Lula, the most important political prisoner in the world, says Chomsky

Source:  chamosaurio
April 15 2019

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, imprisoned for more than a year for alleged acts of corruption, is today the most important political prisoner in the world. 

This was stated by the prominent intellectual and political activist Noam Chomsky, during an interview with the channel Democracy Now, amplified by the portal Rede Brasil Atual. 

According to the professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the political prison seeks to silence Lula who, when he presided over Brazil, was the voice of the ‘global South’. 

Chomsky placed the prison of the former Brazilian ruler in a universal context and compared his situation with that of Australian journalist Julian Assange, creator of WikiLeaks, arrested on Thursday.

The renowned American linguist, of 90 years, perceives, from the historical perspective, the imprisonment of both as similar to that of the founder and general secretary of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937). 

‘Some may remember when the (fascist) government of (Benito) Mussolini placed Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said: We have to silence that voice for 20 years. We can not let him talk. That’s Assange. That is Lula. That is a scandal, “said Chomsky. 

He asked himself: ‘Do you hear something in the press about that? And he replied: ‘Well, Assange is a similar case: We have to silence that voice’.

According to the renowned intellectual, under the Lula government, at the beginning of this millennium, Brazil was one of the most, perhaps the most respected country in the world. “He was the voice of the global South under the leadership of Lula da Silva,” he stressed. 

In September, the North American thinker visited the exmandatario in the seat of the Superintendence of the Federal Police of Curitiba, capital of the southern state of Paraná, and when leaving he thought that by right Lula should be next president of Brazil and that meeting him again was ‘a wonderful experience’. 

“It is not possible to meet an extraordinary figure of the 21st century every day,” he said on the occasion.

Since April 7, 2018 Lula remains in prison in Curitiba after receiving a penalty of 12 years and one month imposed by the Federal Regional Court of the fourth region (TRF-4) for alleged acts of corruption. 

The former president was subjected in February to a second conviction in the anti-corruption operation Lava Jato, this time to 12 years and 11 months. 

Diaz-Canel receives President of Ghana

Source:  Granma
April 5, 2019

by: Granma | internet@granma.cu

Diaz y President of Ghana Photo: Estudios Revolución

The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Thursday afternoon received the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on an official visit to our country.

During the amicable meeting the two leaders addressed the positive state of the historic bilateral relations their countries share, and reaffirmed the will to promote political ties and collaboration. They also discussed other topics of on the regional and international agenda.

Accompanying the distinguished visitor were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Health, and Education: Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, respectively; and Ghana’s ambassador in Cuba, Napoleon Abdulai.

Also participating on the Cuban side were Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; the Ministers of Foreign Trade and Investment, Higher Education, and Public Health, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, José Ramón Saborido Loidi, and José Ángel Portal Miranda, respectively; as well as Cuba’s ambassador in Ghana, Pedro Luis Despaigne González.

Díaz-Canel: Cuba is making every effort to secure the safe return of Assel and Landy

Source: Granma
April 15 2019

Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, tweeted that Cuba is working tirelessly for the safe return of Assel (Herrera) and Landy (Rodríguez), Cuban doctors abducted in Kenya, this past Friday

Assel Herrera and Landy Rodríguez. Photo: Internet

“Cuba is working tirelessly for the safe return of Assel (Herrera) and Landy (Rodríguez), our doctors abducted in Kenya,” stated Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, on his Twitter account, adding, “We share the certainty, with them and their loved ones, that their humanitarian mission will be respected and recognized. We believe in the power of solidarity.”

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla likewise tweeted, “I held a telephone conversation with the Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mónica Juma. We discussed the abduction of the two Cuban doctors and actions being taken by the government of this country given the unfortunate incident.”

On both of these Twitter accounts, it was made clear that other Cuban doctors are safe and fully informed of every step being taken to rescue their two colleagues.

Assel Herrera Correa is a specialist in Comprehensive General medicine from the province of Las Tunas and Landy Rodríguez Hernández, from Villa Clara, is a surgeon.

A communiqué released April 12 by the Ministry of Public Health stated that channels of communication were immediately established with authorities in Kenya to address the situation, and family members here are being kept informed.

Landy’s mother, Martha Hernández, told Granma, “I have full confidence that sooner than later, my son will return to the heart of his family. The Revolution never abandons one of its children, and this time, it will be the same.”

