An event that changed the course of history

On July 26, 1953, the assault on the Moncada Garrison in Santiago opened a new stage in Cuba’s national liberation struggle, which concluded with the triumph of the Revolution January 1, 1959

Fidel with Ñico López, Abel Santamaría, and José Luis Tassende at the Santa Elena farm, in Palos, where they conducted target shooting practice, before the Moncada assault. Kneeling from left to right: Ernesto Tizol and Billy Gascón. This historic photo is displayed at the Casa Abel Santamaría Museum in Havana. Photo: Archive

Two rooms, one that served as a living-dining room and the other a bedroom, plus a tiny bathroom and kitchen, comprised apartment 603 in the building at 164 25th Street, between O and Infanta, in the Havana neighborhood of Vedado, where planning began for the armed actions that took place July 26, 1953.

On this date, assaulted by rebels were the Moncada Garrison in Santiago de Cuba and the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, in Bayamo, both in the east of the island, with the goal of capturing weapons to continue the struggle against the dictatorial government of Fulgencio Batista, who had cast the country into political, social, and economic chaos.

Abel Santamaría Cuadrado, one of the youth who joined the cause, lived in this apartment, and worked for a car agency. He rented it in January of 1952, since it was close to his workplace, and invited his sister Haydée to come live with him.

This is the story historian Seriozha Mora Candebat told us, at the Casa Abel Santamaría Museum. She has investigated the revolutionary ideas and conduct of the patriotic young man, born October 20, 1927, in the municipality of Encrucijada, Villa Clara province.

Abel moved to the capital in 1947, planning to become a professional. He won a competition to enroll in a commercial school and at the same time continued his studies to graduate from high school. He found work as an office assistant at Ariguanabo Textiles, and later at the Pontiac dealership, where he was responsible for the cash register and accounting. He joined the Orthodox Party, which could have won the elections, if this possibility had not been eliminated by Batista’s coup on March 10, 1952.

Abel Santamaría, like so many youth of the era, expressed his outrage in the face of such unconstitutional events, and it was enough for him to meet the young lawyer Fidel Castro – in Colon Cemetery – to seal his commitment to action.

It was May 1, 1952, when, after attending a commemoration for the Cuban revolutionary Carlos Rodríguez, who had played an outstanding role in the neocolonial republic’s years, the two met, becoming fast friends committed to social change in Cuba.

Over the following days, Fidel visited the apartment several times and organization of a movement began – later known as the July 26 Movement (M-26-7). On the basis of reflection, analysis, and different proposals during these meetings, it was agreed that it was necessary to take up arms to overthrow Batista, who had come to power using violence.

“Fidel appreciated the building’s privacy. Silence reigned here and the neighbors were quiet. Plus, it was a secure place, with two access doors, one onto 25th Street and another onto O, which facilitated meetings, contacts, and conspiring. Among those who came here frequently were Jesús Montané Oropesa, Melba Hernández, Raúl Martínez Arará, Ñico López, Boris Luis Santacoloma, Raúl Gómez García, and other youth from Pinar del Río and Artemisa, who would later sacrifice their lives in Santiago de Cuba,” the historian relates.

During a trip to Birán, the Castro family home in the eastern province of Holguín, Fidel and Abel discussed plans for the armed action. They decided on taking the military garrison in Santiago de Cuba, where the most important regiment in the eastern part of the country, with 909 armed troops, was housed. The rebel assailants were only 160, among them two women, Melba Hernández and Haydée Santamaría.

“The days prior to the assault, the Havana apartment was very quiet and meetings were reduced. Discretion was paramount, to trick the dictatorship’s intelligence agents. On July 7, Fidel sent Abel to Santiago. It was his responsibility to finalize details with Santiagan Renato Guitar, in the Villa Blanca house on the Siboney farm, from which they would depart to complete their military objectives the night of July 25, during the dawn hours of the 26th,” Seriozha Mora explained.

By this time, other meeting sites had been established in the capital, like Jovellar 107, the home of Melba Hernández; the Mi Tío bar at the intersection of Infanta and 23rd Street; a house in the municipality of Marianao; and most often used, the building at 910 11th Street, where Natalia Revuelta lived, a great collaborator who had instructions to disseminate news of the assault, once victory was won.

