Remembering Fidel and Cuba’s Internationalism on African Liberation Day

 

 

South Africa:  Economic Freedom Fighters – ” … we want to be like Cuba in South Africa …we want to pursue a progressive socialist agenda that will bring about free education for all … that’s why we say here in the South African parliament, that the Cuban flag must fly forever …      Floyd Shivambu

China, Russia Call for Respecting Venezuela Elections, Condemn US Intervention

Source:  TeleSUR
May 21 2018

maduro wins may 2018 2

President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes.

A day after the Venezuelan general elections, China and Russia called on Monday for respecting the country’s democratic process and rejected attempts of interfence by the United States and other regional powers.

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“The parties involved must respect the decision of the Venezuelan people,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang at a press conference in Beijing, as he encouraged resolving any dispute through legal channels, EFE reported.

Kang affirmed China’s policy of not interfering in internal affairs of other countries and was convinced that the Venezuelan government and citizens will be able to resolve the issues.  “China will address the relevant issues in accordance with diplomatic practice,” the spokesman added.

Victory for Maduro despite open US interference

President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE) reported.

The opposition candidate, former governor, Henri Falcón came second after Maduro – and the evangelical expiator Javier Bertucci have made accusations of irregularities.

Maduro’s win comes at a time when the United States and its right-wing regional allies as well as several European governments have made several attempts to intervene in Venezuela’s presidential elections through sanctions and boycott calls against the Venezuelan election saying they won’t recognize the results, policies that were rejected by the Russian Foreign Ministry Monday.

“We regrettably have to note that in these elections, in addition to the two traditional participants, that is, the Venezuelan people, the electors, on the one hand, and on the other the candidates who presented their programs … there was a third participant, the governments who openly called for a boycott of the vote,” said Alexánder Schetinin, director of the Latin American Department of the Foreign Ministry.

Schetinin also added that Russia is often accused of meddling in other countries’ elections but in Venezuela’s case, some countries have meddled indiscriminately.

He added that some countries put obstacles “among others to hinder the voting in their territories of Venezuelans who are abroad.”

“And even worse when a whole series of governments, including the one you are appointing (United States), a priori declared that they would not recognize the results,” he said during a press conference, the Interfax news agency reported.

“The elections have been held and their results have an irreversible character: two-thirds of the votes went to the current president of the country, Nicolás Maduro,” he concluded.

Latin American support

While Many countries in Latin America have recognized the Venezuelan elections and congratulated President Maduro, such as Cuba, Bolivia and El Salvador, right-wing governments in the region have dismissed the vote as “illegtimate” echoing statements by the U.S. and Canada and some Western countries who had dismissed the vote and teh results before the election had even taken place.

The so-called Lima Group plus Canada issued a statement Monday saying it did not recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela’s presidential election. The statement said the countries would call their ambassadors back from Caracas for consultations and hold a meeting to coordinate a regional response to what they call “crisis” in Venezuela. They also said they would seek a new resolution on “the situation” in the South American country.

Such attempts of interference into Venezuela’s internal affairs have repeatedly been rejected over the past few months by the government in Caracas as well as left-wing governments in the region.

The Lima Group includes Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Santa Lucia, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Maduro’s Victory is ‘Liberation of All the Americas’

Source:  TeleSUR
May 21 2018

maduro wins may 2018.jpg

The Dominican Committee of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela said Maduro’s win is a victory for Latin American and Caribbean peoples.

The Dominican Committee of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela issued a statement to congratulate “Comrade Nicolas Maduro” on victory in the Venezuelan presidential elections.

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“The Dominican Republic celebrates the recent victory with all of Venezuela, all Venezuelans, and all Latin Americans despite imperialist threats and the isolated echoes of its deceptive allies,” the Committee of Solidarity expressed.

The organization reiterated solidarity with the people of the Bolivarian Republic, citing Maduro’s win as a victory in the continued fight of Latin America and the Latin American and Caribbean peoples.

