UN General Assembly honors Fidel

Source:  Granma
December 21 2016

by: TELESUR | internet@granma.cu

Organized by Cuba’s permanent commission to the UN, the special tribute was requested by a group of countries from several continents.

fidelat the un 1979.jpgFidel speaking at the UN in 1979. Photo: Jorge Oller

On December 20, the United Nations General Assembly paid tribute to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who died last November 25.
The special tribute was organized by Cuba’s permanent commission to the UN, following a request by a group of countries from several continents.

Representatives speaking on behalf of global and regional organizations recalled Fidel and his legacy, according to reports by Telesur.
Venezuela’s permanent representative to the UN, Rafael Ramírez, noted that his country is eternally grateful to Fidel for his support of the Bolivarian Revolution. “I had the privilege of hearing him speak, of meeting and working closely with this globally renowned politician,” he stated.

A wise, modest man, loyal to his people and his socialism

Ramírez described Fidel as a wise, modest man, loyal to his people and his socialism. “On behalf of Venezuela we pay heartfelt tribute to a giant of Latin America and the Caribbean, as Nicolás Maduro said, Fidel has fulfilled his task, history has absolved him, and now it’s our turn to uphold his name.”

Likewise, Dominican Ambassador, Francisco Cortorreal, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), highlighted the importance of Fidel’s legacy for regional integration, based on the principles of sovereignty, peace, and solidarity among peoples, reported Prensa Latina.

Meanwhile, the Group of 77+China described the leader of the Cuban Revolution as an extraordinary statesman.

The UN’s solemn tribute to Fidel Castro began with a minute’s silence, after which Assembly President, Peter Thomson, highlighted the vision of the revolutionary leader, with his call to save the world from war, underdevelopment, hunger, poverty, and the destruction of natural resources vital to the survival of the human species

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

Fidel: What is revolution?

Source:  ICAP, Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples

fidel enetrs havan.jpg

“Revolution is having a sense of the historic moment; it is changing everything that must be changed; it is full equality and freedom; it is being treated and treating others like human beings; it is emancipating ourselves on our own and through our own efforts; it is challenging powerful dominant forces in and beyond the social and national arena; it is defending the values in which we believe at the price of any sacrifice; it is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity, and heroism; it is fighting with courage, intelligence and realism; it is never lying or violating ethical principles; it is a profound conviction that there is no power in the world that can crush the power of truth and ideas. Revolution is unity; it is independence, it is struggling for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism, and our internationalism.”  Fidel Castro

fidel y neto 3.jpg

Angola

may day in cuba 2015.jpg

May Day 2015 in Cuba

 

Kenya: Homage to Comrade Fidel Castro, Lessons for Humanity

by Benedict Wachira, Social Democratic Party of Kenya
December 4 2016

fidel laid to rest 1.jpgAs Comandante Fidel Castro’s ashes are interred today (4th December 2016) in Santiago de Cuba, the place where the July 26th rebel movement began its journey to overthrow dictatorship and capitalism, there are many lessons that Kenyans and the whole of humanity can learn from the life of this great legend.

A great inspiration

He remains a great inspiration to the young people of this country who are disturbed by the ever rising levels of poverty, greed and corruption. In his twenties, Fidel’s conviction for a just society led him into organising two attempts to overthrow the then military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and he was eventually successful at the young age of thirty-two.

Fidel disembarked from the Granma boat with a rebel army of 87 men and got to the Sierra Maestra mountains with less than twenty guerrillas. Through such actions, he continues to inspire those working for a better society but are few in numbers. He was never discouraged by the loss of combatants or the greater fire-power of Batista’s army, he understood that what he needed on his side was the support of the masses and not bigger guns.

To be prepared

fidel during the bay of pigs invasion.pngFidel teaches us to always be prepared. It was through preparation and working with the masses that Fidel Castro was able to defeat the U.S trained soldiers who invaded Cuba from the U.S in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs. It is this preparedness that has deterred the U.S from militarily invading Cuba since then.

Unlike the primitive accumulation tendencies that we see with our African leaders, Fidel Castro and his leadership never sought material riches for themselves. They worked hard to ensure that every Cuban had equal and unlimited opportunities to achieve what they humanly could. That is how Cuba was able to achieve unparalleled successes in the fields of education, preventive and curative health, sciences, gender and racial equality, housing and employment among other aspects of human development. All this was achieved in spite of the existence of the most brutal economic, commercial and financial blockade from the U.S that has been in place for over 50 years.

Resilience

Through Fidel, a lesson on resilience and being true to self is learnt. Not many countries can survive a blockade such as the one that has been imposed on Cuba. through resilience, Cuba has not only survived that blockade, but has managed to mobilize the whole world into condemning this U.S aggression on Cuba. Every year at the UN General Assembly, virtually all countries except the U.S and Israel vote against the blockade. Fifty-four years into the blockade, the U.S President Barack Obama admitted that its policy had failed and he began the process of normalization of relationships between the two countries. However, the blockade still remains in force.

After the fall of the USSR, Cuba lost its closest trading partner and the Cuban economy was brought to its knees. Many countries abandoned Socialism, many Socialist Political Parties across the world dropped Marxism-Leninism as their ideology, and many Marxists intellectuals and politicians no longer wished to be identified with Socialism.

Socialism

However, Cuba’s Socialism did not fall with the fall of the wall. The country instead diversified and realigned its Socialist economy by moving towards green energy, popular organic farming, pharmaceutical and biomedical technology and other niches that are today the envy of many. Out of this resilience and inspiration, Socialist countries began to rise a decade later in Latin America, from Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua to Ecuador. Leftist governments also came into power in Argentina, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Throughout Africa, the old ‘Marxist’ intellectuals were replaced by young Marxist revolutionaries who’s understanding was/is not pegged on mother Russia but on the principles of equality and prosperity of humanity, just like Fidel Castro did.

Solidarity

Under the leadership of Fidel Castro, Cuba taught the world the most important lessons on giving and solidarity. Cuban Universities have awarded thousands of full scholarships to youth from developing countries who are now serving their countries as doctors and other professionals. Cuba does not award these scholarships because it is a rich country. In fact, Cuba’s GDP is smaller than that of many developing countries, including Kenya. Cuba gives because sharing is a human responsibility. This poses a challenge to countries like Kenya that are surrounded by worse off countries. How many scholarships does Kenya give to young people from Somalia, South Sudan or the DR Congo?

Colonialism and imperialism

Cuban combatants have fought alongside their African compatriots in their struggles against colonialism and imperialism. Cubans assisted Algeria, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Ethiopia and South Africa either in their struggle for independence, or in their wars against external aggression, and as Raul Castro once said while in Angola, Cuba fought alongside Africans and left not with coffee or minerals, but with the body bags of their heroic soldiers. Cuba’s internationalist policy is unlike the U.S globalization policy; Cuba did not sacrifice its children so that they could exploit and dominate others, but it did so to fulfil its internationalist duty to humanity.

Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony continues to be up to this day. Are African countries waiting for Cubans to come and fight for the decolonization of the Saharawi? Do we think petitions and African Union commission reports will convince Morocco to leave Western Sahara? Haven’t we learnt anything from the sacrifices of the Cuban people?

Internationalist practice

Today, Cuba continues with this internationalist practice, but now by sending humanitarian ‘combatants’ wherever humanity needs them. From hurricane crises in Asia and the Americas, to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, Cuban doctors have always been on the frontlines of fighting and containing these disasters. While commenting on the Haitian earthquake, one Haitian expressed his gratitude to the Cuban doctors by stating that “After God, Fidel.”

The Cuban Five

cuban five are free.pngFidel gave us lessons on how to fight today’s emerging crimes like terrorism. In the 80s and the 90’s, terrorists from Miami (supported by the CIA) tried to destroy Cuba’s tourism industry by bombing hotels, Cuban airplanes and other economic interests, even going to the extent of using bio-terrorism on innocent civilians. Rather than terrorise and alienate innocent civilians like the Kenyan government is doing today, Fidel sent his security personnel to infiltrate the enemy and unearth terror plans before they happened. That is how the world famous Cuban anti-terrorism heroes, popularly known as the Cuban 5 came to be (They were arrested in the U.S and given harsh/life sentences for espionage, but were freed by President Obama in December 2014).

Do what is right, ignore the liars

Throughout his life, Fidel has survived assassination attempts on his life and worst still on his character, but this never dampened his resolve. They lied about his wealth but he continued living a simple life. They lied about human rights violations but he continued to provide the highest attainable human rights for his people. Even at his death, reactionary media continues to desecrate his name by publishing lies about this great revolutionary. Fidel has taught us to ignore the liars and detractors and instead soldier on and do what is right.

I therefore reiterate the homage that Carlos Aznárez paid to Fidel Castro where he wrote;

A communist

“So, when difficulties seem too much, and we believe we’re running out of strength, when we lack answers and when confusion makes us doubt about who the enemy is, when times are dark and without hope, let’s go back to Fidel, to his ideas, to his ethic, to his audacity, to his courage, to his revolutionary power, and let’s rise again to continue this wonderful adventure to take the skies.
A little heartbroken but never defeated, we salute you, dear Commander. We will turn back to you every now and then and ask you: “Are we doing well, Fidel?”

An avid reader, a sportsman, an arts enthusiast, a teacher, a great leader, a prolific writer, an environmentalist, an orator, a thinker, a fighter, and above all, a Communist.

Hasta Siempre Comandante,
Long Live Fidel Castro!
Long Live Socialism!
We shall be Victorious!
Benedict WACHIRA
Secretary General
Social Democratic Party of Kenya

December 4th 2016
6:41am

Bolivia Has Cut Extreme Poverty in Half Since 2006

Source:  TeleSUR
August 30 2016

More than 2 million Bolivians have come out of extreme poverty in the last decade

bolivia has cut extreme poverty in half 1.jpg

Aymara women stand at a fair held on the side of the Cholita fashion show at Villa Esperanza. | Photo: Reuters

Bolivia’s rapid economic transformation

Bolivia’s economy is on course to grow by 5 percent this year, placing it among the top performers in Latin America. It’s a sign of Bolivia’s rapid economic transformation in South America. Another indicator is falling poverty rates. When Evo Morales took office in 2006 the rate of extreme poverty was 38.2 percent. In 2016, that figure is now 16.8 percent.

RELATED: Vast Majority of Bolivians Back Evo Morales’ Administration

“More than 2 million people have left extreme poverty,” says Deputy Minister of Budget and Fiscal Accounting, Jaime Durán. A decade ago Bolivia was considered Latin America’s poorest country “Our economy was compared with African nations and not with those of the region,” claimed Durán.

World Bank: Bolivia is a world champion in revenue growth for the poor

A recent World Bank report confirmed that Bolivia is a world champion in revenue growth for the poorest 40 percent of its population. “It is one of the most important legacies of this this government,” said Minister Duran in a press briefing.

bolivia has cut extreme poverty in half 2

Many residents of District 5 in El Alto have left extreme poverty. | Photo: teleSUR

Communities like District 5, in the city of El Alto near La Paz, are slowly beginning to reap the benefits of Bolivia’s commodities boom. “Twenty-five years ago, when I started working here, there were no paved roads, no sports centers and no parks,” said community representative Fanny Nina.

bolivia has cut extreme poverty in half 3

Council Representative Fanny Nina says there have been huge improvements in the past decade. | Photo: teleSUR

While poverty and crime are still problems, “there have also been many improvements that have benefited my friends and neighbors,” Nina said. The residents of this small, remote town have access to better infrastructure, schools and potable water. “But we still have to fight the council for everything and we always need more.”

