Maduro Invites Opposition Youth to Join Employment Program

Source:  TeleSUR
August 19 2017

Nicolas maduro aug 2017Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks at Miraflores Palace in Caracas | Photo: REUTERS

 

Maduro said that the program will welcome all youth participating in the opposition protests with “open arms for work and study.”

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has invited the young people who have been caught up in the violence of far-right opposition groups to join the efforts to build productive and educational pathways for youth, called the “Plan Chamba Juvenil.”

RELATED:  Venezuela’s ANC President Proposes New Liaison Commission

“The Democratic Unity Table (MUD) led them on the road to violence… I, for the sake of peace in our country, extend my hand so that we follow the path of education, work, and culture,” the President said on Friday, speaking from the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas.

Maduro assured that if the youth who have been used by opposition leaders during recent months to foment a violent coup d’etat wish to leave that behind and follow the path of productivity and respect for law and constitution, they will have his full support and be able to participate in the Youth program, created by the Bolivarian government to ensure education and employment opportunities for the country’s young people.

Related:  Venezuelans speak to TRUMP

Your greatest ally

“If some of you who went down that path of violence and want to do politics, do it in peace. And if you want to change the schemes of politics and attend to social problems, you can count on me. I am not your enemy, I am your greatest ally if your desire is to bring education, sport, culture, and employment to our community’s youth, to all the neighborhoods, to the whole country. Stop the violence!” Maduro said.

Plan Chamba Juvenil

He said that the Plan Chamba Juvenil would welcome all youth participating in the opposition protests with “open arms for work and study,” in order to engage them in productive activities to benefit society.

The plan offers education opportunities, as well as employment in areas such as social and health services, recreation, urban agriculture and maintenance, and security.

As of today, over 594,000 young Venezuelans have signed up for the program, and 300,000 of those have already been enrolled in a job.

 

Nicolás Maduro pays respects to Jose Marti and Fidel Castro

Source:  Granma

August 16 2017

by: Yaima Puig Meneses y Yudy Castro Morales | internet@granma.cu

The Venezuelan President was accompanied by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Combatant Cilia Flores, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez  Parilla

raul y nicolas aug 2017 1.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros visited the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, yesterday August 15, accompanied by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, to pay his respects to Cuba’s national hero José Martí and Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, on the 91st anniversary of his birth.

The two leaders, along with First Combatant Cilia Flores, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, observed the changing of the guard ceremony at the graves where the remains of Martí and Fidel rest.

The first tribute was to the Teacher, in his mausoleum, where they deposited white roses alongside the single starred flag.

Before the granite boulder that holds Fidel’s ashes, they placed flowers, since the Venezuelan President could not miss a visit on the 91st birthday of the Comandante en Jefe who always championed the Bolivarian Revolution.

The group also paid tribute to July 26 Movement martyrs and those who gave their lives as internationalists after the triumph of the Revolution in January of 1959.

raul y nicolas aug 2017 2.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

In a brief tour of Santa Ifigenia, Raúl spoke with Maduro about Cuba’s history, explaining why Carlos Manuel de Céspedes is considered the country’s founding father; recalling Mariana Grajales and María Cabrales, mother and widow of General Antonio Maceo, respectively; and informing the visiting President about several officers in the War of Independence who are buried in the historic cemetery.

Stopping alongside the tomb of Frank País García, they also left flowers, and Raúl recalled the valiant youth who was murdered, as was his brother Josue, by the Batista dictatorship.

Venezuelan Intelligence Thwarts Planned Attack on Government HQ

Source:  TeleSUR

August 16 2017

venezuelan intel thwarts attack.jpg

A security guard stands outside the Central Bank of Venezuela in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

The plan was said to threaten the safety of President Nicolas Maduro and other government officials.

The Bolivarian National Intelligence Service said Tuesday they had detected and neutralized an assault plan at the headquarters of the Venezuelan government, the Miraflores Palace.

RELATED: 18 Arrested Following Paramilitary Assault on Venezuela Base

The plan was said to threaten the safety of President Nicolas Maduro and other government officials in the capital city of Caracas.

