Cuba Expresses Solidarity with Nicolas Maduro and Lula da Silva.

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The Cuban president has condemned the attempts to destabilize Venezuela.

Source:   Cuba Inside the World
July 15 2017

President Raul Castro has repeated Cuba’s support for the Venezuelan government as it faces “an unconventional war” led by “imperialism” and the country’s “oligarchy” in a bid to topple President Nicolas Maduro with a coup.

RELATED: Ecuador Ratifies Respect for Venezuela’s Sovereignty

During a speech marking the end of the Cuban Congress’s extraordinary session, Castro condemned the opposition violence initiated in April on the streets of Caracas and other cities as “fascists actions.”

He mentioned the videos showing several young Venezuelans being burnt alive during anti-Maduro protests.

He urged the opposition to stop the “terrorist violence” designed “to oust” the president, and called for Maduro’s opponents to accept the Bolivarian government’s offer of dialogue.

Stop attacking Venezuela

Castro also asked the Organization of American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro to “stop attacking Venezuela” and “manipulating reality.”

“Venezuela’s legitimate right to find a peaceful solution to its domestic affairs should be respected with no foreign interference,” he said, adding that only the sovereign Venezuelan people are entitled to use the right to self-determination.

Cuba’s President also condemned the “political persecution” of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, recently condemned to a 9-year prison sentence over bribeery and money-laundering charges.

Lula denies any wrongdoing.

Brazil: Lula explains why the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff is a coup

 

GREENWALD: On several occasions, you have used the word “coup” to describe this impeachment process against President Dilma. The Brazilian Constitution explicitly allows for the possibility of impeachment. And this process is being conducted under the authority of the Supreme Court, with 11 members: eight appointed by PT, three by yourself and another five by President Dilma. And this court has ruled several important decisions in your favor. How could this process be called a coup?

DA SILVA: It has also ruled against us many times. Let me tell you …

GREENWALD: Every court does that. But how can it be a coup when it is happening under the authority of a court?

DA SILVA: I’ll tell you why it is a coup. It is a coup because while the Brazilian Constitution allows for an impeachment, it is necessary for the person to have committed what we call high crimes and misdemeanors. And President Dilma did not commit a high crime or a misdemeanor. Therefore, what is happening is an attempt by some to take power by disrespecting the popular vote.

Anyone has the right to want to become president, anyone. They just have to run. I lost three elections — three! I didn’t take any shortcuts. I waited 12 years to become president. Anyone who wants to become president, instead of trying to take down the president, can run in an election. I ran three of them and didn’t get angry.

That’s why I think the impeachment is illegal. There is no high crime or misdemeanor. As a matter of fact, I believe that these people want to remove Dilma from office by disrespecting the law. Carrying out, the way I see it, a political coup. That’s what it is: a political coup.

GREENWALD: They can’t win the election. I want to ask: The PT requested the impeachment of the three presidents that came before you. Do you believe that those three presidents were involved in high crimes and misdemeanors that justified an impeachment?

DA SILVA: No. PT requested the impeachment of Collor and it went through because he had committed high crimes and misdemeanors. With Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Chamber of Deputies didn’t accept the request. So it died then and there. Maybe because there weren’t high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, this impeachment request could’ve been denied too.

Why was it requested? Why did they open the process and send it to the commission? Because the president of the chamber was angered that PT didn’t vote with him in the Ethics Committee and he decided to get back at PT by trying to manufacture the impeachment of President Dilma, which I see as a gigantic abuse in this political scenario.

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Meeting for presidential elections in São Bernardo do Campo circa 1989.  Photo: Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

GREENWALD: I want to ask about Eduardo Cunha, the president of the Chamber of Deputies. The evidence of him being involved in corruption is overwhelming. They discovered his Swiss bank accounts with millions of dollars he can’t explain. He clearly lied to Congress when he denied having offshore bank accounts. How can one explain to foreigners — and to Brazilians — how such a corrupt politician can not only remain a leader of the National Congress, but also spearhead the impeachment process against the president?

DA SILVA: What’s even graver is how the press treats him with normalcy, and doesn’t treat Dilma that way. In truth, Dilma is being judged by people who have been accused of crimes. And she hasn’t got a single accusation against her. The accusation against her is one of budgetary impropriety. And this accusation isn’t a crime and her budget hasn’t even been reviewed by the National Congress.

GREENWALD: Explain that to me, because I think there are many foreigners who can’t understand it.

DA SILVA: There is no explanation apart from some people in this country being insane. The National Congress could show some self-respect by taking into account that they are in no political condition to carry Dilma’s trial as they have. Eduardo Cunha doesn’t have the respectability, not from Congress, nor from society, to spearhead this. But it is going on, sometimes even under protection by some sectors of the national media, which I believe is very serious.

