Most Russians Prefer Return of Soviet Union and Socialism: Poll

Source:  TeleSUR
December 24 2016

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Demonstrator holds picture of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics | Photo: EFE

Over 50 percent of Russian citizens believe the collapse of the Soviet Union was bad and could have been avoided.

The majority of Russians polled in a recent study would prefer living under the old Soviet Union and would like to see the socialist system and the Soviet state restored.

OPINION: Fidel Castro Speaks at Cuban Congress, Invokes Communist Spirit

According to the latest poll conducted by the Levada Center, over 50 percent of Russian citizens believe the collapse of the Soviet Union was bad and could have been avoided. Only 28 percent of the population surveyed felt positive about its collapse, while 16 percent were unable to answer such a complex question.

A little more than half of respondents stated that the demise of the Soviet Union could have been prevented, while 33 percent said it was inevitable.

Fourteen percent of respondents see the restoration of the Soviet Union as quite realistic, while 44 percent consider it unfeasible. Thirty-one percent of people said they would not be happy with such a turn of events, however.

WATCH: Rear Window: Soviet Cinema

The center also published that nostalgia for the USSR is at an all-time high since 2000.

This could be tied to the fact that for the first time since the recession era of 2008-2009, Russians are spending more than half of their monthly income on food, according to a study by the Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting Institute. And state subsidies are minimal.

Back in 2005, Vladimir Putin was reported to have said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the major geopolitical disaster of the (last) century.”

Cuba’s First Computer Factory to Make 120K Units per Year

Source:  TeleSUR
December 24 2016

Cuba has struggled technologically under the economic difficulties caused by the U.S. economic blockade.

cuban computer factory.pngThe factory is owned by the state-run Industrial Company of Informatics, Communications and Electronics, it has a production capacity of 120,000 units per year. | Photo: Cubadebate

Cuba has inaugurated its first factory to produce tablets and laptops in a bid to promote technology and digital literacy on the island.

RELATED:Cuba Delivers Vaccines Against Meningitis to Syrian People

The factory, owned by the state-run Industrial Company of Informatics, Communications and Electronics, has a production capacity of 120,000 units per year.

According to a report by Cuba’s national television, the new factory produces sixth-generation laptops with i3, Celeron and i5 Cores, as well as 8- and 10-inch tablets.

Experts from the University of Computer Science also are part of the project, building the operating systems and computer applications of the new equipment along with the production process. The Chinese company Haier will provide the technology, equipment, and staff training.

With this initiative, Cuba makes a major advance in its technological capacities, which have been severely hampered by the U.S. economic blockade.

RELATED:  US Blockade on Cuba Is ‘Genocidal’

Despite a normalizing of relations between the two countries since President Obama’s March 2016 visit to Cuba, the economic blockade still remains.

Cuba reported earlier this year that the blockade has cost US$753.7 billion over the last six decades, and US$4.7 billion over the last year.

This year, the U.N. General Assembly voted against the U.S. blockade on Cuba for the 25th year in a row.

During the historic 191 to 0 vote, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power announced that, for the first time, the United States would abstain rather than cast a “no” vote.

Bolivia Fights Prison Overcrowding, Pardons 1,800 Prisoners

Source:  TeleSUR
December 25 2016

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Bolivian President Evo Morales. | Photo: Reuters

It is the fourth time President Morales has approved pardons since 2012.

Bolivian President Evo Morales pardoned around 1,800 prisoners Saturday, including pregnant women, handicapped people, inmates with minor sentences and those in custody awaiting trial.

RELATED:  Evo Morales Nominated to Run for Presidency Again in 2019

“The present decree’s aim is to give amnesty and total or partial pardons to people who have been deprived of their liberty,” he told a news conference in the central department of Cochabamba.

It is the fourth time Morales has approved pardons, a measure meant to address the issue of prison overcrowding in the country — there are about 15,000 prisoners in Bolivia, of whom less than a third have been sentenced, according to the official estimate.

Morales said that those pardoned included inmates with sentences of less than five years, one-time offenders, prisoners under the age of 28, single mothers with incarcerated children, prisoners with terminal illnesses as well as people with disabilities.

The decree will not be applied to prisoners convicted of homicide charges, terrorism, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, contraband, corruption, human trafficking, and assault on state officials.

December in Nicaragua – Struggle and Solidarity

Source:  TeleSUR

December 24 2016

By: Tortilla Con Sal

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December has been important in the history of Nicaragua and Sandinismo. | Photo: EFE

An incomplete review offers a glance at why December is such an important month in Nicaragua’s turbulent history.

There are months of the year that for some more or less mysterious reason, or by mere coincidence, are laden with political meaning in Latin American history.

OPINION: Sandino and the Memory of Resistance

December is one of those months, especially in Nicaragua where the fireworks powder burned in the Catholic celebrations to Mother Mary and Christmas, and the pagan festivity of the New Year often blended with the gun smoke of the struggle for national liberation. December for Nicaraguans recalls important years past.

1927
Occupying U.S. troops disembark in Puerto Cabezas, in the Caribbean Coast. With the help of local women workers General Augusto C. Sandino recovers weapons and ammunition the enemy had tried to destroy by dumping them in the sea, enabling him to start his struggle against foreign intervention.

1930
Troops of Sandinista General Miguel Ángel Ortez ambush a patrol of marines in Achuapa, in the department of Leon.

1961

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Along the banks of Rio Coco, in northern Nicaragua, the National Guard hunts down a guerrilla group of 45 young revolutionaries under the leadership of Carlos Fonseca, founder of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation.

1963

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Guatemala City – Five Sandinistas, among them today’s president Daniel Ortega Saavedra, are arrested and tortured by Guatemalan police and later handed over to Somoza’s National Guard.

1968
The Sandinista movement Revolutionary Students’ Front organized protests against Lyndon B. Johnson’s visit to the country. In Estelí somebody throws a molotov cocktail against a jeep of the dictatorship’s National Guard.

1969
Nicaragua is shaken by the news that guerrillas the dictatorship claimed had been defeated, are indeed alive: Combats are reported in La Virgen in the south and guerrilla activity is detected in Zinica in the north. In Alajuela, Costa Rica, a guerrilla squad of Sandinistas attempts to free from prison FSLN founder, Carlos Fonseca. The action fails, but the Sandinista Front wins the respect of wide sections of society.

1972
On Dec. 23, 1972, a violent earthquake destroys the capital, Managua. Instead of helping the victims, the National Guard plunders their belongings. The FSLN reorganizes its forces and sends many militants to the capital to help people who lost their homes.

1973
The whole month is taken by popular protests against the inhuman treatment given to political prisoners, especially the Sandinistas. University students take to the streets and occupy the churches in various cities demanding the prisoners’ release. Political prisoners in the notorious El Modelo jail start a hunger strike. Their mothers join them.

1974
Three thousand construction workers start a strike demanding unpaid salaries and Social Security registration.

On Dec. 27, the Sandinista squad ‘Juan José Quezada’ seizes the mansion of leading Somocista José María Castillo Quant, taking hostage almost all the diplomatic corps appointed to Managua who had been invited to a party there. The demand of the Sandinistas: Freedom for all political prisoners.

With this successful action, FSLN gains international recognition. The long period of silent strength accumulation is over and a new period of revolutionary offensive begins. Among the released prisoners: Comandante Daniel Ortega.

The regime’s answer to this blow by the Sandinistas was to unleash massive repression declaring martial law. One of the victims of this repression was the recently deceased former president of the National Assembly, René Núñez Téllez, captured by the National Guard and savagely tortured.

1976
On Dec. 9, 1976, Sandinista leader Rufo Marín is killed in Matagalpa. A month earlier the Sandinista leader Carlos Fonseca had been killed not far away, in Zinica.

1977
A month full of combats and struggle against the dictatorship. Ambushes and attacks against the National Guard in the north and also in Managua, occupation of churches by students in the cities, and important political moves under the leadership of the Sandinistas. A broad political spectrum (the Group of the Twelve) announces that no dialogue can be productive without the Sandinista Front. The next day, the Jesuits issue a statement condemning the National Guard’s repression.

Fearing an invasion by Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, Costa Rica asks the Organization of American States (OAS) to enforce the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, against the most loyal U.S. regional watchdog.

In southern Nicaragua, Radio Sandino starts clandestine broadcasts openly defying the regime’s censorship. Via Radio Sandino, a Spanish priest, Gaspar García Laviana, calls for popular unity to combat the dictatorship and announces his membership in the FSLN.

