Inflection EP26: US Torches Solomon Islands for Choosing China

December 14 2021

The US wants Solomon Islands to go against the obvious economic and social benefits that comes from having relations with China,

“Solomon Islands depends on just straight up foreign aid … certain times … anywhere between 50% and 60% of the Solomon Islands government budget comes from foreign aid.  This is not a sovereign country if more than half of all the money you spend is coming  from someone else; there’s always strings attached.  

What is China offering the Solomon Islands?  … number one, tourism;  it’s a no-brainer.  There’s so many  people in China, a lot of them are improving in terms of  economics, they have money to travel, they  want to travel and they will come to the  Solomon Islands in huge numbers, and they will lift that  country up. People will make money selling them things, accommodating them, bringing them around – transportation.  There will be infrastructure that you  can invest in and justify the investment  .. then education, training and building up industrial infrastructure so that the  Solomon Islands has more things that  they can trade.”

Cuba: Return of fallen internationalists commemorated

Source: Granma

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland

Author: Pedro Ríoseco |

december 7, 2021 11:12:53

All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities. Photo: Liborio Noval

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland, in an effort entitled Operation Tribute.
All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities.
General Antonio Maceo’s mausoleum, in El Cacahual, hosted the symbolic national ceremony with the remains of 16 internationalists, one from each provinces and the Isle of Youth special municipality, on the date when the Titan and his faithful assistant Panchito Gomez Toro fell in battle against the Spanish colonialists.
“These men and women, to whom we give an honorable burial today, in the warm land where they were born, died for the most sacred values, they died fighting against colonialism and neocolonialism, racism and apartheid, plundering and exploitation of the peoples of the Third World, for independence and sovereignty, for the right to wellbeing and development of all peoples, for socialism, for internationalism, for the revolutionary and dignified homeland that Cuba is today,” said Fidel at that time, reaffirming the commitment follow their example.
Of these internationalists, 2,085 were participating in military missions in the defense of the nascent independence of the People’s Republic of Angola, and 204 took on civilian tasks, as part of the 377,033 Cuban volunteers who fought in that country during the 15 and a half years of Operation Carlota.
The Cuban government always informed families of the death of each internationalist (in combat, due to accidents or illness), but it was impossible, in the middle of the war, to repatriate their corpses and bury them in their hometowns. But the Revolution did not forget any of its sons and daughters, and to fulfill that humanitarian commitment, Operation Tribute was organized.
As Army General Raul Castro Ruz said on December 12, 1976, “From Angola we will take with us only the intimate friendship that unites us to that heroic nation, the gratitude of its people and the mortal remains of our dear brothers and sisters who fell in the line of duty.” And so it was.

Militant Solidarity With Cuba on Display in 80+ Cities Worldwide

November 15 2021

The images that mass media are not going to show today or tomorrow because they tell a different story. | Photo: Twitter/@CUBAONU

Demonstrators support Cuba’s productive revival and reject U.S. interference against peoples and revolutions that act with sovereignty.

Solidarity movements with Cuba, political parties, social groups, and Cuban emigrants in other countries celebrated on Monday the restart of the school year on the island, its economic-productive revival, and the Cuban people’s determination to defend their Revolution against destabilizing attempts plotted from the United States.

Cuban President, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, said through Twitter that “solidarity actions in more than 80 cities support the will of the Cuban people to build their own future.”

RELATED:  ‘Cuba Is Not Alone,’ International Solidarity Movements Stress

In an act in front of the headquarters of the Cuban diplomatic representation in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, political parties and social movements supported the reopening of activities and rejected the recent acts of interference by the White House.

The member of the Network of Intellectuals in Defense of Humanity, María Fernanda Barreto, stressed that Cuba is not alone and counts on the militant solidarity of people all over the world.

She explained that the U.S. government is attacking numerous sovereign countries for several reasons, among which she mentioned the loss of its hegemony and the emergence of new powers.

He added that to this is added the determination of its circles of power to impose on Latin America a relationship of subordination through the Monroe Doctrine, aimed against the resistance of several peoples and sovereign revolutions, such as the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the Cuban Revolution.

