Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addresses the UN General Assembly

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addresses the UN General Assembly Photo: Cubadebate

Madam President:

Mister Secretary-General:

It is impossible to be here, speak from this rostrum on behalf of Cuba, and not recall historic moments of the General Assembly which are also part of our dearest memories: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro and the “Chancellor of Dignity”, Raúl Roa, just to mention the most significant, have brought here not only the voice of our people but also the voice of other Latin American and Caribbean, African, Asian, non-aligned peoples, with whom we have shared more than half a century of struggles for a fair international order, which is still far off being attained.

It is absurd but consistent with the irrationality of a world in which the richest 0.7% of the population owns 46% of all the wealth, while the poorer 70% of the population can access only 2.7% of it; 3.460 billion people survive in poverty; 815 million go hungry; 758 million are illiterate and 844 million lack basic services of drinking water. All these figures, by the way, are prepared and regularly used by global organizations, but it seems that they have failed to raise sufficient awareness of the so-called international community.

These realities, Madam President, are not the result of socialism, like the President of the United States said yesterday here. They are the consequence of capitalism, especially imperialism and neoliberalism; of the selfishness and exclusion that is inherent to that system, and of an economic, political, social and cultural paradigm that privileges wealth accumulation in the hands of a few at the cost of the exploitation and dire poverty of the large majorities.

Capitalism consolidated colonialism. It gave birth to fascism, terrorism and apartheid and spread wars and conflicts; the breaches of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples; repression of workers, minorities, refugees and migrants. Capitalism is the opposite of solidarity and democratic participation. The production and consumption patterns that characterize it, promote plundering, militarism, threats to peace; they generate violations of human rights and are the greatest danger to the ecological balance of the planet and the survival of the human being.

No one should be deceived by anybody claiming that humanity lacks enough material, financial and technological resources to eradicate poverty, hunger, preventable diseases and other scourges. What is lacking is the political will of the industrialized countries, who have the moral duty, the historical responsibility and the abundant resources to solve the most pressing global problems.

The truth is that while it is claimed that there is a shortfall in funding to attain the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda or address the increasing impact of climate change, 1.74 trillion dollars were wasted in military expenditure in the year 2017, the highest figure since the end of the Cold War.

Climate change is another unavoidable reality and a matter of survival for the human species, particularly for Small Island Developing States. Some of its effects are already irreversible.

Scientific evidence indicates there is an increase of 1.1° C relative to pre-industrial levels, and that 9 out of 10 persons living in urban areas breathe polluted air.

However, the United States, one of the major polluters of yesteryear and today, refuses to accompany the international community in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It thus endangers the lives of future generations and the survival of all species, including humans.

In addition, and as if there were not enough threats to humanity and its dazzling creations, it is a fact that the military and nuclear hegemonism of imperialism is perpetuating itself and expanding to the detriment of the hopes of the majority of peoples for a general and complete disarmament. Cuba shares this ideal and, as testament of its commitment with this goal, on January 31, it became the fifth State to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

In this organization that was born out of the human desire to overcome the destruction left by a terrible war with the dialogue between nations, it is not possible to keep quiet about the danger looming over all of us, with the exacerbation of local conflicts, wars of aggression disguised as “humanitarian interventions”, the forceful overthrow of sovereign governments, the so-called “soft coups” and interference in other States’ internal affairs, recurrent forms of action by some powers, using the most diverse excuses.

The international cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights for all is a must. However, its discriminatory and selective manipulation with claims of domination, violates the rights to peace, self-determination and development of the peoples.

Cuba rejects the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, as well as the covert and illegal use of the information and communication technologies to attack other states.

The exercise of multilateralism and full respect for the principles and rules of International Law to advance towards a multipolar, democratic and equitable world, are required in order to ensure peaceful coexistence, preserve international peace and security and find lasting solutions for systemic problems.

Against that logic, the threat or use of force, unilateralism, pressures, retaliations and sanctions which increasingly characterize the behavior and rhetoric of the U.S. government and its abusive use of the veto power in the Security Council in order to impose their political agenda, pose huge challenges and threats within the United Nations itself.

