Venezuela Calls for Urgent CELAC Meeting Amid Ecuador Coup Plan

Source:  TeleSUR
June 13 2015

President Nicolas Maduro called upon the other member countries to show solidarity with Ecuador’s elected government.

maduro solidarity with ecuador

President Maduro speaking during a visit to the state of Miranda | Photo: TeleSUR

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for an urgent meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss tensions and possible coup plots against the government of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.

“It’s time for us to activate all our solidarity with the people of Ecuador and with President Rafael Correa,” Maduro said Saturday during an event in the Venezuelan state of Miranda.

The call comes after Correa denounced that a coup plot was being hatched against him as he returns Sunday from the European Union-CELAC meeting in Brussels.

Throughout this week, parallel demonstrations have been held both against and in support of President Correa, who went to the Belgian capital on June 8.

Supporters to gather early at the Presidential Palace Monday

The Ecuadorean head of state used his Twitter account to call upon his supporters to gather early at the Presidential Palace Monday in support of his government.

“Thank you Quito! Thank you Guayaquil! Thank you Ecuador for your peace and your presence! I want to thank my partners for their great job, I would have loved to be with you during this day of happiness and revolution. On Monday at 11:00, everyone to the Plaza Grande (Main Square) for the change of guards. We are more! Many more!” read the series of tweets.

The opposition is sowing confusion

Speaking from Milan, the president explained during his weekly television program Citizen Link (Enlace Ciudadano) that the opposition is sowing confusion about a government proposal to increase the inheritance and capital gains tax of the top 2 percent of Ecuadorean as an excuse to try to oust him.

“The real motive is to overthrow the government. It’s not about abolishing the inheritance tax, it’s about toppling the national government … they had everything ready…they have foreign advisers” he said.

Maduro, who could not be in Brussels due to illness, warned that the Ecuadorean right-wing will resort to violence in its attempts to destabilize Correa’s left-wing administration.

Source:  Venezuela Calls for Urgent CELAC Meeting Amid Ecuador Coup Plan TeleSUR

Ecuador: President Correa Exposes Opposition Coup Plan

Source:  TeleSUR
June 13 2015

Privileged and right-wing sectors have being holding protests in front the PAIS Alliance offices since Monday.

The opposition had everything ready for their opposition plot against the government, Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa said while speaking on his weekly program on Saturday, from Italy.

rafael correa 30

President Rafael Correa speaking on weekly show on Saturday morning |
Photo: TeleSUR

Following days of protest, sometimes violent, outside the head offices of governing party PAIS Alliance, President Correa noted that the opposition had the money and logistics prepared.

“They want to wear us down by 2016″ . . .  Correa

The Ecuadorean leader called on people in the country to remain strong and firm in light of the right-wing attacks. “They want to wear us down by 2016 … but here, nobody gets tired, we’re stronger than ever,” he said.

The protests were initially against citizens having to pay a very small tax on large inheritances, but now the right-wing protesters are openly calling for the ousting of the elected government.

In 2013, Correa was elected in a landslide victory with 57 percent of the vote

In 2013, Correa was elected in a landslide victory with 57 percent of the vote. The protests have been counted by government supporters, who have outnumbered the opposition protestors but have also been met with violence from the right-wing demonstrators. Large numbers of police have been deployed each night to prevent violence or injuries.

Source:  Ecuador’s Correa Announces Opposition Coup Plan  TeleSUR

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EU and US Thrived on Protectionism, Why Can’t We? Asks Correa

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa addresses the EU-CELAC summit in Brussels, June 10, 2015.

At the EU-CELAC summit, the Ecuadorean president said there is a moral urgency to reduce poverty and end exclusion of certain sectors of society. The president of Ecuador and pro-tempore president of the CELAC bloc, Rafael Correa, says that Latin American and Caribbean nations form a region that is developing quickly through the creation of small and medium businesses, but need to resort to trade practices that Europe and the United States used in order to thrive in the world economic order.

rafael correa at the CELAC EU summit 2015The South American leader, who holds a PhD in economics, told those at the opening session, “We were told that protectionism was bad, however that is how the economies of Europe and the United States thrived and their companies have grown.”

The second summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations concluded recently in the Belgian capital city Brussels, which is also home to the EU’s governing body.

Poverty and extreme poverty have been reduced but remain a problem

Correa also said that poverty, and extreme poverty, have been successfully reduced in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, but recognized that they remain a widespread problem not only in the region, but around the world as well. He argued that poverty is the result of social injustice, such as exclusion from education and dignified jobs and salaries, which promote the concentration of riches.

“The eradication of poverty is a moral imperative not only in our countries but in the whole world,” he added. “For the first time in world history, poverty is not the result of lack of resources but of injustice and exclusion which promote the concentration of wealth. Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world and no one has found a more dignified and better way to fight poverty than to create productive and stable employment with appropriate work environment and good salaries, “said the Ecuadorean President.

One of the objectives of the business summit is to “understand” that the producers are “fundamental to the creation of jobs and production economies and therefore also of inclusion and social change in our countries,” he added.

Correa noted that human labour is fundamental to production and that a fair and dignified salary is the base of equality. He explained, however, that education and the training of human talent is essential to economic growth and ending inequality.

Small and medium-sized businesses

The president praised the success of small and medium-sized businesses (SME) in Europe, and said they would be equally successful in Latin America and the Caribbean if they had the same access to credits, financial backing and the proper training and technical support. “The SMEs in Europe have been successful thanks to the support that they receive, while in Latin America we lack the vision and have insufficient resources to support this sector,” he said.

President Correa stressed the importance of the two-day summit in Brussels, but emphasized that these have to respect each nation’s right to sovereign government.

The conference is being attended by some 60 heads of state and high-ranking officials to tackle the issues of climate change, investment, and the Colombian peace talks. The theme of the event this year is “Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens.”

CELAC has now cemented its international significance

CELAC, established in 2010 as an alternative to U.S.-run bodies like the Organization of American States, has now cemented its international significance. It last met with the EU in 2013 in Chile.

“It will be the occasion to underline the importance of EU-CELAC cooperation in a complex, rapidly changing world,” the organizers of the event said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Correa, whose country holds the pro-tempore presidency of the CELAC bloc, met with his EU counterpart Donald Tusk in the Belgian capital ahead of the conference. Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini also met with Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, to sign a draft agreement to forge stronger links between Latin America and Europe. “Today, we have jointly signed the establishment of a EU-Latin American-Caribbean Foundation on the basis of transforming it into an international body that, we believe, will help us work even more among our societies,” Mogherini said.

Sources: 

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Cuba: The EU can contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable world

Source:  Granma
June 12 2015

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Vice President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, speaking at 2nd CELAC-EU Summit in Brussels, June 10-11, calls on Europe to support development in Latin America and the Caribbean

miguel diaz canel and frederica mogheriniHonorable heads of state and government:

For Latin America and the Caribbean, this 2nd CELAC-EU Summit constitutes a challenge, since here we must establish the objective of re-thinking ties between the two regions, so that they, in fact, have the desired impact on economic, commercial and cooperative relations.

The history of Latin America and the Caribbean 

History shows that under-development in Latin America and the Caribbean began with colonial plunder, the extermination of millions of persons among the original peoples, and the horrors of slavery. The structural deformities of our economies were worsened by neo-colonial exploitation; industrialized nations and transnational companies imposed their interests; capitalism established irrational and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The United States appropriated our territory and took sovereignty of our natural resources, violating the independence of nations in the region, even resorting to bloody military dictatorships. Neoliberalism erased a decade of progress. The global economic crisis and financial speculation spread to our economies.

The world’s most unequal region

Despite the progress made, Latin America and the Caribbean is the (world’s) most unequal region in terms of the distribution of wealth and the persistence of poverty, inadequate access to education, healthcare and knowledge.

In June of 1999, during the Río de Janeiro Summit, the European Union proposed a “strategic bi-regional association.”

In Santiago de Chile, in January, 2013, CELAC reiterated its desire to cooperate and extend bi-regional relations based on “respect, equal sovereignty and no external interference.”

In Havana, in January of 2014, CELAC approved the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, establishing guiding principles to govern ties between countries in the region – applicable to our relations with the rest of the world.

Solidarity with Venezuela

I evoke this Proclamation to express solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its President, Nicolás Maduro Moros, given the unfounded, arbitrary executive order issued by the President of the United States, imposing sanctions which our region has demanded be rescinded.

While, in fact, we share important historic and cultural ties, our region continues to occupy a marginal position within the economic-commercial priorities of the EU. Asymmetries are reinforced, and cooperation with small Caribbean states is being mechanically and unjustly withdrawn.

The Millenium Development goals continue to be unreachable

The Millenium Development goals continue to be unreachable. Without another international economic and financial order, the Post-2015 Agenda is an illusion, and will increase dependency and the North-South gap. Political models and the welfare state in Europe are in crisis. Cutbacks and austerity programs have seriously hurt workers, families and immigrants. Significant numbers of an entire generation have not found their first job.

To survive it is imperative to detain climate change, with a legally binding, ambitious, just and equitable agreement, which guarantees financing, technology and cooperation in the areas of adaptation and mitigation, on the basis of shared but differentiated responsibility, and recognition of the historic debt owed by the developed countries.

Opposition to sanctions against Russia

Growing threats to peace and international security, conventional and non-conventional wars and poverty, which devastate nations and destroy states, are pushing waves of desperate human beings to seek refuge. Very early on, we warned that NATO’s expansion to the borders of the Russian Federation would imply a serious threat to peace, security and stability, internationally and in Europe itself. We reiterate our opposition to sanctions against that country.

The economic, commercial, financial blockade of Cuba remains in place

Despite the historic decision by Cuba and the United States to reestablish diplomatic relations, the economic, commercial, financial blockade of Cuba remains in place, with the same intensity. The moment has arrived for Europe to advocate for its total elimination, and an end to the unethical understanding with the United States, from November of 1996, accepting the international application of the legislation upon which it is based, the Helms Burton Act.

An end to this unjust policy, along with the return to Cuba of territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base; the termination of radio and television broadcasts which violate international norms; compensation for the human and economic damages suffered by our people; and the cancellation of subversive programs are some of the premises which are indispensable to the normalization of relations between the two countries.

We continue to work for the conclusion of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Accord between the European Union and Cuba, based on reciprocity, mutual respect and non-interference, which we agreed upon in 2008, to re-initiate cooperative relations between the two parties.

The EU can contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable world

The European Union, which is an important economic associate of Cuba, has the opportunity to accompany us in our development. At the same time, it can contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable world, which requires the demolition of the current system of domination, hegemony, plunder of resources and financial speculation.

As the historic leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro did during the first of these meetings, I invite you to work on “the miracle of making the impossible possible.”

Source:  The European Union has an opportunity to accompany us in our development  Granma

Cuba at the Peoples’ Summit: A better world is not only possible, but necessary

people's summit CELAC EU 2015Source:  Granma

June 12, 2015

BRUSSELS.—

Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel spoke yesterday, June 11, at the Peoples’ Summit, held parallel to the CELAC-EU Summit in Brussels, and stated that not only is a better world possible, but necessary for the survival of humanity

Miguel Díaz-Canel BermúdezMiguel Díaz-Canel, First Vice President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, declared yesterday, June 11, during his remarks to the Peoples’ Summit, that not only is a better world possible, but in fact necessary for the survival of humanity.

The event coincided with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)-European Union Summit, also held in Brussels.

Díaz-Canel conveyed greetings to the gathering from the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and President Raúl Castro Ruz.

Miguel Diaz-Canel at CELAC-EU summit 2015He noted that the many years of efforts to isolate Cuba in Latin America have given way to a time of changes, which are benefiting the people across the continent.

Latin America and the Caribbean – A Zone of Peace

He likewise highlighted the importance of the CELAC proclamation of the region as a zone of peace, and its call to respect the right of all to choose their own political, economic and social system.

Source:  A better world is not only possible, but necessary  Granma

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Venezuela among 29 countries worldwide that has dramatically reduced hunger

Source:  Agencia Venezolana de Noticias

May 28 2015

FAO-emblem_enThere are currently 795 million hungry people in the world, according to figures from the latest report released Wednesday by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP), which also shows that only 29 countries, among which is Venezuela, have met the target of halving the number of undernourished people for this 2015.

Although the percentage has fallen since 1992, 216 million fewer hungry people worldwide, according to latest edition of FAO’s annual hunger report, only “72 countries have achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of chronically undernourished people.”

The report states that a group of 29 countries have met the goal laid out at the World Food Summit, held in 1996, which was to halve the number of undernourished people in each country before 2015, as Venezuela managed to do it.

FAO recognized Venezuela

In June 2013, in Rome, Italy, FAO recognized Venezuela for being, according to estimates by the organization, in the group of 15 countries (including Cuba, Nicaragua, Guyana, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil) that have made exceptional progress by reducing undernourishment from 13.5% in the period 1990-1992, to less than 5%, during the period 2010-2012.

UN awards Venezuela

June 2013: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, poses with FAO director Jose Graziano da Silva. The FAO, awarded Venezuela a special certificate for reducing hunger by half

In 2014, Food Mission also received recognition for being a social program that distributes food at fair prices in the 22,000 stores of the national public network.

The government has reiterated that it will continue to work to address the economic war in the country and ensure supply to all Venezuelans.

Venezuela to be recognized again next July

On May 16 the representative of FAO, Marcelo Resende, confirmed the progress that has taken the country’s food security and sovereignty, which is why President Nicolas Maduro will receive next July, in Rome another recognition for the Venezuelan progress in reducing hunger.

Source: Venezuela among 29 countries worldwide that has dramatically reduced hunger Agencia Venezolana de Noticias

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Seven key points to clarify the Washington-Havana discussions

Source:  Granma

May 25, 2015

It has been five months since Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced on December 17 their intention to open a new chapter in relations between the United States and Cuba. 

After an historic meeting between both leaders at the 7th Summit of the Americas, on May 21, the third round of conversations began in Washington, with the goal of raul y obama panama 2015 1advancing toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in both countries,.

Although talks between the U.S. and Cuba are already, in themselves, a milestone for us and cuba hold second round of talkstwo neighboring countries which have lacked formal ties for more than half a century, they only mark the beginning of a much longer and complicated process.

Inaccuracies and distorted information have accompanied this process from the beginning. Granma shares with its readers seven key points which clarify the dimension of what is happening between Havana and Washington and the coming stage.

  1. The two Presidents made a decision, now comes the implementation.

On December 17, among other decisions of importance to both peoplesRaúl Castro and Barack Obama simultaneously announced their intention of re-establishing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, severed more than half a century ago.

However, in order for this step to be realized, the Presidents’ decision must now pass through the official channels of their respective countries.

This process is being advanced by the delegations which met in Havana and Washington for various rounds of conversations and technical encounters.
These meetings are important as they establish the bases on which diplomatic relations will operate, so as not to repeat past mistakes.

  1. Neither party has imposed conditions for the reestablishment of relations.

One of the mass media’s main lines of attack against the conversations has been to talk of “conditions” imposed by the two parties.

Both the Cuban and U.S. diplomats have clearly stated that the work environment has been marked by respect and professionalism, with conversations taking place in a climate of reciprocity and free from interference.

What Cuba has done since the beginning of this process is highlight aspects which would must be resolved before further progress can be made; including the end of the country’s unjust inclusion on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the restoration of banking services for its mission in Washington, which has been without these services for more than a year.

Reports indicate that both issues are in the process of being resolved.

U.S. representatives have questioned restrictions on the mobility of their staff at a future embassy in Havana (the movements of Cuban diplomats in Washington is currently limited), as well as Cubans’ access to their facilities.

In this regard, Cuba has insisted on the importance of adhering to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, which establishes the importance of observing the laws of the host country and not interfering in its internal affairs.

Members of a mission must be able to interact with citizens of the host country, but also respect local norms, a Cuban diplomat recently explained.

  1. Reestablishment of relations is not the same as normalization of relations

Another common mistake often made, is confusing the process of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the normalization, which is a longer and more complex process.

After embassies have been opened in both capitals, the challenging search for “normality” between both countries, which share a tumultuous history, will begin.

Cuban authorities have highlighted various points which they consider to be vital to addressing normalization: the lifting of the blockade; the return of the illegally occupied Guantanamo Naval base territory, an end to subversive radio and television broadcasts; the cancellation of U.S. plans to promote regime change; and compensation for the damages caused to the Cuban people over half a century of aggression, among others.

It has never been stated that these issues need to be resolved in order to open embassies, as some media agencies have erroneously stated, although U.S. authorities have recognized Cuba’s position.

“Completely normal relations do not include an economic embargo, or economic sanctions,” a U.S. State Department official – who asked to remain anonymous – recently stated.

Without a doubt, this new stage includes discussion of other important issues for both countries. But Cuba has clearly expressed that it can not be expected to “give something in exchange.” Cuba does not apply any sanctions on the United States, nor does it have military bases in U.S. territory, or promote regime change.

Likewise, Cuba has said that the U.S. cannot demand that the country renounce its ideals of independence and social justice, nor cede a millimeter in its defense of national sovereignty.

  1. Washington’s change of policy is a victory for the Cuban people and Latin American integration

It wouldn’t be conceited to recognize, as the majority of the international community has, that Cuba has arrived at this point as a result of almost half a century of heroic struggle and loyalty to its principles.

CELAC 11Likewise, it wouldn’t be possible to analyze a policy change of this magnitude without understanding the new era our region is experiencing, and the firm and courageous demand made by the governments and people of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

In the 2nd CELAC Summit held in Havana, an unprecedented regional document was signed: the declaration of the hemisphere as a Zone of Peace, which recognizes “The inalienable right of every state to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition to guarantee peaceful coexistence among nations.”

  1. The United States has changed its methods, not its objectives

One of the greatest questions which has followed this process is what does the U.S. policy change entail and how far does it go. There is no easy answer and perhaps it is too early to carry out a thorough analysis.

When President Obama made his announcement, he said that after 50 years of a failed policy, it was time to try something new.

Obama speaking in Panama noted – in reference to Cuba – that “The United States will not be imprisoned by the past – we’re looking to the future.”

However, U.S. authorities have stated on various occasions that its methods, not its objectives, are changing. These objectives have been – since January 1, 1959, to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

In his speech during the 7th Summit of the Americas, Obama commented, “We’re not in the business of regime change,” remarks which filled many with hope.

However, millions of dollars are still being openly channeled toward financing subversion in Cuba, to which must be added other undeclared funds.

Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the audience during the closing ceremony of Cuban communist congress in HavanaFor their part, Cuban authorities have never demonstrated naivety. “No one should dream that the new policy announced means acceptance of the existence of a socialist revolution 90 miles from Florida,” said Raúl in his speech during the 3rd CELAC Summit.

  1. Obama can do more

In addition to the December 17 announcement, Obama also implemented a group of measures modifying a small number of blockade regulations, although the aggressive policy remains in force.

obama in congressCuba has recognized Obama’s decision to engage in a debate with Congress in order to put an end to the blockade, something no other U.S. president has done.

Nonetheless, reports by the media that the President “has done everything possible,” are false.

If he is determined, Obama can use his broad executive powers to substantially modify the application of the blockade, even without the approval of Congress.

He could – for example – permit, in other sectors of the economy, all that he has authorized in the arena of telecommunications, with evident objectives of political influence in Cuba.

  1. The issue of sovereignty is no longer off-limits

One of the lessons of the last five months – and perhaps the last year and a half of discreet conversations – has been that Cuba and the U.S. can address any issue as long as it is done within a framework of respect.

Cuba has demonstrated its willingness to discuss topics which have historically been used and manipulated to attack our county, such as democracy, free speech and human rights, about which the nation has much to show and contribute.

Perhaps the most important point of all, and that which summarizes this article, is that the greatest challenge facing Cuba and the United States is establishing a relationship of civilized co-existence based on respect for their profound differences.

Source:  Seven key points   Granma