|93% Of Cubans Will Be Fully Vaccinated in November|
Citizen receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Cuba, Sep. 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @RadioSSp
On Tuesday, Cuba’s Ministry of Health (MINSAP) announced that 92.6 percent of the population over two years of age will have received three doses of COVID-19 vaccines by next month.
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MINSAP Science and Innovation Director Ileana Morales confirmed that this policy goal implied increasing the production of vaccines to meet the expected demand. Previously, the Cuban pharmaceutical industry announced the production of 20 million doses of the Abdala vaccine and 10 million doses of the Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus vaccines.
Starting in September, the health authorities will vaccinate over five million people, a challenge that can be met as Cuba has hundreds of primary health care centers with trained personnel.
So far, using the Soberana 02, Soberana Plus or Abdala vaccines, health workers have administered one dose to 5.5 million Cubans, two doses to 4.6 million citizens, and three doses to 3.6 million people.
Why the “exceptional” US cannot cooperate with the “failed Cuba” in hurricane handling and other fields? Come on! @POTUS @VP@BernieSanders @CIPICuba@BrunoRguezP @JohanaTabladahttps://t.co/30dwQOzTUM
— Santiago Pérez Benítez (@stgo1perezbeni1) September 1, 2021
MINSAP also recalled that the vaccination process is accompanied by preventive actions in high-risk groups carried out in all municipalities. On Wednesday, President Miguel Diaz-Canel recognized what health workers have achieved but warned Cubans that they must maintain prevention measures.
“The school year will start virtually in a few days. Without overconfidence, there are reasons for optimism,” he tweeted hours after a meeting of the group of scientists and experts convened by his administration for the control of the disease.
In the last 24 hours, Cuba registered 6,609 COVID-19 cases and 74 related deaths. The National Epidemiology Director Francisco Duran reported that 25 of the new infections are imported and the rest were transmitted locally. The provinces with the highest number of infections are Pinar del Rio (1,267), Havana (773), and Cienfuegos (611).
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To all conscientious persons including scientists, doctors, health workers, academics as well as any honest woman or man from Cuba and the world, we call on you to support the concepts and principles expressed in this letter.
You recently referred to Cuba at a White House saying: “I would be prepared to give significant amounts of vaccines if… an international organization would administer those vaccines and do it in a way that average citizens would have access to those vaccines.” You also called Cuba a “failed state”.
These statements surprised many, including those in the U.S. who have first-hand exposure to Cuba’s health system. It also rankled frontline Cuban health workers risking their lives to contain the COVID epidemic in our country. They do not reflect Cuban reality, and we deplore that disinformation by malicious actors is influencing your policy decisions. As scientists, doctors, and concerned citizens, we believe it’s worth fact-checking three assumptions implicit in what you said.
Assumption one: International intervention is needed to ensure all Cubans receive vaccines.
Assumption two: Cuba’s response to the pandemic has been dismal, symptomatic of a “failed state”.
Assumption three: U.S.-supplied vaccines are the only route to guarantee COVID-19 immunization for Cuba’s 11 million people.
Let’s take these one by one: the first assumption – that intervention is needed to guarantee vaccine access for all Cubans – suggests that vaccine rollout in Cuba is inefficient and discriminatory. But the data does not support this. In fact, as both UNICEF and the World Health Organization have confirmed, childhood vaccination rates are over 99%. Immunization is part of our country’s universal public health system, free to all Cubans regardless of socioeconomic status, politics, religion, sex, or race.
The national immunization program, created in 1962, covers the whole country. Since 1999, all Cubans have been protected against 13 potentially fatal diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Eight of these vaccines are manufactured in Cuba.
As a result of high vaccination rates, we have not had a single case of measles. In contrast, the CDC confirmed 1282 measles cases in the United States in 2019, with only 74% of children receiving all CDC-recommended vaccines.
The Finlay Vaccine Institute in Havana developed the world’s first effective vaccine against/for meningitis B (meningococcal disease) in 1989. The annual incidence of meningococcal disease in Cuba dropped from 14.4/100,000 population before vaccination to less than 0.1/100,000 since 2008— eliminating the illness as a public health problem in the country.
Several factors explain the success of Cuba’s national vaccination program: people trust the easily accessible neighborhood family doctors and nurses, and the health professionals at their community polyclinics—making vaccine hesitancy very rare. In turn, the health system’s organizational capacities make vaccine rollout fast and dependable. Finally, Cuban biotechnological research and production centers are well integrated with the needs of the public health system.
Working partnerships on vaccination have developed with the World Health Organization and UNICEF. But none of these has ever suggested the need to step in to administer vaccines in Cuba. Rather, Cuban vaccine experts have been called upon to assist in global efforts to eliminate polio, and our production facilities have been tapped by WHO to export urgently needed vaccines to the “meningitis belt” in sub-Saharan Africa.
Assumption two: Cuba’s “failed” pandemic response. It is puzzling why, with so many real COVID catastrophes in the Western Hemisphere, only Cuba is labelled a “failed state”. Cuba has indeed seen a recent spike in cases that threatens to overwhelm the health system in parts of the country. However, it’s response has been more effective than many other nations that have not received this harsh criticism from the U.S.
All countries are now challenged with new COVID variants, such as Delta, often driving sharp increases in cases. Cuba is no exception. What makes Cuba unique is the need to manage the epidemic under a crippling financial, trade and economic embargo enforced by the U.S. government for the last six decades. The 243 additional restrictions slapped on by the Trump administration—everyone still in place under your presidency—were intended to close the blockade’s few remaining loopholes, and thus choke off revenues to Cuba. This reduces the cash available to buy medical supplies and food, and delays in the arrival of materials to the country.
Assumption three: the only route to COVID immunity in Cuba is through U.S.-supplied vaccines. This ignores the fact that more than two million Cubans, or nearly 30,2 % of the population, have already been fully vaccinated with Cuban developed vaccines.
The Abdala vaccine received emergency use authorization from the Cuban regulatory authority on July 9, making it the first vaccine to achieve this status in Latin America. Abdala achieved 92% efficacy in Phase III clinical trials, while the Soberana Vaccine achieved 91% and is also close to emergency use authorization. At the current rate of vaccinated, the entire population could be reached by October or November. Difficulties in rollout, including imports of vital vaccine ingredients, are due primarily to the financial squeeze of U.S. sanctions.
If the U.S. government really wanted to help Cubans, it could roll back the 243 Trump-era measures—possible with the stroke of the president’s pen. Congress could also lift sanctions altogether, as demanded each year by overwhelming votes at the UN General Assembly by the nations of the world.
During the pandemic, science reiterates that (politics aside) we are all in this together. All of us are threatened not only by disease but also by the unprecedented challenge of climate change. In this context, health systems of all countries should be supported, not undermined; and collaboration should be the order of the day. More so, taking into consideration the alarming dearth of vaccines worldwide, especially dangerous for middle- and low-income countries. A number of them have already shown an interest in acquiring the Cuban vaccines, and we would argue that such a Cuban contribution to vaccine equity should be applauded by the Biden administration, not stifled. The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (Part II.6) explicitly bans exports to Cuba from the U.S. in cases where: “the item to be exported could be used in the production of any biotechnological product”, which includes vaccines.
We had a glimpse of both countries could have done together during the Western African Ebola virus epidemic (2013–2016), when both countries strove to contain disease and save lives. Obviously, the U.S. and Cuban governments differ on fundamental issues. Yet the world is full of such discrepancies. The essential question, not only for Cuba and the U.S., but also for human civilization, is whether nations can respect each other enough to exist side-by-side and cooperate.
President Biden, you can do much good if you move in the right direction and take into consideration what most Cubans living in Cuba desire. This does not include bypassing and weakening its public health system but does include respect for the nation’s achievements. Let us hope that the shared threats posed by the Covid pandemic will lead to more collaboration, not more confrontation. History will be the judge.
Signed by scientists, doctors and concerned citizens from Cuba and the world.
Source: | CienciaCubana Click to sign petition.
Statement by the Jamaica Cuba Friendship Association on the 95th Birthday of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz:
It’s the profound honor and pleasure of the Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association or JCFA to join with brothers and sisters regionally and globally to celebrate the 95th birthday of the unforgettable and unapologetic revolutionary leader of the Cuban Revolution, Comandante Fidel Castro Ruiz.
Thus, in the spirit of Fidel’s birthday, we shout with happiness and joy, “Happy 95th Birthday to you Comandante Fidel!”.
We in the JCFA solidly believe that Fidel’s 95th birthday should be celebrated for a myriad of reasons though we will highlight five (5) main ones today.
First, Fidel Castro from his days as a student at the University of Havana until the triumph of the revolution on January 1st 1959 played a critical role in the struggles of the Cuban people against the neo-fascist dictatorships which in alliance with the local oligarchy and imperialism ruled Cuba with an iron fist to benefit the interests of the minority rulers and against those of the ruled majority!
So, we celebrate Fidel’s 95th birthday because his political leadership of the Cuban people forever changed not only the landscape in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of providing a distinct alternative to imperialism but it also transformed the lives of Cubans in concrete material ways that hitherto January 1st 1959 no Cuban rich or poor knew a life without imperialism!
Second, Fidel Castro Ruiz, also played the leadership role in the attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26th 1953 or 68 years ago which though that attack on a major citadel of the power of the oppressive ruling classes did not lead to the overthrow of their power, it served to demonstrate their vulnerability to ordinary Cubans and helped to galvanize their organized support to end the rule of the oligarchy and imperialism six (6) years later!
In other words, Fidel’s 95th birthday that we are celebrating today is not solely a celebration of the birth of this extraordinary revolutionary leader and humanitarian but Fidel’s birth is also inseparable from the struggles of his people for dignity, self-determination and revolution for the landless, the poor, the workers, students, youths and intellectuals who fought to end the domination and oppression of the oligarchy and imperialism over all aspects of Cuban life!
Third, we in the JCFA proudly celebrate Fidel’s 95th birthday because during his long leadership of the Cuban Communist Party and the Cuban government, Fidel played a visionary role not only in Cuba’s transition from its anti-imperialist revolution to a socialist country but during this transition and even from the earliest years of the revolution, Fidel also helped to institutionalize internationalism as the cornerstone of Cuba’s foreign policy. Indeed, Cuba’s internationalist foreign policy not only played a critical role in overthrowing Portuguese colonialism in Guinea Bissau, in Angola, Mozambique but it also played a major role in defeating militarily and psychologically defeating Apartheid rule in South Africa which changed the balance of forces not only in South Africa but also in Angola and Namibia and elsewhere in Africa and the world. Further, Cuban internationalist solidarity was instrumental in almost singlehandedly end the Ebola virus which ravaged West Africa as well as its fight against other diseases in other parts of Africa and the world.
Likewise, today Cuba’s sterling contribution to the fight against the current COVID19 pandemic through its multiple medical internationalist missions despite the criminal US blockade is well known around the world!
Indeed, as we celebrate Comandante Fidel’s 95th birthday today, many of us in the JCFA also celebrate another aspect of Cuba’s internationalist solidarity in the fight against imperialism which strangles development in the developing countries like Jamaica. That area of Cuba’s internationalist solidarity we also celebrate is Cuba’s annual issuance of scholarships of which several of us who are members of the JCFA are recipients and as a result of which we are now doctors, engineers, dentists, economists, teachers, tradesmen and other professionals, thanks to Fidel’s internationalist vision.
Quite fittingly, Fidel captures the essence of Cuba’s internationalism when he says that “being internationalist means paying our own debt with humanity. Whoever cannot fight for others will never be sufficiently able to fight for themselves”.
We in Jamaica know very well Cuba’s internationalist solidarity not exclusively but particularly in the area of health care as it’s Cuban trained Jamaican doctors and Cuban doctors and other health care providers are mainly holding up Jamaica’s health care system in its fight against the COVID19 pandemic and the other health challenges in Jamaica.
Fourth, whether it’s Fidel’s leadership as a student activist or his leadership in the attack on the Moncada Barracks or his cementing of the idea of internationalist solidarity among his people, one of Fidel Castro’s lasting contribution to the Cuban revolution has become a central pillar to its defense and survival is his concept of unity. Indeed, the unity of the Cuban people that Fidel has played a central role in building has played and will always play a critical role on every occasion that the revolution’s integrity is tested by imperialism as it was tested on July 11th where the empire chose to use the genuine grievances of the Cuban people, as a platform to continue their 60 odd year failed attempt to destabilize the revolution. It is equally true that the unity of the Cuban people across race, religion, gender, sexuality and region will continue to be tested repeatedly in many forms including the criminal US blockade. So today as we celebrate Fidel’s birth, we also celebrate the ironclad revolutionary unity that he has helped to institutionalize among his people against imperialism and all the enemies of the Cuban Revolution.
Finally, as we in the JCFA celebrate Fidel’s 95th birthday we cannot but imagine Fidel’s response to the multiple challenges of COVID19, the economic challenges of the criminal US blockade that is increasingly pounding the Cuban economy and the brazen attempts by imperialism to stir up protests within Cuba and openly calling for regime change! Sadly, Fidel isn’t here to speak for himself though I believe broadly he has left us some important guide posts to ponder in the context of imperialism’s continued schemes to discredit the socialist revolution and effect regime change.
Fidel stated: “I don’t think it is so difficult to solve the problems between Cuba and the United States; it all depends on whether there is a dialogue, a discussion, or if the prejudices and hatred of people like the extremists and terrorists from the Cuban community, who try to impose their policies, prevail”.
Further, he reminds us that “They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?” He also reminds us “Believe me, it’s a death struggle. It is either us or them. We have to defend the revolution and make it go forward. We cannot show any pity”.
Trevor G Brown
Ulises Calvo Borges (UCB), the Cuban Consul Embassy in Jamaica. In this episode, Mr. Borges recently spoke to Tenement Yard Media (TYM)about how the US blockade and sanctions Cuba have hindered the country’s development and affected the island’s response to Covid – 19.
TYM: Can you briefly talk about the embargo and its impacts on Cuba? What are the impacts on the COVID response because of the embargo?
UCB: Cuba is a developing small island state, facing not only the vulnerabilities inherent to that condition, but also suffering the effects of the most prolonged and comprehensive system of coercive unilateral measures applied against any country in the world: the USA blockade, also called “embargo”.
This behaviour of successive USA administrations, both Democrat and Republican, towards Revolutionary Cuba has been consistent with this memorandum that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the USA Lester Mallory wrote in 1960, and I quote: “The majority of Cubans support Castro. There is no effective political opposition. […] The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. […] Every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba, […] denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
What I just cited is the real reason for the blockade. Now, the pretext has changed throughout the years: our support to National Liberation Movements in Latin America in the sixties, our fight in Africa against the Apartheid and their allies, our relationship with the USSR, or more recently alleged human rights concerns, or our relationship with Nicaragua, or Venezuela. Whatever fits them to justify the unjustifiable.
During his administration, President Donald Trump abandoned the process of normalization of bilateral relations carried out by his predecessor Obama. On the contrary, he implemented 243 new unilateral coercive measures to restrict the visit of American travellers; adopted wartime measures to deprive us from fuel supplies; hounded the health services we provide in many countries; increased harassment against commercial and financial transactions in other markets, and intimidated foreign investors and commercial entities with the application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.
Now in 2020, Cuba, like the rest of the world, was faced with the singular challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The US Administration took on the virus as an ally in its merciless nonconventional warfare; it deliberately and opportunistically stepped up the economic, commercial and financial blockade.
When COVID19 arrived, the USA government didn’t do anything to alleviate the suffering of the Cuban people. On the contrary, it blocked donations from third countries and frustrated the acquisition of medical equipment by Cuba to fight the pandemic. In addition, it took measures to effectively cut off all remittances from the USA to Cuba.
It is remarkable that a small island subjected to a blockade has been able to produce 5 vaccine candidates and apply 3 of them. However, the blockade has made very difficult for us to access to some of reagents necessary for their development and to the raw materials used for their manufacturing.
US authorities have cynically tried to plant the idea of the failure of our system and the ineffectiveness of the Cuban government; that the coercive measures do not affect the people nor are actually a significant factor for the difficulties faced by the domestic economy. But numbers say otherwise:
From April 2019 to December 2020, the damages caused by the blockade amounted to over 9.1 billion US dollars at current prices, an average of 436 million US dollars per month. During the last five years, losses due to the blockade exceeded the amount of 17 US billion dollars. At current prices, the accumulated damages in six decades amount to over 147 US billion dollars. If you take into account the devaluation of the US respect to the price of gold, it amounts to over 1.3 trillion US dollars.
I wonder what would happen to other economies, including those of rich countries, if subjected to similar conditions. What would be the social and political repercussions?
TYM: Can you discuss the protests in Cuba? How they came about, who are the actors? Has the international coverage of these protests been accurate?
UCB: The incidents of 11th July don’t reflect a social outbreak. Cuba was victim of a political-communicational operation, orchestrated from USA soil, that caused limited scale disturbances. These were rejected by the vast majority of the Cuban people. In fact, the majority of people who went to the streets that day were supporters of the Revolution.
Note that not everybody who took part in the 11th July incidents is a criminal or committed violent acts. There were legitimate claims out of discontent, such as the ones related to blackouts in several areas of the country, caused in part by the economic warfare measures by the USA that block the entry of ships with oil, and the acquisition of parts and technologies to maintain the power generation systems in the country.
However, the calls for alterations of the order, with the pretext of the economic difficulties the country faces, encourages criminal elements to commit acts of violence. On 11th and 12th July, violent and criminal acts were committed against headquarters of organizations, stores, and their employees, as well as against police posts, personnel and vehicles.
The US Administration allocates every year tens of millions of dollars from the federal budget and additional amounts from covert funds to create political and social instability amidst the economic difficulties. They reckon that if they subject the Cuban population to hardships and promote artificial leaders who incite to chaos and instability, they could create a virtual political movement in digital networks to be later transposed into the real world.
So, these incidents of 11th July were neither spontaneous nor devised from within Cuba. The media campaign that prepared the ground for and magnified them was orchestrated from accounts based on the USA, from companies and groups (some of them linked to terrorism) that receive funding from the USA. The Cuban government has provided evidence of this. For instance, an analysis of the phony behaviour of the #SOSCuba tag in Twitter shows that the protests and acts of violence were encouraged as part of a non-conventional warfare strategy carried out by USA against Cuba and other countries.
As part of this operation, a lot of manipulated information and outright fake news circulated through social media, and some of them found a place into recognized media outlets. It is known that FOX News blurred the posters with slogans in support of the revolution that pro-government demonstrators in Cuba were carrying and presented said protest as anti-government. There were pictures and videos of protests and acts of violence in Venezuela, Brazil, Egypt and other countries that were portrayed as happening in Cuba. There were news about whole provinces of Cuba being overtaken by the protestors and of revolution leaders renouncing or fleeing Cuba, all of them fake. However, all this bombardment of misinformation had an effect on some people around the world, who is not familiar with the Cuban reality. And I suppose that some exaggerations regarding the supposed repression of peaceful protesters will have made their mark on some of the not so well-informed.
Cuba reaffirms his right to defend its national integrity and sovereignty. Any attempt to alter peace and the constitutional order will face an adequate response within the margins of the internal and international law.
The law is being enforced to process those who committed violent acts, larceny or caused damages to the social property. There haven’t been any forced disappearances or episodes of torture. Claims of that are part of a campaign to demonize the Cuban authorities and justify foreign intervention.
Spokespersons from the USA government have spoken a lot about what happened in Cuba that day, and have expressed a supposed desire to help the Cuban people. They have even offered vaccines against COVID19, but they don’t want to give them to the authorities. Really? Give vaccines to the only country in Latin America that has developed not 1 but 5 of them? If they were really interested in relieving the hardships the Cuban people, they would lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade and roll back the measures taken by the Trump administration, that his successor Joe Biden has left intact.
But they can’t. They can’t because they are afraid. What if they remove the blockade, what if they stop the aggressions against Cuba and we succeed as a country, as an alternative to what they want to impose everywhere? What if we show them that our society could be not only just but also prosperous, free from their destabilization attempts. Cuba is already an example for the peoples of the world. Now imagine a Cuba without blockade, there is so much we could achieve! The sole idea of that frightens them.
We alert about the dangerous and irresponsible calls to acts of sabotage, magnicide, selective killings, and the call by an elected official in Miami for a military intervention in Cuba, with unforeseeable consequences for the regional peace and stability.
Our call is to solve our problems among the Cubans themselves, without foreign meddling, and on the grounds of patriotic unity, to advance in areas affected by the combined effect of the blockade, COVID19 and our own difficulties.
TYM: I’m sure you have heard or seen the protests happening in Jamaica against the Cuban government? What are your thoughts?
UCB: Our Embassy faced five protests in July; four of them in less than a week span. These were not isolated or spontaneous acts. Demonstrations against Cuban Embassies abroad, including a violent attack with Molotov cocktails against our Diplomatic Mission in Paris, are part of the same coordinated effort that instigated the protests in Cuba last 11th July.
In our case, these protests were carried out mainly by Cubans who live in Jamaica. The organizers and instigators of this protests didn’t become enemies of the Revolution on 11th July. They have been against socialism for a long while, as we could hear from the slogans they shouted, and they were just waiting for the occasion to act. These counterrevolutionaries have tried hard to sum other Cubans and Jamaicans to their protests, making extensive use of the fake news and manipulations we discussed earlier. However, they have achieved little success in that.
We still don’t know it these protests had permission from the authorities to be carried out. Also, I understand that the authority’s permits are granted for peaceful pickets. However, in these demonstrations, the protesters have made threats and shouted offenses, even personal ones. In several occasions, the have come dangerously close to the Embassy’s perimeter, even blocking the entrance with vehicles. In the days following the protests we also received threatening emails and phone calls.
If the objective of the protesters was just to voice their opposition to the Cuban government and to attract media attention, I believe they made their point from day one. But after five protests it would seem that their main goal was to harass and intimidate our personnel, and disrupt the normal functioning of our diplomatic representation.
This kind of demonstrations against the Cuban Embassy is unprecedented in Jamaica. We have a Cuban community here with more than a thousand members, and the vast majority of them have friendly relations with our Embassy. It goes without saying that the Cuban and Jamaican people are very close to each other and the Jamaican population is very supportive of Cuba. We have assisted Jamaica for decades in many areas, including health and education, as our brotherly duty with its people, and we will continue to do so.
TYM: Discuss the GOJ’s current relationship with Cuba
UCB: We enjoy close relations of friendship and cooperation with Jamaica. We always remember with gratitude the courageous decision of Jamaica, along with Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1972, an act which effectively broke the diplomatic isolation in the hemisphere imposed on us by the USA government after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
In Jamaica we keep a medical contingent of around 500 doctors, nurses and other sanitary personnel, to support the work of the Ministry of Health, including the fight against COVID19. We also have an official collaboration team of around 80 professors teaching English and other subjects in the different levels of Jamaica’s public education system. Each year, we offer scholarships for Jamaican students with financial constraints to go and study Medical Sciences in Cuba.
We are always exploring ways to increase our cooperation with Jamaica and to expand it to other areas of mutual interest. We see Jamaicans, as we see the Caribbean peoples in general, not only as neighbours but also as brothers and sisters, all of us part of a big family. Despite the language differences, we share a lot of common culture, history, and goals: our African heritage, our struggles for independence, and the challenges of our development as small island states.
As we give thanks for the heartwarming kindness of a Japanese woman to our Olympic gold medalist Hansle Parchment, we cannot help but pause to reflect on the cruelty meted out to Japan decades ago. Today, marks 76 years since the US imperialists detonated two nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which took place on August 6th and August 9th 1945.
These criminal and unnecessary acts of US imperialism killed an estimated 230,000 human beings mainly civilians.
We in the JPC condemn US imperialism for its reckless action 76 years ago as we equally and forcefully condemn the US, Russia, Germany, China, Britain, France, Israel and all other nations that possess these deadly and expensive nuclear weapons of mass destruction today.
We tirelessly oppose and will continue to oppose nuclear weapons not only because they are an enormous threat to human lives and world peace but also because they are a waste of human talents, trillions of tax dollars annually, capital and technological resources in a world with growing income-wealth inequality, hundreds of millions of people living in hunger and poverty, no access to education, clean water, health care, housing and other basic human necessities.
Once again, we call on the governments in the industrialized countries who possess these and other deadly weapons of mass destruction to put an end to them. They should instead invest those wasted resources in productive activities such as education, health care, housing, meaningful jobs, higher compensation and generate tax revenues. They should also invest their resources in fighting the exploding climate crisis in order to improve the material lives of hundreds of millions of people on this blue planet!
Long Live World Peace ☮️!
Long Live humanity!
End Nuclear Weapons!
Interviewer: Denis Rogatyuk
Source: Jacobin Magazine
René González is one of the Cuban Five, long jailed in the US for their intelligence work combating far-right Miami terrorist groups. He spoke to Jacobin about the blockade and what his trial told him about the US’s concern for human rights in Cuba.
René González is a former member of Cuba’s “Wasp Network,” set up to combat the terrorism long directed against the island by far-right Miami exile groups. Following the murder of over two hundred Cubans in sustained attacks on the country’s aviation, shipping, and tourism sectors — organized by figures like CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles — this intelligence unit worked to infiltrate and undermine the terrorist milieu.
Immortalized in the 2019 Netflix film Wasp Network, González is best-known as one of the so-called Cuban Five. After the FBI broke up the Wasp Network in 1998, González and four of his colleagues were put before a Florida court in a trial internationally condemned for its lack of due process. He was sentenced to a fifteen-year jail spell, and finally returned to Cuba in 2013.
Today living in Havana, González saw first-hand the July 11 protests that captured international attention. In an interview with Voces sin Fronteras, hosted by Jacobin contributing editor Denis Rogatyuk, he spoke about the current situation in the capital, the history of US attacks on the island, and a six-decade-long economic blockade affecting even Cuba’s trade with third countries.
DR: What has your experience of the protests been, and what have you seen?
RG: Like the vast majority of Cubans, I woke up on July 11 and began my normal life — or at least, a normal Sunday under the pandemic — and suddenly information began appearing on social networks. First, about what was happening in San Antonio, then the president’s presence there, and gradually, especially from sites in Miami, information and jubilant videos about events elsewhere in Cuba.
I continued my routine, until I realized something more serious was going on. I started making some calls and in the evening, I went to two places where protests had taken place. I went to [the municipality of] Diez de Octubre, and when I got there, the protest was still ongoing but was practically over. You could see the damage, and then I went to Zanja Street where something had also happened, but much less.