Why don’t we just implement the promised strengthening of the General Assembly as the main organ of deliberation, decision and representation. The reform of the Security Council must not be delayed or prevented, as this organ is in need of adjusting to the times by democratizing its membership and working methods.

Today we have come to reiterate what Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz said on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the UN, which summarizes the most noble aspiration of the majority of humanity, and I quote: “We want a world without hegemonistic practices, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without violations of the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and the free self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not take into account the traditions and cultures of all components of humanity at all. Without cruel blockades that kill men, women, children, the young, and the elderly like silent atomic bombs”.

More than 20 years have elapsed since that demand was made and none of those ills have been cured; in fact, they have exacerbated. We have every right to ask why. And we have the duty to insist on effective and equitable solutions.

Madam President:

Our America is currently undergoing a stage of persistent threats, inconsistent with the “Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace”, signed in Havana by the Heads of States and Government on the occasion of the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in 2014.

The current U.S. administration has proclaimed the relevance of the Monroe Doctrine and, in a new deployment of its imperial policy in the region, is attacking Venezuela with special cruelty.

It is in this threatening context that we wish to reiterate our absolute support to the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution, the civic-military union of the Venezuelan people and its legitimate and democratic government, led by the constitutional President Nicolas Maduros Moros. We reject the intervention attempts and sanctions against Venezuela, aimed at suffocating her economically and hurting Venezuelan families.

We likewise reject the attempts at destabilizing the Nicaraguan government, a country of peace that has made remarkable social, economic and public safety progress in favor of its people.

We denounce the politically-motivated imprisonment of former president Luiz Incicio Lula da Silva, and the decision to prevent the people from voting and electing Brazil’s most popular leader to the Presidency.

We stand in solidarity with the Caribbean nations who demand legitimate reparation for the horrible effects of slavery as well as the fair, special and differential treatment that they deserve.

We reaffirm our historic commitment with the self-determination and independence of our brother people of Puerto Rico.

We support Argentina’s legitimate sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands, South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands.

We reiterate our unrestricted support to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the creation of two States, allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign State based upon the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject the unilateral action of the United States to establish their diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem, which heightens even more the tensions in the region. We condemn the barbarities of the Israeli forces against the civilian population in Gaza.

We reaffirm our steadfast solidarity with the Saharan people, and support the search for a final solution to the question of Western Sahara, which will allow the exercise of self-determination and to live in peace in their territory.

We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed in

Syria, without foreign interference and with full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reject any direct or indirect intervention, carried out without the legitimate authorities of the country.

The continued expansion of NATO towards Russian borders is causing serious threats, worsened by the imposition of arbitrary sanctions, which we reject.

We demand compliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear deal.

We welcome the process of rapprochement and dialogue among the Koreas. This is the way to achieve a lasting peace, reconciliation and stability in the Korean peninsula. At the same time, we strongly condemn the imposition of unilateral and unfair sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and foreign interference in Korean internal affairs.

The violations of the rules of international trade and the sanctions against China, the European Union and other countries will bring about harmful effects, particularly for developing States.

We favor dialogue and cooperation, thanks to which we can report today that the Cuba-EU Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation has provisionally entered into force and is a good foundation to develop beneficial ties between the Parties.

Madam President:

The government of the U.S. maintains an aggressive rhetoric towards Cuba and a policy aimed at subverting the political, economic, social, and cultural system in my country. Contrary to the interests of both peoples and giving in to the pressures of minority sectors, the new U.S. government has devoted itself to artificially fabricate under false pretexts, scenarios of tension and hostility that serve nobody’s interests.

This in contrast to the fact that we have formal diplomatic relations and mutually beneficial cooperation programs in a limited number of areas.

Our peoples share increasingly closer historic and cultural bonds, which are expressed in the arts, sports, science, the environment, among others. The potential for a fluent business relationship is well known and a genuine and respectful understanding would be in the interest of the entire region.

However, the essential and defining element of the bilateral relationship continues to be the blockade, which seeks to suffocate the Cuban economy in order to generate hardships and disrupt the constitutional order. It is a cruel policy, punishing Cuban families and the entire Nation.

It is the most comprehensive and long-standing system of economic sanctions ever implemented against any country. It has been and continues to be a major obstacle to the country’s development and to the realization of the aspirations to progress and well-being of several generations of Cubans.