What worries me most in all of this is that Brazil has only 31 years of democracy. It has been our longest period of uninterrupted democracy. And what we are doing right now is trying to play with democracy. And we shouldn’t play with democracy, because every time we play with democracy, every time we deny politics, what comes after is worse.

Brazil: Past president Lula da Silva speaks out on the corporate media’s attempt to criminalize the ruling party

With English introduction and subtitles

Source: The Intercept
Date:  April 11 2016

This transcript has been edited for content and clarity.

GLENN GREENWALD: Good morning, Mr. President. Thank you for the interview.

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: Good morning.

GREENWALD: Let’s begin with the Operation Car Wash investigation. In 2008, Wall Street’s fraud and corruption created a terrible financial crisis. It generated extreme economic suffering for many countries, including Brazil, which continues through to today.

Most incredibly, not a single big businessman went to jail or suffered legal consequences for these crimes. It created the perception that the wealthy and powerful are above the law. Only the poor and disenfranchised are punished for their crimes.

Yet here in Brazil, with Operation Car Wash, we’re seeing the opposite: the country’s wealthy and powerful going to jail. Billionaires, magnates, members of almost every political party.

I know you have many objections about the ongoing process. I have also reported on how [chief Car Wash] Judge Sérgio Moro’s behavior has become political.

But do you agree that there is a positive aspect to this moment? That it is sending a powerful message, saying that all — no matter their power, connections, or wealth — are subject to that law?

DA SILVA: First, our party, the PT [Workers’ Party], the government and I have no reason to be upset about the investigation process because the government carries a lot of responsibility for what is happening. It was during PT’s government that we created all the conditions for our institutions to work correctly.

Our government consolidated the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s autonomy by always nominating a prosecutor that was chosen by his peers. We were the ones who made the Federal Police a functioning institution. We invested in hiring new professionals, intelligence and on the Federal Police’s autonomy.

We were the ones who created the government transparency websites. We created a law that allows any journalist to have all the information they want about the government at any time.

We were the ones who strengthened the Public Property Controllership, which is in charge of investigating every ministry and sending their findings to the National Accounts Tribunal. And we were the ones who developed — along with the Accounts Tribunal — a process that gave them agility in this oversight.

So, first of all, the government has responsibility for everything that is happening.

Second, I believe it is important that for the first time, the wealthy are being arrested. In Brazil, we arrested the poor for stealing bread, but not the rich for stealing a billion. We arrested the poor for stealing medication, but not someone rich for tax evasion.

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A demonstrator hold a Brazilian flag with a sticker that reads in Portuguese “Down with the  coup, impeachment no” during a protest in support of President Rousseff and former President Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 31, 2016.  Photo:  Andre Penner/AP

Photo: Laura Colucci/Fireworx Media

GREENWALD: Is that the positive side of things?

DA SILVA: Yes, that’s the positive side — a positive that I believe is very important and that allows us to dream that this will be a serious country someday.

What do I think is negative? That’s something I ask myself every single day this investigation goes on. For this investigation to go on, is it really necessary to make “reality TV” out of it, to put up a fireworks display every single day? And never account for the fact that with a headline or a TV segment you could be condemning someone who will later turn out to be innocent?

Is it possible to conduct the same investigation, arrest the same people without the pyrotechnics? I believe it is.

Is it possible to analyze how much this operation is costing, how much it will return to our public accounts and how much it is costing the country? How much this operation is costing our GDP, unemployment rates, what investments fled the country.

GREENWALD: But do you believe this process is about destroying PT? Because 60 percent of the accused politicians belong to PP, a right-wing party, not PT.

DA SILVA: I will go into this matter about PT because I hope there will be a specific question coming. First of all, when you create a law, establish conditions for institutions to work properly, there is no protection — the only protection one has is following the law. It is doing things right, not making mistakes. And if PT makes mistakes, PT has to pay for it like any other political party or any other person that doesn’t belong to a party, because after all, the law applies to everyone. That’s the way to consolidate democracy in Brazil and anywhere else on Earth.

Secondly, what I find odd with plea bargaining — and I denounced that in December of 2014, it is not something new — what I find odd is how information is selectively leaked. And it is usually against the PT. When there is an accusation against another political party, the press puts it out in small print. It is on TV for five seconds. When it is something against PT, you’ll have 20 minutes on television, the front page of every newspaper, making it crystal clear that for the past two years there’s been an attempt to criminalize the PT.

Cuba expresses solidarity with Brazil

Source:  Granma
April 1 2016

by Laura Bécquer Paseiro | laura@granma.cu

Cuba reaffirmed its solidarity with the people and social movements of Brazil, given the political crisis the country is currently facing

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An event in support of Brazil was held at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). Photo: Juvenal Balán

Cuba reaffirmed its solidarity with the people and social movements of Brazil, given the political crisis the South American nation is currently facing, which aims to destabilize the government of current President Dilma Rousseff.

fernando free 5Unconditional support for President Rousseff

On Thursday, March 31, an event in support of Brazil was held at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). “This act stems from the need to express our unconditional support to the government of Rousseff, facing a process of impeachment set in motion by the opposition, the oligarchy and big media conglomerates,” the Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Fernando González Llort, stated.

The vice president of ICAP added that the onslaught also seeks to discredit the popular former leader of the Brazilian Workers’ Party, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

New techniques being used to oust democratically elected leaders in Latin America

New techniques are being used which attempt to cut short the social progress initiated in the country during the administrations of Lula and Rousseff, 52 years after the coup that overthrew President João Goulart, González noted.

In this regard, the executive secretary of the Continental Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Students (OCLAE), representing the National Union of Students of Brazil, Rafael Bogoni, explained that this is not the first time that democracy has been threatened in his country.

The student leader made reference to the social achievements made in Brazil in recent years and expressed the intention of the Brazilian people to continue to take to the streets to demand an end to these attacks.  Bogoni also expressed thanks for the messages of solidarity received from various parts of the world.

Same script used in the days of the infamous Operation Condor

Meanwhile, the President of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity for the Peoples, Graciela Ramírez, stressed that the current destabilization attempts in Brazil seek to apply the same script that was used in the Southern Cone countries in the days of the infamous Operation Condor.

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Committed the “crime” of lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty

The goal is to delegitimize our governments and therefore we have to defend each of our conquests by mobilizing in the streets, Ramírez stated.

At another point she noted that the only “crime” committed by former president Lula was to have lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty.

 

Thousands of Brazilians March to Defend Dilma and Democracy

Source:  TeleSUR
March 31 2016

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Protests in Porto Algere against the procedure to impeach President Rousseff.  Photo @mandatofontana

The protests against the procedure to impeach President Dilma Rousseff’s coincided with the annual march commemorating the anniversary of the 1964 coup.

Social movements, trade unions and student groups

Social movements, trade unions and student groups mobilized en mass across the country Thursday, to defend democracy and condemn the right-wing coup attempt against the president, who is currently facing threats of impeachment.

lula 1.jpgProtests took place in at least 56 cities of the country, including in Brasilia where former President Lula da Silva led over 100,000 people according to the organizers’ estimate.

The protests coincided with the national annual march commemorating the anniversary of the 1964 coup, which overthrew President Joao Goulart from the progressive Labor Party.

International solidarity

Mobilizations also took place across the world, including in Paris (France), Munich (Germany), Coimbra (Portugal) and Barcelona (Spain).

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Berlin. @joaopaulo_pt

Coup plotters 

“We will not recognize an eventual interim government led by Michel Temer,” said President of Sao Paulo’s main trade union CUT, Douglas Izzo, commenting the mobilization. A “Temer exit” would be the result of an underhanded trick on the part of coup plotters.”

 

He added that a coalition government including the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party and the Democrats would be the “worst of the world” for the workers. It would have devastating effects on labor rights and social programs, he warned.

Cuba: Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces attacks on Brazilian leaders

The outrageous manipulation of the Petrobras corruption case is aimed at discrediting and criminalizing Lula da Silva, an emblematic leader of Our America,  defaming one of the region’s most combative political organizations, overthrowing the legitimate government led by President Dilma Rousseff and putting and end to progressive processes across the region

Source:  Granma
March 7, 2016

by: MINREX | internet@granma.cu

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects the attack against the Constitution and democracy in Brazil, which has turned former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, historic leader of the Worker’s Party of Brazil, and the government led by President Dilma Rousseff, into targets of legal and parliamentary attacks, which are unjustifiable and disproportionate.

The outrageous manipulation of the Petrobras corruption case is aimed at discrediting and criminalizing Lula da Silva, an emblematic leader of Our America, defaming one of the region’s most combative political organizations, overthrowing the legitimate government led by President Dilma Rousseff and putting and end to progressive processes across the region.

The coercive detention of Lula and attempted parliamentary coup against Dilma have been widely condemned throughout the country

The coercive detention of Lula and attempted parliamentary coup against Dilma have been widely condemned throughout the country, from the government and its allies, to mass organizations, trade unions and social movements, which have taken to the streets in protest across various cities throughout Brazil. Meanwhile, the condemnation of these acts increases across numerous Latin American countries.

