United States

  • Published on 22/03/16 by teleSUR

    OBAMA 2

    Below we look at how the United States government has provided “assistance” in order to sow dissent within Cuban society.

    President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with U.S.-backed opposition organizations on Tuesday in Cuba as part of his visit to the island.          

    Leading up to his meeting, teleSUR takes a look at the historic ties between Cuban dissidents and the U.S. government.

    Despite the thawing of diplomatic relations, the U.S. government continues to provide financial “assistance” to individuals and groups dedicated to "regime change" in Cuba.

  • Published by 17 November 2015 by Granma

    wet-foot-dry-foot

    Over the last few days, a complex situation has developed involving more than 1,000 Cubans who have arrived in Costa Rica, from other countries in the region, with the intention of traveling to the United States.

    These persons left Cuba in a legal manner to travel to various Latin American countries, meeting the requirements established by Cuban migratory regulations. In an attempt to reach United States territory, they have become victims of traffickers and criminal gangs which unscrupulously profit from their control of the passage of persons through South America, Central America and Mexico.

    Cuban authorities have maintained ongoing contact with the governments of the countries involved, with the goal of finding a rapid, appropriate solution, which would take into consideration the wellbeing of the Cuban citizens.

    The Ministry of Foreign Relations would like to emphasize that these citizens are victims of the politicization of the migration issue on the part of the United States government, the Cuban-American Adjustment Act, in particular, and the application of the so-called “wet foot-dry foot” policy, which gives Cubans differentiated treatment - the only one of its kind in the world - which admits them immediately and automatically, regardless of the route or means used, even if they arrive in an illegal manner to U.S. territory.

    This policy encourages irregular immigration from Cuba to the United States, and constitutes a violation of the letter and spirit of Migratory Accords currently in effect, in which both countries assumed the responsibility to guarantee legal, safe, orderly emigration.

  • Published on 24 September 2015 by TeleSUR

    Cristina Escobar speaks with statesman, diplomat and former National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada. Our guest doesn’t fear domination because the U.S. has finally hoisted its flag on Cuban soil, as every other country in the world has done. Cuba, he says, will continue to be a small independent nation next to a big country that poses a threat to humanity. One challenge is to strengthen democracy. How? By continuing to uphold a system of social and economic justice and equality in which the voters control the elected officials --in which the people aren’t spectators, but protagonists. 

  • Published on 12 October 2016 by Granma.

    french bank fined

    Despite the establishment of a historic dialogue with Havana on December 17, 2014, and regardless of the official visit of President Barack Obama to the island in March 2016, Washington continues to apply economic sanctions against the Cuban population, sparking the incomprehension of the international community. Established in 1960, during the Cold War, the sanctions (an economic, commercial and financial blockade of the country) persist more than half a century later, cause major difficulties for the Cuban economy and inflict unnecessary suffering on the most vulnerable sectors of the population. Their high cost and extraterritorial reach prompt unanimous rejection by the international community.

    However, the resolution of this asymmetrical conflict depends on the executive branch of the U.S. government, which has the necessary prerogatives to dismantle much of the framework of the sanctions imposed on the island.

  • First published on 13 April 2016 by Huffington Post

    clinton

    The past week has not been a good one for the Clintons, in terms of foot-in-mouth disease. First Bill Clinton accused Black Lives Matter protesters of supporting murderers. This is something you might expect to erupt from the foul mouth of a Donald Trump or a Rush Limbaugh. Did Bill Clinton really say this? Yes — and then went on to whitesplain to them how “Black lives matter” in Africa, too.

    Then Hillary had an meeting with the New York Daily News editorial board in which — for the first time in this campaign or possibly ever — she was asked by a journalist about her role in Honduras following the 2009 military coup. Her response was embarrassing. First, she seemed to defend the coup by saying that the Honduran judiciary and legislature “followed the law” in removing the president.

    For those who don’t remember, this was a coup in which the military kidnapped the democratically elected president, in his pajamas, and flew him out of the country. It’s hard to see how anyone “followed the law” here — even if the judiciary and legislature didn’t give the order to the military, they certainly supported it. The rest of the world sure saw it as an illegal military coup, including Hillary’s top advisors.

    Hillary’s own director of policy planning, Anne-Marie Slaughter urged her to “find that [the] coup was a ‘military coup’ under U.S. law and revoke the visas of more de facto regime members;” she worried in the same email that “high level people from both the business and the NGO community say that even our friends are beginning to think we are not really committed to the norm of constitutional democracy.”

  • Published on 7 April 2016 by Cubadebate. Written by Agustín Lage Dávila
     
    viva-cuba-libre
     I had the chance to participate in various meetings with the delegation that accompanied President Obama [to Cuba] and hear him speak three times; and now I feel a need to share my interpretation of what he said, and also what he didn’t say— since in politics what is left out is often as important as what is said.

    There are two complementary angles from which to interpret both this visit and the entire process of attempting to normalize relations: what they mean for assessing the past, and what they mean as we move towards the future.

    Looking to the past, it is clear that the recently initiated process of normalizing relations between Cuba and the United States must be interpreted as a victory, writ large, of the revolutionary and socialist people of Cuba, of their convictions, their capacity for resistance and sacrifice, their culture, their ethical commitment to social justice; and as a victory for Latin American solidarity with Cuba.

    There are some things so obvious to us Cubans that sometimes we forget to underscore them.

    • This normalization process was started during the lifetimes of the historic leadership of the Revolution, and has been conducted by leaders of that same generation.
    • It implied recognition for the institutional legitimacy of Cuba’s revolution, recognition denied to our Liberating Army in 1898, and also to the Rebel Army in 1959 (although, yes, accorded to the dictatorships of Gerardo Machado and Fulgencio Batista).
    • It included explicit recognition of the Revolution’s accomplishments, at least in education and health (the two that were mentioned).
    • It included explicit recognition of Cuban assistance offered in solidarity to other peoples of the world, and its contribution to such noble causes as global health and the elimination of apartheid in Africa.
    • It included explicit acceptance of the fact that decisions about changes and socioeconomic models in Cuba belong exclusively to Cubans, that we have (and have earned) the right to organize our society differently from the way others do.
    • It implied a declaration to abandon the military and subversive option, as well as the intent to abandon coercion, as instruments of US policy towards Cuba.
    • It expressly acknowledged the failure of policies hostile to Cuba implemented by preceding administrations, which implies (although not declared as such) recognition for the conscious resistance offered by the Cuban people, since hostile policies only fail in the face of tenacious resistance.
    • It recognized the suffering the blockade has caused the Cuban people.
    • This process did not emerge from concessions by Cuba of a single one of our principles; or from backing off on demands to end the blockade and return the illegally occupied territory in Guantánamo.
    • It included public acknowledgment that the United States was isolated in Latin America and the world because of its policy towards Cuba.
    I don’t believe that any reasonable, informed person in today’s world could interpret this normalization process as anything but a victory for Cuba in its historic differendum with the United States.
    Looking to the past, this is the only possible interpretation.
    Now then, looking to the future, things are more complicated, and there are at least two possible and extreme interpretations, as well as their intermediate variations:
    • The hypothesis of perverse conspiracy
    • The hypothesis of divergent conceptions about human society

    Both are being debated on Cuban street corners. Readers should be aware at this point that I don’t plan to argue for one or the other of these two hypotheses, or for any combination of the two. Future developments will put them to the test, and everyone will be able to draw their own conclusions from this “passage into the unknown.”

    Those who defend the hypothesis of perverse conspiracy see President Obama’s words as false promises or subtle deception, at the service of a plan conceived for us to open our doors to US capital and the influence of its mass media; allow a privileged economic sector to expand in Cuba, one that with time would be transformed into the social base for the restoration of capitalism and renunciation of national sovereignty. That would be the first step towards returning Cuba to a country of rich and poor, dictators and gangsters— such as we had in the 1950s.

    Cubans who think this way have the right to do so: many past deeds in our common history justify such enormous mistrust. These are well known and I don’t need to list them here.

    Many people remember the famous phrase attributed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, referring to Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

    Of course neither President Obama, nor today’s generations of North Americans of good will (and there are many) are to blame, as individuals, for the first stages of this historical journey. But also, undeniably, the history is there and it conditions what they can do and the way we interpret what they do. History’s processes are much longer than a single human lifetime, and events occurring many decades ago influence our options now, because they influence collective attitudes that exist objectively and relatively independent of leaders’ ideas and intentions.

    Even distancing President Obama from the aggressive and immoral policies of previous administrations—those that organized invasions, protected terrorists, fomented assassinations of Cuban leaders and implemented intentions to starve the Cuban people into submission—even establishing this distinction, it can’t be forgotten that Obama alone is not the policy-making class in the United States.

    In all honesty, I should recognize that the impression given by President Obama here wasn’t as conveyor of a perverse conspiracy, but rather as an intelligent, educated man, who believes in what he says. What happens then is that the things he believes in (with every right) are different from those we believe in (also with every right).