The committee also said that the endurance of the “revolutionary Chavista and socialist” mantra was a positive move towards the “liberation of all the Americas.”

Members of the Dominican Committee of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution.

The statement added that President Maduro’s victory is demonstrative of the people of Venezuela’s commitment to commemorating the ideals of Commander Hugo Chavez – a future of peace, unity, and solidarity among Venezuelans, and by extension all Latin American and Caribbean peoples.

Venezuela’s successful electoral process, the release says, incubates the strengthening of Interamerican institutions like Unasur, ALBA, and Celac by reinforcing the democracy between its national institutions.  The solidarity committee noted that President Maduro is embarking on a new six-year term confirming the will of the Venezuelan people to be free,indepemdent,sovereign and socialist.

In conclusion,, the organization highlighted a shared triumph with fearless people of Venezuela, Maduro, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela as well as Latin America and the wider Caribbean.

 

Uncovering a C.L.R. James treasure trove


Paul Buhle is the authorized biographer of C.L.R. James and responsible for numerous books, including The Young C.L.R. James, co-edited with Lawrence Ware and drawn by Milton Knight. Here, he reviews C.L.R. James and Revolutionary Marxism, a collection of essential, but often little-known, essays by the legendary Trinidadian Marxist.


 

C.L.R. James speaks in London's Trafalgar Square in support of the Ethiopian anti-colonial struggleC.L.R. James speaks in London’s Trafalgar Square
in support of the Ethiopian anti-colonial struggle

THE SMALLISH crowd of C.L.R. James’ admirers at the time of his 1989 death was notable for its scattered global character, its sports fans, its Pan African devotees and also its socialists with Trotskyist leanings.

From India to the Anglophone Caribbean, from the UK to Canada, James continued to hold readers rapt with Beyond a Boundary (1963), a history of cricket that was also a quasi-memoir of youth in Trinidad during the first decades of the century. Early and late, he had worked and written for anti-colonial movements.

The socialist part of his life remained, at his passing, the least understood. This volume of essays and documents, reprinted by Haymarket from a rather obscure publication in 1994, restores to readers a valuable and interesting text that is both relevant today and a part of socialist history that is barely understood.

Its editors, Scott McLemee and Paul Le Blanc, are past masters of left history relevant to the subject and volume: Le Blanc with an updated essay on James in Left Americana and McLemee with a separate volume titled C.L.R. James On the Negro Question.

Let us turn quickly, in this brief review, to the matter at hand: James’ own view of Revolutionary Marxism.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Socialism

THE INTRODUCTION and Afterword both highlight an essential point: James’ history of the Haitian revolt, Black Jacobins (1938), very much inspired by Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution, opened up the unknown saga of slave uprisings, but also of mass production in what amounted almost to modern agri-factory conditions.

So few whites managed so many slaves that much of the skilled labor–the thinking on the job–was inevitably carried out by slaves themselves, a vital point. They had already made history (in the most valuable economic site of the time) and did again in their revolt, without being guided by any nonwhite movement or party.

The same C.L.R. James wrote, around the same time, A History of the Negro Revolt, a powerful if smallish book, and World Revolution, a thick volume described in the UK, where it was published, as a “Bible of Trotskyism.”

James had by that time become a most unique Trotskyist, ready to remove himself from Britain to the U.S. in 1939, and he remained a singular Marxist and world figure for the next 60 years, until his passing.

The most unique and hitherto little-seen essays in this book come from the 1940s Trotskyist press. James was not the only luminous intellectual of these circles, nor did he become a leader of more than a small faction (with his partners, Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee) within the diverse and divided Trotskyist field.

James had in his writing, nevertheless, a remarkable sweep, resting upon a view of civilization at large, a striking originality of thought and, of course, a special feeling for the potential of African Americans within the left and society at large.

I am not so sure that he was well served by being a vigorous debater (I remember anarcho-ecologist Murray Bookchin, another former Trotskyist, saying to me in 1970: “That James…he could HOLD A POSITION”), because so much energy went into disputations. But a fresh reading of these mostly wartime texts lends a fine view of global society seeking to wrench free of war and capitalism.