As has been said for so many years in this same place, due to its aggressive extraterritorial implementation, the blockade seriously damages the sovereignty and interests of all countries.

On behalf of the Cuban people, I would like to thank this General Assembly for the virtually unanimous rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against my country.

Nevertheless, the actions of the U.S. government against my country go farther. They include public and covert programs of gross interference in Cuba’s internal affairs. To this end, tens of millions of dollars that are officially allocated in its budget are used, in violation of the standards and principles upon which this organization rests, and in particular, of Cuba’s sovereignty as an independent nation.

Cuba stands ready to develop respectful and civilized relations with the U.S. government on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. This is the will of the Cuban people and we know this is a shared aspiration by most U.S. citizens and, particularly, by Cubans living there.

We shall continue to tirelessly demand the end of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade, the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base and adequate compensation to our people for the thousands of dead and disabled and for the economic and property damages caused to Cuba over so many years of aggression.

Cuba will always be willing to engage in dialogue and cooperate on the basis of respect and an equal footing. We shall never make concessions affecting our sovereignty and national independence, we shall not negotiate our principles nor shall we accept conditionalities.

In spite of the blockade, the hostility and the actions carried out by the United States to impose a regime change in Cuba, the Cuban Revolution is right here, alive and strong, faithful to her principles!

Madam President:

The generational change in our government should not raise the hopes of the enemies of the Revolution. We are the continuity, not a rupture. Cuba has continued taking steps to improve its model of economic and social development in order to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable Nations. This is the path that our people has freely chosen.

The country will not go back to the opprobrious past that it shook off with the greatest sacrifices during 150 years of struggle for independence and full dignity. By the decision of the overwhelming majority of Cubans, we shall continue the work that started almost 60 years ago.

In this conviction, we began a constitutional reform process, a truly participatory and democratic exercise, through popular discussion of the draft which will eventually be approved in a referendum. I am certain that there will be no changes in our strategic objectives and that the irrevocable nature of socialism will be ratified.

The principles of foreign policy will remain unchanged. As the First Secretary of our Party, Raúl Castro Ruz, said in his statement on the occasion of the 70 anniversary of the United Nations, and I quote: “The international community will always be able to count on the Cuba’s sincere voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and for the establishment of a fairer and more equitable international order, truly focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being”.

The Cuba on behalf of which I speak today is the proud successor of that independent, sovereign, fraternal and solidarity policy with the poorest of this world, producers of all the wealth on the planet, although the unequal global order has sentenced them with dire poverty on behalf of words like democracy, freedom and human rights, words which the rich have actually emptied of meaning.

It has been exciting and pleasant to take the floor at the same rostrum from which Fidel expressed powerful truths 58 years ago that still continue to shake us, in front of representatives of more than 190 nations who, rejecting extortion and pressures, every year fill the voting screen of worthy green lights of approval for our demand for the end of the blockade.

I bid you farewell in the hope that the noble aspirations of most of Humanity will be achieved before younger generations take this rostrum to demand the same as we do today, and our historic predecessors did in yesteryear.

Thank you very much.

Libya in chaos seven years after NATO’s ‘liberation’, but who cares?

Source:  rt.com
September 7 2018

libya seven years after.jpgA historic building ruined during a conflict, Benghazi, Libya, February 28, 2018 © Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

Libya remains a lawless land, with rival militias fighting battles in the streets of Tripoli and over 1 million people in need of aid. But the West’s ‘liberal interventionists’ aren’t interested in the catastrophe they created.

Hundreds escape prison amid deadly clashes in Tripoli,” a headline on the BBC News website declared this week.

Over 60 people have died in the current fighting with many more injured and hundreds of ordinary citizens displaced. The latest disturbances began after the Tarhuna’s 7th Infantry ”Kaniat‘ Brigade made advances into the capital from the south and clashed with a coalition of Tripoli militias.

The situation in Libya is worse than in Syria

It’s really hard to keep up with who’s fighting who. If you think the situation in Syria is complicated, you haven’t been paying much attention to Libya. As the BBC article acknowledged: “Libya has faced continuing chaos since NATO-backed militia forces, some of them rivals, overthrew long-serving ruler Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011.”

