About Russell

A better world is possible if we are prepared to fight for it.

The Urgent Imperative of a Resistance Front

November 16 2018

Source:  Granma

The words of Cuba’s revolutionary “Chancellor of Dignity” are more relevant than ever in today’s Latin America

raul roa cuba

If all democratic forms of government have been subjected to the most challenging tests during these times, this has been seen nowhere more ferociously than in Our America, where they have been placed in serious danger. From south to north, military lodges, landholders, power brokers, uncouth oligarchies, and big business, in sinister complicity, with no holds placed by the UN or the OAS, have abolished fundamental human and civil freedoms. The cynical manipulation of popular will, and the violent removal of constitutionally elected governments by despots of a typical totalitarian cut, characterize this dramatic process that threatens the entire continent.

Fifth column pseudo-Marxists and imperialist greed reign today over an array of prostrate nations, at the mercy of big shots, local bosses, carpetbaggers, bankers, and unscrupulous businessmen. A few governments with popular roots, the majority plagued by administrative corruption, social dislocation, electoral demagoguery, and colonial exploitation, complete the somber picture. There is no doubt that the fate of democracy is at stake. The urgent imperative of a broad front of resistance to the uncontrolled aggression of the enemies of popular freedoms is glaringly clear.

Unquestionably, the democratic conception of life, society, and the state is essential to the spirit and historical development of our peoples. But it is no less the case that this concept is now threatened by the most reactionary, rapacious forces of our era.

The central question to be debated is how to push democratic regimes to the point of promoting within the people the impassioned determination to defend them, at the cost of their lives, in all contingencies and vicissitudes. A democratic regime without economic content, without a broad social base, and without the active participation of the people in directing public power, is a useless impediment in this historic period of transition. On this there can be no beating around the bush or euphuisms.

The fundamental problem facing democracy, at this time, is how to organize society without undermining freedom in any way. On the global level, it is imperative that democracy clearly recognize the subjective rights of traditional rights. The questions that torment human beings can only be resolved with the “discovery and establishment of a more just legal structure that allows the problem to be reduced to its true terms.”

Traditional rights can only exist now in function of society. No individual interest that is counterpoised to social interests is legitimate. If we aspire for humans to recover their “lost fertility” and develop fully their aptitudes and powers, things must be socially contextualized. The task which the democratic movement faces is extremely complex.

In the specific case of Our America, we must deal with what history has given us. On the material and cultural level, much progress has been made thus far this century. Viewing the process as a whole, it must be recognized, however, that the economic, social, and administrative structure of Latin American peoples is in need of substantial change. This transformation must be combined with respect for public freedoms and with an international policy that forcefully repudiates regimes that disregard human dignity.

We must insist that only through clean elections, honest administration, public freedoms, economic wellbeing, social justice, diffusion of the merits and consolidation of sovereignty, can representative institutions in the hemisphere be saved. This is a unique opportunity to give the struggle against dictatorships in the Americas content and historical perspective.

American states have assumed the commitment to guarantee our peoples freedom and justice by signing the UN Human Rights Charter and the Rights and Duties charter at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogotá.

Peace is the supreme aspiration of men who consider liberty an imperative of conscience. The role played by leaders of the work force is of the first order. No one like them can contribute the most pressing and effective formulas for social improvement to strengthen the democratic regime.

Nor can the problem of industrialization of Our America be neglected. Increasing the economic strength of our peoples is one of the most effective means to build up and consolidate democratic regimes, and rein in imperialists of all bands and types.

The way in which more developed countries can contribute to expanding our economic potential must be considered with this question in mind: Can representative governments that are respectful of public freedoms, and those founded on the usurpation of popular will which deny their citizens access to essential human and civil rights, be placed on equal footing in terms of this help? Can the controversial question of recognizing de facto governments be overlooked?

On this issue, there are no guidelines within intra-American law, or unanimity of opinion among foreign ministries.

If democracy needs both Americas to overcome the deep crisis we face, it is imperative that the good neighbor policy be effectively restored. After the death of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, on many occasions, “We have been the good and others the neighbors.” May the government of the people, by the people, and for the people stop being the government in name only of the people, without the people, and against the people! May the America of Juárez and the America of Lincoln live on equal footing, in peace and harmony!
(Excerpts from 15 años después, Editorial Librería Selecta, Havana, 1950).