So I could see things first-hand. Then, I think on the Monday there were some further protests, and a mixture of falsehoods, lies, and video footage. We all know now that images of Buenos Aires, Alexandria, Venezuela, and other places were used to create the impression that Cuba was immersed in chaos, and that the government had collapsed.
In Cuba, we all knew that was a lie, but I suppose that it will have had its effect on some people elsewhere, who do not know the Cuban reality. And I suppose that some exaggerations regarding the supposed repression of peaceful protesters will have made their mark on some of the not so well-informed.
DR: How about the counter-mobilizations, in support of the revolution?
RG: I’m not going to deny that what happened surprised us. We’re not used to seeing events like these in our country — and above all, this level of violence. I will clarify that not everyone who demonstrated was a violent person — there were places where some dissatisfied people came out, some with genuine claims and problems that have been imposed on us for years, largely from the United States. But the level of violence was unusual for Cuba. This is something we need to examine, make the corresponding analyses, and take the appropriate measures — in terms of public order, but also social and political measures.We, as a country, as a people, as a community, have for six decades been subjected to a genocidal policy whose express purpose is precisely to make people surrender out of hunger, out of desperation, out of necessity.
These events provoked a response among people who don’t want to see our country like this. The demonstrations organized by communities and by trade unions took to the streets to show that we want to build a peaceful country — we don’t want these levels of street violence. And also to show that most Cuban people continue to support this country, the revolution, the government.
Above all, that we’re aware that beyond the legitimacy of some people’s demands, all this is part of an attack against Cuba. It was well-planned through social networks. But we are going to defend this government, our sovereignty, our independence — and we are going to continue resisting.
We, as a country, as a people, as a community, have for six decades been subjected to a genocidal policy whose express purpose is precisely to make people surrender out of hunger, out of desperation, out of necessity. And well, there are people who surrender. I don’t mean this as an insult — I don’t think that everyone necessarily has to have the same level of endurance. The people who decided to blame the Cuban government for all this aren’t all criminals.
But I believe that criminal elements, spurred on by the tremendous campaign on social networks, made these demonstrations into what we saw in [those] days. I believe that the part of the population that maintains a dignified position in the face of US imperialism’s criminal policy has the right to take to the streets to demonstrate in favor of this process and against the policy that has tried to suffocate us for sixty years.
DR: What do you think about the comparisons being made between these protests and the so-called “El Maleconazo” in 1994?
RG: There are many points of contact. The main one, the “backdrop,” is the US blockade against Cuba, which has deliberately sought to sow despair among the Cuban people so that they become disenchanted and blame the government for this country’s economic problems and material hardships. It is part of a systematic, sixty-year policy, a common thread running through the 1994 crisis and the one we are facing now.
Moreover, I think that in both cases, the uprising was promoted from abroad. In 1994, the immigration issue was used so that some desperate people took to the streets and, in this case, the COVID situation has been used. This has been linked to an intensification of the criminal US policy against Cuba, imposed by President Trump and continued by President Biden.
I think that US empire’s policy towards Cuba will continue to promote these events. It will not change as long as they consider that they can provoke despair in the Cuban people, and there are moments like these when various circumstances converge that increase people’s material hardships and when part of that population — out of despair in some cases, in other cases due to political, malicious, sometimes even criminal intentions — end up taking these positions and take to the streets.
DR: Have you seen signs of a campaign of fake news?
RG: Yes, of course. The US government has always tried to use the media to influence the Cuban population and incite insurrection, illegality, and violence. We cannot forget that during Reagan’s presidency, Radio Martí was created. Previously, there was Radio Ciudad alongside Radio Americas.The US Government always wanted to use communications to subjugate Cuba, as part of this war. This is the psychological component of a war of attrition that is anything but simply psychological. In the 1960s, it was the radio, then came TV Martí, though it was never seen in Cuba, and recently social networks have joined this war.
We all know that the US Government dedicates considerable funds to this psychological warfare, which, through social networks, has been “dropped” on Cuba. It is a persistent, systematic, methodical, scientifically calculated effort that does end up impacting some people — and has been a very important element in this campaign.
This campaign is carried out in two directions. One aims to break our spirits, to confuse some Cubans, to incite us to violence, to make us believe and rationalize the theory that the embargo does not exist, that there is no blockade, that the Cuban government is to blame for everything. But we mustn’t forget that it also aims to deceive the rest of the world, so that people receive false news about Cuba. It aims to magnify any problem that occurs here and thereby justify the demands for “humanitarian intervention,” which many of the worst spokesmen of the Cuban counterrevolution make to the US government in the hope that its army will hand them back their privileges in Cuba.
In both cases, I think this is a criminal use of a technological instrument that in other circumstances should serve to bring people closer, to sow the seeds of peace. Obviously, this is not in the interest of those who wish to reconquer Cuba. And that’s a phenomenon that we must continue to face and fight.
DR: Is it possible to do something from outside of Cuba?
RG: As in the case of the Cuban Five, I think it’s important for people to inform themselves and not be fooled, to try to learn about Cuba from the Cubans who are here. Not to be influenced by all the campaigns, the lies, the misinformation that — both through social networks and through the hegemonic disinformation media — are disseminated throughout the world. To try to stay informed and spread that information among your friends, your acquaintances, and try to stir worldwide solidarity with the Cuban people, against the criminal policies of the US government.
Let’s not kid ourselves. They want to turn Cuba into a Syria, a Libya, an Iraq, and then come in with all these processes we’ve seen already in which capital returns and supposedly rebuilds the country that they have just destroyed. They want to do the big business that they do everywhere when they arrive with their “humanitarian” interventions, in favor of “democracy,” etc.
DR: What have been the harshest effects of the blockade that you have observed in the last year?
RG: The blockade has been a brutal act of war, intensified over the past four years by the Trump administration. The assault on the Cuban economy has been brutal, even before the pandemic came along. I’ll give some examples.
With the connivance of the Latin American right, specifically the presidents of Brazil and Ecuador, the medical programs that brought several billion dollars a year to enter Cuba were dismantled. That was a brutal economic blow. Then [Trump’s administration] continued to take measures against family remittances. Trump talked a lot about “human rights,” as does Mr Biden and all the others who went before did. They attacked the Cuban family and cut remittances to relatives in Cuba, inflicting another blow to the heart of the Cuban family economy. Further, [foreign-based] Cubans’ trips to Cuba were drastically reduced.
The pandemic added to all this. After the other blows I described, the Cuban economy was counting on tourism, but the pandemic has practically paralyzed the tourism industry and we have had to do without that income, which is what allowed the development of normal life in Cuba.
Under these conditions, the United States has increased its disinformation campaign, its psychological war against Cuba, always with the message that the fault lies with the inefficiency of the Cuban government — that it doesn’t care about its citizens and should be protested against. The result has been that some people have become desperate and have lost their perspective on the real impact that these measures have had on Cuba.
I don’t know the exact figure, but we can speak of several billion dollars that have stopped arriving in Cuba in recent years. Under these conditions, the government has had to deal with the pandemic — and the resources are simply not enough for everything. I wouldn’t venture a comparison with other governments such as Leningrad [in 1941], but the conditions we are experiencing at this time are quite similar.The US government considers that it has the right to decide that each country must do what suits the US government — and, if not, it will have to face the consequences.
If we lived in a just world, the Trumps and Bidens would be prosecuted for this criminal policy. It is imposed by the largest political, economic and military power in human history against a country of 11 million inhabitants which gives the rest of the world only solidarity, love, and peace. But our all-powerful neighbors have decided to set us against each other. They continue to dream — as it was set out in the 1980s — that through hunger and despair Cubans will end up desperate and will kneel before the US government.
DR: As a former US political prisoner, what would you say to those who say that Cuba is a dictatorship or a totalitarian regime?
RG: I think that the repression within US society is visible to the whole world. I am amazed when some people take lessons on human rights, on the rule of law, from the US government.
The US government has been repressive from its inception, and that has not changed. That’s not even mentioning the rest of the planet. The US government considers that it has the right to decide that each country must do what suits the US government — and, if not, it will have to face the consequences.
The trail of death that it has left around the world in recent decades just because a government decided not to do what suits US capital is appalling — and that is what they are looking for in Cuba. To speak of repression, and to do so in the name of the US government, is the most blatant cynicism.There is no reason why we should capitulate: we will continue to defend this revolution.
I think that has a lot to do with the experience that we [the Cuban Five] had, especially in the legal process to which we were subjected. If the annals of American legal history are studied one day, the trial that we went through would be right up there for its cynicism, for the use of lies, by a government that considers itself the arbiter of human rights and legality around the globe.
We saw things in that trial that you don’t even see in the movies. We saw the prosecutors blatantly lie. Blatantly put people on the stand to lie knowing that everyone knew it was a lie — knowing with tremendous confidence that the jury was going to believe all those lies. We saw the prosecutors blackmail witnesses, threaten them with prosecution if they testified. That is, witnesses that we took to the trial for the defense, witnesses that were given subpoenas according to our right to defense but couldn’t testify because the prosecutor stood with tremendous calm and said that if that person testified, he would prosecute them.
In the trial, we saw the prosecutors threaten an American general that his pension would be taken away if he testified in favor of the defense. We saw all kinds of violations, mockeries of due process. … It had nothing to do with what we see in the movies where the accused has every right to defend himself.
Really, I think the trial taught us to better understand why an individual like Joe Biden, who is painted, presented or sold as liberal and moderate, can stand in front of a camera and say no to reopening family remittances because the Cuban government supposedly going to appropriate them. Why he can then stand before a camera and suddenly offer us vaccines, but insist that an international organization has to come to distribute them among the population because the Cuban government — the only one in Latin America that has created a vaccine — supposedly isn’t going to.
You have to be cynical, you have to be hypocritical, to say such things. I do not know if Biden is a lawyer — he is probably also a lawyer. I think he has learned from the cynicism that colors those who represent that imperialist, criminal, genocidal government. Our experience as political prisoners left a mark on us and quickly taught us to be able to identify such people.
The majority of the Cuban people continue to defend this revolution. I think it is a question of principles and human dignity. There is no reason why we should capitulate: we will continue to defend this revolution. We will have to look inside ourselves, rectify what has to be rectified. But I do not think it is worthy of our history, of our martyrs, of the principles that have inspired this revolution, that we surrender to an empire because it wants to starve us. We will have to look for solutions within ourselves — but surrender is not an option for us.
Source: René González of the Cuban Five on Cuba’s Challenge and Washington’s Hypocrisy (jacobinmag.com)
René González is a former member of Cuba’s Wasp Network.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
Denis Rogatyuk is a writer, journalist, and researcher based in London. He’s written for Tribune, Green Left Weekly, TeleSUR, LINKS, International Viewpoint, and other publications
In one of the most promoted boxing duels of the Olympics, the multi-medalist Julio Cesar la Cruz defeated today 4-1 the Spanish nationalized Emmanuel Reyes. With this victory, Cuban boxing secured three podiums in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
At the close of Friday’s bout, La Cruz landed punches in the short and medium distance and defended the attacks of Reyes, to merit the verdict of four of the five judges and thus continue on the road to the cruiserweight grand final. The Cuban team captain will compete in the semifinals against Brazil’s Abner Teixeira, who beat Jordan’s Eishaish Hussein Iashaish 4-1.
At the end of the fight and with his victory declared by the judges, Julio Cesar la Cruz took one final jab at his opponent, Enmanuel Reyes. Reyes, born in Cuba but abandoning his country for Spain, had been spouting anti-Cuban rhetoric for weeks leading up to the Olympics. Observers say he was on the social networks, and chanting the counter-revolutionary slogans typical of recent manuevers against the Cuban Revolution.
Julio Cesar la Cruz took a bow to the audience, shouting: “Patria y Vida… NO!” “Patria o Muerte! Venceremos!” The boxing champ left the ring victorous — just like the Cuban Revolution — with his defeated ‘Spanish’ opponent last seen running away from the TV cameras.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel on highlighted the performance of the Cuban delegation at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and boxer Julio Cesar la Cruz’s patriotic cry.
‘Inspiring the performance of our athletes, Idalys Ortiz’s silver, Alba’s bronze and the patriotic cry of #PatriaOMuerte (Homeland and Death) by Julio Cesar la Cruz in #Tokyo2021,’ the president wrote on his Twitter account.
Diaz-Canel underlined the gallantry of the Olympic champion in Rio de Janeiro 2016, who responded firmly to previous statements by the Cuban nationalized Spanish boxer Enmanuel Reyes and people who shouted against Cuba from the stands.
‘On the other side of the planet, 13 hours apart, many languages and provocations in between, how Cuban is the cry of #PatriaOMuerte. Of course we will win!’ Diaz-Canel stressed.
In addition, he revealed that he already spoke over the phone with all three athletes and confirmed Cuba’s pride in its athletes.
The U.S. Has No Business Lecturing Cuba About ‘Free and Fair’ Elections By Peter BOLTON In the weeks following the protests in Cuba on July 11 questions about how US President Joe Biden would react have dominated headlines. On July 22, Biden seemingly put speculation to rest by announcing that his administration will add a…The U.S. Has No Business Lecturing Cuba About ‘Free and Fair’ Elections — Russia News Now
By Peter BOLTON
In the weeks following the protests in Cuba on July 11 questions about how US President Joe Biden would react have dominated headlines. On July 22, Biden seemingly put speculation to rest by announcing that his administration will add a further set of sanctions to the already existing economic embargo. The new sanctions will apply to various figures in the Cuban armed forces as well as Cuba’s Special National Brigade, which is alleged to have engaged in heavy-handed tactics against protesters. The move represents a stunning rebuke to his party’s small progressive wing, which had hoped that he would at least return Cuba policy back to the Obama era by reversing the 243 additional Trump-era sanctions, or perhaps even dropping the embargo altogether. Evidently, however, Biden and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party that he represents are now seizing on the protests as an opportunity to court the right-wing Cuban-American vote in Florida. In the wake of the protests, Politico reported that some Democrats are viewing the situation as a “golden opportunity” to try to win back the former swing state, which went for Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Inevitably, the protests have also served as a convenient tool for the US government and its allies in the Cuban-American exile community to reinvigorate their decades-long campaign to impose “regime change” on the beleaguered Caribbean island nation. Needless to say, at the forefront of calls for an even more aggressive US stance toward Cuba have been hardline representatives of this community. The mayor of Miami, the Babylon of militant anti-Castro agitation, has even called for direct US military intervention to “liberate” the island. In an interview with Fox News, Suarez even refused to rule out US airstrikes against Cuba, stating that this “has to be explored and cannot be just simply discarded as an option that is not on the table.” As would be expected, amongst the justifications for such aggressive measures is the demand for “free and fair elections,” which features prominently in the pronouncements of these figures. An open letter from Marco Rubio, the Florida exile hardliner Senator, and co-signed by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and 143 other members of congress, for example, states: “Freedom-loving nations must make clear our full and unwavering support for Cuba’s pro-democracy movement, and for free and fair elections, with international supervision.”
To the politically naïve, this might seem like a perfectly reasonable sentiment. After all, according to the prevailing political mentality within Western nations, the holding of “free and fair elections” is perhaps the most basic prerequisite that a country must meet in order to be accepted into the family of “freedom-loving nations.” The implicit corollary, of course, is that the US is perfectly entitled, if not duty-bound, to punish those countries that fail to meet this most fundamental of requirements. The reality, however, is that the US doesn’t have a shred of credibility when it comes to lecturing others about “free and fair elections,” let alone imposing punitive measures on those who fail to hold them. Because an investigation into the US’s behavior on the global stage reveals its stunning hypocrisy when it comes to Cuba and other US adversaries. And this hypocrisy is no accident, but rather plays an important part in providing a false veneer of credibility to the US’s self-serving foreign policy goals.
First of all, there’s the issue of Washington’s flagrant double standards. Because when we look at US relations with other countries it becomes obvious that the US couldn’t care less whether or not another country holds “free and fair elections.” That is simply not, nor ever has been, the criteria by which it predicates its treatment of other nations. Rather, administrations in Washington of both parties base their stances toward the rest of the world’s countries on whether or not they are obedient to US interests. Countries deemed insufficiently obedient are singled out for “regime change,” which can include sanctions, destabilization campaigns, covert support for coups or even direct military intervention. And to be clear, this applies irrespective of whether the target country holds “free and fair elections.” For those countries that are obedient to US interests, on the other hand, there is practically nothing that Washington won’t overlook. Again, that, of course, includes failure to hold “free and fair elections.” Examples include Washington’s alliance with the Wahhabist royal family in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy where elections are held for only a handful of minor local government positions, and the dictatorships in Chile and Argentina during the second half of the twentieth century.
Note the cruel irony when it comes to the latter two examples. The US not only issued no punitive measures whatsoever against the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile or the military junta in Argentina, but rather propped them up by providing generous financial support and recognition on the world stage. And this was taking place at the very same time that Washington was escalating the embargo against Cuba. There is an even further layer of irony in the case of Chile given that the Pinochet dictatorship, which murdered thousands of political opponents and tortured many more, came to power via a US-backed and CIA-orchestrated coup that removed the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.
This brings us to the second reason why the US has no credibility when it comes to pontificating about “free and fair elections.” And that is that Washington only accepts the results of elections in other countries when it approves of the outcome. The most salient example of how this has played out in recent memory is undoubtedly Venezuela, where every single election that has been won by the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has not been recognized as legitimate by the US on spurious grounds of fraud. But when Washington’s favored parties, which make up the Venezuelan opposition, won the National Assembly elections of 2015, on the other hand, accusations of vote rigging and irregularities were miraculously forgotten – conveniently enough, just in this one instance.
The contrast between Venezuela and the narco-state of President Juan Orlando Hernández’s Honduras is also illustrative in this regard. Because at the same time that it was denouncing PSUV election victories in Venezuela as fraudulent, Washington completely ignored allegations of fraud in elections taking place in Honduras, in spite of a much greater preponderance of evidence. Even the pro-Washington Organization of American States (OAS) denounced the 2018 election that returned Hernández to power as fraudulent. Yet Washington nonetheless recognized the result as legitimate.
There’s a further level of duplicity to this when you consider that the US shamelessly sides with its favored right-wing parties all over the region. Examples are too numerous to exhaustively enumerate, but the case of Nicaragua provides what is perhaps the most paradigmatic contemporary illustration. Ever since the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) returned to power via a democratic election in 2006, Washington has funneled tens of millions of dollars to opposition parties. The result of this is that the left in Latin America operates at a huge structural disadvantage given that their political opponents get financed by the US, the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, lest we forget. So the US government demanding “free and fair” elections in Latin America is a bit like a gangster who has spent his entire criminal career fixing boxing matches showing up on fight night and demanding a clean bout.
As if this weren’t enough, in some countries left-wing political organizing translates into literally taking one’s life into one’s own hands. Colombia, for instance, has in various years been deemed the most dangerous country in the world to be a union activist. This is in large part owing to a concerted campaign of murder and intimidation of social movement leaders during the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, a close US ally, and continuing today under the presidency of Iván Duque. As would be expected, Uribe received millions in US aid for so-called “counter-narcotics” operations that provided a smokescreen for these violent actions on the part of right-wing paramilitaries, such as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The deep intertwinement of Uribe’s political faction with these groups was exposed by the 2006 Parapolitics scandal, which led to the conviction of over 30 Colombian political figures for collusion. Many of those convicted were close political allies of Uribe, including his cousin Mario Uribe.
To be clear, US election meddling has happened far beyond Latin America. Research conducted by political scientist Dov Levin found that the US has intervened in over 80 elections in 47 separate countries since the end of the Second World War. In a cruel irony, this includes meddling in the 1996 election in Russia in which Boris Yeltsin went from polling in the single digits to winning the election after the US injected millions of dollars into his campaign and pressured the International Monetary Fund to provide Russia with what was then the biggest loan in its history. Incidentally, Levin’s figure of over 80 cases does not even include examples of direct US intervention such as the CIA-orchestrated 1954 coup in Guatemala, which removed the democratically-elected government of Jacobo Árbenz, or cases of covert support for coup attempts such as that against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 2002.
Given these facts, the Cuban government could quite reasonable argue: Why should we hold multiparty elections when the US will fund our opponents to the point that it will be practically impossible for us to win? In any case, even if the Cuban Communist Party or some other socialist party did win an election in Cuba, the US wouldn’t accept the outcome anyway. This attitude was best summed up by the notorious war criminal Henry Kissinger, who served as sectary of state during some of the US’s worst atrocities abroad. He once quipped in the run up to the election in Chile that Salvador Allende went on to win: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”
In light of these facts, Cuba’s revolutionary leaders make the argument that, since multiparty “liberal democracy” in Latin American inevitably leads to the US rigging the contest by funding its preferred parties (and then intervening anyway if that doesn’t work), the Cuban revolution should instead aspire to transform the country into a grassroots “participatory democracy” that puts power in the hands of workers and communities. Whatever one may think of the merits of such a system, it’s difficult to deny that the reasoning makes sense at least in the context of the US’s flagrant partiality toward allied right-wing parties all over Latin America and its prolific record of electoral meddling all across the world.
The third and final reality that exposes the US’s hypocrisy in demanding “free and fair elections,” which delivers the final blow to any remaining vestige of its pretense to credibility, is the US’s own significant democratic deficits. Though US leaders present the country as the “birthplace of democracy,” the “shining city on the hill” or whatever other kitsch and conceited slogan they might conjure, the US’s own status as a democracy is, in fact, highly dubious. To take the most obvious example, the US doesn’t even directly elect its president, who serves as both head of government and head of state. Successive governments of both parties have failed to replace the electoral college despite the fact that it has twice this century led to the loser of the popular vote entering the White House – in both cases reactionary Republicans who presided over two of the most disastrous administrations in recent memory.
But the paltriness of the US’s claim to be a democracy, in fact, runs much deeper than this. In addition to the patently undemocratic nature of the electoral college, there is also rampant voter suppression; widespread corruption of elections by the influence of campaign contributions; brazen corporate influence over elected officials; pre-selection of candidates within the two major parties’ primaries; and an aggressive marginalization of third political forces that provide an alternative to the bipartisan capitalist/imperialist consensus for endless war abroad and crushing austerity at home. And far from being some kind of distant relic consigned to a less noble past, all of these factors are as much a problem today as they have ever been, if not more so. Republicans, for example, are currently going into overdrive in their use of state-level legislation to drastically reduce the number of people that can vote. Democrats are no saints in this respect either. In fact, they are often worse than their Republican rivals when it comes to efforts to keep third parties off the ballot. In August 2020, for example, The Texas Tribune reported that “State and national Democrats are waging a legal offensive to kick Green Party candidates off the ballot in some of Texas’ highest-profile races this fall — and they are seeing success.” Citizens United and similar Supreme Court rulings, meanwhile, have enabled completely unlimited campaign contributions as well as a shrouding the process of political fundraising in a veil of secrecy.
Closely linked to this has been the corporate buying of influence with elected officials of both parties, which is beginning to resemble state capture. Perhaps the most revealing example of this dynamic is in the area of healthcare. Despite polls showing consistent majority support for some kind of public universal healthcare system, the US still has the privatized monstrosity in which millions are left without care, tens of thousands die per year owing to lack of access, and hundreds of thousands more end up bankrupt due to inability to pay incurred healthcare costs. In February 2019, The Intercept reported on a leaked slideshow revealing that Nancy Pelosi and other establishment Democrats planned to torpedo plans by their party’s small progressive wing to implement a single-payer system because “stakeholders are against.” That is, because private health insurance companies contribute to their political campaigns.
Speaking of the progressive Democrats, the failure of Bernie Sanders to win the party’s nomination twice was on both occasions the result of a deliberate effort on the part of establishment figures to derail his campaign. Victor Tiffany of Revolt Against Plutocracy has amassed considerable evidence that Democratic primaries were rigged against him in both 2016 and 2020. As then DNC chair Donna Brazile put it: “If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead.” Clearly, candidates in the US are largely pre-selected by their respective parties’ hierarchies, with primary elections often serving as little more than a formality.
Also to consider is the role of the media. Just as the corporate-owned media subjected Sanders to an effective blackout, so too has it systematically deprived third parties of the crucial airtime and column space that they need to communicate their policies to voters and expand their name recognition. In 2012, for example, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested at Hofstra University after appearing with her running mate in the hope of getting a space on the debate stage with then-president Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney. This wasn’t the first time, either; during the 2000 election cycle, for example, the party’s presidential candidate Ralph Nader was systematically excluded from debates despite showing significant public support. 2020, meanwhile, saw deliberate attempts to keep Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins off the ballot in states across the country. The Green Party’s efforts to provide an alternative to the two-party duopoly have been further weakened by restrictive ballot access laws that require a party to either win a certain percentage of the vote in order to maintain ballot status or else go through an onerous signature collection process all over again.
Clearly, the US has not a shred of credibility when it comes to criticizing Cuba’s, or any other country’s lack of “free and fair elections.” If the US really cared about democracy, it would stop its habitual meddling in elections taking place elsewhere and get its own house in order by addressing the myriad deficits in democracy that exist within its own borders. We shouldn’t hold our breath, however. Neither the US’s foreign policy stances nor its electoral system at home have anything to do with promoting democracy or ensuring fairness in elections. Rather, both exist to uphold the rapacious imperialist capitalist global economic system that immiserates the majority of humanity while upholding the power of the multinational corporations and billionaires that now essentially rule the world. Those who truly care about the future of humanity and the earth that sustains it should focus their ire on that reality, rather than on misplaced concerns about the purported democratic deficits of an impoverished Caribbean island nation. Astonishingly, this country has had to survive under the jackboot of that system yet has simultaneously been at the cutting of edge of resisting it and providing an attempt at an alternative.
The president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, recalled the words of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, about the importance of peace so that humanity can fulfill its potential and live with dignity.
“Peace is the primary condition to be able to begin, consequently, the colossal flows of energy and resources necessary so that all of humanity, and not just a part of it, can live in an honorable, decent and dignified way,” the president shared on his Twitter account.
The text is part of the speech made by Fidel at the closing of the meeting of the presidency of the World Peace Council, held at the Havana Convention Center on April 21, 1981. At that time, the Cuban leader drew attention to the dangers of the arms race fueled by the United States and the threat to world peace.
In his speech, Fidel Castro warned that in those days the U.S. government had created a special command for the Caribbean and that aggressive manoeuvres were being reported in the seas off the coast of Cuba.