Libya has rival governments but even they don’t control the majority of the country. There is no ‘rule of law’, only the rule of the gun. Libya’s regression from the country with the highest Human Development Index figure in the whole of Africa just ten years ago, to a fragmented and very dangerous failed state, is hard to take in. Last year, the UN Agency IOM reported that slave markets had returned to the country.

Economic and societal collapse

Economic and societal collapse has had a devastating impact on the life of ordinary Libyans.

Take health care. A 2017 Service Availability and Readiness Assessment survey, conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health, found that 17 out of 97 hospitals are closed and only four hospitals were functional between 75-80% of their capacity. Over 20% primary health care facilities are closed and the rest are not “well ready for service delivery“.

In May 2016, the WHO also expressed ‘great concern’ over the deaths of 12 new-borns in the Sabah Medical Centre neonatal intensive care unit in Sabha, southern Libya. It records: “The deaths occurred as a result of a bacterial infection and lack of specialized health staff to provide medical care.

Education

The education system is also in a state of collapse or near-collapse. In 2016, it was reported that the start of the school year was postponed because of a “lack of books, lack of security and many other factors.”

It was noted that the Libyan school year had not been regular since the fall of Gaddafi. This year, UNICEF said that 489 schools were affected by the conflict and that around 26,000 students had been forced to change schools due to closures.

1.1 m people in Libya are in need of humanitarian assistance

UNICEF also says that 378,000 children in Libya are in need of humanitarian assistance, 268,000 are in need of safe water, sanitation and hygiene and 300,000 are in need of education in emergency support. Overall 1.1m people in Libya are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Given the dire situation it is no surprise that so many Libyans have left, or are leaving. In 2014, it was reported that between 600,000 and 1m had fled to Tunisia.

If we add those who went to Egypt and elsewhere, the figure is likely to be in excess of 2 million, quite staggering when you consider that the 2011 population of Libya was around 6 million.

An invasion based on lies

As I argued in a previous op-ed, the Western assault on Libya was an even worse crime than the invasion of Iraq because it came later. There was really no excuse for anyone, seeing how the ‘regime change’ operation of 2003 had turned out, supporting a similar venture in North Africa.

Yet, those responsible for what happened have faced no comeback. The UK Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, is blamed for Brexit (by Remainers), but not for what he did to Libya and the claims he made to justify the military action. This is despite a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report concluding, five years later, that “the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President in 2011, faces a trial (or trials) in relation to three different investigations, including accepting money from Gaddafi to help his election campaign, but he has not yet been prosecuted for his role in the war.

Bernard-Henri Levy, the philosopher considered by some to be the intellectual godfather of the Western intervention – and who boasted “we are the first to say that Qaddafi is no longer the legal representative,” is performing a one-man anti-Brexit play, as the country he helped ‘liberate’ burns.

What Obama and Clinton did to Libya is far worse than anything Trump has done up to now.

Stateside and in ‘liberal’ circles across the West, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lionised for not being Donald Trump, but what the duo did to Libya is far worse than anything Trump has done up to now.

And the British Home Secretary under whose watch control orders on members of the anti-Gaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were lifted, one Theresa May, is now Prime Minister, and trying to take the moral high ground against Russia. To add insult to injury, it is a politician who opposed the NATO action in 2011, Jeremy Corbyn, who is under constant media attack and painted as beyond the pale. Just how wrong is that?

A great crime has been committed

Returning to the current violence, a UN-brokered ceasefire to end the fighting in south Tripoli is reported at time of writing to be holding, but bearing in mind how previous ceasefires have collapsed, we can’t be optimistic. Part of the problem is that the country is awash with arms. The sad truth is that Libya is broken and probably will never be put back together again. A great crime has been committed, but you would never think it, judging by the lack of media coverage.

We’ve had a lot of debate this summer in Britain about Israel’s ‘right to exist’- and whether challenging this makes one ‘anti-Semitic’ but the reality is that Libya – as a modern, functioning state – has ceased to exist. And no one in elite, establishment circles seems the least bit bothered. Consider how many column inches were devoted to ‘saving’ Libya in the build up to NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ intervention seven and a half years ago, with the lack of opinion pieces about the country today.