The night of July 24, 1953, Fidel locked the apartment on 25th Street and left to write history. After the assault failed, Abel Santamaría was held prisoner in Santiago’s Saturnino Lora Hospital. He was savagely tortured. They killed him, gouged out his eyes, and showed them to his sister Haydée, thinking they could make her talk. Within a few days, the dictatorship’s intelligence services raided the apartment on 25th, looking for evidence, but found nothing.

In August, Abel’s mother, Joaquina Cuadrado, and her sister Aida removed the siblings’ belongings from the apartment in Havana, so the owners could rent it to another family. After the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, Haydée Santamaría, by then director of the Casa de las Américas, recalled the days she lived with her brother in the apartment during conversations with artists and intellectuals, and the idea of making it a museum emerged.

On June 9, 1973, the apartment was inaugurated as an institution affiliated with the National Culture Council, later the Ministry of Culture. Given its place in Cuban history, the site was designated a National Monument in 1980, and is visited today by many persons interested in the history of the Moncada assault.

The Moncada Garrison in Santiago de Cuba, during the revolutionary era. Photo: Archive

On July 24, 1953 José Ramón Martínez Álvarez kissed his mother, saying he was going to the beach in Varadero. Like him, many other young men in Artemisa, southwest of Havana, said goodbye to their families and departed for Santiago de Cuba.

Fidel had given José Suárez Blanco (Pepe), a member of the Orthodox Party’s national leadership, the mission of establishing the July 26 Movement in Artemisa, where his years of work allowed him to pull together financial resources, recruit individuals, and begin to think about the program that would be implemented after the victory. It was Fidel himself who explained to this group, during a meeting in 1952, the most significant components of the radical change that was needed in Cuba, which would address issues such as land reform, industrialization, housing, unemployment, education, and healthcare.

As the movement was consolidated, the inevitable need for armed action became clear. Shooting practice on nearby farms was stepped up, meetings became more discreet, and weapons here stored in caves near the houses. Time went by and the work of the Artemisa group became better organized and more disciplined. Thus their participation in the Santiago assault was earned.

Some 28 young men from Artemisa, among them Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, left their hometown for the Moncada.

“We were just a handful, but we took the spirit of the people with us, inspired by Martí’s call not to look toward the side where one can live better, but toward the side where duty lies,” Ramiro Valdés said in 2014, when the anniversary of the historic assault was celebrated in the province.

The rebels left Havana via several different routes – some by train, others on the bus, and a few in cars. On the 25th, blending in among carnival-goers, they were taken in small groups to the Siboney farm.

Remembering the events of the 26th, Fidel said in an interview with Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet, for his book A hundred hours with Fidel, “In the end, a car rescued me. I don’t know how or why, a car was coming in my direction, reached where I was, and picked me up. It was a boy from Artemisa driving a car with several compañeros, me among them, and he rescued me… I’ve always wanted to talk with this man, to know how he got himself into the hellfire that was going on there.”

In the July 26th actions, 14 young men from Artemisa lost their lives. Others continued on the long road, participating in the Granma landing, and the struggle in the Sierra Maestra. They are all honored in Artemisa’s Martyrs Mausoleum.

Inaugurated July 16, 1977 and dedicated to the youth of the Centenary Generation from Artemisa, the memorial today demands an obligatory visit by all who want to understand the heroism offered by this city to the revolutionary cause.

The tombs holding the remains of those who fell, some of their belongings and photographs can be seen at the site, where also buried, since 2000, are rebels from the province who participated in the Moncada and died after the triumph of the Revolution.

Displayed at the entry to the Mausoleum is a heartfelt remark made by Fidel in his celebrated defense statement, known as History will absolve me, “My comrades, moreover, are not forgotten or dead. They are more alive today than ever, and their murderers must be horrified to see how the victorious specter of their ideas rises from their cadavers.”

In the dawn hours of July 26, at the Siboney farm outside Santiago de Cuba, the Moncada Manifesto, written by Raúl Gómez García, was read aloud. The national anthem sung, and the armed rebels departed in small groups to assault the Moncada Garrison, the courthouse, and the Saturnino Lora Hospital in the city of Santiago. At the same time, in Bayamo, another group moved on the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrison.