“The United States is developing an essentially militaristic policy in this region. What is the meaning of that language of weapons, which is arrogant and threatening? It is simply intended to intimidate the peoples who are fighting and above all, it is a matter of intimidating, isolating and imposing a policy of pressure and blackmail against Cuba”, he stressed.
In his words, he called attention to Washington’s “rigorous and total economic blockade” against Cuba, which was added to the “armed aggressions pirate attacks, sabotages and other subversive actions”.
As if it were today — but 39 years ago — Fidel Castro said that to the list of aggression “we must also add criminal acts such as preventing even medicines necessary to save lives from being acquired by Cuba in the United States.”
US president Joe Biden, Cuba’s president Miguel Diaz-Canel, former US president Donald Trump
How politically convenient that US imperialism is now trying to force on Cuba membership in the infamous and discredited OAS from which it used its puppet governments of the OAS to expel Cuba in 1960 for defending its revolutionary sovereignty?
How politically absurd that US imperialism through its apologists and its clowns like Almagro now want to force membership on Cuba in the OAS that Cuba proudly renounces repeatedly so that these criminals can try to subject this brave and dignified people to further pressures and attacks for its revolution?
The fact is that US imperialism and its corrupt, bloody, brutal and criminal allies in Latin America must be told in no uncertain terms that it cannot have its way whenever it wants in order to dictate the terms of our domination in our region?
In other words, US imperialism clearly orchestrated the expulsion of Cuba from the discredited OAS to punish Cuba for its audacity to reject dependent capitalism and dictatorship and to pursue its self-determination, its sovereignty and its dignity to live a life without imperialist domination and dictates. That was when it suited imperialism in 1960 to expel Cuba from the OAS. However, now Almagro and the OAS lawyers are trying to impose on Cuba membership in the discredited OAS from which it was expelled by US allies such as bloody dictators like Stroessner of Paraguay, Papa “ Doc” Duvalier of Haiti and Somoza of Nicaragua in 1960. Why are these super discredited puppets of US imperialism and their tutors in Washington DC arguing that Cuba is still supposedly a member of the OAS? The reason put simply is that since Cuba was expelled from the OAS an organization for which it never to this day expressed any interest in rejoining, the imperialists and their allies have never been able to impose any sanctions or taken any actions to curb its sovereignty and its freedom from imperialist dictates by the OAS.
However, today with the turmoil that the agents of the CIA, the USAID, the Cuban gusanos in Miami and the global parasites are creating in Cuba to effect regime change along with some help from their criminal blockade and the additional sanctions of Trump and Biden in Cuba, these disgraced bastards now need Cuba to be in the OAS in order to impose even more economic pressures and sanctions about elections, human rights violations and freedoms of its people !
The latter is precisely why the actions of the CARICOM nations to reject a meeting on the situation in Cuba is both politically and morally significant as it denies the imperialist and their allies in the OAS the opportunity they sought and will continue to seek to whitemail and harass Cuba libre.”
Needless to say, it’s embedded in the OAS’ clauses that the organization should seek to promote peaceful solutions to conflicts and tensions between member states rather than to promote wars, intervention and divisiveness. However, unfortunately to accept these clauses of the OAS is to ignore the fact that the OAS is a discredited policy tool of the US empire that is typically used to promote the interests of the US empire and not those of its neo-colonies in the region and certainly not those of countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and now Cuba that defend their sovereignty and that the political and intellectual architects of our collective oppression are trying to convince us has never left the OAS! What disgusting hypocrites?
However, the world is with Cuba as witnessed by the votes of the vast majority of nations at the UN General Assembly for the last 28 years against the criminal US blockade which is at the center of the manufactured unrest in Cuba since July 11th.
Interestingly, Biden has thus far been siding with the most extremist right-wing Cubans in Florida who are some of the most ardent supporters of the blockade against Cuba. Offcourse, Biden and the Democratic Party are hoping that his political overtures such as sanctions against Cuba to these Cuban gusanos will yield the democrats political dividends for them among these Cuban reactionaries in Florida. The latter dividends are very unlikely to benefit Biden and the democrats despite their wasteful efforts. However, it’s evident that both Biden and the democrats are cold hearted and unprincipled and proves once again that Henry Kissinger’s maxim is still central to imperialism, viz, “America has no friends, only interests.” For those imperial interests Biden and the democrats are apparently willing to punish the Cuban people even more by imposing more sanctions on a people who already maybe at the breaking point with a 62 year old blockade. No matter that Biden had promised to remove Trump’s 243 sanctions against Cuba! Isn’t it evident that promises made and broken mean nothing to American presidential and other candidates? It must be emphasized that what they promise is not what matters, it is whether changing what’s promised is consistent with the interests of their political economy in domestic as well as foreign policies that really matter to them!
The fact is that President Biden and his VP Harris can’t be crying crocodile tears about how they care for the welfare of the Cuban people and continue to refuse end the criminal blockade which is the cause of the shortages of foods, medicines, fuel, remittances, sanitary products and a range of other critical products for the normal functioning of any society including the US.
Likewise, Mr. Biden and his government can’t keep talking about “ freedom” and “ respect” for the sovereignty of other nations and are simultaneously using the blockade as a policy to create havoc in the life of Cuba and trying to impose membership on Cuba in the OAS in order to further meddle in its sovereign existence!!
by David Comissiong, Ambassador of Barbados to CARICOM
I never had any doubt that the Jamaican women would sweep all of the medals in this most anticipated race of the entire Olympics.
Ever since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Jamaica Athletics has been sending a powerful and compelling Message to our entire region.
Back then, Jamaica had the self confidence and self belief to establish it’s very own high performance training facilities; to have confidence in it’s own home grown coaches like Glen Mills and Stephen Francis and their own indigenous training programs and techniques; and to set out to develop their own athletic talent for themselves.
Jamaica trusted itself; invested in its own; and the rest is history! Total world dominance of sprinting since 2008 !
It’s a lesson we need to apply to all areas of our social, economic and cultural life in the Caribbean.
No praise is too high for these three World champions– Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly Ann Fraser Price and Shericka Jackson !!
Congratulations Jamaica !!!
Barbados Ambassador to CARICOM
30 Jul, 2021
Handout picture released by Nicaraguan Presidency shows Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (C), Vice-President Rosario Murillo (L) and Carlos Fonseca Teran (R) attending the anniversary ceremony of Sandinista leader Carlos Fonseca. © Handout / Nicaraguan Presidency / AFP
Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.A century and a half has shown us that American meddling in Nicaragua is never about improving the lot of the people of that nation, and only ever about furthering Washington’s imperialist agenda.
The US government is back at it. It is again expressing concern about the state of democracy in Nicaragua, and conjuring up a new round of punitive sanctions against that tiny country to allegedly prevent dictatorship from taking hold there.
The newest sanctions bill against the country is titled “Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER) Act.” As the Senate version explains, “This bill requires the Executive branch to align US diplomacy and existing targeted sanctions to advance democratic elections in Nicaragua, and includes new initiatives to address corruption, human rights abuses, and the curtailment of press freedom.” Sadly, many US non-governmental organizations and ‘intellectuals’ who should know better have sided with the government in its attack on Nicaragua.
However, a brief history of US involvement in Nicaragua is worth recounting here to fairly assess the government’s bona fides regarding its interest in democracy in that country. The first instance of US intervention in Nicaragua came in the form of William Walker in the mid-19th century, at around the time the Monroe Doctrine, by which the US proclaimed its sole prerogative to dominance over the Western Hemisphere, was announced. William Walker declared himself president of Nicaragua, reinstituted slavery there, and burned down the historic city of Granada for good measure, yet his foray into country was supported by many Americans as an exercise in progressive advancement. ALSO ON RT.COMUS sanctions Nicaraguan President Ortega’s daughter and three others amid ‘country’s descent into tyranny’
John J. Mangipano explains this phenomenon well in his peer-reviewed dissertation titled ‘William Walker and the Seeds of Progressive Imperialism: The War in Nicaragua and the Message of Regeneration, 1855-1860’. As he explains: “For a brief period of time, between 1855 and 1857, William Walker successfully portrayed himself to American audiences as the regenerator of Nicaragua. Though he arrived in Nicaragua in June 1855 with only fifty-eight men, his image as a regenerator attracted several thousand men and women to join him in his mission to stabilize the region. Walker relied on both his medical studies as well as his experience in journalism to craft a message of regeneration that placated the anxieties that many Americans felt about the instability of the Caribbean. People supported Walker because he provided a strategy of regeneration that placed Anglo-Americans as the medical and racial stewards of a war-torn region. American faith in his ability to regenerate the region propelled him to the presidency of Nicaragua in July 1856. … Though William Walker did not ultimately succeed as a regenerator, American progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt revived his focus on medical and racial stabilization through their own policies in the Caribbean, starting in the 1890s.”
As Mangipano concludes, “The continuity existing between these groups of imperialists suggested that the regenerators, despite their temporary failures, succeeded in nurturing ideas about why Americans needed to intervene in the Greater Caribbean.” This impulse to “progressive imperialism” – now called by the kinder and gentler-sounding “humanitarian interventionism” – continues to motivate even many US leftists in their attitudes towards Nicaragua and other countries of the Global South, and with the same terrible results.
Meanwhile, in the name of progressivism and democracy promotion, the US would go on to send the US Marines to occupy Nicaragua in the early part of the 20th century and set up the Somoza dictatorship that ruled Nicaragua with an iron fist for over four decades from 1936. The Marines were routed by Augusto César Sandino and his gang of merry men and women, Sandino was later assassinated, and the Somozas held control. America would then organize, finance, and direct the murderous ex-Somoza National Guardsmen in the form of the Contras to try to destroy the Sandinista Revolution, which finally overthrew the US’s beloved dictatorship in 1979. Washington tried to coerce the Nicaraguan people into voting against the Sandinistas in 1990 with the threat of continued war and brutal economic sanctions. Then, in 2018, they supported violent insurrectionists who terrorized Nicaragua for months in an effort to topple the very popular Sandinista government that was re-elected in 2006.
In short, there is a grave threat to democracy in Nicaragua. But it is not from Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas, who have built the first democratic state in that country in years. Rather, it is from the United States and the “useful idiots” who continue to believe the US is somehow attempting to bring democracy, despite all evidence to the contrary.
One way the US is threatening democracy is by funding destabilizing and anti-government efforts to the tune of millions of dollars. Nicaragua has responded, as any self-respecting nation would, by punishing those facilitating such foreign interference pursuant to its Law 1055, titled ‘Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination for Peace’. As Stephen Sefton, an educator and decades-long resident of Estelí, Nicaragua, explains,
“Under the law, it is a crime to seek foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs’ request military intervention; organize acts of terrorism and destabilization; promote coercive economic, commercial and financial measures against the country and its institutions; or request and welcome sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens.
“In addition, Cristiana Chamorro of the Violeta Chamorro Foundation, Juan Sebastián Chamorro of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES), Félix Maradiaga of the Institute for Strategic and Public Policy Studies (IEEPP) and Violeta Granera of the Centre for Communications Research (CINCO) may also face charges for money laundering and breaking the ‘Foreign Agents’ law which requires all organizations receiving finance from overseas [in this case, the US] to register with the authorities, report the amount of money received and how it is used.”
However, as Sefton emphasizes, “Despite numerous reports in international media to the contrary, none of the people arrested had been selected by any of Nicaragua’s political alliances or parties as possible candidates for the upcoming general election on November 7th this year. Cristiana Chamorro, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Arturo Cruz and Félix Maradiaga had earlier stated they aspired to the candidacy of one of the political parties, most likely the Citizens for Liberty political alliance. But none of them was formally under consideration. In any case, as many observers have noted, the figure of their possible candidacy in the elections has served as a smokescreen to distract from the criminal charges against them, for which they would face prosecution in practically any country in the world.” Note that last, important phrase.
To put it bluntly, it is the US which, as it has now done for about a century and a half, is trying to dictate to the Nicaraguan people the type of government and economic model they should choose. As an independent, sovereign nation, Nicaragua has every right to push back against this incessant meddling.
I’ve just returned from Nicaragua, where, along with other members of an international delegation, I witnessed first-hand the Nicaraguan people’s enthusiasm for the Sandinista Revolution on its anniversary, July 19. I saw the crowd of thousands assemble in Pope Paul II Plaza, in Managua, to celebrate this extraordinary event, in which the Sandinista Front, led by Daniel Ortega, overthrew a dictator heavily armed by the US government. Our delegation visited Masaya, which was bombed from the air by Somoza in the final days of his brutal rule. It is continuing to rebuild after the destruction wrought by the neo-Contras of 2018, who, with US backing, laid siege to the city and terrorized it for months, until the historic combatants who defeated Somoza routed them with the assistance of the police.
During our trip, we saw for ourselves the incredible advancements of the Sandinista government, which is providing free healthcare and education to all Nicaraguans. We witnessed the children, who had suffered such poverty and deprivation during the Somoza years and the Contra War that followed, attend school and play in the beautiful parks erected across the country by the Sandinistas. We traveled throughout Nicaragua on beautifully paved roads that once were dirt and stone, if they existed at all
I myself travelled on those dirt roads in 1987 and 1988, when I visited Nicaragua for the first time. Back then, I saw children dressed in rags and without shoes, barely able to get enough to eat because of the US sanctions and the brutal war. One does not see that type of destitution in Nicaragua now, and that’s thanks to the Sandinista Revolution, which, contrary to mainstream claims, has stayed true to its values of defending the poor and the most vulnerable.
Nonetheless, the US is intent on destroying it, and the progress it has brought for the Nicaraguan people. And the people are fully aware of this, and that is why 85% of those polled oppose foreign interference in their country, just as any self-respecting nation would. I stand with them in denouncing US interference, sanctions, and aggression toward that little country which has mightily stood up to the Goliath of the North. In this Biblical struggle, all my support is with David.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Santiago de Cuba receives solidarity donation from JamaicaSantiago de Cuba.- The health system of this province received from Jamaica a donation of medical inputs to the confrontation of Covid-19, from Cuban professionals in the sector and activists in the Caribbean nation. At Antonio Maceo International Airport, Héctor Mustelier, from the International Relations Department of the Provincial Management of the Ministry of Public Health, thanked for the gesture that provides much needed means for the care of the sick infected with coronavirus SARS-COV-2. This first shipment, which will be followed by another in coming days, included syringes, injection needles, cannules, masks and face protectors, useful for anaesthesia and disinfectants, which will be distributed quickly on the Santiaguera hospital network.
The Caribbean Latin Travel tourist agency supported organizing this selfless relief action, reaching the ground amid a strong pandemic reaction with hundreds of confirmed cases daily. On behalf of the crew of Aero Gaviota, Reinaldo Hechavarría expressed the satisfaction of accomplishing this humanitarian mission and favoring Cuba’s efforts in such a complex epidemiological circumstance.
Cubans living in Jamaica, like many others from abroad, have joined these sanitary stashes. (PL)
Sandinista Government Will Send Ship with Nicaraguan Food to Cuba Cuba
Nicaragua’s government has announced that it will send a humanitarian shipment of food to Cuba, and is preparing the Augusto C. Sandino Ship to set out for Havana in the coming days.
Vice President of Nicaragua, Rosario Murllio, broke the news of the solidarity act at noon Tuesday, “In the coming days, very soon our people, our Government will be sending the people and governments of that sister Cuba; inspiration of so many free beings in the world; a ship with Nicaraguan food to contribute in these times of a pandemic that also includes the Yankee plague that we are fighting,”
Murillo expressed gratitude to the people of Cuba and remarked on the close ties of friendship between the two nations.
“It is food which represent the respect and eternal gratitude of the Nicaraguan people, our Revolution, the people of Fidel, Raúl, Miguel; and the Cuban Revolution,” she said, while also reaffirming her support for Cuba amid ongoing interventionist attempts by the OAS against Cuba and Nicaragua.
“Nicaragua will not lend itself to any attempt to violate the sovereignty of the sister republic of Cuba,” explained Murillo.
A letter signed by President-Commander Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo was addressed to Cuban Army General Raul Castro and President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
“With all the Love that unites us, in Revolutionary Fraternity, we want to inform you that we are preparing the Augusto C. Sandino Ship, which will take to Havana our Solidarity with Nicaraguan food, to contribute in these moments of pandemic that includes the Yankee plague that we fight.
These foods that represent the Eternal Respect and Gratitude of the Nicaraguan People, of our Revolution, the People of Fidel, Raúl, Miguel and the Cuban Revolution, will be leaving and arriving, God willing, in the coming days.
Here we are and that is how we are, Always Together, Always enlightened by Hope, Work and Courage that characterizes us, creating, bare-chested, the New Times for Peace and Development.
We fight the Yankee
Enemy of Humanity!”
Cuba starts free distribution of food donated by other countries HAVANA, Cuba, Jul 30 (ACN)
The gradual and free delivery to the Cuban population of food sent by friendly nations will begin this Friday in several municipalities, on a day in which new donations of food and sanitary material to face the COVID pandemic and the impact of the U.S. blockade are also expected to arrive in Cuba.
Through La Lisa, in the capital, will begin the distribution of the module composed basically of rice, grains, pasta and sugar, which will be received throughout Cuba by the more than 3.8 million families registered in the Consumer Registry Offices, as announced on Wednesday by Betsy Díaz Velázquez, Minister of Domestic Trade.Consulted by the Cuban News Agency.
Humberto Cardoso, director of the Trade Enterprise in Havana, said that the first deliveries will be made in 18 warehouses in that locality, a task in which its workers will be accompanied by the organizations and factors of the neighborhood, especially to take the donation to the homes of vulnerable people.
Also from today, Friday, the inhabitants of 15 of the 18 Popular Councils of the municipality of Pinar del Río will benefit, by households, with the delivery of canned meat, and those of the entire province of Cienfuegos with a pound of oil per house, although this process will now begin in the mountainous locality of Cumanayagua, according to Cuban television.
Local media highlight the transparency in the operations of the port-transport-internal economy chain, the safety and security in the warehouses where the valuable cargo resulting from international solidarity is kept; and the agility and organization in the prompt dispatch, in the preparation of the modules and in the transportation of these and other foodstuffs that some territories will punctually receive.
Today at 7:00 pm at the Informative Round Table, the head of Mincin will offer further details of the important process, which in social networks, in the streets and in many other spaces has been very well received by the population, with expressions of gratitude to the countries that in this crucial hour for Cuba are helping it with food, medicines and other necessary supplies.
Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, said on Thursday that while the U.S. government tightens the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Caribbean nation, it continues to receive solidarity aid from various nations of the world. In his official Twitter profile, Malmierca highlighted that donations from Venezuela and Russia have already arrived in our country, and new arrivals from Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia and China have been announced. We are not alone, the official stressed.Bolivia, Mexico and Nicaragua sent donations to Cuba and led the solidarity actions in Latin America with the Cuban people, while from Russia last Sunday two aircrafts arrived in Havana with 88 tons of food and protective equipment, including one million medical masks.Vietnam donated on Thursday 12 thousand tons of rice, which should soon arrive in the country, to help it face the complex situation it is facing.
(PL)Boats, planes, governments, associations, citizens participate today in a deployment of solidarity with Cuba, which has nothing to do with intervention or interference. It’s the multiple actions with which the world responds to the plight on the Caribbean Island, where a tough Covid-19 rebound is paired with the hardships accentuated by America’s escalated blockade. In America they bet on the end of Cuban revolutionary process along the path of economic suffocation with which President Joe Biden’s administration holds 243 punitive actions inherited from Donald Trump.
The difficult sanitary situation caused by the pandemic in the western province of Matanzas, and earlier the battle against the blockade in the UN General Assembly, were united in launching a ‘soft’ war operation against Cuba. As part of the operation flooded so-called social networks, a hashtag that took the SOS flag as incitement to ‘humanitarian intervention’, read with marines and helmets from the Organization of American States. They were a background to the July 11 riots, encouraged from cyberspace with calls for violence and chaos. In the end, tranquility prevailed again in Cuba, but those pressing claims to send conditional aid disappeared from the ether, while the capos of the millionaire Miamian counter-revolution industry, as always, were made from the proceeds. Quite the opposite happened at the other end of the Florida Strait. Cubans overturned themselves in aid actions to their fellow killers. Sanitary brigades traveled from one side of the island alongside resources and equipment.
The Union of Young Communists, University Student Federation, Guilds and Civil Society Organizations were integrated into this endeavor for life. Cuban residents abroad collected and sent inputs for the battle against Covid-19 while rejecting attempts to destabilize the country that saw them being born. Same thing they did friendship associations in various latitudes.
Mexico lifted the stop in the voice of its president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who fustigo with all their names to the blockade, called for the Biden Government and called for an award of dignity and resistance for Cuba. López Obrador sent two ships from the Mexican Navy with a valuable humanitarian charge, the first of which arrives in the port of Havana today. In addition, Mexico as pro-tempore president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), supported the Caribbean country with a donation of 800 thousand syringes to help the face of the pandemic.
Also this Friday a Bolivian plane brings selfless help. President Luis Arce claimed it was a gesture of reciprocity with the island. Love with love is paid, aimed.
From across the world Russia sent two of its giant cargo planes, AN-124 Ruslan, with 88 tons of food and protective equipment, including a million medical masks. Nicaragua also advanced its contribution in food and medicines. Vietnam did it again: donated 12 thousand tons of rice, that food that can’t be missed at the Cuban s’ table. The coming days and weeks promise solidarity hustles at airports and ports on the island. The government, meanwhile, enlisted the rapid distribution of aid, which begins to reach Cuban households today.
Vietnam donates 12,000 tons of rice to Cuba HAVANA, Cuba, Jul 29 (ACN)
A donation of 12,000 tons of rice was made today by Vietnam to Cuba, as an aid to face the food difficulties derived from the economic, commercial and financial blockade applied by the United States and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh made the symbolic delivery of the shipment to Orlando Hernandez Guillen, Cuban ambassador to Hanoi, according to Prensa Latina.Of this volume, 10,000 tons were donated by the Communist Party (PCV), the State and the Vietnamese people, said the head of government, while the remaining 2,000 tons were contributed by the Committee of the political organization in Hanoi.
These donations, said Pham Minh Chinh, demonstrate the special ties of fraternity and solidarity that unite us with Cuba.For his part, Hernandez Guillen, thanked the gesture and quoted Miguel Diaz-Canel, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and president of the nation, who called it a clear expression of Vietnam’s unwavering solidarity and a source of encouragement for the Revolution and the Cuban people.
The diplomat noted that such solidarity is especially expressed at this time when Cuba is facing the U.S. blockade, tightened during the pandemic, and the efforts to destroy the Revolution by using deception and misrepresentation in social media.
Bolivian government announces shipment of medical supplies to CubaHAVANA, Cuba, Jul 28 (ACN)
Bolivian president Luis Arce announced the sending of a plane with syringes and food for the Cuban people, who, he said, are going through difficulties due to the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.
We learned from Cuba that solidarity is sharing the little we have with those who need it most, said Arce in his message published on Twitter on Tuesday night. In another communication, Arce highlighted that this South American nation has benefited from Cuban solidarity with medical brigades that have traveled to Bolivian homes with professional attention. He also thanked Cuba for the solidarity and internationalism, and added that Cuban professionals have performed thousands of eye surgeries in Bolivia through Operation Miracle and have brought literacy.
The Bolivian president emphasized that he once again joins the voice of humanity calling for the end of the criminal U.S. blockade and demanding respect for the free self-determination of the people.
The Bolivian nation joins the countries that have recently sent their solidarity aid to Cuba with donations of food and medical supplies.
Cuban president thanks CELAC for donation of 800,000 syringesHAVANA, Cuba, Jul 19 (ACN)
Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, president of Cuba, thanked today the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for the donation of 800, 000 syringes for the vaccination against COVID-19.
The Cuban leader who is also first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba highlighted on Twitter the solidarity gesture of support from the integrationist bloc, chaired by Mexico, which is part of its regional plan to fight the pandemic.
According to Prensa Latina, the aforementioned contribution to the Caribbean island is added to the deliveries of mechanical ventilators and vaccines to other countries, as part of the CELAC strategy to counteract the impact of the health emergency caused by the epidemic. Cuba, in the midst of a third outbreak of COVID-19, is making progress in the vaccination process against the disease, with more than 8,146,748 doses of the drugs developed in the country, Soberana 02 and Abdala.
Solidarity groups send six million syringes to Cuba from the U.S. HAVANA, Cuba, Jul 21 (ACN)
The Cuba Solidarity Movement in the United States reaffirmed its commitment to the Caribbean nation and announced the success of the campaign to send six million vaccination syringes.
Cubadebate reports that at a press conference at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, representatives of the organization handed over a certificate as a symbol of the donation, of which about two million medical supplies have already arrived at the port of Mariel, in western Cuba.Medea Benjamín, a member of the group, said that they will continue collecting funds to send medical supplies, antibiotics, analgesics, contraceptives, vitamins and medicines for people with hypertension, cancer and diabetes. The activist highlighted the support they have received from Cuban-Americans, thanks to the work of Professor Carlos Lazo and his project Puentes de Amor (Bridges of Love). She also highlighted the work of Cuban doctors around the world saving millions of lives, expressing that in the campaign they have contributed people with limited resources, but with a great willingness to help.
According to the members of the Movement, the overall amount that has been raised, a little more than 500 thousand dollars, is the result of the contribution of people from all parts of the United States, who identify with Cuba and are committed to the unity of both peoples.
The humanitarian organization Global Health Partners, which for 27 years has been sending medicines and medical supplies to Cuba, was in charge of preparing the purchase and shipment of the syringes to the island.Among the groups that raised funds were the Saving Lives Campaign (which includes dozens of organizations opposed to the U.S. blockade), CODEPINK, The People’s Forum, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and two groups made up of Cuban Americans: the No Embargo Cuba Movement and Puentes de Amor (Bridges of Love).
US Donation of 1.7 Million Syringes Arrives in CubaHavana, July 23 (ACN)
A donation of 1.7 million syringes to back the Cuban COVID-19 vaccination efforts was sent to Cuba by the US Solidarity-with-Cuba movement. Two containers with the donation were trucked to the Medical Supply Enterprise Warehouses in Havana where they were received and confirmed by health authorities.