It also shows us what socialist prose can be: James is marvelously fluent, on almost any subject, and he offers readers deep insights without talking down to them. Any young writer today would benefit from studying how James uses his prose, how he dedicates his sweeping intellect to the particular tasks of socialist transformation, and how he lets us understand his own depth without becoming pedantic in the slightest.

Scott McLemee, in the Afterword, closes in part by acutely suggesting that James had a proto-New Left view, an observation that we might adjust to 2018.

James was very firm in his understanding that the institutions of liberalism were passing into crisis, and that the “state capitalist” (his phrase for Stalinist) societies had no answer for this crisis. He did not (quite) live to see the Eastern Bloc fall, but he would have understood that only a mighty movement from below, marked by direct mass action as well as strategic planning, could finish off a class system.

Following Lenin, James insisted that the socialist society creates itself in no small part by breaking up the state–as he thought, late in his life, that Polish Solidarity was doing; a renewal of the promise to him, of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and of course, the Russian Revolution itself.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Trotskyist

DOUBTLESS THE most familiar text reprinted here is “The Revolutionary Answer to the Negro Problem,” a resolution prepared for the 1948 convention of the Socialist Workers Party.

It is, for me, above all an appeal to socialists themselves to watch the masses in motion, in politics and daily life, and to grasp what they are doing as radical potential–something socialists lost in theoretical speculation have often been prone to miss when it comes to music, sports and other seemingly non-political actions. James also, of course, anticipated Black Power.

Least familiar to the general reader is certainly “Trotsky’s Place in History.” No summary will do justice to the spirit of this essay, and I believe that many readers of SW will come away from it with conclusions richer than my own.

But consider that James, himself a historian of great significance, is seeking here to put Leon Trotsky’s work in the light of the great 19th century historians Gibbon and Michelet, also in the light of Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire, concluding that The History of the Russian Revolution “will remain a bridge between the long line which leads from the Old Testament and Homer, the Greek tragedy, Dante and Cervantes.”

All this James attributed to the strengthening of ordinary humans’ growing confidence in themselves, their right and their capacity to reorganize the world.

James’ actual criticisms of Trotsky, here and elsewhere within this volume, are appropriately modest and helpful, but come down to the kindly observation that if Lenin loved the rough play of political warfare, Trotsky would rather spend his time in his study, as the remarkable scholar that he was.

He could be wrong on particulars, but–to borrow a phrase he directed at other Trotskyists–if Trotsky was mistaken, on the Stalinized Russian state in particular, he was never confused.

There is so much more here in the pages of this volume that readers will readily find their own favorite essays, likely their own favorite sentences and paragraphs–because James’ prose so often sparkles with style and also with complications.

A small complaint: I do not think his criticism of Herbert Aptheker, the Communist historian of African American life, is entirely fair. By dint of research on slave revolts, Aptheker went far in a field with little existing scholarship. Later generations of left-wing scholars, notably Robin D.G. Kelley, have lauded Aptheker’s strengths, acknowledging his weaknesses.

This seems no matter of great significance to the rest of Revolutionary Marxism. Readers of C.L.R. James will relish what they find here and look elsewhere for the other works of James, early and late.

The voices of the Haitian slaves rising up have yet to be heard fully, but future revolutionary generations of every culture will yet hear them–of that we may be sure. They will thank James for his contribution on this and other subjects, and we thank Scott McLemee and Paul Le Blanc for their efforts in making this unique anthology available.

