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.

Morales Slams Supporters of Venezuela’s Opposition Plebiscite

Source:  TeleSur
July 15 2017

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Bolivia’s President Evo Morales | Photo: Reuters

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister has thanked Bolivia for the support expressed by “the great leader of South American peoples.”

A “coup attitiude” against a democratically elected government

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales says those who want to give legitimacy to Sunday’s unconstitutional plebiscite called by the Venezuelan opposition have a “coup attitiude”.

Morales made the comment on Twitter, adding that Venezuela’s government has been democratically elected and attempts to label it a dictatorship are cynical.

The opposition has been trying to gather more support for its non-binding vote on the administration of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

CNE regards the plebiscite as illegitimate

Several former regional leaders have arrived in Caracas ahead of Sunday’s unrecognized ballot.

The ex-Presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Costa Rica have been invited by the opposition-led National Assembly.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, CNE, regards the plebiscite as illegitimate.

It’s overseeing a dry run, also on Sunday, ahead of the election for the National Constituent Assembly.

OAS interfering in Venezuela’sdomestic affairs

Earlier in the week, Morales reiterated his criticism of the Organization of the American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro for interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

The Bolivian President said Almagro’s decision to back the plebiscite shows that individual nations’ human rights records are judged differently depending in their governments.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada responded on Twitter to say that his government was grateful for the support expressed by “the great leader of South American peoples.”

Moncada added, “Bolivia’s courage and solidarity will always remain in the memory of the Venezuelan people.”

Cuban 5 Member Calls for Solidarity with US Political Prisoners

Source:  TeleSUR
December 16 2016

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A Cuban 5 member who spent 15 years as a political prisoner in the U.S. has launched a campaign to remember “prisoners of conscience” held in U.S. jails. | Photo: teleSUR

#FreeToBeHonored: A Cuban 5 member has launched a campaign to expose the U.S.’s political prisoners in response to U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power’s hypocrisy.

Former Cuban 5 member Rene Gonzalez, who spent 15 years as a political prisoner in the U.S., has launched a campaign to remember “prisoners of conscience” held in U.S. jails in response to a similar campaign launched last week by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

Political prisoners in the USA

On Dec. 10, Power announced the launch of a U.S. State Department campaign called #FreeToBeHome, which she said would highlight the cases of “prisoners unjustly held around the world and the families they leave behind.” Without any sense of irony, or history, Powers added, “we call on all governments to release them. Political prisoners should be free to believe.”

Were Power to believe her own rhetoric, she would call on the U.S. government to release the political prisoners highlighted in Gonzalez’s campaign: Oscar López Rivera, Ana Belén Montes, Leonard Peltier, Julian Assange, Simón Trinidad, and Mumia Abu-Jamal, all deemed political prisoners in the U.S.

TeleSUR looks at the cases raised by Gonzalez and a few more.

Oscar López Rivera

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A leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement, López Rivera is currently serving his 35th year in prison on charges related to his independence activities with the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FARN), which fought to turn Puerto Rico into an independent communist state. He is the longest-held political prisoner from Latin America in U.S. history.

Offered clemency by then-President Clinton in 1999, Lopez rejected the offer because it was not extended to other jailed FARN activists and because he refused to renounce his communist beliefs. As of 2010, Lopez is the sole remaining Puerto Rican revolutionary leader held by the U.S. In December, a group of Swedish politicians called on President Obama to pardon Lopez in his final days in office. “He was convicted and imprisoned because he struggled for his homeland Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination,” they wrote to Obama in an open letter.

Anticipating Powers’ campaign call that prisoners should “be free to be home,” the letter called on Obama to “allow Oscar López Rivera to live out the final part of his life in his homeland with his family.”

Ana Belén Montes

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A U.S. citizen of Puerto Rican heritage, Belen Montes was charged with espionage on behalf of the Cuban government. At the time of her arrest, two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack in New York, she worked in the Defence Department as a Cuban specialist and was a key member of an intelligence report team which concluded that the small Caribbean island did not pose any danger to the U.S.

In pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty, Belen Montes told the court, “I engaged in the activity that brought me before you because I obeyed my conscience rather than the law … I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it.”

Held in isolation

An international campaign continues to call for her release on humanitarian grounds given that she is held in isolation and denied basic rights such as visitors, phone calls, and letters.

