The wrath of loving men

Source:  Granma
May 14 2018

by: Ortelio González Martínez | internet@granma.cuGermán Veloz Placencia | german@granma.cu

BAJANTE: Lázaro Martínez Pérez, a humble man from Ciego de Ávila, recounts, with confidence and modesty, the story of how 40 years ago he faced enemy planes unloading their fury on residents of a small Angolan enclave, an event the world knows as the Cassinga Massacre

Lázaro Martínez Pérez.jpgLázaro (right), with Pascual Corbea Jiménez, another of the Ciego de Ävila natives who shed blood in Cassinga.Photo: Ortelio González Martínez

As if to present all he has done in the struggle for life and ideas as only a skirmish, Lázaro Martínez Pérez, a humble man from Ciego de Ávila, recounts, with confidence and modesty, the story of how 40 years ago he faced enemy planes unloading their fury on residents of a small Angolan enclave, an event the world knows as the Cassinga Massacre, despite the fact that the corporate media, especially in the United states, ignore it.

“When I was about 13, I met Che, and from then on, I wanted to be like him, and I became a Guevaran with a cause. When I left (for Angola) I was already a Literature teacher and had read a good number of texts.

“I took six books to African lands: Con la adarga al brazo, by Che, and his Diario en Bolivia; and Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Also going with me were César Vallejo, José Martí, and a poetry book by Miguel Hernández.

“I had also read a great deal about the Great Patriotic War and WWII; Leon Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Armed with all this, I arrived in Africa, but nonetheless, I can say today that I went afraid of combat, and I am not ashamed; but when fear and dignity are counterpoised, dignity wins.”

With his 68th birthday coming in November, Lázaro tells the story without adding or neglecting anything, exactly as it happened that May 4, 1978, when the sun scorched the earth and they were in Tchamutete, some 16 kilometers from hell.

Attack on Namibian refugees by South Africa

The attack on the camp of Namibian refugees, in southern Angola, was well planned by South Africa. Participating in the operation, given the code name “Operation Reindeer,” were 527 paratroopers from the Bravo combat group, who were sent to destroy the Cassinga camp (codename: Moscow) and then escape aboard helicopters.

“The Cassinga Massacre was one of apartheid’s worst crimes. First, the aviation bombing; then the paratroopers who landed and murdered hundreds of defenseless residents, among them women, children, and elders,” recalled Lázaro, who as a young man had arrived in Angola of his own free will, in January of 1978.

Jesús and Sixto.jpgJesús (left) and Sixto  honor their fallen comrades with everyday loyalty. Photo: Germán Veloz Placencia

“Etched into my memory is the image of a little girl that didn’t weigh 60 pounds. Eusebio González picked her up. Her leg was wounded. Many years later I learned that she was Claudia, who was one of the children who came to study on the Isle of Youth and went on to become her country’s ambassador in Cuba. Who could have imagined!”

Clothed in dignity, a man is invincible, no matter the glory, life, death, or medals.

“With the first explosion, I didn’t wait for the order and I said to Eusebio: Negro, let’s go, they’re attacking us. From the emplacement, we opened fire, though later we were obliged to fire on the march, when the planes were within reach.

“We were heading to the settlement of Cassinga to defend the Namibian refugees. We advanced along the raised roadbed, and those flying devils were always on us, clear shots for bombs and rockets. It’s wasn’t long before the three artillery pieces in my platoon were separated from the group, and we were obliged to unhitch from the vehicles and set up.

“By about 3:00pm, the only “four mouths” (anti-aircraft artillery) that fired was mine, from one barrel. The only artillery-men left in the platoon were Eusebio González and me. Eusebio, the bravest man I have ever known, was mortally wounded and I think the same projectile, or maybe another one, threw me into the air. I tried to get up with a great deal of effort, and realized that both my legs were wounded. Practically without strength, I get back to the artillery and see a plane come straight ahead, I shoot and hit it. I’m almost certain I downed it.

Fallen comrades

“Everyone’s courage came to the fore. When you are far from your homeland, valor and dignity go within each person. It doesn’t matter if your hair stands on end during the battle, although the misfortune of losing a friend, a brother in struggle, may arrive. As I remember, there they killed our Eusebio, Antolín, Francisco Seguí, Ricardo González, Zamora, El Yoni, and Pedro Valdivia Paz, all from Ciego de Ävila. And a young man from the East, last name Barea.

“I would estimate that the South African aviation operated without interruption for about three hours or a bit longer, but I was fighting half the day. I was going to pieces, overwhelmed by inexplicable feelings… Just imagine, seeing your friends, your brothers, dead, seeing them fall before your eyes; seeing the civilian population, the children, women, old people, ripped apart by the machine gun fire, with handfuls of spikes in different parts of their bodies… Inside I felt something very strange: the hate of men who love, I say.”

A good dancer, a bad cook, in the kaleidoscope of his life, he’s been, at some point, a journalist, teacher, reader, principal at a rural secondary school, taxi driver, Party militant – plus the father of four boys, two of them with María Esther Alcorta Chau, the same woman who, after Cassinga, heard the mysterious knock at her door and the whisper that stills the soul: “We’re here to inform you that your husband, Lázaro, has died in Angola.”

Luck would have it that the nightmare was short. The next day, the same men came back, to say, according to María Esther, “That business yesterday was a mistake. Lázaro is alive, and being treated in a hospital, but he’s not doing well… He still has several wounds on his legs, although that hasn’t kept him from walking.”

Tribute to fallen comrades

Death, like the ebb and flow of daily life, creates brotherhood. So say Jesús Acosta Lanchazo and Sixto Salvador Ledea Velázquez. Both pay eternal tribute to their fallen comrades, who did everything humanly possible with their anti-aircraft artillery to aid a group of Namibian refugees sheltered at Cassinga.

“I’m 77 years old and my memory is beginning to fail me, but what happened that day is right here (inside) with almost all the details,” Jesús Acosta says, holding back the emotion. It’s enough to see the slight trembling of his hand as he removes his cap.

“The alarm was given when we heard the morning news. Within a short time we were on the march, because we were always completely ready for battle. Cassinga wasn’t far; we only had to circumvent a reservoir of water.

“The truck that was pulling the artillery piece, a 14.5mm or ‘cuatro-bocas,’ as people know them, went off-road to avoid the mines, and took the bank. A few minutes later, close to nine in the morning, it got stuck, and from that moment, well into the afternoon, we resisted the aviation attacks in a clearing with no protection at all.

“I operated the artillery sight block. Not being able to move made us an easy target for the planes. So we kept up constant fire, calculating the number of projectiles used and the heat of the barrels, although this (overheating) was inevitable and they began to stick.

“At one of those moments, I told Manuel Cruz, one of my companions, to go over to the place, not too far off, where the other artillery unit had stopped firing. When he came back, he said the cannons of that piece were bent; it had fired with more intensity than ours. The worst was hearing that the squad was dead.

“Around five in the afternoon, they sent a truck to pull us out. Back on the road, we met a plane that attacked us with missiles and bursts of projectiles. Along with the other artillery pieces we concentrated our fire on the plane, and saw it retreat trailing black smoke.”

But there was no time to celebrate the damage done. What would be the enemy’s last aerial incursion left another casualty: Alfredo Barea Franco, one of 47 compatriots from the municipality of Urbano Noris in Holguín, who participated in the operation. He was part of the command squadron, which had lost its truck early in the fighting. This didn’t prevent the group from continuing to fire on the AKM planes, supporting all the artillery squads they could reach.

Once the battle was over, Jesús joined the group of Cubans who entered the camp. The pain he felt for the deaths of his comrades turned to wrath and hate for the aggressors who had caused the deaths of more than 700 persons, among them children, women, and elders. Some bodies showed clear signs of shots at close range; others with bayonet wounds delivered by the paratroopers who arrived and were retrieved by air. They found bodies riddled with spikes from the cluster bombs.

Alfredo Barea Franco

The death of Alfredo Barea Franco made a strong impression on Sixto Salvador, a member of artillery squad number four, who said, “He was face down. When we picked him up and took off his helmet, we saw the impact of a missile fragment. We placed the body under a tree that we marked, because we had to move on. After the battle had ended, we returned for the cadaver. We wrapped him in my hammock and left him at the Tactical Group Medical Post, in Tchamutete. That’s the way things are in a war.

“Practically the entire time, my artillery piece was firing in motion, on the rapid, well-armed planes, like the Mirages. I always say that those pilots knew their trade; surely they had studied our combat tactics. The whole time, they tried to interrupt our zigzag movements, trying to estimate the moment we would change directions. It was on one of these turns that they destroyed the command squad truck.”

Sixto is satisfied with his 74 years of life and the retirement he is enjoying, after working a long time in the sugar industry. He had other experiences from the beginning of that hard day, until the end. Entering into action, he was the only loader of the artillery piece. When the alarm was given, his companion had to drive their truck, since the usual driver was in the hospital.

Overcoming fear

He says he doesn’t know exactly how he managed to react. But listening to him, there is no doubt that his knowledge – and the will to live with the honor of overcoming fear – prevailed.

“I am not ashamed to say that I trembled many times amid the explosions that lifted columns of dirt, uprooted trees and everything around us. I even thought I might never see my family again, but I overcame it, as did the other compañeros.

“Juan Pavón Matos, head of the artillery squad, was wounded when he was getting out of the truck. Dionisio Millán, who was the Number 1, that is the shooter, yelled out loud that he assumed command of the squad. So we kept firing on the planes that attacked almost always with their tails to the sun, to hamper our vision. My job was to follow their movement, indicate the direction of the attack and keep the piece supplied with enough projectiles.

“We knew that the cannons had to be changed every so often, after completing a certain number of shots, but the enemy fire was so intense, we couldn’t give them any relief, until we forced a retreat.” And that’s the way it was.

Jesús and Sixto talk about Cassinga only when they are asked. The rest of the time, they are everyday men. But just like many of their comrades in arms in the municipality of Urbano Noris, they are faithful to the tradition of getting together every May 4 in San Germán. In the company of Alfredo Barea Franco’s family, they visit the school and community center for elders that bear his name.

And they march to the Fallen Patriots Cemetery, where his remains rest.

On these occasions, there are no flowery words. Sometimes, they don’t talk at all. Silence reigns, to contain the emotions evoked by memories of their epic internationalist mission on African soil.

South Africa’s President Ramaphosa to Settle Land Issue ‘Once and for All’

Source:  TeleSUR
March 1 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa south africa.jpg

“This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved,” said newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he welcomes discussions about the issue of land expropriations to prevent widespread, public alarm. However, he reiterated that his government intends to, “once and for all,” settle racial disparities in property ownership.

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Taking a lesson from their northeastern neighbor, Zimbabwe, Ramaphosa has vowed to follow through with his own land reform program, expropriating land held by the descendants of European colonialists and transferring it to the majority Black populace.

“Soon enough I will initiate a dialogue with key stakeholders… There is no need for any one of us to panic and start beating war drums,” Ramaphosa said in parliament, according to Reuters. “We are going to address this and make sure that we come up with resolutions that resolve this once and for all. This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved in a way that will take South Africa forward.”

However, AfriForum, a civil rights group representing mostly white South Africans, stated that it would launch an international campaign to inform governments and foreign investors “that property rights in South Africa are being threatened.”

On Tuesday, South Africa‘s parliament passed a motion brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters, or EFF, to carry out land expropriation without compensation, a pillar of the ruling African National Congress’, or ANC, political platform.

The ANC has long promised to redress disparities in land ownership as the matter remains a pressing issue throughout the country.

Two decades after the end of apartheid and celebrations marking Nelson Mandela‘s release from prison, white estate proprietors continue to occupy the overwhelming majority of South Africa’s land.

Have St Lucia, Guyana and Jamaica become the “Three Blind Mice” of CARICOM?

INTERNATIONAL  NETWORK  IN  DEFENSE  OF  HUMANITY 
(CARIBBEAN  CHAPTER)

PRESS  RELEASE

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All over the world today, the United States Department of State and the US’s billionaire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (former CEO of the rapacious American multi-national oil corporation Exxon Mobil) are boasting about the coup that they pulled off in engineering the so-called “Lima Group of States” (inclusive of the CARICOM states of St Lucia and Guyana) into issuing an international Declaration that attacks and vilifies the socialist Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as well as the success of Tillerson’s recent diplomatic effort to enlist Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the government of Jamaica in the USA’s ongoing crusade against Venezuela.

These recent happenings are all part and parcel of a well coordinated strategy on the part of the Donald  Trump administration to cause maximum disruption and subversion in our sister Caribbean country of Venezuela in the lead up to Venezuela’s critical Presidential election of April 2018.

And so, one is forced to query why three of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states — Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Guyana — would remove themselves from our collective CARICOM umbrella, and instead associate themselves with this sinister “big power” campaign of subversion against a fellow developing country that is trying desperately hard to keep its precious natural resources out of the dirty hands of greedy North American multi-national corporations.

The US Department of State website is telling us that St. Lucia and Guyana are members of something called “The Lima Group of states” !

allen chastanet st lucia2.jpgThe questions therefore arise:- Do the citizens of St. Lucia and Guyana know anything at all about this “Lima Group of States” that their governments have joined? Was any of this discussed with the people of St. Lucia and Guyana by Prime Minister Alan Chastanet and President David Granger respectively?

Is it the case that St. Lucia, Guyana, and Jamaica (under theDavid-A.-Granger guyana.jpg relatively conservative, right-wing administrations that now govern those countries) have been transformed into myopic puppet states of Donald  Trump’s USA? Have these three once proud pillars of Caribbean nationhood become the “three blind mice” of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) ?

Andrew HolnessMessers Chastanet, Holness, and Granger are all relative newcomers to Caribbean political leadership, but surely they must be aware that one of the fundamental objectives of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as enshrined in Article 4 of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, is the coordination and the collective articulation of the foreign policy of our 15 CARICOM member states, and “the achievement of a greater measure of……..effectiveness of Member States in dealing with third States, groups of States, and entities of any description”.

It is therefore inexcusable that these three conservative right-wing political leaders have snubbed and disregarded our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and our forty year commitment to formulating and pursuing a collective foreign policy, for by so doing they have severely tarnished the international image of CARICOM, and have done serious damage to the morale, stability and effectiveness of our regional organization.

And what should be particularly distressing for the people of St. Lucia, Guyana, and Jamaica is these three neophyte heads of government are seemingly unaware that each of their nations possess outstanding records as architects and champions of the CARICOM determination to formulate and articulate a collective foreign policy, and to adopt a unified CARICOM position in our dealings with the “great” powers of this world.

Who can forget the historic and critical role played by Guyana’s Forbes Burnham in crafting the Treaty of Chaguaramas and its commitment to a collective foreign policy?

Likewise,who can forget Michael Manley’s collaboration with the said Forbes Burnham in insisting that CARICOM formulate and deploy a common foreign policy in relation to such critical issues as support for the anti-apartheid /anti-imperialist movements of Southern Africa; the Caribbean’s engagement in negotiations at Lome for a new relationship with the then European Economic Community; and advocacy for the establishment of a New International Economic Order?

And who could fail to acknowledge that it was in the island of St. Lucia in July of 1974 that the heads of Government of the newly established CARICOM first enunciated the principle that our nations would embark on such wider hemispheric matters as crafting relationships with the Central American Common Market, the Andean Common Market, and the nation of Mexico, NOT as individual states, but on a collective, region-wide CARICOM basis !

In light of the foregoing, all right-thinking citizens of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) should rebuke these three errant heads of Government and deprecate the folly that they have engaged themselves in.

Our Caribbean has a proud tradition of standing up and courageously speaking truth to power. It was — after all — four small Caribbean states that — in 1972 — defied the mighty United States of America and broke the diplomatic isolation of the nation of Cuba. We took a stance based on PRINCIPLE, and the rest of the hemisphere followed us.

That is the type of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that we must remain committed to being!

We must therefore NOT permit our unity as a regional community to be fractured, nor must we allow ourselves to be led down a path of unprincipled, self-seeking, and undignified behavior by any number of “blind mice”.

DAVID  COMISSIONG
Coordinator

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The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale: Why we owe our freedom to the Cubans

Source:  Daily Maverick

by Oscar Van Heerden

17 January 2018 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Cyril Ramaphosa south africa.jpgWhen the president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his inaugural address at the celebration of the ANC 106th birthday rally this past weekend said that we owe Cuba a great debt of gratitude for our freedom, and that we should increase our trade relations with the island’s people, he knows why.

The so-called official version of post-apartheid history many in our country and elsewhere would have us believe is that FW de Klerk woke up one day and decided, out of the goodness of his heart, that it was time for change. That the time had come to release political prisoners (including Nelson Mandela), to unban political organisations and to finally enter into negotiations with the liberation movements, to find lasting peace, and hence he received the Nobel Peace Prize for all his wonderful efforts. Well, you and I now know better.

When the president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his inaugural address at the celebration of the ANC 106th birthday rally this past weekend said that we owe Cuba a great debt of gratitude for our freedom, and that we should increase our trade relations with the island’s people, he knows why.

As the pressure mounted on the National Party government during the 1980s, the then leader of the party, PW Botha, had to consider a number of options in order to still give the impression that they were firmly in charge of the country and the government. The 1976 uprisings and the mass involvement of students and youth in the anti-apartheid struggle meant that most if not all townships were becoming ungovernable. It reached a crescendo in 1985 when the government had to again call for a state of emergency, giving the security forces widespread powers to try to suppress the uprisings all over the country.

Botha addressed the nation and had to give his support base (predominantly whites) assurances that they would not succumb to this current wave of protests, hence his “Crossing the Rubicon” speech. “Don’t push us too far” came the warning from Botha. The South African Defence Force (SADF) was put on high alert and the go-ahead was given to invade a number of countries along the northern border of the republic, in order to try to root out the ANC’s Umkhonto weSizwe, which had found refuge in sympathetic neighbouring countries.

The battle at Cuito Cuanavale remains etched in the minds of those liberation forces and SADF personnel who participated in that theatre of war. The SADF and its allies sent close on 30,000 troops to Angola, and unleashed all its fire power to try to quell the progressive forces. On the one hand you had the SADF and its allies – National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), Armed forces for the liberation of Angola (FALA) and the South West Africa Territorial Forces (SWATF), and on the other the National Liberation Movement of Angola (MPLA), People’s Armed Forces of Liberation of Angola (FAPLA), Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), People’s liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN/SWAPO) and the African National Congress Liberation Army (Umkhonto we Sizwe/MK). Both sides received auxiliary support from sympathetic governments all over the world. Approximately 70,000 military combatants engaged in this battle, which would either cement the dominant military power of the apartheid government or spell its demise. The stakes were that high.

The battle spanned from August 1987 till March 1988 and if it were not for the commitment of the Cuban people to send thousands of young men thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean to the front line in Angola, the progressive forces would have been decimated by the SADF. The campaign culminated in the largest battle on African soil since World War II. There remain many accounts of this battle, but of importance for us as South Africans is the fact that had it not been for this battle, we would not have seen the changes we experienced towards the late 1980s.

The superior air power of the Cuban forces coupled with the sophisticated machinery sent from Cuba and Russia ultimately tilted the balance of forces in favour of the liberation movements.

Many died on both sides of the trenches and the psychological after-effects are too ghastly to deliberate on. The SADF forces at some point “abandoned ship” as they were outgunned and outsmarted on the battlefield. Remnants of the battle can still be viewed today, if you visit that part of Angola, with SADF equipment still there – abandoned by their young white occupants. Many young white conscripts in the SADF at the time, now in their early 50s, found themselves there against their will. They did not ask to be part of this apartheid monster called the SADF and yet they were fighting a war, dying in that war. Of course there were others who thought they were doing it to preserve their way of life and to stem the “Rooigevaar” or the march of communism across the African continent.

Meanwhile, back at home the war also continued on the streets of every major city, town and village. Workplaces, universities, schools and churches were burning, following a clarion call from the exiled ANC to make the country ungovernable. “South Africa is pregnant and wants to give birth to democracy,” said the then president of the ANC, Oliver Reginald Tambo. Another state of emergency was instituted by the Nats and it just became all too much for Botha who suffered an enormous stroke and was incapacitated as the State President. In comes De Klerk, immediately after his inauguration and, following such a massive military defeat at the hands of the liberation movements, the winds of change were upon us all.

As the battle was won in Cuito Cuanavale, Fidel Castro famously remarked, “why stop here, why not continue towards Pretoria”.

This famous battle is credited with ushering in the first round of trilateral negotiations mediated by the US, which secured the withdrawal of Cuban troops and South African troops from Angola and laid the path to Freedom in Namibia in 1989/90. Furthermore, it is credited by many progressives as the turning point for South African politics and hence the now famous State of the Nation address by FW de Klerk at the opening of Parliament in February 1990. And so, when people generally talk of the South African Miracle towards the 1994 elections, remember the battle of Cuito Cuanavale but also the suffering, killings and fighting that came post that 1990 speech. Here I’m referring to the “black on black” violence strategy of the apartheid regime, self defence units and the continuous and deliberate strategy to divide us all as black South Africans, but more of this another time perhaps.

It took seven months, one week and two days to seal the fate of the apartheid National Party and its reign of terror not only on the majority of South Africans but also outside on our northern border neighbours.

We indeed owe our freedom to the Cuban people.

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Oscar Van Heerden

Pan African solidarity with the Cuban people

Source:  Pambazuka News

A Statement by the North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress on the passing of Comrade Fidel Castro Ruiz

PanAfrican Wire

The Pan African Congress – North America

His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

November 30, 2016

 

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The North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress would like to express its solidarity with the Cuban people at the moment when Comrade Fidel Castro joined the ancestors. For over 60 years Comrade Castro gave leadership to first a rebellion and then a revolution after which he was appointed as Prime Minister and later as President and Commander-in-Chief of Cuba, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Secretary General of the Non Aligned Movement. His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

Leadership 

Noted for many of the internal social policies which addressed the quality of life for Cuban people such as increasing the literacy rate to 98% and decreasing the infant mortality rate to 1.1%, Comrade Castro and the Communist party of Cuba gave leadership to the peoples of the Caribbean, Central and South America. Castro was an undying opponent of all forms of colonialism and provided moral and political support to the Puerto Rican Independence movement.

Unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles

Among the African descendants, Fidel will be remembered for his unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles.  Soon after the decisive victory of the revolution, in the early 1960s Comrade Castro and the revolutionary leadership introduced a call for a “Marshall Plan” type program for Latin America. To counter this, the John F. Kennedy administration launched the Alliance for Progress to stifle the progressive initiatives of Cuba to support the oppressed of the American hemisphere.

Fidel y malcolm 5.jpgIt was among African Americans in the USA where the solidarity was manifest in numerous ways. Castro encouraged African Americans to visit Cuba, as a non-discriminatory country, and provided refuge for Pan African revolutionaries such as Robert Williams. Up to today, Assata Shakur is being protected in Cuba by the Cuban state. His visit to Harlem in 1960, talks with Malcolm X and other African-American leaders reaffirmed the growing ties between the two communities.

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A decade later he was one of the first to support President Salvador Allende against the right-wing elements of the Chilean military. In many ways it was the solidarity of the African progressive forces that cautioned the USA against an open invasion after the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961. After that it was reported that there were over 600 attempts at the life of Comrade Castro by the US intelligence services.

Deep and abiding ties to Africa

Comrade Castro had deep and abiding ties to Africa, beginning with his connections to the African descendent community in Cuba. After visits in the 1970s to Guinea and Algeria, he led Cuba to become a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and encouraged revolutionary movements everywhere, including Vietnam and Palestine. Comrade Castro actively supported the liberation forces of Africa and sent military advisers to assist Angolan President Agostinho Neto in 1975. Cuba then strengthened its support of the revolutionary forces in Mozambique and Southern Africa. In 1977 Comrade Castro was able to tour Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola and in each country was warmly greeted as a true friend of African liberation.

fidel-y-neto-2During the period of the Reagan and Thatcher counter-revolution, the CIA and apartheid intensified their efforts to crush the freedom fighters in South Africa and Namibia. When the United States and South Africa increased their support for the forces of UNITA in Angola and the MNR in Mozambique, the Cuban government dispatched over 25,000 troops to Angola which led to a major victory at Cuito Cuanavale. Fidel Castro personally worked with the commanders on the ground, and his military clarity during the battles at Cuito Cuanavale led to the decisive victory. This was the battle that changed the history of Africa and ended white minority rule in Namibia and South Africa. Afterwards Castro rightly stated that, “The history of Africa will be divided into before and after Cuito Cuanavale.”

Support for Reparations

Comrade Castro supported the Global Reparations campaign and his support for the position of the Caribbean position at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001 shifted the position of most of the progressive forces in Latin America to support the reparative claims of African descendants in the Americas. Pan Africanists remember Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries for their strong support for the health programs in Africa at a moment when the IMF and the World Bank called on governments to cut health expenditures. It was this tradition which was manifest in 2014 when Cuba dispatched thousands of doctors to West Africa to assist Africans in containing the Ebola virus.

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The North American delegation of the Global Pan African movement salutes the bravery and focus of Comrade Fidel as we pledge to continue the fight against capitalism and racism.

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Hasta la Victoria Siempre!  Patria o Muerte!  Venceremos!

Celtic Soccer Fans Raise Over £30k to Pay Potential UEFA Fine

Source:  TeleSUR
August 22 2016

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Celtic FC fans display sea of Palestinian flags during a match against Israel’s Hapoel Beer Sheva. | Photo: Reuters

After 8 hours, £14,000 of the initial target of £15,000 was raised.

Celtic FC soccer fans have started a GoFundMe page to pay any potential UEFA fine against their team after their recent display of Palestinian flags at a game against a visiting Israeli team. They vowed to match the funds to donate to organizations in Occupied Palestine and so far have raised over £30 in 24 hours.

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On Aug. 17, Celtic fans made headlines when they flooded the stadium in Glasgow, Scotland with a sea of Palestinian flags despite the Union of European Football Associations’ ban on political displays at soccer matches.

The UEFA announced the opening of disciplinary proceedings against the team following the match on charges of “display of an illicit banner,” referring to the Palestinian flag. The federation has been criticized for its intentions to fine the fans from fans of other teams including from Hoops fans and supporters from other teams.

In response, Celtic fans launched the fundraising page and the hashtag  #matchthefineforpalestine, saying that the matching funds would go to Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Lajee Center, a Palestinian children’s center in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem.

Video:  Palestinian flags fly high during game

Israel’s apartheid wall

The page describes the camp, “Aida is one of 19 refugee camps in the West Bank … Its residents live in the shadow of Israel’s apartheid wall, cut off from social and economic opportunities by the wall and neighbouring illegal settlements and military checkpoints.

“There are no organised (soccer) teams in Aida, with basic equipment like boots in short supply. Funds raised will provide equipment, strips and travel costs to enable the camp to enter a team in the Bethlehem Youth League.

“In recognition of the show of support from Celtic fans and all those around the world Salah Ajarma, Coordinator of the Lajee Centre will name the team ‘Aida Celtic.’

RELATEDCeltic Fans Wave Palestine Flags During Match with Israeli Club

Response absolutely humbling

Initially aiming for £15,000, the page explained, “After around 7-8 hours we have hit just over £14k of our initial target of £15k. The response has been overwhelming and the generosity of the Celtic support and indeed others is absolutely humbling.”

On Tuesday, Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Celtic FC face off again in Israel in the Champions League first playoff round, with the first leg won by Celtic 5-2.

Israeli police have already threatened to arrest anyone caught displaying the Palestinian flag in the stadium.

in 2014, Celtic fans received a £15,000 from the UEFA for displaying Palestinian flags at a match.

CAAP: How Israeli Apartheid Negatively Affects the Caribbean

On Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for Palestine to be partitioned between Arabs and Jews.

On this, the 68th anniversary of this partition, the Caribbean against Apartheid in Palestine, CAAP, in Barbados, invites you to an evening of solidarity with the people of Palestine.

CAAP 2015 (1)

Solidarity with Palestine 8c

Jamaicans demonstrate in support of Palestine in front of the US Embassy, August 2014

palestine an d the un