Kenya: SDP and KCFS Welcome President Kenyatta’s State Visit to Cuba

Source:  Social Democratic Party of Kenya (sdpkenya.org)

March 13, 2018

The Social Democratic Party of Kenya (SDP) and the Kenya Cuba Friendship Society (KCFS) welcome the State visit to the Republic of Cuba by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Uhuru Kenyatta y Raul Rodriguez Cuba.jpgPresident Uhuru Kenyatta and outgoing Cuban Ambassador Raul Rodriguez

This visit further cements the good relations that Kenya has had with Cuba over the years. For instance, Kenya has consistently over the years, alongside almost all the Countries of the world, voted in support of the resolution to end the blockade that has been imposed on Cuba by US imperialism for the past 55 years. In 2016 Kenya opened her first embassy in Cuba (while Cuba opened hers in Kenya in 2001). Cuba has, and continues to offer numerous University scholarships to Kenyan students in various disciplines that include Medicine, Science, Engineering and Sports. Kenyan and Cuban Scientists, Sportsmen and Military personnel have in the past held joint projects and through such collaboration, both countries have benefited.

Both Kenya and Cuba are developing Countries which face common and uncommon challenges. Working together, both Countries can learn a lot from each other. Cuba, in spite of the unimaginable hardship caused by the 55-year-old economic, commercial and financial blockade, has managed to offer one of the world’s highest qualities of healthcare and education to its citizens, all for free. Cuba has made huge advancements in the fields of science, art and sports.

Even though such development can only be achieved, at such low costs, through a Socialist planned system (which is much superior to the Capitalist path that Kenya has taken), Kenya still can learn a lot from Cuba not only in these fields but also in the area of foreign policy, and in particular internationalism, south-south cooperation and African Solidarity. We acknowledge Uhuru Kenyatta’s independent foreign policy in this regard.

Kenya Cuba Friendship Society.jpgKenya Cuba Friendship Society has since the year 2003 fostered closer ties between the peoples of Kenya and the peoples of Cuba through people to people diplomacy, and we know that the visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta will not only strengthen the Government to Government relations, but also the People to People ties.

During his visit and after, the SDP and the KCFS ask President Kenyatta to reaffirm Kenya’s opposition to the US blockade on Cuba, and to demand for the return of Guantanamo Bay to the Republic of Cuba.

Long live the friendship and solidarity between Kenya and Cuba!

13 March 2018

Benedict WACHIRA
Secretary General – SDP
National Secretary – KCFS

Mwandawiro Mghanga
National Chairperson – SDP
National Chairperson – KCFS

 

President Kenyatta travels to Cuba for a State visit

Source:  Daily Nation
March 14 2018

uhuru kenyattaPresident Uhuru Kenyatta. State House says the agenda of the trip will be
boosting cooperation in health, sports and culture.
PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta heads to the Caribbean in a historic visit to the island of Cuba on Tuesday, seeking a helping hand for his healthcare policy in the Big Four Agenda.

The president will be visiting the region for the first time since he took office in 2013.

It will also be the first visit by a Kenyan head of state since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 2001.

State House said on Monday that the agenda of the trip will be boosting cooperation in health, sports and culture.

Opportunity

“Cuba has a well-developed health sector which has achieved great milestones such as discovery of vaccines against lung cancer, and the eradication of malaria. Cuba is also home to a thriving pharmaceutical industry,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said.

“There is a great opportunity during the President’s visit for the two nations to expand the MoU on implementation for the achievement of universal healthcare, an important deliverable in President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda,” Mr Esipisu added, referring to an agreement signed between Kenya and Cuba last year.

Model

raul ridrignez cuba.jpg

President Kenyatta and outgoing Cuban Ambassador Raul Rodriguez Ramos

Officials say the President sees Cuba as important in helping him achieve some of the Big Four issues, which include universal healthcare, adequate housing, manufacturing and food security.

Cuba, under the leadership of Fidel Castro – who died in November 2016 – for five decades, has achieved what the World Health Organisation calls a model healthcare system.

Based on socialist tenets, Castro engineered a system based on accessibility and preventive medicine (vaccination) and regarded health as a basic human right.

Mortality rate

Health services are offered for free and include check-ups, surgery, medical dispensing and doctor visitations.

Under Fidel’s brother Raul, the World Bank reports that Cuba’s community health has remained intact, reporting an infant mortality rate of four in 1,000 live births and a life expectancy of 80.

Kenya’s infant mortality rate is 37 out of 1,000 live births while the life expectancy is 62.