The first shipment valued at 100 thousand US dollars is part of a total six million syringes sent by the US Global Health Partners Group and collected by several US organizations and Cuban American groups during months to support the island’s fight against the pandemic. The director for Foreign Relations and Cooperation at Cuba’s Health Ministry Nestor Marimon thanked the gesture of solidarity by saying that it is a genuine and true expression of cooperation. He announced that the syringes would immediately be transferred to local vaccination centers.
The official added that over 20 percent of the Cuban population has already been immunized against SARS-CoV-2 with locally developed vaccines. Meanwhile, the Director for The Americas at the Cuban Friendship Institute, Sandra Ramirez, said that the shipment is just a sample of the huge amount of US citizens who favor the unity of both peoples and is part of over 500 donations received by Cuba to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the US blockade of Cuba, the US Solidarity Movement has donated the Cuban people countless health items and medications over the past three years to help meet the current needs here, the official said. The US group expects to keep raising funds to purchase other important drugs to fight cancer and other diseases, said the official.
Cuba Appreciates Mexican Humanitarian Aid, Havana, July 26 (ACN)
Cuba thanked Mexico for two shipments of food, medicines and oxygen to soon arrive here in support of the island’s people and government. According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the island also acknowledged the support by Mexico’s government, headed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the claim by the international community to end the US economic, commercial and financial blockade maintained against the Cuban people for over 60 years now. During a press conference on Monday, the Mexican President said that the two ships loaded with the humanitarian aid to Cuba will soon sail out of the Veracruz port, a city that maintains historic links with Havana and Cuba. Lopez Obrador addressed the difficult sanitary situation facing the island and said that instead of blockades, all countries should help Cuba since it is inadmissible that in these times a blockade is being used to punish an independent nation, in direct reference to the US siege.
The Mexican head of state called on all countries who annually support Cuba at the UN against the US blockade to turn their support into actions to assist the Cuban people and urged the US Joe Biden administration to take a concrete decision in this respect and that at least allows Cuban families to receive remittances from those who live and work in the United States.
Italy’s Piedmont Region to Send Aid to CubaHavana, July 27 (ACN)
The Regional Council of Piedmont, Italy, requested the local government to send humanitarian aid to Cuba to help the island face the spread of COVID-19. The Piedmont Council issued a resolution denouncing the US economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Cuban people, particularly what it described as the serious situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
”The resolution adopted by leftist councillor Marco Grimaldi commits the regional government to take action at the national level in order “to back the necessity to lift the US blockade against Cuba,” according to the website of the Cuban Friendship Institute.
The document also urges the regional council to send medical resources to Cuba, including individual protection items and medications. The resolution recalls the high quality of the Cuban health system and the internationalist vocation of the Cuban medical personnel who have helped other countries of the world over the past 57 years, including the city of Turin, capital of Piedmont.
Mexico Dispatches Second Humanitarian Aid Shipment to CubaHavana, July 27 (ACN)
A second humanitarian aid shipment departed the Mexican port of Veracruz in route to Cuba on board the Arm Libertador Bal-02 multipurpose boat to help the island face the impact by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by the US economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Cuban people.
Also on Monday, the Mexican boat Jose Maria Morelos II set sails from that port with 100 thousand barrels of oil on board aimed at supplying Cuban hospitals; while Tuesday’s shipment contains medical resources such as syringes, oxygen, facemasks as well as other goods like powder milk, beans, flour, canned fish and cooking oil.
A third Mexican shipment will leave that nation on Wednesday towards Cuba with a similar cargo, according to PL news agency.
These actions of international and humanitarian assistance take place as part of a Cuba-Mexico Basic Cooperation Accord for Development.Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel thanked his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for his call on the international community to support the island with concrete actions.
By Sir Ronald Sanders
Much has been written about a meeting, convoked by the present Chair of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), to discuss “the situation in Cuba” which he was obliged to defer after objections by several member states.
The present chair is the ambassador of Uruguay, Abdala Washington. He convoked the meeting on Monday, July 26 to be held at 10 am on Wednesday 28 July. While the chair has the authority to convene a meeting of the Permanent Council, it is unusual that he did so without consulting member states. After all, he expected member states to participate in a meeting on a subject matter on which he decided; the least he might have done was to consult with the coordinators of the regional members of the OAS to determine their views. This is normal practice on any matters that would obviously be controversial.
In any event, no consultation was held, and OAS member states were surprised to be given less than 48 hours to discuss Cuba which had not participated in the OAS since 1962 when it was suspended by a general assembly of the OAS. It should be noted that, apart from Haiti, no CARICOM member state was a member of the OAS when that suspension occurred. Heading countries that voted for the 1962 suspension were such notorious figures as Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza and Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in Haiti.
Since the 1962 suspension, Cuba had been discussed by the OAS only once. That was in June 2009 when the general assembly decided to lift the suspension at its own volition; Cuba had not requested its lifting.
The 2009 resolution itself stated that “the participation of the Republic of Cuba in the OAS will be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the government of Cuba”. Cuba’s response was that it had no interest in participation in the OAS.
The de facto position, therefore, is that Cuba has not been a participating member of the OAS for 60 years and has no wish to be a member. A sudden, unexplained decision to discuss Cuba in the Permanent Council troubled member states who could see no productive outcome from it. Indeed, if anything, such a discussion was considered to be harmful to diplomatic efforts to try to improve relations between the US and Cuba which was one of president Biden’s undertakings during his campaign to be elected President.
Further, on the same day that the chair of the OAS Permanent Council issued his unexpected convocation of the meeting to discuss Cuba, CARICOM heads of government had written to President Biden saying that they were “troubled by the circumstances in Cuba”, referring to protests that had taken place on July 11. They attributed the protests to the 61-year-old US trade embargo, punitive measures imposed by the Trump administration, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They said, “All of this, together with threats to its national security, have contributed to placing Cuba in conditions of abnormality in which normal criteria and expectation cannot be applied”. They called on president Biden to lift the embargo “so that all the rights to which the Cuban state and its people are entitled can be respected and upheld”, and they recalled that “under a previous US administration of which you were a part, significant strides were made in this direction, and could be advanced to beneficial effect”.
Passing strange was an email sent to many OAS delegations by an Organisation called “Youth and Democracy in the Americas”, formed by Venezuelan nationals with help from the OAS secretary-general, Luis Almagro. Curiously, this organisation, told OAS ambassadors on 27 July that it had “presented a petition to the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Dr Luis Almagro and subsequently our president Cecilia Navas met with the president of the Permanent Council of the OAS and also Uruguayan ambassador, Washington Abdala, to request an extraordinary session to discuss the serious humanitarian situation suffered by our Cuban brothers and sisters and the dangers facing democracy in the Republic of Cuba”.
They went on to say, “in view of the fact that the Permanent Council of the OAS has accepted our request and has convened a special session for tomorrow, July 28, with the situation in Cuba as its central theme, we, therefore, request your participation… “. It was evident from this email message that the chair of the Permanent Council and the secretary-general had accepted a consultation with an external group that has a specific political agenda, and not with member states of the OAS on the holding of a meeting to discuss Cuba. A very odd way to behave, causing more questions to be raised, concerning the motives for the meeting.
Thirteen CARICOM countries formally urged the chair to reconsider holding the meeting. I was authorised by those delegations to send the letter in my capacity as coordinator of the CARICOM group. Several other countries sent similar letters, and for fear of calling a meeting for which there would be no quorum, the chair decided to defer the meeting, pending an opinion from the legal department of the OAS Secretariat which is answerable to the secretary-general and routinely produces opinions consistent with his views.
The legal opinion has now been produced and, predictably, it concludes that the Permanent Council has “the competence to consider the situation in Cuba” because since Cuba never formally withdrew from the Organisation, it remains a member notwithstanding its publicly stated position that it has no interest in participating in it. It seems membership can be conveniently forced on the unwilling.
No possible useful purpose will be served by any meeting to discuss Cuba. The OAS can enforce nothing on it. Any discussion could only satisfy political hawks with an eye on US mid-term elections where winning South Florida with the backing of Cuban exiles would be a prize. The task of the OAS should be to promote peaceful and cooperative relations in the hemisphere, not to feed division and conflict.
This video reveals how people are recruited in Cuba to assist the efforts at destabilising their own country, so that it can be returned to the foreign domination that existed before 1959. We must wonder if there are similar bribes for throwing a Molotov cocktail into the Cuban embassy in Paris and for the orchestrated protests in different places, including in front of the Cuban embassy in Jamaica.
The video also discloses the number of sanctions Trump slapped on Cuba during his presidency.
This is a must watch video that explains the reasons for the current attack on Cuba and the strategy being used to bring down the best system of government that Cuba has ever had.
PRIME MINISTER MIA AMOR MOTTLEY outlines the Journey that Barbados is on, and the process that will lead to conferring upon the nation a BARBADIAN HEAD OF STATE.
(Extract from the speech delivered at the “Day of National Significance” commemorative ceremony at Jubilee Gardens on 26th July 2021)
AMBASSADOR DAVID COMISSIONG advances reasons why it is imperative that BARBADOS divest itself of the Queen of England as its Head of State, and elevate a native Son or Daughter of Barbados to that exalted national Office.
(Extract from a Speech delivered at the “Day of National Significance ” commemorative ceremony on 26th July 2021 at Bridgetown, Barbados)
CARICOM countries stood their ground and boycotted a virtual meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS which was set for Wednesday July 28, 2021. The hastily called meeting was intended to discuss “the situation in Cuba”. The letter below which was drafted by Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Ronald Sanders, was supported by 13 CARICOM country representatives.
July 27, 2021
H.E. Washington Abdala
Permanent Representative of Uruguay
Chair of the Permanent Council of the OAS
Organization of American States
I write on behalf of the following 13 members of the Caribbean Community: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, regarding your convocation of a Special Meeting of the Permanent Council on July 28th, 2021, to address “The Situation in Cuba”.
Our delegations collectively reiterate the position, previously expressed by Antigua and Barbuda, by formal letter of July 26th, that since 1962 Cuba has not been a member of the OAS and has not participated in any of its activities. Although AG Res 2438 of 2009 resolved that the 1962 resolution which excluded the Government of Cuba from participation in the Inter American system, “ceases to have effect in the Organization of American States”, and resolved further that “the participation of the Republic of Cuba in the OAS will be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the Government of Cuba”, Cuba has made no effort to rejoin the Organization and has publicly said that it will not do so.
It is the considered opinion of our delegations that the proposed convocation of this meeting, which has been called without consultation, would be unproductive and would serve no useful purpose.
All 13 of our delegations urge you to reconsider holding the meeting and advise that should you decide to proceed, our delegations will be obliged not to attend.
We request that this letter be distributed to all member states urgently.
Sir Ronald Sanders KCMG KCN AM
An article in the Jamaica Observer on July 29, 2021 shared a clarification from Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs minister Kamina Johnson-Smith on Jamaica’s absence from the list of 13 countries supporting the letter. She explained that Jamaica’s representative Ambassador Audrey Marks was at another meeting when the discussion was taking place but Jamaica supports the consensus.
The OAS Permanent Council issued the following note regarding the postponement of the meeting which outlines the intent of the meeting and indicates that there will be further attempts to convene it.
NOTE FROM THE CHAIR OF THE PERMANENT COUNCIL ADVISING OF THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE PERMANENT COUNCIL CONVENED FOR JULY 28, 2021, TO ADDRESS THE SITUATION IN CUBA
The Chair of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States has the honor to address the Honorable permanent missions of the member states of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding the convocation of the special meeting announced for Wednesday, July 28, to address the matter of “The Situation in Cuba.”
In that connection, and since interventions appertaining thereto have been received from countries, this Chair wishes to advise that the above-mentioned meeting has been postponed in order to make any consultations that may be useful so that it may be held as soon as possible.
I wish to advise in that regard that I have requested the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the Organization to provide a report on the situation in Cuba vis-à-vis the OAS. That report will be shared with the delegations as soon as it is available.
The events in Cuba do not admit of delays. We are talking about deprivations of the liberty of hundreds and of impact on human rights, and we have a moral obligation not to look away from and ignore these needs. The clock is ticking for the protection of human rights and the lives of many. It would seem inappropriate to fail to address this situation. It would be meet to act swiftly.
In view of the events, it should be noted that, insofar as it was within the purview of this Chair, based on the instruments corresponding to its sphere of competence, and in faithful fulfillment of the Rules of Procedure at hand, this Chair, at two prior meetings of the Permanent Council, underscored that it was essential to know what was happening in Cuba, to delve deeper with precise and technical information on the human rights violations ongoing there, and it was therefore deemed relevant for the source of that information to be the organs with the corresponding competence and jurisdiction. Information was requested from those with responsibility to report. A declaration was not proposed. The Commissioners were simply requested to report in this regard.
Ignoring the events in Cuba does not mean that the dramatic facts will come to an end. Sadly, the reality is running its course. It is not hiding behind paper, declarations, or delays.
The President of the IACHR, Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, has reliable information and a historical report substantiating her actions since 2020. The Commissioner specializing in Cuba, Stuardo Ralón, has also prepared different reports on the topic, and it would also be a priority to hear the voice of the Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Pedro Vaca, all in a position to report on what has in fact been occurring. It is worth recalling Article 53.e.
If the Commissioners’ press releases have been read, a mere glance would suffice to note the gravity and drama of the events to which they refer. It would have been irresponsible on the part of the Chair to ignore the issues they raise. That reality is a fact and is ongoing. If one wishes to take cognizance of it, it is a merely a matter of arranging for the presence of these actors as soon as possible.
It is the intent of this Chair to make headway with this matter in the coming days. The practice of rejecting “word of mouth” reports should have no place in this organization.
The asymmetry of international perspectives is always detrimental to respect for human rights. The rights of Cubans are worth as much as those of any other country of our organization, and we must ever strive to defend them. Moreover – in the view of this Chair – in regimes such as the Cuban, closer attention still should be paid to human rights.
That said, I consider it necessary to note that the objection to receiving technical reports prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding the situation in Cuba is particularly unusual, especially when that organization has so often reported to this body without further ado. Just a few weeks ago, the last Chair processed a similar matter regarding another country.
As the Honorable permanent missions are aware, the IACHR prepares annual reports regarding the situation in Cuba, which is part of the routine operations of the Organization.
I am certain that these considerations will be relevant for the upcoming treatment of the matter of “The Situation in Cuba” in the Permanent Council.
The Chair of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States takes this opportunity to convey to the Permanent Missions of the member states of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States renewed assurances of his highest consideration.
The Permanent Missions of the
Organization of American States
The Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples expresses its strongest rejection to the launching, on July 26 2021, of three Molotov cocktails against the diplomatic venue of Cuba in France, a terrorist attack financed from the United States.
Our revolutionary diplomats have faced atrocious events such as this one, bravely safeguarding for more than 60 years the Cuban territory in other nations, even at the cost of their lives. The extremist aggressions which have occurred in the United States are well-known, where civil servants of our mission were assassinated, and still very fresh in our memory is the recent attack against the Cuban Embassy in Washington.
The failure of the anti-Cuban small groups financed by the United States to revert the Revolution in the Island through calls made from the social networks drive them to search for alternative forms such as this one of attacking the Cuban Embassy in France.
Cuba and France have excellent relations between their governments and peoples, and are additionally united by close cultural links. In the French nation there is a strong organization of solidarity, members of which are also decent Cubans living in that country who love their fatherland and support their brothers and sisters in their struggle against the blockade.
Paris has a deep signification for Peace. Seventy-two years ago, that capital city brought together thousands of people who agreed to found a world structure to group national organizations, all committed to fight for Peace and against wars and massive extermination weapons.
The Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of the Peoples calls upon the leftist and progressive organizations and upon all friends of Cuba around the world to pronounce themselves against this terrorist action, in solidarity with the Cuban people.
No to terrorism!!!
Down with the blockade against Cuba!!!
Long live world peace and solidarity among the peoples!!!
The recent protests in Cuba over deteriorating conditions have a material basis that cannot be dismissed. No matter how heroic a people may be, socialism must provide for their material needs. The U.S. blockade of Cuba is designed precisely to thwart that and to discredit socialism in Cuba and anywhere else where oppressed people try to better their lot.
Cuban President Díaz-Canel warned in 2019:
“The US began to intensify a series of restrictive measures, a tightening of the blockade, of financial persecution against the energy sector with the aim of suffocating our economy and expecting that this would provoke the desired massive social outbreak, which sows the possibilities for the entire ideological campaign that it has done, to be able to call for humanitarian intervention that ends in military intervention and interference, and that affects the rights, sovereignty and independence of all peoples.”
Whatever the alleged problems of Cuba, it is being attacked precisely because that small island nation promises a humane alternative to the decaying neoliberal order of present-day capitalism and its pending crisis of legitimacy. If a critical spotlight is needed, it is not on how the Cubans with so little should have done better, but on how the imperialists with so much must be defeated. This is especially the case of those of us privileged enough to take for granted potable water coming out of a tap and 24/7 access to electricity, which is not the condition of much of humanity.
From Eisenhower to the present, U.S. policy on Cuba has been an unbroken continuation of economic sanctions, active support of regime-change activities, and occupation of Guantánamo. All illusions should be disabused that somehow a change in the Oval Office occupant would bring about a more humane U.S. imperialism. The specific tactics may vary from president to president, but the goal of strangling socialism has always been the guiding principle.
The cold, calculating cruelty of U.S. capitalism was exposed when it seized on the COVID crisis as an opportunity to further punish the Cuban people with increased illegal sanctions imposed by the Trump administration and continued by its successor.
Despite feints to the left on the campaign trail, Biden has, instead of discontinuing Trump’s deportation policy, intensified it. Instead of opening dialogue with the democratically elected government of Venezuela, Biden has embraced the puppet-president Guaidó in the name of “sovereignty.” And instead of accepting the prerogative to the Nicaraguan people to choose their own leaders, Biden has slapped new illegal sanctions aimed at undermining their upcoming elections in the name of “democracy.” Trump’s “Troika of Tyranny” — targeting Cuba (with 243 new sanctions), Nicaragua, and Venezuela — is Biden’s as well … and our challenge.
Since its triumph six decades ago, the Cuban Revolution has of necessity resisted the assaults of the U.S. and its allies. That Cuba has successfully not only persisted but has been an international model for the accomplishments of socialism does not mean that it will always be so. The Cubans can resist, but it is us, who — in the words of Che Guevara — live in “the belly of the beast,” who must defend the revolution by ending the siege against it. This is not a time for complacency. The intensified U.S. interference in Cuba is a wakeup call for greater efforts at solidarity.
We call upon all supporters of peace, peoples’ sovereignty and social justice in the U.S. and around the world to join hands to put an end to U.S. criminal, anti-human sanctions and illegal interventions in the affairs of Cuba and other sovereign nations.
The U.S. Peace Council stands in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution!
— Hands off Cuba!
— End All Criminal Sanctions Against Cuba and other Sovereign Nations!
U.S. Peace Council
July 14, 2021US Peace Council
Andy Bichlbaum July 21, 2021
In early May, after facing months of grassroots pressure, the Biden administration announced that it would support waiving intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines. While that decision was celebrated as a significant movement victory, what’s actually needed now is the complete abolition of the intellectual property enforcement mechanisms that have led to the current nightmare scenario, where only wealthy countries have access to life-saving drugs.
The primary obstacle to scaling up production of COVID vaccines worldwide is called the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS. This agreement came into effect under the World Trade Organization in 1995 after heavy lobbying by Pfizer. TRIPS was squarely in the crosshairs of the activists who shut down the WTO in 1999 (that movement inspired the group I co-founded, the Yes Men), but then it faded from view until recently.
Today, Pfizer and other vaccine companies, protected by TRIPS, have made immense profits from patents; nine new billionaires have been minted from COVID. At the same time, Pfizer and other vaccines are critically scarce in countries that can’t afford them, which has already led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
It’s not the promise of massive profit that fuels great discoveries like the mRNA vaccines: it’s taxpayer funding plus human decency.
To those of us who’ve participated in the anti-WTO and other movements, as well as millions of other Americans, it’s long been obvious that American-style capitalism is an immoral life-and-death matter: some thrive, many die and there’s no “deserving” about it. Food deserts, impoverished public schools, and mass homelessness in the world’s richest nation — not to mention health care that’s decent only for those who pay well for it — are indictments of a system in which large corporations write policy.
But the vaccine apartheid that’s based on TRIPS is a whole other level of criminal. Hundreds of thousands have already died in poor countries — not indirectly, as with unequal access to food, water, sanitation and housing, but directly, because they don’t have access to life-saving medicines.
I know what it feels like to lose a close family member to preventable COVID. My father, a Holocaust survivor, died Jan. 8 of undiagnosed COVID-19 and pneumonia, after months of governmental ineptitude at keeping the virus in check and preparing hospitals for upcoming surges. The hospital in which he caught the virus had an overwhelming COVID caseload and could not prevent cross-infection; when he returned two weeks later, badly stressed doctors misdiagnosed him.
Knowing the anguish of one unnecessary bereavement, it’s hard to imagine anyone justifying hundreds of thousands of them in poor countries, all in the name of corporate profits. And yet by standing up for the intellectual property, or IP, rights of big corporations, that’s what big pharma does. “If you don’t protect IP, then essentially there is no incentive for anybody to innovate,” said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot. Embed from Getty Imageshttps://embed.smartframe.net/s/baeeb00ba17010131e44c0e4ef9b7f2e/1328715446.html?source=aHR0cHM6Ly93YWdpbmdub252aW9sZW5jZS5vcmcvMjAyMS8wNy93ZS1uZWVkLW1vdmVtZW50LWFib2xpc2gtY292aWQtdmFjY2luZS1wYXRlbnRzLw..#0about:blank
This logic — the same used to justify the TRIPS rulings against generic HIV drugs in 1999 — is not only inhuman, it’s fundamentally wrong. It’s not in fact the promise of massive profit that fuels great discoveries like the mRNA vaccines now reining in COVID where they’re available: it’s taxpayer funding plus human decency. Massive profits may be the “incentive” of corporate higher-ups, but it’s not for the scientists and engineers at the core of life-saving efforts — like those at the National Institute of Health, or NIH.
The NIH has spent over $900 billion on research since the 1930s, and literally every medicine approved by the FDA from 2010-2016 involved taxpayer-funded NIH science. The research that led to the Moderna vaccine was almost entirely funded by the U.S. government too, and no one made billions developing it. But guided by the Reagan-era Bayh-Dole Act, the NIH systematically hands off their discoveries to corporations to “market” — which means charging people an arm and a leg for medicines that they themselves financed. And thanks to TRIPS, those corporations profit globally from these publicly-financed discoveries, at a huge cost to public health everywhere. (Bayh-Dole does provide the government with “march in” rights to suspend patents on government-funded inventions, but the government has never used them.)
The success of movements in forcing medical breakthroughs reminds us that a few thousand motivated activists can oppose big pharma and complicit government agencies.
Many of those who’ve made great life-saving discoveries or inventions have made it clear that far from providing “incentive,” corporate IP rights just get in the way. Jonas Salk deliberately refused to patent the polio vaccine or earn money from it; its dissemination unimpeded by patents, that vaccine virtually eradicated polio within a few years. The flu vaccine, too, has for the past 50 years been produced by scientists collaborating under the World Health Organization, saving countless lives without any intellectual property considerations at all. And Tim Berners-Lee, who on only a modest salary invented the World-Wide Web — a technology essential for containing COVID-19, and one big reason it hasn’t been as deadly as the 1918 Spanish Flu — has since noted that patenting the web would have been a disaster.
Biden changed his position on the TRIPS waiver only after facing months of protests and a petition to the White House signed by more than two million people. While that marked an important step forward, it is not nearly enough. Last week there was a series of protests across the country at pharmaceutical companies and German consulates — since the European Union, and Germany in particular, is still defending the vaccine patents.
This is not a novel idea. In fact, the very concept of intellectual property has been resisted since it reared its ugly head in the 19th century. And in the 1980s, groups like Health Action International called for eliminating patents for essential medicines, and for scaling up the development of generic alternatives.
HAI’s efforts helped Bangladesh maintain protections for low-priced essential medicines as well as domestic manufacturing, in the face of huge pressure from drug corporations as well as some governments. And when, in 1997, South Africa faced similar opposition over a law allowing manufacture of generic HIV drugs, social movements in South Africa, the United States, and elsewhere forced governments and eventually big pharma to back down, meaning many thousands could gain access to treatment.
The success of HAI, ACT UP and other movements in forcing policy changes and even medical breakthroughs reminds us that a few thousand motivated activists can oppose big pharma and complicit government agencies. If even a small percentage of those affected by COVID mobilized against TRIPS and Bayh-Dole, we’d end up with a world that’s safer not only for those who can’t afford criminal corporate price tags, but for everyone. After all, the virus, like common decency, knows no borders.
Andy Bichlbaum is a co-founder of the Yes Men, an ever-expanding, increasingly diverse group who, these days, mainly partner with activist groups on creative tactics to further campaigns. The Yes Men have made three feature films about their stunts, which give mainstream journalists humorous fodder for covering important issues.
By Kenny StancilDrone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison “For Exposing US War Crimes” — Russia News Now
Human rights and press freedom advocates expressed dismay on Tuesday when whistleblower Daniel Hale, who pled guilty earlier this year to violating the Espionage Act, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for sharing with a journalist classified information about the U.S. military’s drone assassination program.
“Whistleblower Daniel Hale has just been sentenced to 45 months in prison for exposing U.S. war crimes,” said anti-war group CodePink. “While his sentencing isn’t the 10 years we feared, it is 45 months too long.”
Hale’s lawyers argued in court papers that his humanitarian motives, and the lack of harm resulting from his actions, warranted a lenient sentence.
“He committed the offense to bring attention to what he believed to be immoral government conduct committed under the cloak of secrecy and contrary to public statements of then-President [Barack] Obama regarding the alleged precision of the United States military’s drone program,” wrote Defense attorneys Todd Richman and Cadence Mertz.
Prosecutors, however, claimed Hale’s leaks posed a greater risk to “national security” than those of Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower released last month after serving four years of a 63-month sentence—the longest ever imposed for disclosing classified government information to the media. They sought a sentence “significantly longer” than Winner’s.
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady said the 45-month prison sentence he gave Hale was necessary to “deter others from disclosing government secrets,” the Associated Press reported.
Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who has lived in Russia with asylum protections since leaking classified materials on U.S. government mass surveillance in 2013, was among those who denounced the judge’s decision.
“His crime was telling this truth: 90% of those killed by U.S. drones are bystanders, not the intended targets,” said Snowden. “He should have been given a medal.”
Daniel Hale, one of the great American Whistleblowers, was just moments ago sentenced to four years in prison. His crime was telling this truth: 90% of those killed by US drones are bystanders, not the intended targets.
He should have been given a medal. https://t.co/3i4IbkrfI3
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) July 27, 2021
“These documents detailed a secret, unaccountable process for targeting and killing people around the world, including U.S. citizens, through drone strikes,” Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept, said after Hale’s indictment. “They are of vital public importance, and activity related to their disclosure is protected by the First Amendment.”
According to journalist Kevin Gosztola, Hale’s whistleblowing enabled The Intercept to reveal that “nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group,” detail how assassination targets ended up on Obama’s “kill list,” and expose new information about Bilal el-Berjawi, a Briton “who was stripped of his citizenship before being killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2012.”
Hale, 33, of Nashville, Tennessee, was an Air Force intelligence analyst between 2009 and 2013. In 2012, he deployed to Afghanistan to support the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Special Operations Task Force and was responsible for identifying, tracking, and targeting “high-value” terror suspects.
The following year, when he was assigned to the NSA, Hale began communicating with a journalist. In 2014, after Hale had been honorably discharged from the Air Force and started working at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, he shared documents that contradicted the U.S. military’s claims that the drone assassination program could kill “enemy combatants” with precision and minimize civilian casualties.
In a handwritten letter released last week, Hale explained that his decision to disclose top-secret information about the inner workings of U.S. drone warfare was motivated by guilt over his role in carrying out “gruesome” killings of defenseless people “from the cold comfort of a computer chair.”
Meanwhile, CodePink pointed out Tuesday, “no U.S. official who authorized the murder of civilians with drones has ever been held accountable.”
Daniel Hale will be sent to prison today for telling the truth about the US drone program.
— CODEPINK (@codepink) July 27, 2021
CodePink is spearheading a petition asking President Joe Biden—Obama’s vice president—to pardon Hale. The letter states that:
Daniel Hale is not a spy, a threat to society, or a bad faith actor. His revelations were not a threat to national security. If they were, the prosecution would be able to identify the harm caused directly from the information Hale made public.
While the courts have ruled that a defendant’s motive in a case related to the Espionage Act is irrelevant, we recognize that Hale’s motive was only to provide the American people with information about government misconduct. We believe that rather than harm our country, Hale’s revelations actually enhanced our democracy by providing critical information about what our government has been doing in our name. We also believe that Hale’s revelations help push our government to reassess its drone program in light of its violations of U.S. and international law.
First Amendment advocates have long argued that cracking down on journalists and their sources dissuades people from sharing information that can help expose the truth, hold the powerful accountable, and improve the common good.
The Obama and Trump administrations both went to great lengths to prevent leaks and punish government officials for divulging information to reporters. Before former President Donald Trump launched a “war on whistleblowers,” the Department of Justice under Obama prosecuted nine leak cases, more than all previous administrations combined.
Last month, the Washington Post‘s publisher accused Biden’s Justice Department of exacerbating the Trump-era assault on press freedom, prompting the DOJ last week to prohibit prosecutors from using secret orders and subpoenas to obtain journalists’ phone and email records.
Nevertheless, Biden’s DOJ continued to prosecute Hale and is also still pursuing an espionage case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that began under Trump.
The Espionage Act, a World War I-era law that criminalizes the disclosure of classified government information to unauthorized viewers, has been used on several occasions to punish whistleblowers, including Hale, Assange, Snowden, Winner, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, and others.
“A group of First Amendment and media law scholars wrote the court in support of Hale, calling him ‘a classic whistleblower, who acted in good faith to alert the public of secret government policies that deserved to be debated by the citizens in a truly functioning democracy,’” the Post reported. “They argue that the Espionage Act was intended to punish foreign spies, not those who seek to enlighten the American people.”
The ACLU echoed that message on Tuesday, stating that “leaks to [the] press in the public interest shouldn’t be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.”
“Daniel Hale helped the public learn about a lethal program that never should have been kept secret,” the organization added. “He should be thanked, not sentenced as a spy.”
Source: Common Dreams
This article is in response “Will COVID-19 be the death knell of Cuban Communism?” by Father Raulston Nemhard which was published in the Jamaica Gleaner on July 21,2021.
Simply put the answer to the question posed by Father Nembhard, is “No” for several reasons. First, because the political leadership in Cuba, unlike the “ buffoonery” of Trump in the US and Bolsanaro in Brazil, addressed the COVID19 pandemic both as a public health and a political challenge to preserve the lives of Cubans and the revolution. This has not escaped the attention of the Cuban people who have taken to the streets to rebuff the attempts at using the just frustration of the Cuban people to induce them to cooperate with the regime change scheme which began from the day the dictator and US puppet Fulgencio Batista was removed by a popular revolution. The people know that the true source of their frustration is 62-year-old US blockade which prevents the country purchasing goods and supplies on the world market as a means of punishing them for daring to choose how to govern themselves.
Indeed, the evidence suggests that the Cuban leadership did quite well in responding to the current pandemic as, thus far, from a population of over 11 million people, only an estimated 308,599 COVID19 cases have been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) up to GMT on June 23rd. Of that amount an estimated 2,137 deaths, have been reported. That works out to 189 deaths per million. Comparatively, the US has 35, 213, 594 Coronavirus Cases with 626,172 deaths or 1,892 per million in the US population. It is probably more revealing to compare Ohio’s COVID19 statistics with those of Cuba because their population size is about the same. Ohio has had an estimated 1,120,120 Coronavirus cases and 20, 449 deaths or 1,749 deaths per million residents. In Cuba’s situation, of the 308,599 cases reported to the WHO, an estimated 270,757 persons (88%) recovered. In Ohio, USA of the 1, 120,120 cases, an estimated 1, 089,482 (97%) recovered and the other 10,000 + cases are still active.
|Population||Over 11.33 million approx.||11.69 million approx||333, 098, 943 approx.|
|Covid 19 Cases||308,599||1,120,120||35,213,594|
|Covid 19 Deaths||2,137||20, 449||626,172|
|Deaths per million||189||1749||1892|
|Recoveries||270,757 persons (88%)||1, 089,482 (97%)|
It must be emphasized that the achievements of the Cuban Revolution in combatting the COVID pandemic have been attained within the context of the vicious and criminal US blockade as distinct from Ohio which is not blockaded. Secondly, as indicated, the US blockade and its tightening with 240 additional sanctions under President Trump includes medicines, masks, ventilators, syringes and other healthcare and life-saving resources required by the Cuban political leadership to combat the COVID19 pandemic. COVID19 is not and could not be the “death knell of Cuban Communism” (meaning I suppose, the Cuban Revolution) precisely because of the revolutionary people-oriented principles of the Cuban government which treats saving lives as a priority.
Despite the challenges posed by imperialism, US imperialism in particular, the Cuban scientists under the leadership of the government, have developed five (5) vaccines to combat this deadly virus. Indeed, the Cuban government has launched two (2) of its vaccines already which, unlike the vaccines developed in Western nations, can be used to protect babies and young children against COVID19. Could this be one of imperialism’s fears in not allowing Cuba to access all the required supplies such as syringes and masks that are needed to administer its vaccines to combat COVID 19? Are they daunted by the strides that Cuba continues to make despite the limitations created by the blockade? In this regard, I believe that the Cuban political leadership has a right to blame “the wicked imperialist up north” for their health woes because it is they who blocked Cuba from accessing the basic medical resources to combat the pandemic. After all, it’s “ the wicked imperialists” who imposed, maintain, strengthen and justify the criminal blockade even during a pandemic. Father Nembhard, in fact, not only should the Cuban people and government demand an end to the blockade of foods and medicines, the American people should too, and they do. There are activities in solidarity with Cuba right across the US demanding that the blockade be lifted but that is not carried in the major US media in the same way that they have not carried pictures of the millions of Cubans taking to the streets to defend their revolution in the face of the current orchestrated destabilization programme.
I endorse your call for the removal of the criminal blockade against Cuba and your position that military intervention in Cuba is not a solution to the current challenges. However, I am sure that you are aware, Father Nembhard, that the political leadership in Cuba and its people have been the loudest voices against the blockade and other forms of imperialist terrorism from the outset of the revolution which clearly flies in the face of your assertion that the Cuban leaders need the blockade to blame all their “troubles” on it.
Father Nembhard, I also assume that you like most of humankind believe that during this pandemic no one is safe from COVID19 and it’s even more deadly Delta variant until everybody is safe from it. However, your notion that the Cuban leadership, from the Castro brothers to President Miguel Diaz-Canel, blames all the “troubles” of Cuba on the imperialist blockade is seeming to suggest that the claim has no basis in reality. It is clearly an integral element of the “anachronistic ideology” that seeks to discredit the Cuban leaders and the revolution. Gladly, I lived in Cuba for six (6) years and have heard and seen Cuban leaders at all levels of their society criticize productivity in different sectors of the economy, the quality of different products and services, ways to tackle delinquency and a range of other domestic issues without ever blaming the imperialists or anybody but themselves. Hence, I believe that Father Nembhard is either misinformed or is lying. If the latter is the case, it is unbecoming of a priest!!
Another noticeable assertion that Father Nembhard makes against the Cuban leaders and the revolution is that there is systematic repression against the rights and freedoms of the Cuban people. Interestingly, the goodly priest provides no evidence for his assertion. Here is the priest in his own words: “Thus, the repression of Cubans’ human rights continues apace with the suppression of press freedom, brutal suppression of dissent resulting in the incarceration of hundreds, if not thousands of perceived “enemies of the revolution”. Could it be that the goodly priest has mistaken Cuba for one of the dictatorships in Latin America, in Israel, in Indonesia, in the Philippines or other dictatorships elsewhere on our blue planet where the US and other imperialist countries not only support them militarily and financially but also morally and diplomatically?
Dear Father, Cuba does not repress and brutalize it’s people. I am not guessing about this as I lived in Cuba for six (6) years as a student and I traveled freely across the island to study, visit friends and party and never once did I ever see the Cuban police or army brutalizing or trampling on the rights and freedoms of Cubans. I believe that if that was their modus operand, I would have had some luck in seeing at least a couple instances of brutality in six (6) years as I have seen in Jamaica and the US! Don’t you think so Father Nembhard?
In closing, I would also like to applaud Father Nembhard for recognizing Cuba’s achievements in the spheres of education and health. That’s important particularly in the context of his political attacks on the same revolution that unquestionably brings about those achievements he lauds. Father asserts, “Notwithstanding this, Cuba remains a rigid, communist country in which the freedoms of people are still being stifled. Despite the achievements in health and education, one wonders what the Cuban people could have really achieved if they were allowed to operate in a free and open society where they could be able to develop and express their obvious creativity without being held hostages to an anachronistic ideology, propagated by a ruling elite.” Father Nembhard. I too wonder about how much more prosperous this “rigid communist country” would have and could have achieved had US imperialism not imposed this vicious and criminal blockade on its people. For example, I wonder what the estimated $1.5 trillion costs of the blockade in terms of higher prices for foods, medicines, fertilizers, lumber, loans, dialysis, MRI, CT Scan machines, consumer goods, and raw materials could have been used to do over the 62 years of the blockade. Cuba had to buy all the supplies from China, Japan, Europe and other third countries which imposed all kinds of mark ups and risk premiums in the prices they charged Cuba over these years for fear that the US imperialists would take reprisals against them for trading with Cuba.
Likewise, I wonder how much more prosperous and food self-sufficient Cuba would have been, had it not had to invest billions of dollars over the life of its revolution against biological terrorism against its agricultural crops and food supply. Finally, I also wonder where Cuba would be now, in terms of the material standard of living of its people, if they had not been forced to invest billions of dollars and other resources over the life of its revolution into its intelligence, military and other areas of national security to protect its people, its sovereignty and revolution against imperialist terrorism and attacks in a myriad types of warfare!
In short, how many more houses, schools, universities, hospitals, electrical grids, factories and technologies could they have built and how many more doctors, teachers, cooks, engineers and other professionals could have been trained had US imperialism respected the right of the Cuban people to choose their own path of development via their sovereign revolution!! Had that been the case this so-called rigid communist country as opposed to Father Nembhard’s disguised “ open and free” capitalist society would have achieved much more than it has and Father would probably have a lot more to celebrate about Cuba. COVID19 would therefore not be “the death knell of communism” in the presence of mutual respect, sovereignty, peace and self-determination of different political and economic systems!!
This video shows that the US is the failed state, not Cuba.https://fb.watch/6YrDl0S-4Y/
Branson and Bezos
By Betsey Piette
July 26, 2021
Centibillionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and multibillionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson used the profits they extracted from their companies’ workforce to launch themselves on personal space rides in recent weeks. And centibillionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk is expected to follow.
One thing is clear: None of these billionaires did any of the work that got them into space. All the labor to build their capsules, rocket launchers, launchpads and more was done by workers, whose labor these billionaires exploited.
These same billionaires’ earthly fortunes came from superexploiting workers in their factories, sweatshops and warehouses. They managed to pay little to no taxes to support public services. Nothing of benefit to humankind will come from this.
On the contrary, the success of these personal space launches threatens to send vast amounts of waste into space, increase the potential for mining on the moon and open the door for greater militarization of space. And these launches generate increased pollution during a time of severe climate crisis.
Only the very rich could afford seats on these flights. Bezos raised millions in a lottery where 7,600 people participated to win a seat in his capsule. The winner paid $28 million. The lottery gives Bezos a list of prospective customers for future flights. His company, Blue Origin, has already amassed $100 million in private sales for more trips.
Branson, whose Virgin Galactic spacecraft beat Bezos by nine days to be the first civilian space launch, charged less at $200,000 per seat. Yet none of the wealth generated by these projects will benefit their workers through increased wages or benefits.
Bezos’ big mouth
In a move that angered millions of people, Bezos bluntly told the truth at a news conference after his multimillion-dollar joyride: “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this.”
Already aware of how Bezos has enriched himself by exploiting their labor, many of Bezos’ employees at Amazon have recently been organizing for a union. They know they are paid much less than the value they produce. And the work is harmful.
A recent investigation by the Strategic Organizing Center found Amazon’s serious injury rate was twice the warehouse industry average. (cbsnews.com, June 2) Pregnant workers have miscarried after being refused leave by the company. Many struggle to get workers’ compensation when injured. (Reveal News, Sept. 29, 2020)
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that tried to unionize Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., responded to Bezos’ comments: “These are people who put their lives on the line during the pandemic and did not receive adequate support from Jeff Bezos. In the middle of the pandemic, he even cut people’s wages, when he didn’t need to. People are being forced to work in conditions where their health and safety is not being adequately protected. There is so much more Jeff Bezos should be doing for his employees.” (Democracy Now!, July 22)
Many question how someone who gained tens of billions of dollars in personal wealth during the pandemic, who lied to prevent his workers from unionizing, could joke about exploiting his workers to pay for private space trips for billionaires. Their advantage arises because by promoting “space tourism,” these billionaires are counting on access to military contracts — public money — to fund their future initiatives.
Money from militarizing space
Corporations pay lobbyists and back politicians who pitch the falsehood that private companies run public agencies better than the government can. This argument has virtually shut down NASA and nearly dismantled the U.S. Postal Service — the oldest public entity in the U.S. Many privately owned utility systems, transportation services and former public schools have failed to deliver better products or services — but they have made many capitalists richer at public expense.
Like Musk’s SpaceX, which won a $149 million contract from the Pentagon to build missile-tracking systems, these private companies rely heavily on public funding. Many have billions in contracts from NASA, the military and telecommunications. The contracts let SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin control the infrastructure of space. (Democracy Now!, July 22)
China is the target
U.S. corporations and politicians alike worry that China’s technological innovations will give it the competitive edge in space. China’s new Tiangong space station received its first three astronauts June 17 — a major milestone in the country’s rapid scientific and technological development. By contrast, the International Space Station, launched in 1998, will be decommissioned in the coming years, likely making Tiangong humanity’s only permanent outpost in space.
U.S. corporate management aims to overcome Chinese gains by using militarization to win funding and space-related contracts. Space privatization through companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, heavily reliant on public contracts and built with billions of public dollars, may appear to be the solution. Clearly the billionaire owners of these companies are aware of this.FacebookTwitter
Message on the 68th Anniversary of the July 26 Movement
The Jamaica Peace Council salutes the government and people of Cuba on the 68th anniversary of the July 26 Movement. The formation of that movement out of the historic events of 1953 laid the basis for Cuba to become a nation that puts the development and care of people first.
After the revolution in January 1959, Cuba was set to become a model nation, overcoming colonialism’s legacy of illiteracy in record time and providing free education and free healthcare for the people. US imperialism, fearing the impact of this great example of social transformation, imposed the cruel blockade causing harsh difficulties for the Cuban people in the hope of squeezing the life out of the young nation.
Despite all their efforts at attacking Cuba militarily, with biological warfare, assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, and many other ways, Cuba stands strong because of the remarkable resistance of the people. This amazing Caribbean nation has created an excellent healthcare system and recently produced five (5) vaccines for protecting people against COVID 19. Again, imperialism is trying to dim the light on Cuba’s accomplishments by stirring up an orchestrated media campaign aimed at destabilizing the country and provoking regime change to the glee of Cubans in Miami who chose to flee rather than build their country.
It is not lost on us that this new round of intensification of the destabilization of Cuba began on June 23, 2021, the day that for the 29th time the overwhelming majority of countries at the United Nations General Assembly, including Jamaica, voted (184 to 2) for the lifting of the blockade against Cuba.
We are proud that Jamaica has remained loyal to Cuba in the UN vote on the blockade. However, we have to do more in support of Cuba. Prime Minister Holness must unequivocally condemn the intensification of the aggression against Cuba and the many lies that are being fed to the Jamaican people via the media. He must ensure that the Cuban embassy in Jamaica is protected from hostile and violent attacks. On July 26 2021, Molotov cocktails were thrown into the Cuban embassy in Paris. We see a situation developing that could lead to that type of action here. A hostile group has been gathering outside the Cuban embassy in Kingston every few days hurling verbal attacks. The Jamaican law allows for PEACEFUL assembly. What is taking place is not peaceful by any stretch of the imagination. Further, according to Jamaican law, authorisation for a public assembly must be obtained from the police and local authorities. Efforts to verify whether a permit has been granted to this group of Cubans have failed.
The Republic of Cuba engages in peaceful cooperation with other countries in the region and has never attacked any other nation militarily or otherwise. Cuba shares its advances in healthcare and education with the world and sends medical brigades to even the most remote villages in other countries to save lives. Cuba’s International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics “Henry Reeve” has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of the unparalleled sacrifices that they have made in their mission to save human lives across the globe in major disasters and health crises. Cuba is not a threat to the peace and stability of the world. Cuba shows us that “another world is possible”.
We endorse the global demand: Let Cuba Live! Let Cuba breathe! Hop off Cuba’s fender!
Let Cuba Live! End the U.S. Blockade Now! – YouTube Provides details on the current destabilisation effort against Cuba.
Dare to Dream: Cuba’s Latin American Medical School – YouTube
https://fb.watch/6YrDl0S-4Y/ This video shows that the USA is guilty of a loty of what it is saying about Cuba.
Mr. Cikiah Thomas announced on April 27 that the Global African Congress and its partner organizations in Canada, United States, UK and the Caribbean will be hosting a virtual/Zoom meeting May 9th, 2021 to celebrate African Heritage Month in Venezuela.
The celebrations will begin with a keynote address by William Castillo, Venezuela’s Deputy-Minister of Anti-Blockade Policies at 4 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). Mr. Castillo will discuss Venezuela’s efforts to combat the legacy of enslavement of Africans and the government’s efforts to bring justice to its Indigenous, African and Mestizo peoples.
Mr. Thomas noted, “it was only recently under the leadership of the late President Hugo Chávez, that Venezuela started to combat the historical legacy of racism and promote inclusion and respect for Afro-Venezuelans,” adding that “it was the Chavez government that officially designated May as the Month of African and May 10 as the Day of Afro-Venezuelans.”
As in most Latin American countries, the Venezuela population comprises a variety of ethnic and cultural heritages. It is estimated that over 100,000 enslaved Africans arrived in Venezuela between 1576 and 1810. According to the census of 2011, the first census taken in Venezuela since the 1920s, 52% of the population self-identifies itself as mixed (mestizo) white, Amerindian and Black, while almost 4% self-identifies as fully African or Black.
Present day Afro-Venezuelans trace their origins to various African ethnicities including Yoruba, Kongo, Wolof, Kalabari. Afro-Venezuelans intellectuals such as Juan Pablo Sojo, Manuel Rodrigues Cárdenas, and younger writers like Jesús García can be credited for re-appropriating and asserting African cultural identity in modern Venezuelan society.
“The meeting on May 9th will allow to pay homage to the contributions of the Afro-Venezuelan community to the development of their country and the region,” said Mr. Thomas. “Afro-Venezuelans have played an active role in the Bolivarian revolution. It is incumbent on us in the rest of the world, especially in north American and the Caribbean, to recognize them and to encourage them, as lots more still needs to be done.”
The Zoom meeting is open to everyone. In addition to the keynote address by Deputy Minister Castillo, it will feature cultural elements and highlight the activities of various community groups, and non-governmental organizations in support of the people of Venezuela. The organizers hope that celebrating African Heritage Month will build grassroots solidarity in their respective countries and help engage their Parliamentarians to lift the economic embargo and normalize diplomatic relationships with the government of Venezuela.
The virtual/Zoom session will last two hours. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5kHP69bYSMOcJtd3eyVVww
Canadians Celebrate Venezuela’s African Heritage Month
April 27, 2021, Toronto – Mr. Cikiah Thomas announced today that the Global African Congress and its partner organizations in Canada, United States, UK and the Caribbean will be hosting a virtual/Zoom meeting May 9th, 2021 to celebrate African Heritage Month in Venezuela.
The celebrations will begin with a keynote address by William Castillo, Venezuela’s Deputy-Minister of Anti-Blockade Policies at 4 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). Mr. Castillo will discuss Venezuela’s efforts to combat the legacy of enslavement of Africans and the government’s efforts to bring justice to its Indigenous, African and Mestizo peoples.
Mr. Thomas noted, “it was only recently under the leadership of the late President Hugo Chávez, that Venezuela started to combat the historical legacy of racism and promote inclusion and respect for Afro-Venezuelans,” adding that “it was the Chavez government that officially designated May as the Month of African and May 10 as the Day of Afro-Venezuelans.”
As in most Latin American countries, the Venezuela population comprises a variety of ethnic and cultural heritages. It is estimated that over 100,000 enslaved Africans arrived in Venezuela between 1576 and 1810. According to the census of 2011, the first census taken in Venezuela since the 1920s, 52% of the population self-identifies itself as mixed (mestizo) white, Amerindian and Black, while almost 4% self-identifies as fully African or Black.
Present day Afro-Venezuelans trace their origins to various African ethnicities including Yoruba, Kongo, Wolof, Kalabari. Afro-Venezuelans intellectuals such as Juan Pablo Sojo, Manuel Rodrigues Cárdenas, and younger writers like Jesús García can be credited for re-appropriating and asserting African cultural identity in modern Venezuelan society.
“The meeting on May 9th will allow to pay homage to the contributions of the Afro-Venezuelan community to the development of their country and the region,” said Mr. Thomas. “Afro-Venezuelans have played an active role in the Bolivarian revolution. It is incumbent on us in the rest of the world, especially in north American and the Caribbean, to recognize them and to encourage them, as lots more still needs to be done.”
The Zoom meeting is open to everyone. In addition to the keynote address by Deputy Minister Castillo, it will feature cultural elements and highlight the activities of various community groups, and non-governmental organizations in support of the people of Venezuela. The organizers hope that celebrating African Heritage Month will build grassroots solidarity in their respective countries and help engage their Parliamentarians to lift the economic embargo and normalize diplomatic relationships with the government of Venezuela.
The virtual/Zoom session will last two hours. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5kHP69bYSMOcJtd3eyVVww
Press Release: April 10,2021
The Jamaica Peace Council expresses solidarity with the government of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as many face being uprooted from their precious homeland because of the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.
We salute the countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region and the rest of the world who are stepping up in a spirit of peaceful cooperation to assist SVG despite their own struggles with the current pandemic and the cyclic global economic crisis. We know our Jamaican people will give their support through the Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODP) or any other reputable local organisation which will coordinate our response to this regional emergency by advising us of the drop-off points and accounts for making our contribution. In the case of Cuba and Venezuela, they have the added handicap of crippling economic sanctions and an unjust US blockade in defiance of the continued condemnation by the nations of the UN but, as usual, they are responding to the dire need of our neighbours.
The disaster unfolding from the La Soufriere volcanic eruption presses home the urgent need for global and regional peace so that resources wasted on building antagonism, aggression and wars between nations can be redirected to scientific research. Such a shift of resources will help to keep humanity safe and proactive in dealing with natural emergencies and increase our chances of living in harmony with nature. Now more than ever we must demand world peace in our collective fight against man-made disasters like imperialist wars and escalating poverty, as all we have are ourselves to count on for our common survival as peoples.
by David Comissiong, Ambassador to CARICOM, Barbados
On Friday 22nd January 2021, I had the honour and privilege of being a member of the welcoming party that was on hand at the Grantley Adams International Airport to welcome to Barbados a team of some 15 Cuban doctors and laboratory specialists that had made its way to Barbados on an Air Antilles charter flight, in order to bolster the human and technical resources available to our country in its herculean fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
And, of course, this team of Cuban medical specialists was the second such medical team that had made its invaluable services available to our country in the fight against COVID-19. Indeed, way back in April 2020, a one hundred member strong contingent of Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade – 99 specialist nurses and 1 doctor – had come to Barbados to help man our newly established COVID-19 Isolation Medical Facility and to provide other crucial medical services. Some nine months later, that first medical team is still in Barbados saving lives.
But, as impressive as this is, this is only the Barbados chapter of the story of Cuba’s medical assistance to our Caribbean Community! It needs to be recorded that our sister Caribbean nation of Cuba has sent Medical teams to virtually every single independent CARICOM member state over the past ten months to assist in the life and death struggle against the coronavirus.
And it is precisely because we in the Caribbean are so conscious and proud of Cuba’s decades-long record of regional and international humanitarian service, that our CARICOM Heads of Government have so trenchantly rejected and denounced the ignoble effort that a number of members in the Senate of the United States of America have been making to legislatively characterize the Cuban medical brigades as a form of human trafficking.