1978
Somoza lifts the martial law.But a Sandinista squad seizes the Nicaraguan-Honduran border post of Las Manos. A year after his appeal on Radio Sandino, Gaspar García Laviana is killed in combat in the southern department of Rivas. Major combats take place in the Southern Front ‘Benjamín Zeledón’ with the participation of important groups of Latin American internationalists. On Dec. 20, fierce combats force the closure of the border with Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, in the cities, popular struggle intensifies. The National Guard fails to evacuate a church in Managua, occupied by students and workers. The broad-based Group of Twelve call for a National Patriotic Front of all those committed to put an end to the dictatorship.

1979-1990
During the revolutionary decade that followed the ouster of Somoza’s regime, December became synonymous with struggle and solidarity. Thousands of youth mobilized at the end of every year in order to help harvest coffee beans in farms mostly located in the war zones. Other thousands joined the reserve battalions or the military draft to fight the Contras.

All over the country, young people sent letters to their families from faraway locations where they were fulfilling revolutionary duties. Cultural brigades visited the most isolated corners of Nicaragua trying to spread joy and warmth in the middle of the war.

On Dec. 13, 1981, the CIA blows up a Boeing 727 of Nicaragua’s national airline Aeronica in Mexico City’s International Airport, injuring both Nicaraguan and Mexican personnel.

In 1982, the government completes expropriation of 75,000 acres of land in Matagalpa, Jinotega, Estelí, Madriz and Nueva Segovia.

In 1983, the CIA’s Contra’s task forces launch one of many failed attempts to seize the town of Jalapa, on the border with Honduras.

In 1986, the Sandinista Popular Army rolls back an invasion of 3,000 U.S. armed Contras from Honduras.

In December 1989, during the U.S. invasion of Panama, with possible invasion imminent, tanks of the Sandinista Army surround the U.S. embassy in Managua.

RELATED:  Remembering Carlos Fonseca, Architect of the Sandinista Revolution

1999
Nicaragua sues Honduras in the International Court of Justice in the Hague over a maritime border treaty signed by the neighboring country with Colombia. 13 years later, in 2012, Nicaragua will recover 90,000 square kilometers of Caribbean Sea from Colombia.

2002
On Dec. 12, the National Assembly unseats former president Arnoldo Alemán, accused of serious fraud, as well as civil and electoral crimes.

2004
On Dec. 10, in California, investigative journalist Gary Webb dies under mysterious gary webb.jpgcircumstances. Webb disclosed how the CIA flooded black U.S. neighborhoods with drugs and laundered money from the Iran-Contra scandal so as to finance the U.S. terrorist war against Nicaragua.

This incomplete review offers a glance at why December is such an important month in Nicaragua’s turbulent history. By contrast, today, December in Nicaragua is above all synonymous with Peace, Community and Solidarity. The government guarantees toys for the children. In municipal parks and other public spaces, Nicaraguan families enjoy the warm Central American evenings without fear of political repression, war or helplessness in the face of natural disasters. All of this is a revolutionary change both from the experiences of the past and from the current experience in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Russian Institute grants 2016 Man of the Year award to Fidel

Source: Granma
December 23 2016

by: Prensa Latina(PL) | internet@granma.cu

During a ceremony in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, the Russian Biographical Institute grants award to the leader of the Cuban Revolution  in memoriam.

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Brilliant contributions

The Russian Biographical Institute granted its Man of the Year award to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro in memoriam, in the category of international relations, for his brilliant contributions of international significance, diplomatic sources reported yesterday, December 22.

The ceremony took place in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, according to Prensa Latina.

Fidel’s role

Cuba’s ambassador in Russia, Emilio Lozada García, received the recognition from the institution’s president, Sviatoslav Rybas, who emphasized Fidel’s role in revolutionary processes around the world, and in strengthening relations between Russia and Cuba.

He noted that the Biographical Institute’s expert council, which selects prizewinners, was planning to make the award in recognition of Fidel’s 90th birthday, when his lamentable death occurred.

Vladimir Putin

The Cuban diplomat expressed gratitude for the award in the name of his people and government, and described Fidel’s November 25 death as a loss for Cuba, Latin America, and all of humanity.

For the last 24 years, the Man of the Year award has been granted to important figures in politics, culture, and science by this prestigious institution.

In the category of international relations, also recognized this year were Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation; Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China; and Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan.

President Duterte Of The Philippines For Dummies

Source:  Information Clearing House
December 22 2016

In his own country President Duterte is enjoying the highest popularity rating of any president in its history.