Low salaries

In Cuba, one medical doctor can serve up to 150 patients, beyond the World Health Organisation standard ratio of one doctor per 300 people.

In Kenya, a doctor has to work harder because he stands for 16,000 patients.

A preparatory concept note for the President’s visit said Kenya could tap into Cuba’s pharmaceuticals as well as its medical missions.

While Cuban doctors earn little at home – sometimes less than Sh10,000 a month – Havana often gets good revenues by sending its doctors abroad, earning about Sh640 billion a year, in form of portions of salaries paid by foreign governments to the doctors.

Vector control

“The President will explore how to build Kenyan capacity, increase the number of medical specialists in orthopaedic surgery, oncology, neurology, and trauma management; and collaborate in research on cancer and diabetes drugs, and eradication of malaria,” State House said on Monday.

“Cuba is interested in registering and selling its pharmaceutical products in the Kenyan market. It is also keen to cooperate in vector control.

President Kenyatta will encourage Cuba to set up a pharmaceutical plant in Kenya to serve the East and Central Africa regional market.”

Sanctions

Cuba’s engagements with the outside world had been limited until 2016 when the US agreed to lift the sanctions it imposed on the country in the 1960s, and reopened its embassy in Havana.

President Barack Obama then made a historic visit to Havana. A few months later, Kenya announced it would open an embassy in Cuba.

On Monday, Kenya said it would support Cuba to have the remaining sanctions imposed to it dropped, in exchange for a vote for a temporary seat for Kenya at the UN Security Council in 2021.

Good image

The temporary seat is not influential when the UN’s most powerful organ votes on substantial matters but often provides a country with good image and opportunity to lobby for favourable policies within the UN.

A temporary member can chair the UN Security Council, granting it an opportunity to influence a particular stand on issues of regional security.

Kenya has been a member of the council twice, but not during President Kenyatta’s tenure.

The Strategic Challenge for the Latin American Left

Source:  TeleSUR
February 22 2018

latin american left presidents.jpgLatin American Presidents
From left to right: Evo Morales (Bolivia), José Mujica (Uruguay), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Cristina Fernandez (Argentina), Rafael Correa (Ecuador) in 2014. | Photo: Reuters

Mass-Media has become the main opposition to the progressive governments of the region.

After the long and sad neoliberal night of the 1990s – which broke entire nations like Ecuador – and since Hugo Chávez won the Presidency of the Republic of Venezuela at the end of 1998, the rightist governments of the continent began to be overthrown like houses of cards, bringing Popular governments and aligned with ‘Socialism of Good Living’ across our America.

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In its heyday in 2009, out of ten Latin American countries in South America, eight had leftist governments. In addition, in Central America and the Caribbean, there was the Farabundo Martí Front in El Salvador, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Álvaro Colom in Guatemala, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Leonel Fernández in the Dominican Republic. In countries like Guatemala, with Álvaro Colom, or Paraguay, with Fernando Lugo; it was the first time in history that the left had come to power, and in the last case, broken centuries of constant bipartisanship.

In May of 2008, the Union of South American Nations, or (UNASUR), was born and in February 2010, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was created with 33 members. Of the 20 Latin countries of the CELAC, 14 had Left governments, that is, 70 percent.

The first part of the 21st century has undoubtedly meant years of advancement. The economic, social and political advances were historic and amazed the world with a climate of sovereignty, dignity, autonomy, with our own presence on the continent and in the whole world.

Latin America didn’t live through a time of change, but a real change of the times, which also substantially changed the geopolitical balance of the region. For this reason, for the de facto powers and hegemonic countries, it was essential to put an end to these processes of change that favored the vast majorities, and that sought a second and definitive regional independence.

The Conservative Restoration

Although the government of Hugo Chávez had to endure a failed coup d’état as early as 2002, it was really since 2008 that undemocratic attempts to end the progressive governments intensified, as was the case of Bolivia in 2008, Honduras 2009, Ecuador 2010, and Paraguay 2012. Four attempts at destabilization, two of them successful – Honduras and Paraguay – and all against governments of the left.