Several messages decoded

Intelligence forces decoded several messages that were sent to plan the attack, which consisted of a series of symbols drawn in the streets of downtown Caracas, which marked the route of the planned attack, according to teleSUR correspondent Madelein Garcia.

tillerson wants maduro out.jpg

Rex Tillerson wants Maduro out

Operation David

“Operation David” had four phases according to Garcia, the first one was the air attack on the Supreme Court of Justice, where a helicopter from the Venezuela’s Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations agency was hijacked in June, firing shots toward the building, followed by two explosions which were said to be grenades, according to official sources.

RELATED: Venezuelan Armed Forces ‘Courageously’ Repel Terrorist Attack: Maduro

The second involved the ground assault on Fort Paramacay, a paramilitary-style terrorist attack carried out recently in the central state of Carabobo, which was immediately defeated by the National Bolivarian Armed Forces.

The third part of the plan included the assisted escape of General Isaias Baduel, who is currently serving a prison sentence for conspiracy. The final phase was to enter Miraflores with the intention of kidnapping President Maduro and senior officials in the government.

As part of this operation, the security forces have captured 18 people, as well as issuing international arrest warrants for nine others. The Venezuelan government said it didn’t rule out that foreign secret agents were operating in the country using that system of symbols.

A New Angle in Abu-Jamal’s Case

Source: Consortiumnews.com

August 12, 2017

The decades-old case of convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal has always centered on whether the legal process was rigged against the black political activist, an argument that has new life, reports Dennis J Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein

A potential new front has opened up in the fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence and has spent the last 30 plus years trying to prove it.

mumia 5.jpgMumia Abu-Jamal (Flickr 4Ward Ever UK)

Along the way, there have been some victories. First he fought his way off Death Row. Then he fought a battle to get medical care that he was being denied, a situation that sent his health into a dangerous spiral. Now he and his lawyers are citing new information about possible judicial bias that could have a direct impact on the legitimacy of his murder conviction.

Decades of imprisonment

During his decades of imprisonment, Abu-Jamal has continued to practice the art of journalism, crafting well-researched columns on issues of racism, human rights — and doing it, first, from death row then from maximum security lock-down. Sometimes his columns, as Emily Dickinson used to say about a good poem, can take the top of your head off.

Tens of thousands of his supporters are charmed and moved by his Weekly Radio commentaries from prison. Many of his supporters assert that the former public radio reporter, and Black Panther Minister of Information (at 15), is a political prisoner, the victim of arguably one of the most corrupt police departments in the United States.

I spoke recently with Rachel Wolkenstein, an attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal, about the latest development in this decades old case.

Who is Mumia Abu-Jamal?

Dennis Bernstein: Set this up for us. We are hearing that new information has surfaced. We’d like to get a complete debriefing, but first please remind people briefly who Mumia Abu-Jamal is, in case they haven’t heard about this celebrated case.

Rachel Wolkenstein: Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner, a “class-war prisoner,” as I consider him. He is a former Black Panther member, a MOVE organization supporter, a radical journalist who was known as “the Voice of the Voiceless.” He was an award-winning radio journalist in Philadelphia in the late 1970s until his arrest on December 9, 1981 in connection with the murder of a police officer. This is a crime that Mumia did not commit and he has always maintained his innocence.

His case has always been racially biased and politically motivated. Mumia was framed by the Philadelphia police department and the prosecution, with help from the Attorney General’s office and the FBI, because he was so outspoken in his defense of the oppressed, particularly the politically oppressed, such as the MOVE organization at that time in Philadelphia. As a teenager he was communications director and journalist for the Black Panther Party. He was known throughout Philadelphia for his beautiful voice and his passionate social and political commentary.

Police department under federal investigation

DB: He was also known throughout Philadelphia by perhaps the most corrupt police department in the nation at that time, a police department and prosecutor’s office that were studied for their corruption and under federal investigation.

RW: That is correct. Frank Rizzo had been the police commissioner. Interestingly, many elements of the federal COINTELPRO program were actually based on things that Rizzo had done. He then became the mayor of Philadelphia and organized the raids on the Black Panthers when Mumia was a member and a spokesman for the Party. You are absolutely correct, the efforts to have him exterminated were very clearly orchestrated by the FBI.

Mumia’s ability to speak out in advocacy

One of the early things I worked on with my colleagues from the Partisan Defense Committee at that time was obtaining Mumia’s COINTELPRO records, which showed that they had a dossier on him when he was just 15 years old, in the late ‘sixties. There they said, in effect, despite his young years, he should be on the ADEX file (a list of who the FBI felt should be rounded up and put into concentration camps if there was any political turmoil in the country). They said Mumia belonged on that list because of his ability to speak out in advocacy.

Mumia went to Chicago to witness the murders that had been committed by the FBI and the Chicago police and to speak about what was happening. He was featured in a front-page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which described this young man who was speaking out in defense of the Panthers and against police brutality. The cops in Philadelphia knew who he was and they were tracking him.

When the MOVE commune was surrounded and attacked in 1978 and when, in the aftermath, Delbert Africa, a former Panther, was beaten on the street (in the first televised police beating in the country), Mumia again spoke in defense of the MOVE members and against the attack. He was also specifically targeted by Rizzo and by Edward Rendell [former Philadelphia District Attorney who oversaw Mumia’s prosecution], who I consider to be directly responsible for the frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Trying to silence his voice

So there is a long history there of knowing who Mumia was, targeting him, trying to silence his voice and ultimately to murder him. What happened on the night of December 9, 1981 was that Mumia came across a police altercation in the street. He was driving a cab at that point because he had been drummed out of mainstream news reporting for his defense of the MOVE organization. In the midst of a purported shoot-out, a police officer named Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed. The chief inspector arrived on the scene, a guy named [Alfonzo] Giordano, who had been Rizzo’s right-hand man a few years earlier and who was also under investigation for corruption and being on the take.

The conscious frame-up of Mumia

Giordano knew very well who they had found on the street that night and he began the conscious frame-up of Mumia. They claimed that Mumia confessed that night, they said that Mumia’s gun was found on the scene and that it was the murder weapon. They brought forward two witnesses, one a prostitute who was actually doing tricks for the cops and working as an informant so she could do her work on the streets. The other witness was a cab driver who we later learned was coerced into testifying against Mumia.

I should say that I have been working with Mumia for thirty years now and I was involved in a major investigation during his post-trial hearings in Philadelphia from 1995 through 1999. There we brought out an enormous amount of concrete evidence of prosecutorial and police misconduct in the frame-up of Mumia for a crime he did not commit.

New evidence

DB: Obviously, Mumia was someone who was way ahead of his time, taking on the issue of police violence long before most people had any sense of how systematic this was. So there is apparently new information, new evidence in the case. Tell us about that.

RW: Well, about a year ago, a very important case was decided by the United States Supreme Court. It involved the fact that one of the justices who became the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ronald Castille, had been the prosecutor in Philadelphia, following Rendell as the chief DA.

He had been a DA and ran on a law-and-order platform, and was endorsed and received major funding from the Fraternal Order of Police. Nonetheless, when he became a Philadelphia Supreme Court justice he sat and ruled on a number of cases, including Mumia’s case, despite requests for him to remove himself on grounds of bias and conflict of interest.

A conflict of interest and a denial of a fair and impartial appeal process

About a year ago, in a different case, after many attempts to get a ruling, it was found that it is a conflict of interest and a denial of a fair and impartial appeal process to allow a judge to sit who had previously been personally involved in a significant fashion in the earlier prosecution of the same case. Basically, it required all the appeals that that judge had sat on and that had been negatively decided against the defendant to be thrown out and to be able to start over again.

Based on this ruling, Mumia’s lawyers brought an action last August to challenge Mumia’s appeals, because Castille was the district attorney who was in charge of all the appeal issues on Mumia’s case at the time that dealt with his Black Panther membership, the rigging of the jury selection to keep blacks off the jury, and various other issues. In all significant issues of Mumia’s case, Castille was the person who argued the decisions should be upheld.

Statues of Lady Justice can be found around the world, this one atop London’s Old Bailey courthouse.

Violation of a fundamental precept

When Castille became a supreme court justice, he had already been the architect of all the DA’s support of Mumia’s conviction. During the period of my involvement in the case, and with all the challenges to Mumia’s conviction that began in 1995 and went on through 2008, Castille refused to removed himself from the case and instead ruled against Mumia in each of these cases. The argument is now being made that Castille violated the fundamental precept that as a prosecutor involved in the case he should never have sat as a judge.

So now Mumia’s case in court has finally gotten some arguments. The DA’s office tried to get it thrown out on grounds that it was brought too late and didn’t apply anymore. The judge ruled that it did in fact apply and that the case should go forward. Then it became an issue of the DA’s office being ordered to come forward with evidence that shows Castille’s involvement. They have been noncompliant with the order and recalcitrant in not providing real information, no record of his involvement in Mumia’s case.

This in spite of Castille’s statements in his supreme court run that he took personal involvement in these appeals, particularly appeals to the US Supreme Court. So Mumia filed another motion for the DA’s office to comply and search their records again and they came up with one paragraph saying, “Well, we had two people going through 31 boxes looking for this and that.” But there is no mention whether they went through Castille’s files as DA or his chief assistant’s files.

Concealing information

Also, one of the people at the DA who has been working on Mumia’s appeals since 1986 and has been in the courtroom through all these hearings during the ‘90’s was personally appointed by Castille to be in charge of the appeals division. He is actually arguing the case on behalf of the DA’s office now. He is still working on the case thirty years later. We have nothing indicating what role he played or any statement at all indicating whether he had any consultations with Castille regarding this case.

So they are stonewalling, they are concealing information. And it will continue to take a great deal of political pressure in the form of demonstrations and protests to make it clear to the DA’s office that we are demanding that they finally open up their files.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

More Than 200 Killed in Mudslides in Sierra Leone

Source:  TeleSUR
August 14 2017

The Red Cross said at least 205 bodies had been taken to the central morgue in Freetown.

sierra leone mudslide aug 2017

People inspect the damage after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, Sierra Leone August 14, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

A mudslide has killed more than 200 people on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, sweeping away homes and leaving residents desperate for news of missing family members.

RELATED:  WHO to Announce End of Ebola in Liberia, Thanks to Cuba

The Red Cross said at least 205 bodies had been taken to the central morgue in Freetown. Police and military personnel were at the scene in the mountain town of Regent searching for people trapped in the debris.

Mountainside collapsed

Many people living at the foot of Mount Sugar Loaf were asleep when the mountainside collapsed, burying dozens of houses, including two-storey buildings, witnesses said.

Standing in the rain, residents sobbed as they mourned family members and waited for news of those missing. Adama Kamara wept as she described a failed attempt to rescue her 7-week-old child.

“We were inside when we heard the mudslide approaching. I attempted to grab my baby but the mud was too fast. She was covered alive,” said Kamara, who escaped with bruises. She said she was not sure what had happened to her husband.

sierra leone mudslide aug 2017 2.jpg

Rescue workers remove the rubble after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent. | Photo: Reuters

A man said he had left early in the morning to buy bread. When he returned, his wife, children, siblings and in-laws were all dead.

The death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered, Red Cross spokesman Abu Bakarr Tarawallie said.

RELATED:  South African Communists Award Cuban Doctors’ Internationalism

The disaster is so serious

Vice President Victor Foh told Reuters at the scene: “It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble.” He said a number of illegal buildings had been erected in the area.

“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” he said. “We’re trying to cordon the area. Evacuate the people.”

An excavator plowed away at the mountainside and ambulances rushed back and forth to the city center with bodies and wounded, but rescue efforts were hampered by bad roads and the weather, a Reuters witness said.

Community chief Fatmata Tarawallie said she had started calling for help at 4 a.m. but that it did not come soon enough.

“Now our community has sunk,” she said.

Mudslides and floods are fairly common during the rainy season in West Africa, where deforestation and poor town planning has put residents at risk.

Ecuador’s President Rejects US Interference in Venezuela

lenin moreno aug 2017.jpg

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno. | Photo: EFE

Source:  TeleSUR

August 15 2017

“We express our respect for the self-determination of nations and of non-interference,” said Moreno.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno called for respect of the principle of non-interference in the sovereign affairs of other states, in relation to threats issued by the United States against Venezuela.

RELATED: Ecuador Demands Respect for Venezuela’s Sovereignty

“We express our respect for the self-determination of nations and of non-interference,” said Moreno Monday during the televised address he gives every week.

Moreno’s words follow a threat made Friday by U.S. President Donald Trump that the country was exploring “many options regarding Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.”

Dialogue

For his part, Moreno said that “the sustenance of democracy is dialogue,” reiterating calls made to the opposition by the government of President Nicolas Maduro for dialogue, with the intention of maintaining peace in the country.

Maduro has repeatedly called on the opposition to engage in dialogue with the government in order to reach a peaceful solution to the situation in the country, but some sectors of the opposition have instead insisted on violent street protests.

RELATED: The World Reacts to Trump’s Military Threat Against Venezuela

Deep solidarity

Moreno expressed his deep solidarity with the Venezuelan people, lamenting the deaths of more than 120 people during opposition protests.

“Our deepest wish is that soon (Venezuela) will attain peace and that not one more drop of blood is spilt,” he said in the message.

Above ideology

“Above all rights, above any ideology, life is sacred and untouchable,” he concluded.

Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry had previously criticized Trump’s military threat in Venezuela, and rejected “any threat of a possible interference.”

Trump’s announcement also triggered a criticism in other countries in Latin America, including Colombia, as President Juan Manuel Santos said during a meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence he rejected any military interference in Venezuela or any country in the region.

Venezuela Defends ‘the Poor and Powerless’: Barbados Activists

Source:  TeleSUR

August 2 2017

barbados defend the bolivarian revolution.jpg

A supporter of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution prays as she holds a doll depicting former President Hugo Chavez. | Photo: PSUV

Activists from the Caribbean island denounced U.S. attempts to destabilize the Bolivarian Revolution.

Members of the Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee (Barbados) and the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration on Wednesday announced support for Venezuela against U.S. intervention.

RELATED:  Ecuador Supports Peaceful Dialogue in Venezuela

“We recognized and support the election of the Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly(ANC). We also support this Assembly that embraces a wide cross section of Venezuelan People,” activists said in a joint statement.

They also denounced Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, which is calling for the removal of democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro, and called on Barbados and other Caribbean countries to support the ANC.

“The peace loving people of Barbados and the Caribbean will protect the Bolivarian Revolution that defends the poor and powerless people of the Americas,” the statement said.

The Bolivarian revolution helps the poor in the region

“This Revolution has created the condition for many Caribbean Countries to deal with our problems of energy, health, education, housing and many other social problems that have affected the poor and powerless in our region.”

Despite the fact that over 8 million people voted in the ANC election held last Sunday in support for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Venezuela, the U.S. government called the election a “sham” and imposed new sanctions.

The governments of Colombia, Spain, Canada, Argentina and Peru joined Washington in denouncing the vote, while Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Russia and others recognized the ANC as a democratic process.

RELATED:  International Community Rejects Intervention in Venezuela

We will continue to support Venezuela

“Our Movements can see that the Government of the United States of America and its fascist friends are trying very hard to create the condition for a Libya-style intervention in Latin America. We also condemn the Governments of the U.S. and Colombia for interfering with the internal politics in Venezuela,” the activists said.

The groups also mentioned that they are prepared to defend the Bolivarian Revolution, fight against fascism and oppose any U.S. intervention in Venezuela.

“We will also continue to support the Government of Venezuela in the fight against the economic war as well as the media war that have created some problems for the Venezuelan People,” they added.