Try googling the names of some of the leading media war hawks and ‘Libya’ and you see they tend to go as silent after 2011 – shifting their attention to propagandising for ‘regime change’ in Syria. The only conclusion one can draw is their sole interest in the country was seeing Muammar Gaddafi toppled. After that was achieved, who cares?

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CNIDH Condemns Assassination Attempt on President Maduro

 

network in defense of humanity caribbean chapter.jpgINTERNATIONAL  NETWORK  IN  DEFENSE  OF  HUMANITY 

 (CARIBBEAN  CHAPTER)

PRESS  STATEMENT 

“We Denounce the Attempted Political Assassination and the Planned Military Overthrow of the Democratically Elected Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”

The Caribbean Chapter of the International Network in Defense of Humanity strongly condemns the assassination attempt on the duly elected President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, that took place on Saturday August 4th, 2018.

Whilst the global pro-imperialist news media has been more interested in reporting the attack as “amateurish”, we see the attack as only the most recent and most aggressively desperate manifestation of a long and persistent assault on the sovereignty of  Venezuela and of longstanding efforts to thwart the will of the Venezuelan people.

We view this attempt on the life of President Maduro as confirmation that the enemies of Venezuela’s socialism are now acknowledging their failure at overthrowing the Bolivarian government through electoral manipulation, mass protest, media propaganda ,and economic destabilization.  We therefore identify this shift to a new stage of political assassination and criminality as a sign of failure, but also a disturbing sign of dangerous desperation on the part of the anti-socialist right wing extremist forces both inside and outside Venezuela.

Our Chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity does not separate the assassination attempt on President Maduro from the several years of threats of military intervention, open support for and identification with acts of criminal aggression, and a sustained anti-Maduro campaign by the most powerful country in the Western Hemisphere and by the agents of capitalism. Indeed, we have noted that these acts of internal aggression against the Bolivarian government have not only taken the form of orchestrated violent mass demonstrations, but have also included a helicopter attack with the use of grenades and an assault on the parliament building of Venezuela.

We therefore use this sad occasion to call on the regional news media and on our Caribbean governments to exercise vigilance and to avoid allowing themselves to be used as pawns in an illicit campaign of military and economic aggression against a friendly sister nation.

Despite our awareness of the history of imperialist and right-wing aggression towards the socialist government of Venezuela, our Caribbean Chapter of the Network was nevertheless shocked that in their single-minded desire to reverse the socialist path of Venezuela, the fascist, oligarchical enemies of the Bolivarian Republic would attempt to use such extreme and barbaric violence that could have potentially taken the lives of scores of citizens, as well as the lives of the democratically elected leadership of the country.

We unequivocally condemn this open resort to terrorism, and call on our Caribbean governments to reiterate our region’s commitment to the furtherance of peace, the rule of law and democracy.

Finally, the Caribbean Chapter of the International  Network in Defense of Humanity expresses its satisfaction that President Maduro and the political  leadership of Venezuela were not hurt in the attack.  We also express our empathy with the patriots and soldiers who were injured during the attack and wish them a speedy recovery.  Our Network would also like to record that we are pleased with the words of magnanimity spoken by President Maduro following the attack and his words of advice to the opposition that “While I guarantee you can live in this country peacefully.  If something happens to me, you will have to face millions of campesinos and humble people making justice with their own hands…”. 

The Caribbean Chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity urges the Venezuelan Opposition forces to adhere to the principles of democratic dialogue, peace and mutual co-existence and to avoid the urgings of those from outside who are impelling them to resort to violence and criminality in the pursuit of their political objectives.

Caribbean Chapter
International Network In Defense of Humanity

Our Solidarity with President Maduro and the Bolivarian People 

Source:  International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
August 6 2018

venezuelan flag 2.jpg

In the face of the serious attack that gravely endangered the life of President Nicolás Maduro, we call on the people of the world to speak out with all their might to express their unconditional solidarity with the brave people of Venezuela, their legitimate government and their armed forces.

This attack can only be viewed as an escalation of hostilities from the Imperialists of the North against a sovereign Venezuela. They will stop at nothing until they grab the resources of the country away from the people and back into the neoliberal model that only caters to the very rich.

