Lula Writes Letter Asking People to Choose Democracy, Haddad

Source:  TeleSUR
October 24 2018

lula da silva 1.jpgFormer Brazilian President Lula da Silva wrote a letter in support
of Haddad Wednesday. | Photo: EFE

Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva published a letter Wednesday just before the second round of Brazilian elections on Oct. 28. He called on Brazilians to create a front to support Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad to stop “the fascist threat hanging over Brazil,” referring to the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

RELATED:  Bolsonaro Vows To Purge Brazil of Left-wing ‘Crooks,’ Designate them as ‘Terrorists’

“It is time to unite the people, the democrats, all around the candidacy of Fernando Haddad, to resume the project of developing social inclusion and defending Brazil’s choices through democracy,” Lula wrote.

“I am certain that we have done what’s best for Brazil and for our people, but I know that this has thwarted powerful interests inside and outside the country. So they try to destroy our image, to rewrite history, to erase the memory of the people. But they will not.”

Speaking about corruption charges against himself, Lula wrote, “Everyone knows that I was unjustly convicted, in an arbitrary and baseless process, because I would have been elected president of Brazil in the first round. But we endured,  throwing our support behind our comrade Fernando Haddad, who made it to the second round by the vote of the people.”

He asks, “Why so much hatred against the PT?”

The former president then argues that maybe the far-right hates PT due to its achievements in creating jobs, taking people out of hunger, improving educational institutions, creating a “silent revolution in the Northeast,” and making the country socially inclusive, etc.

Lula is also proud of PT’s legacy, especially their commitment to democracy. “Our party was born in resistance to the dictatorship and in the fight for the redemocratization of the country, that cost us so much sacrifice, so much blood, and so many lives cost,” argues the former president.

He calls for debate and discourse to solve disagreements, but letting Brazil go into the hands of such a fascist would be similar to abandoning the social pact of the 1988 Constitution.

He concluded his letter asking people to vote for Haddad who would be the harbinger of democracy in the Latin American country.

“This moment, above all, is the future of the country, of our democracy, and of our people. It is time to vote for Fernando Haddad, who represents the survival of the democratic pact, without fear and without hesitation.”

The blockade in facts and figures

Source:  Granma
September 24 2018

by   |

Granma provides a summary of the latest calculated damages to Cuba caused by the U.S. blockade policy. Cuba will present its annual report on the blockade damages to the UN General Assembly this October

no to the blockade 2


– The most unfair, severe and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions that has been applied against any country.

– The main obstacle to the development of the Cuban economy and the Cuban people’s full enjoyment of all human rights.

– A serious challenge for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

– An unjust, illegal, extraterritorial measure that violates international law.


– The accumulated damages caused by the implementation of the blockade throughout almost six decades have reached the figure of 933,678,000,000 dollars

– At current prices, the blockade has caused quantifiable damages of more than 134,499,800,000 dollars

– From April 2017 to March 2018, the blockade has been tightened and is being strictly applied. In this period it has caused damages in the order of 4,321,200,000 dollars


Unanswered or refused purchase requests:

– The purchase of the drug Temozolamide, at the forefront of chemotherapy treatment, was prevented

– Information was requested on two occasions for the purchase of the da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic surgical system developed by U.S. company Intuitive Surgical

– High-tech equipment known as a mass spectrometer, used for the diagnosis and early detection of metabolic diseases or inborn errors of metabolism

– Cardiac valves of different types, vascular prostheses, electrode extraction devices

– Direct shipments to Cuba of Levofloxacin were refused, a medicine used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, bronchitis and pneumonia, among other ailments

– Nitric oxide, used for the prevention or effective treatment of acute pulmonary hypertension


– Increased freight costs for transportation of products from distant markets

– Lack of teaching and research resources, due to their higher costs in other markets

– Limited access to scientific information and computer tools

– Obstacles to receiving payments for professional services abroad

– Not all the necessary equipment for the learning of minors with special needs can be accessed