Imposing force where they have been unable to win in elections

With these underhand tactics, sectors of the police, legislative and judicial systems in certain states in our region, in close alliance with transnational media groups, oligarchs and imperialists, are attempting to impose by force what they have been unable to win in elections.

Compañeros Lula and Dilma Rousseff have shown admirable courage and determination in the face of these attacks. The government of the Republic of Cuba has no doubt that the truth will come out and the hardworking people of Brazil will close ranks in their defense, as well as to safeguard the political and social advances achieved by the Worker’s Party governments.

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Brazil: The attempt to silence and demonize Dilma and Lula

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff embody those who, for four presidential terms, have ruled in the interests of the poorest.  For this, they have earned the wrath of the big bourgeoisie who no longer have control of the Brazilian government.

Source:  Granma
March 16, 2016 13:03:01

by Omar Olazábal Rodríguez

Attempts to destroy the public image of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

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The Brazilian oligarchy attempts at any cost to destroy the public image of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to prevent his possible return to the presidency of the South American nation. Photo: http://portalcostanorte.meionorte.com

The right to be born

Every time I hear or read about Brazil, I instinctively recall a visit I made to the country in 1997. As luck would have it, while in São Paulo I toured the set where one of the three Brazilian versions of the soap opera El Derecho de Nacer (The right to be born) was recorded. Its director, Roberto Talma (who sadly died in 2015), was a cheerful, easy-going and well-built Brazilian who spoke with me at length, given I was a compatriot of Félix B. Caignet, whom the whole telenovela (soap-opera) industry in Latin America recognizes as the author of this, the most influential work of the genre, a direct descendant of the radionovela (radio serial).

El Derecho de Nacer

Talma took on the challenge of a remake and it paid off. The SBT network had the soap opera in its archives until 2001, when it was finally transmitted. When we talked in 1997, Talma expressed his delight with the task of directing the drama, and repeatedly inquired about the fate of its author, who died in Cuba in 1976. The actors and actresses gathered around me, this Cuban who was visiting them, to take photos. I still have some of these, alongside the stars of Brazilian television who embodied the various characters of El Derecho de Nacer.

Moral prejudice

One of the most controversial characters of the drama, which has seen many versions, was always Don Rafael del Junco, the father of the protagonist. Don Rafael, a true adherent to the moral prejudices of the time, can not bear the fact that his daughter’s pregnancy is the result of the deceptive love of a villain, and he banishes her to a ranch as far away as possible from his home.

But the real story behind the character is far more interesting. The Spanish actor who recorded the voiceover for Don Rafael, on noting that his characterization was popular with the audience, asked for a raise from the media tsar of Cuba at the time, Goar Mestre. The mogul’s response was swift. He spoke with Caignet and asked him to silence the character. As such, the author silenced Junco through an accident. The headlines the next day posed the question: “Will Don Rafael talk today?” His silence was really a catapult for ratings, until it was decided he would regain his speech.

Silencing and demonizing

This form of silencing is typical of the big media monopolies. When they group together, they do a disappearing act with the achievements of those who they regard as trouble. Or they demonize them as far as the public will allow. There is no coup attempted against those trying to break the shackles of the past in our Latin America, in which the owners of the major television and print media do not unite with the financial sector of the oligarchy, in order to silence what, for them, threatens their class interests.

Ruling in the interest of the poorest

dilma y lula 2.jpgWhat is happening in Brazil right now is just that. Who is the bad guy, the villain, for the oligarchy?. The PT, Lula and Dilma Rousseff embody those who, for four presidential terms, have struck at the interests of the big bourgeoisie, for the benefit of the poorest. They will not forgive them for concerning themselves with providing doctors and education to the most deprived. Or for attempting to ensure that the country’s income is distributed more fairly. Or ensuring the role of Brazil in the international arena is that which this giant of our continent deserves.

Silencing and demonizing may confuse many. But there are many more who know firsthand the significance of the change in the way the most disadvantaged are now treated, than those who can be confused. The power of the mass media can do a lot of damage. The aggression against the emblematic figure of Lula has been transformed into a mass media show, followed by continued slander, lies and contempt.

Only the strength of the people can push back those attempting to return to the past

Latin America is under attack by these media outlets. And only the strength of the people can push back those attempting to return to the past. Because we all have not only the right to be born; we also have the sacred rights to live in dignity, educated and healthy. Periodic returns to the past have never lasted forever. But they do much damage. Just ask the people of those countries where the numbers of missing, murdered and tortured have come to light, despite the mainstream media’s attempt to silence them for as long as possible, just as Don Goar Mestre did in his time with Don Rafael del Junco. It all remains to be seen.

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