Kenya Cuba Friendship Society Congratulates the Cuban Five

Kenya Cuba Friendship Society 3Congratulations to the Cuban Five:
Statement by Kenya Cuba Friendship Society and the Pro-liberation Committee

The Kenya Cuba Friendship Society (KCFS) and the Pro-liberation Committee for the Five, Congratulates the Cuban Five (René González, Fernando González, and now Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino) on the completion of their release from the United States prisons, where they were unjustly jailed in a process that took political, rather than legal path.

It is difficult to put into words the jubilant feelings that KCFS members felt (and are still feeling) when the announcement of their release was made known by the international media.

We also congratulate the families of the Five, the Government and people of Cuba, and ICAP for sustaining the campaign for the freedom of the Five, even when the chances of their release seemed impossible.

A victory against global terrorism

We congratulate the other Governments, the Solidarity/Friendship Associations, the Nobel laureates, celebrities, artists, lawyers & law associations, media houses & journalists, and all the organisations and individuals who tirelessly campaigned for the release of the Five.

This victory is not just a victory of the Five, but it is a victory for world justice, and a victory against global Terrorism.

We welcome the resumption of the diplomatic ties between Cuba and the U.S, and we continue to demand for the ending of the U.S blockade on Cuba, which has on one hand led to financial, economic and commercial sabotage of Cuba, and on the other hand led to the isolation of the United States on the international scene, as seen in the annual vote at the United Nations General Assembly in support of Cuba, and the ending of the Blockade.

Long Live Cuba!
Long live Internationalism!
Long live Socialism!

Benedict WACHIRA Secretary KCFS
Mwandawiro MGHANGA President KCFS
Booker NGESA  Pres. Pro-liberation Comm.

Cuban Parliament Thanks International Solidarity with the Five

Havana, Dec 19 2014

The Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power, ANPP by its Spanish acronym, thanked today in plenary, all parliamentarians and legislators of the world for their support to the cause of the Cuban Five.cuban parliament 2

In the presence of Raul Castro, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, the 546 deputies present unanimously approved the statement from the International Relations Committee of the Parliament of the Caribbean nation,  read by the legislator Yolanda Ferrer Gómez.

Joy of Cubans at the news of the return of the Five

Yolanda Ferrer GómezWe fully support the recent speech of President Raul Castro said Ferrer Gomez (photo) at the Havana Conventions Palace, while stressing the joy of Cubans at the news of the return to the Homeland of Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labañino, after a long battle for justice.

She also noted that they had fulfilled the words of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro when in June 2001 said, “They will return”, a term that guided so many years of struggle.

The declaration adopted also thanked the governments and solidarity groups who have taken as their own the cause of The Five, who are a symbol of the dignity of the Cuban people.

This battle has been won by dint of principles, steadfastness, perseverance and international solidarity, the deputy said.

Last December 14th the XIII ALBA-TCP was held in Havana, in which the tenth anniversary of the integration mechanism was commemorated.

In that context the ANPP, welcomed the important date and paid tribute to the twentieth anniversary of the historic meeting between leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

The deputies also pledged to defend the founding principles of the Alliance, promoter of cooperation and integration of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean in search of a prosperous and sustainable development of the region.

Source: Cuban Parliament Thanks International Solidarity with the Five   TeleSUR

White House Weighs Possible Visit from Raul Castro

The Decision follows the announcement of a historic normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama.

After the historic announcement Wednesday that diplomatic relations between the U.S and Cuba will be normalized, the White House is weighing a possible visit from Cuban President Raul Castro.

obama y raul“I am not disregarding a visit from President Castro,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest, who also signaled Wednesday that a reciprocal visit to Cuba by President Barack Obama may be in the cards.

Earnest clarified that both possibilities are only “hypothetical.”

Obama told ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir that he is not ruling out a potential trip to the Caribbean island, “I don’t have any current plans, but let’s see how things evolve.”

In that case, Obama would be the first U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

“High-ranking US officials” to visit Cuba

Obama announced Wednesday that “high-ranking officials” would visit the island as part of an effort “to re-establish diplomatic relations that have been severed since January of 1961.”

He said that the first items on the agenda for talks will be “health, migration, counter-terrorism, drug trafficking and disaster response.”

Secretary of State John Kerry told The Hill Wednesday that his assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, will travel to Cuba to spearhead the U.S. delegation for the next round of U.S.-Cuba talks on the topic of migration.

Kerry also said he looked “forward to being the first secretary of State in 60 years to visit Cuba.”

A historic accord to normalize bilateral relations

Obama and Castro announced a historic accord to normalize bilateral relations Wednesday, which had been frozen for 53 years following a harsh blockade by the U.S. on Cuba, a thawing of ongoing residual cold war conflict welcomed by Latin America and the world.

Pope Francis was key in facilitating the opening of diplomatic relations by writing letters to Obama and Castro, before holding a meeting in October to finalize the arrangement.

Source: White House Weighs Possible Visit from Raul Castro  TeleSUR

Raul: US Relations Will Only Advance With Mutual Respect

The Cuban President demanded that the U.S. respect the Cuban political system in Saturday’s public address. He also announced he will attend the Summit of the Americas, the first time for a Cuban head of State in 62 years.Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the audience during the closing ceremony of Cuban communist congress in Havana

Cuban President Raul Castro said on Saturday in an address that for the newly re-established relationship between Cuba and the U.S. to work, there would need to be mutual respect.

Summit of the Americas in Panama in April 2014

He added that he will participate in the Summit of the Americas in Panama in April, in which he would have the opportunity to meet with United States President Barack Obama.

Cuba has not participated in these summits since they were excluded from the Organization of American States in 1962.

The U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic ties earlier this week, after U.S. President Barack Obama admitted that his country’s half century attempt to defeat Cuba had failed, opening the door to Cuba’s participating in the summit.

The Government of Panama had previously stated that it intended to invite Cuba to the summit.

Mutual respect

The Cuban President insisted that the socialist political system must be respected. “In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours,” Castro told Cuba’s National Assembly.

Castro also said Cuba faces a “long and difficult struggle” before the United States removes a decades-old economic embargo against the Caribbean island, in part because influential Cuban-American exiles will attempt to “sabotage the process” toward normalization.

The Cuban National Assembly announced on Friday that it would back the agreement of President Raul Castro and the US to restore diplomatic ties. Yolanda Ferrer, President of the International Relations Commission of the National Assembly also warmly welcomed the return of three Cuban political prisoners — unjustly held by the United States for more than 15 years.

Source: Raul Castro: US Relations Will Only Advance With Mutual Respect TeleSUR

Dump the Dollar, Says Ecuadorian President

President Rafael Correa says the U.S. dollar is the “exact opposite” of what Ecuador needs.

Rafael CorreaEcuador’s use of the U.S. dollar is hurting the country’s economic growth, President Rafael Correa warned Monday.  “Dollarization was a bad decision,” Correa said. The president said that in the face of low oil prices, Ecuador would benefit from control of its own currency.

Ecuador is the smallest member of OPEC. Under Correa, the Ecuadorean government has increasingly invested oil revenues in social services and economic development.  However, with oil prices slumping, Correa says Ecuador needs a flexible currency now more than ever. He argued that by using the dollar, Ecuador is “doing exactly the opposite of what (it) must do to address the looming scenario.”

US dollar a “straight jacket” Continue reading

Jamaica and the Politics of the Debt Trap

Source:  TeleSUR
by Jeb Spraque

life and debt jaDebt is a drain on Jamaica, and also functions to block any potential efforts to structurally transform the nation or to ramp up social investment.

With a population of just under three million, the nation of Jamaica remains ensnared in debt. The debt trap is most apparent when looked at from the state’s interest payments as a percentage of the government’s non-grant revenue, which currently amounts to 40%. Jamaica’s continual caving in to the IMF has meant severe austerity measures, freezing of wages, cutting of spending, and it has left the country with the highest debt interest burden worldwide. A drain on the country, it also functions to block any potential efforts to structurally transform the nation or to ramp up social investment.

Politics & Cynicism

Speaking with Jamaicans from a wide variety of backgrounds during a recent bout of research in and around Kingston, it became clear that there is widespread cynicism about the country’s political system. Many are critical of the rapacious global financial structure that they find themselves in and the rising levels of inequality that surround—a heavily present tension.  This is reflected in the class consciousness of local reggae and dancehall music with lyrics about poor urban youth, the sufferer’s, the haves and the have-nots, and politicians taking advantage. New more progressive reggae groups are even replacing homophobic “battyman” disses with “capitalist” as the target of derision.

Declining medical and educational systems in drastic need of assistance

With 1.2 million people living below the poverty line, rising inequality, and officially 13.8 percent unemployment (with many more in precarious work or forced to hustle to make ends meet), the country also faces declining medical and educational systems in drastic need of assistance. So why aren’t popular mobilizations occurring to shift priorities and to default on the debt or at the very least disengage from the most onerous policies of the IMF (as the country’s late Prime Minister Michael Manley once advocated)? Can Jamaica’s political establishment even consider such possibilities?

More radical adjustments to stringent IMF austerity measures could be possible

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Reggae Message: Bad Card … Bob Marley

“Bad Card”
You a-go tired fe see me face;
Can’t get me out of the race.
Oh, man, you said I’m in your place
And then you draw bad cyard -
A-make you draw bad cyard,
And then you draw bad cyard.

Propaganda spreading over my name;
Say you wanna bring another life to shame.
Oh, man, you just a-playing a game
And then you draw bad cyard (draw bad cyard);
A-make you draw bad cyard (draw bad cyard);
A-make you draw bad cyard.

Continue reading