– Reduction in academic exchanges between universities

– Reduced imports of sports equipment made by U.S. brands, many of mandatory use

– Cuban sports schools’ ability to acquire medicines and state-of-the-art equipment is restricted

– Exchanges between Cuban artists and their U.S. counterparts have diminished

– The materials necessary for arts education are acquired at high prices in the international market


– During the period analyzed in this report, losses in this sector amount to 413,793,100 dollars

– The impossibility of placing our products in the U.S. market continues


– From January through March 13, 2018, the arrival of U.S. visitors decreased by 43%, which means 51,677 fewer travelers than in the same period of 2017

– A total of 240 tourist groups made cancellations with travel agencies as a result of alerts issued by the State Department

– Online sales of 99% of Gaviota Hotel Group hotels were affected


Etecsa (Cuba’s telecommunications company) suffered damages of 60,143,000 dollars

– Reduction in Roaming Services contracts

– The OFAC imposed a fine of 1.19 million dollars on an Asian company, manufacturer of one of the most used pieces of equipment in the Cuban communications system

– It is impossible to access certain brands and/or high performance and leading equipment in the infocommunications market

– Free access from Cuba to some Internet content and information downloading services is prevented


– The Energoimport Business Group was denied the purchase of spare parts to guarantee the maintenance and operation of the Gibara II Wind Farm

– The Geominsal Business Group has been attempting to acquire an ICP-MS, a necessary instrument for carrying out geological investigations, since 2015


– Sales of the Cuban drug Heberprot-P in the U.S. market is prohibited

– The Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology has seen losses on the order of 392,085 dollars, due to the need to use intermediaries in third countries for the purchase of basic production supplies

– Farmacuba saw monetary losses of 4,457,374 dollars, due to not being able to carry out its operations in U.S. dollars


From April 2017 to March 2018, the impact on this sector has amounted to 50,004,400 dollars, especially to:

– The Chemical Industry Enterprise Group

– The Cuban recycling industry, which cannot access multiple technological equipment

– The Metal Productions Company (Cometal)


From April 2017 to March 2018, damages caused by the blockade to the transport sector amounted to 101,550,000 dollars:

– Accumulative damages of 63,640,000 dollars for the flight cancellations of four U.S. airlines

– The Cuban Aviation Company (Cubana de Aviacion S.A.) has experienced difficulties on attempting to buy or lease aircraft with technical components of virtually any type of technology. It is also totally impossible to access aircraft produced by companies such as Airbus, Dassault, and Boeing

– The maintenance of aircraft by specialized agencies of virtually any country is impossible

– The Selecmar Enterprise saw losses of 13,420,000 dollars in merchant ship and cruise ship activities, mainly due to the prohibition of enlisting Cuban sailors with the U.S. companies that arrive to the island

– The tourist transportation of the Cuba Taxis Enterprise Group and the National Bus Company is also affected


Monetary damages amounted to 538,300,000 dollars. The Cuban banking system was damaged by incidents reported in 128 foreign banks, due to:

– The impossibility of using the U.S. dollar in Cuban commercial and financial transactions abroad

– Difficulties related to accessing new technologies

– Cancellation of SWIFT RMA keys by 20 foreign banks

– Application to close Cuban accounts by four foreign banking entities

– Closure of and refusal to open accounts for Cuban embassies and diplomats abroad, as well as the offices of Cuban entities

– Refusal of 14 entities to transfer funds to or from Cuba and to provide other banking services

– Retention of funds and uncertainty about their destination

– Refusal to process and/or report matters related to credit card transactions to Cuba

– Rejection of banking operations

– Cancellation of banking operations and signed agreements


Losses amount to 3,343,400,000 dollars

– Revenues foregone for exports of goods amount to 2,475,900,000 dollars

– Cuba lost 867,500,000 dollars due to geographic relocation

– The cost of financing based on “country-risk rates” increased, which is estimated at 54,326,250 dollars

– The lack of access to bank or soft loans forced Cuban companies to work with commercial loans granted by the suppliers themselves under more disadvantaged conditions

– The damages due to the use of intermediaries and the consequent increase in the cost of goods reached 59,825,479 dollars

– It is estimated that the impossibility of placing Habanos S.A. products in the U.S. market has caused losses of 134,500,000 dollars

– The Food Marketing Company (Alimport) saw losses of 3,533,271 dollars, as a result of having to purchase products in more distant markets


September 18, 2017

The French branch of the company Forax informed the Cuban Mission to UNESCO that it would cancel all fuel cards linked to the Mission.

October 28, 2017

Australian private banks Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ),

Commonwealth, Saint George, Bendigo and Westpac, continued to hamper transactions related to Cuba.

October 28, 2017

It was learned that the bank Anz told the New Zealand travel agency World

Journeys that it should suspend its direct or indirect operations with Cuba or it would be required to close its corporate account with the banking institution.

November 27, 2017

Chilean private banks Banco de Credito de Inversiones de Chile, Banco

Edwards, Banco de Chile, ITAN, BBVA Chile and the governmental Banco Estado, refused to transfer the funds raised by the Chilean Solidarity with Cuba Movement for the recovery from the damages caused by Hurricane Irma.

August 18, 2017

It was learned that a branch of the Westpac bank in New Zealand temporarily stopped a transfer from the New Zealand company Havana Coffee Works, for the payment of an purchase of coffee in Vanuatu, due to the company name containing the word “Havana.”

February 2018

The Sheraton Addis Hotel, in Ethiopia, following indications received from its headquarters in the United States, refused to reserve rooms for a Cuban delegation visiting the country, under the pretext of the blockade regulations.

April 27, 2018

FedEx Express canceled the Embassy of Cuba in Antigua and Barbuda’s account, arguing that the company and its international subsidiaries are subject to the laws of the United States.

May 21, 2018

It was learned that the Argentine online payment company Prisma (Todo Pago), withdrew its services from the subsidiary of Havanatur S.A. in Argentina, claiming that this entity is included on the OFAC sanctions list.


September 13, 2017

The negative effects of the blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba were denounced and a call for its elimination was heard in the 36th session of the Human Rights Council.

September 14, 2017

The biennial debate on unilateral coercive measures was held. In addition to the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of African States, the Group of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Cuba, on behalf of a group of countries, 15 other developing countries voiced opposition to the blockade.

September 22, 2017

The Ministerial Declaration of the Group of 77 and China once again condemned the blockade of Cuba and the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against developing countries. The text was adopted at the 41st Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group.

September 2017

During the seventy-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly, 37 heads of delegations spoke in favor of lifting the blockade on Cuba.

November 1st, 2017

Forty-one speakers from all regions of the world participated in the debate on the Report presented by Cuba, which called for the immediate lifting of the blockade. The representatives of the Group of 77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community, the Group of African States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, stood out in their remarks.


191 in FAVOR or ending the blockade



“A Lot Remains to Be Done”: Interview with Aleida Guevara

Source:  Internationalist 360
October 8 2018

by Ron Augustin

aleida oct 2018
Aleida Guevara March, the daughter of Ernesto Che Guevara and Aleida March, recently traveled to Europe, where she participated in several discussion rounds explaining the popular consultations taking place in Cuba for the country’s proposed constitutional reforms. She also campaigned against the U.S.-sanctions against her country. Before returning to her work as a pediatrician at William Soler Children’s Hospital in Havana, we had the following talk with her.

Aleida, you had a meeting with the European Parliament’s United Left Group in Strasbourg. Can we expect a resolution from this parliament against the economic and financial blockade that the United States has maintained and intensified against Cuba for almost 60 years?

Indeed, for a while now they have started to work on the proposition of a motion that is to include a number of concrete measures. At the UN General Assembly, the European Union already voted unanimously against the U.S. blockade year-on-year for the past few years. This is due mainly to the pressure by European enterprises, because the U.S. sanctions extend to every transaction with institutions supposed to have the least link with our country, and there are enterprises that already have important stakes in the Cuban economy, such as Melia in the tourist industry.

Cuba’s latest report to the UN assesses the damages caused to the Cuban economy by the U.S. blockade at 134 billion dollars so far, for this year alone at four billion dollars. Can you give us an idea of the damages caused to the Cuban people that cannot be quantified?

True, it is impossible to put a figure on all the human costs incurred by the blockade. There are technologies to which we have no access, and people spend much time and effort to find alternatives. Because of the blockade, Europe refuses to sell us milk powder, and we have to buy it in New Zealand. The journey this milk powder has to take in order to arrive in Cuba not only increases its costs, but the almost insurmountable difficulties to subvert the sanctions often result in months and months of delays before it arrives where we need it. As a medical doctor I sometimes have to work with inferior products or improvise solutions because we cannot get the right medicine or we don’t receive it in time. For all Cubans, it is an every-day struggle.

The blockade exists because the United States is telling the other Latin American countries: if you act like Cuba, those will be the consequences. What happens is that we have developed far beyond the effects they expected. That is why we continue to fight the blockade, because we want the other peoples of Latin America to realize that, yes, another way of life is possible. But in order to live another way of life, we have to be the masters of what we produce. That is what the US doesn’t want to forgive us, and that’s why the blockade persists. They know that once the blockade will be finished, the Cuban revolution will grow and multiply.

At present, close to 10 million Cubans are discussing the project for a new Cuban constitution. In total, 135,000 meetings have been planned for a period of three months to discuss the 224 articles proposed by the National Assembly. It’s not the first time that the constitution will be revised after a broad popular consultation. What’s new?

After the efforts of the past two or three decades to re-dynamize the economic model and the decision-making structures, also known as the “rectification” and “actualization” programmes, it was necessary to adapt the constitution to the new realities created by these. I think we talked about these in our previous interview (cf Monthly Review January 2017). The General Assembly’s propositions contain paragraphs that can be traced back to the thinking of Marti, Fidel and Che, or, as we call them, “articolos martianos, fidelistas y guevaristas”. But the modifications discussed at present mainly cover the acknowledgment of several forms of property, including people’s property, mixed property and private property. There are provisions to limit the accumulation of private capital. The role of the market is acknowledged, but the state has put mechanisms in place in order to control that the market serves public interest. Marriage is defined as the union between two persons, and not only anymore between a man and a woman. There will also be changes in the structures of the state and its decision-making processes. For instance, municipal autonomy will be improved in order to respond more efficiently to the needs of communities and reinforce citizen’s participation.

The rectification and actualization campaigns have changed the management structures of the state and the economy. Close to half a million jobs have been privatized. What has been the impact on the agricultural sector?

My eldest daughter is an economist and works in agricultural research, so I have the chance to be pretty well informed on the subject. What we try to do by any means is to increase productivity. A policy of better remuneration for agricultural products has been put in place. We are not only investing in the development of harvesting technologies, but also in processing technologies. For instance, we have a lot of mangoes, so there’s a lot of scope for canned mangoes, mango compote etc. We are aspiring at self-sufficiency for basic foodstuffs, so we are stimulating sustainable agriculture, biotechnologies and urban agriculture. In order to preserve the land, we practice crop rotation and use crops that help protect other crops, without using manure or pesticides. For the planting of rice, for instance, we are using a small fish that lives on bacteria and parasites that could affect rice crops. Overall, we aim at organic components in order to benefit products that are as healthy as possible.

Your father’s intellectual legacy is in the care of the Centro de Estudios Che Guevara, directed by your mother. For the past twenty years or so, the center has been instrumental in the publication of Che’s writings and texts related to the history of the struggles in which he participated. Can you say something about the center’s present state of affairs?

The Centro is still being managed by my mother, although she would like me to take over. My brother and I are helping her, but I don’t want to take on that responsibility now because I have too much to do as a pediatrician. In any case my mother is still very active, an amazingly sharp person, and, for her age, which I am not allowed to divulge (laughs), also astonishingly strong and rapid. Since 2014, the archives of the center have been included in Unesco’s Memory of the World Register. Together with publishers such as Ocean Sur and Ocean Press we have published close to 20 titles, and more books are in preparation. For the future, we try to focus on the influence of Che’s ideas in various fields. In June this year, on Che’s 90th anniversary, we organized a conference with students at the University of Santa Clara, to discuss the current relevance of Che’s thoughts. The conference’s findings may serve as a kind of introduction to studies already in preparation on the subject.

You are traveling quite a bit in capitalist countries. When you are in Europe, for instance, what shocks you most?

Oh there’s a whole list. One of the things that strike me most is to see how “Old Europe” is busy destroying, one by one, practically all its achievements acquired during centuries of struggles. The gaping loss of security at work, the privatization of the education and health sectors, the reduction of allowances and pensions, and people hardly react! All those things concern the future of society. For people to be free, they need culture, education, so that nobody can be manipulated and used by others thinking instead of them. Society needs men and women in good health, so health is a non-negotiable human right. Those are matters that are shocking me a lot, because I don’t see much reaction on the part of the people for the defense of their rights. It’s incomprehensible because the peoples of Europe have ancestral cultures, cultures of struggle, a culture of resistance, it was in this continent that, next to the most awful, the most beautiful experiences of humanity emerged. And what is left of these?

There are two things I will never accept, colonialism and racism. What many people do not realize, is that Europe’s wealth is built on five centuries of exploitation of third world peoples, and that there is something like a historical obligation of reparation, of solidarity at least. At one point or another in time, all peoples have been migrants. If one wants to slow down the present migration movements to Europe, all it takes would be to stop the war in Syria, to stop the support of terrorists, to create jobs within the migratory zones. But a majority of people cannot or doesn’t want to make the connection.

There are things that keep surprising me. The international press, television, is such a venom. When I come to Europe, I have to smile when they talk to me about freedom of expression, about freedom in general. I ask myself “what freedom” when, as soon as I switch on the television, I am being told what clothes to buy, what car to choose, what food to eat, what nonsense to consume. People are treated like animals in a slaughterhouse, permanently shelled by stupid propaganda. Thus, people don’t even see anymore what is happening around them. Hardly worried about anything but to consume and live a bit better, not seeing that all that depends of the exploitation, to this day, of millions of human beings. So when I arrive here and they start talking about freedom and democracy, I have to smile. Time ago, it annoyed me. Now, I can laugh about it, but often I ask myself, when will people realize that being free means having access to education and to the kind of information that allows people to react. So, a lot remains to be done. I think that, nevertheless, people always have a part of goodness, of sensibility, and that it is up to us to learn and touch this sensibility.

Ever since I was a kid, I have learned some very basic concepts. I cannot live without revolution. For instance, I have been proposed a job as a pediatrician outside of Cuba, but I have said that that would not be useful, because the aim of my way of working is that patients don’t have to come back to me all the time. My way of working is to stabilize them. I have been taught that medicine cannot be a commerce, it must be a human right. I have been taught to say what I think and to defend my principles, wherever I am, wherever it may be. I cannot live another way. One day, someone asked me: “doctor, if you had to put things into balance, what would you put first, the revolution or your daughters?” And I replied: the revolution, because I want my daughters to grow up with the same dignity with which I grew up. One always has to pay attention to ideology, because we live in a world in which we are continually being bombarded with loads of obscenities. And I always say, I’m a communist, I don’t take no shit, you understand? If I’m a communist, I’m not so stupid. I also want happiness, good things, but for all. I cannot benefit from something if I know that my colleagues aren’t benefiting as well, I can’t. We have to share and we have to grow, of course, but without losing the ideals with which we have grown as human beings.

Cuban Doctors Head to Haiti to Help with Quake Recovery

Source:  TeleSUR
October 7 2018

cuban doctors off to haiti oct 2018.pngCuban doctor Elisa Barrios Calzadilla inspects a patient during a house call in
Itiuba in the state of Bahia, Brazil November 20, 2013 | Photo: Reuters

Two teams of Cuban doctors arrived in Haiti on Sunday morning after a 5.9 magnitude quake shook the country that’s still recovering from its 2010 tremor.  

Two teams of Cuban doctors left for Haiti Sunday morning to attend to the victims of the country’s 5.9 magnitude quake that took place on Saturday.

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General Coordinator of the Cuban Medical Brigade, Evelio Betancourt, said that two surgical teams were sent to support Haitian health personnel.

According to Reuters, the earthquake has left 14 dead so far, mainly in Port de Paix and Gros Morne in Artibonite near the quake’s epicenter that struck at a depth of 11.7 kilometers, 20 km off Haiti’s northwest coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The tremor was felt in all parts of the Caribbean country that borders the Dominican Republic, and several towns and cities have registered damaged and destroyed infrastructure and housing.

The Cuban ambassador to Haiti, Luis Castillo, confirmed to Prensa Latina that the embassy went undamaged.

According to Haitian President Jovenel Moise that convoys of food and drinking water kits are on their way to the most affected areas.

The Haitian Civil Protection Agency said early on Sunday that at least 135 people were being treated for injuries.

This is Haiti’s biggest quake since the 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the capital, Port-au-Prince, in 2010 that killed over 230,000 of people and cost the already impoverished nation US$7.8 billion to $8.5 billion in damage. According to The Balance, Haiti’s gross domestic product has shrunk by 5.1 percent over the past eight years and 55,000 still live in temporary humanitarian camps from the 2010 tremor.

At that time a Cuban medical brigade of 1,200 Cubans doctors was operating in the earthquake-torn Haiti.

Shutting down AFRICOM and the New Scramble for Africa

Source:  Black Agenda Report
October 3 2018

Shutting down AFRICOM and the New Scramble for Africa

The US must cease its military occupation of Africans at home and abroad, and abandon its attempt to rule the world by force.

“U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.

Marking exactly 10 years after the establishment of AFRICOM, short for U.S. Africa Command, the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has launched “U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM,” a campaign designed to end the U.S. invasion and occupation of Africa.

Although U.S. leaders say AFRICOM is “fighting terrorism” on the continent in reality AFRICOM is a dangerous structure that has only increased militarism. The real reason for its existence is geopolitical competition with China.

When AFRICOM was established in the months before Barack Obama assumed office as the first Black President of the United States, a majority of African nations—led by the Pan-Africanist government of Libya—rejected AFRICOM, forcing the new command to instead work out of Europe. But with the U.S. and NATO attack on Libya that led to the destruction of that country and the murder of its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, corrupt African leaders began to allow AFRICOM forces to operate in their countries and establish military-to-military relations with the United States. Today, those efforts have resulted in 46 various forms of U.S. bases as well as military-to-military relations between 53 out of the 54 African countries and the United States. U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.

“The real reason for AFRICOM’s existence is geopolitical competition with China.”

Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, the head of AFRICOM, declared in 2008 , “Protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market is one of Africom’s guiding principles.”

AFRICOM is the flip side of the domestic war being waged by the same repressive state structure against Black and poor people in the United States. The Black power and civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s was met with the repressive response of the FBI in the form of its COINTELPRO or Counter Intelligence Program that effectively obliterated these movements for social justice and self-determination. While in the very same era on the continent of Africa, the CIA conspired with other colonizing powers to do the exact same things, exemplified by the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana the and the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo.

BAP’s U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign links the resistance to the domestic war on Black people to U.S. interventionism and militarism abroad. Not only does there need to be a mass movement in the U.S. to shut down AFRICOM, this mass movement needs to become inseparably bound with the movement that has swept this country to end murderous police brutality against Black and Brown people. The whole world must begin to see AFRICOM and the militarization of U.S. domestic police departments as counterparts.

There is a petition that should be signed and distributed by all peace and justice loving people in support of BAP’s effort to help shut down all U.S. foreign military bases as well as NATO bases:

BAP makes the following demands:

  1. the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Africa,
  2. the demilitarization of the African continent,
  3. the closure of U.S. bases throughout the world, and
  4. the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) opposing AFRICOM and conducting hearings on AFRICOM’s impact on the African continent.

Netfa Freemanis an organizer in Pan-African Community Action (PACA), a member organization in the Black Alliance for Peace, as well as an Analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Indigenous Groups in Brazil Rise in Opposition to Jair Bolsonaro

Source: Internationalist 360° by @nana/ Twitter

  • A number of indigenous candidates from various political groups from the Amazon region called for the creation of an Indigenous Parliamentary Front

Ahead of the first round of the elections in Brazil on October 7, indigenous communities openly declared their opposition to the right-wing candidate, Jair Bolsonaro. A number of indigenous candidates from various political groups from the Amazon region called for the creation of an Indigenous Parliamentary Front to resist the possibility of the formation of a right-wing government under Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s racist remarks and stances have been a major reason for such a development.

Bolsonaro, the candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), had earlier said that he would not give an inch to indigenous reservations. He also regards the current area under reservations for indigenous nationalities to be too high and has vowed to scrap it. According to certain reports, Bolsonaro has been endorsed by big business ventures which want to scrap sovereign land rights given to indigenous communities over 118 million hectares, especially in the Amazon region. These rights prevent such capitalists from exploiting the resources in these areas. The agribusiness lobby (large landowners, cattle ranchers and producers of grains for export markets) too is targeting the indigenous land demarcated by the 1988 constitution for the expansion of their industries. The 2010 census in Brazil shows that there were 896,917 indigenous people in Brazil (0.47% of the population of 190.7 million in 2010) and they occupy around 13% of the national territory, which the powerful agribusiness lobby is eager to exploit.

Bolsonaro’s vice-presidential candidate, Antonio Hamilton Mourao, a retired army general, has also evoked protests with his racist remarks against indigenous communities. These comments by the candidates come at a time when violent attacks against indigenous activists are high in the Amazon region. This has been among the factors that have prompted members of the indigenous communities to propose a clear political line against Bolsonaro.

Evo Morales Denounces Chilean Government’s Plans to Destabilize Bolivia

Source:  Internationalist 360’s President Evo Morales has denounced plans by the Chilean oligarchy to destabilize the country after the Hague’s ruling on sea access.

“After the October 1 ruling, the Chilean oligarchy wants to destabilize and divide us so we forget about the sea, but Bolivia will never give up on its sea claim,” Morales posted on Twitter.

The president also warned of an “open” conspiracy between the Chilean oligarchy and Bolivia’s right-wing political sphere.

El capitalismo nos quiere dividir para dominarnos y dominarnos para robarnos. La derecha boliviana tiene derecho a unirse, pero no debe ser un instrumento de la oligarquía chilena. Aliarse con la oligarquía chilena es traición a la Patria.

— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) 6 de octubre de 2018

“Capitalism wants to divide us to dominate us and dominate us to steal from us. The Bolivian right has the right to unify, but it must not be an instrument of the Chilean oligarchy. Allying with the Chilean oligarchy is treason to the motherland.”

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled against Bolivia’s petition to discuss access to the Pacific Ocean with Chile, based on historical diplomatic commitments.

“It is not over: even if the court has decided it will not accompany the maritime claim, just as it has accompanied almost every nation in the world, the multilateral world, like former members or secretaries-general of the United Nations like Kofi Annan, rest in peace.” said Morales.

“That will continue because it is a boisterous demand from the people of Bolivia. Just think about it. I’m not sure the court understands this.”

On Tuesday, Morales announced he would write a letter to the ICJ to highlight contradictions in its ruling.

Bolivia surrendered most of its former coastline to Chile in a 1904 treaty following the War of the Pacific.

The Andean neighbors have held occasional talks about a possible corridor to the sea for Bolivia ever since, but judges said that did not create any obligation for Chile to actually negotiate one.

Suicide rate surging among Afghanistan Iraq war veterans

Source:  Popular Resistance
September 30 2018

By Whitney Webb, Mintpress News.

Sgt. Jacob Hayes, c2.jpg

Above photo: Sgt. Jacob Hayes, 25, of Welcome Md., of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Platoon Apache Company of 2nd Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment, part of the 3rd Combat Brigade 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Drum, N.Y., smokes at Combat Outpost Tangi in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province. Apache company lost 22 soldiers to injuries and one killed on a month that saw 48 IED’s, 7 that were attacks, 41 diffused or destroyed in that timeframe. David Goldman | AP

“Is This What We Destroy Lives For?” Iraq, Afghanistan Vets’ Guilt, Unanswered Questions Spike Suicide Rate

While the VA report may call the jump in young veteran suicides an “urgent crisis,” it unfortunately seems to be a crisis with no end in sight until the country is finally forced to reckon with its dark legacy of regime-change wars and military occupations around the world.

Washington – New data released Wednesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs has shown that the suicide rate among young military veterans continues to climb, despite a decline in the overall suicide rate among U.S. military veterans, amid department efforts to combat the problem.

The new data was made available in the VA’s National Suicide Data Report, which found that, in 2016, 6,079 veterans ended their own lives compared to 6,281 in 2015. However, the suicide rate for veterans between the ages of 18 and 34 increased from 40.4 deaths per 100,000 veterans in 2015 to 45 in 2016, four times higher than that of other age groups. Notably, veterans below the age of 35 were the only age group that saw an increase in suicides from 2015 to 2016. The suicide rate was even greater for young female veterans.

The report also noted that veterans accounted for 14 percent of all suicides in the U.S. in 2016, even though veterans account for only 8 percent of the national population, with more than 6,000 veterans committing suicide every year for the past decade. On a related note, the suicide rate in the U.S. has increased nationwide in recent years, rising nearly 30 percent since 1999.

Joe Chenelly, the executive director of the national veterans group Amvets, called the revelation of increasing suicides among young veterans a “national emergency that requires immediate action.” “We’ve spent the last decade trying to improve the transitioning process for our veterans, but we’re clearly failing, and people are dying,” he added in a statement quoted by The Guardian.

Chenelly also pointed out that these young veterans are those of the “post-9/11 era,” meaning that many of the veterans affected served in Afghanistan – now the longest-running war in U.S. history – or in Iraq.

America’s post-9/11 wars, Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, have seen a record number of veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects one in five Iraq and Afghan war veterans. There is a clear correlation between the increase in PTSD cases and the suicide epidemic among veterans, as the suicide rate among veterans has reached its highest level since those two wars began a decade ago.

While some experts have blamed the burden of repeat deployments, most remain “baffled” by the rise. Suicide notes from young veterans who have chosen to end their lives suggest that certain acts they were ordered to commit by their superiors while serving overseas were often to blame for their tragic decision.

For instance, the suicide note of Daniel Somers, an Iraq war veteran who took his own life at age 30, stated that his PTSD was largely the result of having been ordered to “participate in things” including “war crimes, crimes against humanity.” Somers noted that “though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply cannot come back from.”

Indeed, some of the atrocities that have been conducted by U.S. troops in Iraq include orders to slaughter all “military age men” in a given area, torturing detainees, raping children, massacring groups of civilians, and sodomizing prisoners with broom sticks.

Later on in his final letter, Somers questioned the purpose of the war that caused his suffering:

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever-growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for?”

Beyond the country’s leaders at the time the wars began, Somers’ suicide note also placed blame on U.S. government institutions. He wrote:

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing cover-up is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.”

Indeed, veteran addiction to opioids is a major problem, which – like the national opioid crisis and the veteran suicide crisis – has been on the rise since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. National media reports in the U.S. have blamed the Department of Veterans Affairs for helping to fuel the national opioid epidemic as well as the epidemic of opioid use among veterans.

While the VA report may call the jump in young veteran suicides an “urgent crisis,” it unfortunately seems to be a crisis with no end in sight until the country is finally forced to reckon with its dark legacy of regime-change wars and military occupations around the world.


Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.