    This is the second hypothesis then, the one concerning different conceptions of human society, differences that were quite evident in all that was said and also what was left unsaid, throughout the visit by President Obama and his delegation.

    They made it very clear that the main direction US relations with Cuba will take will be economic, and within the economic arena, the main strategy will be to engage with and support the non-state sector.

    That was very clear, in the speeches and symbolic messages, taking distance from the socialist state-sector economy, as if “state” property were the property of some strange entity, not ownership by the whole people, as it is in reality.

    We agree that a non-state sector should exist in the Cuban economy. In fact, expanded space for self-employment and cooperatives is part and parcel of implementing the Guidelines that emerged from the 6th [Communist] Party Congress. But we disagree on the role that this non-state sector should have in our economy:

    • They see it as the main component of the economy; we see it as a complement to its main component, the socialist state enterprise. As a matter of fact, today the non-state sector, although providing nearly 30% of jobs, contributes less that 12% of the country’s GDP, an indication of its limitations in terms of value added.

    • They pose [the non-state sector] as equivalent to “innovation”; we see it as a sector with relatively low value added. Innovation is found in high tech and science, and their links with the socialist state enterprise. Cubans’ innovative spirit has been expressed over these past few years in many other ways, such as the development of biotechnology, its medicines and vaccines; massive training in new information technologies at the University of Informatics Sciences; urban agriculture; the energy revolution; and many other achievements during the Special Period [of dramatic economic crisis], none of which were mentioned in our visitors’ speeches.

    • They see private initiative as “empowering the people”; we see it as “empowering one part” of the people, and a relatively small part. The people’s role as protagonists is found in the state enterprises, and in our large publicly-funded sector (including health, education, sports and public safety), where the real work is done for all the people and where most of the wealth is created. We can’t accept the implicit message that the non-state sector is equivalent to “the Cuban people”. This wasn’t stated so brutally, but is quite clearly inferred from the discourse.

    • They tacitly separate the concept of “initiative” from state ownership. We see in the state sector our main opportunities for productive initiatives. That’s how I explained it in the Business Forum, using the example of the Molecular Immunology Center where I work, which I described as “a company with 11 million stockholders”.

    • They see the non-state sector as a source of social development; we see it as a double-edged sword, also a source of social inequalities (of which we already see evidence in such things as the recent debates on food prices), inequalities that will have to be controlled by fiscal policies that reflect our values.

    • They believe in the driving force of competition (although this concept has been questioned even by serious ideologues of capitalist economies). We are familiar with its rapacious nature, eroding social cohesion, and we believe more in the dynamic, the driving force, that emerges from programs that consider the whole nation.

    • They believe that the market efficiently distributes investments in response to demand; we believe the market doesn’t respond to real demand, but rather to “demand by those with money in their pockets”, and deepens social inequalities.

    • They base their case on the history of corporate development in the United States, a country whose economy took off in the 19th century, under global economic conditions unrepeatable today. We know that underdeveloped nations with dependent economies face different realities, especially in the 21st century; they won’t develop their economies, or their science and technology, based on small private, competitive initiatives, or by trying to reproduce the path of today’s industrialized countries 300 years later. That would be a recipe for perpetuating underdevelopment and dependence, with an economy designed as an appendage and complement to the US economy, something which Cubans already saw in the 19th century when such dependence submerged us in a single-crop economy and closed the door to industrialization. Understanding this comes from looking at history, and thus, history is something we can’t forget.

    Taking the road to civilized co-existence “with our differences” means the whole Cuban people need to arrive at a deep understanding of those differences, to keep specific and apparently rational decisions on tactical economic questions from leading to strategic errors; and worse still, allowing others to push us towards such errors, by virtue of what is said and what is left unsaid.
    We knew how to avoid such errors at the beginning of the Special Period, when the European socialist camp disappeared and the world was awash in the neoliberal ideology of the nineties. We will know how to do this even better now.

    Civilized co-existence certainly distances us from the risk and barbarity of war (both military and economic), but it doesn’t exonerate us from battling in the field of ideas.

    We need to win this battle of ideas in order to win the economic battle.

    Cuba’s 21st-century economic battle will be fought on three main fronts:
    1. The socialist state enterprise’s efficiency and growth capacity, as well as its insertion in the global economy
    2. The link between science and the economy, through high-tech companies, with products and services of high value added, that expand our export portfolio
    3. Conscious limitation on the extension of social inequalities, through action by the socialist state
    On these fronts the Cubans’ 21st century will be decided.

    The battle of ideas consists of consolidating our thinking and consensus about where we want to go and in concrete terms, how to get there.