Despite the overwhelming pain, Martha insisted that solidarity, in Cuba and around the world, supporting the doctors’ freedom is key to their safe return.

She said that, since she heard the news, Party, government and Public Health authorities in the municipality of Placetas and on the provincial level, have kept her informed of every detail.

Assel’s family in Las Tunas is also receiving continuous support and all information available is being provided them.

In a statement to Granma, Grégory Antonio Pérez Héctor, deputy director of Public Health in the province explained that, upon receiving the news, a commission was immediately created, first to visit the home of his daughter, a high school student in the provincial capital, and then his parents in the community of Delicias.

“We have stayed in permanent contact with them, and not only on the part of Health, but political and government authorities, as well. Saturday, his parents were visited by Public Health officials who stayed with them most of the afternoon, explaining everything the country is doing to secure the return of their son. As elderly persons in poor health, they have been assigned the continuous support of a doctor, a nurse, and psychologist.”

Ruciel Tamayo Pérez, head of the clinic where Assel worked, told Granma that every day the administrator on duty visits the home of his daughter, who lives nearby.

“His daughter is finishing twelfth grade and tells us that she wants to be a doctor like her father. We have assured her that our government never abandons anyone.”

I do not want to “think badly”

Source:  Guajirita Soy
April 15 2019

By: Ana Hernández Hernández

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During the last few months, some unprecedented events in the medical collaboration that Cuba has given, have happened one after another, which without the slightest interest in “thinking badly”, I do interpret that behind them can go the hairy hand of those who have always tried to discredit the human task, to bring life, hope and light, where others are present with missiles, bombs and military forces in the name of vaunted “Humanitarian Aid”.

First, once he assumed power in Brazil the  neofascist Jair Bolsonaro, discontinues the More Doctors Humanitarian Program, thus putting the Cuban doctors out of the South American giant, but not before proffering as many slanders and lies as possible  against the true professionalism of our doctors, while, at the same time, encouraging them to defect and assuring them employment.

Jair Bolsonaro, who stated,  among the many falsehoods, that the doctors were slaves of the Cuban government, assured employment to those who were willing to leave the mission and not return to Cuba.  Those who decided to opt for his call and his promises, today are the same ones who the passing of the months have found them unemployed and drifting away from what they can find to pay for their livelihood.

Second , just a few days ago, as a result of irregularities in the payment, by their country, to the Congolese scholars who are studying at the Latin American School of Medicine, ELAM, these students created a climate of violence and instability in the center. It transcended borders, where the intervention of  public order personnel was necessary  in order to control indiscipline.

A few hours after the events,   the future health professionals apologized to Cuba, for such a situation …, but notwithstanding that it is a problem that concerns the Congolese authorities and not the Cuban ones, an unusual event occurred and before the eyes of the malicious, manipulators of information, criticism appeared blaming the largest of the Antilles and its study programs that train medical and paramedical personnel.

Third , and only a few hours ago, they kidnapped in Kenya two Cuban collaborators that make up the Medical Brigade, which since last year has been serving in that African land, an unprecedented fact throughout the long history of Cuba, in more than 160 countries of the world, where they have arrived with their message of health, life and hope for the needy.

There are undoubtedly three significant facts, in different latitudes, but they could very well be marked by a single interest, although apparently they could not have contact points … and I do not want to “think badly”, but that interest and points of contact I see through the magnifying glass that guides my steps and my eyes towards those who, once and a thousand times, have tried to tarnish the human work carried out by the Cuban medicine world, and of course! They are the same people who, without scruples,  have given themselves to the task of  calling Cuban collaborators, like military men who arrive to indoctrinate the peoples.

I do not want to “think badly”, but behind this may be the hairy hand of those who do not like us … I just conclude thinking: That on earth there are more flowers than snakes …, not to “Think Bad”

Ecuador vs. Assange: One Year Silenced

Source:  Angel Fox’s blog

 

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It seems that in recent days, Ecuador has become more tyrannical towards Assange than Britain is. With the recent terrible visit that Cassandra Fairbanks had and threats from the government to increase their protocol against Assange, it seems the country that once gave him asylum and support has turned on him. In fact, due to the US government coercing Ecuador, Moreno and his colleagues view Assange as an enemy. By gagging Assange for 8 months without visitors, phone or internet, the Ecuadorian government violated international law and literally tortured a man they gave refugee status.

When Julian’s lawyers took his treatment to the International American Court of Human Rights, the United States government threatened to stop funding them. 9 US Senators urged the defunding in December of 2018 but the timing is actually unusual and though it may be coincidental, seems to be fishy. Especially with the court ruling in Ecuador’s favor on his recent treatment.

In fact, a recent threat of arrest by Ecuador has circulated over the INA papers and the alleged offshore corruption. The problem with that is simple. Wikileaks simply retweeted articles that were already available on social media. They did nothing that we as individuals don’t do on a regular basis.

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Regularly, Ecuador shows that it does not value free press or free speech by threatening Assange whenever their own corruption is exposed. Former President Correa of Ecuador has been quoted as calling Assange’s treatment torture on various occasions and has called out on Twitter the various crimes committed by Moreno’s own administration. In fact, recently a report was released that Moreno’s approval rating has plummeted to 17%!

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During Cassandra Fairbank’s horrible visit where she was locked in a room, the evidence of the further persecution of Assange was evident. (Article seen here). One of her first statements appears below:

“The room was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Julian Assange currently lives under the ostensible protection of political asylum. Yet the WikiLeaks publisher was barred from entering the room, where he was supposed to join me for a pre-approved meeting because he refused to submit to a full-body search and continuous surveillance.”

Assange was quoted as saying,

“I don’t want to do the body scan. It is undignified and not appropriate,” I heard Assange say. “I am just trying to have a private meeting with a journalist.”

Further into the article, she explains how she was locked into the meeting room for over an hour and then taken to the lobby to wait while the current ambassador and Assange met. The overheard argument before staff muffled it with a television and a fan included the following:

“You have been illegally surveilling me,” Assange sternly insists.

“I want you to shut up,” the ambassador says.

“I know you want me to shut up — the Ecuadorian president has already gagged me,” Assange fired back. “I am banned from producing journalism.”

Being a political refugee does not mean you are treated as criminal or prisoner. You have the same rights as anyone else should, yet Ecuador has been torturing Assange psychologically for over a year now. They have put in place protocol which takes away his right to do his job as a journalist. They have removed his right to free speech and are now attempting to punish him for retweets by Wikileaks from other media sources. This is not only cruel and unfair but it is illegal.

Another statement made by Assange during the argument was this:

“You are acting as an agent of the United States government and preventing me from speaking with a US journalist about these violations,” Assange demanded. “What kind of sovereign state allows its ambassadors to be interrogated by another nation? No self respecting state does that!”

“You have been working with the US government against me, it’s disgraceful! You are an agent of the US government, and there will be consequences for your illegal acts,” Assange continues.

Something must be done to free this man!

However, no matter the treatment Assange has not given in. He knows if he does, it will set a precedent for the persecution and prosecution of other journalists now and in the future. He remains strong even when it would be easy to bow. He is a modern day hero and we all must stand up for his rights now or lose our own!

#FreeAssange

Manufacturing A Crisis In Venezuela

Source:  Popular Resistance
By Eva Bartlett, Informationclearinghouse.info

EDUCATE!
massive pro govt rally

 

Above Photo: A massive pro-government rally on March 16, Caracas. ©  Eva Bartlett

US IS MANUFACTURING A CRISIS IN VENEZUELA SO THAT THERE IS CHAOS AND ‘NEEDED’ INTERVENTION

March 30, 2019 “Information Clearing House“ –  Venezuela is America’s current target for mass destabilization in the hope of installing a puppet government.

America has for years been waging an economic war against Venezuela, including debilitating sanctions which have dramatically affected the state’s ability to purchase medicines, and even mundane replacement parts needed in buses, ambulances, etc. Alongside the economic war there has been a steady propaganda war, but in recent months, the propaganda has escalated dramatically, from corporate media to US political figures.

Venezuela is described as “the country pilots are refusing to fly to,” as per a March 18, 2019, AP article on American Airlines cancelling all flights to Venezuela, containing scary phrases like “safety concerns” and “civil unrest.

On March 9, American cancelled my Miami-Caracas flight on the basis that there wasn’t enough electricity to land at Caracas airport. Strangely enough, the Copa flight I took the following day after an overnight in Panama had no problem landing, nor did Copa flights on the day of my own cancelled flight, according to Copa staff.

The cancellation of flights to Venezuela then lends legitimacy to the shrill tweets of Marco Rubio, Mike Pence, John Bolton, and the previously unknown non-president, Juan Guaido.

I’ve been in various areas of Caracas since March 10, and I’ve seen none of this “civil unrest” that corporate media are talking about. I’ve walked around Caracas, usually on my own, and haven’t experienced the worry for my safety corporate media is telling Westerners they should suddenly feel more than normal in Venezuela.

In fact, I see little difference from the Venezuela I knew in 2010 when I spent half a year here, except the hyperinflation is absurdly worse and in my absence I missed the years of extreme right-wing opposition supporters street violence – a benign term for the guarimbas which saw opposition supporters burning people alive, among other violence against people and security.

So it strikes me that the decision of American Airlines to stop flying to Venezuela is not about safety and security issues, but is political, in line with increasingly hollow rhetoric about a humanitarian crisis that does not exist, even according to former UN Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas.

I asked Paul Dobson, a journalist who has lived in Venezuela the last 14 years, if anything like this had happened before. Turns out it has, also at a very timely moment.

At the time of the National Constituent Assembly elections, July 30, 2017, the major airlines – including Air France, United, American, pretty much all of the European airlines – suspended their flights one day before the elections, citing “security reasons.” Most of the services were reopened about four days after the elections, some of them two weeks after the elections.

So were there ‘security concerns? I asked Paul.

This was towards the end of street violence (guarimbas) that had been going on for six months in the country. Why didn’t they suspend their activity six months before, two months before? They did it the day before the elections, clearly trying to influence votes and the way that people see their country internationally. There were no extra security concerns that day than any day over the last 6 months. So, there was really no justification for it. And it caused massive problems on the ground, around elections.”

America Manufactures Crises; Venezuelans Respond With Calm

On February 23, a month after a previously largely-unknown, US-backed man named Juan Guaido claimed he was the president of Venezuela, there was a short-lived period of instability at the Venezuelan border with Colombia, when America insisted on forcing aid trucks into Venezuela.

Aid trucks that burned that day were the result of attacks of masked young men on the Colombian side, and not from the Venezuelan military as western corporate media and Marco Rubio would have you believe. Less-known is that the ‘aid trucks’ contained very odd humanitarian aid, including nails and wire.

Were their fake concerns genuine, the US could have done what Cuba, China, and Russia, among others, have done and send the aid through appropriate channels, like the UN and the Red Cross. America’s attempt to ram trucks through Venezuela’s border has been revealed as the cheap propaganda stunt that it was.

A couple of weeks later, suddenly there was a very timely country-wide power outage for six days, affecting most things in Venezuelan infrastructure and life, a reality that Palestinians in Gaza have been living since at least 2006 when Israel bombed their sole power plant, never since allowing them to import the parts needed to adequately repair it.

When I lived in Gaza, I grew accustomed to outages of 16-22 hours a day, for months on end. Near-daily sustained 18 plus hour power outages continue in Gaza, but that’s not something the regime-change squad were or are outraged about.

Western media coverage of the blackout was tabloidesque, claiming without any proof whatsoever that 300 people had died due to the outage,portraying Venezuelans collecting water from a spring at the Guaire river in Caracas as collecting dirty sewage water, looting (which actually occurred in the Western border city of Maracaibo and not in Caracas, unless there were localized and unreported incidents), and in general blaming the Maduro government for everything under the moon.

Talking with journalists of Mision Verdad, an independent Venezuelan investigative news site, I learned that one of the targets of looting was a mall in Maracaibo, where electronics were the items of choice, not food. Another incident reportedly involved looting beer and soft drinks. Odd behaviour for a starving people in a humanitarian crisis.

When I arrived three days into the outage, aside from darkened buildings, empty streets, and in following days long lines at water dispensaries and ATMs, I saw no instability. Instead, I saw and learned of Venezuelans working together to get through the drastic effects of the power outage.

I learned at the Ministry of Urban Agriculture of how they took vegetables and crops to hospitals and schools during the electricity outage, but also of how urban agriculture has become an act of resistance in a climate of war and fake news. At a circular plot next to a social housing block I saw young men and women working the land, bursts of lettuces, herbs, beetroots, spinach, and peppers, as well as plots still being planted.

At the Fabricio Ojeda commune, in Catia—a western Caracas barrio of over 1 million people—residents spoke of the 17 tons of produce they generated a few years ago, then sold in the community at prices 30-50% lower than the average market price.

One of the commune leaders spoke of raising rabbits as an affordable, and easy to maintain, source of protein.

We’re trying to achieve self sustainability of this produce, for the community. This is what we’re doing against the economic war,” he said.

Two days ago, visiting the Caracas barrios of Las Brisas, I asked Jaskeherry, head of a colectivo (organized group of people) how the community had managed during the power outage.

We had a contingency plan with all the colectivos in the area to organize ourselves to help the people. My fridge is connected to a power bank. The community brought their meat here and I stored it. We brought a cistern here. Around 300 families were benefiting from this. Each community has their own colectivo that does things like this to help out.”

I’ve heard from several different people here that one reason for the lack of chaos is that Venezuelans have already dealt with US-instigated crises, and have learned to remain calm at such times, surely to the dismay of US pot-stirrers who hoped for scenes of chaos, the pretext to US intervention.

Manufactured Poverty; Support From & For Government

I’ve gone into a number of smaller and large supermarkets in the lower middle-class areas of Caracas, and in it’s upper middle-class regions of Chacao and Altimira. There is food, including luxury items, which Venezuela’s poor can’t afford.

And in some stores there are said to be empty shelves, although I haven’t yet seen this.The policies of private companies —including the largest, Polar, whose CEO opposition supporters wanted him to run against Maduro in the last elections – to hoard goods and create false shortages is well known. That said, this theme that there is no food is one continually pumped by Western corporate media, along with the “humanitarian crisis” claim.

To help the poorest, the government initiated a food box delivery program known by its acronym, CLAP, wherein organized communities distribute government subsidized food to 6 million of Venezuela’s poorest families.

The system is not perfect, and I’ve heard complaints of boxes being late in reaching some communities. However, I’ve been told—including by a woman I interviewed yesterday who herself works in CLAP distribution—that problems lie in corruption on a local level, individuals in communities not distributing fairly or evenly.

Hotheads like Marco Rubio, and script reading corporate media, try to maintain that President Maduro has little support. But massive rallies of support, and a notable absence of opposition rallies of recent, counter that propaganda.

On March 16, for two hours I walked with Venezuelans at their anti-Imperialist, pro-government march, filming them, speaking with them, hearing person after person insist on their support for their elected president, Maduro.

Many or most of those marching were from Caracas’ poorest communities, the darker skinned, Afro-descendant Venezuelans that are scarcely given a voice by corporate media, almost certainly because they are ardent supporters of the government and Bolivarian revolution.

When I asked about their feelings of corporate media coverage of Venezuela, people told me it wasn’t depicting the reality, “they make it up, it’s all lies, all lies. The only president we recognize is Nicolas Maduro. And we want this man, Juan Guaido, to be arrested immediately”.

A young tax lawyer told me:

We’re here to support our (Bolivarian) project. We don’t want any war. We want medicine for our people—we don’t want sanctions from any government that prevent us from purchasing medicine. It’s very difficult for us to bring what’s needed for our people.”

Leaving the still crowded demonstration, I went towards Caracas’ eastern districts, hoping to attend one of the three or four opposition actions that a local journalist told me they had been tweeting about. None panned out.

A few days later, I went to Bellas Artes metro, the same scenario transpired, I couldn’t find the opposition protest that I’d heard was planned. Eventually, in front of the National Assembly, I did film between 15-20 well-dressed men and women not doing much other than standing around. Eventually, most passed by security and onto the premises. I didn’t hear them issue, or attempt to issue, any opposition statement, nor was there any violence from or against them.

A mass of government supporters arrived on motorbikes. A nearby man told me that these women and men on bikes had come to preserve the peace. He said that opposition had said they would stage a provocation (his words match what the local journalist told me, based on tweets to that effect from opposition/supporters), and that the pro-government bikers were not going to allow that to happen.

On Avila, the mountain overlooking Caracas, I saw long line of tankers being filled by mountain spring water to be distributed around the city and outside, with a long list of hospitals to be supplied. pic.twitter.com/uwr6QZtS2F

— Eva Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) March 27, 2019

Height Of Hypocrisy And Irony; US To Ensure ‘Foreign Influences Are Not Controlling Venezuela’

The US has been forcibly exerting its foreign influence over Venezuela for years, to the detriment of the Venezuelan people it crocodile-tear purports to care about. Most Western corporate media do not mention the manifold adverse effects of the immoral sanctions imposed on Venezuela.

At the end of January, UN human rights expert Idriss Jazairy denounced the sanctions, clearly noting they are, “aimed at changing the government of Venezuela,” and that, “Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state.”

On top of this, America recently withheld US$5 billion intended for the purchase of medicines and raw materials used in medical production, Venezuelanalysis reported, after already freezing numerous Venezuelan assets, apparently holding them for their groomed puppet would-be president, Juan Guaido.

Unsurprisingly, John Bolton recently again menaced Venezuela, reiterating Trump’s, “all options are on the table,” military intervention threat and as though hallucinating blathered on about foreign influence and Venezuela and keeping the Imperialist Monroe Doctrine alive.

In a meeting with the US Peace Council delegation in mid-March, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, spoke of the openly-hostile US leadership.

When you have such an administration saying almost every single day, ‘all the options are on the table.’ And they say the military option is not discarded, then we have to be prepared for all of the options.

We told Mr.Elliott Abrams, ‘the coup has failed, so now what are you going to do?’ He kind of nodded and said, ‘Well, this is going to be a long term action, then, and we are looking forward to the collapse of your economy.’”

President Maduro, in a meeting with the delegation, told us:

We do not want foreign military intervention. Venezuelan people are very proud of the national independence. These people surrounding president Trump—John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Marco Rubio, Elliott Abrams —every single day on Twitter, these guys are tweeting about Venezuela. Not about the US, the American people…they have an obsession with Venezuela, like a fatal obsession with Venezuela. This is extremely dangerous, and we need to denounce it and make it stop.

Having written extensively about the war propaganda and Imperialist rhetoric around Syria over the past eight years, this obsession is very familiar. As Alfred de Zayas, said in a recent interview:

If you call Maduro corrupt, people will gradually believe, he must be somewhat corrupt. But nobody reminds you that corruption in Venezuela in the 1980s and 90s – before Chavez, before Maduro – was rampant. The press is focusing only on Maduro, because the name of the game is to topple him.”

We’re seeing Syria (and Libya, Iraq…) all over again. The demonization of the leadership of a country America wants to dominate. The absurd rhetoric steaming daily from corporate owned media, pretty much in chorus. The troll army ready to attack with an energetic vitriol on social media anyone who dares to present a non-Imperialist perspective. And most worrisome, the acts of terrorism intended to hurt the people and incriminate the government.

Sadly, it seems the United States is ready to stoop to the same dirty tactics it and allies used against Syria over the past eight years: backing and collaborating with terrorists to attack the state. Indeed, last night while trying to finish this article, the power cut and remains off in many areas of the country.

Earlier this week, Information and Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the cause of this recent outage was an attack at the Guri Hydro complex, Venezuela’s central hydroelectric power plant and transmission area.

By today, electricity has partially been restored to Caracas.

I spent much of this afternoon riding on the back of a motorbike around Petare. The district is known as the largest “slum” in Latin America, an extended series of barrios, and is one of Caracas’ poorest and most dangerous areas. Wherever we rode, I looked for the humanitarian crisis corporate media insists exists. Instead, I found vegetables, fruit, chicken and food basics sold wherever I went, from the main square to hillside barrio of 5 of July (5 Julio).

On the hillside of Avila, the mountain overlooking Caracas, I saw at intervals while riding lines of people collecting spring water in jugs since the power outage has affected water distribution. I also saw lines of tankers, being organized by the municipality and with the military, to distribute water around the city and country. A chart listed over twenty hospitals designated to receive water.

The Venezuelan government has accused America of being behind both the March 7 outage and this week’s, stating the former was a combination of cyber, electromagnetic and physical attacks on the power grids (like the alleged secret US plan to do the same to Iran’s grid), and the latter a direct physical attack on the Guri complex, causing a fire at three transformers.

Clearly, the goal of such attacks is to create so much suffering and frustration among the public that there is chaos, and a “needed” US intervention.

The chaos has not happened, the people have refused it.

ACS: Declaration of Managua

Source: Office of the Ambassador to CARICOM, Barbados
Date:  April 1 2019

by David Comissiong

The  ASSOCIATION  OF  CARIBBEAN  STATES advances with the DECLARATION  OF  MANAGUA

acs logoThe Association of Caribbean States (ACS)—a multilateral organization that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) conceptualized and helped bring into existence some 25 years ago – concluded its 8th Heads of Government Summit in Managua, Nicaragua on the 29th of March 2019, with the adoption of the historic “Declaration of Managua” and the confirmation of a visionary three year “Plan of Action”.

The twenty-five Member States of the ACS – fourteen CARICOM nations, along with Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – sent the World a most remarkable message of hope and commitment to human solidarity with their “Declaration of Managua” affirmations on such critical issues as climate change, respect for the fundamental principles of International Law, the maintenance of the Greater Caribbean as a “Zone of Peace”, and the payment of Reparations for the crimes of native genocide and African enslavement.

It is note-worthy that the delegation heads of such countries as Cuba (President Miguel Diaz-Canel), Nicaragua (President Daniel Ortega), El Salvador (President Salvador Sanchez Ceren) and Venezuela (Vice-President Aristobulo Isturiz), as well as such CARICOM nations as Trinidad & Trinidad Tobago , Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada , DominicaAntigua & BarbudaBelizeSt. Lucia , St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname were able to join together with the delegation heads of such “Lima Group” nations as Colombia,Costa Rica, Panama , Guatemala and Honduras to declare – at paragraph 22 of the Declaration of Managua—that they “reject the application of coercive unilateral measures that are contrary to international law, and that harm the peace and prosperity of the Greater Caribbean”.

Other quite remarkable affirmations contained in the Declaration of Managua are as follows:-

“Agrees to unite efforts to face global climate change with a view to positioning the countries of the Greater Caribbean at the forefront of international efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” (Para.8)

“Recognises the multifaceted and stratified threats that the Greater Caribbean faces…..to achieve sustainable development, and the imperative to strengthen coordination and cooperation within the ACS to deal with….. the unilateral listing of uncooperative fiscal jurisdictions and the practice by banks in developed countries to engage in risk reduction activities (de-risking) that result in the decline in relations with corresponding banks for the countries of the Greater Caribbean” (Para. 17)

“Reiterates our commitment and unconditional respect for the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter and the principles of International Law, to maintain international peace and security, the promotion of friendly relations between states, international cooperation in solving problems, the Sovereign Equality of states….., the peaceful resolution of disputes, the prohibition of the use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state and the non-interference in their domestic affairs, essential requirements for preserving the Greater Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and cooperation, in accordance with the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.” (Para. 21)

“Supports the 10-point Action Plan of the Reparations Commission of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and applauds this Commission’s efforts to correct injustices resulting from the genocide of the native people of the Caribbean and the Transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans and slavery, which are counted amongst the most atrocious crimes against humanity, and reaffirming, in turn, the urgent need to request efficient measures for reparation, compensation, indemnification or other in kind measures at a national, regional and international level.” (Para. 28)

The adoption in Managua of the “2019-2021 Plan of Action” also reconfirmed the tremendous foresight manifested way back in 1992 by Sir Shridath Ramphal and his fellow Commissioners of the “West Indian Commission”, when they proposed that CARICOM take the initiative to establish a  Caribbean Basin-wide “Association of Caribbean States” as a mechanism for a broader and more extensive “Greater Caribbean” circle of functional cooperation.

The ACS “2019-2021 Plan of Action” constitutes a blueprint for a range of valuable initiatives and projects in the spheres of Sustainable TourismRegional Trade and External Economic RelationsRegional Air and Maritime TransportationRegional Disaster Risk Reduction, matters pertaining to the Caribbean Sea, and initiatives in the fields of Culture, Education and Sports.

The triennial Plan of Action is extremely wide-ranging, and it will now be left up to the Executive Board of the ACS’ Ministerial Council, under the Chairmanship of Barbados, to confer with ACS Secretary General Dr. June Soomer, and other officers of the ACS Secretariat located in Trinidad & Tobago, to establish priority projects and implementation modalities.

The ACS will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on the 24th of July 2019, and, in his remarks to the assembled Heads of Government at the Summit, the incoming Chairman of the governing Ministerial Council, Dr. the Hon. Jerome Walcott of Barbados, urged all ACS Member States and Associated Member States to undertake celebrations of the “silver anniversary” that are thoughtfully designed to forcefully bring the existence and achievements of the ACS to the attention and consciousness of the masses of people throughout our region of the Greater Caribbean.

DAVID  COMISSIONG

Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States