Two decades ago Commander Hugo Chavez formed a military civic union that restored dignity and prosperity to the people of Venezuela that President Maduro now defends with his life.

Be strong Maduro! We admire your strength and resistance against all the plans of the oligarchy and the empire.

They will not pass!

International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

 

Ecuador: The Imperialist Plot Against Rafael Correa

Source:  https://libya360.wordpress.com

Itzamna Ollantay

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, an Ecuadorean colossus, who stood up against the empire because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered.

imperialist plot against Rafael Correa

A court in Ecuador issued an international arrest order on one of the main human rights defenders of the Latin American and Ecuadorean people, ex-President Rafael Correa.

The former leader is being accused of illegal association and kidnapping in relation to the Fernando Balda case, an Ecuadorean ex-lawmaker who was allegedly held against his will in Colombia, in 2012. The accusations are based on the testimony of a former police officer (an effective collaborator) currently under investigation, who said: “I sent letters to President Correa.”

While this is happening, the most corrupt former neoliberal rulers, who handed over the resources of the Latin American people to foreign companies, are enjoying their permanent vacations in the U.S. For example, Bolivia’s Gonzalo Sanchez, Peru’s Alejandro Toledo… fraudulent president and/or corrupt such as the current ones in Guatemala or Honduras. As long as they have the blessing of the U.S., they’re untouchable. Brazil’s Temer, Argentina’s Macri, even with lawsuits against them, they’re still ruling in favor of the interests of the empire.

The bad taste play called “anti-corruption war,” promoted by the North American government and celebrated by the Latin American naivete, is no more than the continuation of the fake “anti-communist war.”

In the 1970s, defenders were tortured and physically annihilated. Now, through public and legal lynching, they destroy the honor and moral integrity of defenders. The objective is always the same: to subdue the defenders and turn them into monsters.

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, who as an Ecuadorean colossus stood up against the empire from the Carondelet Palace for a decade, because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered, not because of his physical impairment but due to his actual moral condition of traitor. The Roman Brutus, the traitor/murderer of his father Julius Caesar, killed himself after being defeated by guilt.

What unforgivable thing did Rafael Correa do?

According to reports from the World Bank, in 2000 more than 64 percent of Ecuadoreans were living in poverty conditions. Correa, in his decade of government (2007-2017) reduced poverty in Ecuador by 21 percent. That’s to say, more than 6 million Ecuadoreans stopped being poor during that period.

Rafael Correa completely restructured the country’s taxation system. The collected money was distributed to impoverished families through social policies. It was a great example of economic democratization in times of world recession.

The former president turned Ecuador into a world referent, not only in taxation justice and social equity, but also in the construction of an enviable modern road network never before seen in the country. Correa expanded the access to public services as fundamental human rights as never before in the country. The dealers of public services will never forgive him these or other audacities.

Regarding the migration issue, in 2007 Ecuador was what Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are now: outward migrating stampedes. With Correa, the Ecuadorean migrants returned to their country with organized return policies. Not only this, with the new Political Constitution of 2008 the Latin American citizenship was established in this ecologically megadiverse country.

Rafael Correa, along with a Pleiades of Latin American liberators of the 21st century, imposed the dignity and regional sovereignty of Latin America with the creation of Celac, ALBA, Unasur and other organizations. All that, without Washington’s approval. He took Ecuador away from the economical fetters of the TBI [temporary business interruption] and the World Bank.

As a Latin American David, Correa expelled the North American usurper army from the Ecuadorean territory (Manta). He humiliated, without actually looking for it, the arrogant North American geopolitics in the cases of Assange, Usaid, etc.

Correa, in 2007, found an Ecuador in an accelerated process of sociopolitical decay. But in 2017 he managed to place the Andean, Amazonian country in the world’s display cabinet as a model to look at.

At the end, our rights defender Rafael Correa was and is a living, contagious wall that stopped and will keep stopping the North American commercial and political expansionism in Latin America.

