JSC Interviews Rene Gonzalez, Part 2: This is the time to free our brothers

rene gonzalezIn a recent exclusive interview with Cuban anti-terrorist fighter, René González (see part 1 of the interview here), JSC asked Rene about the prospects of the freeing of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio, three of the Five Cuban heroes who are still unjustly imprisoned in the US.

According to René “this is an opportune moment for the release of my brothers who remain in prison … different sectors in the world are demanding an improvement in U.S. relations with Cuba … this feeling is especially strong in Latin America and the Caribbean and they are willing to support their stance with concrete actions”…

We realize that the United States has not changed its position toward Cuba, said René, but, he added, the place of the U.S. in world politics is becoming weaker and  many of its manoeuvres and interferences have come to light.

The Cuban anti-terrorist fighter told JSC that all the indications are that the American electorate expect actions from President Barak Obama that have not yet materialized. “I think that one of these actions would be improving relations with Cuba,” he said.

five cuban heroes 4

Photo:  L-R: Fernando, Antonio, Gerardo, Ramón, René

“Obviously, everything about the relationship between Cuba and the United States must include the case of the Five. All this is linked to the Five. In this context, we should mention a change in the Florida electorate´s opinion and the discredit of the Cuban-American cheap politicians in US national politics.”

“This is further compounded by the fact that at present the case of the Five is not a major issue for the American right.” I would say, Rene Gonzalez remarked, that solving the case of the Five would be advantageous to President Obama.

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Jimmy Carter: US number one warmonger on Earth

jimmy carter 2Carter had some chiding words for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US President Barack Obama for not taking a more proactive role in trying to bring peace in the Middle East.

“I know from experience that the best way to have the United States be a mediator is for the President himself to be deeply involved. In this occasion, when Secretary Clinton was Secretary of State, she took very little action to bring about peace. It was only John Kerry’s coming into office that re-initiated all these very important and crucial issues.”

The use of drones and NSA surveillance

This is not the first time Carter has been outspoken against Obama’s foreign policy. He has slammed the president in previous remarks about the increased use of drones in the Middle East and NSA surveillance of foreign leaders.

He didn’t save all of his criticism for the Obama administration but criticized US foreign policy as a whole, saying that the United States has become the “number one warmonger on Earth.”

“You can look at the record: ever since the United Nations was formed after the Second World War, the United States has almost constantly been at war somewhere. There are about 30 countries where we have initiated armed conflict.”

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1500 victims in Haiti sue UN over cholera epidemic

Close to 210 dead and 2,679 hospitalized due to Cholera in HaitiSource: voiceofrussia.com

The United Nations is facing a huge new lawsuit over the outbreak of cholera in Haiti that has widely been blamed on its peacekeepers, after 1,500 Haitian victims and their family members sued the international body in a federal court in Brooklyn in a class action.

The lawsuit filed in US District Court in New York’s Eastern District also seeks to force the UN to bring sanitation and clean water to the Haitian communities in areas affected by the outbreak which started in October 2010.

An independent panel, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to study the epidemic that has killed more than 8,300 people and sickened more than 650,000, issued a report in 2011 that did not determine conclusively how the cholera was introduced to Haiti.

A total of about 700,000 having been sickened

The UN has consistently refused to accept any role in the disaster, and has claimed immunity from legal actions such as the one just lodged in Brooklyn, and a similar class action filed on behalf of a sample group of five Haitians last year. Latest figures suggest that more than 9,000 people have died in the outbreak, which has spread from Haiti to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico, with a total of about 700,000 having been sickened.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare that the UN does not enjoy legal immunity from liability for the cholera outbreak, despite its humanitarian role in assisting Haiti.

A UN spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The United Nations said last year that it would not pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation claimed by cholera victims, citing immunity under a 1946 convention.

“Unfortunately, what the UN unleashed in Haiti was a devastating contagion,” said Stanley Alpert, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, a former chief of Environmental Litigation for the US Attorney’s office in New York.

Grossly negligent and utterly reckless

“It was grossly negligent and utterly reckless to send in Nepalese peacekeepers and not test them for cholera,” he added, noting that Haiti had been cholera-free for decades prior to the outbreak, while Nepal has a history of the disease.

The plaintiffs include several US residents, including Marie Laventure, who lives in Atlanta, and lost her father and stepmother to the cholera outbreak, the lawsuit states.

The UN created the 2004 “stabilization” mission in the wake of an armed rebellion that brought down the government and forced then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to seek exile.

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_12/1500-victims-in-Haiti-sue-UN-over-cholera-epidemic-5863/

 

Cuba Hosts International Conference on African-American Culture

Source:  Radio Cadena Agramonte

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba, Apr 15 2014

conferencia africaDocumentaries and research works on African-American culture and tradition in the world are presented in the 13th International Conference on African and African-American Culture, under way in this city until Wednesday.

Attending the meeting are members of the diplomatic corps of the embassies of Gambia, Ghana, South Africa, Guinea, Namibia, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, Angola and Kuwait.

Sponsored by the Fernando Ortiz African Cultural Center of this city, it has over 200 participants, between artists, organizers, speakers and guests.

Doctor Marta Cordies, director of the institution, told ACN that all branches of African-American culture have been reflected in each of the panels, from music to dance, language and literature and that intellectual solidarity and exchange of participants has predominated, she said.

Topics related to images, ancient rhythm, history, ethnology and religion have been dealt with as part of the meeting, where the lectures Africa en el siglo XXIEl movimiento rastafari en el imaginario and Color de Orisha: policromía y sabor afrocubano, among others, excelled.

Likewise, the Symposium on Medicine and Culture was held, which highlighted the work on naturalist bio-energetic medicine and African plants, by Virginia Cano, Mayulis Reyes and Mariela Creme de la Paz.

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Dialogue between Venezuelan Government and Opposition Reaches First Agreements

Source:  Venezuelanalysis.com

16th April 2014

Ven gov y opposition talk peaceDialogue between government and opposition representatives continued in Caracas last night, seeing the opposition coalition condemn violence, but no agreement reached on their demand to release those arrested for it.

The current dialogue began last Thursday. The opening discussion was broadcast live, but last night’s four hours of talks were private. The talks are being attended by a papal representative and foreign ministers from Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador.

President Maduro had been calling for general dialogue, as well as with specific sectors such as the students, after violent opposition sectors began blockading key streets in some cities on 12 February. Until now, 41 people have been killed, the majority as a direct result of the blockades and blockade participants, and a few by security forces during violent protests. Until last Thursday, a few individual opposition leaders eventually attended some of the peace conferences, but the remaining opposition sectors refused Maduro’s proposal for dialogue.

National Pacification Plan

After the Peace Dialogue yesterday, representatives from the government and the opposition talked to the press. They said they discussed the National Pacification Plan, the Truth Commission, and ratifying committees to examine postulations to the public powers; electoral and judicial, in order to cover current vacancies. They also discussed the agenda for the dialogues, as well as dates, and the overall process and working methods.

Representatives also discussed assigning a medical commission to evaluate the state of health of Ivan Simonovis, who was arrested in 2009 for his involvement in the 2002 short lived coup.

The truth is the path to justice and peace

Vice-president Arreaza welcomed that “one of the first agreements reached with the opposition representatives was to fully respect the constitution and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and to reject violence, wherever it comes from”.

“The truth is the path to justice and peace,” Arreaza said. This second meeting “was held on good terms, with respect, with tolerance… we’re advancing in a positive way,” he stated.

He also announced that the national government had approved 148 “special projects” for 74 mayoralties and states administered by the opposition, for a total of Bs 1 billion. “It’s a gesture that we can work together, that we can agree on the big problems facing the nation,” he said, explaining that the proposals for the projects were made by the opposition leaders to the president last Friday.

Opposition response to yesterday’s dialogue

General Secretary of the opposition coalition, the MUD, Ramon Aveledo, said the dialogue process had allowed representatives to “advance in the commitment to create working groups in order to advance in the study and preparation of decisions in some areas”.

He also “rejected… without a doubt, any manifestation of, or forms of violence”.

On the Pacification Plan, Aveledo said, “We’re going to study this plan, contribute to it and enrich it, with the support of our experts in the areas of security, prevention, and criminal punishment”. He said opposition governors and mayors had expressed willingness to “coordinate and participate” in national planes to promote security and peace.

Aveledo said that his side had proposed the Truth Commission be headed by people who promote “credibility” for the country, and he said once it was formed, the MUD would present “60 cases” of alleged torture.  The aim of the truth commission is to evaluate the recent cases of violence as a result of opposition barricades. Aveledo said the opposition proposed that it be “independent of the public powers”.

Finally, Aveledo said the opposition had pushed for an amnesty law – one of their key proposals. The MUD presented a list with around a hundred people arrested for their involvement in violence, including for murder, assisting murder, and destruction of public property, but who they called “political prisoners”, including opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. The proposal was not accepted, and Aveledo said they would “look for other ways”.

Attending the dialogue on behalf of the government was vice-president Jorge Arreaza, foreign minister Elias Jaua, first combatant (wife of president Maduro) Cilia Flores, Caracas mayor Jorge Rodriguez, legislator Dario Rivas, and communications minister Delcy Rodriguez.

For the opposition, along with Aveledo, legislators Julio Borges, Edgar Zambrano and Miguel Pizarro attended, as well as Latin American Parliament representatives Delsa Solorzano and Francisco Garcia, and the COPEI party head, Roberto Enriquez.

Vice-president Jorge Arreaza said the third meeting of the dialogue will be held next week and will focus on “advancing in justice without impunity”.

Voluntad Popular (VP – Popular Will) refuses to participate

The Voluntad Popular (VP) party, one of the more conservative opposition parties, has so far refused to participate in the dialogue.  It was one of the key parties to have openly promoted the last two months of violent barricades, with two of its leaders; Leopoldo Lopez and former mayor Daniel Ceballos, currently in prison for supporting or encouraging the violence.

David Smolansky, VP member and mayor of El Hatillo, said the “conditions aren’t right” for the party’s participation. He also said the main reason they weren’t participating was because Lopez and Ceballos are in prison.

Source:  Dialogue between Venezuelan Government and Opposition Reaches First Agreements

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Embassy of Cuba Denounces US Cyber-subversion Campaign

In a press release issued today April 16, the Embassy of Cuba in Jamaica has denounced the United States cyber-subversion campaign which seeks to destabilize Cuba in an effort to provoke changes in its political order.  The full text of the release is reproduced below.

Source:  Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Jamaica

Embassy-of-CubaThe Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Jamaica has the honor to denounce the United States cyber-subversion campaign against Cuba. The article on this issue published a few days ago by the American agency AP, confirms repeated denunciation by the Cuban government that the U.S. government has not given up on its subversive plans against Cuba, which seek to create destabilizing situations in the country aimed at provoking changes in its political order, to which the Government of the United States continues to devote multi-million dollar budgets every year.

USAID’s planned creation of a “Cuban Twitter” 

As it was disclosed, in the case of the social network ZunZuneo, the USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) planned its creation as a “Cuban Twitter” aimed at undermining the Cuban government. The network operated for two years until 2012 and
had approximately 40,000 users, for which databases of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) were illicitly obtained. Private data from Cuban users was gathered without their consent through ZunZuneo, which made it possible to categorize them by gender, age, tastes and affiliations of various kinds, to be used for political purposes.

ZunZuneo has not been the only platform

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JSC Interviews Rene Gonzalez – Part 1

Interview with Rene Gonzalez, one of the Five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters

rene gonzalez 2The unjust imprisonment in the United States of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and René González, – known internationally as the Cuban Five – has been widely condemned by public opinion around the world.  In addition, heads of government, politicians, intellectuals (including several Nobel Peace Prize winners but no, not President Barak Obama) and religious leaders from many countries, including the United States, have been calling for the release of the Five.

Jamaicans and the Caribbean people generally have consistently voiced their opposition to the injustice of the arbitrary and rigged political trial in a Miami Court in the United States which imposed harsh unjust sentences on the Five Cuban Heroes.

In an effort to inform the Jamaican people about the details of and background to the imprisonment of the Five, the book “The Story of the Five Cuban Heroes” was launched on October 6, 2006 by the Jamaican-Cuba Solidarity Network

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpeaking at this function was Rene’s daughter, Irma, who thanked the Jamaican solidarity network for the publication of the book and their efforts to make more Jamaicans aware of the plight of her father and his four comrades. Irma spoke about the injustice of the case and the effort worldwide to free the Cuban Five.(Photo:  Irma speaking at the book launch on Oct 6 2006)

Five years later, in May 2011, Rene’s wife,Olga Salanueva and Gerardo’s wife, Adriana Perez, visited Jamaica and participated in,among other activities, a workshop of solidarity within the context of an International Peace  Forum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe workshop, sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), took place at the University of the West Indies.

Olga and Adriana updated the participants on the legal status of the Cuban anti-terrorists.(Photo:  Adriana and Olga at the University of the West Indies)

Rene returns home

After serving the sentence imposed by the Miami Court, René González returned to his homeland, Cuba, in October 2012.  René, who is still considered one of the Five and who wants to be seen like that has declared that he will continue to fight for the freedom of his brothers who remain unjustly imprisoned in the USA.

Fernando González Llort, one of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, was recently released after having served fifteen years in U.S. prison. Fernando returned to Cuba on February 28 as a deportee and was handcuffed during all the flight to his motherland. Upon arrival, he announced that he would join the struggle for the release of his brothers Gerardo, Antonio and Ramón.
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