When this wicked and mischievous notion was first raised in the US Senate early in 2020, our CARICOM Heads of Government grasped the opportunity of their February 2020 Summit in Barbados to express:-
“their deep appreciation for the medical assistance provided by Cuba … over the years … (and) acknowledged … of their own first-hand knowledge that the persons sent have added tremendous value to helping their citizens. They repudiated the statement that this medical assistance given by the Cubans was a form of human trafficking.”
And then, later in the year – at the 8th of December 2020 CARICOM-Cuba Summit – our heads of Government embraced the opportunity to reiterate their message as follows:-
“We reject any attempt to discredit, distort or disrupt the Cuban medical assistance to the region; an important aid to the Caribbean healthcare system.”
It is therefore to be fervently hoped that these two forthright, principled and trenchant CARICOM declarations have sent a righteous Caribbean message to the US Senate, and that the shameful efforts of Republican Senators Cruz, Scott, Rubio and Menendez to defame Cuba’s highly respected international medical brigade programme will be heard of no more.
But it is not only Cuba’s medical teams that are of such critical importance to our Caribbean Community. There is also the other little matter of a COVID-19 vaccine.
As we all should be aware, our Caribbean Community – the most tourism and travel dependent region of the entire world – is in desperate need of COVID-19 vaccines to protect – first of all – our frontline health and tourism workers, and then the rest of our 18 million strong regional population.
And so, in a situation in which a number of the world’s wealthiest nations have engaged in actions that have had the effect of monopolizing much of the world’s current supply of COVID-19 vaccines, our CARICOM governments have been proactively seeking out every possible source of such vaccines.
Not only have we signed up to the World Health Organization (WHO) COVAX scheme and made down payments for vaccines that we expect to receive under that programme, but we have also reached out to the African Union (AU) to secure participation in their “Africa Medical Supplies Platform”; to China; to a number of the relevant pharmaceutical multi-national companies, and the list goes on.
But even in this advanced, high technology sphere Cuba is proudly flying the Caribbean flag and is offering us much cause for hope.
You see, on Wednesday 20th January 2021, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Cuba has commenced upon the second part of Phase II of a trial of the “Soberana 02” COVID-19 vaccine that has been developed by Cuba’s world famous Finlay Vaccine and Serum Institute. And, according to Dr. Vincente Verez, the Director of the Institute, the plan is to manufacture some 100 million doses of the vaccine!
It should also be noted that Soberana 02 is not the only COVID-19 vaccine that our Cuban brothers and sisters have developed. There are also the Soberana 01, the Adbala, and the Mambisa vaccine candidates. It is fair to say, however, that the Soberana 02 offers the greatest promise and is the most advanced where research and testing is concerned.
We Caribbean people can therefore take comfort from the fact that we possess our own indigenous and autonomous sources of strength in virtually every field of endeavour, inclusive of the critical life and death sphere of public health. The key, however, to those “sources of strength” is our integration and unity – our Caribbean integration and unity!
As mighty and as deadly as this COVID-19 pandemic is, we can be confident that when we combine together the resources of such CARICOM institutions as our Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), as well as such associate institutions as the Regional Security System (RSS) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), along with such powerful Cuban entities as the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, the Finlay Institute, the Cuban Civil Defence, and many others, there is virtually no emergency that is beyond our collective capacity to respond to and to overcome.
Indeed, the late great Errol Walton Barrow – national hero of Barbados – put it succinctly and eloquently when he stated – “the Caribbean is, after all, a civilization”.
This is the self-belief and self-confidence that we must arm ourselves with as we march forward shoulder to shoulder with our Cuban compatriots, determined to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jamaica Peace Council welcomes the major shift in tone, direction and posture represented by the new US administration. The inauguration of the Biden-Harris administration came at a time when Americans were engulfed with a feeling of hopelessness as the pandemic ravaged the country while leadership seemed to be missing. Symbolizing repentance, the Biden-Harris administration, ahead of their inauguration, held a memorial for the 408,000 citizens who had died from the corona virus pandemic, showing the empathy and respect for human dignity which was previously lacking. This was a fitting backdrop to their immediate initiatives to stem the spread of Covid 19, step up the vaccine campaign and make negative COVID results mandatory for travel. Among the other laudable initiatives from a $2 trillion allocation are assistance to qualifying individuals and families, and failing small businesses in order to avert the growing economic depression.
We applaud the shift towards placing a high value on global health and the issue of climate change by rejoining the World Health Organisation and the Paris Climate Accord while also ending the Keystone XL pipeline project at home.
The new US administration signaled immediate action to address burning immigrants’ issues by overhauling immigration laws to give migrants a sense of hope, inclusivity and a clear path to citizenship. The lifting of the ban on Muslims is also a positive indication of commitment to diversity and tolerance.
We are heartened by the fact that the Biden-Harris administration chose “racial justice” as one of their priorities on which to take immediate action. This is a victory for the peaceful Black Lives Matter Movement which was vilified and distorted by those who wished to suppress truth.
This new administration seems poised to change the image and role of the USA at home and abroad. In this regard, we urge them to act in solidarity with all nations and seize the opportunity to promote regional and world peace by including the following actions among their top priorities:
1. Lift the 61-year-old cruel blockade against Cuba and remove all sanctions against Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua, and other countries, including the ones most recently imposed by he who shall remain nameless.
2. Respect the democratic choice of the Venezuelan people by ending the unmentionable president’s era of recognition of the discredited and delusional imposter, Juan Guiado, and recognize the legitimate and constitutionally elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.
3.Respect the right of all nations to self-determination and control over their natural resources in the interest of their peoples.
4. Promote and model global unity by ending the animosity towards so-called geo-political rivals, China and Russia, and find common ground in the interest of mankind.
5. Stop supporting genocide in the Middle East and elsewhere.
6. End the bloody wars in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria and other countries.
7. Dismantle Africom which is a means of increasing militarization of the African continent to foment ongoing wars and keep the great African people divided against their own fundamental interests.
8. Cease military support to Apartheid Israel, which continues to defy UN decisions re the Palestinian question; and close the US embassy which was established by the one whom we prefer to forget, completely disregarding the global boycott.
9. Recognize the state of Palestine and the right of the Saharoui people (Western Sahara) to a homeland, and support the peaceful settlement of displaced peoples worldwide.
10. Play a positive and harmonious role in the UN, by showing respect for the contributions and concerns of the community of nations in their deliberations, and end the bullying and threats to withdraw resources when the majority opinions prevail.
11. Stop the flow of illegal weapons to other countries, bearing in mind their impact on rising crime and violence, an issue that is of great concern to all Jamaicans.
12. Cut the military budget and invest the funds in human development programmes.
13. Actively support and advocate reparations to the victims of slave trafficking and enslavement in Africa, the USA and the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean; and lobby former colonial allies such as the UK, France, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Spain and others to pay reparations to African peoples world-wide for the horrific crimes through the slave trade, slavery and colonialism.
14. Actively support and implement reparations to the native peoples of the Americas and officially replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
In addition to the above, we support the demands of US labor unions, student organizations, activists in climate, housing and health matters, and the Black Lives Matter movement for the Biden-Harris Administration to reject “a business as usual” approach to policy and to adopt bold actions to rectify the injustices that are entrenched in American society.
We look forward to the Biden-Harris administration embodying the true greatness of well-thinking American people of all races and ethnicity through substantial contribution to global partnerships, peaceful cooperation and solidarity, thereby contributing to creating the world that we know is possible. As the young inauguration poet laureate Amanda Gorman said in “The Hill We climb”:
“The new dawn balloons as we free it. For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
The Biden-Harris team must be brave enough.
The Jamaica Peace Council (JPC ), strongly condemns the baseless and misguided decision of the US government in placing Cuba for a second time on their list of countries that are sponsors of international terrorism.
The JPC believes that Cuba’s peaceful and dignified role in international affairs does not in anyway warrant it being placed on any list of nations that sponsor international terrorism. On the contrary, Cuba exports solidarity with the peoples of the world by fighting diseases like Ebola and COVID-19, issuing scholarships for the education of doctors, teachers, engineers and other technically trained personnel, and helping to defeat apartheid and terrorism in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
We in the JPC note with serious concern the seeming deranged mindset of President Trump who is considered by most in the US Congress to be a “present threat” to democracy and stability in the US in the wake of his incitement of the terror attack against the Capitol last Wednesday.
As a peace organization, we believe that President Trump is a clear and “present threat” to world peace, stability and particularly sovereign nations like Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran, which are asserting their right to self-determination.
We believe that President Trump’s recent action in placing Cuba on the list of countries that the US considers to be sponsors of terrorism is an act of provocation and further economic sabotage against Cuba’s sovereign and peaceful development.
JPC therefore calls on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to not only review and remove Cuba from the list of sponsors of global terrorism, but we are also calling on this new US administration to end the criminal US blockade against Cuba and to normalize relations between the two sovereign neighbors!
Yes to World Peace ☮️!
No to International Bullying of nations!
Dear Mrs. Berit Reiss-Andersen and members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
The Jamaica Peace Council wishes to nominate the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics “Henry Reeve” for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of the unparalleled sacrifices that they have made in their mission to save human lives across the globe in major disasters and health crises. The contingent grew out of a tradition of international medical response by Cuba that began in 1960 during a major earthquake in Chile. Having been officially launched in 2005, with a view to providing medical assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the contingent has provided emergency medical assistance to approximately 4 million people and has saved the lives of more than 89,000 people worldwide. More than 9,000 Cuban healthcare professionals have participated in these missions.
Named after Henry Reeve, an American from Brooklyn, New York, who joined the war on Cuba’s side in their fight for independence from Spain, the contingent, by August 10, 2020, had provided assistance to 45 nations and 5 non-self-governing territories. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the contingent has worked in 22 states:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Belize (twice)
- Chile (twice)
- Dominica (twice)
- El Salvador
- Haiti (four times)
- Mexico (three times)
- Peru (twice)
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Trinidad and Tobago
It has also provided services in 5 countries of Asia and Oceania, 12 nations of Sub-Saharan Africa, three North African and Middle East countries, and in three European states:
- Cape Verde
- Guinea Bissau
- Guinea Conakry (twice)
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sierra Leone (twice)
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- South Africa and Togo
- United Arab Emirates
Additionally, the Contingent has assisted the following non-self-governing British and French territories:
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Virgin Islands,
During the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa (2013-2016), the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics “Henry Reeve” was in the forefront of the effort to save lives.
During the course of five months after COVID 19 was declared a pandemic, the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics “Henry Reeve” served in 38 states, treating 355,785 people and saving 9,736 lives. More than 3,700 Cuban healthcare professionals have taken part in these missions. Notably, 61.2 % of them are women.
In light of this track record, we firmly believe that the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics “Henry Reeve” meets all the qualifications to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Hardly a day passes when Comandante Fidel Castro’s name is not mentioned, or a memory of him is not evoked. He remains a powerful inspiration to all of us who seek a peaceful world in which to:
• raise families;
• safely and sustainably harness and share the natural resources of the earth through peaceful cooperation and in the interest of all humanity;
• develop science and technology to enhance the means of production and standard of living; and
• exist in total harmony with nature.
Like all great heroes of this world, he has left us with a rich legacy of ideas. He has also left us with the fruits of the Cuban Revolution which are shared with the rest of the world in the form of scholarships, nurses, doctors, teachers, engineers and more. The Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, which has been saving lives in health crises all over the world, is a direct reflection of the magnanimity of Fidel Castro Ruz and the Cuban Revolution. This is why, as we commemorate Fidel’s life on the fourth anniversary of his death, we reiterate the call for the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the fearless volunteers of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade which have saved more than 80,000 lives worldwide since it was formed in 2005.
Owing to the Cuban Revolution, Cuba is the epitome of the 2030 Vision for sustainable development that the countries of the world were required by the United Nations to write in 2015. Cuba has showed that the way to achieve it is by making the people the driving force of the nation.
Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Download
Follow-up The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015.
- A/RES/70/1 – Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
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- Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Publication)
Preamble This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The Goals and targets will stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet: People We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment. Planet We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations. Prosperity We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature. Peace We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development. Partnership We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focussed in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people. The interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals are of crucial importance in ensuring that the purpose of the new Agenda is realised. If we realize our ambitions across the full extent of the Agenda, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better. DECLARATION Introduction 1. We, the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 25-27 September 2015 as the Organization celebrates its seventieth anniversary, have decided today on new global Sustainable Development Goals. 2. On behalf of the peoples we serve, we have adopted a historic decision on a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Goals and targets. We commit ourselves to working tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030. We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. We are committed to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner. We will also build upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seek to address their unfinished business. 3. We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities. 4. As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. Recognizing that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, we wish to see the Goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first. 5. This is an Agenda of unprecedented scope and significance. It is accepted by all countries and is applicable to all, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. These are universal goals and targets which involve the entire world, developed and developing countries alike. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development. 6. The Goals and targets are the result of over two years of intensive public consultation and engagement with civil society and other stakeholders around the world, which paid particular attention to the voices of the poorest and most vulnerable. This consultation included valuable work done by the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and by the United Nations, whose Secretary-General provided a synthesis report in December 2014. Our vision 7. In these Goals and targets, we are setting out a supremely ambitious and transformational vision. We envisage a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive. We envisage a world free of fear and violence. A world with universal literacy. A world with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured. A world where we reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and where there is improved hygiene; and where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious. A world where human habitats are safe, resilient and sustainable and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. 8. We envisage a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination; of respect for race, ethnicity and cultural diversity; and of equal opportunity permitting the full realization of human potential and contributing to shared prosperity. A world which invests in its children and in which every child grows up free from violence and exploitation. A world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed. A just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met. 9. We envisage a world in which every country enjoys sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. A world in which consumption and production patterns and use of all natural resources – from air to land, from rivers, lakes and aquifers to oceans and seas – are sustainable. One in which democracy, good governance and the rule of law as well as an enabling environment at national and international levels, are essential for sustainable development, including sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger. One in which development and the application of technology are climate-sensitive, respect biodiversity and are resilient. One in which humanity lives in harmony with nature and in which wildlife and other living species are protected. Our shared principles and commitments 10. The new Agenda is guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including full respect for international law. It is grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international human rights treaties, the Millennium Declaration and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. It is informed by other instruments such as the Declaration on the Right to Development. 11. We reaffirm the outcomes of all major UN conferences and summits which have laid a solid foundation for sustainable development and have helped to shape the new Agenda. These include the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the World Summit for Social Development; the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the Beijing Platform for Action; and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+ 20”). We also reaffirm the follow-up to these conferences, including the outcomes of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States; the Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries; and the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. 12. We reaffirm all the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including, inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, as set out in principle 7 thereof. 13. The challenges and commitments contained in these major conferences and summits are interrelated and call for integrated solutions. To address them effectively, a new approach is needed. Sustainable development recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, combatting inequality within and among countries, preserving the planet, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and fostering social inclusion are linked to each other and are interdependent. Our world today 14. We are meeting at a time of immense challenges to sustainable development. Billions of our citizens continue to live in poverty and are denied a life of dignity. There are rising inequalities within and among countries. There are enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power. Gender inequality remains a key challenge. Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is a major concern. Global health threats, more frequent and intense natural disasters, spiralling conflict, violent extremism, terrorism and related humanitarian crises and forced displacement of people threaten to reverse much of the development progress made in recent decades. Natural resource depletion and adverse impacts of environmental degradation, including desertification, drought, land degradation, freshwater scarcity and loss of biodiversity, add to and exacerbate the list of challenges which humanity faces. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development. Increases in global temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other climate change impacts are seriously affecting coastal areas and low-lying coastal countries, including many least developed countries and small island developing States. The survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk. 15. It is also, however, a time of immense opportunity. Significant progress has been made in meeting many development challenges. Within the past generation, hundreds of millions of people have emerged from extreme poverty. Access to education has greatly increased for both boys and girls. The spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies, as does scientific and technological innovation across areas as diverse as medicine and energy. 16. Almost fifteen years ago, the Millennium Development Goals were agreed. These provided an important framework for development and significant progress has been made in a number of areas. But the progress has been uneven, particularly in Africa, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States, and some of the MDGs remain off-track, in particular those related to maternal, newborn and child health and to reproductive health. We recommit ourselves to the full realization of all the MDGs, including the off-track MDGs, in particular by providing focussed and scaled-up assistance to least developed countries and other countries in special situations, in line with relevant support programmes. The new Agenda builds on the Millennium Development Goals and seeks to complete what these did not achieve, particularly in reaching the most vulnerable. 17. In its scope, however, the framework we are announcing today goes far beyond the MDGs. Alongside continuing development priorities such as poverty eradication, health, education and food security and nutrition, it sets out a wide range of economic, social and environmental objectives. It also promises more peaceful and inclusive societies. It also, crucially, defines means of implementation. Reflecting the integrated approach that we have decided on, there are deep interconnections and many cross-cutting elements across the new Goals and targets. The new Agenda 18. We are announcing today 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets which are integrated and indivisible. Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavour across such a broad and universal policy agenda. We are setting out together on the path towards sustainable development, devoting ourselves collectively to the pursuit of global development and of “win-win” cooperation which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world. We reaffirm that every State has, and shall freely exercise, full permanent sovereignty over all its wealth, natural resources and economic activity. We will implement the Agenda for the full benefit of all, for today’s generation and for future generations. In doing so, we reaffirm our commitment to international law and emphasize that the Agenda is to be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the rights and obligations of states under international law. 19. We reaffirm the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other international instruments relating to human rights and international law. We emphasize the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, to respect, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other status. 20. Realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution to progress across all the Goals and targets. The achievement of full human potential and of sustainable development is not possible if one half of humanity continues to be denied its full human rights and opportunities. Women and girls must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources and political participation as well as equal opportunities with men and boys for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels. We will work for a significant increase in investments to close the gender gap and strengthen support for institutions in relation to gender equality and the empowerment of women at the global, regional and national levels. All forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls will be eliminated, including through the engagement of men and boys. The systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the Agenda is crucial. 21. The new Goals and targets will come into effect on 1 January 2016 and will guide the decisions we take over the next fifteen years. All of us will work to implement the Agenda within our own countries and at the regional and global levels, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities We will respect national policy space for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, in particular for developing states, while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments. We acknowledge also the importance of the regional and sub-regional dimensions, regional economic integration and interconnectivity in sustainable development. Regional and sub-regional frameworks can facilitate the effective translation of sustainable development policies into concrete action at national level. 22. Each country faces specific challenges in its pursuit of sustainable development. The most vulnerable countries and, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states deserve special attention, as do countries in situations of conflict and post-conflict countries. There are also serious challenges within many middle-income countries. 23. People who are vulnerable must be empowered. Those whose needs are reflected in the Agenda include all children, youth, persons with disabilities (of whom more than 80% live in poverty), people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants. We resolve to take further effective measures and actions, in conformity with international law, to remove obstacles and constraints, strengthen support and meet the special needs of people living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies and in areas affected by terrorism. 24. We are committed to ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including by eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. All people must enjoy a basic standard of living, including through social protection systems. We are also determined to end hunger and to achieve food security as a matter of priority and to end all forms of malnutrition. In this regard, we reaffirm the important role and inclusive nature of the Committee on World Food Security and welcome the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and Framework for Action. We will devote resources to developing rural areas and sustainable agriculture and fisheries, supporting smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, herders and fishers in developing countries, particularly least developed countries. 25. We commit to providing inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and vocational training. All people, irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity, and persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples, children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations, should have access to life-long learning opportunities that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities and to participate fully in society. We will strive to provide children and youth with a nurturing environment for the full realization of their rights and capabilities, helping our countries to reap the demographic dividend including through safe schools and cohesive communities and families. 26. To promote physical and mental health and well-being, and to extend life expectancy for all, we must achieve universal health coverage and access to quality health care. No one must be left behind. We commit to accelerating the progress made to date in reducing newborn, child and maternal mortality by ending all such preventable deaths before 2030. We are committed to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education. We will equally accelerate the pace of progress made in fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, Ebola and other communicable diseases and epidemics, including by addressing growing anti-microbial resistance and the problem of unattended diseases affecting developing countries. We are committed to the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases, including behavioural, developmental and neurological disorders, which constitute a major challenge for sustainable development. 27. We will seek to build strong economic foundations for all our countries. Sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth is essential for prosperity. This will only be possible if wealth is shared and income inequality is addressed. We will work to build dynamic, sustainable, innovative and people-centred economies, promoting youth employment and women’s economic empowerment, in particular, and decent work for all. We will eradicate forced labour and human trafficking and end child labour in all its forms. All countries stand to benefit from having a healthy and well-educated workforce with the knowledge and skills needed for productive and fulfilling work and full participation in society. We will strengthen the productive capacities of least-developed countries in all sectors, including through structural transformation. We will adopt policies which increase productive capacities, productivity and productive employment; financial inclusion; sustainable agriculture, pastoralist and fisheries development; sustainable industrial development; universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services; sustainable transport systems; and quality and resilient infrastructure. 28. We commit to making fundamental changes in the way that our societies produce and consume goods and services. Governments, international organizations, the business sector and other non-state actors and individuals must contribute to changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns, including through the mobilization, from all sources, of financial and technical assistance to strengthen developing countries’ scientific, technological and innovative capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production. We encourage the implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production. All countries take action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries. 29. We recognize the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development. We also recognize that international migration is a multi-dimensional reality of major relevance for the development of countries of origin, transit and destination, which requires coherent and comprehensive responses. We will cooperate internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants regardless of migration status, of refugees and of displaced persons. Such cooperation should also strengthen the resilience of communities hosting refugees, particularly in developing countries. We underline the right of migrants to return to their country of citizenship, and recall that States must ensure that their returning nationals are duly received. 30. States are strongly urged to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries. 31. We acknowledge that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. We are determined to address decisively the threat posed by climate change and environmental degradation. The global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible international cooperation aimed at accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions and addressing adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change. We note with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. 32. Looking ahead to the COP21 conference in Paris in December, we underscore the commitment of all States to work for an ambitious and universal climate agreement. We reaffirm that the protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties shall address in a balanced manner, inter alia, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building, and transparency of action and support. 33. We recognise that social and economic development depends on the sustainable management of our planet’s natural resources. We are therefore determined to conserve and sustainably use oceans and seas, freshwater resources, as well as forests, mountains and drylands and to protect biodiversity, ecosystems and wildlife. We are also determined to promote sustainable tourism, tackle water scarcity and water pollution, to strengthen cooperation on desertification, dust storms, land degradation and drought and to promote resilience and disaster risk reduction. In this regard, we look forward to COP13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in Mexico in 2016. 34. We recognize that sustainable urban development and management are crucial to the quality of life of our people. We will work with local authorities and communities to renew and plan our cities and human settlements so as to foster community cohesion and personal security and to stimulate innovation and employment. We will reduce the negative impacts of urban activities and of chemicals which are hazardous for human health and the environment, including through the environmentally sound management and safe use of chemicals, the reduction and recycling of waste and more efficient use of water and energy. And we will work to minimize the impact of cities on the global climate system. We will also take account of population trends and projections in our national, rural and urban development strategies and policies. We look forward to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador. 35. Sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security; and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development. The new Agenda recognizes the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights (including the right to development), on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions. Factors which give rise to violence, insecurity and injustice, such as inequality, corruption, poor governance and illicit financial and arms flows, are addressed in the Agenda. We must redouble our efforts to resolve or prevent conflict and to support post-conflict countries, including through ensuring that women have a role in peace-building and state-building. We call for further effective measures and actions to be taken, in conformity with international law, to remove the obstacles to the full realization of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development as well as their environment. 36. We pledge to foster inter-cultural understanding, tolerance, mutual respect and an ethic of global citizenship and shared responsibility. We acknowledge the natural and cultural diversity of the world and recognize that all cultures and civilizations can contribute to, and are crucial enablers of, sustainable development. 37. Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives. 38. We reaffirm, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the need to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of States. Means of Implementation 39. The scale and ambition of the new Agenda requires a revitalized Global Partnership to ensure its implementation. We fully commit to this. This Partnership will work in a spirit of global solidarity, in particular solidarity with the poorest and with people in vulnerable situations. It will facilitate an intensive global engagement in support of implementation of all the Goals and targets, bringing together Governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilizing all available resources. 40. The means of implementation targets under Goal 17 and under each SDG are key to realising our Agenda and are of equal importance with the other Goals and targets. The Agenda, including the SDGs, can be met within the framework of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, supported by the concrete policies and actions as outlined in the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa from 13-16 July 2015. We welcome the endorsement by the General Assembly of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We recognize that the full implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is critical for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets. 41. We recognize that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development. The new Agenda deals with the means required for implementation of the Goals and targets. We recognize that these will include the mobilization of financial resources as well as capacity-building and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed. Public finance, both domestic and international, will play a vital role in providing essential services and public goods and in catalyzing other sources of finance. We acknowledge the role of the diverse private sector, ranging from micro-enterprises to cooperatives to multinationals, and that of civil society organizations and philanthropic organizations in the implementation of the new Agenda. 42. We support the implementation of relevant strategies and programmes of action, including the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action, the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, and reaffirm the importance of supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), all of which are integral to the new Agenda. We recognize the major challenge to the achievement of durable peace and sustainable development in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations. 43. We emphasize that international public finance plays an important role in complementing the efforts of countries to mobilize public resources domestically, especially in the poorest and most vulnerable countries with limited domestic resources. An important use of international public finance, including ODA, is to catalyse additional resource mobilization from other sources, public and private. ODA providers reaffirm their respective commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7% of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15% to 0.2% of ODA/GNI to least developed countries. 44. We acknowledge the importance for international financial institutions to support, in line with their mandates, the policy space of each country, in particular developing countries. We recommit to broadening and strengthening the voice and participation of developing countries – including African countries, least developed countries, land-locked developing countries, small-island developing States and middle-income countries – in international economic decision-making, norm-setting and global economic governance. 45. We acknowledge also the essential role of national parliaments through their enactment of legislation and adoption of budgets and their role in ensuring accountability for the effective implementation of our commitments. Governments and public institutions will also work closely on implementation with regional and local authorities, sub-regional institutions, international institutions, academia, philanthropic organisations, volunteer groups and others. 46. We underline the important role and comparative advantage of an adequately resourced, relevant, coherent, efficient and effective UN system in supporting the achievement of the SDGs and sustainable development. While stressing the importance of strengthened national ownership and leadership at country level, we express our support for the ongoing ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the United Nations development system in the context of this Agenda. Follow-up and review 47. Our Governments have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review, at the national, regional and global levels, in relation to the progress made in implementing the Goals and targets over the coming fifteen years. To support accountability to our citizens, we will provide for systematic follow-up and review at the various levels, as set out in this Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The High Level Political Forum under the auspices of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council will have the central role in overseeing follow-up and review at the global level. 48. Indicators are being developed to assist this work. Quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data will be needed to help with the measurement of progress and to ensure that no one is left behind. Such data is key to decision-making. Data and information from existing reporting mechanisms should be used where possible. We agree to intensify our efforts to strengthen statistical capacities in developing countries, particularly African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and middle-income countries. We are committed to developing broader measures of progress to complement gross domestic product (GDP). A call for action to change our world 49. Seventy years ago, an earlier generation of world leaders came together to create the United Nations. From the ashes of war and division they fashioned this Organization and the values of peace, dialogue and international cooperation which underpin it. The supreme embodiment of those values is the Charter of the United Nations. 50. Today we are also taking a decision of great historic significance. We resolve to build a better future for all people, including the millions who have been denied the chance to lead decent, dignified and rewarding lives and to achieve their full human potential. We can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty; just as we may be the last to have a chance of saving the planet. The world will be a better place in 2030 if we succeed in our objectives. 51. What we are announcing today – an Agenda for global action for the next fifteen years – is a charter for people and planet in the twenty-first century. Children and young women and men are critical agents of change and will find in the new Goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world. 52. “We the Peoples” are the celebrated opening words of the UN Charter. It is “We the Peoples” who are embarking today on the road to 2030. Our journey will involve Governments as well as Parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community – and all people. Millions have already engaged with, and will own, this Agenda. It is an Agenda of the people, by the people, and for the people – and this, we believe, will ensure its success. 53. The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands. It lies also in the hands of today’s younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations. We have mapped the road to sustainable development; it will be for all of us to ensure that the journey is successful and its gains irreversible. Sustainable Development Goals and targets 54. Following an inclusive process of intergovernmental negotiations, and based on the Proposal of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals , which includes a chapeau contextualising the latter, the following are the Goals and targets which we have agreed. 55. The SDGs and targets are integrated and indivisible, global in nature and universally applicable, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. Targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. Each government will also decide how these aspirational and global targets should be incorporated in national planning processes, policies and strategies. It is important to recognize the link between sustainable development and other relevant ongoing processes in the economic, social and environmental fields. 56. In deciding upon these Goals and targets, we recognise that each country faces specific challenges to achieve sustainable development, and we underscore the special challenges facing the most vulnerable countries and, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, as well as the specific challenges facing the middle-income countries. Countries in situations of conflict also need special attention. 57. We recognize that baseline data for several of the targets remain unavailable, and we call for increased support for strengthening data collection and capacity building in Member States, to develop national and global baselines where they do not yet exist. We commit to addressing this gap in data collection so as to better inform the measurement of progress, in particular for those targets below which do not have clear numerical targets. 58. We encourage ongoing efforts by states in other fora to address key issues which pose potential challenges to the implementation of our Agenda; and we respect the independent mandates of those processes. We intend that the Agenda and its implementation would support, and be without prejudice to, those other processes and the decisions taken therein. 59. We recognise that there are different approaches, visions, models and tools available to each country, in accordance with its national circumstances and priorities, to achieve sustainable development; and we reaffirm that planet Earth and its ecosystems are our common home and that ‘Mother Earth’ is a common expression in a number of countries and regions. Sustainable Development Goals
- Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
- Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
1.a Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions
1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture 2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons
2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment
2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality
2.5 By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed
2.a Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries
2.b Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round
2.c Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages 3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births
3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births
3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being
3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol
3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes
3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all
3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
3.a Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate
3.b Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all
3.c Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States
3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education
4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
4.b By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries
4.c By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
6.a By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
6.b Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
7.3 By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
7.a By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
7.b By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all 8.1 Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries
8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead
8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
8.7 Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms
8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment
8.9 By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
8.10 Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all
8.a Increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries
8.b By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
9.2 Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries
9.3 Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets
9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending
9.a Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States
9.b Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities
9.c Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020 Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries 10.1 By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average
10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
10.4 Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality
10.5 Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations
10.6 Ensure enhanced representation and voice for developing countries in decision-making in global international economic and financial institutions in order to deliver more effective, credible, accountable and legitimate institutions
10.7 Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies
10.a Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements
10.b Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programmes
10.c By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
11.a Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
11.b By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
11.c Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 12.1 Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
12.3 By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
12.a Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
12.b Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
12.c Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts* 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
13.a Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible
13.b Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities * Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
14.2 By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
14.3 Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
14.4 By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
14.5 By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
14.6 By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
14.7 By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
14.a Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
14.b Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
14.c Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss 15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
15.3 By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
15.4 By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
15.6 Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
15.7 Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
15.8 By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
15.a Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
15.b Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
15.c Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children
16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime
16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
16.8 Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance
16.9 By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration
16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
16.a Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime
16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development Finance 17.1 Strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection
17.2 Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries; ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries
17.3 Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources
17.4 Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress
17.5 Adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for least developed countries Technology 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism
17.7 Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed
17.8 Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology Capacity-building 17.9 Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation Trade 17.10 Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda
17.11 Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020
17.12 Realize timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries, consistent with World Trade Organization decisions, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access Systemic issues Policy and institutional coherence 17.13 Enhance global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence
17.14 Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development
17.15 Respect each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development Multi-stakeholder partnerships 17.16 Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships Data, monitoring and accountability 17.18 By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts
17.19 By 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product, and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries Means of implementation and the Global Partnership 60. We reaffirm our strong commitment to the full implementation of this new Agenda. We recognize that we will not be able to achieve our ambitious Goals and targets without a revitalized and enhanced Global Partnership and comparably ambitious means of implementation. The revitalized Global Partnership will facilitate an intensive global engagement in support of implementation of all the goals and targets, bringing together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilizing all available resources. 61. The Agenda’s Goals and targets deal with the means required to realise our collective ambitions. The means of implementation targets under each SDG and Goal 17, which are referred to above, are key to realising our Agenda and are of equal importance with the other Goals and targets. We shall accord them equal priority in our implementation efforts and in the global indicator framework for monitoring our progress. 62. This Agenda, including the SDGs, can be met within the framework of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, supported by the concrete policies and actions outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda , which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda supports, complements and helps contextualize the 2030 Agenda’s means of implementation targets. These relate to domestic public resources, domestic and international private business and finance, international development cooperation, international trade as an engine for development, debt and debt sustainability, addressing systemic issues and science, technology, innovation and capacity-building, and data, monitoring and follow-up. 63. Cohesive nationally owned sustainable development strategies, supported by integrated national financing frameworks, will be at the heart of our efforts. We reiterate that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development and that the role of national policies and development strategies cannot be overemphasized. We will respect each country’s policy space and leadership to implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development, while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments. At the same time, national development efforts need to be supported by an enabling international economic environment, including coherent and mutually supporting world trade, monetary and financial systems, and strengthened and enhanced global economic governance. Processes to develop and facilitate the availability of appropriate knowledge and technologies globally, as well as capacity-building, are also critical. We commit to pursuing policy coherence and an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels and by all actors, and to reinvigorating the global partnership for sustainable development. 64. We support the implementation of relevant strategies and programmes of action, including the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action, the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, and reaffirm the importance of supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), all of which are integral to the new Agenda. We recognize the major challenge to the achievement of durable peace and sustainable development in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations. 65. We recognize that middle-income countries still face significant challenges to achieve sustainable development. In order to ensure that achievements made to date are sustained, efforts to address ongoing challenges should be strengthened through the exchange of experiences, improved coordination, and better and focused support of the United Nations Development System, the international financial institutions, regional organizations and other stakeholders. 66. We underscore that, for all countries, public policies and the mobilization and effective use of domestic resources, underscored by the principle of national ownership, are central to our common pursuit of sustainable development, including achieving the sustainable development goals. We recognize that domestic resources are first and foremost generated by economic growth, supported by an enabling environment at all levels. 67. Private business activity, investment and innovation are major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth and job creation. We acknowledge the diversity of the private sector, ranging from micro-enterprises to cooperatives to multinationals. We call on all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges. We will foster a dynamic and well-functioning business sector, while protecting labour rights and environmental and health standards in accordance with relevant international standards and agreements and other on-going initiatives in this regard, such as the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the labour standards of ILO, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and key multilateral environmental agreements, for parties to those agreements. 68. International trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, and contributes to the promotion of sustainable development. We will continue to promote a universal, rules-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as meaningful trade liberalization. We call on all WTO members to redouble their efforts to promptly conclude the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda. We attach great importance to providing trade-related capacity-building for developing countries, including African countries, least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states and middle-income countries, including for the promotion of regional economic integration and interconnectivity. 69. We recognize the need to assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief, debt restructuring and sound debt management, as appropriate. Many countries remain vulnerable to debt crises and some are in the midst of crises, including a number of least developed countries, small-island developing States and some developed countries. We reiterate that debtors and creditors must work together to prevent and resolve unsustainable debt situations. Maintaining sustainable debt levels is the responsibility of the borrowing countries; however we acknowledge that lenders also have a responsibility to lend in a way that does not undermine a country’s debt sustainability. We will support the maintenance of debt sustainability of those countries that have received debt relief and achieved sustainable debt levels. 70. We hereby launch a Technology Facilitation Mechanism which was established by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in order to support the sustainable development goals. The Technology Facilitation Mechanism will be based on a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Member States, civil society, private sector, scientific community, United Nations entities and other stakeholders and will be composed of: a United Nations Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs, a collaborative Multistakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs and an on-line platform. • The United Nations Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs will promote coordination, coherence, and cooperation within the UN System on STI related matters, enhancing synergy and efficiency, in particular to enhance capacity-building initiatives. The Task Team will draw on existing resources and will work with 10 representatives from the civil society, private sector, the scientific community, to prepare the meetings of the Multistakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs, as well as in the development and operationalization of the on-line platform, including preparing proposals for the modalities for the Forum and the on-line platform. The 10 representatives will be appointed by the Secretary General, for periods of two years. The Task Team will be open to the participation of all UN agencies, funds and programmes, and ECOSOC functional commissions and it will initially be composed by the entities that currently integrate the informal working group on technology facilitation, namely: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Environment Programme, UNIDO, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNCTAD, International Telecommunication Union, WIPO and the World Bank.
• The on-line platform will be used to establish a comprehensive mapping of, and serve as a gateway for, information on existing STI initiatives, mechanisms and programmes, within and beyond the UN. The on-line platform will facilitate access to information, knowledge and experience, as well as best practices and lessons learned, on STI facilitation initiatives and policies. The online platform will also facilitate the dissemination of relevant open access scientific publications generated worldwide. The on-line platform will be developed on the basis of an independent technical assessment which will take into account best practices and lessons learned from other initiatives, within and beyond the United Nations, in order to ensure that it will complement, facilitate access to and provide adequate information on existing STI platforms, avoiding duplications and enhancing synergies.
• The Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science Technology and Innovation for the SDGs will be convened once a year, for a period of two days, to discuss STI cooperation around thematic areas for the implementation of the SDGs, congregating all relevant stakeholders to actively contribute in their area of expertise. The Forum will provide a venue for facilitating interaction, matchmaking and the establishment of networks between relevant stakeholders and multi- stakeholder partnerships in order to identify and examine technology needs and gaps, including on scientific cooperation, innovation and capacity building, and also in order to help facilitate development, transfer and dissemination of relevant technologies for the SDGs. The meetings of the Forum will be convened by the President of the ECOSOC before the meeting of the High Level Political Forum under the auspices of ECOSOC or, alternatively, in conjunction with other fora or conferences, as appropriate, taking into account the theme to be considered and on the basis of a collaboration with the organizers of the other fora or conference. The meetings of the Forum will be co-chaired by two Member States and will result in a summary of discussions elaborated by the two co-chairs, as an input to the meetings of the High Level Political Forum, in the context of the follow-up and review of the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
• The meetings of the HLPF will be informed by the summary of the Multistakeholder Forum. The themes for the subsequent Multistakeholder Forum on Science Technology and Innovation for the SDGs will be considered by the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development, taking into account expert inputs from the Task Team. 71. We reiterate that this Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, including the means of implementation are universal, indivisible and interlinked. Follow-up and review 72. We commit to engage in systematic follow-up and review of implementation of this Agenda over the next fifteen years. A robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework will make a vital contribution to implementation and will help countries to maximize and track progress in implementing this Agenda in order to ensure that no one is left behind. 73. Operating at the national, regional and global levels, it will promote accountability to our citizens, support effective international cooperation in achieving this Agenda and foster exchanges of best practices and mutual learning. It will mobilize support to overcome shared challenges and identify new and emerging issues. As this is a universal Agenda, mutual trust and understanding among all nations will be important. 74. Follow-up and review processes at all levels will be guided by the following principles: a. They will be voluntary and country-led, will take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and will respect policy space and priorities. As national ownership is key to achieving sustainable development, the outcome from national level processes will be the foundation for reviews at regional and global levels, given that the global review will be primarily based on national official data sources.
b. They will track progress in implementing the universal Goals and targets, including the means of implementation, in all countries in a manner which respects their universal, integrated and interrelated nature and the three dimensions of sustainable development.
c. They will maintain a longer-term orientation, identify achievements, challenges, gaps and critical success factors and support countries in making informed policy choices. They will help mobilize the necessary means of implementation and partnerships, support the identification of solutions and best practices and promote coordination and effectiveness of the international development system.
d. They will be open, inclusive, participatory and transparent for all people and will support the reporting by all relevant stakeholders.
e. They will be people-centred, gender-sensitive, respect human rights and have a particular focus on the poorest, most vulnerable and those furthest behind.
f. They will build on existing platforms and processes, where these exist, avoid duplication and respond to national circumstances, capacities, needs and priorities. They will evolve over time, taking into account emerging issues and the development of new methodologies, and will minimize the reporting burden on national administrations.
g. They will be rigorous and based on evidence, informed by country-led evaluations and data which is high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.
h. They will require enhanced capacity-building support for developing countries, including the strengthening of national data systems and evaluation programs, particularly in African countries, LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs and middle-income countries.
i. They will benefit from the active support of the UN system and other multilateral institutions. 75. The Goals and targets will be followed-up and reviewed using a set of global indicators. These will be complemented by indicators at the regional and national levels which will be developed by member states, in addition to the outcomes of work undertaken for the development of the baselines for those targets where national and global baseline data does not yet exist. The global indicator framework, to be developed by the Inter Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators, will be agreed by the UN Statistical Commission by March 2016 and adopted thereafter by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, in line with existing mandates. This framework will be simple yet robust, address all SDGs and targets including for means of implementation, and preserve the political balance, integration and ambition contained therein. 76. We will support developing countries, particularly African countries, LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs, in strengthening the capacity of national statistical offices and data systems to ensure access to high-quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data. We will promote transparent and accountable scaling-up of appropriate public-private cooperation to exploit the contribution to be made by a wide range of data, including earth observation and geo-spatial information, while ensuring national ownership in supporting and tracking progress. 77. We commit to fully engage in conducting regular and inclusive reviews of progress at sub-national, national, regional and global levels. We will draw as far as possible on the existing network of follow-up and review institutions and mechanisms. National reports will allow assessments of progress and identify challenges at the regional and global level. Along with regional dialogues and global reviews, they will inform recommendations for follow-up at various levels. National level 78. We encourage all member states to develop as soon as practicable ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of this Agenda. These can support the transition to the SDGs and build on existing planning instruments, such as national development and sustainable development strategies, as appropriate. 79. We also encourage member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels which are country-led and country-driven. Such reviews should draw on contributions from indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments as well as other institutions can also support these processes. Regional level 80. Follow-up and review at the regional and sub-regional levels can, as appropriate, provide useful opportunities for peer learning, including through voluntary reviews, sharing of best practices and discussion on shared targets. We welcome in this respect the cooperation of regional and sub-regional commissions and organizations. Inclusive regional processes will draw on national-level reviews and contribute to follow-up and review at the global level, including at the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF). 81. Recognizing the importance of building on existing follow-up and review mechanisms at the regional level and allowing adequate policy space, we encourage all member states to identify the most suitable regional forum in which to engage. UN regional commissions are encouraged to continue supporting member states in this regard. Global level 82. The HLPF will have a central role in overseeing a network of follow-up and review processes at the global level, working coherently with the General Assembly, ECOSOC and other relevant organs and forums, in accordance with existing mandates. It will facilitate sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, and provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for follow-up. It will promote system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies. It should ensure that the Agenda remains relevant and ambitious and should focus on the assessment of progress, achievements and challenges faced by developed and developing countries as well as new and emerging issues. Effective linkages will be made with the follow-up and review arrangements of all relevant UN Conferences and processes, including on LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs. 83. Follow-up and review at the HLPF will be informed by an annual SDG Progress Report to be prepared by the Secretary General in cooperation with the UN System, based on the global indicator framework and data produced by national statistical systems and information collected at the regional level. The HLPF will also be informed by the Global Sustainable Development Report, which shall strengthen the science-policy interface and could provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policy-makers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development. We invite the President of ECOSOC to conduct a process of consultations on the scope, methodology and frequency of the Report as well as its relation to the SDG Progress Report, the outcome of which should be reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of the HLPF session in 2016. 84. The HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC, shall carry out regular reviews, in line with Resolution 67/290. Reviews will be voluntary, while encouraging reporting, and include developed and developing countries as well as relevant UN entities and other stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector. They shall be state-led, involving ministerial and other relevant high-level participants. They shall provide a platform for partnerships, including through the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders. 85. Thematic reviews of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, including cross-cutting issues, will also take place at the HLPF. These will be supported by reviews by the ECOSOC functional commissions and other inter-governmental bodies and forums which should reflect the integrated nature of the goals as well as the interlinkages between them. They will engage all relevant stakeholders and, where possible, feed into, and be aligned with, the cycle of the HLPF. 86. We welcome, as outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the dedicated follow-up and review for the Financing for Development outcomes as well as all the means of implementation of the SDGs which is integrated with the follow-up and review framework of this Agenda. The intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations of the annual ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development will be fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of this Agenda in the HLPF. 87. Meeting every four years under the auspices of the General Assembly, the HLPF will provide high-level political guidance on the Agenda and its implementation, identify progress and emerging challenges and mobilize further actions to accelerate implementation. The next HLPF, under the auspices of the General Assembly, will take place in 2019, with the cycle of meetings thus reset, in order to maximize coherence with the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review process. 88. We also stress the importance of system-wide strategic planning, implementation and reporting in order to ensure coherent and integrated support to implementation of the new Agenda by the UN development system. The relevant governing bodies should take action to review such support to implementation and to report on progress and obstacles. We welcome the ongoing ECOSOC Dialogues on the longer term positioning of the UN development system and look forward to taking action on these issues, as appropriate. 89. The HLPF will support participation in follow-up and review processes by the major groups and other relevant stakeholders in line with Resolution 67/290. We call on these actors to report on their contribution to the implementation of the Agenda. 90. We request the Secretary General, in consultation with Member States, to prepare a report, for consideration at the 70th session of the General Assembly in preparation for the 2016 meeting of the HLPF, which outlines critical milestones towards coherent efficient, and inclusive follow-up and review at the global level. This report should include a proposal on the organizational arrangements for state-led reviews at the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC, including recommendations on a voluntary common reporting guidelines. It should clarify institutional responsibilities and provide guidance on annual themes, on a sequence of thematic reviews, and on options for periodic reviews for the HLPF. 91. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to achieving this Agenda and utilizing it to the full to transform our world for the better by 2030.
Since April, more than 3,700 Cuban doctors, nurses and technicians have volunteered alongside health workers in 39 countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. They are members of Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade which has saved more than 80,000 lives worldwide since its formation in 2005.
For their selfless humanitarian work saving lives and promoting friendship and cooperation between nations, we join the international call for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to the Cuban health workers who form the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade.
Please add your name and encourage nominations
To the Nobel Peace Prize Committee:
As the world faces a global health crisis, thousands of Cuban doctors, nurses and technicians have responded to overseas requests for help by volunteering as part of the island’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade. From Jamaica to Italy and Angola to Azerbaijan, more than 3,700 Cuban medics have supported health workers in 39 countries in their fight against COVID-19.
“We were shipwrecked and you succour us without asking us our name or origin. After months of mourning, anguish and doubts, now we see the light.” These were the moving words of Stefania Bonaldi, mayor of Crema, as she said farewell to the Cuban medics who helped treat coronavirus in Lombardy, one of the worst-affected provinces in Italy.
For their selfless work providing humanitarianism and hope to people across the globe, we are asking you to award them the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021.
The key principles of the brigade are health, peace, humanitarianism and solidarity, and since its formation in 2005, Cuban health workers have provided relief in emergencies regardless of politics or borders, treating almost four million people in 45 countries. Most notable recent examples include the doctors who worked in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
In the last fifteen years, 13,500 members of the Henry Reeve International Brigade have saved 93,000 lives during natural disasters and health emergencies. We believe that their inspirational internationalism deserves recognition.
Wendy Lee started this petition to Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP
Most Honourable Prime Minister, we are calling on you to reverse the July 2020 ministerial decision to approve a permit for quarrying and mining at Dry Harbour Mountain, also called Puerto Bueno Mountain, in keeping with your stated commitments to environmental sustainability and fighting Climate Change, and your recognition that “our natural heritage including our biodiversity and ecosystems are an important part of our material heritage,” and “our tourism product and the economic activity around it heavily depends on our environment and climate.”
In May 2020 a quarry application was refused by the Government’s regulatory agencies for seven solid reasons, including:
- The impact and loss of biodiversity and natural resources in an area of environmental significance and unique biodiversity that is irreplaceable;
- The proposed development is contrary to and not in keeping with the provisions of the St. Ann Confirmed Development Order, 2000;
- The area is not designated a Quarry Zone.
The project would have deleterious impacts on the environment of surrounding areas, air quality, public health, the hydrology, and the forested area, and would devastate existing and future tourism enterprises in the area, including over 50 resort villas with their many employees.
We urge you to engage local stakeholders in a meaningful process to see this unique limestone forest ecosystem protected and managed as a habitat conservation and research area for indigenous and endemic flora and fauna; a study site for fossils and geological features; a spectacular natural landscape; an archaeological site of importance to Jamaica’s cultural heritage; and an area of priceless value to the local residents for their quality of life as well as nature-based recreation and ecotourism opportunities.
- Although you, Prime Minister, have stated that any damage to the environment will be mitigated by the 72 conditions of the permit, we note the position of technical experts that:
- The impacts from a quarry of this size (50 hectares) cannot be effectively mitigated;
- No source of water has been identified for the project;
- A dry limestone forest ecosystem cannot be restored;
- Relocation of individual species would be futile if it were even possible;
- This area is earmarked for protection under the St. Ann Confirmed Development Order of 2000.
The application for quarrying was initially refused because it is absolutely incompatible with Jamaica’s framework of environmental policies, plans, laws and regulations that are in place to govern land use decision-making. The government of Jamaica has a duty to assess project applications based on how they comply with these provisions, and we remind you that there is no application and no EIA for the huge, multi-phase project just announced as the “ultimate goal” of the project by Bengal Development Limited / Jamaica World.
Prime Minister, please reconsider the decision to allow this project, and withdraw the permit!
From: Michael Heslop, Concerned US and global citizen
Dear President-Elect Joseph Biden,
I would like to extend to you and your Vice President-elect my sincerest congratulations on defeating the world’s most dangerous President, Donald Trump. As you know, nearly 76 million Americans including my wife and I, my brothers, nieces, friends, neighbors, students and other acquaintances voted for you to end the rising danger of racism, the pandemic and the economic depression of the Trump administration.
There is an enormous thirst for change from four miserable and ugly years of social, economic, cultural and political conflicts and divisions laced at every turn by Mr. Trump’s racist rhetoric.
To make matters worst, as you have rightly said, President Trump has “waved the white flag and walked off the battlefield against the pandemic” which has so far infected over 10 million Americans and killed close to 250,000 Americans.
Consequently, I am writing this letter to you against the backdrop of a huge thirst of Americans for fundamental changes in domestic and foreign policies after four years of disaster on both fronts.
I have noticed that many activists that campaigned and voted for your victory have addressed many domestic policy issues such as the climate crisis, income-wealth inequality, poverty, health, as well as digital and education disparities, among others.
However, there are a few foreign policy issues that I believe are primordial for you and your imminent administration.
I have heard many say that you are a “decent man”, “ a man of faith” and “a kind man”. Sir, I must be candid with you, because it took me a long time to accept these accolades about you given your voting record on US wars and other US interventions abroad. However, I believe that people can evolve and I hope that you and your administration will evolve and rapidly realize that just as the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging American resources and killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, it is doing likewise in many developing countries, particularly those that have been struggling to contain the pandemic under onerous US economic sanctions and blockades such as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Yemen and Iran to name a few.
President-Elect Biden, as you well know, the lives of the peoples in the cited countries matter as much as American lives. As such, I think that you have an opportunity to put into practice your decency, your Christian faith, your human kindness, and your willingness to fight and defeat the COVID19 pandemic, not only domestically within the US but also globally. As the soon to be leader of the most powerful country on the planet, you can exemplify those human traits that I have come to believe that you have by helping the global fight against the pandemic particularly in those countries that are severely constrained to get funds, medical resources like respirators, dialysis machines, all types of medicines, ambulances, medical personnel among others because of the US imposed sanctions.
In summary, Mr. President-elect, I am calling upon you to use your executive powers to at least facilitate the required resources getting into these sanctioned and blockaded countries, so that they may more effectively fight the pandemic and save the lives of tens of millions of their citizens. This, of course, will help the US to more effectively fight it here at home since citizens from these countries travel to the US and vice versa!
Further, Mr. President-elect, that monstrous US-Saudi led war in Yemen has gone on for much too long, killing tens of thousands of Yemeni babies, children, old people, workers and peasants. I also believe that you can end it immediately guided by your humanity upon taking office and allow resources including foods, medicines, make shift hospitals and other technologies to enter that famine ravaged and blood soaked country of Yemen that also has to fight the pandemic. Sir, can you imagine living in a country where bombs are being dropped indiscriminately on a people, blowing up houses, school buses, hospitals, causing the Yemeni people to be experiencing a famine at the same time that they are fighting the same pandemic that we in the US and the rest of the world are fighting, though with dwindling resources and chances to do all those things?