The North American imperial oligarchy and its regional accomplices, used to see their tattered vassals in the Latin American people, will never accept nor allow that Latin American liberators to end up in history as heroes or seedbeds of liberty, dignity and sovereignty. That’s why they’re lynching Lugo, Cristina, Lula, Dilma, Rafael, Maduro… But, millions of Latin Americans have awakened and we’re going towards our pending emancipatory dreams.

 

US Interventions in Latin America Continue and Intensify

Source:  The Real News Network
May 6 2018

Transcript

GREG WILPERT: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert coming to you from Quito, Ecuador.

Ten years ago, most of Latin America was governed by center-left progressive or even leftist governments. For example, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Lula da Silva in Brazil, just as an example. And Hugo Chavez, of course, in Venezuela. Since then, the so-called ‘pink tide’ has receded quite dramatically. Of these 10 governments that were left of center, only four remain. Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Vazquez in Uruguay, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. What happened? Some would argue that the U.S. played an important role in at least some of these changes.

Joining me to explore the role of the U.S. in Latin America is Mark Weisbrot. Mark is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and is the author of the book “Failed: What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy.” He’s also the president of the organization Just Foreign Policy. Thanks for being here again, Mark.

MARK WEISBROT: Thanks, Greg. Thanks for having me.

GREG WILPERT: So before we get into the role of the U.S. in Latin America, it’s useful maybe to take a quick look at the impact that the leftist or center-left governments had on Latin America. What would you say were the main achievements or the main consequences of their governments in some of those countries?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, if you look at the region as a whole, the poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28 percent. That was from around 2003-2013. And that was after the two decades prior where poverty had actually increased, there was no progress at all. So that was a huge change, and it was accomplished in different countries in different ways. You know, there were large increases in public investment in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Brazil you had also some increase in public investment , big increases in the minimum wage. You know, every country did different things to help bring healthcare, and increase, in some countries, education, access to education. And there were a whole lot of reforms. Changes in macroeconomic policy. Getting rid of the IMF.

So there were a lot of different things that these governments did that prior governments were either unable or unwilling to do to improve people’s living standards during a period of higher economic growth, which they also contributed to.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has Latin America changed now since then, when right-wing governments took over most of the continent?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you have different things that have changed. I mean, one is, of course, they’re implementing, as you would expect, right-wing reforms. Trying to cut pension system, the pension in Brazil, passing a constitutional amendment which, you know, even most economists in the world wouldn’t support in Brazil, which prohibits the government from increasing spending beyond the rate of inflation. You have, you know, huge increases in utility prices in Argentina, laying off thousands of public sector workers. So everywhere where the right has come back, you do have some regressive changes.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has the U.S. contributed to these changes, and what goals would you say is the U.S. pursuing in the area?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, I think the U.S. has contributed in so many ways it would take an hour at least to summarize just some of this history. But I think the U.S. has been involved in, in most of these countries in various ways. Obviously in Venezuela they’ve been involved since the coup in 2002, and they tried to overthrow the government and tried to help people topple the government on several occasions there. In Brazil they supported the coup against Dilma, the parliamentary coup. So they didn’t do that strongly, but they sent enough signals, for example, I’ve mentioned this before on this show, right as the House was voting to impeach Dilma without actually presenting a crime that she committed, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate came and met with the number three official from the U.S. State Department, Tom Shannon. And then of course in August of that year, the Secretary of State John Kerry went down there and had a press conference with the Acting Foreign Minister Jose Serra. And they, of course, talked about how great relations with the U.S. were going to be before Dilma was actually removed from office. So these were ways of endorsing the coup.

And of course, the Department of Justice contributed to , the FBI, the Department of Justice contributed to the investigation that was instrumental in imprisoning Lula. Now, what they did in that investigation we don’t know exactly, but we do know enough about it to know that it wasn’t a neutral investigation. That is, the investigation did end up decapitating the Workers’ Party for now, first helping get rid of Dilma, but more importantly, or more substantially, in terms of its contribution, they they helped put Lula in prison and prevent him from running for office.

And in other countries, in Paraguay, the U.S. helped in the consolidation of that parliamentary coup by organizing within the Organization of American States. In Honduras is probably the biggest role that the U.S. has played, both in consolidating the military coup in 2009, Hillary Clinton acknowledged her role in making sure that President Zelaya, the democratically elected president, would not return to office, and then more recently in November they helped consolidate the results of an election which pretty much all observers regarded as stolen.

