back the threat of war and militarism, before it is too late!
The Canadian Peace Congress stands committed to this urgent and decisive goal and welcomes dialogue and joint action with any and all peace and solidarity groups and other concerned organizations and movements to help work for its realization.
Issued by the Executive Committee, Canadian Peace Congress
We invite you to share this Unity Appeal with other activists and concerned organizations, and we would welcome your thoughts and suggestions. You can reach us email@example.com, or through the post at Box 73593, Wychwood PO, Toronto, ON M6C 4A7
Drawings, dances and words from kids are all part of book written in a day
Abena Atwell-Rodney has grown up knowing that black people in Canada “weren’t treated right.”
Now, she’s hoping that a book she created with a group of about 30 other kids from Nova Scotia will help change that.
The book is called R Is for Reparations, and was written in one day in February 2018.
Kids from the black community helped write the words and create the illustrations.
One year later, during Black History Month, the book was released to the public.
Abena Atwell-Rodney is a 10-year-old from Halifax who helped write R Is for Reparations. (CBC)
“I was part of something that’s really amazing. And really fun to do,” said Abena.
It’s an alphabet book, with every letter from A to Z having a different message about African-Canadian history.
Reparations is an international movement which seeks to repair and compensate black communities for the historic injustices of anti-black racism.
It’s a word kids like 12-year-old Chika Tie are now very familiar with.
“It’s when you give back to black people for the slavery and stuff,” said Chika.
Her 10-year-old sister, Amara, has a similar perspective.
“It wasn’t fair that black people had to go through that,” she said. “We should learn more about [black people] and how they survived through all those hard times.”
Amara and Chika Tie have learned the importance of reparations for the black community in Nova Scotia and around the world. (CBC)
Topsy Olatunj, 10, said she is happy to have participated in the writing of the book, and to be sharing it with other kids.
“I usually read books made by other people. And so having … to read a book that I contributed to … is really special and really exciting,” she said.
Topsy Olatunj said she learned about the good things that African people have done in Canada while writing the book. (CBC)
The creation of R Is for Reparations was led by the Nova Scotia chapter of the Global Afrikan Congress.
Its chair, Lynn Jones, said it’s important for Nova Scotia to be part of the movement.
“People in Nova Scotia are the original African people in the whole country, having arrived here in 1604,” she said. “What better place than here to begin that reparations quest in the country?”
On 12th March 2019 , the Council of the powerful 28-nation European Union (EU) placed 15 small developing countries on a so-called “BLACKLIST” of what it calls “non-cooperative jurisdictions” as a prelude to imposing crippling punitive measures and sanctions against these nations and their International Business industries. These countries include Barbados, Belize, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
What the European Union Council considers these territories to be “non-cooperative” about reveals the raw exercise of power by the strong over the weak! In this case, the unlawful intention of the EU is to impose its tax policies upon other sovereign independent non-European nations through oppressive strong-arm tactics– to the disadvantage of those sovereign, independent non-European nations.
So far as the European Union (EU) is concerned, the targeted countries must either surrender to the EU’s demands to raise their taxes or face dire consequences. The EU Council has specifically directed that all EU member states must “take the revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions into account” in relation to all matters of aid, trade, and financing pertaining to the countries on the so-called “blacklist”. In other words, those nations that do not surrender to EU tax demands are to be punished !
According to the EU Council, the lower levels of tax rates applied by these countries to both international companies and to their own indigenous companies harm the EU’s tax revenues. The theory behind this unproven contention is that EU countries are losing tax revenues because of the lower tax levels of other countries. Yet, the EU Council has never conducted or published any research to prove its claim. Indeed, the EU has operated as if it is simply enough for its Council and Commission to make this assertion for it to be true!
This claim of ‘harmful tax competition’ goes back to the late 1990s when the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, (OECD) – the club of the world’s richest countries – “blacklisted” many Third World nations because they had low tax regimes.
Eventually, the OECD– pressured from within its own councils and sensitive then to the outcry from small countries– created the so-called “Global Forum” in an effort to paint a better picture of its self-assumed authority for setting international tax rules.
The Global Forum is still dominated by OECD members, but at least it includes a number of small countries whose views have to be taken into account, albeit only within the narrow and self-serving framework set by the OECD. And the Global Forum has set rules that the Caribbean nations have largely complied with– leading, in the current era, to a relatively healthy and mutually respectful relationship between the OECD and the member states of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
But not so the European Union! Even that limited area of manoeuvre accorded by the OECD to the small states of this World appears to be unacceptable to the high and mighty EU ! Hence, the advent of the EU’s own effort to impose its will on developing countries!