By Andre Vltchek

hugo chavez 1.jpgHugo Chavez 1999

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ascended to power in 1999, almost no one in the West, in Asia and even in most of the Latin American countries knew much about his new militant revolutionary anti-imperialism. From the mass media outlets like CNN and the BBC, to local televisions and newspapers (influenced or directly sponsored by Western sources), the ‘information’ that was flowing was clearly biased, extremely critical, and even derogatory.

A few months into his rule, I came to Caracas and was told repeatedly by several local journalists: “Almost all of us are supporting President Chavez, but we’d be fired if we’d dare to write one single article in his support.”

In New York City and Paris, in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong, the then consensus was almost unanimous: “Chavez was a vulgar populist, a demagogue, a military strongman, and potentially a ‘dangerous dictator’”.

In South Korea and the UK, in Qatar and Turkey, people who could hardly place Venezuela on the world map, were expressing their ‘strong opinions’, mocking and smearing the man who would later be revered as a Latin American hero. Even many of those who would usually ‘distrust’ mainstream media were then clearly convinced about the sinister nature of the Process and the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’.

History repeats itself.

rodrigo duterte 1.jpgRodrigo Duterte 2016

Now President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is demonized and ‘mistrusted’, ridiculed and dismissed as a demagogue, condemned as a rough element, mocked as a buffoon.

In his own country he is enjoying the highest popularity rating of any president in its history: at least well over 70 percent, but often even over 80 percent.

Loved by the people

“Show me one woman or man who hates Duterte in this city”, smiles a city hall employee of Davao (located on the restive Mindanao Island) where Duterte served as a Mayor for 22 years. “I will buy that person an exquisite dinner, from my own pocket … that is how confident I am”.

“People of the Philippines are totally free now to express their opinions, to criticize the government”, explains Eduardo Tadem, a leading academic, Professorial Lecturer of Asian Studies (UP). “He says: ‘they want to protest? Good!’ People can rally or riot without any permit from the authorities.”

Hostile right-wing press

Like in the days of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, in the Philippines, the press, which is mainly owned by right-wing business interests and by pro-Western collaborators, is now reaching a crescendo, barking and insulting the President, inventing stories and spreading unconfirmed rumors, something unimaginable even in a place like the U.K. with its draconian ‘defamation’ laws.

So it is not fear that is securing the great support of the people for Duterte in his own country. It is definitely not fear!

I visited some of the toughest slums of the nation; I worked in the middle of deadly cemeteries, just recently battered by crime and drugs, where people had been literally rotting alive, crying for help and mercy in absolute desperation. I also spoke to the top academics and historians of the country, to former colleagues of Duterte and to overseas workers in the U.A.E. and elsewhere.

Now there is hope 

The louder was the hate speech from abroad and from local mass media outlets, the stronger Duterte’s nation stood by its leader.

Men and women who were just one year ago living in total desperation and anger were now looking forward with hope, straight towards the future. Suddenly, everything seemed to be possible!

rodrigo duterte 2.jpgIn my first report this month I wrote: “There is a sense of change in those narrow and desperate alleys of the Baseco slum in the Philippines’ capital Manila. For the first time in many years a beautiful, noble lady visited; against all odds she decided to stay. Her name is Hope.”

I stand by my words, now more than ever.

However, I also feel that I have to explain in more detail what is really happening in the Philippines and why?

Read more here

UNICEF recognize the achievements of Nicaragua in favor of children

Source:  Nicaragua News

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The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has recognized the effectiveness of social programs carried out by the Government of Nicaragua in favor of children.

ivan yerovi unicef 2.jpgThe UNICEF representative Iván Yerovi said, “It is of great importance to recognize the achievements of Nicaragua. We are in favor of these positive results; it is a good time to reiterate our support and our decision to align ourselves with these national priorities and to be a reliable partner, a partner that can be efficient and effective.”

Likewise, the former Special Ombudsman for the Rights of Children, Carlos Emilio López, noted the substantial amount of social programs for children carried out by the administration of President Daniel Ortega through institutions such as the Ministry of Family that daniel ortega us imperialism threatens peace.jpgcontributes to the reduction of the levels of malnutrition, infant mortality, adolescent crime, the eradication of child labor and increased vaccination coverage for the prevention of diseases. (Nicaragua News, Dec. 13)