Archive for the Cuba Category

‘Spring Rising’ Protests decry 12 years of U.S. wars abroad [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Cuba, DPR Korea, Genocide, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Obama, Pakistan, Palestine, Pentagon, Philippines, Police brutality, Police State, Russia, Ukraine, US drone strikes, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, War crimes on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 23, 2015

Antiwar actions called Spring Rising, focusing on the 12th anniversary of the criminal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and continued war in Afghanistan, were held in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis and other cities around the United States. Spring Rising was initiated by Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist and mother of U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq.

In Washington there were four days of actions, including a teach-in, political lobbying and a bus tour of sites of war contractors. The culminating action was on March 21, with a rally of several hundred people, some carrying U.S.-flag-draped coffins, that gathered in front of the White House and marched to the Capitol, with stops at the offices of defense contractors.

Groups that sent delegations to D.C. included Code Pink, Answer Coalition, United National Antiwar Coalition, Veterans for Peace, World Can’t Wait, World Beyond War, Fight Imperialism, Stand Together and the International Action Center.

IAC participants came from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Durham, N.C., and linked the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the U.S support of armed fascist, right-wing and mercenary forces in Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria, as well as to racist and militarized police repression at home.
San FranciscoPhoto: Alyssa Eisenberg

San Francisco
Photo: Alyssa Eisenberg

Anti-war demonstrators rallied March 21 at Powell and Market streets in San Francisco and then marched through the downtown area to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Demonstrators raised a number of demands: “Stop President Obama’s AUMF” (the proposed new three-year authorization for the use of military force); “End U.S. war and occupation;” “In the Middle East and Central Asia — U.S. out!;” “No to U.S. sanctions and intervention” against Iran, Venezuela, Korea, Cuba, Mexico, Russia, Philippines, Haiti and everywhere; and “Free Palestine — End U.S. Aid to Israel — Fund People’s Needs, Not Endless War.”

The protest was initiated by the Answer Coalition and endorsed by many groups, including the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, the Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition, BAYAN USA, Haiti Action, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Middle East Children’s Alliance, the Palestine Youth Movement and Workers World Party.

Indicting ‘Hellfire Reaper’ brass

Two actions in central New York protested the anniversary of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. On the morning of March 19, seven members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars were arrested after trying to deliver a “citizen’s indictment” for war crimes to Hancock Air Base commanders. Demonstrators also blockaded the main gate of the base with giant books, including “Living under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan,” a report from New York University and Stanford law schools.

Soldiers dragged the books away as “evidence,” opening the possibility that their anti-U.S. war information could be introduced at future activist trials.

“Hellfire” Reaper drones targeting Afghanistan are piloted out of Hancock by soldiers in the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard. Drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians are also trained at the base. Common Dreams estimates that over 2,500 people have been killed by U.S. covert drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. (commondreams.org)

On Feb. 17, the Obama administration okayed the widespread export of U.S. armed drones, as U.S. defense corporations push for bigger profits in the global drone market.

The Upstate Coalition has waged a nonviolent campaign against drone warfare at the base since 2010; there have been over 160 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock in the last five years.
Syracuse, N.Y.Photo: Ellen Grady

Syracuse, N.Y.
Photo: Ellen Grady

In the afternoon people assembled at a downtown Syracuse, N.Y., street corner and held up signs protesting past and present wars, including Obama’s request for new war powers from Congress. One speaker talked of being in Baghdad in 2003 as part of a U.S. peace delegation and confronting U.S. Marines who entered the city during the U.S. “Shock-and-Awe” offensive.

A Syracuse University student denounced extensive military funding at the school, including the new Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and the drone-radar defense contractor, Syracuse Research Corporation.

As a steady stream of workers driving home honked in support of the rally, a military veteran spoke of the dreadful effects of war on U.S. soldiers. In addition to post-traumatic stress disorder, he named sexual assaults on 25 percent of women soldiers by other U.S. soldiers and homelessness. Twenty-five percent of homeless people are vets, who are disproportionately people of color.

From reports by Sara Flounders, Terri Kay and Minnie Bruce Pratt.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/03/23/protests-decry-12-years-of-u-s-wars-abroad/

Fidel Castro cautiously supports Cuba’s reconciliation with U.S. [Xinhua]

Posted in Cuba, Fidel Castro, Havana, US imperialism, USA on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

HAVANA, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Cuba’s former president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro expressed his cautious support for the peaceful solution to the 50-year-odd controversy [sic] with the United States.

In a message to the University Young [sic]Federation published Tuesday by Cuba’s official daily “Granma”, Castro, 88, wrote that he does not trust the U.S. policies, but that does not mean a rejection to a peaceful solution of conflicts and dangers of war.

“Defending peace is a duty of all,” said the veteran revolutionary.

“Any peaceful and negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America, not involving force or the use of force, should be handled according to international principles and standards,” he said.

“We will always defend the cooperation and friendship with all peoples of the world, including those of our political opponents,” he added.

Castro stressed that the Cuban president (Raul Castro) has taken appropriate steps according to his prerogatives and powers granted by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba.

This is the first time that the former Cuban leader spoke of the resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, which was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17…

Edited &excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2015-01/27/c_133951254.htm

“Statement of President Raúl Castro” on normalization of US-Cuban relations [Workers World]

Posted in Canada, Cuba, Fidel Castro, Havana, Obama, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on December 28, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Dec. 22, 2014

The Cuban government released the following statement by President Raúl Castro on Dec. 17.

Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated on many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national independence and self-determination of our people.

This stance was conveyed to the U.S. government both publicly and privately by Comrade Fidel on several occasions during our long-standing struggle, stating the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.

The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices, have proven to be faithful and will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we have kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died in defense of our principles since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868.

Today, despite the difficulties, we have embarked on the task of updating our economic model in order to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.

As a result of a dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we have been able to make headway in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations.

As Fidel promised on June 2001, when he said, “They shall return!” Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio have arrived today to our homeland.

The enormous joy of their families and of all our people, who have relentlessly fought for this goal, is shared by hundreds of solidarity committees and groups, governments, parliaments, organizations, institutions and personalities, who for the last 16 years have made tireless efforts demanding their release. We convey our deepest gratitude and commitment to all of them.

President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people.

I wish to thank and acknowledge the support of the Vatican, most particularly the support of Pope Francisco, in the efforts for improving relations between Cuba and the United States. I also want to thank the government of Canada for facilitating the high-level dialogue between the two countries.

In turn, we have decided to release and send back to the United States a spy of Cuban origin who was working for that nation.

On the other hand, and for humanitarian reasons, today we have also sent the American citizen Alan Gross back to his country.

Unilaterally, as has always been our practice, and in strict compliance with the provisions of our legal system, the concerned prisoners have received legal benefits, including the release of those persons that the government of the United States had conveyed their interest in.

We have also agreed to renew diplomatic relations.

This in no way means that the heart of the matter has been solved. The economic, commercial and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must cease.

Though the blockade has been codified into law, the President of the United States has the executive authority to modify its implementation.

We propose to the government of the United States the adoption of mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalization of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter.

Cuba reiterates its willingness to cooperate in multilateral bodies, such as the United Nations.

While acknowledging our profound differences, particularly on issues related to national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, I reaffirm our willingness to dialogue on all these issues.

I call upon the government of the United States to remove the obstacles hindering or restricting ties between peoples, families and citizens of both countries, particularly restrictions on travelling, direct post services and telecommunications.

The progress made in our exchanges proves that it is possible to find solutions to many problems.

As we have reiterated, we must learn the art of coexisting with our differences in a civilized manner.

We will continue talking about these important issues at a later date.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/12/22/statement-president-raul-castro/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Victory! Cuban 5 are reunited and free at last [Workers World]

Posted in CIA, Cuba, Honduras, Obama, Panama, US Agency for International Development, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on December 20, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Cheryl Labash

Dec. 18, 2014

Dec. 17 — The government of the United States has done what it repeatedly swore it would never do: It has freed the last of the Cuban 5. Today Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino and Gerardo Hernández were finally released from U.S. jails after more than 16 years of unjust imprisonment. René González and Fernando González had already served their full prison terms and returned to Cuba.

Those whom René González termed “the jury of millions” — who had organized, picketed, written letters, signed petitions, collected money for newspaper ads, investigated, inveighed on parliamentarians, climbed mountains, rode bicycles, tweeted, wrote poems, plays, songs and more in every corner of the globe — rejoiced. The steadfast Cuban people joyfully welcomed their heroes: the five men who sacrificed so much to protect them from terrorist attacks launched from U.S. territory during the 1990s.

We can only imagine the joy of their families. A Miami court and the U.S. government had expected Gerardo to die in prison after he was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years.

Today, says the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, “Gerardo has now been reunited with Adriana, Ramón is back with Elizabeth and his three beautiful daughters, and Antonio is with his mother Mirta, the 84-year-old tireless inspiration of this struggle, who feared she would die before she saw her son back in Cuba.”

Workers World Party and many dedicated organizers in the U.S. share this awesome and joyous moment of victory.

Opening the prison doors for the Cuban heroes was only part of the top story today. In a broadcast speech, President Barack Obama outlined “charting a new course on Cuba,” and asserted, “Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas.” Washington has its eye on the April Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Yet a bill imposing sanctions on Bolivarian Venezuela is sitting on Obama’s desk. Will he veto it, as part of this new course? The Obama administration recognized the coup government in Honduras that has driven thousands of children to flee violent repression. Will it stop engineering coups and dictatorships in Latin America? What about the U.S. role in destroying the Mexican economy and turning it into a killing field? And, especially, will the U.S. end its blockade of Cuba?

For more than two years, the pressure for this moment has been building in the United States. Reflecting this pressure, seven New York Times editorials in recent months have advocated a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. The Associated Press ran a series that exposed Alan Gross, the contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development — often used as a cover for CIA operations — who was convicted by a Cuban court of having secretly and illegally installed military-grade communications devices on the island in violation of Cuba’s sovereignty and laws.

Cuba released Gross as soon as the Five were returned home, citing humanitarian reasons.

The AP continued its investigation of failed U.S. regime-change antics, including the “Cuban” twitter site Zunzuneo — another USAID program — and the recent infiltration of Cuban hip hop artists in an attempt to use them as unknowing instruments to undermine Cuba’s self-determination.

Polls have shown that sentiment in Miami now favors changing U.S. policy toward Cuba even more strongly than in the rest of the U.S. Since 1992, the U.N. General Assembly has voted almost unanimously every year for the U.S. to end the blockade.

As Obama himself admitted in his speech, the U.S. for more than five decades has tried “to push Cuba toward collapse.” And, he testified, it didn’t work.

* Development despite imperialist hostility *

Development in the hemisphere has been moving forward despite the machinations of the U.S.

Latin America and the Caribbean, including Cuba, have forged many interlocking levels of continental unity through the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. At the same time, the U.S. is still unable to recover from its 2007-2008 economic collapse, especially in regard to employment. Longshore union members report that the port of Tampa, Fla., is underutilized, while Cuba’s new automated container port in Mariel is ready to handle huge ships from Asia.

As long as the blockade is fully in place, it is U.S. trade with Cuba that suffers, while trade between Cuba and other countries continues, just 90 miles away. How long will European banks continue to pay U.S.-imposed fines for handling Cuban financial transactions? The old system of sanctions imposed by Washington has become untenable.

The people of the U.S. have also suffered from the blockade. They have been prevented from knowing the Cuban reality: that it is possible to do so much, even with scarce resources, when the power of the people is freed from capitalism.

In the U.S. a new militant movement led by Black and Brown youth is challenging the racism and repression embedded in capitalism. Don’t they want to learn how first-rate education and health care can be made available without throwing youth and workers into debt? They really want to see how a different world is possible. And couldn’t Detroit benefit from what Cuba has to offer?

The Cuban people, and particularly the Cuban Communist Party, are committed to socialism — making the goal of social production the needs and welfare of human beings, not profits for a few. They are well aware and capable of dealing with any challenges to come. Now there are five additional leaders, tested by long years of U.S. imprisonment, who can help chart this new future.

Volvieron! They have returned!

Cheryl LaBash has been an organizer with the International Committee to Free the Cuban 5 since 2006 and is a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/12/18/victory-cuban-5-reunited-free-last/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

‘Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.’ – exposure of recent USAID subversion attempts in Cuba from “The Anti-Empire Report #131” [Williamblum.org]

Posted in Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru, Torture, US Agency for International Development, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on November 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By William Blum – Published August 11th, 2014

…The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government … Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba …

Our dear friends at the Agency For International Development (USAID), having done so well with their covert sub-contractor Alan Gross, now in his fifth year in Cuban custody … and their “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo, exposed in 2012, aimed at increasing the flow of information amongst the supposedly information-starved Cubans, which drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the US government … and now, the latest exposure, a project which sent about a dozen Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of stirring up a rebellion; the travelers worked clandestinely, using the cover of health and civic programs, or posing as tourists, going around the island, on a mission to “identify potential social-change actors” to turn into political activists. Can you believe that? Can you believe the magnitude of naiveté? Was it a conviction that American exceptionalism would somehow work its magic? Do they think the Cuban people are a bunch of children just waiting for a wise adult to come along and show them what to think and how to behave?

One of these latest USAID contracts was signed only days after Gross was detained, thus indicating little concern for the safety of their employees/agents. As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.” 5

It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force. But it’s this Cuba that doesn’t beat or torture detainees that is the enemy to be reformed and punished without mercy … 55 years and counting…

Excerpted; full article link (with footnotes): http://williamblum.org/aer/read/131

World Federation of Trade Unions says Ebola virus deaths facilitated by imperialism [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Cuba, IMF - International Monetary Fund, U.K., US imperialism, World Health Organization on November 1, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Workers World staff on October 21, 2014

Following is an edited statement issued by the World Federation of Trade Unions’ Secretariat in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 15.

The Ebola epidemic that has struck mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of West Africa and threatens the entire world has killed thousands of people and caused panic to millions of others.