Take the case of Barbados for example. The EU complained that Barbados’ practice of applying a “lower” tax rate to International Companies domiciled in Barbados and a separate “higher” tax rate to indigenous Barbadian Companies constituted an illicit “harmful tax practice”, and demanded that Barbados amend its tax regime. In response, the Government of Barbados carried out a “convergence” of the two tax rates– bringing down the tax rate applied to local companies and bringing up the tax rate applied to international companies and establishing one tax rate for all companies domiciled in Barbados. But the European Union complained that even this was not good enough for them! They charged that the single tax rate that Barbados was applying was ‘too low” , and demanded that the Government of Barbados give a “political commitment” to raise the country’s Corporate Tax rate. And when the Barbados Government– in exercise of its sovereign right — refused to give any such “political commitment”, the EU placed Barbados on its so-called “Blacklist”!
As with all such power plays in international politics, the EU has targeted the weakest and most vulnerable countries first. And, no doubt, if they succeed in bending a large number of small countries to their will, in the fullness of time they will confront more economically resilient countries.
It needs to be understood therefore that the four CARICOM countries that are currently on the list — Barbados, Belize Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago—constitute only the beginning of the targeting of the Caribbean. Indeed, other Caribbean countries would already have been included were it not for the fact that their governments have promised the EU that, by the end of 2019, they will “amend or abolish” those aspects of their tax regimes that the EU has unilaterally deemed to be “harmful”. Among the Caribbean governments that have made this promise, described as a “commitment” by the EU, are: Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts-Nevis and St Lucia.
Ominously for Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts-Nevis and St Lucia, it is the EU that has set the criteria for determining “economic substance” and it is therefore the EU and the EU alone that will decide whether any commitment has been met !
The sadness of all this for small countries is that this steady erosion of their rights could have been nipped in the bud. In the late 1990s, a strong alliance of small states, crying out at the advantage that was being taken of them contrary to International Law, caused the OECD ( and the EU within it) to pause. Had these developing countries remained resolute in their resistance, the picture would have been very different today.
But, the OECD and the EU reset their strategy. They picked-off governments of small countries one by one through different forms of “persuasion”. The tragi-comedy of representatives of our governments rushing to Paris and Brussels to sign away their state’s rights played out on an international stage of the absurd. Ministers succumbed to the coercion and raved to their people that, by agreeing to surrender revenues and jobs, they had shown that their countries were not “tax havens” and that they were “fully compliant with international standards”, although it was the OECD and the EU, not any international body, that was setting the “standards”.
The problem with ceding rights is that it never stops. As Richard Hay of the London-based legal firm, Stikeman Elliot, points out: “Those countries that have accepted EU dictation on design of their domestic laws to avoid being blacklisted now have a foot on the escalator – the EU will be back for more next year and in the years following.”
Back in the early years of this century many Caribbean states chose to surrender to the OECD and the EU, casting it as “cooperation” in an effort to salvage their international financial services sectors. But that “cooperation” has been one-sided and disadvantageous to the small states of the Caribbean. It is now time for our Caribbean states to stop giving in to unlawful EU demands and to fight back !
Our Caribbean nations must assert their sovereign right—as independent nations—to set their own taxation rates as they deem fit, and in accordance with their own independent assessment of their needs! And this is not merely an academic exercise in asserting and defending national sovereignty. Rather, this matter has grave implications for whether our Caribbean nations will ultimately be denied the right to possess International Business and Finance Industries, and to garner the critical revenues that these industries deliver– revenues that are needed to build and operate schools, hospitals, subsidised housing estates, public service departments, and the list goes on.
The fundamental point to be made and understood is that the EU does not possess any legal right to determine for independent Caribbean nations what their tax systems and rates should be. And for the EU to respond to Caribbean tax regimes that they do not like by unilaterally imposing economic sanctions is to breach the fundamental principles of International Law and to commit an unlawful act of Economic Warfare!
The sad reality is that the European Union is determined to destroy our International Business industries and to reserve all of this type of economic activity for the nations of the white Western World! This is a selfish, irresponsible, and illegal ambition on their part, and we must not let them succeed !
It is now, therefore, the duty of all patriotic citizens of the Caribbean who reside in countries of the European Union (EU) to organize themselves and launch campaigns of mass activism in the various capitals of the EU against these unlawful and egregious attacks on the sovereignty and welfare of the nations and people of the Caribbean!
THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW !