Obama Declares Cuba and Venezuela National Security Threats

The executive order allows the president to use national emergency resources to fight the threat, such as enforcing sanctions against the country.

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In March, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years. | Photo: Reuters

Consistent with their new strategy of planning and working for regime change in Cuba through indirect and covert means,  the US government, through President Obama, has extended for another year economic sanctions against Cuba despite abstaining recently in the vote to end the blockade at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

A national emergency

The United States declared a national emergency to deal with perceived “threats” in Cuba and Venezuela on Friday, along with Iran, Libya, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and countries Washington claims “support terrorism.” The declarations effectively extend for another year economic sanctions already in place.

RELATEDObama Declares Venezuela a Threat to National Security

President Barack Obama warned that one of the main national security threats to the U.S. is mass undocumented immigration from Cuba, days after he ended the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy, which granted residency to Cubans who arrived in the U.S. without visas, reported Sputnik.

Obama used an executive order in March 2015 to declare that the situation in Venezuela has “not improved.” He cited human rights violations, persecution of political dissenters and restrictions on the freedom of the press.

When a national emergency was declared against Venezuela in 2015, Obama also ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, saying they would be banned from traveling to the United States and any and all assets and properties belonging to them would be frozen.

Under the National Emergencies Act sanctions must be renewed every year, however, the executive orders Obama signed Friday are not set to expire until two months into the Trump administration. The move appears to suggest that the Obama administration is concerned that the renewals could get overlooked in the expected chaos of Trump’s White House. If he chooses to, Trump could rescind the sanctions by executive order.

OPINIONThe Audacity of Obama’s Farewell Address

The extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran come despite the historic agreement reached last year between the two countries. The extension of sanctions against Russia, imposed in response to their actions in Ukraine and Crimea, come amidst recent hysteria about suspected interference in the U.S. election by the Putin regime. Some have speculated that Trump’s pick for foreign secretary, Rex Tillerson, may soon move to remove the sanctions given they block a multi-billion dollar project he negotiated with Russia while CEO of ExxonMobile.

The United States currently has 31 officially declared national emergencies.

Sources:  TeleSUR, Curacao Chronicle

March of the torches across all of Cuba

Source: Granma
January 16 2017

by María Elena Álvarez Ponce | internet@granma.cu

The people united will march the night of January 28, on the eve of the anniversary of José Martí’s birth, from San Antonio to Maisí, with Fidel as always

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Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

The night of January 28

Havana.–From San Antonio to Maisí, for Cuba and Martí, and as always with Fidel, the people united will march the night of January 28, in a tribute to José Martí, on the eve of the anniversary of his birth.

In 168 municipalities 

Confirming the news was Susely Morfa González, member of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee and the Council of State, first secretary of the Young Communists League (UJC). She reported to the press that marches will take place in 168 municipalities across the country, in which men, women, youth, children, workers, older adults, retirees, homemakers, veteran combatants, and students will fill the nation’s streets to honor the national hero.

The demonstrations of patriotism will begin in unison shortly after 10pm on the night of the 27th, in an unequivocal show of support for the Revolution by a people which is true to its roots, proud of its history, conscious of all that has been accomplished, and confident in the future being constructed, she said.

World Festival of Youth

Together we will raise torches, the flame of life and liberty, as Fidel and his generation did on the first such march held in 1953, Morfa explained, departing from the University of Havana’s Grand Staircase and culminating at the Fragua where the youthful José Martí was imprisoned.

The Young Communist League leader additionally noted that the march will take place after a meeting of the national committee making preparations for Cuba’s participation in the upcoming World Festival of Youth, set to take place this coming October in the Russian city of Sochi. (ACN)

Cuban university students committed to continuing Fidel’s legacy

Source:  Granma
December 21 2016

by: Julio Martínez Molina | informacion@granma.cu

Federation of University Students (FEU) hold national celebration of the organization’s 94th anniversary, reaffirming their commitment to Fidel.

cuban students feu.jpgPhoto: Glenda Boza

CIENFUEGOS.—There was no other word, figure, or set of ideas of greater emphasis than those of Fidel, during the national commemoration of the Federation of University Students’ 94th anniversary, held in Cienfuegos, yesterday December 20.

To uphold the banner of socialism

The firm decision of students in attendance to uphold the banner of socialism and the ideas of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution was reiterated in speeches, chants, and signs.

jennifer bello feu cuba 2.jpgThe reliable rearguard

FEU President and member of the Council of State, Jennifer Bello Martínez, commented, “This 94th anniversary has a special connotation as the first without the presence of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, and we decided to dedicate it to this eternal youth, of whose legacy we will be continuators. He always placed his confidence in university students, always debated any idea he had with university students, because he knew that this is where the reliable rearguard was, in revolutionary processes.”

She noted that Cienfuegos had earned the honor of being the site of the celebration with the pace of its efforts to implement plans made during the organization’s 8th Congress. The student leader concluded saying that 2017 would be a busy year for the FEU, as chapters mobilize members to contribute to all the tasks the country is undertaking

When Afghanistan Called Fidel and Cuba Answered

Source:  TeleSUR
November 27 2016

By: Fraidoon Amel

One of the lesser known facts of 20th-century world history is Cuba’s military help in Afghanistan during the critical years of the Saur Revolution of 1978.

afghanistan 1.jpgU.S. intervention in Afghanistan has stunted the growth of the country.

One of the most striking world historical beacons in the 20th century is revolutionary Cuba’s meaningful, spartan, and heroic internationalism. While Cuba’s internationalist solidarity still exists in many forms, its military component is what stands out.

RELATED:   As UN Probes US Afghan Attack Obama Requests More Money for War

Cuban internationalism

Cuban military aid in Ghana, Algeria, Guinea-Bissau, Congo and Bolivia under Che Guevara, Grenada, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Iraq, Syria during the October War of 1973, Western Sahara, Yemen, and South Africa — the latter Cuba helped liberate from apartheid — shaped the history of Africa and Latin America. It is an exceptional and unprecedented record for a small Caribbean island making it almost too surreal to be true.

Is it bewildering then, that Cuba proudly amassed the rage of the “Empire” in the form of the decades-long genocidal blockade?

However, one of the lesser known facts of 20th-century world history is Cuba’s military help in Afghanistan during the critical years of the Saur Revolution of 1978. Cuba was among a small number of countries who voted against a resolution by the Non-Aligned Movement at the United Nations General Assembly which condemned the Soviet union’s intervention in Afghanistan in 1979.

Fighting against Western imperialism on the Afghan front

Cuba was engaged in the fight against Western imperialism on the Afghan front from 1980 to 1986. These years were decisive for the Afghan Revolution. It was during this time span that the Afghan army inflicted decisive blows against imperialism’s foot soldiers — Afghans and some 50,000 non-Afghans.

The successes achieved at this time were largely due to the presence in Afghanistan of over 5,000 Cuban military personnel who shared their expertise in guerrilla warfare with the Afghan and Soviet armies that were built for conventional warfare. The Cubans also served in combat roles. It is incredibly ironic that years later some of the United States’ “freedom fighters” whom the Cubans fought in the 1980s would be imprisoned as terrorists on south eastern Cuban territory — Guantanamo Bay — occupied by the U.S.

Cuba helped to defeat the counter revolution in Afghanistan

The Cuban help turned the tide of war in Afghanistan. For all strategic purposes, the counter-revolution was defeated. The revolutionary government was able to consolidate power. The revolution became sustainable from a strategic point of view. It had gained the momentum and the upper hand. Western propaganda perniciously labeled the situation a “strategic stalemate.” The West, suffering a humiliating defeat on the battlefield, was now desperately looking to other options to sustain its ultimate agenda — regime change in Afghanistan.

The West resorted to complementing its war efforts with pursuing war by other means. Using the United Nations, the so-called Geneva Talks which had been initiated by Afghanistan in 1984 from a position of strength, was now used to serve the imperialist agenda. It culminated in the Geneva Accords of April 14, 1988, and were meant to facilitate an “honorable” exit for the Soviets.

UN’s plan for the surrendering of Afghanistan to imperialism

Immediately afterward the U.N. launched its so-called Five-Point Peace Plan which was a plan for the surrendering of Afghanistan to imperialism. The latter, in the meantime, never gave up on the military option to effect regime change in Afghanistan, break up state institutions, and destroy the all-powerful Afghan army. It was, of course, the military option that finally materialized.

IN DEPTH:   Fidel: A Revolutionary Life

Gorbachev’s historic mistake

One significant strategic shift occurred to the West’s advantage. By 1985, Gorbachev came to power and initiated what would become the end of the Soviet Union and its revolutionary legacy, which would also ultimately decide the fate of the ill-fated Saur Revolution. Gorbachev decided to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan to the dismay of his Afghan and Cuban counterparts and against the advice of his generals who believed they needed one more year to completely eliminate the counterrevolution.

Fidel Castro and Afghan President Babrak Karmal, who was forced by the Soviets in 1986 to relinquish power, firmly opposed Gorbachev’s policies. The Soviets chose to leave. Afghanistan which had sacrificed so much in blood to defend itself — and the Soviet Union — against imperialism’s encroaching on Soviet borders was left to fight a hugely asymmetric war on its own.

It was bound to break up into pieces. The U.S. “freedom fighters” did not stop in Afghanistan. The Soviets were made to pay for their historic mistake — and the Russians to this day — in the form of the wars in Tajikistan, the North Caucasus republics of Chechenya, Dagestan, etc.

Afghanistan never ceased bleeding under imperialist experiments

And Afghanistan? Well, it never ceased bleeding under imperialist experiments.

Western imperialism which was engaged in a dangerous geopolitical competition with the Soviet Union for control of Afghanistan, which it saw as geostrategically, finally succeeded in establishing its outposts in the country — military bases included. It officially took charge of the country in 2001 and has since been preparing to project power over Iran, China, and gradually but firmly pushing its way towards Central Asia with Russia being the main target. That geopolitical competition never ceased to exist.

Recent developments in the strategically-located Kunduz province to the north of Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan is an ironic reminder that Russia might be forced to enter into the Afghan war theater, now more complex, to fight a war it left unfinished. But this time, it probably needs a million soldiers as Karmal had warned Gorbachev in the spring of 1985. And without Cuba and Fidel.

Fraidoon Amel is an Afghan writer and activist.

Cuba Delivers Vaccines Against Meningitis to Syrian People

Source:  TeleSUR
December 18 2016

Aleppo Syria.jpg

A man sits amid debris near Umayyad mosque, in the government-controlled area of Aleppo. | Photo: Reuters

The cooperation between the two countries has a 51-year history.

Syrian authorities announced Sunday the arrival of 293,650 doses of Cuban vaccines against meningitis, for an estimated value of US$930,000, as the Syrian people are affected by a Western trade blockade.

RELATED:  Anti-Govt Forces Blamed for Burning Civilian Buses near Aleppo

The delivery was part of an agreement signed by Syria and Cuba, which includes bank settlements for Syria’s recent debts and the importation of a variety of Cuban medicines, according to the Public Establishment of Foreign Trade in Syria.< /p>

Cuban vaccines

In 2016, the Cuban government sent vaccines meant to fight diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hepatitis B and influenza.

The Syrian government also imported vaccines against five communicable diseases affecting children from other sources.

The war-torn country has suffered six years of conflict, which may be coming to an end after the Syrian army liberated Aleppo from anti-government forces.

Raúl bids farewell to President Maduro

Source:  Granma

December 16 2016

On the afternoon of December 15, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, bid farewell to Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at Havana’s José Martí International Airport

by: Granma | internet@granma.cu

raul bids maduro farewell.jpg

Photo: Estudio Revolución

On the afternoon of December 15, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, bid farewell to Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.

Also returning to Venezuela with Maduro were First Combatant Cilia Flores; Ricardo Menéndez, vice president of the Councils of Ministers for Planning and Knowledge, and Minister of Planning; Eríka Farías, vice president and minister for Social Participation; Admiral Carmen Meléndez, minister of Defense; Eulogio del Pino, minister for Oil; and Wilmar Castro Sotelo, minister of Agriculture, who also participated in the solidarity event supporting the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held at the Havana International Convention Center, to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the creation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) and 22 years since the first encounter between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.

Twitter Storm for Cuba!

International Committee
for Peace,Justice and Dignity

From New York Cuba Solidarity Project
On December 17, Twitter Storm for Cuba

The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity supports the campaign launched by New York Cuba Solidarity Project

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On December 17th, 2014, President Obama made history when he announced that the U.S. government would begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. In his address, he referred to the U.S. government’s policy towards Cuba has been, “archaic and a failure.” Since this address, the Obama administration has made some changes to U.S./Cuba policy.

During Trump’s election campaign, he publicly pledged to reverse the Executive Orders easing ongoing U.S. anti-Cuba sanctions, implemented by President Obama. Since his election, Trump has continued to push an anti-normalization rhetoric and has threaten to cease any ongoing talks.

We want to send Trump a clear message

We need to send Trump a clear message that we won’t let that happen!

On Saturday, December 17th, the second anniversary of Obama’s historic address, Tweet President Elect Donald Trump and let him know you support an end to the U.S. blockade against Cuba! We must let Trump know that he won’t go against the will of the people!

Tweet Trump the following message: @realDonaldTrump I support lifting the blockade against Cuba! #cubasibloqueono #cuba #USCuba

This campaign has been endorsed by: The International Action Center, Sally O’Brien-Cuba en Focus- WBAI Radio99.5fm, Sam Anderson-Black Left Unity, Freedom Socialist Party, Radical Women, National Network on Cuba, International Committee for Peace, Justice, and Dignity, Arnold August-Author/Long Time Cuba Solidarity Activist, Ann Lamb-NYC Coordinator of The Jericho Movement.