Before the attack, Fidel spoke to his comrades: “Within a few hours, you may win or be defeated, but in any event – listen carefully, compañeros – in any event, the movement will triumph. If we win tomorrow, that to which Marti aspired will be done sooner. If the opposite occurs, the effort will serve as an example to the people of Cuba, to take up the banner and continue forward. The people support us in Oriente and throughout the island. Youth of the Apostle’s Centenary! As in 68 and 95, here in Oriente we give the first shout of “Liberty or Death!” You already know the objectives of the plan. No doubt whatsoever, it is dangerous and everyone who departs with me tonight must do so entirely voluntarily. You still have time to decide. In any event, some will stay behind, because of the lack of weapons. Those who are determined to go, take a step forward. The idea is to not kill, but to do so only as the last resort.”

The 131 combatants, dressed in Batista army uniforms, were organized in three groups. The first directed its efforts toward the main building, the Moncada Garrison. The other two, led by Abel Santamaría and Raúl Castro, would attempt to take the hospital and the courthouse, respectively.

The operation began. Fidel, leading the first group, reached its destination as planned, but the unexpected arrival of a patrol car led to premature gunfire that alerted troops inside the garrison. Abel and Raúl reached their targets, but the enemy, with more men and weapons, was able to repel the attacks.

Something similar occurred in Bayamo. The plan there was that a city resident, who was well known by officers at the garrison, would accompany the head of the assault forces to the site and they would be let in. Once inside, the soldiers on watch would be disarmed and forced to open the gates for the rest of the rebel group. The plan did not go are foreseen, since the guide failed to appear, and an alternative strategy was attempted.

Thus the planned attacks of the day were not victorious, but they did achieve the objective of initiating a new stage in the revolutionary struggle against the pro-U.S. general, Fulgencio Batista.

These actions led by Fidel Castro Ruz showed the Cuban people that the armed struggle was the route to victory. Later came the Granma expeditionaries, who landed December 2, 1956, to open a guerilla front in the Sierra Maestra.

On January 1, 1959, the revolutionary insurrection would culminate with the defeat of the dictatorship, and the taking of political power. The former Moncada Garrison is now a school, the “Ciudad Escolar 26 de Julio”, and part of the building has been remodeled as a museum, to ensure that these feats are never forgotten.

Black Americans’ Median Wealth Could Disappear In One Generation

By Adam Hudson,

black wealth.jpg


Ecuador: The Imperialist Plot Against Rafael Correa


Itzamna Ollantay

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, an Ecuadorean colossus, who stood up against the empire because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered.

imperialist plot against Rafael Correa

A court in Ecuador issued an international arrest order on one of the main human rights defenders of the Latin American and Ecuadorean people, ex-President Rafael Correa.

The former leader is being accused of illegal association and kidnapping in relation to the Fernando Balda case, an Ecuadorean ex-lawmaker who was allegedly held against his will in Colombia, in 2012. The accusations are based on the testimony of a former police officer (an effective collaborator) currently under investigation, who said: “I sent letters to President Correa.”

While this is happening, the most corrupt former neoliberal rulers, who handed over the resources of the Latin American people to foreign companies, are enjoying their permanent vacations in the U.S. For example, Bolivia’s Gonzalo Sanchez, Peru’s Alejandro Toledo… fraudulent president and/or corrupt such as the current ones in Guatemala or Honduras. As long as they have the blessing of the U.S., they’re untouchable. Brazil’s Temer, Argentina’s Macri, even with lawsuits against them, they’re still ruling in favor of the interests of the empire.

The bad taste play called “anti-corruption war,” promoted by the North American government and celebrated by the Latin American naivete, is no more than the continuation of the fake “anti-communist war.”

In the 1970s, defenders were tortured and physically annihilated. Now, through public and legal lynching, they destroy the honor and moral integrity of defenders. The objective is always the same: to subdue the defenders and turn them into monsters.

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, who as an Ecuadorean colossus stood up against the empire from the Carondelet Palace for a decade, because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered, not because of his physical impairment but due to his actual moral condition of traitor. The Roman Brutus, the traitor/murderer of his father Julius Caesar, killed himself after being defeated by guilt.

What unforgivable thing did Rafael Correa do?

According to reports from the World Bank, in 2000 more than 64 percent of Ecuadoreans were living in poverty conditions. Correa, in his decade of government (2007-2017) reduced poverty in Ecuador by 21 percent. That’s to say, more than 6 million Ecuadoreans stopped being poor during that period.

Rafael Correa completely restructured the country’s taxation system. The collected money was distributed to impoverished families through social policies. It was a great example of economic democratization in times of world recession.

The former president turned Ecuador into a world referent, not only in taxation justice and social equity, but also in the construction of an enviable modern road network never before seen in the country. Correa expanded the access to public services as fundamental human rights as never before in the country. The dealers of public services will never forgive him these or other audacities.

Regarding the migration issue, in 2007 Ecuador was what Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are now: outward migrating stampedes. With Correa, the Ecuadorean migrants returned to their country with organized return policies. Not only this, with the new Political Constitution of 2008 the Latin American citizenship was established in this ecologically megadiverse country.

Rafael Correa, along with a Pleiades of Latin American liberators of the 21st century, imposed the dignity and regional sovereignty of Latin America with the creation of Celac, ALBA, Unasur and other organizations. All that, without Washington’s approval. He took Ecuador away from the economical fetters of the TBI [temporary business interruption] and the World Bank.

As a Latin American David, Correa expelled the North American usurper army from the Ecuadorean territory (Manta). He humiliated, without actually looking for it, the arrogant North American geopolitics in the cases of Assange, Usaid, etc.

Correa, in 2007, found an Ecuador in an accelerated process of sociopolitical decay. But in 2017 he managed to place the Andean, Amazonian country in the world’s display cabinet as a model to look at.

At the end, our rights defender Rafael Correa was and is a living, contagious wall that stopped and will keep stopping the North American commercial and political expansionism in Latin America.

The North American imperial oligarchy and its regional accomplices, used to see their tattered vassals in the Latin American people, will never accept nor allow that Latin American liberators to end up in history as heroes or seedbeds of liberty, dignity and sovereignty. That’s why they’re lynching Lugo, Cristina, Lula, Dilma, Rafael, Maduro… But, millions of Latin Americans have awakened and we’re going towards our pending emancipatory dreams.


Brazil: Lula Says the Rich ‘Fear the People’s Choice’

Source:  TeleSUR

Published 14 July 2018

lula telesur july 2018Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. | Photo: Reuters

Lula: “My judicial persecutors not only want me detained, they want me silenced.”

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has taken to his Twitter account, on Friday, to speak to the people of Brazil about the denial of his habeas corpus earlier this week, which would have allowed him to walk free from prison.

RELATED: Brazil: Lula Absolved of Obstruction of Justice Charges, but Kept in Prison

“The fear surrounding my possible release is due to the fact that they know that they detained me based on lies,” he said, referring to judge Sergio Moro and prosecutors who argued his guilt, as well as ruled and sentenced the former head of state on corruption and money laundering charges.

“Their guilty conscious, stemming from their frame-ups, makes them nervous.”

Lula went on to tweet that he doesn’t harbor hate (towards his persecutors) but sympathy for the situation in which this group has placed Brazil, to sell our riches, and indignation for the suffering of the Brazilian people.

He said it becomes more difficult, with each passing day, for people “to find work and pay their bills…The fear exhibited by the rich is not against me – Lula said – but for them to accept the choice of the Brazilian people in free elections. The Brazilian people must recuperate their democratic liberty!”

On Thursday Lula was visited in prison by his former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Celso Amorim, and former Chief Minister of the Social Communication Secretariat Franklin Martins.

He told them that his judicial persecutors not only want him detained, but silenced, in respect to judge Carolina Lebbos, who prohibited him from giving interviews from prison. He also affirmed that he would not exchange his dignity for freedom.

Lula has been detained at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba since April 7. Despite his imprisonment, an event that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, he has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.

The latest Ipespe survey, taken between July 9 and 11, indicates that Lula continues leading the pack of presidential hopefuls in the first round of voting at 30 per cent. It also showed him prevailing against his nearest rival, far right-wing congressman Jair Bolsonaro, in the second round of voting at 40 per cent to 33 per cent.

Lula’s two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.

Nicaragua is now the target

U.S. organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID have meddled in other countries’ affairs since their founding at the height of the Cold War

Author: Raúl Antonio Capote |

July 13, 2018

nicaragua now the target 1.jpgYoung people in Nicaragua have been victims of media and political manipulation. Photo:

Masked individuals, armed with homemade mortars and bazookas, block avenues, close the main streets, attack state institutions, burn tires, start fires, loot and kill.

To date, approximately 170 people have died as a result of the chaos and violence in Nicaragua. A powerful media campaign follows the events and more than that, openly promotes, falsifies, and multiples them.
The violent acts are presented as peaceful demonstrations by students, and the press publishes photos of those supposedly killed by the Sandinista government, but just as the truth will come out, the deception is discovered. Several have complained, demonstrating that the supposed dead are actually alive. One young man who resides abroad returned to state as such before the cameras, but of course this was not reproduced by the mainstream media.

U.S. author, journalist, and blogger Max Blumenthal recently published an article noting that a group of activists opposed to the current Nicaraguan government went to meet with leaders of Freedom House in Washington D.C. According to Blumenthal, the opposition group known as M-19, “were there to beseech Donald Trump and other right-wing U.S. government officials to help them in their fight against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.”

The links between U.S. organizations and the events underway in Nicaragua and other parts of the world are clearly revealed in Blumenthal’s piece: “The NED (National Endowment for Democracy) is a leading agent of U.S. soft power that has meddled in other countries’ affairs since its founding at the height of the Cold War, in 1983.” And the author cites Allen Weinstein, a founder of the NED, in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

The budget with which the NED operates comes from the United States Congress, which grants it millions of dollars every two years, as part of the State Department budget. The organization also receives donations from four associations: the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Ohin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and Freedom House, indirectly funded by federal contracts.

nicaragua now the target 2.jpgMasked individuals, armed with homemade mortars and bazookas block the streets and incite violence in Nicaragua. Photo:

The money is distributed to the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the American Center for International Labor Solidarity of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which in turn distribute monetary and material resources to other organizations in the U.S. and around the world, and disburse money and materials for opposition organizations in countries whose governments are not to the liking of the U.S. government.

The report from this U.S. journalist identifies the culprits: “Aside from NED, USAID has been the most active promoter of regime change against socialist-oriented governments in Latin America. In Nicaragua, USAID’s budget topped $5.2 million in 2018, with most of the funding directed towards training civil society and media organizations.”

This is the same USAID that used funds from the Alliance for Progress, a U.S. “economic aid,” “political” and “social” program, a kind of Marshall Plan and the first big attempt to halt the prospect of revolution in Latin American and isolate Cuba, and finance repression. Instead of engineers, technicians, and skilled workers, USAID trained unscrupulous police, soldiers, paramilitaries, torturers, and killers; instead of factories, farms, and schools, detention and torture centers were built.

Let’s not forget that this is also the same USAID that financed the training of death squads, promoted “health” programs that concealed inhumane sterilization processes in Central America, and collaborated with CIA narco agents in the Iran-Contra operation.

USAID has created an extensive network on our continent, which attracts cadres, manufactures leaders, and penetrates civil society. A true interventionist army of “experts,” “advisors” and “consultants,” working to develop its subversive plans. In its first ten years alone, the NED distributed more than 200 million dollars in 1,500 projects to support so-called “friends of America.”

Serbia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, and Venezuela; wherever there is a government that goes against the interests of the United States, these generously financed experts in destabilization and chaos swiftly act.

Mercenaries, delinquents, hirelings of the “Soft Coup,” of the “Color Revolutions,” or other “revolutions” with eye-catching and peaceful names, designed in Langley’s laboratories, such as the Rose Revolution, Tulip Revolution, Orange Revolution, or known by names closer to reality such as the Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia; where the purchase of uncritical consciences and deception, seduction through the use of attractive concepts for young people, and a lot of money, all the money that is necessary, are the soldiers and weapons of this new war. And of course, Nicaragua is now the target.

Cuba will always support the just demands of Caribbean nations

Full text of speech by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel during the 39th Caribbean Community Conference meeting, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, July 5

by: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez |

July 13, 2018

miguel diaz-canel in jamaica july 5 2018.jpgPhoto: Estudios Revolución

Speech by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, on the occasion of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, July 5, 2018 , Year 60 of the Revolution

Your Most Honorable Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica;
Honorable Heads of State and Government of CARICOM member states;

His Excellency Ambassador Irwin La Rocque, CARICOM Secretary-General;

Distinguished heads of delegations, ministers and special guests:

It is an honor to greet the leaders of our Caribbean, a sea that we share as a cradle and a challenging home, where we count the hours with more haste, due to the passion that derives from its heat and its strength that stops hurricanes, increasingly frequent and destructive, and also due to the rise in sea level, as a consequence of climate change, which we ourselves did not even cause.

I follow the spirit of my people, who first send enthused gratitude to the hosts, as we are in Jamaica, where, in the late nineteenth century, far from the hatred of the Spanish metropolis, Mariana Grajales found refuge, the bravest of our women and Mother of the Nation, whom “God has invested with the rank of General,” in the words of another front-line fighter, the wife of her son Antonio, the unsurpassable Maceo.

Here our Mariana, who died on Jamaican land 125 years ago, and today rests in the patrimonial cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, found refuge and received José Martí.

Jamaica is very close, geographically, historically, and humanly.

I wish, therefore, to express our gratitude to the people and government authorities of Jamaica, especially to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, for kindly organizing this meeting and offering us the possibility to share in this moment of Caribbean brotherhood.

I also interpret this invitation and the welcome that we have received, as an unequivocal demonstration of the excellent state of relations between the member nations of CARICOM and Cuba, whose solid foundations are built on an infallible friendship and the mutual recognition that we share challenges, so enormous that only united and cooperatively will we be able to face them successfully.

I am honored to convey the fraternal message of friendship and solidarity of compañero Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, and to reiterate the unwavering commitment that he made to you last December, at the 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit, held in Antigua and Barbuda, stating that, “The Caribbean can always count on the eternal friendship, gratitude, and support of Cuba.”

“Cuba does not wander around the world cadging: she is a sister and works with such authority. On saving herself, she saves,” warned José Martí when he organized the Necessary War. And the Cuban Revolution, which turned his legacy into law, has not hesitated to share what we have; offer what we know; support where we can; more so at difficult times than in fortunate moments, but simply always. With a single priority: firstly he who suffers the most, and if he is a brother all the more reason.

Esteemed Heads of State and Government and guests:

The challenge facing our small states to achieve sustainable development is not new, although it is intensifying, because the obstacles and dangers derived from an unjust international order, that has lasted too long, are even greater and more complex

An increasingly unequal world, in which the access of our products to markets is obstructed, and we are deprived of the essential technological and financial resources for development, while rivers of money and resources are squandered on military spending and endless wars beyond the borders of their promoters, where there is little room for the hopes of the nations that lost out on centuries of progress, fuelling that of our metropolises.

This is why Cuba will always support the just demands of the Caribbean to receive fair and differential treatment in access to trade and investment. And we will support, without hesitation, the legitimate demand for reparations for the horrors of slavery and human trafficking, while rejecting the inclusion of CARICOM member states on unilateral lists of alleged non-cooperative tax jurisdictions drawn up by international financial capital centers.

We also reiterate that the demand to foster cooperation based on the needs of developing countries, and on the basis of the historic debt as a result of colonialism, and not a mechanical and incomplete measurement of national income, is necessary and just.

As mentioned earlier, the effects of climate change and the progressive destruction of the environment threaten human survival, and cause natural disasters and phenomena to affect more intensely small island states. As such, we urgently need to find joint responses to face them and demand a fair, special and differential treatment.

Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations, such as the peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition of threat or use of force, the respect for self-determination, territorial integrity, the sovereign equality of states, and non-interference in their internal affairs, are continuously violated, which constitutes a real danger that demands our strictest observance and will to uphold the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, a commitment signed in Havana in 2014 by the heads of state and government of the region.

We cannot ignore the serious and alarming messages of arrogance and contempt with which United States authorities address our nations.

The declared intention of a return to the Monroe Doctrine, a direct expression of its ambitions of domination, together with acts of intervention, which provoke violence, humanitarian crises, and instability, merit strong condemnation, just as the application of unilateral coercive measures and non-conventional war tactics, that have become a direct threat to the stability and true integration of our nations.

Esteemed Heads of State and Government:

Now 45 years ago, in a historic decision, the first four independent nations of the Caribbean reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba.

That act would be described by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, as an “unquestionably courageous political decision… [insofar as it] was a fundamental step toward breaking the diplomatic and trade blockade of Cuba in the region… Cuba will never forget this noble gesture on the part of its Caribbean brothers,” Fidel said then and we reiterate today.

We will continue, with our modest resources and in spite of the current difficulties, joint cooperation projects.

We have the opportunity to further deepen our ties.

We will pursue efforts to start the activities of the Regional Arts School, whose conception is the result of common interest and political will.

We must, at the same time, make sustainable the advance of the Centre to Stimulate the Development of Children, Adolescents and Youth with Special Education Needs, located in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

Cuba ratifies the decision to continue cooperating in the training of human resources, in particular the possibility of pursuing specialization studies in the health field.

We maintain the will to exchange experiences and best practices in comprehensive disaster risk management, and in confronting the effects of climate change, and to explore other spheres of common interest.

We also have novel instruments that we must continue to strengthen, such as the expansion of the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the Caribbean Community and Cuba, which supports the promotion of trade and investment development; the possibility of working on multi-destination tourism and cultural exchange development. In other words: to make more systematic and constructive use of all of our scarce, but powerful, shared advantages.

Esteemed Presidents and Prime Ministers:

In Cuba we are advancing in a process of perfecting our socialist model of economic and social development, and working on the reform of our Constitution. We do so in the midst of economic difficulties and enormous financial tensions, exacerbated by the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade, and the setback in bilateral relations with the United States.

Despite these enormous obstacles, the Cuban people persevere in building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous, and sustainable nation, without abandoning any of the principles that have guided the honorable history of their Revolution.

In this context, Cuba would like to express its appreciation for the permanent support and friendship of the Caribbean peoples.

And before you, I wish to reiterate, in the name of our common history, of the present and future generations of Cuban men and women, the invariable solidarity, eternal gratitude, and irrevocable commitment of Cuba to its closest brothers, its equals in need and hope, given the good fortune and the challenge of sharing the Caribbean that embraces us.

Thank you very much!

The sports industry, a gulf separates two worlds

The global sports industry’s income exceeds the GDP of entire nations, and continues to foster inequality

by: Aliet Arzola Lima |

July 12, 2018

nike vs adidas.jpg

Photo: Granma

Lightweight footwear under one hundred grams; swimsuits designed by experts in hydrodynamics that “cut” through the water with maximum efficiency; sensors placed in different accessories that calculate heart rate and provide other real time information; rackets that reduce vibration transfer resulting from the impact of the ball…

These are just a few glimpses of the advances of the global sports goods industry, which is evolving as fast as the strides of Usain Bolt, or the strokes of Michael Phelps, icons of the athletic world who, in particular, have enjoyed the benefits of this huge production empire and, in addition, have contributed to its constant development.

Historic brands such as Adidas, Puma, and Nike, or the emerging Under Armor, four of the large consortia that sponsor and dress various competitors, completely control the sports market and have a direct impact on the main sporting events, from the Olympic Games to the World Cup – the two events that attract the most global attention.

The manufacture of sports goods saw early development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but the industrial boom, the proliferation of clubs and the consequent professionalization of sports changed the essence of what today cannot be described as anything other than a business, given the huge network of companies it involves.

According to studies conducted by Plunkett Research, specialized in “market research, business analysis, industry trends, statistics,” according to its website, the value of the global sports industry can match that of annual U.S. exports, and exceed the GDP of entire nations. In addition, powerful soccer and baseball clubs see revenue of more than 500 million dollars, and a single boxing match can generate more than a trillion dollars.

The figures are shocking, especially when in this day and age, a high percentage of the world’s population continues to live in extreme poverty and need. However, they also make clear that sports is a profitable business for the major powers and brands, which invest, generate, and receive huge sums of money through television contracts, advertising, licenses, merchandising, and tickets.

But beyond the impact of these firms on athlete representation and their transformation into true cult heroes according to their results, let us pause for a minute to think about their real scope in terms of the equitable growth of sports.

Can Puma’s state-of-the-art products really reach a poor kid from a favela in Brazil, or the most remote villages in Central America or Africa? Does the unbridled competition between Adidas and Nike really pursue, at least as a secondary objective, the discovery and financing of emerging talents in underdeveloped countries?

The answer to these questions is a resounding no. Rather companies have used sports as an ideal source of prosperity; they have fostered inequality and increased the economic gap between rich and poor, the latter with very few opportunities to acquire equipment or develop infrastructure for the practice of any discipline.

The fact that the main sports goods firms pursue the same goal and have similar effects in underdeveloped countries does not mean that there is any sense of alliance or cooperation among them; on the contrary, their relations are marked by grudges stemming from past gimmicks, and competition in areas of technological research, development, and advances.

The emporiums of Adidas and Puma, for example, have their origins in Germany. In fact, they arose following the breakdown of relations between the Dassler brothers (Adolf and Rodolf), who had founded Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in the 1920s.

The company gained worldwide fame in the 1930s on signing Jesse Owens, the stellar Black sprinter and long jumper who won four Olympic gold medals in Berlin 1936, before the defiant and frustrated gaze of Adolf Hitler. However, the Dassler brothers’ project disintegrated after WWII, leading to the creation of Adidas and Puma. Paradoxically, from that moment on they were never at peace.

The height of their run-ins came during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, for which the two powerful rival brands agreed to what became known as the “Pelé Pact” – a mutual agreement not to approach the Brazilian star to sign a sponsorship deal.

Despite the pact, a representative of Puma took advantage of the fact that the legendary striker had no knowledge of such an agreement, and signed him up without the company’s approval, which later gave the go-ahead. The move unleashed an ongoing fight with Adidas, which didn’t turn out very well for Puma, as in the last 20 years, the brand of the three bars has completely overtaken it in the market.

Nike emerged much later, and for a long time looked askance at the struggle between the two flagship brands, until Michael Jordan changed the fate of the U.S. brand forever with his Air Jordan shoes, a success all over the world. Since then, Nike has been Adidas’ rival par excellence, in an all-out war that constantly engages millions of consumers.

michael jordan nike

The competition has reached such a degrading point that personalities like LaVar Ball, the eccentric former U.S. football and basketball player, attempted to spark a bidding war over his son Lonzo Ball’s feet, to see which of the two firms (Adidas or Nike) would offer the most lucrative contract in exchange for the player wearing its sneakers in his NBA debut with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Modern sports are sold on a daily basis as a lavish spectacle, while millions of people simultaneously consume the brands that sponsor the events, and the athletic product itself. This practice has been established through and through, especially thanks to communications monopolies, which bombard all competitions with advertising, no matter the level.


It is precisely these commercial advertising commitments (for which millions are paid) and the sponsors that determine to a large extent how, when and where competitions take place. This has completely changed the situation for athletes, who must prepare to face an increasingly high competition volume.

These demands, to which we must add the constant and universal pressure of their followers, have led an endless number of athletes to resort to other means (doping, bets, match-fixing), all to secure six or seven digit advertising contracts – a privilege reserved for a minority group that reaches economic and publicity “glory” in line with its results in the competitive arena.

Commodification and commercialization have attacked the sports world, and its protagonists are treated as mere objects, sometimes pushed to sacrifice their prestige and values to achieve a result, even risking death by consuming prohibited substances. It’s an endless cycle, a loop in which often not even the athletes themselves can appreciate that they are trapped.

Developing nations generally excel in sports thanks to specific talents but, frequently, that success fades, as it lacks the solid foundations to support it.

It’s not surprising that this happens, as underdeveloped countries suffer from limited access to all the facilities of an overly classist sports goods industry, which views the athletic world as a source of easy and safe revenue.

Surviving this neoliberal approach is not easy, but Cuba has achieved it and stands at the forefront of the most disadvantaged nations, even now when its sports movement is not enjoying its best moment.

What has its formula been? In this small Caribbean archipelago, sports has been defended as a right of the people, as a source of health and well-being, a dignified concept that has allowed us to consolidate an organized and successful system in multiple disciplines – a real achievement if we consider our scarce economic resources and the limitations imposed by the most powerful country on the planet.

Without the benefits of the big brands, without access to cutting-edge technologies developed in the specialized laboratories of these companies, Cuba has not only exalted its virtues, but has also charted a path for nations with the same limitations.