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Re-Targeting Cuba: US Renews Effort to Squash Cuba

Source:  Counterpunch
March 20 2019

Re-Targeting Cuba.jpegPhotograph Source Detail of 1591 map of Florida and Cuba
User: SEWilco • Public domain

Embarked upon overthrowing Venezuela’s socialist government, the U.S. government now renews efforts to squash Cuba. The U.S. record of implacable hostility features terror attacks, military invasion, germ warfare, internal subversion, and almost 60 years of U.S. economic blockade. Devoid of natural resources ready for U.S. plunder, Cuba offends by having defended socialism and national independence. Now Title III of the U.S. 1996 Helms Burton Act joins an arsenal of weapons employed in what Cubans regard as genocidal aggression.

Inflicting suffering and destabilization

Helms Burton is complex but centers on tightening the economic blockade; preparing for a transition government; and by means of Title III, inflicting suffering and destabilization.  The latter is taking place now in Venezuela, by other means.

Title III opens the door for the former owners and the heirs of properties nationalized by Cuba’s revolutionary government to bring actions in U.S. courts to gain compensation for what they lost. Persons or companies presently occupying such properties, or profiting from them, and who are located in third countries, would be required by the courts to pay off the aggrieved parties. These live in exile, mainly in the United States. The courts would lack enforcement capabilities.

In 1966, when the law was introduced, the European Union and other critics insisted that the U.S. government delay implementation of Title III. It did so and for the next 23 years, at six month intervals, the United States did announce one six-month delay after another. But a new era dawned on January 16 when the State Department declared that this time suspended implementation would end at 45 days. Something was up.

On March 4 the State Department indicated that in 30 more days Title III would be applied to the foreign and Cuban “traffickers” in nationalized properties. Also Title III would, as of March 19, be extended to 200 Cuban enterprises controlled by Cuban security forces or state agencies, many of them connected with Cuba’s tourist industry. The U.S. government in November, 2017 had already put those facilities off limits to U.S. tourists.

Violation of Cuban sovereignty

As of early April, international investors, aid agencies, and business-persons active or looking to be active in Cuba will be facing vast uncertainties. The former owners of nationalized properties may be suing them in U.S. courts. Concerned about a slippery slope of U.S. disfavor, they may cease involvement with Cuba.  And what with unsettling news, foreign lenders may shy away from possibly risky loans for projects in Cuba.

RelatedCuban Ambassador to Jamaica: The US will keep on failing … civilized and respectful coexistence shall prevail

Title III promises what Cubans call “extraterritorial” effects. It further universalizes application of the U.S. blockade which, potentially involving all countries, violates their sovereignty.

But in a Machiavelliantwist, the State Department will apparently wield the “trafficking” charge selectively. Cuban analyst Reinaldo Taladrid Herrero explains:“The road to Havana passes through Caracas.” Specifically, “They are going to exempt all businesses of countries allied with the United States, above all Canada and the European countries …. Implementation will be centered on adversary countries like Russia, China, and Venezuela.” Others share his views.

Violation of International Law

Title III violates international law, according to Russia; Cuba solidarity groups have protested. A few business-oriented U.S. groups oppose Title III out of concern that future U.S. commercial ventures in Cuba would be vulnerable.

Cuba’s government argues that nationalization was and is legal according to international norms and court decisions in the United States.  Cuba has sought satisfaction from the United States for deaths and destruction due to U.S. assaults. Negotiations taking place briefly during the Obama era looked at balancing Cuba’s claims with U.S demands stemming from nationalization.

Title III means major trouble for Cuba. The government there is presently mounting an effort to bolster the nation’s economy. Foreign investors will asume a major role in the project. They would provide $2.5 billion annually toward building or refurbishing Cuban institutions, companies, and infrastructure. But any good will on their part may well evaporate once threats loom as to court actions in the United States.

Food imports

The availability to the Cuban people of food, health care, schools, building supplies, medicines, and transportation rests on loans and export income from abroad and on income from joint ventures with foreign entities. By 2014 Cuba needed $2.5 billion annually in direct foreign investment. The fact that food imports alone currently require an annual outlay of $2 billion suggests that current requirements are greater.

Title III contains the seeds for havoc in the event that Cuba’s government is no more and the United States takes charge. According to Cuba’s Granma newspaper, Cubans “would be forced to return, reimburse or pay U.S. claimants for the house in which they live, the area on which their communities are built, the arable land where they cultivate produce, the school where their children are educated, the hospital or polyclinic where they receive medical assistance.”

Political terrorism

Cuban Journalist Lázaro Barredo, formerly editor of Granma,summarizes“Helms Burton literally has no precedents in the legal history of the United States. [It] constitutes an attack on sovereignty within the international community [and] represents political terrorism.” Helms Burton would “extend U.S. jurisdiction to other countries in an extraterritorial manner with the perverse intention of frightening, scaring, blackmailing, or dissuading persons interested in investing in Cuba.” We see a decision “to repossess the island, annex it, and move it toward total subordination to the United States.”

This report closes with a condemnation of the generalized cruelty and cynicism that is rooted in the strategic thinking of U.S. power brokers.For example, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, presiding at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 7, heard testimony from “Cynthia Arnson of the US-funded Wilson Center.” She “agreed with Rubio that ‘widespread unrest’ is useful, but cautioned that … ‘starving people don’t get out in the streets.’” In other words, a little starving is OK, but not too much.

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More articles by:W. T. WHITNEY

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.

 

South Africa’s election result had few surprises, but one rude awakening

Source:  Quartz Africa
May 11 2019

By Lynsey Chutel

south africa's national electionsFrom left to right: Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters,
President Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the African National Congress, and
Mmusi Maimaine, leader of the Democratic Alliance. Reuters

It is no surprise that the African National Congress emerged victorious in South Africa’s general election this week, but the changing profile of its rivals shows that political landscape of Africa’s most advanced economy is beginning to transform radically, to the left and the right. Land is the center of both sides of the debate.

ANC’s worst performance yet

Despite their victory, this is the ANC’s worst performance yet. At 57.5% of the national vote, the ANC continues a steady decline. Despite president Cyril Ramaphosa’s promises of a new dawn, the party couldn’t shake its darker recent past of corruption, slow economic growth and factional fighting. Ramaphosa’s focus on land redistribution and anti-corruption did not quite yield the results the party had hoped and it struggled to hold on to the economic hub, Gauteng.

Its nearest rival, the Democratic Alliance, did not fare much better, earning 20,7% of the national vote, down from 22,23% in 2014. The liberal party maintained its stronghold in the Western Cape, but for the first time since 1994, failed to grow its support. The party’s first black president, Mmusi Maimane, may be out of a job soon, analysts said.

EFF’s huge advance

Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party looks set to become the official opposition by the next election, growing its share of the national vote from 6.35% in 2014 to 10,79%. With its leftist policies and the impatient slogan, “Our Land and Jobs, Now!” the EFF not only tapped into the frustration of disenfranchised youth, but peri-urban communities throughout the country.

Ahead of the vote, pollsters analyzed that the Democratic Alliance would bleed conservative votes, to the Freedom Front Plus. The DA itself conceded that the loss of this constituency was “inevitable,” yet the growth of this hitherto fringe party has shocked many in the country.

“It’s part of the repositioning of the party and we will have to learn the lessons from this election,” a member of the DA’s leadership.

For its part, the FF+ made it clear that it represented minorities, positioning itself as the voice for “a new generation of embittered individuals is forming among Afrikaners, coloured and other nonblack people.” And it seems to have worked: party only won five districts in the last election—this year it claimed more than 100 making it the fifth largest party in the country. With 2,4% of the vote, its portion of the win is small, but thanks to South Africa’s proportional representation electoral system, the FF+ will have a louder voice in parliament.

The conservative, right-leaning party campaigned with the slogan “Fight Back,” with a manifesto centered on the principle that “South Africa is teetering on the edge of ruin.” Land and farm murders were among their key issues. The party is “strongly opposed” to expropriation without compensation and described farm murders as “a national crisis.”

“The two biggest parties to grow in 2019 are the FF plus on the far right representing predominantly white Afrikaans communities and the EFF on the far left representing largely black young, economically marginalized youth,” said Tessa Dooms, a social analyst. “The lesson is that the lived realities and the legacies of Apartheid that we have thought would go away over time have not only remained but are becoming politically significant.”

While campaigning overtly on race would be frowned upon in South Africa today, the FF+ is using the Afrikaans language to mobilize coloured South Africans, Dooms told Quartz. Like its rival on the opposite end of the political spectrum, the EFF, the FF+ has tapped into the frustrations of those who feel left behind.

Related:   South Africa: Ruling African National Congress (ANC) Wins With 57% Of Votes  – TeleSUR

 

‘Brazil Needs More Education, Not More Guns’, Lula Warns

Source:  TeleSUR
May 11 2019

Lula da Silva 5.jpgFormer President Lula da Silva at the National Coordination of Education
Workers Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Jan. 12, 2019. | Photo: EFE

In an interview aired Friday by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva warned that his country’s problems will not be solved by governmental decisions that facilitate the use of weapons instead of promoting education.

RELATED:  BBC to Broadcast Lula’s Interview Banned by Local Brazilian TV

The Workers’ Party leader said Bolsonaro, “barbarously defends an armed, police state. He only makes that firing gesture. In his head, a weapon solves everyone’s problem. He has just authorized farmers can use guns and shoot anyone they want.” Lula added the current head of state “is sick and believes that Brazil’s problems will be solved with weapons. Brazil’s problems will be solved with books, with schools,” stressed the left-leaning politician.

The criticism came just days after former captain Bolsonaro signed a decree authorizing truck drivers, legislators, journalists, private security agents, lawyers and others to carry weapons in public places. This executive order will allow some 19.1 million citizens to request firearm licenses, according to Souda Paz Institute, an NGO dedicated to promoting a peace culture in Brazil.

Nationwide strike

On Wednesday, the current far-right administration also announced it would “block” 30 percent of the national budget already allocated to universities and research institutes from receiving their funs. This budget cut immediately moved thousands of Brazilian professors, students and scientists to protest and plan for a ationwide strike against social security reforms set for May 15.

“For Lula, education was an investment and not an expense. In 2010, upon leaving the Presidency, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva inaugurated the Teofilo Otoni campus in Minas Gerais. In his speech, he recalled his government’s maxim about education.”

Regarding the repression of young people and students, Lula pointed out in the exclusive interview that “for the wellbeing of Brazil, I hope [Bolsonaro] learns. … Instead of talking nonsense, Bolsonaro should say the following: ‘I will finish my term being better than Lula, I will create more universities, I will invest more in science and technology, I will enroll more children in school’.”

Imprisoned without evidence

During the interview, the 73-year-old politician and political prisoner answered several questions about the corruption allegations used to send him to jail for eight years, down from his original 12-year sentenced ruled on in 2018.

“The only thing that interests me is to prove my innocence and I will fight for it until my life’s last days,” Lula said and commented that, besides being politically motivated, his trial was wrought with legal irregularities. No actual evidence against the ex-president was ever presented in court, just testimonies against him.

“[The Human Rights, Family and Women Minister] Damares echoes Bolsonaro: minors are learning to use weapons without judicial authorization. The families demand it. Which families, minister? Those from the hills and slums? Now the motto is ‘arm one another’?”

Since April 7, 2018, Lula has been imprisoned at a Curitiba’s federal prison convicted of allegedly receiving a luxurious beach apartment from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company in exchange for contracts with Petrobras, a state-owned oil company.

Lula recalled that many opposition politicians wrongly thought he was going to leave Brazil before being arrested.

“I decided to stay in my country. If they want me in Curitiba, I will be there,” he said and thanked “those wonderful people who are out there,” referring to the thousands of Brazilians supporters who have been in permanent mobilization and solidarity since his imprisonment in April 2018.

Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court recently ruled to allow Lula to be interviewed. This was his first broadcast interview originally set to be aired on RedeTV, but the Brazilian media outlet changed course last week, allegedly pressured by the Bolsonaro administration.

The Helms-Burton is not applicable in Cuba

Source: Granma
May 17 2019

by: Yudy Castro Morales | internet@granma.cu

the helms burton is not applicable to cubaPhoto: José Manuel Correa

“The Helms-Burton Act is not applicable in Cuba; in the first place, because it is a law of the United States and therefore its jurisdiction, its range of action, is the United States. No sovereign country that respects itself would allow the extraterritorial application of a U.S. law in its territory. In addition, in our case, Cuba has a law approved in 1996 that declares the Helms-Burton Act null and void.”

Carlos Fernández de Cossío 2.jpgThis is how Carlos Fernández de Cossío, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ general director for the United States, explained the situation, which is worth repeating for those with doubts about this famous law’s lack of validity. This legal creation, meant to strangle the Cuban economy, is well-known precisely because of its extraterritoriality, and its disrespect for international law.

A violation to Cuba’s sovereignty

The Helms-Burton Act is, above all, a violation to Cuba’s sovereignty, which purports to compensate potential claimants of U.S. properties nationalized in Cuba after the triumph of the Revolution. This barely exceeds the category of a pretext, although it is probably the argument that has caused the most turmoil, since it implies potential damage to third parties. This has been enough to intimidate those who can be intimidated and creating uncertainty.The essential nature of the law, as several experts have noted, lies in its colonizing spirit, in its expansionist hunger in the most faithful imperial style.

This “legislative instrument” denies, in terms of sovereignty, everything that Cuba has conquered for its people, enshrined in its Constitution with the majority support of the people.Cuba’s Magna Carta, which we Cubans approved, of our own free will, states in its first article, “Cuba is a socialist state of law and social justice, democratic, independent, and sovereign, organized with all and for the good of all as a unitary and indivisible republic, founded on work, dignity, humanism, and the morality of its citizens for the enjoyment of freedom, equity, equality, solidarity, wellbeing, and individual and collective prosperity.”And the sovereignty which this law is intended to violate “resides intransferably in the people, from whom all state power emanates.” Thus the Helms-Burton has no legitimacy, nor do such international relations, which are to be based, according to the Constitution, “on the exercise of sovereignty and anti-imperialist, internationalist principles, to serve the interests of the people.”

No negotiation under coercion

Article 16 reaffirms that “economic, diplomatic, and political relations with any other state can never be negotiated under aggression, threat, or coercion,” and reiterated is the aspiration for “an honorable, true, and valid peace for all states, based on respect for independence and sovereignty of the peoples and their right to self-determination, expressed in the right to freely chose their political, economic, social, and cultural system, as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations.”

Likewise established is the commitment “to strictly abide by the principles and norms of international law, in particular equality of rights; territorial integrity; the independence of states; no use or threat to use force in international relations; international cooperation for mutual, equitable benefit; the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the basis of equality, respect and other principles proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.”

Cubans are governed by our own laws

The Helms-Burton obviously advocates the contrary, but Cubans are governed by our own laws.

The Constitution also “condemns imperialism, fascism, colonialism, neocolonialism, and other forms of domination, in any of their expressions.” Is not any attempt to implement the Helms-Burton meant to impose subjugation?

Also ruled out are “direct or indirect intervention in the internal or external affairs of any state, and therefore, armed aggression, any form of economic or political coercion, unilateral blockades that violate international law, or any type of interference or threat to the integrity of states.”

We already know, based on our 60 years of experience, that the unilateral blockade is one of the keys to our northern neighbor’s foreign policy. In fact, the Helms-Burton codifies in law this policy and extends its impact internationally.

A mockery of international norms

Cuba’s Constitution insists on maintaining and fostering “friendly relations with countries which, having a different political, social and economic regime, respect our sovereignty, observe the norms of coexistence among states, and adopt a reciprocal attitude with our country, in accordance with the principles of international law. “But what is the Helms-Burton Law if not a mockery of international norms, of every elementary principle of coexistence among nations?The Magna Carta indicates that the Cuban state will, “promote multilateralism and multipolarity in international relations, as alternatives to domination and political, financial, and military hegemony or any other manifestation that threatens the peace, independence or sovereignty of peoples.”In other words: Cuba rejects each and every one of the postulates put forward by the Helms-Burton Act.

The implementation of its Title III

The Helms-Burton purports to establish the blockade as perpetual. The implementation of its Title III, suspended through May 2, reinforces and tightens the blockade. A new measure set up for failure, at a time when Cuba is precisely focused on attracting foreign investment, and diversifying, broadening its markets, not cutting them off.

In fact, the Constitution establishes this with great clarity: “The state promotes and provides guarantees for foreign investment, as an element important to the country’s economic development, on the foundation of protection and rational use of natural and human resources, as well respect for national sovereignty and independence.”

miguel diaz canel 20.jpgThese guarantees, as noted by the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, on his official Twitter account, are established in Foreign Investment Law 118, and Law 80 on the Reaffirmation of Cuban Dignity and Sovereignty, despite the aggressive escalation and uncertainty that the illegal Helms-Burton Law causes.

And speaking of guarantees, Cuba’s Constitution explicitly reiterates that the socialist property of the entire people includes “lands not owned by individuals or cooperatives, the subsoil, mineral deposits, mines, forests, waters, beaches, means of communication, and both living and non-living resources within the Republic’s exclusive economic zone.”

Also included are “other assets such as infrastructure of general interest, the principal industries, and economic and social installations, as well as others of a strategic importance to the country’s social and economic development.”

“These assets are nontransferable and their ownership can only be altered in exceptional cases, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, provided that they are to be destined for the economic and social development of the country and do not affect the political, economic, and social foundations of the state.”Have you thought about whether your children’s school was one of the properties that someone could claim; or the hospital you go to, the bank, the stadium, the market…?Probably not, because we rarely waste time on such nonsense.The Helms-Burton Act is disconcerting. No doubt. Nonetheless, as emphasized by the Constitutional principles that govern the country’s entire legal system, “Cuba repudiates and considers illegal and null any treaty, concessions or pact agreed upon under conditions of inequality, or that ignore or diminish our sovereignty or territorial integrity.”

Put our hearts to the issues that concern the people

Source: Granma
May 10 2019

Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu

miguel diaz canel may 2019

Photo: Estudios Revolución

President Miguel Díaz-Canel called for waging war on bureaucracy, against delays in administrative decisions at all levels, and any manifestation of insensitivity to problems that affect the population unnecessarily, during the final meeting concluding the Council of Ministers’ visit to the eastern province of Granma.

Of the 33 actions agreed upon during his first visit in June of 2018, 17 had been completed and work on 16 is moving forward; while solutions to several others are not advancing at the pace projected, including public works in Yara, the restoration of heritage homes in Manzanillo, and corrective work on this coastal city’s aqueduct.

“We cannot advance if we are slow in making decisions. What must be decided centrally, let it be centralized, but quickly. If the answer is no, report this right away, and if it is yes, even faster,” the President stated.He insisted on the importance of further strengthening state enterprises with new productive linkages and the application of scientific knowledge generated in the region.On the issue of housing subsidies, Díaz-Canel called for putting some heart to the subject, granting it the priority it deserves, given its impact on the population, especially the most humble, with the most urgent needs, to whom the Revolution is committed, noting that the program “has not gone well in any part of the country.”

The President said that cadres and managers must include in their work plans regular visits to those awarded subsidies, to expedite solutions and check that resources allocated by the state are used as established.

The blockade is more than the Helms-Burton and the Helms-Burton is more than Title III

Source:  Granma
May 7 2019

A panel of experts dissects the infamous law during a public hearing called by the Association of Cuban Jurists and the Cuban United Nations Association

Author: Raúl Antonio Capote | informacion@granmai.cu

the blockade ismore than the Helms Burton.jpg

Photo: Juvenal Balán

Members of Cuban civil society, intellectuals, journalists, and students gathered on May 3 in Havana, in a public hearing convened by the Association of Cuban Jurists and the Cuban United Nations Association to discuss the activation of the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III, a law that violates the principle of sovereignty, and seeks to destroy our nation and subordinate it to the power of a foreign government.

The public hearing was held at the Higher Institute of International Relations in the Cuban capital and featured a panel that included Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, former president of the National Assembly; attorney Rodolfo Dávalos; Luis Solá Vila, president of the Cuban Society of Public International Law; and Johana Tablada, deputy general director for the United States at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry.

Professor Solá Vila clarified in his speech that the Helms-Burton Act should be viewed as a whole, “not only Title III, but the complete law, from the first letter to the last.”

He reminded those present that on July 6, 1960, the President of the United States announced the cancellation of Cuba’s sugar quota in that country’s market, a heavy blow to the Cuban economy, based on a single product and dependent on sales to the U.S.

Days later, the administration decreed an oil embargo, and the Revolutionary Government responded to these measures in kind, with nationalizations.

johana tablada.jpgJohana Tablada warned that we are facing a dangerous context, in which the current U.S. government seeks “to cause the greatest possible damage to Cuba in the shortest time possible,” and will not be satisfied with full application of the Helms-Burton.

They need to blame someone for their failures in Venezuela, justify their mistakes, said Tablada: “The battle today in Venezuela is also the battle for Cuba.”

They are in a hurry, they are fighting against time, she said, they use any pretext to “cause the greatest harm.”

The U.S. knows they have everything against them and “cannot break the level of support for Cuba even within the U.S.” she stressed.

She recalled the alleged “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba, a blatant lie kept alive to attract the attention of the public. In Latin America this lesson has been learned, she added. Fidel, Chávez, Evo, Correa, Cristina, Lula, left a deep mark very difficult to erase, she insisted, adding, “History is on our side.”

Rodolfo DávalosProfessor Rodolfo Dávalos made it clear that the nationalizations were conducted in full compliance with the law. “What is illegal,” he said, “is an extraterritorial law like the Helms-Burton.”

Lawsuits recently filed in Miami courts may take months to resolve, perhaps years, he explained. Lawyers for the companies targeted are already taking steps to respond.

“Are these courts competent? Can there be an impartial jury in Miami?” asked Gerardo Hernández, decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba, adding, “I know what I’m talking about,” referring to the trials of the Five Cuban anti-terrorists in that city.

Ricardo Alarcón emphasized the importance of not letting the corporate media impose the agenda, recalling the beginning of the blockade: “Kennedy was said to have started it in 1962, other dates are also cited without much meaning, but the reality is that it began January 1, 1959.”

Alarcón also referred to the thieves who made off with the country’s money in 1959. They are the ones now demanding compensation for the property they left behind in Cuba.

He called on participants to study, to read the Helms-Burton Law in its entirety. “We are a free and sovereign country, and a foreign nation has no right to dictate laws against Cuba,” he emphasized.

Cuba: For Peace and Against War

Source:  Granma
May 3 2019

The International Solidarity Conference for World Peace and Against War, held May 2 in the Cuban capital, was a great embrace shared by brothers and sisters from around the world

by: Bertha Mojena Milián | internet@granma.cu

rising up against imperialism 1.jpg

Photo: Dunia Álvarez

The International Solidarity Conference for World Peace and Against War, held May 2 in the Cuban capital, was a great embrace shared by brothers and sisters from around the world. Approved was a Declaration of international solidarity and for world peace, in which the Helms-Burton Act was condemned; and demanded were an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government on Cuba for 60 years and the return of territory illegally occupied by the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo.

The declaration calls on the international solidarity movement to denounce the illegal nature of new sanctions levied on Cuba that violate the United Nations Charter and international law, and reiterated support for the struggles of peoples around the world for sovereignty and self-determination.

“Let us rise up against imperialist barbarism, for peace and a world without exploitation,” the document concludes.

“No matter how dark the path, the response of the Cuban people will be to resist and victory will always be ours,” reiterated the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Fernando González Llort, who announced the “Hemispheric fernando gonzalez.jpgAnti-Imperialist Encounter of Solidarity, for democracy, and against neoliberalism,” to be held in Havana November 1-3.The call states, “Without neglecting or moving away from the specific agendas of multiple struggles, to which our organizations and movements are articulated, we are aware that it will not be possible to face the enemies of our peoples in isolation, dispersed.”

Thus, the call invites “the continent’s networks and platforms; popular movements of campesinos; women and feminists; trade unionists and excluded workers; environmentalists; youth and students; religious, indigenous, ethnic, regional, and LGTBI movements… all sectors committed to the struggle to stop the advance of the neoliberal right, to construct and defend a common emancipatory project.”

The International Solidarity Conference for World Peace and Against War began with a tribute to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, received with a prolonged ovation. In thanking the more than 1,400 participants from more than 103 organizations in 57 countries, the general secretary of the Federation of Cuban Workers (CTC) and Party Political Bureau member, Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, reported that this May Day, more than six million Cubans marched across the island, demonstrating the people’s support for the Revolution, our ability to fight, and the conviction that we will always achieve victory.

The trade union leader observed that this type of gathering provides an opportunity to share experiences on social battles in many regions, disseminate ideas, and construct the consensus needed to confront the neoliberal offensive, and the escalation of U.S. attacks on the independence and self-determination of peoples.

He noted that Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba are being targeted directly by imperialism, given the determination of their peoples and governments to resist domination, despite efforts to discredit progressive government that have produced benefits for the people and made social gains.

Guilarte reaffirmed solidarity and support for the Bolivarian Revolution and its constitutional President; for Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, unjustly imprisoned in Brazil; and for all workers around the world struggling against capitalist exploitation.

Adan Chavez

Adan Chavez

A special guest attending the conference was Venezuela’s ambassador in Cuba, Adán Chávez, who thanked participants for the numerous committed and courageous demonstrations of support for the Bolivarian Revolution around the world, recalling that the attacks on his country began as soon as eternal

Comandante Hugo Chávez was elected President the first time, but that the region’s peoples have decided to be free, and any victories of the empire and its allies are circumstantial, insisting, “The attacks will continue, and we will continue defeating them.”

The Venezuelan diplomat also pointed out that Venezuela will not be a U.S. colony ever again, just like the Cuban people, the Nicaraguan, all those who fight for just causes, for their rights, because left political projects are moving forward, adding “The peoples are in the street, fighting, more and more united”.

gail walker.jpg

Gail Walker

For her part, Gail Walker, daughter of the beloved friend of Cuba, Reverend Lucius Walker, said that it was an honor to be one of the many people from the United States who have come to express their solidarity with Cuba.

She noted that among those from the United States, marching with Cuba this May Day, were many visiting the island for the first time, and from a variety of sectors, including education and health, workers, community groups, and women. We are all here to express the continuity of our solidarity, she said, as progressive forces from different states, “united in love and solidarity.

lula da silva 3c.jpg

Lula da Silva

“Likewise, the president of the World Peace Council, Socorro Gómez, thanked those present for their support in the campaign to free former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, especially Army General Raúl Castro in his capacity as First Secretary of the Party Central Committee, and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez. “Their solidarity reaches deep into the hearts of the Brazilian people and is an incentive to free Lula and continue fighting for democracy in Brazil,” she reaffirmed.

On behalf of the International Democratic Women’s Federation (FDIM), its president Lorena Peña said, “It is time to take the offensive in resistance to interventionist imperialism, and overcome the media war and the dangerous actions of imperialism.” The fight must be constant, without making concessions to the opponents, she emphasized.