RELATED: Evo Morales Hails the Struggle of Bolivia’s Indigenous Groups

Extreme poverty has not been eradicated completely in District 5, but local representatives like Fanny are determined to make people’s lives better.

Every year we see more changes for the better

The community still has its fair share of social problems, but “every year we see more changes for the better,” one resident told teleSUR as we accompanied Fanny Nina on one of her weekly walkabouts. Cholitas are still selling on the streets, but now they sell alone while their children attend school. “This used to be the exception, not the rule,” Fanny told me in between dealing with the demands of her constituents.

evo wins a third term 2.jpgBolivia’s socialist government has ambitious plans to bring even more people out of extreme poverty. Low-income residents like those in District 5 are the main targets. “By 2020, we will reduce extreme poverty to 9.5 percent,” President Evo Morales has said.

In 2005, the richest 10 percent of the population had 128 times the wealth of the poorest 10 percent. In 2015, this gap was reduced to 37 times.

The government expects moderate poverty to drop to 24 percent and the inequality of income between the richest and the poorest to decrease to 25 times over the next five years. “There is a strong emphasis on industrialization and in building a society where not only poverty is eradicated, but where we also see social changes,” Bolivia’s Minister for Development René Orellana, said.

A process of democratic consultation across Cuban society begins

Source:  Granma
June 15 2016

By Oscar Sánchez Serra | informacion@granma.cu

A process of democratic consultation across Cuban society begins as promised 

During the recent 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, it was agreed that the Draft Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model and the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030 would be submitted to a process of democratic consultation across Cuban society.

raul reports to the 7th congress of the pccAs agreements are made to be fulfilled and not to be shelved, today one of the decisions of the recent 7th Party Congress – which was outlined on the very first day in the Central Report – is already being put into practice: “In order to enrich and perfect these documents we propose that both, that is to say, the conceptualization and fundamentals of the National Development Plan, after being reviewed by the Congress, be submitted to a process of democratic discussions by members of the Party and Young Communist League, representatives of mass organizations and broad sectors of Cuban society.”

Authority to make changes based on input from the Cuban people

That day, the Party First Secretary, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, also added: “Thus we request that the Congress grant the Central Committee the authority to make any necessary modifications that may result from the consultation process, including relevant adjustments to guidelines that might be approved during this event, as well as final approval of the documents.”

This is a highly significant agreement, embodying the national vision proposed by the model, whose conceptual substance is based on a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable society. That is, the Party of the nation, a single party, but with a deeply democratic character, submitting both texts to the people in order to crystallize a participatory project par excellence.

Documents need to be read and analyzed more than once

It has been said, and rightly so, that these are comprehensive and highly complex documents, which need to be read and analyzed more than once, to ensure a proactive and purposeful debate. A logical route to a better understanding of the texts is to begin by thoroughly studying the Central Report to the 7th Congress, which provides the reasoning. As for the two texts subject to consultation, the Draft Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model should be studied first, to understand the proposal as to what we want to achieve, followed by the fundamentals of the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030, in order to consider how to achieve the country we desire, once the economic and social model has been updated.

The Conceptualization presents the main transformations that characterize these new fundamentals, that is, what needs to change in order to advance and consolidate the unchanging principles of our socialism, and build a nation with the described attributes. It is written in the present tense, it expresses what we want to be, and also outlines the principles underlying the model: social ownership of the means of production; a planned economy and social policies.

Creating a climate of productive efficiency at a national level

The National Development Plan through 2030 defines the strategic concepts (effective socialist government and social integration, productive transformation and international integration, infrastructure, human potential, science, technology and innovation, natural resources and the environment, and human development, justice and equity), which form the driving forces of the plan and will enable its materialization and the attainment of the society we want. It covers all areas of society, and includes economic sectors which are equally strategic (construction; electro-energy, telecommunications, transport, storage and trade, tourism, professional services, agribusiness and the food industry, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and biomedical products, the sugar industry and its derivatives, and light industry), whose performance will direct the rest of the economy, creating a climate of productive efficiency at a national level.