As high level officials of the World Health Organization confess, the epidemic has severely expanded over the last weeks and 70 percent of the people affected die because of the lack of proper health care facilities.

This epidemic brings in the forefront in the most tragic way the chronic and deep wounds in the African continent caused by colonialism, by the continuous plundering of the wealth-producing resources and by the high public debts that keep African states and their economies enslaved to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and monopoly cartels.

Crucial problems that in extraordinary conditions such as the one today can create an explosive atmosphere are: poverty, malnutrition, the lack of basic health care infrastructure and social welfare, the limited access to a system of public and free education capable of eradicating illiteracy and the effects of prejudices and superstitions, the slums that continue to exist being a disgrace for humanity and a danger to public health, the militarization and the state violence that are the answer of the panicked state mechanism.

The World Federation of Trade Unions expresses its indignation at the current situation in the existing health care facilities in the above-mentioned countries which result in medical personnel offering their services while risking their own lives without any safety measures (gloves, masks). As a result, deaths amongst medical personnel have risen to extreme levels.

The World Federation of Trade Unions and its members worldwide have in the past, with two International Action Days, denounced the role of the multinational pharmaceutical companies which profit from the people’s suffering.

State budget cuts in the funding of public institutions in the field of research, pharmaceutical production and health care in the USA and the European Union are aggravating the problems while working in favor of the privatization of those fields, the expansion of the control of the monopolies over the industry and against the satisfaction of the people’s needs.

It is very clear in the case of Ebola as well that as long as research, production and health care are ruled by the laws of monopoly competition and the profit system, the people will be suffering from diseases that should have long been extinct or adequately controlled.

Furthermore, in complete contrast to the imperialist policy of the USA and Britain, which in the midst of the crisis have seized the opportunity to send new troops to Africa, the World Federation of Trade Unions feels the need to congratulate the heroic decision of the Cuban government and the Cuban people to show in the most humanitarian way their solidarity with the people of Africa by sending to Liberia and Guinea a large group of doctors and medical personnel in order to assist in the efforts for the relief of the Ebola patients. More than 50,000 Cuban doctors and medical personnel working in 66 countries around the world and specifically 4,000 in 32 African countries, are offering high level health services as a form of practical solidarity.

We congratulate our affiliate, the CTC Cuba [the Cuban Workers’ Central Union] and its members in the health sector who heroically prove their international solidarity.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 90 million workers in 126 countries, reaffirms its consistent position that preventive health care on a framework of a public, free and adequate health care system is the best solution in all health issues.

The WFTU struggles for:

The creation of contemporary, adequate and fully equipped institutions of health care in all countries that will be part of a broad, public, free and centrally designed health care system to offer to all the population proper health care services at all stages of their lives. The sufficient number of medical personnel, the satisfaction of the labour rights and the proper conditions of hygiene and safety are important factors.

The formation of public institutions of research, production and distribution of free or cheap pharmaceutical supplies, medicine and vaccination to all the people.

The eradication of illiteracy by securing access for all people to a public and free education.

For state policy that will solve the housing problems in many countries.

The elimination of poverty and hunger. The African continent is rich in natural resources and agricultural capabilities. If those are put in the control and the service of the people, it would help greatly in the rapid improvement of the living standards of the ordinary people and to the drastic elimination of diseases and poverty.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/10/21/world-federation-trade-unions-says-ebola-virus-deaths-facilitated-imperialism/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

“Break the silence: a world war is beckoning” by John Pilger [JohnPilger.com]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-communism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Chile, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Iran, NATO, Russia, State Department, Ukraine, US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Venezuela on May 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

13 May 2014

Why do we tolerate the threat of another world war in our name? Why do we allow lies that justify this risk? The scale of our indoctrination, wrote Harold Pinter, is a “brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis”, as if the truth “never happened even while it was happening”.

Every year the American historian William Blum publishes his “updated summary of the record of US foreign policy” which shows that, since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders.

In many cases Britain has been a collaborator. The degree of human suffering, let alone criminality, is little acknowledged in the west, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications and nominally freest journalism. That the most numerous victims of terrorism – “our” terrorism – are Muslims, is unsayable. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Anglo-American policy (Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan) is suppressed. In April the US state department [sic] noted that, following Nato’s campaign in 2011, “Libya has become a terrorist safe haven”.

The name of “our” enemy has changed over the years, from communism to Islamism, but generally it is any society independent of western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory. The leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. All are subjected to a western media campaign of caricature and vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, now Vladimir Putin.

Washington’s role in Ukraine is different only in its implications for the rest of us. For the first time since the Reagan years, the US is threatening to take the world to war…

Excerpted; full article link: http://johnpilger.com/articles/break-the-silence-a-world-war-is-beckoning