I am aware that you have suffered enormous personal losses and you have weathered them admirably while never forgetting them. Sir, that puts you in a position to empathize with all the peoples of the cited countries, many of whom have also lost loved ones like you because of the sheer constraints and severity of the US sanctions and the ongoing political and economic destabilization of those countries, as well as the random bombings of civilian targets in Yemen.
Sir, I firmly believe that you can and should urgently take these executive actions that will not only help to save potentially millions of lives frim the pandemic and from bombings but also from the US sanctions that are making it impossible for millions of people to live like human beings in their own countries. Moreover, Sir, I sincerely hope that you will pave the way for major diplomatic pathways to peaceful settlements of old conflicts and the improvement of America’s tarnished image in these countries and globally!
Mr. President-elect, I truly believe that the ball is in your court and that of your Vice President-elect to reimagine America’s role in the world as one of cooperating with all countries, big and small, rich and poor to end wars, spread peace, fight the climate crisis, poverty, income-wealth inequality, respect for each country’s sovereignty and to fight diseases including the current COVID19 pandemic which has already killed over 1 million of our fellow human beings globally!
A Concerned American and Global Citizen
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Cubans celebrate Cuban Culture Day this Tuesday to commemorate October 20th, 1868, the date in which Cuba’s National Anthem was sung for the first time.October 20th: Cuban Culture Day (+Video) – Via Radio Havana Cuba — The Cuban Window
Cubans celebrate Cuban Culture Day this Tuesday to commemorate October 20th, 1868, the date in which Cuba’s National Anthem was sung for the first time.
The Day of Cuban Culture also celebrates the date when the “mambi” or Cuban independence army under the command of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed the eastern city of Bayamo.
Today “La Marseillaise” is, for men and women around the world, a march that calls for rebellion and freedom, inspiring freedom fighters from around the globe. Cubans also had their Marseillaise, on October 20th, 1868, to launch the first war of independence against Spanish colonial rule, which lasted ten years.
The history of the Cuban National Anthem dates back to August 13th, 1867, when the Revolutionary Committee of Bayamo met in the house of lawyer Pedro Figueredo, nicknamed “Perucho”, to develop plans that should trigger the Cuban independence movement. In that meeting Figueredo himself thought of writing “our Marseillaise.” In the morning of August 14th, Bayamo revolutionaries composed the melody that would become our national anthem. It was called “La Bayamesa” as an expression of its revolutionary nature and the place where national rebellion had started: Bayamo.
On May 8th, 1868, Figueredo asked musician Manuel Muñoz Cedeño to make the musical arrangement, an epical march that would distance itself from sacred hymns, it would have to urge people to struggle for the release of the country from Spanish colonial rule and to encourage patriotic feelings. https://www.youtube.com/embed/r35TAqiOpIs?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
On June 11th, 1868, Figueredo managed to play it on the church of Bayamo. On October 10th, the Revolution began, and on the 18th the Liberation Army of the Republic of Cuba began taking over Bayamo. On October 20th, the city was finally taken over by the insurgents after Spanish authorities surrendered at 11 pm. Fourteen months after the composition of the Cuban national anthem’s melody, more precisely on October 20th, 1868, Figueredo added the lyrics to it.
Amidst the euphoria of the rebel troops, mixed with the jubilant crowd, next to the Father of the Cuban Homeland, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, and other revolutionary leaders, and amidst cries requesting the lyrics of the march, Figueredo took pencil and paper and, crossing one leg over his horse’s saddle, he wrote the lyrics. It was copied and passed around from hand to hand. That was the place where it was first performed by all who had gathered in the square, thus giving rise to the national anthem of Cuba.
Since then, its lyrics and music have inspired all the actions of the independence movement and today it’s an expression of the patriotic nature of the Cuban people.
Londres, 17 oct (Prensa Latina) Miembros de la organización británica Rock Around the Blockade, adscrita al Grupo Revolucionario Comunista del Reino Unido, exigieron hoy ante la embajada de Estados Unidos en esta capital el levantamiento del bloqueo norteamericano a Cuba. Los manifestantes, a los que se sumaron militantes de la Liga Comunista y activistas de […]Protestan contra el bloqueo a Cuba ante embajada de EE.UU. en Londres — Siempre con Cuba
On October 21 of last year, a day after the elections in which Bolivian President Evo Morales was declared winner, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro released a statement casting doubt on the electoral process due to an “inexplicable change in trend [of election results].”
Not long after, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) denounced the OAS’s bad analysis, noting that the trend didn’t change — it grew normally as a result of rural votes coming in. CEPR later realized that the OAS report used timestamps that were sorted alphabetically rather than chronologically. A coding error led to chaos and two massacres in Bolivia!
In Sunday’s elections, the People of Bolivia voted against fascism and neoliberalism and for peace and equality. The MAS party not only won the presidency, with candidate Luis Arce winning more than 50% of the votes, but it also won a majority in both houses. Mayor of Vinto Patricia Arce, who, in the midst of the coup a year ago was captured, beaten, brutalized, and dragged through the streets by right-wing thugs, was also elected senator in Sunday’s elections.
As we celebrate this democratic victory by the Bolivian people, we must also help them get justice for what the OAS did to their country. Demand that OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro resign now!
Almagro has refused to respond to questions from members of the U.S. Congress and the media about the OAS’s bogus analysis of the Bolivian elections and its role in the military coup. The reason is simple: he does not have any facts to stand on. He must resign from his post and be held accountable for the coup and the resulting extrajudicial executions and massacres in Bolivia. Join us in demanding his resignation!
The OAS is mostly financed by U.S. taxpayers — 60% of its budget comes from us. That means that our congresspeople have a duty to oversee the OAS and investigate the role it played in paving the way for a military coup. Join us in demanding accountability for how this money has been spent, or rather, misspent.
After having watched the burning of the Whipala (the colorful flag that represents Andean indigenous peoples) by the coup leaders’ police forces, today we see it waving again thanks to the determination of the Bolivian people. Now, let us help them close this dark era of their history and prevent Almagro from doing more damage in other Latin American countries.
The Network in Defense of Humanity Celebrates the Historic Popular Triumph in Bolivia
The Path of Sovereignty and Dignity has been Recovered
From the Network in Defense of Humanity, we join the deep emotion and the collective embrace that the peoples of the world give to Bolivians for recovering their democracy and the path of sovereignty that since 2006 they have been building with so much effort and dignity.
A democratic path that was interrupted by the thirst for oligarchic and colonial revenge of a de facto government; whose interests were concentrated in its privileges and totally alienated from the people. Today that group servile to imperial interests is defeated by the greatness of the brave Bolivian people.
After 11 months of dictatorship, the indigenous, peasant and worker political subject is once again leading his story, by reversing a coup d’état through the popular vote. Today they are giving a lesson in dignity and consciousness: the recovery of national sovereignty in the midst of a capitalist crisis and a serious pandemic that is striking all of humanity. Today the progressive political forces and the courageous Bolivian people, evicted with violence and support by the US government, the Organization of American States and all the right-wing in the region, are giving an example of dignity and full exercise of the democratic game.
The coup d’état was the work of US imperialism and the Organization of American States (OAS) through renewed interference. It was an attack against the people and their leaders by exercising a fierce and criminal political and judicial persecution complete with threats to the life and integrity of all Bolivian citizens, the assassination of 37 people, 860 injured, attempts at proscription, more than a thousand illegal detainees, the imprisonment of former authorities in the Mexican embassy without the right to safe-conduct, the exile of hundreds of political and social leaders and thousands of other humiliations.
All these crimes against humanity should be charged to the long record of coups d’état accumulated by the OAS…Record renewed by its current Secretary-General, Luis Almagro. We accompany the denunciation before the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and we hope for prompt answers to leave behind the interference.
We want to send to the Bolivian people the immense embrace that all good and hard-working people of the world have. We will not forget the lives lost, the people injured and imprisoned, the families mutilated by the thirst for revenge and racism.
The Bolivian people is a people with memory, with organization, with dignity won through struggle and thanks to the conscience of that people, they could not postpone the elections any longer and with the integrity of knowing they are on the road to justice they made the ballot boxes explode in a clamor that vindicates their whole history.
With our brothers Lucho Arce and David Choquehuanca, together with the historic leadership of Comrade President Evo Morales; the people return to govern the Plurinational State of Bolivia, now with the strength gained in these days of tenacious resistance. The triumph of the revolutionary forces in Bolivia shows that the “progressive cycle” that we undertook in the new millennium is alive and that this is the only path for the emancipation and independence of our America.
Our America, October 19, 2020
The Network in Defense of Humanity
Translation by Resumen Latinoamericano
The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration congratulate the People of Bolivia and the Socialist Leaders of Bolivia
The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration congratulate the People of Bolivia and the Socialist Leaders of Bolivia for showing the world that Socialism is possible. Our Socialist Movement in the Americas is stronger today and this Movement is lead by the Socialist Movements in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Argentina. The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration call on the People of the Caribbean to look at what is happening in Latin America for the working classes and I am calling on the People of the Caribbean to let us develop a similar revolutionary approach for the development of our People.
Long live the Socialist Movement in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration
Good report from BreakThrough News. After 11 months of intense struggle, the Bolivian people have defeated the coup regime. “Socialist candidate Luis Arce wins the Bolivian presidency in a stunning vindication for the party of Evo Morales. BreakThrough speaks with Zoe PC, international election observer and reporter with People’s Dispatch, currently in La Paz.”
When all else fail, the power of the people will win under the right circumstances. Today, the power of the Bolivian people has won again.
Congratulations to MAS and all its allies on this victory!!
That power has to act with a lot more vision to transform the state machinery that was used to crush the people. That electoral power to form the government should NEVER be confused with political power until the common people, the workers, peasants, students, unemployed, youths, underemployed and progressive artists and cultural workers including the intellectuals and professionals have control over all the political institutions of the state.
Until then political power, state power will be in the hands of the oligarchy and imperialism to crush the people again!
So this victory is great but it’s putting the people back where they were in 2017 when the oligarchy and imperialism used the army, the police and other political organs of power to crush the capacity of MAS to win elections.
The MAS has to learn the lessons of its defeat otherwise it will leave the political power of the state in the hands of the same neo-fascist and racist class enemies who overthrew them, tortured them, killed them and jailed them a few years ago. They are still ready for a blood bath!
Now is the time for vigilance as the neofascists and their imperialist allies are right now scheming and plotting their next step both in La Paz and Washington DC!!
The Unitel-Ciesmori estimate showed the Luis Arce-David Choquehuanca ticket of the MAS winning over 52% of the vote. Shortly after, the president of the coup regime, Jeanine Añez, acknowledged the victory of the MASOctober 19, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca (fourth and fifth from left) shortly after the announcement of the Unitel-Ciesmori estimate.
“We have regained democracy and hope,” said Luis Arce of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), as both a private pollster and the president of Bolivia’s coup regime confirmed that the MAS ticket was set to win the presidential elections in the first round in Bolivia.
According to the Unitel-Ciesmori estimate, Luis Arce was shown as winning 52.4% of the vote while his nearest rival Carlos Mesa was shown as obtaining 31.5% of the vote in the elections held on Sunday, October 18.
Shortly after, the president of the coup regime, Jeanine Añez, in a tweet said that available information pointed to the victory of the Luis Arce-David Choquehuanca ticket.
Aún no tenemos cómputo oficial, pero por los datos con los que contamos, el Sr. Arce y el Sr. Choquehuanca han ganado la elección. Felicito a los ganadores y les pido gobernar pensando en Bolivia y en la democracia.
— Jeanine Añez Chavez (@JeanineAnez) October 19, 2020
According to Bolivia’s election laws, in order for a candidate to win in the first round, they must either secure more than 50% of the vote or more than 40% with a 10% lead over their nearest rival. The final results are awaited as the counting is proceeding.
Prior to the release of the Unitel-Ciesmori estimate, former president Evo Morales of the MAS, who was overthrown in a coup in November 2019, said that the party’s own internal tabulation mechanism showed the party had won the presidential election, as well as both houses of parliament. Luis Arce was the minister of economy and public finance in the Evo Morales administration. After the estimate by the pollster, Morales tweeted that the will of the people had won and that “we are going to return dignity and freedom to the people.”
Hermanas y hermanos: la voluntad del pueblo se ha impuesto.
Se ha producido una victoria contundente del MAS-IPSP. Nuestro movimiento político tendrá la mayoría en las dos cámaras. Hemos vuelto millones, ahora vamos a devolver la dignidad y la libertad al pueblo.#JallallaBolivia pic.twitter.com/gTHa6qRhTB
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) October 19, 2020
The election on Sunday was the first since the violent coup which was followed by massive persecution of the MAS, its members and sympathizers. Voting in Sunday’s election was largely peaceful and was marked by a high turnout. In the days preceding the elections, there was a huge amount of uncertainty about whether a free and fair election would be permitted and if its results would be recognized. On the day before the elections, the DIREPRE preliminary elections system was suspended and an armed mobilization had taken place outside La Paz. After polling closed, there was some confusion as the Unitel-Ciesmori estimate was delayed and there was a marked lack of transparency. The election observation delegation CODEPINK spoke to the media expressing these concerns and calling for greater clarity and openness in the process.
The information regarding the results was greeted with celebration by Bolivians and progressive sections throughout the world. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro tweeted that the people of Bolivia had, by their votes, defeated the coup that overthrew Evo Morales.
¡Gran Victoria! El pueblo boliviano unido y consciente derrotó con votos el golpe de Estado que le dieron a nuestro hermano Evo. Felicitaciones al presidente electo Luis Arce, al vicepresidente David Choquehuanca y a nuestro Jefe Indio del Sur @evoespueblo. ¡Jallalla Bolivia! pic.twitter.com/nZgOJs57hL
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) October 19, 2020
Former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, who was himself overthrown in a coup in 2009, congratulated the people of Bolivia for beating the coup and the fraud.
The universality of Fidel’s humanist ideas is recognized in every corner of the world, and he is known to be, above all, a man of peace.
On January 1, 1959 Cuba became free, independent, sovereign, and from that moment on it would have to struggle to cease being a country of illiterates deprived of culture and health for all. To do that it would have to attain economic development and social equality, a goal that Fidel knew could only be achieved in a context of peace, of civil tranquility, and with the participation of everyone; with the aggravating element of having to face the most powerful empire in history, which would require preparing for war as sole way of preventing it.
With this Cuban reality, our Commander in Chief succeeded in developing a political thought in which peace is inseparably linked with development and with social justice as inalienable principle, valid not just for our nation but for any place in the world where people struggle to build their own destiny.
When reflecting on the legacy of Fidel, who left us a vast and strategic arsenal of ideas to continue his struggle to conquer peace for all human beings in our planet, we must underline its full applicability even in the complex and dangerous situations in which the imperial oligarchies have placed the world, with the consciousness that there will be peace for all or no peace for anyone, and also conscious, like Fidel himself said at a meeting of the World Peace Council:
“(…) peace by itself is not the solution to all problems. Peace is only the primary condition to be able to apply consequently the huge volumes of energy and resources required to enable all humankind and not just a part of it to live in an honorable, decent and decorous way.”
 Susi Sarfati, Salomón. Diccionario de Pensamientos de Fidel Castro. Segunda edición revisada y ampliada, Editora Política, La Habana, 2016, p. 305
Source: Diario Vea
Statement by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, during the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Coordinating Bureau, October 9, 2020
october 12, 2020 10:10:00
His Excellency Mr. Djeyhun Bayramov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
Esteemed Ministers and Heads of Delegations;
Delegates and guests;
Sixty years after their adoption, the Bandung principles, which were the most immediate antecedent of the Non-Aligned Movement, remain fully valid and are ever more relevant.
We recognize the work carried out by the Presidency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Movement and its efforts to preserve and strengthen the indispensable activism of countries of the South.
The world situation is ever more dangerous. The main economic, military and technological power disregards multilateral bodies and agreements; violates International Law and the UN Charter and threatens international peace and security with its aggressive and arrogant behavior. Its attempts to impose domination and hegemony are renewed and strengthened. It promotes conflicts and unleashes wars claiming humanitarian reasons or alleged anti-terrorism struggles.
We are witnessing a continued modernization of nuclear weapons and an increase in military expenditures, instead of an increased allocation of resources to sustainable development. The gap between the North and the South is widening. It has been estimated that in 2019, the 1 percent richest owned twice as much the wealth of 6.9 billion persons. Meanwhile, very conservative data indicate that 600 million were living in extreme poverty; almost 690 million were starving and 5.2 million children below the age of five died, most of them of curable and preventable diseases.
The world’s economic situation is critical and is worsening due to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the underdeveloped world is bearing the brunt of this impact.
The irrational capitalist patterns of production and consumption are destroying the ecological balance in the planet. The unequal exchange persists and is worsening.
In some of our nations, the legitimate right to development is additionally limited by the imposition of unilateral coercive measures.
The foreign debt that suffocates underdeveloped countries, particularly under the conditions imposed by this pandemic, is unpayable and uncollectable and should be cancelled.
In this complex context, the Non-Aligned Movement, the main political coordination mechanism of the countries of the South, must assume a key role in the defense of our peoples’ demands. Since its inception, the Movement has supported struggles against colonialism, neocolonialism and apartheid, in favor of the Palestinian cause, nuclear disarmament, peace and a new and more just, democratic, equitable international economic order.
In order to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, the Movement, under the leadership of Azerbaijan, has emphasized the role of the World Health Organization and the importance of solidarity and international cooperation. Cuba takes pride in having made a modest contribution to these efforts, despite the restrictions imposed by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States and its cynical, brutal campaign against Cuba’s medical cooperation.
Inspired by the principles of Bandung and the Principles and Purposes of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries agreed at the Fourteenth Summit held in Havana in 2006, the preservation of peace should be our most urgent goal in view of the present global context. Our movement includes the majority of all countries and UN member states. If we stand together, our voice cannot be ignored. The Movement will always be able to count on Cuba in this endeavor.
Thus, we strongly believe that, as was stated by Comandante en jefe Fidel Castro Ruz at the Seventh Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in New Delhi, India, and I quote: “the Non-Aligned countries will continue advancing in their inalienable role as defenders of peace, national independence and development; strengthening our cohesion and unity and honorably fulfilling the difficult duties imposed on us by these critical times.”
To the Norwegian Nobel Committee
Mrs. Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair
Subject: Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the “Henry Reeve” International Contingent of Doctors
Dear members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Dear Mrs. Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair
We address you in a time of great challenges for humanity and also a time of the greatest need for solidarity. The COVID-19 pandemic is yet another instance of how essential international solidarity is in the promotion of a just peace and the alleviation of people’s suffering during emergencies. And it is in this sense that we see as the most sincere example of such international solidarity the work that the Cuban medical contingent “Henry Reeve” has been performing since much before the coronavirus outbreak was announced. That fact leads us to urge you to acknowledge how valiant and exemplary the group’s endeavor is by endowing it the Nobel Peace Prize.
The various Cuban medical groups currently work saving lives in 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean; 27 African countries; 2 in the Middle East and 7 in Asia. They have been bringing people humanitarian medical assistance for about 60 years, in a long lasting Cuban tradition of humanist care for other peoples which is carried out even in the face of dire economic challenges for the Island, which suffers from the extremely harsh sanctions that, in a stark contrast with Cubans’ disposition, also lasts over six decades and impose grave hardships on the Cuban people. Still, Cubans have overcome this barrier to show the world how best to build peace and bridge, so that other peoples may have the chance to overcome their own challenges and not lose their lives before they accomplish that. The Cuban brigades have worked in countries such as Peru, in the aftermath of the 1970 devastating earthquake that killed 80,000 people and displaced thousands of families (note that Cuba and Peru did not have diplomatic relations and still, the former has sent assistance); in Haiti, during the cholera crisis; in various African countries, fighting Ebola; and Latin America and the Caribbeans, with a wide range of programs that helped thousands of people.
The “Henry Reeve brigades”, as the emergency contingent is known, have a gigantic task that only a humanist endeavor could accomplish as it has. This huge challenge is in the designation: the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics.The contingent was launched in 2005 and named in honor of a young US activist who decided to join Cuba’s Liberation Army in solidarity with the Cuban’s struggle for independence. In about 28 brigades sent to 22 countries since its creation, more than 7,950 professionals have worked to surmount the effects of 16 floods, eight hurricanes, eight earthquakes and four epidemics. In the fight against COVID 19, the ever brave Cuban physicians promptly headed to several countries, including Italy, which was in March 2020 amongst the hardest hit by the outbreak. The brigades were requested by the governments of countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Italy, Suriname, Jamaica, Granada, Andorra, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Dominica, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda.
There are 14 such brigades working with over 500 specialized doctors and other health professionals, valiant men and women who have been bringing much needed assistance to peoples in various countries and all continents, saving countless lives and showing the humane empathy and kindness for which they remain known wherever they have visited. This work is key in building peace amidst violent and structural conflicts and in setting conditions for people to have their most basic needs met in conditions of disaster and extreme impoverishment. For this principled commitment to peace and solidarity turned into concrete, verifiable action, hence, the brigades are more than qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize.
For that reason, representing dozens of national peace committees in about 100 countries that are members of our World Peace Council, we join countless other organizations, parliamentarians, and diverse peace-loving-people in endorsing the nomination of the Henry Reeve contingent for the Nobel Peace Prize. The WPC is an international non-governmental organization relentlessly promoting peace and opposing wars, with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
President of the World Peace Council and former Federal Deputy in the Brazilian House of Representatives.
General Secretary of the World Peace Council, member of the Hellenic Parliament
October 8, 2020
To Members of the U.S. Congress,
We, the undersigned, U.S scholars at colleges and universities across the United States and other parts of the world, wish to express our deep concern regarding the troubling positions that the Trump administration has taken on Bolivia over the last eleven months, in particular its support for an unconstitutional political transition there in November of last year and its silence regarding numerous egregious human rights abuses perpetrated by Bolivia’s “interim” government. We are heartened, however, to see the letters and statements from members of Congress, including Bernie Sanders, Jan Schakowsky, Henry Johnson, Deb Haaland, Barbara Lee, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Chuy García, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressely and others, that called attention to the abuses of the Jeanine Áñez government, which threaten the integrity of the country’s upcoming elections, and that criticized the Trump administration’s silence regarding these abuses.
On November 10, 2019, the democratically elected president of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, was forced to resign and flee the country under strong pressure from the military and mutinous police forces. Members of his family and officials from his party, MAS (Movement Toward Socialism), saw their homes set on fire and relatives of MAS politicians were physically attacked in order to force the officials to resign. Almost three weeks earlier, on October 20th, President Morales had won a fourth term in office receiving a 47 percent plurality with an over 10-point margin against the closest competitor, sufficient to avoid a runoff. Though the opposition and an OAS electoral mission questioned these results and alleged that intentional manipulation of the vote had taken place, its statistical claims were debunked by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and by independent researchers from MIT, the University of Michigan, Tulane University and University of Pennsylvania.
Following on the mandate set by social movements, since taking office in 2006, Morales—the first indigenous president of the country with the largest percentage of indigenous population in South America—had embarked on a widespread project of social reform. Early on in his administration, the rights of indigenous communities, which had been marginalized for centuries despite making up between 41 and 62 percent of the population, were recognized under a new constitution approved in 2009 by over 60 percent of voters. Under Morales, government programs reduced overall poverty by 40 percent, and extreme poverty by 60 percent. Important headway was made through grassroots initiatives on the perennial challenges of illicit coca cultivation, by establishing indigenous community control and negotiation to create a system that reduced the coca destined for cocaine production. Such an accomplishment is even more remarkable considering that in Colombia, where U.S. taxpayers have spent over $10.5 billion since 2000 on military equipment and toxic aerial fumigation, land used for coca cultivation has gone up about 45 percent a year since 2013.
While the MAS’s project improved the welfare of Bolivia’s poor majorities, it was aggressively opposed by the country’s oligarchy and the white minority that has ruled since the 1500s and resented indigenous empowerment. Unable to defeat Morales at the ballot box, a right-wing portion of the business elite has sought his ouster through other means including promoting the secession of the country’s eastern departments (the right’s regional stronghold), the formation of so-called civic committees that include violent youth gangs who carry out racist attacks, and a barrage of media falsehoods.
The Áñez administration which has ruled Bolivia since the November 2019 coup has carried out major changes to the domestic and foreign policies made by Bolivia’s previous, elected, government. Her government has overseen massacres of protesters, threats against journalists, the incarceration of political prisoners—including prominent Afro-Bolivian union leader Elena Flores—the gutting of social programs, and corruption scandals. Under Áñez, government officials continuously characterize indigenous protesters as terrorists and drug traffickers, and she herself has labeled indigenous culture as satanic. Likewise, other coup leaders such as Luis Fernando Camacho, a multi-millionaire, Catholic fundamentalist with fascist tendencies, celebrated the MAS’s ouster as marking “the return of God” to the presidential palace.
Following three postponements, Bolivia’s elections are set to take place on October 18. We are gravely concerned, however, about the threatening political environment spurred by the interim government and other coup supporters. The Áñez administration continues in its attempt to criminalize and remove the leaders of the nation’s largest party, the MAS, with dubious corruption and terrorism charges. In addition, over 50,000 Bolivians living abroad have seen their right to vote suppressed. Even more alarming are recent accounts of false-flag operations, planned acts of violence that would be falsely attributed to MAS. Such sabotage would create a climate of fear, to justify further postponing the election and banning MAS from participating.
It is essential that members of Congress continue to closely monitor the situation and speak out against the Áñez government’s persecution of political opponents and any other actions that undermine democracy. Members of Congress concerned about democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the region should also remain vigilant regarding the words and actions of U.S. administration officials and senior officials at the Organization of American States, given their tacit and sometimes overt support for the forced removal of Bolivia’s democratically-elected president and in favor of the unelected Áñez government, despite its lamentable human rights record. With recent polls showing MAS attaining 40 percent of the vote with an almost 10 point lead compared to the next closest party, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro is already casting doubt over their potential win, signaling that such a victory would be fraudulent.
We urge members of Congress to support free and fair elections in Bolivia and be prepared to hold U.S. and OAS officials to account if they contribute to any further deterioration of democracy and human rights in Bolivia.