    The Florida Straits’ waters shouldn’t be the scenario for war, and it’s very good for everyone that this be so. But for a long time, those waters will continue to separate two different conceptions of how human beings should live together, of the way people organize themselves to work and live in society, and of the distribution of the fruits of their labor. And it’s also very good that this be so. Our ideal for human society is rooted in our historical experience and in the collective soul of Cubans, brilliantly synthesized in José Martí’s thinking. He studied and understood US society better than anyone of his time, and said: “our life has no resemblance to it, nor should it at too many points.”

    Capitalism’s essential belief, even among those who sincerely think so, is that material prosperity is constructed on the basis of private property and competition. Ours is that creativity is motivated by ideals of social equity and solidarity among people, including future generations. Our concept of society represents the future…even if the future takes some time in coming, conditioned objectively by the present. It still represents the future for which we have to struggle.

    Private property and competition represent the past, and although this past still necessarily exists within the present, it continues to be the past.

    You always have to see the concepts behind the words spoken, and the reasons why other words are left unspoken.

    The battle for our ideal of how human beings should live together will be in the hands of today’s generations of young Cubans, who in their time will confront challenges different from the ones faced by 20th-century revolutionaries, but all the same great, transcendental and also more complex.

    Analyzing the these challenges’ complexities, I have to confess I’d like to enlist once again in the Union of Communist Youth, whose membership card (No. 7784 of 1963) sits on the desk in front of me. I’m still a communist, but I’ve had to accept that I’m no longer “young.” Yet what I can do is share with young people an analysis of what is being said today and what has been left unsaid, and together with them construct the intellectual tools we need for the battles ahead.

    José Martí wrote in April, 1895: “The biggest war unleashed against us will be in the realm of ideas: so we will win it with ideas.”

     

  • Published on 3 March 2016 by teleSUR.

    Obama

    The executive order, first signed by Obama last year, imposed sanctions on Venezuela.

     U.S. President Barack Obama renewed Thursday an executive order issued last March that declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” 

    The renewal of the decree is valid for one year and was revealed in a letter from Obama to congressional leaders. In the letter, the U.S. president claims that alleged conditions that first prompted the order had “not improved.”

    The executive order was first issued by Obama in March 2015 and provoked a storm of controversy inside Venezuela and a backlash throughout Latin America.

    Leaders from throughout the region condemned the decree.

  • Published on 22 March by Granma.

    raul and obama

    The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, set off from Havana’s José Martí International Airport aboard the Air Force One plane this Tuesday afternoon, bringing his official visit to Cuba, which began on Sunday March 20, to an end.

    He was accompanied and bid farewell at the airport by the President of the Councils of State and Ministers Raúl Castro Ruz.

    Obama will now travel to Argentina to meet with his counterpart Mauricio Macri.

    During his visit to the island, the U.S. President, together with his accompanying delegation, toured sites in Old Havana including the Plaza de Armas, the Captain Generals' Palace and the Cathedral of Havana, accompanied by City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler.

    On the morning of Monday, March 21, Barack Obama paid tribute to Cuba’s national hero, José Martí, laying a floral wreath to the monument in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, and held official talks with the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz. Following the talks, both presidents offered statements to the press, which received wide international media coverage.

  • Published on 30 March 2016 by Granma.

    obama speech

    Much more is revealed by what Obama didn’t say in Havana, than the little he did, no matter how choice his words. This is the same Obama who could do much more given his Presidential powers and yet has not. Dario Machado reports.  

    Like many others, I followed the visit by Barack Obama to our country and experienced mixed feelings: on the one hand, the healthy patriotic and revolutionary pride of witnessing a U.S. president rectifying the policy toward Cuba and repeating on our own soil that the blockade must be ended, reaffirming respect for our sovereignty and independence, which we Cubans have earned with our sacrifice, our sweat, our blood, our history; and on the other hand, the danger posed by those who believe that with these lukewarm changes, the contradiction between the interests of U.S. imperialism and the Cuban nation has disappeared. But it was only after listening to his speech that Tuesday morning that I decided to write this, because, as Fidel warned over half a century ago, from now on everything will be more difficult.

    Who could doubt the enormous complexity of U.S. society, where black and white analysis is of little value?

  • cuba facebook

    By Seamus O’ Tuairisc | FRFI

    The US has plans to make use of Facebook and other social media in order to generate political dissent in Cuba. The US government has charged the Miami-based network Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) with the task of overseeing the spread of propaganda and disinformation through social media. The OCB is a subsidiary of the state-owned Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an agency which owns and supervises other networks that broadcast pro-US propaganda overseas, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

  • By Eva Gollinger. Published on 18 November 2015 by Telesur English

    PDVSA NSA infograph

    Edward Snowden revealed to the world the 21st century spycraft in use against millions of innocent, unknowing people who now think twice about sending a text or an email. Amongst the documents obtained by Snowden were reports and details on surveillance of current and former heads of state, many of them from Latin America. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was outraged over revelations of NSA espionage against her government, including wiretaps of her own phone and email. Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was another major target of NSA operations. And now, Snowden has revealed the extensive espionage and penetration of the NSA in Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA, the lifeblood of the South American nation and fuel of Chavez's Bolivarian revolution.

    Just three years before Edward Snowden became a household name, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks had already released a massive trove of classified and secret documents from the Pentagon and State Department that exposed U.S. government involvement in coups, destabilization campaigns, mass espionage and war crimes. The dirty tactics, strong-arming and back-stabbing revealed in internal State Department cables shed glaring light on the lengths Washington will go to impose its agenda. Allies are treated as enemies, and adversaries as partners, so long as it advances the self-serving objectives of U.S. power.

    None of what Snowden or WikiLeaks revealed, as incredulous as it seemed to many, was surprising in Latin America. The region has been subjected to every tactic in the CIA book to ensure U.S. domination and control of its “backyard”. Throughout most of the 20th century, U.S. backed coup d’etats and interventions placed and removed heads of government, imposing School of the Americas-trained dictators that tortured, assassinated, disappeared, persecuted and incarcerated tens of thousands of civilians, disrupting and destabilizing their democratic, progressive movements and spiraling their nations into decades of darkness and brutality. When the dictators no longer served U.S. goals, they were switched out through coups or electoral processes heavily funded by U.S. agencies, ensuring an equally subservient leader would fill their shoes. 

    It wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century, with the election in Venezuela of President Hugo Chavez, that the region began to liberate itself from Washington’s iron grip. Chavez opened the door to a sweeping tide that brought progressive, leftist leaders to power, elected by widespread majorities in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, Honduras and El Salvador. Of course the resilience of Cuba for nearly half a century subjected to a crippling U.S. economic blockade and endless CIA attempts to destroy and destabilize their system, was the bedrock of the leftist rise that transformed and liberated the region.

    After Chavez was elected in 1998 and began to implement changes affecting powerful interests, changes that would redistribute wealth and nationalize control over strategic resources such as oil and gas, the U.S. backed a coup against him in 2002 that briefly removed him from power and installed a U.S. selected dictador, businessman Pedro Carmona. When Venezuelans took to the streets to reclaim their democracy, bringing Chavez back to power, Washington continued funding and overseeing efforts to destabilize his government, undermine his policies and debilitate Venezuela’s economy and international trade. 

  • Published on 30 September 2016 by venezuelanalysis.

    un geneva

    A group of 29 countries called for the Venezuelan government and opposition to engage in renewed national dialogue on Thursday, amid calls for more US sanctions against the South American country.

    Led by the right-wing government of Paraguay, the international group including the US and UK called on President Nicolas Maduro to “ensure the full respect of human rights, due process, the separation of powers and the consolidation of a representative democracy”.

    Issued during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, the statement also called for the Venezuelan government to ensure the organisation of a presidential recall referendum.

    Venezuela condemned the declaration as interventionist, while its regional allies drew support outweighing the Paraguayan statement.

  • By Mark Weisbrot. Published on 3 December by Huffington Post

    sos cnn

    The campaign for Venezuela's Dec. 6 National Assembly election is only three weeks long, but in the United States it started about six months ago with leaks by anonymous U.S. officials making unsubstantiated allegations that Venezuelan officials were running a "cartel." More recently, relatives of Venezuela's first lady Cilia Flores were arrested and taken (not extradited) to the U.S. after being lured by DEA agents to Haiti. Then last week, when an opposition politician was shot and killed, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, immediately joined Washington in trying to make it look like a political murder. Within a day, evidence from investigations appeared to show that the victim was likely a gang member killed by a rival gang. 

    To understand the strategy of the U.S. government and its allies -- including Almagro and now the president-elect of Argentina -- we have to look at what happened in the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election. In 2013, President Maduro won by 1.5 percentage points, but there was absolutely no doubt about the result. Because of the extensive safeguards in the voting process -- including an immediate audit, with witnesses, of a random sample of 54 percent of voting stations -- former U.S. president and election expert Jimmy Carter called Venezuela's election system "the best in the world."