He stressed that it is now more important than ever to unite against imperialism, which attacks Cuba to prevent the revival of the economy and tourism, a sector he valued as essential to overcome the obstacles of an economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the U.S. government for more than six decades.

Among those who demanded the cessation of the attacks against Cuba was Camila Fabri Saab, wife of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, kidnapped by the U.S. Government.

Since last November 11, several acts of solidarity with Cuba have been taking place in Syria, in which Palestinians residing in that nation have also participated.

In addition to demonstrating the failure of the U.S. blockade against Cuba, the participants denounce that Washington wants to set Cubans against each other in order to generate social chaos in Cuba.

This Monday, Cuba solidarity organizations in Greece gathered in front of the U.S. embassy in Athens to denounce the destabilization campaigns and the criminal policy of economic war against Havana.

Similar acts took place over the weekend and this Monday in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, Ecuador, East Timor, China, Peru, Dominican Republic and other nations.

A few hours before the 31st edition of the solidarity caravan that has been organized since 1992 arrives in Havana, the organization Pastors for Peace similarly emphasized that “once again, Cuba leads as an example in health, science and humanism.”

Eritrea Versus AFRICOM: Defending Sovereignty in the Face of Imperialist Aggression

Eritrea Versus AFRICOM: Defending Sovereignty in the Face of Imperialist Aggression

The rapid expansion of AFRICOM on the African continent should be a cause for concern as African nations are quickly surrendering their sovereignty to the US. As the only country without a relationship to AFRICOM, Eritrea bears the brunt of US vilification. We must salute Eritrea’s ongoing project of national liberation.

The U.S. has built military-to-military relations with 53 out of the 54 African countries that include agreements to cede operational command to AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command. The broad network of AFRICOM military bases, as well as those from France and other world powers, are examples of how African states are surrendering their sovereignty through neocolonial relationships with Western countries. African self-determination and national sovereignty are impossible as long as the U.S. and its European allies are allowed to use military power to control African land, labor, and resources.

A major component of AFRICOM’s activities includes the indoctrination of African security forces through military training, including through the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance Program (ACOTA) (formerly the African Crisis Response Initiative) (ACRI) ),  Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) ,  International Military Training and Education (IMET) Program, and the numerous military exercises carried out by AFRICOM forces, including African Lion Cutlass Express Phoenix Express Obangame Express , and Flintlock , among many other exercises, which have included participation from almost every African country. As Netfa Freeman pointed out in a recent article, “an indoctrination about the inherent goodness of the U.S.-European role in Africa accompanies this military training with blindspots about the true legacy of colonialism.”

The U.S. military uses the myriad security challenges facing the African continent as an important justification for AFRICOM’s existence, and the most prominent of these justifications is the threat that the U.S.-led “war on terror” is seemingly addressing. However, these security challenges and terror threats are actually driven in large part by the presence of foreign militaries on the continent. Before September 11, 2001, Africa seemed to be free of transnational terror threats . Since then, U.S. military efforts on the continent have grown in every conceivable way, from funding and boots on the ground to missions and outposts, while at the same time the number of transnational “terror” groups has increased in linear fashion . Despite this increase, extremist groups are active in less than 10 of the 54 countries in Africa. Justifications for AFRICOM’s presence on the continent, such as the rise of terrorist groups, ignore that the Pentagon and the CIA have recruited and trained extremists to fight as their proxies on many occasions.

It is clear that the African heads of state with working relationships with AFRICOM are surrendering their sovereignty and inviting a destabilizing presence.

Eritrea is the only country on the African continent without US military relations. In 1977, the last Americans at Kagnew Station, the U.S. military station in present-day Asmara, Eritrea, officially left the US’s listening post in the region. Kagnew was initially acquired through a deal with the Ethiopian government in 1943, an important geostrategic location for the US Navy during the Cold War. At the time, the Eritrean Armed Struggle for Independence against imperial Ethiopia (1961-1991) was ongoing; it was fear of heightened violence and warfare in Eritrea that led to the US’s ultimate and official withdrawal from Asmara and its closure of Kagnew in 1975.

This history is important in understanding the West’s contemporary vilification of Eritrea, as it is the only country on the African continent without a relationship with AFRICOM. We can’t and shouldn’t ignore the significance of this vilification as it relates to any African country’s sovereignty and the refusal to govern based on directives from the United Nations (or its allied entities). Eritrea’s defense forces are not only organized, but soldiers’ military training, skills, and expertise do not come from France, the United States, or any other major Western power. This is a notable difference from other African countries. Even the African Union’s standing army, the African Standby Forces, operates according to the UN’s notion of peacekeeping 

Today, a focal point of critique when it comes to Eritrea is its national service program, “Sawa,” which high school students complete in their final year (12th grade). In its conception in 1994, national service was supposed to be for a limited time period. However, conditions in Eritrea changed when the former political party of Ethiopia, the TPLF, an organization that initially claimed anti-imperialist aims , became a client to US interests in the Horn of Africa. This led to a border conflict and warfare from 1998 – 2000, which ended the period of peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia after formal Eritrean independence in 1991. Post-war, Eritrea was in a no war-no peace situation, whereby the specter of territorial infringement was a real possibility in a TPLF-led Ethiopia that consistently preached a vision of an Abay Tigray (Tigrinya for “large Tigray”) — a dream to expand into and occupy Eritrea, making it a Tigrinya ethno-state. For many, national service in Eritrea is ongoing.  

National service is not a totally uncommon feature of modern day nation-states; countries from South Korea to Israel have national service, which include a military training component. But these countries are seldom critiqued for requiring military service of their citizens. The origin of Eritrea’s national service program, “Sawa,” in 1994 came from a need to give youth work post-war. Decades of colonialism and war left a nascent Eritrean society with purposefully destroyed infrastructures in an effort to de-skill Eritreans both technically and militarily. We can tie this to the US’s goal of “policy [and] security interests in Eritrea” when it sponsored the UN resolution to federate Eritrea with Ethiopia in 1952, setting off Haile Selassie’s imperial expansionist project in the Horn. These historical-political events are germane to understanding what it means for an African country like Eritrea, whose policies largely focus on developing human capital and capacity and protecting national sovereignty, and which chooses  not to have US-European military relations.

It is helpful and interesting, then, to link Max Weber’s theory of states (and sovereignty), in which he posits that one feature of a legitimate state is a standing army, with how Jemima Pierre theorizes the manifestation of white supremacy and racism in Africa. What does it mean for African people to be organized and possess the military capabilities to defend themselves and their nation? We must eradicate the legacies of imperialism enacted through mechanisms like AFRICOM, which often manifest in unfounded accusations about terrorism and the levying of unjust sanctions . And we must salute and support Eritrea’s project of national liberation.

Dina M. Asfaha is completing her doctorate in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on medical practices and mutual aid pioneered in the Nakfa trenches of Eritrea during Eritrea’s liberation struggle against imperial Ethiopia (1961-1991), and how these social practices continue to inform the contemporary framework of Eritrean sovereignty.

Tunde Osazua is a member of the Africa Team of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) and the coordinator of BAP’s U.S. Out of Africa Network, which is the organizing arm of the U.S. Out of Africa: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign.

Efficacy of 91.2% with two doses of Soberana 02 and one of Soberana Plus

Results of clinical trials of this combination of Soberana candidate vaccines were announced yesterday at a meeting of the government’s COVID-19 task force, led by First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez

Author: René Tamayo León |

july 9, 2021 09:07:19

The combination of two doses of the candidate vaccine Soberana 02 and one of Soberana Plus, administered in a 0-28-56 day regimen, was found to have an efficacy of 91.2 percent, in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19, reported Dr. Vicente Vérez Bencomo, director of the Finlay Vaccine Institute (IFV), at Thursday’s meeting of the Cuban government’s COVID-19 prevention and control task force.

An indication of how hard our scientists have worked

The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, congratulated the IFV and other institutions that participated in the creation of Soberana, “a result,” he said, “that is an indication of how hard our scientists have worked.”

Dr. Vérez recalled that the announcement comes exactly 415 days (59 weeks) after the President of the Republic met with a group of scientists at the Cuban Neurosciences Center (Cneuro) and requested that they develop a Cuban vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Referring to the meeting at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, a few weeks ago, when the 92.28 percent efficacy of the Abdala vaccine candidate was announced to workers there, Diaz-Canel recalled that he made the request with the conviction that Cuban scientists would succeed.

