‘The World is Not Trump’s Estate’: Bolivia’s Evo Morales Condemns US Sanctions on Venezuela

Source:  TeleSUR
May 22 2018

evo morales may 2018 2.pngBolivia’s President Evo Morales speaks during a news conference at the
presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia. | Photo: Reuters

“It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolás Maduro,” Bolivia’s president reiterated. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales has rejected a new round of sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the United States’ after Nicolas Maduro was re-elected as the country’s president Sunday.

RELATED:   Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Maduro’s Victory a Triumph Over Coup Plotters, Intervention

“We condemn the unilateral decision that imposes a new economic blockade to suffocate the Venezuelan people, in retaliation for having defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolas Maduro democratically. Trump must understand that the world is not his estate,” Morales said in a tweet posted late Monday.

The U.S. along with its right-wing European and Latin American allies have repeatedly called Venezuela’s elections a ‘sham’ before and after Maduro won at the polls.

Morales’ remarks come after he congratulated Maduro on his re-election, and praised it as a victory against foreign interventionism.

Condenamos decisión unilateral de EEUU que impone un nuevo bloqueo económico para asfixiar al hermano pueblo venezolano, como represalia por haber derrotado democráticamente el boicot golpista contra el presidente Nicolás Maduro. Trump debe entender que el mundo no es su hacienda

“It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup and boycott against President Nicolás Maduro,” Morales reiterated.

Over 20 million Venezuelans were called to the polls to elect their next president, where Maduro won with 6,190,612 votes, with a 46 percent voter turnout.

Time for Latin America & the Caribbean to come first

Photo: SAG

The policy of “America first” defended by the current U.S. administration constitutes a declaration of principles.

If Washington once fantasized about a world in its own image and likeness, in which progress would spread to countries that did not challenge its hegemony, it is now clear that there is only room for one country at the top. And anyone who disputes U.S. dominance must face “fire and fury.”

What can Latin America and the Caribbean expect of their northern neighbor? The next meeting of the continent’s heads of state, in mid-April in Lima, Peru, will be an opportunity to see.

With the opening of the 8th Summit of the Americas – an initiative of Bill Clinton’s administration to promote free trade – a month off, the White House must prepare the ground.

OAS Council meeting in Washington

This is the task of Vice President Mike Pence today, during the Organization of American States Council meeting in Washington, where he will offer an unusual speech on his government’s priorities in relation to the continent.

Pence will be the first U.S. Vice President to address the body since Democrat Al Gore did so in 1994, reflecting the lack of importance Washington gives this “council of colonies,” except when the U.S. is looking to attack or promote coups in sovereign countries.

U.S. officials have already announced plans to redouble aggression against Venezuela, with the overthrow of its government an obsession for this administration, as it attempts to extend an olive branch to others countries in the region and soften its offences.

Summit in Lima

The Summit in Lima will be the first time Trump comes face to face with his Latin American and Caribbean counterparts, who still hold fresh in their memories the xenophobic rhetoric he used in his 2016 election campaign; his threats to make Mexico pay for a border wall; his description of Haiti and El Salvador as “shithole countries” and immigrants from the region as “murderers and rapists.”

As Pence speaks to the OAS in Washington, meeting in Lima will be representatives of civil society from across the continent, in what is being called a Hemispheric Dialogue, to address issues like forced disappearances, neoliberal austerity measures, lay-offs and pension cuts, murders of journalists, corruption, and the “soft” coups taking place in our region.

Simultaneously in Cuba, a Thinking the Americas Forum will take on the challenge of addressing the diversity and richness of Cuban civil society in times of change, to pave the way for a prosperous and sustainable socialism.

Three events in three distinct locations, at a key moment in the region, again facing the confrontation of two Americas, two different historical projects, on the same continent.

As our emancipators did 200 years ago, this appears to be the time to say: “Latin America and the Caribbean first.”

Vladimir Putin Spoke This Morning

by Keith Ellis

March 1 2018

Are we on the way to permanent peace, beginning with talks on restoring arms control agreements?

vladimir putin march 1 2018.jpgBefore Putin spoke this morning (Thursday, March 1, 2018), we knew we were living in a world where the U.S. and NATO reserved the right, to be used at their discretion, to deliver a first nuclear strike on any selected foe.  President Trump during his election campaign was heard wondering aloud why his country had nuclear weapons if it didn’t use them.