Despite her harsh conditions Belen Montes told interviewers in 2015 “If I repent, I deny myself … It’s not within the framework of my logic. I always knew the possible consequences of what I did.” She added, “What matters to me is that the Cuban Revolution exists … What’s necessary is that there always be a Cuban Revolution.”

Simón Trinidad

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Harvard-educated Simon Trinidad, also known as Ricardo Palmera, was the de facto foreign minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC. During a 2004 diplomatic trip to Ecuador to meet with U.N. representatives, he was arrested and deported to Colombia, where former President Alvaro Uribe declined to charge him with any crime, and instead conspired with U.S. officials to create a false pretext to deport him to the U.S.

After the U.S. was unable to convict him in his first trial on trumped-up kidnapping charges, a second jury found him guilty in 2008 and sentenced him to 60 years. Despite that conviction, U.S. officials then tried to convict Trinidad on drug charges. After two juries found him innocent of those charges, U.S. officials abandoned the attempted drug prosecution.

Since his 2005 deportation to the U.S., Trinidad has spent 11 years in complete isolation in a U.S. “supermax” prison, an explicit violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture.

In writing about his reasons for joining the revolutionary struggle, Trinidad wrote, “There’s our children, women, our families, our communities and normal life. If I don’t do this (join the struggle), what am I? A traitor. So I said no. That’s why I put up with pain and suffering to fight for what we lack. That’s why I took up the guerrilla struggle.”

Leonard Peltier
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Leonard Peltier was a leading figure in the American Indian Movement during the peak of its political activity in the 1970s. The movement, also known by its acronym AIM, was a militant group championing Native American autonomy and culture. In 1977, Peltier was convicted of the murder of two FBI agents in a trial Amnesty International has called unfair, given that there were no witnesses while key ballistics evidence used to tie Peltier to the murders was later revealed to be false.

The 40-year campaign for his release has been championed by the likes of Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Rigoberta Menchu, as well as the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Parliament. Despite these efforts to secure his release, Peltier remains in jail as the longest-serving political prisoner in the U.S. At age 71 and suffering from diabetes and complications from a massive aneurysm, many fear that without a presidential pardon, he will die in jail.

In a May 2016 interview marking his 40-year imprisonment, Peltier spoke about his activism, saying, “That’s what we were always fighting to change — the idea that Indian lives weren’t worth anything. Indian culture has contributed great things to the world … we wanted to be recognized,” he said.

Julian Assange
julian-assange-3Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, has been trapped in the embassy of Ecuador in London since the South American nation granted him political asylum in 2012. Assange and Ecuadorian officials fear that he faces deportation to the U.S. to face espionage charges for his work revealing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Feb. 2016, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Assange was essentially being arbitrarily detained given the repeated refusals of both the British and Swedish governments to guarantee that he would not be deported to the U.S. Amnesty International said that extradition to the United States could “expose him to a real risk of serious human rights violations” including “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

Speaking of his confinement, Assange said, “for someone who has tried to give others liberty all their adult life, (it) is absolutely intolerable.”

Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Journalist, acclaimed prison activist, and former Black Panther Party member Mumia Abu-Jamal is perhaps the most well-known political prisoner in the U.S.

Sentenced to death in 1982 for the alleged murder of a Philadelphia police officer in a trial called a “travesty of justice” by civil liberties advocates and human rights organizations such as the NAACP, ACLU, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Abu-Jamal spent almost 30 years on death row until 2011, when his sentence was commuted to life in prison after an appeal courts ruled that the original trial and sentence were tainted by racism.

Through his prison writings and popular radio broadcasts, Abu-Jamal has remained a key dissident voice in the U.S. reporting extensively on the prison-industrial complex and the institutionalization of white supremacy. In the past two years, the campaign for his release has gained added impetus given his deteriorating health. In September, a federal court ruled that prison officials had violated the U.S. constitutional guarantee against “cruel and unusual punishment” by denying Abu-Jamal treatment for Hepatitis C.

Abu-Jamal has said about his struggle for justice, “Do you see law and order? There is nothing but disorder, and instead of law there is the illusion of security. It is an illusion because it is built on a long history of injustices: racism, criminality, and the genocide of millions. Many people say it is insane to resist the system, but actually, it is insane not to.”

Chelsea Manning
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U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in military prison for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. While other U.S. military officials who have released classified information for personal gain have faced minimal consequences – such as former CIA Director and commander of NATO and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan David Petraeus, and Donald Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser Retired General Michael Flynn – Manning, who released information about government crimes in the public interest, spent months under conditions denounced by the U.N. special rapporteur on torture as “cruel, inhumane, and degrading,” and a violation of U.N. conventions against torture.

Calls for Manning’s release have increased after two serious suicide attempts drew further attention to her harsh detention conditions. U.S. officials have repeatedly denied her the medically necessary treatment for her gender transition process. Despite this, Manning has become a trans rights activist, declaring in The Guardian newspaper, “I am a transgender woman and the government is denying my civil rights.”

The Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

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For 14 years, the U.S. has operated this “island outside the law,” where 800 men have been illegally detained, tortured, and held without charge or trial in violation of both U.S. and international law. Despite President Obama’s promise to close the military prison, something the American Civil Liberties Union calls a “shameful episode in American history”, 49 prisoners remain jailed, despite facing no charges or having ever been convicted of a crime. The U.S. government itself has declared that 20 of these men – detained during the U.S.’s so-called ”War on Terror” – are entirely innocent of any crimes and pose no threat to the U.S. While every single national and international human rights group has called for President Obama to close the prison and release the prisoners before his term ends, the U.S. government is in the process of renovating the facility, increasing fears that it will continue to be a key part of the U.S. national security apparatus under President Trump.

USA: Thousands March in Solidarity with Migrants, Against Trump

Source:  TeleSUR
December 19 2016

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People hold up signs before marching to Trump Tower during a protest organized by the New York Immigration Coalition on Sunday. | Photo: Reuters

Opposing his predatory campaign and rhetoric, demonstrators including celebrities, filmmakers and even public officials have all called for more mobilization against Trump.

To denounce U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, thousands of people staged protests in several U.S. cities this Sunday, the same day the world celebrated International Migrants Day.

Protesters reflecting various nationalities and social movements rallied in solidarity

Across Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Denver, protesters reflecting various nationalities and social movements rallied in solidarity with the large immigrant population in the country that Trump has repeatedly attacked and denigrated. In an interview with 60 Minutes last month, Trump pledged to deport approximately 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants after taking office on Jan. 20.

RELATED:   Trump’s Election Sees More Than 1,000 Hate Crimes in a Month

Acts of civil disobedience

Demonstrators, who included influential anti-Trump activists such as liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, called for acts of civil disobedience to put a stop to Trump’s unrelenting hate and bigotry. Speaking with MSNBC, Moore said the answer was more “protesting, obstructing, disrupting.”

“Listen, we’re hours away now from the Electoral College coming together on Monday. This needs protest, this needs people’s voices,” Moore had said, according to Press TV.

Moore’s comments echo what other prominent figures have said, such as Virginia Senator Bernie Sanders, who has called for and organized and well-strategized massive mobilizations against Trump. In Seattle, renowned socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant was also recently arrested at an anti-Trump rally for inviting people to create a “wall of mass resistance” in order to block Trump’s cancerous rhetoric, specifically by staging protests during his inauguration.

WATCH: Hondurans Fear Backlash Against Migrants Under Trump

A wall of mass resistance against Trump

“We must bring together millions of progressive workers and young people to build a wall of mass resistance against Trump,” Sawant wrote in CounterPunch in November. “And to defend immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ people and all others targeted by his presidency.”

The decision to elect a president does not ultimately belong to the people via the popular vote. According to the U.S. Constitution, voters elect members of the Electoral College, who then elect the president. A majority of 270 votes are required to be elected.

This means that despite losing to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by over 3 million ballots in the popular vote on the Nov. 8 election, Trump still won the state-by-state contest for the Electoral College.

RELATED:  International Migrants Day

The New York Immigration Coalition

The New York Immigration Coalition organized a rally that saw hundreds of people, including elected officials, march towards Trump Tower to let him and the Electoral College know they continue to oppose his looming presidency.

“It’s important because even though he is elected, we want to show not everyone is on board,” Hansol Lee, a South Korean immigrant, said, according to AM New York.

In Los Angeles, more than 2000 people came out.

“I want to tell Mr. Trump that we are immigrants, we help this economy grow, we don’t want nothing for free,” Los Angeles marcher Horalia Jauregui told CBC News.

All protests were reportedly peaceful.

Raúl bids farewell to President Maduro

Source:  Granma

December 16 2016

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

by: Granma | internet@granma.cu

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Photo: Estudio Revolución

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

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

Twitter Storm for Cuba!

International Committee
for Peace,Justice and Dignity

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

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

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

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

We want to send Trump a clear message

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

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

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

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