But, take note, this is not a purely economic debate, and the Central Report itself says so, “The economy continues to be the key unresolved task and political-ideological work is a permanent issue, intimately linked with the economic battle, as it ensures the conscious, active and committed participation of the majority of the population in the process of updating the economic and social model.”

Cubans defining and participating in their future

What has begun to happen this June 15 will lead to Cubans defining and participating in their future. Doing so as a right, ratifying the sovereign, independent nature of the nation. This is not a new procedure. It strengthens the humanist essence of a Revolution which upon reaching 58 years since its inception, does not consider its work complete, a Revolution which seeks to improve quality of life, not only for the collective, but in terms of family and personal projects.

This is a proposal for a socialist nation, in which it is again reiterated that no one will be left to their own fate, unprotected. We return to the Central Report to read, “Decisions made with regard to the Cuban economy will never, under any circumstance, mean a break with the ideals of equality and social justice of the Revolution and much less rupture the strong union between the majority of the people and the Party. Neither will we allow such measures to generate instability or uncertainty within the Cuban population.” This principle has a clear implication: No one is unnecessary in socialism, at least in the socialism being constructed in Cuba.

Crafted by specialists, refined by the people

Everyone counts, just as the opinions to be gathered count, on the Conceptualization and Development Plan, which are not bureaucratic texts, but documents which have been crafted and revised by academics, specialists, economists and intellectuals – eight different versions in the case of the Conceptualization.

Thousands have already made comments and proposals

We also know that two Central Committee plenums (December, 2015 and January, 2016) contributed 900 suggestions, which led to yet another draft, then submitted to 1,000 Congress delegates and more than 3,500 invitees, including all National Assembly deputies, who submitted more than 8,800 comments and proposals which were incorporated to produce the version presented at the 7th Congress, where the document was again modified.

A stage of vital importance has now arrived. What emerges from this great discussion will go to the Central Committee meeting next December for approval, and then the National Assembly of People’s Power, and produce improved documents. When the National Assembly takes them to a vote, they will no longer be 7th Congress texts, but those which describe the country we want.

They will serve us in the decisive debate to which compañero Raúl called us during the 6th Congress: “Without the slightest chauvinist intention, I believe that Cuba is among a small number of countries in the world with the conditions in place to transform its economic model, and emerge from the crisis without social trauma, because, in the first place, we have a patriotic people, which knows it is powerful because of the strength represented by its monolithic unity, the justice of its cause, and its military preparedness, highly educated and proud of its history and revolutionary roots.”

raul at the 7th pcc congress 2.jpg

Cuba will never renounce Socialism

Source:  Cuban News Agency
11 March 2016 |

jose ramon balaguer.jpgCuba will never renounce socialism, said the head of the International Relations of Cuba´s Communist Party, Jose Ramon Balaguer, during a conference Thursday in Mexico.

Socialism is the only alternative for the Cuban Revolution, said the political leader as he opened the 20th International Conference Political Parties and a New Society, organized by Mexico´s Workers Party.

Balaguer said that the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, to be held in April, will draw the route of Cuban socialism and the social and economic development program up to the year 2030.

Economic blockade still in tact

191 - 2As to Cuba-US relations, Balaguer said that Washington´s economic blockade of Cuba is intact, despite the reestablishment of diplomatic links.  He added that the Cuban people are calling for the return to the island of the illegally occupied territory of Guantanamo by a US naval base and the compensation for the human and material damage inflicted by US aggressions against Cuba.

Imperial escalation against Latin American progressive governments

He also blasted what he called the imperial escalation against Latin American progressive governments.

la leaders.jpgThe Conference, running until Saturday, is addressing issues such as the response of revolutionaries to the imperial counteroffensive, new faces of the world economic crisis, and the experience of countries like Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia.