In mid-July, the Panamanian government seized the Chong Chon Gang, a North Korean cargo boat travelling from Cuba to the Panama Canal. The Panamanian forces claimed to have been tipped off about a drugs cargo. On board, however, were 10,000 tons of Cuban sugar and 240 metric tons of ‘obsolete defensive armaments’, according to the Cubans’ own statement.
The seizure was greeted with condemnation and sensationalist media headlines about violations of UN sanctions on arms sales to North Korea. The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a public statement listing the contents of the shipment as: two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 aircrafts and 15 MiG engines – ‘all manufactured in the mid-90s – to be repaired and returned to our country’. The statement asserted Cuba’s need to ‘maintain our defence capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty’, and the country’s ‘firm and irrevocable commitment to peace, disarmament – including nuclear disarmament – and respect for international law’. The cruel, punitive US blockade of Cuba has been robustly denounced in the UN General Assembly for two decades and yet nothing is done to lift it – so there is little reason for Cuba to adhere to sanctions against North Korea in any case.
Cuba began construction of the third of three biotech plants in West Africa this week, as part of a trilateral program funded by Venezuela to battle malaria in the region.
Ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony in the capital of Ghana on Aug. 5, officials of Cuba, Venezuela and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met to discuss feasibility, cost, and investment architecture of the program, ECOWAS said in a press release. Another meeting is planned for Venezuela.
As an Indiana working-class native, I was deeply moved after Haiti’s devastating earthquake of 2010. I was in Cuba at that time in my forth year of medical school at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).
The school sought out a group of Americans from the 2010 graduating class to incorporate into the “Brigada Medica Cubana.” This is a famous brigade that rushes to the aide of neighboring and developing countries after a disaster.
One of these new doctors and 2010 ELAM graduate, Dr. Gregory Wilkinson, still works as a general practitioner in Haiti, servicing the dilapidated communities from tents. He is completing a family practice residency program.
Wilkinson comes from Oakland, Calif., studied at Merritt Community College, and then sociology at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. With Jamaican roots, Wilkinson said he is proud and eager to complete the medical school’s scholarship requirement of working in an underserved community, as he is doing in Haiti.
Dr. Wilkinson shared his story with me about how he adapted to his new home.
25.03.13 Ewan Robertson Venezuelanalysis.com
Uruguay has requested to join the regional SUCRE currency, a move that will bring it into greater cooperation with the leftist ALBA alliance of Latin American nations.
The SUCRE is the regional currency used by the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) to allow for international transactions between member states without having to use the US dollar.
In effect since 2010, transactions in the virtual currency are conducted between central banks, while exporters are paid and importers charged in local currency. The system is used by Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
The decision by Ecuador’s President Correa on 16 August to offer diplomatic asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange exposes sharply the moral and political chasm on human rights between, on the one hand, the progressive socialist government of Ecuador and its allies in the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA), and on the other, the corrupt and vicious British state.
The high-handed threat by British Foreign Secretary William Hague that the UK has a legal basis, under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and arrest Assange, has provoked fury throughout Latin America. ‘We are not a colony!’ stated Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino and described the British threats as ‘unacceptable and a menace to all the countries of the world’.
Reported by Joseph Manzaneda, Coordinator of Cubainformación.
Translated by Rock around the Blockade
On 23 May, the Cuban ‘dissident’ ex prisoner Diosiris Santana described a scene of police brutality towards several of his compatriots: ‘They were dragged on the floor, hit in the face and arm, one has been left with a broken nose and foot’ (1).
First published 24 June in Green Left Weekly
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange went to the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19 to apply for asylum, after losing his final appeal in British courts against extradition to Sweden.
The extradition to Sweden is nominally over allegations of sexual assault, for which Swedish authorities wish to question Assange ― who has not been charged. But WikiLeaks supporters point to evidence released by the whistleblowing site this year that the United States government has prepared a secret sealed indictment against him.
Supporters fear that when Assange arrives in Sweden, he will be handed over to US authorities. Assange has said it is his fear that this is the likely outcome that has driven him to appeal for asylum.