* Raúl Roa García (1907-1982) was a writer, professor, historian, political leader, and diplomat, who served the Cuban Revolution as Foreign Minister from 1959 through 1976.

Maduro: Venezuela Sitting on 2nd Biggest Gold Reserve on Earth

Nov 5th 2018
Source:  Venezuela Analysis

President Nicolas Maduro described the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela as “crazy” and “criminal.”

Maduro ven sitting on gold.jpgPresident Nicolas Maduro and his economic team during the speech addressing
new measures to improve the economy. November 2, 2018.
(@PresidencialVen / Twitter)

President Nicolas Maduro and his economic team during the speech addressing new measures to improve the economy. November 2, 2018. (@PresidencialVen / Twitter)

President Nicolas Maduro announced a new set of measures in the Venezuelan gold industry to combat the U.S. imposed sanctions, which he described as “crazy” and “criminal,” accusing the North American country of blocking, and raising the price of food and medicine imports into the country.

The U.S. government announced a new set of sanctions against the Latin American country last week, potentially limiting their gold exports, as announced by the national security senior advisor John Bolton. The sanctions already prohibited institutions, business and anyone from giving any kind of financial support to the Bolivarian Revolution.

Maduro answered Bolton’s comments during a televised speech, saying Venezuela is currently certifying 32 gold fields. “Everything suggests that Venezuela will be the second biggest gold reserve on planet Earth,” said the President, adding that the country will do what’s necessary to get around the restrictions that are preventing medicine and food to enter the country.

“If we go out to purchase the required food… we end up paying 50, 60 or 80 percent more,” said Maduro. “These are crazy, schizophrenic, criminal sanctions… but we will never bow down. Venezuela will never surrender to North American imperialism.”

Maduro, along with his economic team, announced that Venezuela is installing 54 gold processing plants with new technology to reportedly avoid the polluting use of mercury. According to their predictions, the plants will bring in about US $ 5 billion in 2019.

Despite Economic War, Venezuelan Gov’t Delivers 2.3 Million Houses to the People

November 16 2018
Source:  TeleSUR

President Nicolas Maduro said in 2019 the government will deliver 700,000 more housing units, fulfilling the goal of 3 million. 

 

gran mision.jpg

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on  Thursday that  the Venezuelan government had reached the milestone of building 2.3 million houses for working-class Venezuelans as part of the government’s Great Housing Mission Venezuela.

RELATED: Venezuela to Boost Gold Despite US Sanctions

From the Cuartel de la Montaña in the capital city of Caracas, the head of state led the delivery ceremony in the northeastern state of Lara and unveiled the historic milestone for the South American nation. “We reached the 2 million 300,000 houses and we are heading to 3 million homes,” he said.

Maduro also stressed the accomplishment was despite international attacks against the Venezuelan economy through economic and financial sanctions that affect Venezuelan imports and exports.

“Nothing and no one stopped us, nothing and no one will stop us, facing difficulties we continue to build the homeland,” Maduro told Venezuelans.

The president explained that by 2019 he will deliver some 700,000 additional homes, meeting the goal of three million. “Decent homes awarded to the people,” he said.

ven gov housing for the people.jpg

The next homes will be assigned through the Ceret de la Patria, or Homeland Card, a state-regulated mechanism for accessing social programs, especially for Venezuelan who need it most.

In addition, Maduro announced the approval and expansion of the credits granted by the Popular Housing System for the improvement, construction, and acquisition of housing. President Maduro recalled that the 2018 Plan de la Patria, the government Plan with which he was elected in May, includes the commitment to build and deliver some five million decent homes.

Housing is an internationally-recognized human right.

Brazil Will Miss Cuban Doctors

November 16 2918
Source:  Granma

In the wake of Cuba’s withdrawal from the Brazilian More Doctors program, Former President Dilma Rousseff stated, “The end of the agreement was caused by the intemperate statements of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro.”

cuban doctors in brazil 12

The National Council of Municipal Health Secretaries and the National Front of Brazilian Mayors warned rightwing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro of the imminent, irreparable damage to the population’s health, as a consequence of Cuba leaving the More Doctors program.

In a joint statement, the two organizations lamented the suspension of the agreement between the Pan American Health organization and the Cuban government which allowed for the work of some 8,500 doctors from the island in Brazil.

Estimates indicate that 29 million Brazilians will be left without medical assistance after the partnership’s interruption. Thus, these bodies have requested a revision of the position taken by the new government, which has announced its intention to make drastic changes to the program’s regulations. The mayors and healthcare authorities called for maintaining current contract conditions, which were approved in 2016 by the Michel Temer administration and confirmed by the Supreme Federal Court in 2017.

“The abrupt cancelation of the current contracts implies a cruel impact on the entire population, especially the poorest. We cannot renounce the constitutional principle of making the right to health universal, or agree with this setback,” the statement indicated.

Cubans currently represent more than half of the doctors in the program, and the cancellation of their contracts would lead to a situation described by these organizations as disastrous, in at least 3,243 municipalities. Of the country’s 5,570 municipalities, 3,228 (79.5%) only have doctors provided by the program, and 90% of the services available to the indigenous population are provided by Cuban professionals.

The statement also notes that the More Doctors program is broadly supported by those served, indicating, “Eighty-five percent say that health care has improved with the program. In the municipalities, it is also possible to verify the greater permanence of these professionals on the family health teams and their integration within the locales where they are assigned.”

The program was won by Brazilian municipalities, developed in response to the “Where is the doctor?” campaign led by the Mayors Front in 2013. At that time, local officials made clear the difficulties they faced in contracting and placing professionals in the country’s interior, and in poor communities on the outskirts of large cities.

The text notes that the abrupt interruption of cooperation with the Cuban government, focused on prevention at the primary level, will negatively impact the health system, increasing demands for doctors’ appointments at higher level institutions, and additionally aggravate regional inequalities.

“For the designated G100 (a group of cities with large vulnerable populations) the situation is even more devastating. With the goal of reducing the shortage of basic services in these cities, the G100 has been targeted and prioritized for the reception of these professionals.”
Dilma Rousseff stated, “For the poor, this will be an irreparable loss.

“The end of the agreement was caused by the intemperate statements of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who ignores the diplomatic dimension that must prevail in relations between two countries,” continued the former President who launched the More Doctors program.

For the poorest, the end of the program will be a great loss in the short and long run. Tens of millions of Brazilians across the entire country will be without primary care, Rousseff stated, describing Bolsonaro’s decision as unilateral and disrespectful, “criticizing on Twitter the terms of the agreement signed during my administration and renewed, without modifications, by the government of President Temer,” she noted.

“He disregarded, with absolute arrogance, the diplomatic postures required in relations between countries The most serious, therefore, is that all of this has occurred without consulting the signatories of the agreement, the PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. His rash, authoritarian statements could even disturb doctors from other countries, participating to a lesser degree in the More Doctors Program.”

Rousseff recalled the President-elect’s statements that he would impose individual contracts on foreign participants in the program, require exams and the validation of credentials, and pay professionals directly, ignoring the Cuban government’s guarantee of a full salary for doctors.

“The demand to subject foreign doctors to an exam in Brazil can only be seen as a gesture of disrespect, xenophobia, and arrogance, directed toward health professionals from other countries. Especially since the (Cuban) Ministries of Public Health and Education supervise the work of all doctors and evaluate their performance,” she continued.

According to Rousseff, Bolsonaro’s affront to Cuban doctors, and those from other countries working in the program, is an attack on the Brazilian people, who will lose access to valuable, highly-skilled professionals providing primary care to the poorest sectors of the population.

“Moreover, this is an authoritarian attitude. It reveals incompetence, unilaterally breaking an agreement signed by a respected, internationally recognized health organization.

“The Brazilian population has benefited from the generous competence of Cuban doctors, who the Brazilian government should recognize for their fraternal solidarity. I convey a tribute to them, my gratitude. The work of these dedicated, generous professionals will be missed by Brazilians,” she concluded.

After 5 years seeing 113 million patients, Cuba discontinues participation in “More Doctors” programme in Brazil

November 14 2018
Source:  Granma

Statement from the Ministry of Public Health, Cuba

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the More Doctors program , disregarding the Pan-American Health Organization

WFL_015

The Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba, committed to the solidarity and humanist principles that have guided Cuba’s medical cooperation for 55 years, has been participating in Brazil’s “More Doctors” program since its inception in August of 2013. This initiative launched by Dilma Rousseff, who was at that time the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil, pursued the noble purpose of guaranteeing medical assistance to the majority of the Brazilian people, following the principle of universal health coverage promoted by the World Health Organization.

The program had planned the inclusion of Brazilian and foreign doctors who would work in poor and remote areas of the country.

Cuba’s participation in this program was arranged through the Pan-American Health Organization with one distinctive feature: it was intended to fill the vacancies left by doctors from Brazil and other foreign nations.

During these five years of work, some 20 000 Cuban collaborators have assisted 113,359,000 patients in more than 3,600 municipalities. They were able to provide health coverage to a vast 60 million Brazilians, when they accounted for 80% of all the doctors who were taking part in the program. More than 700 municipalities were able to have a doctor for the first time ever.

The work of Cuban doctors in areas of extreme poverty, in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, and the 34 Special Indigenous Districts, particularly in Amazonia, was widely recognized by federal, state, and municipal governments of that country and its population, 95% of which expressed their acceptance, according to a survey carried out by the Federal University of Minas Gerais at the request of the Ministry of Health of Brazil.

On September 27, 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, in an official statement issued on a day close to the expiration date of the agreement and amidst the events associated to the legislative and judicial coup d’ etat against president Dilma Rousseff, announced that Cuba “would continue to honor its agreement with the Pan-American Health Organization for the implementation of the Program More Doctors, providedthat the guarantees offered by local authorities were maintained”, something that has been so far respected.

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the Program More Doctors, in full disregard of the Pan-American Health Organization and the agreement reached by this organization with Cuba, since he has questioned the qualification of our doctors and has conditioned their permanence in the program to a process of validation of their titles and established that contracts will only be signed on an individual basis.

The announced modifications impose conditions that are unacceptable and fail to ensure the guarantees that had been previously agreed upon since the beginning of the Program, which were ratified in 2016 with the re-negotiation of the Terms of Cooperation between The Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Cooperation Agreement between the Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba. These unacceptable conditions make it impossible to maintain the presence of Cuban professionals in the Program.

Consequently, in the light of this unfortunate reality, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba has decided to discontinue its participation in the Program More Doctors and has informed so to the Director of the Pan-American Health Organization and the political leaders of Brazil who founded and defended this initiative.

The decision to bring into question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of Cuban cooperation workers who, with the support of their families, are currently offering their services in 67 countries is unacceptable. During the last 55 years, a total of 600 000 internationalist missions have been accomplished in 164 nations, with the participation of 400 000 health workers who, in quite a few cases, have fulfilled this honorable task more than once. Their feats in the struggle against the Ebola virus in Africa, blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean and cholera in Haiti as well as the participation of 26 brigades of the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Great Epidemics “Henry Reeve” in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries, are worthy of praise.

In the overwhelming majority of the missions that have been accomplished, all expenses have been covered by the Cuban government.

Likewise, 35 613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained in Cuba at absolutely no cost as an expression of our solidarity and internationalist vocation.

All Cuban cooperation workers have preserved their posts and their full salary in Cuba, together with all due labor and social benefits, just as the rest of the workers of the National Health System.

The experience of the Program More Doctors for Brazil and Cuba’s participation in it show that it is indeed possible to structure a South-South Cooperation Program under the auspices of the Pan-American Health Organization in order to promote the achievement of its goals in our region. The United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization have described it as the main example of good practices in triangular cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The peoples from Our America and from all over the world know that they will always be able to count on the solidarity and humanistic vocation of our professionals.

The Brazilian people, who turned the Program More Doctors into a social achievement and, from the very beginning,has trusted Cuban doctors, recognized their virtues and appreciated the respect, sensitivity and professionalism with which they have assisted them, will understand who are to be held responsible for our doctors’not being able to continue offering their fraternal contribution in that country.

Havana, November 14, 2018.

The world says “No!” to the blockade and Trump’s amendments

Source:  Granma
November 1, 2018

Author: Granma International news | informacion@granma.cu

At 12:20 pm, in the United Nations General Assembly, the international community once again almost unanimously condemned the U.S. blockade of Cuba, voting 189 in favor of the Cuban resolution, two against (U.S. and Israel), with no abstentions.

the world says no

Photo: Tomada de la televisión

At 12:20pm, in the United Nations General Assembly, the international community once again almost unanimously condemned the U.S. blockade of Cuba, voting 189 in favor of the Cuban resolution, two against (U.S. and Israel), with no abstentions.

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.”