The West’s war drills

When he became president, ignoring the fact that his predecessor had embraced the same first-strike doctrine, some of his fellow citizens and people in other parts of the world began to recoil in fear of nuclear war being unleashed.  Rising tensions were now expressed in and provoked by the West’s war drills which had become almost perpetual and were being practised closer and closer to the territories of Russia, China and North Korea.  This latter country, in defiance of the U.N.’s prohibition, continued to improve its nuclear status, thus making the U.S. increasingly angry but with reduced options for reacting militarily, an awkward situation for an “exceptionally great power.”

            Faced, on the one hand, with his country’s propensity having recourse to war, and with his own predisposition to condone his military’s use of nuclear weapons or ones fashioned from depleted uranium, and, on the other, with the abhorrence of nuclear weapons held by much of humanity, President Trump decided to make the use of nuclear weapons more palatable.

As part of his Nuclear Posture Review announced this past January, he proposed new entry-level low-yield nuclear weapons—retro-designed to be “nice” mini ones, going back in yield to the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  That former explosive power would now be possible, redesigned and repackaged, following the same esthetic inspiration as those hand guns that Smith and Wesson produce for lady shooters, or like the piece of chocolate cake Trump proudly fed to Premier Xi while he carried out the bombing of Al Shayrat airbase in Syria. This earlier scale of destruction of human lives and property would seem “mercifully” lower than that resulting from his vaunted “fire and fury”.  The same relative “humanitarian” line of thinking is perhaps encouraging Trump to appreciate and be inspired by the fact that, by his linking the new bombs to the past (1945), the new ones will seem as if they have been used before and thus be endowed with a comfortable familiarity.  If they are used again, say against Venezuela—provided they are kept well away from the rich oil fields and the human victims appear to be from one of those countries recently described by the leader of the “free world” in the way in which he wants the rest of the imperialist world to see us—a nuclear war using his small new bombs will come to seem no more inconvenient than did hurricane María.  The goal of making nuclear war into conventional war will then have been achieved.

Nuclear parity

“Not so fast,” Vladimir Putin intimated on March 1.  The defensive and retaliatory arsenal he showed as ready or nearly ready to respond to any attack by a nuclear weapon has re-magnified Hiroshima, bringing back to people’s ears the “Oh horrors” slowly pronounced by my grandfather in 1945.  What is more, the inescapable silo-emptying response would be applied to any nuclear foe not only of Russia but also of its allies.  Putin named for the first time, in this military context, only one of these allies: China.  In this climactic part of his speech, he displayed unusual passion, as if the torrent of insults against him and Russia and the constant threats and provocations against his allies were becoming too much to bear.

He added to his statement about Russia’s new nuclear capabilities that they were also new to the world, for their speed, power, length of engagement and maneuverability, feats that require entirely new materials in their manufacture.  These new nuclear capabilities, the Russian leader said, were not intended to frighten his adversaries but to establish a state of nuclear parity.  The weaponry will at the same time be tightly defensive and in a position to punish aggressors against Russia and its allies, “regardless of the consequences”.  His words seemed to have brought palpable happiness to his large audience.  Thanks to the first-rate and dedicated work that is being done by scientists young and old, their achievements are being carried out at the same time as increased social spending in Russia aims to bring marked improvement to such indices as health care and life expectancy in the largest country in the world.  It is useful to remember that the Russian military is currently functioning on a budget of $50 billion while that of the U.S. has been demanding $700 billion, perhaps more now.

An enormous contribution to peace

Some weeks ago Putin warned Trump not to make war on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.  How many China-like defensive agreements are there to be revealed?  (The Venezuelan government is right now widely publicizing Putin’s speech in Spanish translation.)  Are we on the way to permanent peace, beginning with talks on restoring arms control agreements?

            These new creations of nuclear defensive weaponry are so difficult to breach, even with a first-strike advantage, that an adversary would think many times before attempting to do so.  And the response to an attempt would be so difficult to defend against that the risk of trying would hardly be worthwhile.  In summary, the good news from Putin’s speech is that the progress in Russian military science, unmatched by the imperialists, is an enormous contribution to peace.

Caribbean Association of Cuba rejects Trump’s racist remarks

Source:  Granma
February 26 2018

maria rollock cuba caribbean

María Rollock Hernández, President of the Caribbean Association of Cuba, noted that “Our peoples are working for peace and unity, and we are offended by these disrespectful and arrogant remarks.” Photo: Nuria Barbosa

President of the ACC, María Rollock Hernández, speaking to Granma International, noted that “Our peoples are working for peace and unity, and we are offended by these disrespectful and arrogant remarks.”