Those are just a few of the examples. I mean, I guess I didn’t even mention Argentina, where other branches of government were involved as well as the executive, but the executive cut off lending from multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and tried to block loans at the World Bank, as well. And they restored everything as soon as the right-wing government was elected. And then there was Judge Griesa in New York, who took all of Argentina’s, over 90 percent of Argentina’s creditors, hostage in order to squeeze them so that the government would pay off the vulture funds. And this was very political, because he also lifted the injunction as soon as you had the right-wing government.

And I think this is very important, because obviously it’s not necessarily a conspiracy of all these branches of government. The legislative branch was involved in this as well, in the United States. But they all have the same mindset, and they’re all trying to get rid of these left governments, and they had a massive contribution. I mean, Argentina, that did contribute to the downfall of Cristina Kirchner. It contributed to balance of payments problems that they had there. So this was important, and it’s totally ignored here in the United States.

GREG WILPERT: And then why was it ignored in the United States? I mean, what is it about U.S. media coverage, and why is there so little coverage of U.S. role and Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you know, maybe you should interview some of the reporters who cover it, if they’re willing to answer that question. I think that it’s it’s complicated in some ways, but in some ways it’s very simple. First of all, for U.S. intervention anywhere in the world they have a kind of a smoking gun standard. So you know, we have in our criminal justice system the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. But this is a much higher standard. So nothing is really discussed in terms of U.S. intervention unless it’s really a smoking gun, where they’re caught red-handed in a way that nobody could deny. And that almost never happens.

So in Venezuela, for example, in 2002 when you had the coup, you had State Department and CIA documents which documented the involvement of the United States. They helped fund and train the people who did the coup, and they made statements following the coup that they knew were false in order to help the coup consolidate itself, and they failed in that case. But you know, in Haiti in 2004, which I hadn’t even mentioned, they took the president and put him on a rendition plane, and flew him out of the country. That was in broad daylight.

But in any case, they have a story that’s not at all believable, and the press kind of accepts that and never looks back. Whenever they mentioned, you know, Chavez complained about the coup, and it was a major obvious source of bad relations with Venezuela, but they always just reported it as an allegation of a figure that they of course were discrediting at every turn.

So that’s kind of how they report all of these. When they report the facts at all, they put it in the context that makes it look like there wasn’t any intent, or any real effect of U.S. policy in the region. But mostly it’s like reporting on Ukraine and never mentioning Russia, you know, it’s as if the United States doesn’t have any real influence in the Americas, and of course anybody knows they have an enormous influence.

GREG WILPERT: So what would you say are some of the implications for the foreseeable future of this U.S. policy towards Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, right now, of course, they’re still involved. And you have intervention in Mexico, for example. U.S. officials have already said how worried they are that AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the frontrunner in the upcoming election in July. And he’s probably going to win, but they’re already trying to undermine him, lobbying accusations of Russia involvement, which is the new trend. Of course, completely unsubstantiated. In Venezuela they’re doing something probably never done in the last 50 years, openly calling for a military coup, and actually a financial embargo they’ve put in place, and threatening even a worse embargo if they don’t get rid of the current government. So that’s, I think, a more aggressive form of intervention than you had even under the prior administrations.

And they’re pretty open about it. And again, most of the media seems to treat it as a non-issue. In fact, that’s actually a very important example, because there’s an election going to take place in a couple of weeks, and the media is pretending that it’s not really an election. But you have a credible opposition candidate who’s leading in the polls, and they’ve reached agreement with the government on a set of procedures which are similar to almost all the other elections they’ve had for hte last 20 years, and a set of guarantees, which of course, the candidate Falcon won’t recognize the election if they don’t follow them. So you have a real contested election, but the U.S. government has decided they don’t want that, and the hard-right opposition is in line with them, and so they’re all pretending there’s no election at all, because they’re committed to a strategy of violence, of regime change.

GREG WILPERT: OK. We’ll certainly continue to follow this, especially the U.S. role in Latin America. I was speaking to Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Thanks again, Mark, for joining us today.

MARK WEISBROT: Thank you, Gregory.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining the Real News Network.