Achieving sovereignty in the COVID-19 battle

It was necessary, he pointed out, at the time, to have our own vaccines to achieve sovereignty in the COVID-19 battle, convinced that “Poor countries are not going to be able to have, on short order, the available vaccines that the rich world is producing to prioritize the rich.”

He recalled that the result was validated in phase 3 of the clinical trial carried out in eight municipalities of Havana, precisely when the strain originally detected in South Africa (Beta), “considered a “the beast” in terms of resisting vaccines against SARS-CoV-2,” was circulating within the capital.

The characteristics of the Beta strain, however, are not the same as those of the Delta strain detected in India, which, the IFV leader noted, is highly contagious, but much more susceptible to vaccines.

On Thursday afternoon, the Institute’s staff gathered to celebrate the successful results welcomed by all of Cuba.

As Dr. Vérez Bencomo pointed out in a previous meeting with the country’s leadership, IFV scientists are only halfway there; “We still have a lot to do, and we will not rest until the entire population is immunized with Cuban vaccines.”

Also leading the government task force meeting were Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, Vice President of the Republic Salvador Valdés Mesa and Roberto Morales Ojeda, Communist Party of Cuba secretary for Organization and Cadre Policy

Cuba 184 US 2

UN General Assembly calls for US to end the economic blockade on Cuba for 29th consecutive year

A total of 184 countries voted in favour of a resolution to demand the end of the US economic blockade on Cuba, for the 29th year in a row, with the United States and Israel voting against.

Source: Granma International

Author: Yisell Rodríguez Milán |

Author: Lisset Chavez Bergues |

june 23, 2021 14:06:54

With a vote as impressive as all those on other historic occasions, the Cuban resolution demanding an end to the blockade was approved this Wednesday in the United Nations General Assembly by 184 votes in favor, 2 against and 3 abstentions.

Colombia, Ukraine and Brazil abstained; while the United States and Israel opposed Cuba’s demand.

After the result of the vote was announced, Communist Party of Cuba First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, tweeted: 184 votes in favor, 2 against and 3 abstentions. This is how the world reacts to Cuba’s demand. It’s now been 28 years of worldwide rejection of the blockade. The blockaders have run out of arguments. Those in solidarity strengthen support. Eliminate the blockade.

Party Political Bureau member and Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla likewise posted, “184 countries against the blockade! Once again, from the United Nations. A great victory for the Cuban people, for justice and truth.”

During his remarks before the General Assembly, Rodríguez denounced the United States government’s decision to use the pandemic as an ally in its unconventional war against the Revolution, intensifying the blockade and causing the country losses of some 5 billion dollars in just one year.

He noted that also remaining in full force are the more than 240 hostile measures adopted by the administration of Donald Trump, which interrupted the delivery of remittances to Cuban families, hurt the nation’s self-employed, disrupted family reunification, and made our battle against COVID-19 more difficult.

A large majority of the U.S. population, nonetheless, support the elimination of the blockade and normalization of travel, he emphasized.

The human damage is incalculable, Rodríguez said, stressing that no Cuban family’s life escapes the effects of this policy, while other states are victims of the extraterritorial impact of the blockade.

It is neither legal nor ethical that the government of a great power blockade a small nation in an attempt to impose a government of its design, he stated, adding, “It is not permissible, it is unacceptable.”

Cuba’s demand is to live in peace with no blockade, to end the persecution of our economic relations and the manipulation of our reality, and eliminate obstacles to our development.

Rodríguez also thanked the international community for its support of Cuba. “We are encouraged by the solidarity of thousands of people who have gathered around the world to demand an end to the U.S. blockade,” he said. “On behalf of my country, of our honorable and generous people, I submit for your consideration the draft resolution “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.”

Related information

Evo Morales Denounces Latest Coup Plot, Warns of an Immanent Massacre

Source: Internationalist 360°
August 7 2020

Ramiro Garcia Morales denounces the coup d’état the government and military is preparing.

Lauca Eñe-RKC-7-08-20.- Former Bolivian president Evo Morales Ayma, speaking to Radio Kawsachun Coca on the occasion of the 195th anniversary of the Armed Forces, denounced that according to his information, the government and the military are preparing a coup d’état to prevent the holding of general elections.

“Last minute information, I denounce that General Ivan Ortiz Bravo, head of the third department of the Armed Forces Command, on the instruction of the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, General (Sergio Carlos Orellana), has a coup d’état plan, for some two months, the military patriots informed me that they want to form a civil and military government, now, and they have that plan” he said.

He added that two US planes arrived a few days ago, bringing military equipment, “we don’t know if it’s a donation or a purchase, the army’s immediate response team has been mobilized” he added.

Related: Bolivia: MAS Demands Guaranteed Election Date Through Dialogue

He also reiterated the accusation he made last week that snipers from the Challapata and Sanandita regiments were deployed, which he said were in the tropics and in the city of El Alto.

The former president warned that the government decided to remove the blockade; “yesterday the de facto government again prepared a supreme decree for the armed forces and police to intervene in blockades, especially in the tropics of Cochabamba and Yapacani, using 22 and 25 calibre weapons, and then to say that the demonstrators killed each other,” he said, alerting the organizations mobilized in the country.

“I have this information because there are soldiers who are not with the coup d’état, they are new generations, sons and daughters of the people, I call on them to be with their people, with their fathers, don’t risk the lives of the soldiers, and officers, They have so many people infected with the coronavirus, COSMIL has totally collapsed, and to obey a de facto government with the repression against the people, once again they have a decree ready, I don’t know if they have signed it, until last night it was ready, just like they prepared a decree for the massacre in Sacaba and Senkata.

Related:  Bolivia: Social Movements Maintain Blockades Despite Threats

Morales said that according to the report he has, they are preparing to take over the installations of Radio Kawsachun Coca. “They want to take over the media that reports the truth and that gives us coverage,” he said in time to ask the bases to organize themselves into defense committees or vigils, to defend the community radio stations in particular.

Dominica: What Is Behind the Conflict Over Friday’s Elections

Source:  TeleSur
December 3 2019

roosevelt skerrit

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

Rather than being a spontaneous result steming from social movements, protests are part of a long-time, U.S.-backed strategy pursued by conservatives.

Dominica, a former French and British colony of about 75,000 residents, is holding new general elections on Dec. 6. However, the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has been pushing Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to enact reforms in a bid to gain a better electoral advantage.

Who is really behind the protests in Dominica? 

The right-wing opposition UWP party, which is led by Lennox Linton, is not the only sector behind the call for electoral reform.

The first group to officially bring the demands for electoral reforms was the Concerned Citizen Movement (CCM), a group created near the end of 2018, which would convoke mobilizations in the streets demanding “free elections.”

The CCM president Loftus Durand later revealed that his group was meeting with “high-ranking U.S. officials,” without naming any.

RELATED: Dominica: Court Rejects Opposition Attempt to Stop Election

He added that U.S. officials told him they were closely monitoring the events in Dominica and advised the group to stage much bigger opposition protests in the streets than the few dozens who were protesting then, in order to better legitimize the movement to the international eye.

Then the group morphed into the Committee for Electoral Reform (CER), who met for the first time on Jan. 31.

It is currently comprised by the country’s most conservative sectors, which include Dominica’s Christian Council (DCC), Dominica Business Forum (DBF), the Waterfront and Allied Workers’ Union (WAWU), the Dominican Bar Association, the Dominican Public Service Union and Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC).

Election observers get to work in Dominica, after the High Court rejected a request to suspend the poll, and Prime Minister Skerrit again promised the vote would be free and fair, our presenter @DareeceteleSUR tells us more.

Over the last weeks, the CER has been trying to create confusion, fear, and chaos to delegitimize in advance the validity of the election results.

“A few weeks ago, Capital city Roseau of Dominica was burning under the violence of protestors demanding electoral reforms,” local outlet WicNews recalled and added that “violence leaves a permanent effect on the country by destroying its infrastructure.”

Those who observe the events from the ground are clearly noticing that violence prompted by the political opposition is a way to compensate for its lack of popular support.

“UWP and its leader Lennox Linton are only opting for violent options to spread their message of election campaigning. Linton has failed to put on his agenda for the general elections. ”

International Supports: The Usual Suspects

The UWP leaders have also found international support among the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS).

The strategy seems to follow a sequence very similar to the strategy used in Bolivia, which began by questioning the victory of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), then continued to proclaim in advance the existence of fraud and, finally, culminated in performing a coup d’etat on behalf of “democracy.”

In the case of Dominica, a Caribbean state that has been led by the Labor Party in recent years, the OAS has held positions that subtly support the UWP leader Linton.

On Nov. 19, the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro tweeted about his reservations about the holding of free and fair elections in Dominica, while endorsing and substantiating the opposition’s demands for electoral reform ahead of the Dec. 6 polls, when 21 members of the House of Assembly will be chosen.

However, the OAS’ mantra about “free and fair elections” has become a formal justification for undercutting democracy and toppling non-conforming governments to make way for U.S.-backed political parties to take their seat at the governance table, since Dominica has been voting against U.S. interests in other regional organizations.

In Dominica, similar to what has happened in other countries that are also the subject of Washington’s concern, U.S. diplomats contribute to generating subtle messages aimed at framing the national situation as it were a critical one.

On Nov. 21, for instance, the U.S. Department of State issued a “travel advisory” for the island, which warns to “exercise increased caution in Dominica due to civil unrest. Demonstrations and protests can take place with little or no notice.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Ambassador to Dominica, Linda Taglialatela, issued an op-ed echoing the claims about “the need to improve the system of voter identification” which the OAS Special Mission had previously pointed out, a diagnose that the political opposition has raised as to its battle plot.

“Free, fair, and transparent elections are hallmarks of any good democracy and an indication of good governance and leadership,” Taglialatela said.

“We must be steadfast in our support for democracy, citizens, and transparent governments alike.”

Dominica’s Importance on the International Scene

In 2017, Dominica was among three CARICOM member states that voted against a failed U.S.-backed resolution on Venezuela at the OAS General Assembly in Mexico.

Recently, speaking on the sidelines of that meeting, the PM then told teleSUR that Almagro should be fired and that the OAS had lost its way.

As well, in 2018, Dominica was among only four OAS member countries that voted against a resolution to suspend Venezuela from the 34-member group.

Meanwhile, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) has also expressed support for Dominica’s electoral process, calling OAS actions as intolerable examples of interference in Dominica’s internal affairs.

As a result, Dominica has invited delegations from the Caricom, the Commonwealth, the United Nations, and the Carter Center to observe the polls, but not the OAS.

Dominica’s PM Skerrit has repeatedly condemned the violence of opposition protests, insisting that the upcoming election will be governed by the same process as all elections.

Re-Targeting Cuba: US Renews Effort to Squash Cuba

Source:  Counterpunch
March 20 2019

Re-Targeting Cuba.jpegPhotograph Source Detail of 1591 map of Florida and Cuba
User: SEWilco • Public domain

Embarked upon overthrowing Venezuela’s socialist government, the U.S. government now renews efforts to squash Cuba. The U.S. record of implacable hostility features terror attacks, military invasion, germ warfare, internal subversion, and almost 60 years of U.S. economic blockade. Devoid of natural resources ready for U.S. plunder, Cuba offends by having defended socialism and national independence. Now Title III of the U.S. 1996 Helms Burton Act joins an arsenal of weapons employed in what Cubans regard as genocidal aggression.

Inflicting suffering and destabilization

Helms Burton is complex but centers on tightening the economic blockade; preparing for a transition government; and by means of Title III, inflicting suffering and destabilization.  The latter is taking place now in Venezuela, by other means.

Title III opens the door for the former owners and the heirs of properties nationalized by Cuba’s revolutionary government to bring actions in U.S. courts to gain compensation for what they lost. Persons or companies presently occupying such properties, or profiting from them, and who are located in third countries, would be required by the courts to pay off the aggrieved parties. These live in exile, mainly in the United States. The courts would lack enforcement capabilities.

In 1966, when the law was introduced, the European Union and other critics insisted that the U.S. government delay implementation of Title III. It did so and for the next 23 years, at six month intervals, the United States did announce one six-month delay after another. But a new era dawned on January 16 when the State Department declared that this time suspended implementation would end at 45 days. Something was up.

On March 4 the State Department indicated that in 30 more days Title III would be applied to the foreign and Cuban “traffickers” in nationalized properties. Also Title III would, as of March 19, be extended to 200 Cuban enterprises controlled by Cuban security forces or state agencies, many of them connected with Cuba’s tourist industry. The U.S. government in November, 2017 had already put those facilities off limits to U.S. tourists.

Violation of Cuban sovereignty

As of early April, international investors, aid agencies, and business-persons active or looking to be active in Cuba will be facing vast uncertainties. The former owners of nationalized properties may be suing them in U.S. courts. Concerned about a slippery slope of U.S. disfavor, they may cease involvement with Cuba.  And what with unsettling news, foreign lenders may shy away from possibly risky loans for projects in Cuba.

RelatedCuban Ambassador to Jamaica: The US will keep on failing … civilized and respectful coexistence shall prevail

Title III promises what Cubans call “extraterritorial” effects. It further universalizes application of the U.S. blockade which, potentially involving all countries, violates their sovereignty.

But in a Machiavelliantwist, the State Department will apparently wield the “trafficking” charge selectively. Cuban analyst Reinaldo Taladrid Herrero explains:“The road to Havana passes through Caracas.” Specifically, “They are going to exempt all businesses of countries allied with the United States, above all Canada and the European countries …. Implementation will be centered on adversary countries like Russia, China, and Venezuela.” Others share his views.

Violation of International Law

Title III violates international law, according to Russia; Cuba solidarity groups have protested. A few business-oriented U.S. groups oppose Title III out of concern that future U.S. commercial ventures in Cuba would be vulnerable.

Cuba’s government argues that nationalization was and is legal according to international norms and court decisions in the United States.  Cuba has sought satisfaction from the United States for deaths and destruction due to U.S. assaults. Negotiations taking place briefly during the Obama era looked at balancing Cuba’s claims with U.S demands stemming from nationalization.

Title III means major trouble for Cuba. The government there is presently mounting an effort to bolster the nation’s economy. Foreign investors will asume a major role in the project. They would provide $2.5 billion annually toward building or refurbishing Cuban institutions, companies, and infrastructure. But any good will on their part may well evaporate once threats loom as to court actions in the United States.

Food imports

The availability to the Cuban people of food, health care, schools, building supplies, medicines, and transportation rests on loans and export income from abroad and on income from joint ventures with foreign entities. By 2014 Cuba needed $2.5 billion annually in direct foreign investment. The fact that food imports alone currently require an annual outlay of $2 billion suggests that current requirements are greater.

Title III contains the seeds for havoc in the event that Cuba’s government is no more and the United States takes charge. According to Cuba’s Granma newspaper, Cubans “would be forced to return, reimburse or pay U.S. claimants for the house in which they live, the area on which their communities are built, the arable land where they cultivate produce, the school where their children are educated, the hospital or polyclinic where they receive medical assistance.”

Political terrorism

Cuban Journalist Lázaro Barredo, formerly editor of Granma,summarizes“Helms Burton literally has no precedents in the legal history of the United States. [It] constitutes an attack on sovereignty within the international community [and] represents political terrorism.” Helms Burton would “extend U.S. jurisdiction to other countries in an extraterritorial manner with the perverse intention of frightening, scaring, blackmailing, or dissuading persons interested in investing in Cuba.” We see a decision “to repossess the island, annex it, and move it toward total subordination to the United States.”

This report closes with a condemnation of the generalized cruelty and cynicism that is rooted in the strategic thinking of U.S. power brokers.For example, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, presiding at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 7, heard testimony from “Cynthia Arnson of the US-funded Wilson Center.” She “agreed with Rubio that ‘widespread unrest’ is useful, but cautioned that … ‘starving people don’t get out in the streets.’” In other words, a little starving is OK, but not too much.

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More articles by:W. T. WHITNEY

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.