The Caribbean Association of Cuba (ACC) vehemently rejected in Havana U.S. President Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic remarks.

During a meeting with U.S. Senators held in mid January, Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” in reference to Haiti, El Salvador, and other African countries, provoking a wave of criticism from across the globe.

Peace and unity

The ACC statement reads: “Our organization, responding to the sentiments of its members, descendents of the Greater Caribbean, expresses its most energetic condemnation and rejection of the recent xenophobic and racist remarks by current President of the United States Donald Trump, for his disrespect, erroneous and de-contextualized view of Caribbean, Latin American and African nations, all of which have equal rights before the United Nations.”

President of the ACC, María Rollock Hernández, speaking to Granma International, noted that “Our peoples are working for peace and unity, and we are offended by these disrespectful and arrogant remarks.”

The organization, founded on March 3, 1932, is composed of over 700 members from 26 nations and works to promote the traditions, culture, history of struggle and achievements of different countries of the Caribbean.

The ACC brings together citizens and descendents of nations such as Antigua, Jamaica, the Bermuda Islands, Montserrat, Haiti, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, the Caiman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Anguilla, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Belize, and Cuba, who work to strengthen ties between members.

Norman Girvan Centre for Caribbean Studies

The Caribbean Association of Cuba is a non-governmental organization affiliated with the Association of Caribbean States and the University of Havana’s Norman Girvan Centre for Caribbean Studies.

It also forms part of Cuban civil society and maintains links with the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP); Casa de las Américas; Foreign Ministry; Cuban Movement for Peace; among other national institutions.

What is more, the organization works to promote popular participation in socio-economic, political and cultural integration processes designed to strengthen Caribbean identity, while also facilitating the creation of social tools to boost regional unity.

Daughter to a Barbadian father, Rollock Hernández noted that: “Since its creation, our organization has been permanently open to strengthening the ties of friendship and solidarity with the peoples. We offer a cultural program to educate the new generations in the traditions and representative elements of art from the region. In order to do so we maintain socio-cultural exchanges with many nations in the area.”

One such activity is the Caribbean Festival or Festival of Fire, which takes place every year in July, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, with performances by dance and music groups, and expositions by popular artisans and visual artists. A theoretical event is held parallel to the festival, during which the results of research into Caribbean issues are presented.

Activities are also held to commemorate national celebrations and Independence Day in each country, as well as the ACC’s anniversary, including workshops, expositions, cultural events and others dedicated to historic themes, with the participation of neighbors, friends, members of the community and guests.

In this regard, Rollock Hernández noted that “In June we organize an international event focused on Cuban and Caribbean culinary arts, and in October we undertake activities in honor of Cuban Culture Day with a celebration of Latin American and Caribbean culture highlighting the friendship and solidarity of the peoples.”

U.S. congressional delegation reaffirms need to improve relations with Cuba

Source:  Granma
February 21 2018

U.S. members of Congress expressed the need to continue the process, initiated by the Obama administration, toward the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, during a February 21 press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

us congressional delegation in cuba.jpgPhoto: Prensa Latina

U.S. members of Congress expressed the need to continue the process, initiated by the Obama administration, toward the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, during a February 21 press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

The group, led by Democrat Senator and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman, Patrick Leahy, arrived in Cuba last weekend, here to review – together with local authorities – changes in Washington’s policy toward the island since President Donald Trump assumed office in January 2017.

During the press conference, Leahy mentioned the meeting that he and his colleagues held yesterday with Cuban President, Raúl Castro, describing the encounter as extremely frank and pleasant, during which Cuba’s desire to continue improving bilateral relations, despite current circumstances was expressed.

The Senator for Vermont criticized the new direction taken by the Trump administration with regard to Cuba policy, and in particular measures related to the withdraw of diplomatic personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Havana and the expulsion of members of Cuba’s diplomatic corps from its headquarters in Washington.

A grave error

This is a grave error which harms the interests of both governments and peoples and above all those who need to visit either country for family or business purposes, as well as so many other things that were frozen under the pretext of the health incidents reported by U.S diplomatic staff in the Cuban capital, noted Leahy.

Regarding this issue, the U.S. Senator highlighted the Cuban government’s cooperation in resolving the case and stated that he believes the island’s authorities do not have the slightest intention to harm U.S. citizens who visit Havana.

What is more he noted that not a single one of his colleagues had any fears about travelling to Cuba as they believe the island to be a safe place, and have even travelled here with their spouses, and in Leahy’s case, with his 13 year old granddaughter.

The group, which will return to the U.S. today, February 21, also includes senators Ron Wyden from Oregon and Gary Peters from Michigan, as well as House Representatives James McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Kathy Castor (D-Florida) who was not present during the press conference, and Susan Davis (D-California).

For his part McGovern criticized recent steps by the Trump administration to reduce the number of staff at the U.S and Cuban embassies as well as other changes by the White House which have had negative implications for bilateral relations, as they affect travel by Cuban and U.S. citizens to both countries.

On Monday, February 20, the Congressional delegation held a meeting with Director General for the United States at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernández de Cossio, who thanked them for their efforts to improve relations.

The Cuban official also reiterated that no evidence of the alleged sonic attacks against U.S. diplomatic personnel in Havana exists, as sectors intent on preventing any advance in the normalization of relations between the two countries, are claiming.

Have St Lucia, Guyana and Jamaica become the “Three Blind Mice” of CARICOM?

INTERNATIONAL  NETWORK  IN  DEFENSE  OF  HUMANITY 
(CARIBBEAN  CHAPTER)

PRESS  RELEASE

caricom5

All over the world today, the United States Department of State and the US’s billionaire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (former CEO of the rapacious American multi-national oil corporation Exxon Mobil) are boasting about the coup that they pulled off in engineering the so-called “Lima Group of States” (inclusive of the CARICOM states of St Lucia and Guyana) into issuing an international Declaration that attacks and vilifies the socialist Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as well as the success of Tillerson’s recent diplomatic effort to enlist Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the government of Jamaica in the USA’s ongoing crusade against Venezuela.

These recent happenings are all part and parcel of a well coordinated strategy on the part of the Donald  Trump administration to cause maximum disruption and subversion in our sister Caribbean country of Venezuela in the lead up to Venezuela’s critical Presidential election of April 2018.

And so, one is forced to query why three of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states — Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Guyana — would remove themselves from our collective CARICOM umbrella, and instead associate themselves with this sinister “big power” campaign of subversion against a fellow developing country that is trying desperately hard to keep its precious natural resources out of the dirty hands of greedy North American multi-national corporations.

The US Department of State website is telling us that St. Lucia and Guyana are members of something called “The Lima Group of states” !

allen chastanet st lucia2.jpgThe questions therefore arise:- Do the citizens of St. Lucia and Guyana know anything at all about this “Lima Group of States” that their governments have joined? Was any of this discussed with the people of St. Lucia and Guyana by Prime Minister Alan Chastanet and President David Granger respectively?

Is it the case that St. Lucia, Guyana, and Jamaica (under theDavid-A.-Granger guyana.jpg relatively conservative, right-wing administrations that now govern those countries) have been transformed into myopic puppet states of Donald  Trump’s USA? Have these three once proud pillars of Caribbean nationhood become the “three blind mice” of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) ?

Andrew HolnessMessers Chastanet, Holness, and Granger are all relative newcomers to Caribbean political leadership, but surely they must be aware that one of the fundamental objectives of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as enshrined in Article 4 of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, is the coordination and the collective articulation of the foreign policy of our 15 CARICOM member states, and “the achievement of a greater measure of……..effectiveness of Member States in dealing with third States, groups of States, and entities of any description”.

It is therefore inexcusable that these three conservative right-wing political leaders have snubbed and disregarded our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and our forty year commitment to formulating and pursuing a collective foreign policy, for by so doing they have severely tarnished the international image of CARICOM, and have done serious damage to the morale, stability and effectiveness of our regional organization.

And what should be particularly distressing for the people of St. Lucia, Guyana, and Jamaica is these three neophyte heads of government are seemingly unaware that each of their nations possess outstanding records as architects and champions of the CARICOM determination to formulate and articulate a collective foreign policy, and to adopt a unified CARICOM position in our dealings with the “great” powers of this world.

Who can forget the historic and critical role played by Guyana’s Forbes Burnham in crafting the Treaty of Chaguaramas and its commitment to a collective foreign policy?

Likewise,who can forget Michael Manley’s collaboration with the said Forbes Burnham in insisting that CARICOM formulate and deploy a common foreign policy in relation to such critical issues as support for the anti-apartheid /anti-imperialist movements of Southern Africa; the Caribbean’s engagement in negotiations at Lome for a new relationship with the then European Economic Community; and advocacy for the establishment of a New International Economic Order?

And who could fail to acknowledge that it was in the island of St. Lucia in July of 1974 that the heads of Government of the newly established CARICOM first enunciated the principle that our nations would embark on such wider hemispheric matters as crafting relationships with the Central American Common Market, the Andean Common Market, and the nation of Mexico, NOT as individual states, but on a collective, region-wide CARICOM basis !

In light of the foregoing, all right-thinking citizens of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) should rebuke these three errant heads of Government and deprecate the folly that they have engaged themselves in.

Our Caribbean has a proud tradition of standing up and courageously speaking truth to power. It was — after all — four small Caribbean states that — in 1972 — defied the mighty United States of America and broke the diplomatic isolation of the nation of Cuba. We took a stance based on PRINCIPLE, and the rest of the hemisphere followed us.

That is the type of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that we must remain committed to being!

We must therefore NOT permit our unity as a regional community to be fractured, nor must we allow ourselves to be led down a path of unprincipled, self-seeking, and undignified behavior by any number of “blind mice”.

DAVID  COMISSIONG
Coordinator

Related:  Time to Re-visit Michael Manley’s path – A Vision for Jamaica

The American Dream has become a Nightmare

Source:  Cuba – Network in Defense of Humanity
February 5 2018

by Manuel E. Yepe.

the american nightmare.jpgThe projected wall to separate Mexico from what had been its own territory until the day that it was taken away by United States; US President Donald Trump’s characterization of some nations in Africa as shitholes; the eviction from US soil of Salvadoran, Nicaraguan and Haitian residents; the deportation of undocumented young people who’d arrived in the US in childhood and are known as the “dreamers”; the rejection of refugees, plus the reduction of green cards by half and other anti-immigration actions, have characterized Washington’s foreign policy during the Trump administration.

Wide-reaching, all over the world, hegemonic corporate propaganda has always presented the US as a model of democracy and a welfare paradise. It has made the US a dreamland fantasized about by millions of would-be emigrants from poor nations. Now, the US President is doing even the unimaginable. He wants to put an end to such an image, by resorting to decisions that may bring about great violence.

A new phenomenon

The project of an expanding nation has prevailed since English immigrants, through the annexation of lands populated by indigenous peoples or occupied by Dutch immigrants, created the Thirteen English colonies. They later united to fight against the natives and especially against the French immigrants.

The United States, in a continuous and expansionist process, through the purchase of territories from France and Spain, the dispossession of Mexico from a good part of its territory and several asymmetrical wars, has expanded its territory, possessions, and global hegemony…what today President Donald Trump defends with the motto “America First!” and consists of closing borders as a new phenomenon, opposed to expansionism.

The US of the fantasized American Dream is no longer being built. Having achieved its objective, it has turned to defending its accomplishments. Now, the America First doctrine is the calling card of a nation that Trump, as a white multimillionaire in love with his own genetics, considers the best in the world.

An impossible entity 

By the way, when we talk about a country called “the United States of America” we refer to an impossible entity or an entelechy. This is because America is geographically a continent made up of several independent nations. None should claim the right to represent the union of all the states that make up the continent.

Originally, the name “United States of America” could have been the expression of a legitimate and plausible aspiration of the precursors of a dream of unity that has never been made possible, but which today embodies a deceptive purpose of domination and hegemony.

Even if this were the historical reason for the imbroglio, the nations of the affected continent can survive the terminological confusion provided there is absolute respect for the sovereignty of all countries involved.

Regrettably, there have been, and still are, many occasions when conflicts arise because one of the parties, always Washington, takes advantage of the semantic confusion for its own benefit.

The United States was born practically accompanied by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. This is the idea that the United States of America will expand because of its obvious (manifest) need and definite destiny. First, it would expand from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific. Then, the northeastern states would carry their concept of “civilization” throughout the continent through territorial expansion.

For US commercial interests, expansion offered great and lucrative access to foreign markets. This allowed them to compete under better conditions against the British. Owning ports facing the Pacific would facilitate trade with Asia.

The ideological and philosophical connotation of its name was not embraced by all of US society. Differences within the country about the objectives and consequences of the policy of expansion would determine its acceptance or rejection.

Only when the peoples who inhabit the region today known as the American continent want to proclaim in common the unification of their territorial sovereignties, could the resulting nation be legitimately declared the “United States of America”; or else when humanity reaches its eternal yearning to live in a communist world, without classes or borders.

Cuba-Network in Defense of Humanity