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.
By Helen Yaffe. First published June 2012 in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 227
When Cuba’s tiny opposition protests against the socialist government it is reported in the international media. In April 2012, however, when members of this same opposition, in ‘exile’ in Spain, protested against the Spanish government’s decision to stop subsidising them, they barely received mention. The move has given them a taste of the capitalist free market, where accommodation, health care and education are bought and not provided, and where labour is sold as a commodity.
By J Eskovitchl for Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
A chorus of reaction, singing from imperialism’s hymn sheet
On 1 May 2012, a week-long joint training seminar took place in Miami for members of the Cuban and Syrian ‘armed opposition’. A statement was signed which read,
‘the Cuban Resistance and Syrian Revolution jointly agree: to coordinate all of our political, diplomatic, logistic and humanitarian efforts in pursuit of the liberation of Cuba and Syria; hence constituting a United Front of Freedom and Democracy; therefore, the Cuban Resistance and the Syrian Revolution jointly declare: the people want the overthrow of the dictatorial regimes of Assad and Castro.’
On 1 June, Cuba joined Russia and China in voting against a UN Resolution condemning Syria and aimed at ratcheting up the pressure for western military intervention and forced regime change.
Violence in Syria continues to spiral in the wake of the Houla massacre and the killing of over 80 government troops by rebels over the weekend of 2-3 June. Imperialism, through NATO and the reactionary Gulf Cooperation Council, which is led by the Saudi and Qatari dictatorships, continues to flood arms and hundreds of millions of dollars to the ‘Free Syrian Army’. British and other foreign intelligence services train fighters in camps in Turkey while sanctions imposed by the US and EU cripple the Syrian people as the government can no longer subsidise bread and unemployment rises. In this context, the conference of the ‘oppositions’ of Cuba and Syria offers a salutary example of the United States’ strategy of destabilisation, perfected over decades of subversion, terror, black operations and military invasion against regimes which fail to fully comply with imperialism’s demands.
Cuba has urged the UN Security Council to play an active role in stopping Israeli abuses of international law. It has also repeated its support for the Palestinian bid to be a full member of the UN, and criticised those countries who refuse to support it. In making these calls, Cuba shows its solidarity with the oppressed around the world. During a UN debate on the Middle East on 18 January, UN representative for Cuba, Pedro Nunez Mosquera demanded change, whilst at the same time exposing the limitations of these channels, dominated by the interests of the imperialist powers.
Mosquera denounced Israel's increasing demolition of Palestinian homes, which leaves families homeless and often having to pay for the demolition themselves. Despite the demolitions contravening UN international law, 2011 has been a record year for demolitions, with 622 Palestinian structures destroyed. Mosquera drew attention to the expansion of national park space in East Jerusalem, an area where settlement growth and house demolitions combine to create rapid expansion of the racist and brutal occupation. He also spoke of a 40% increase in settler violence. Mosquera not only denounced Israel's actions, but criticised the apathy of the UN Security Council, urging them to play an active and practical role in preventing abuses of International law.
Information taken from Wall Street Journal article ‘Bolivia seizes Spanish power firm’ published 1 May 2012
To commemorate 1 May International Workers Day, Bolivian President Evo Morales seized the local assets of Spanish power grid operator Red Eléctrica Corp. and ordered the armed forces to take over its installations, the latest move against Spanish corporate interests in Latin America.The declaration on Tuesday came on the heels of Argentina's move in April to seize a 51% stake in Argentine oil company YPF from Spanish oil major Repsol YPF SA, which had held a 57.4% stake.
Morales announced the move at the local electric company's headquarters in Bolivia's third city of Cochabamba, as part of a televised ceremony to commemorate May day. He accused the company of failing to invest enough.