Starting in 2014 and taking advantage of the change in the economic downturn, these disjointed destabilization efforts are consolidated and constitute a real “conservative restoration,” with never-before-seen right-wing coalitions, international support, unlimited resources, external financing, and so on. The reaction has since deepened and lost any limits or scruples. Now we have the economic boycott and harassment of Venezuela, the parliamentary coup in Brazil, and the judicialization of politics – ‘lawfare’-, as shown by the cases of Dilma and Lula in Brazil, Cristina in Argentina, and Vice President Jorge Glas in Ecuador. The attempts to destroy UNASUR and neutralize CELAC, are also evident and, not infrequently, brazen. Not to mention what is happening in Mercosur. The failure of the FTAA at the beginning of this century looks to be overcome through the Pacific Alliance.

In South America, at present, only three progressive governments remain: Venezuela; Bolivia; and Uruguay. The eternal powers that have always dominated Latin America and that plunged it into backwardness, inequality, and underdevelopment, return with a thirst for revenge, after more than a decade of continuous defeats.

The Central Pillars of The Conservative Restoration’s Strategy

The reactionary strategy is carried out regionally and is primarily based on two axes: the supposed failure of the left economic model, and the alleged lack of moral strength in the progressive governments.

Regarding the first axis, since the second half of 2014, due to an adverse international environment, the entire region suffered an economic slowdown that turned into a recession during the last two years.

The results are different between countries and subregions, reflecting the different economic structure and applied economic policies, but the economic difficulties of countries like Venezuela or Brazil are taken as an example of the failure of socialism, even when Uruguay, with a left government, is the most developed country south of the Rio Grande, or when Bolivia has the best macroeconomic indicators on the planet.

The second axis of the new strategy against progressive governments is morality. The issue of corruption has become the effective tool to destroy the national-popular political processes in Our America. The emblematic case is that of Brazil, where a well-articulated political operation succeeded in removing Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency of Brazil, only to be shown to have nothing to do with the issues that they attributed to her.

There is great global hypocrisy surrounding the fight against corruption.

The Left: Victim Of Its Own Success?

The left is also probably a victim of its own success. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), almost 94 million people were lifted out of poverty and joined the regional middle class during the last decade, with the vast majority being a result of the policies of leftist governments.

In Brazil, 37.5 million people stopped being poor between 2003 and 2013, and are now middle class, but those millions were not a mobilized force when a Parliament that itself is accused of corruption, dismissed Dilma Rousseff.

We have people who overcame poverty and now – for what is often called objective prosperity and subjective poverty – despite having significantly improved their income level, ask for much more. They feel poor, not in reference to what they have, worse still to what they had, but to what they aspire.

The left has always struggled against the current, at least in the Western world. The question is, is the left fighting against human nature?

The problem is much more complex if we consider the hegemonic culture constructed by the media, in the Gramscian sense, that is, to make the wishes of the great majorities in line with the interests of the elites.

Our democracies should be called mediated democracies. The media are a more important component in the political process than the parties and electoral systems; they have become the main opposition parties of the progressive governments, and they are the true representatives of business and conservative political power.

It does not matter what best suits the majorities, what has been proposed in the election campaign, and what the people – the main actor in every democracy – has decided at the polls. The important thing is what the media approve or disapprove of in their headlines. They have replaced the Rule of Law with the State of Opinion.

Is there a “Strategic Challenge?”

The regional left faces the problems of exercising – or having exercised – power, often successfully, but exhaustingly.

It is impossible to govern and make the whole world happy, even more, when so much social justice is required.

We always have to be self-critical, but it’s also about having faith in yourself.

The progressive governments are under constant attack, the elites and their media will not forgive any error, they seek to lower our morale, make us doubt our convictions, proposals and objectives. Therefore, perhaps the greatest “strategic challenge” of the Latin American left is to understand that every transcendental work will have errors and contradictions.

This article was originally published in Granma in Spanish.