Cuba: Together we can make it!

Cource:  Cuba Minrex
March 24 2020

Speech delivered by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the First Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Health of the Association of Caribbean States on Covid-19 held by Video Conference.

Allow me to mention that it has been thanks to a technical miracle and the support of the Secretariat that Cuba has been able to participate in this video-conference.  It so happens that the website that hosts the platform of the Association, through which all participants are able to connect to this important meeting, has denied access to Cuba for reasons of the blockade imposed by the United States against our country.

Congratulations to Barbados 

First of all I would like to congratulate Barbados in its condition as President of the Council of Ministers; as well as the Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States for taking the initiative of convening the First Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Health on COVID-19 for the purpose of exchanging on the urgent efforts called for by humanity in view of the impact of the new coronavirus (SARS CoV 2/Covid-19).

We are here because we are facing a crisis that goes beyond all of us, the consequences of which are sure to be serious and enduring.

Unity of will to to develop joint cooperative actions

The quick spreading of the disease demands that we unite our wills to develop joint cooperative actions that will make it possible to cope with COVID -19, which we all human beings are exposed to.

But our responsibility is still bigger.  Further on, once we have overcome the pandemic, we will still have to confront its devastating and enduring social and economic effects. We are aware that we are currently on the path towards a profound recession or international economic depression and that our countries of the South will suffer severely its impact.

This moment calls for everyone to set aside political differences so we can all focus on dealing with the emergency and its serious consequences in the near future.

Every country can and should make a contribution and pursue every possible effort. The pandemic knows no borders or ideologies.  In order to confront such a serious challenge we should all concert our efforts and support each other.

Most of us are relatively small States, many with scarce natural resources.  We all suffer from the global economic contraction and some have to bear the additional burden of coercive economic measures.

The capacity to complement each other

In the midst of such difficulties, we have the capacity to complement each other. If we act on our own we would hardly achieve anything.  Together we could better withstand the impact, find some relief, protect our respective peoples and engage in the difficult task of recovery.

There are countries with better conditions to confront the pandemic and palliate its economic repercussions. Those which are doing relatively better could support the countries with fewer resources and those facing the most complex epidemiological situation first and afterwards those faced with the most complex economic situation.

The actions that we expect from WHO and PAHO to ensure collective, concerted and effective efforts should be supported by the initiatives that we are all capable of generating.

Sharing respective experiences

It is indispensable to share our respective experiences, intensify communication and identify those practices that have achieved good results somewhere else in the world.

We should not expect –much less be confident- that the rich and industrialized countries will come to save our peoples.  Little assistance will come from the North.  The responsibility of facing the challenge and acting the way our citizens deserve is ours.  The ACS can play a crucial role in that endeavor.

Allow me to share briefly the experience of Cuba.

We have adopted several measures to prevent, confront and control the infection in a context in which there isn’t a local transmission of the virus as yet.  Social cohesion and solidarity have been of the essence.

We have a primary health care infrastructure that ensures epidemiological control.  Our scientific development has specialized in communicable diseases and we have a pharmaceutical industry of a high technological level.

The country has and is implementing a national program to control and confront the infection that prioritizes the health of the people as well as visitors and foreigners residing in Cuba.

Responding to medical assistance requests

Despite this difficult situation, Cuba can modestly offer some cooperation.  After making some efforts we have been responding to the medical assistance requests received from several countries in the region, including five members of the Association, which have asked for medical personnel.

Based on the experience in China with the use of a medicine created by Cuba, we have also received requests for that medication, which we are trying to satisfy to the extent of our possibilities.  We have advanced in the negotiations of an agreement with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to guarantee a minimum amount of Interferon Alpha 2B vials.

Our Organization can help us socialize our experiences; design an institutional mechanism to bring our respective medical and scientific experts closer together; learn from successful social and local approaches; and identify new forms of cooperation.

We can not underestimate the value of joint efforts.

A virtual technical workshop

Therefore we suggest to the presidency of the Council of Ministers to organize, in coordination with the Secretary-General, a virtual technical workshop in the course of the next few days among our health specialists that will make it possible to establish ways of communication to share experiences and exchange information of interest that may contribute to cope with this pandemic.

Cuba also suggests inviting other countries of the hemisphere, including the United States and Canada, which may be willing to participate in the interest of expanding coordination and exchange.

Likewise, in an interactive way, we could all share a guide or questionnaire that could make it easier for us to identify fundamental data, statistics, concepts and practices that could be enhanced with whatever we have been able to learn from the experience in other countries and regions.

I can offer the participation of our experts to create this instrument.  This is a new initiative that we submit to the consideration of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

Solidarity before inaction and selfishness

We are motivated by the fraternal values that have characterized Cuba, including the principle of sharing what we have, even if it’s scarce.  More than 400 000 Cuban professionals have accomplished missions in 164 countries of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia. The Cuban medical cooperation accumulates more than half a century of experience.

At some point in time we will have to carefully meditate about the way to face the economic, commercial and the consequent social impacts affecting all of our countries. We will be faced with a situation in which tourism will be affected; transportation will be reduced; commercial lines will be depressed; supplies will be uncertain and markets will be distorted.

We can not think that the market will respond to these challenges.  This will require the dedicated efforts of our governments.  If we join our efforts, we will have better possibilities to move forward in less time.

The reality that we all face requires that we put our willingness to take action and our solidarity before inaction and selfishness.  Humanity demands an effective solution.

Together we can make it.

Thank you, very much.

Ecuador: My brother would return with judicial guarantees …Pierina Correa

Source:  TeleSUR
November 27 2019

Pierrina Correa in an interview to the media on Nov. 27th, 2019.Pierina Correa in an interview with the media. November 27 2019.
Photo EFE

“It seems their idea is to get convictions and sentences as fast as possible that would block us for life” (from being elected to any public office), she added.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, currently living with his wife in Belgium, is not afraid to return to his country and even be arrested if he is guaranteed it would be done under due process of law, his sister Pierina Correa told EFE in an interview.

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Former Ecuadorean President Condemns Coup In Bolivia, OAS

“But there are no guarantees in our current judicial system that we can enter a defense in court the way it should be,” she said, giving as an example the recent case of ex-lawmaker Virgilio Hernandez, sentenced to preventive prison over the charge of “rebellion” after prosecutors – supporters of current President Lenin Moreno – accused him of taking part in organizing violent demonstrations during last October’s protests.

Hernandez denied the charges and denounced his sentence as “political persecution.”

According to the former president’s sister, who is campaigning in New York for the opposition movement Social Commitment to the Citizens’ Revolution in the perspective of the 2021 elections, Hernandez surrendered voluntarily after his home was broken into and searched so he would be allowed to stand trial without being incarcerated, but then “he was taken prisoner” on Nov. 5.

Rafael Correa, president between 2007-2017, has lived in Belgium since he left the presidency, after which some 20 charges have been brought against him including corruption. Correa always denied the charged and denounced the lack of evidence against him.

“The procedure is clear, above all in the case of Rafael Correa and Jorge Glas (former vice president of Ecuador): to cancel their political participation not only in the 2021 elections but for life,” Pierina Correa said.

She also felt there was something to be learned by “the election results in Argentina, where the pendulum has moved back toward the left, and after the marches in Ecuador, in Chile, the problem in Bolivia, and what is going on in Colombia. So what’s the message? That the winds of progressive politics are blowing again in the region and that doesn’t suit our current government.”

According to Pierina Correa, with this scenario in her country, the Social Commitment to the Citizens’ Revolution that her brother directs from Belgium has assumed the task of “taking back the government” and to do that, “we are carrying a message of unity and organization.”

“We are calling together a great coalition of hope that unites movements, parties, fronts, and progressive and leftist organizations, so we can go into the 2021 elections as a solid pact,” she said.

Correa, who began her tour in California and after New York will continue on to Florida, added that Lenin Moreno “took away from us, above all from the younger generations, the chance to build our future.”

Cuba: Promoting non-violence against women and girls

Source:  La Santa Mambisa

Photo: Clock Radio.

The National Day for Non-Violence against Women and Girls will be held in Cuba until December 10 to make visible that problem, and  to discuss how to prevent and address it in our society.

The communication specialist of the Oscar Arnulfo Romero Center, Ibet García, stressed that workshops, community fairs, panels, concerts, dance presentations and exhibitions dedicated to the subject are developed in various parts of the country and especially in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, headquarters of the activities.

He announced that this Thursday, in the afternoon will be held in the capital Pavilion Cuba, the great festival Arts for Nonviolence to celebrate the first anniversary of the Evoluciona campaign.

With the message the Harassment Delays You, the initiative is coordinated by the Oscar Arnulfo Romero Center in partnership with the FMC, the National Center for Sex Education and the Center for Youth Studies.

Three keys of Fidel’s party

Source:  Granma
November 27 2019

Three key concepts, that sustain the essential political instrument that is our Party, are unity, providing an example, and sacrifice, as confirmed by notable historians, philosophers, writers, and journalists

As Fidel and Raúl have taught us, in our society and in our Party, one principle must prevail: the example, which means merit, ability, and modesty. Photo: Granma Archives

Fidel’s great work, says Brazilian theologian Frei Betto, is the Cuban Revolution, which did not begin January 1, 1959, but much earlier, and it has not concluded. But the backbone of this monumental project, underway just 90 miles from the most powerful empire in history, could not be explained without its Party.

This is confirmed by notable historians, philosophers, writers, and journalists, who highlight, among others, three keys that support this essential political instrument.

UNITY

Fidel’s obsession was unity. He was timid, he seemed to almost request permission to be who he was, “despite all his genius, of all the history he embodied,” Frei Betto noted. He was transformed when a challenge arose or when he explained to the multitudes “the art of building a correlation of social, political, and military forces that allows current conditions of the struggle to be changed, making possible, in the future, what at the present time appears impossible,” adds Chilean sociologist Marta Harnecker.

He understood, as few others, that unity is not achieved with sermons, but with action, and that in this effort we must be willing to do everything. “He bared his chest to the bullets when the invasion came,” Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano recalled, “faced hurricanes as an equal, one hurricane to another, survived 637 attacks. It was not the work of Mandinga’s spell, or a miracle from God, that this new homeland would survive ten U.S. Presidents (currently 12), who had set the table for lunch with knives and forks.”

To confront such powerful forces as U.S. imperialism and local oligarchies, the main task of a revolutionary of these times, Fidel insisted again and again, was to build unity of the revolutionary forces. A broader effort should be considered, only after making an effort in this regard. However, he was not rigid in this objective, Harnecker clarifies. When the goal was not achieved immediately, the leader of the Cuban Revolution did not give up on progress toward broader unity. He insisted, “We should not start by setting the highest goals, but rather the minimum ones.”

But of all Fidel’s accomplishments, one of his most important legacies was the creation of the Party, the main instrument for unity. He knew that every revolution is a war and to face it in better conditions, essential is “a single command capable of guiding the fight, clearly defining the strategic enemy and the immediate enemy, the form the fight must take, and the current situation, as well as the policy to continue gaining supporters against the immediate enemy,” states Harnecker, reflecting on the political legacy of the Comandante en jefe.

October 3, 1965, the first Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) was established, reflecting the consolidation of the political instrument of unity. In the formal act, Fidel read Ernesto Che Guevara’s farewell letter, which bore double symbolism: the Heroic Guerrilla had gone to continue the revolutionary project in “other lands of the world demanding the contribution of my modest efforts.” It was also a message sent by an archetypal Communist, who in another letter to Fidel, that same year, had written:

“The Party and every member of the Party must be in the vanguard … The moral standing of Communists is their most precious award, they must take care of individual morality …” (letter from Che to Fidel, March 26, 1965, before leaving to complete his internationalist mission in Congo).

If the key to the vanguard party is unity, inclusion is its essence. “There is no revolutionary, social sector that is not represented,” Fidel would explain when he announced the newly founded Central Committee, insisting that the Revolution must be above all that members had done in the past. The important thing was what all these forces would do together in the future. That is why, adds Harnecker, the Cuban leader did not “enforce his copyrights and, although the July 26 Movement was recognized by the vast majority of the people as the architect of the victory, he abandoned the flag of his movement to assume the flag of the Revolution.”

Fidel himself explained that via union and ideas, unity and doctrine, in the crucible of a revolutionary process, “this Party has been formed. And we must always be protective of these two things, because they are our fundamental pillars.”

EXAMPLE

The Communist Party of Cuba was assigned the task of assuring and defending the Revolution of the entire people, with the participation and organization of workers, peasants, technicians, professionals, students, and the rebel youth.

The logic of organizing people’s power was closely linked to the failure of all attempted coups, invasions or sieges, which would be tested over more than half a century, in the face of repeated aggression by imperialism and the economic blockade, which would have brought down any government that did not have the support of the vast majority of an organized people.

“But the Party would not have survived without a moral component, the example,” says Mexican intellectual Pablo González Casanova.

Cuba was, and is, the only country that maintains its socialist project as a “moral world,” or “another possible world,” as is often said, or “another way of organizing work and life in the world,” González explains.

Many times Fidel was heard saying: “In our society and in our Party, one principle must prevail: the example, which translates into merit, ability, modesty.” Fidel’s greatest concern was that the Party never lose its virtue, that affectionate respect, that fraternal respect and affection the masses feel for it. Let there be sacrifice and work, self-denial, honor, “but never privilege,” Fidel would insist in 1974, speaking before a PCC accountability assembly in the province of Oriente.

Both the practice of confrontation and that of reaching consensus imply measures to organize collective morality, conscience, and will, and that is the Party organized by Fidel, Pablo González Casanova states.

The Cuban Communist Party takes the approach that agreement can be reached amidst conflict and class struggle, which continues even when consensus seems to predominate. “Cuba’s experience in this respect is immense, and not only in defense of its own Revolution and the many confrontations and agreements with the United States, but for having participated in the war in Angola against the army of the former colonialist, racist country of South Africa – the most powerful on the continent – and having helped defeat it, and sit at the negotiating table until reaching a compromise for peace,” concludes González.

SACRIFICE

“He had a chivalrous sense of honor, based on sacrifice,” says Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano. While Armando Hart, Cuban revolutionary thinker and former Cuban Minister of Education and Culture, interpreted the selfless vocation of the Party as a value ​​that cannot be separated from the life of its principal leader: “The man who intelligently conceived, led, and defended, without hesitation, the gigantic work of the Cuban Revolution was called upon to be an uncommon, prime example of ethics, culture, confidence, experience, and firmness of principles: all in one.”

As early as 1962, while concluding the Seventh National Conference of Revolutionary Instruction Schools, Fidel stated: “The Party is not an extra benefit. The Party is sacrifice. The Party is not looking for anything. Above all, let us teach every revolutionary that one joins the Party to give everything…”

And on March 14, 1974, at the abovementioned assembly in Santiago de Cuba, he would add: “The Party must have authority before the masses, not because it is the Party, or because it has power, or because it has the strength or the authority to make decisions. The Party must have authority before the masses based on its work, its connection to those same masses, its relations with the masses; the Party is in the masses, the Party is with the masses, but never above…”

And he concluded: “…May the Party never lose this virtue, may the Party never lose the affectionate respect, the fraternal respect and affection the masses feel for it; may the Party be sacrifice, may the Party be work, may the Party be disinterest, may the Party be honor, but never privilege.

Fidel Castro and his ideal of integration for Latin America

Source:  La Santa Mambisa
November 25 2019

“What is the history of Cuba but the history of Latin America ? And what is the history of Latin America but the history of Asia, Africa and Oceania? And what is the history of all these peoples but the history of the most ruthless and cruel exploitation of imperialism in the entire world? These words formed the speech of the then young Fidel Castro in 1962 when the revolution was just a girl and Cuba had been expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS).

He then said: “In many Latin American countries, the revolution is inevitable today. That fact is not determined by anyone’s will; it is determined by the appalling conditions of exploitation in which the American man lives, the development of the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, the world crisis of imperialism and the universal movement of struggle of the subjugated peoples. ”

Almost 60 years later, these words echo in the ears of those who listen again to the speech and reflect that history of struggle and resistance shared by the peoples of Latin America .

Integration

For Fidel Castro it  was very clear the path to be taken to change the face of misery and dispossession that the region looked and still sports. Achieving unity and integration were fundamental in their strategic vision and gave continuity to the proposals of important independence leaders such as Simón Bolívar and José Martí.

His thesis on the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, affirmed that the political and economic union between their nations would contribute to seek their own development and avoid the influence of the United States in the region.

“Yesterday we were huge colony; we can be tomorrow a great community of closely united peoples. Nature gave us insurmountable riches, and history gave us roots, language, culture and common bonds as no other region of the Earth has, ”said the Commander in Chief on one occasion.

The president of the Institute of History of Cuba, Yoel Cordoví Núñez said that in Latin America and the Caribbean, Fidel Castro Ruz reaches a relevant place for his critical thinking towards capitalism, neoliberalism and anti-imperialism.

This researcher points out that there is no politician who, like Fidel, exemplified in the twentieth century the foundations of a Latin American emancipatory thought and considered the faithful legacy of vital importance when the ideology of nations between neoliberalism and socialism is redefined in the area.

For Fidel, unity was always an indispensable factor in achieving any victory: “These peoples of America know that their internal strength is in the union and that their continental strength is also in the union. These peoples of America know that if they do not want to be victims of tyranny again, but want to be victims of aggressions again, we must unite more and more, we must increasingly strengthen ties from town to town. ”

Under these principles of unity and integration, Fidel devised the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), in December 2004, which gave way to the founding summit, in Caracas seven years later, of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) This first was followed in 2005 by Petrocaribe, in 2007 the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

Internationalism

Another of Fidel’s principles was “not to give what we have left over but to share what we have.” Relevant are the achievements that the Commander in Chief promoted in Latin America with the modest help of Cuba in the fields of health, sports and education.

Internationalism was configured as a practice of the foreign policy of the Cuban Revolution. The medical aid of the Island has been in various natural disasters such as Hurricane “Jean” in Nicaragua, floods in Bolivia, the passage of Hurricane Mitch through Honduras and Guatemala, the cholera epidemic that hit Peru, among many more.

Another of the projects devised by Fidel was the creation in 1999 of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), allowing thousands of humble young people from Latin America to train as professionals.

On the other hand, in 1999, Haiti asked Cuba to collaborate for the literacy of its inhabitants. In that occasion a total of 150,000 Haitians learned to read and write. Then, with the creation of the audiovisual method “I can do it” in 2001 millions of people in the region have been literate. Thanks to its application, countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia declared themselves free from illiteracy.

For Fidel being internationalists “is paying off our own debt to humanity. Who is not able to fight for others, will never be capable enough to fight for himself. ”

For the political scientist, Atilio Borón without the Revolution led by Fidel Castro, the history of Latin America and the Caribbean would have been completely different, which shows the impact of fidelist thinking in the region.

“We would not have had Lula, Dilma, Chávez, Maduro, Nestor, Cristina, Lugo, Rafael, Evo,” Mel “, Daniel, Sánchez Serén, Tabaré, the” Pepe. ” And before they had not had Allende, Velasco Alvarado, Juan J. Torres, Goulart, Torrijos, Roldós, on a list that would be endless if we included the popular and revolutionary leaderships that sprouted throughout the region under the influence of the Revolution Cuban. “

Lighting a dark night with a stroke of love

Source:  Granma
November 25 2019

We must keep Fidel present in our hearts and minds. Photo: Granma Archives

He would have exploded with indignation before the attacks by the oligarchy and military against Evo Morales and Bolivia’s process of change; he would be following the popular mobilizations challenging neoliberal dictates in Chile that traveled from north to south in Salvador Allende’s time; and would share the determination of the vast majority of Venezuelans, who with the leadership of Nicolás Maduro and the inspiration of his dear friend Hugo Chávez, do not yield to the desires of imperialism and their lackeys.

Across the length and breadth of our archipelago, he and his ministers would travel through provinces and communities, talk with people on the street, learn the population’s demands and needs first-hand, discuss every proposal until the most fair and precise was found, and keep attention focused on problems, be they serious and large, or small and incidental.

And he would of course be leading his people’s resistance to the brutal escalation of the empire’s efforts to asphyxiate us. Army General Raúl Castro reaffirmed this in Santiago de Cuba, during the commemoration of the Revolution’s 60th anniversary:“Sixty years after the victory, we can state that we are cured of fear, we are not intimidated by the language of force or threats. We were not intimidated when the revolutionary process was not yet consolidated, and will not be, even remotely, now that the unity of the people is an indestructible reality, because if yesterday we were few, today we are an entire people defending our Revolution.

”Fidel survives. No doubt about it. He survives in the continuity of the process, in its constant, unstoppable renewal, in new initiatives that are launched, in our unwavering solidarity with the most noble causes, in the tireless work to make socialism a real possibility.If we want to be faithful to Fidel, we must assume his absolute commitment to human improvement and social justice.

See ourselves in the boy who reacted early against inequality, growing up in Birán; in the young rebel who, during his trial following the Moncada assault, based his self-defense on irrefutable arguments about the terrible consequences of exploitation and the lack of opportunities for the dispossessed; and in the victorious leader who, immediately after defeating the dictatorship, implemented the Agrarian Reform and organized the massive presence of campesinos in the capital; in the Comandante who, on the eve of Playa Girón, called for the defense of “this Revolution of the humble, by the humble, and for the humble.”We need to keep Fidel in our minds and hearts, because as the poet said in a lucid metaphor, he embodies the fight “against the dark night, like a stroke of love.”

Díaz-Canel: The Association of Caribbean States must continue to be the mainstay of Greater Caribbean unity

Source: Granma
April 1 2019

Photo: Estudios Revolución

Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the VIII Meeting of the Association of Caribbean States, in Managua, Nicaragua, March 29, 2019, Year 61 of the Revolution

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

Compañero Comandante Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of the sister Republic of Nicaragua and of the VIII Meeting of the Association of Caribbean States;

Compañera Rosario Murillo, Vice President of the Republic of Nicaragua;

Distinguished heads of state and government and heads of delegations;

Her Excellency Ambassador June Soomer, general secretary of the Association;

Dear delegates and guests:

Our national poet, Nicolás Guillén, a singular voice among the great voices of this region, dedicated a short poem to the sea that joins us, with which I would like to greet you. It is entitled “The Caribbean” and goes:

In the aquarium of the Great Zoo,

swims the Caribbean.

This enigmatic marine animal

has a crystal crest,

a blue back, a green tail,

a belly of compact coral,

gray hurricane fins.

In the aquarium, this inscription:

“Be careful: it bites.”

This verse of Guillen’s speaks of the crystal crest that makes our Caribbean fragile. And also of the fierce beast that lives here. Fragility and ferocity distinguish us. Fragility and ferocity unite us. And unity, we know well, makes us strong.

Born of this strength, sustained only by unity, is the very timely Managua Declaration adopted by this meeting, with the title: “Joining forces in the Caribbean to confront climate change,” an issue that has generated growing concern over the last few decades.

As the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, warned almost 30 years ago, during the Earth Summit held in Río de Janeiro, in 1992, “An important biological species is in danger of extinction as a result of the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural living conditions: man.”

The Caribbean knows this well since it often suffers the impact. Surely for this reason, since its Second Summit in Santo Domingo, in 1999, the Association of Caribbean States has included among its lines of work agreement and cooperation on climate change and disaster risk reduction.

The causes of climate change have been identified by the scientific community and recognized by practically all governments.

But neither efforts made or international commitments in environmental matters are sufficient to stop the alarming increase in global temperature and stabilize it in the area of 1.5ºC, as developing countries demand.

More developed nations, who are mainly responsible for today’s unsustainable situation, must honor the commitment to provide at least 100 billion USD a year to support the work of developing countries.

The global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must prevail based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, within a framework of international cooperation that ensures the resources and necessary transfer of technologies to developing countries.

Required is the modification of patterns of production and consumption that have been imposed on us, and the promotion of a fair, democratic, and equitable international economic order, to confront climate change and achieve sustainable development.

Mr. President:

Each of us understands what is being talked about. The intensity and persistence of natural phenomena of various kinds in the Greater Caribbean constantly punish us with the adverse effects of climate change, particularly developing small island states.

Living with hurricanes has conditioned our lives; modifying our geographies and affecting migration. And it has also educated us in the need to devote more study to these phenomena that plague us and work to reverse the damage they cause. The Cuban Revolution was obliged to learn this lesson very early on, the hard way, during Hurricane Flora in 1963, which left the former province of Oriente under water and took the lives of more than a thousand people.

More recent history has shown that, in the worst moments, working together has saved us. We firmly believe that only our unity and mutual cooperation will allow us to face the dangers and effects of meteorological events and assume the subsequent recovery.

Solidarity must be a fundamental principle for the members of the Association of Caribbean States

Along this very line of thought, today, I would like to reiterate the unwavering support of Cuba, under all circumstances, to the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment.

We also support the just and necessary demand to receive cooperation according to a nation’s real situation and needs, and not on the basis of per capita income statistics that classify them as middle income countries and exclude them from access to financial resources, indispensable for development.

We welcome the election of Barbados as President of the Board of Directors of the Association’s Council of Ministers. We express our fraternal congratulations for this and for the country’s willingness to contribute during this period.

Dear delegates:

The President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the National Security Advisor declare that the Monroe Doctrine is as relevant today as the day it was written, and that it is the country’s formal policy, as in the time of expansion and intervention of the United States in our region, of military aggressions and impositions.

These statements and consequent actions challenge our Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by heads of state and government, in January 2014, in Havana, on the occasion of the Second CELAC Summit.

We declared then our permanent commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in order to banish forever the use of force, and threats to use force, in the region; to strictly comply with the obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other state; to foster relations of friendship and cooperation among ourselves and with other nations, regardless of differences in political, economic, and social systems or levels of development; to practice tolerance and coexist in peace as good neighbors; to the intention of Latin American and the Caribbean states to fully respect the inalienable right of all to choose their own political, economic, social, and cultural system, as an essential condition for ensuring peaceful coexistence among nations; to the promotion in the region of a culture of peace based, among others, on the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Culture of Peace.

The Proclamation also urges all member states of the international community to fully respect these purposes and principles in their relations with CELAC member states.

In this context, our nations must continue working together. It is our duty to protect peace, amongst us all, and preserve what has been achieved, confident that the current situation of confrontation and threats will be overcome.

Cuba, in particular, has been subject to an irrational and perverse tightening of the blockade by the United States, whose administration has unleashed, at the same time, a campaign of distortions, lies, and pretexts to sustain a policy of persecution and harassment that the international community openly rejects and condemns.

I would like to express our profound gratitude to all the countries of the region for their opposition to this irrational, illegal, and cruel policy against our people.

Beyond political or ideological differences, I call on all Caribbean governments to defend peace and oppose military aggression and the escalation of coercive economic measures against Venezuela that seriously damage its citizens and put the stability of the entire region at risk.

We also reiterate our solidarity and support for the government of Reconciliation and National Unity of the Republic of Nicaragua in the face of destabilization attempts, and we celebrate the negotiation process to ensure peace and preserve the social and economic gains achieved in this sister nation.

Faithful to our vision of defending unity within diversity, as on innumerable occasions the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, has asserted in forums like this one, we call on you to continue working together, concentrating on all that unites us, incomparably superior to the little that separates us, and to prioritize the fulfillment of agreements reached by the XXIII Council of Ministers regarding the strengthening and revitalization of the Association.

The Association of Caribbean States must continue to be the mainstay of Greater Caribbean unity, which is the only alternative given the enormous challenges we face.

Member states of this organization share the responsibility to avoid damaging the consensus that we have built together over the years, and to continue fostering solidarity, as an indispensable premise to develop actions on all the issues that are part of the organization’s mandate.

Cuba will continue working in favor of this unity and for the consolidation of our Association, and hope that this important meeting will contribute decisively to the effort.

Thank you very much!

Bob Marley: They Don’t Want To See Us Unite

 

They don’t want to see us unite

All they want us to do is keep on fussing and fighting

They don’t want to see us live together

All they want us to do is keep on killing one another

Top ranking’, top ranking’

Are you skanking’? (skanking’, skanking’)

Are you skanking’? (skanking’, skanking’)

Wo-ho, top ranking’ (top ranking’)

Oh, did you mean what you say now?

Are you, oh are you? (ranking’, ranking’)

Are ya, Lord, Lord, Lord (skanking’, skanking’)

They say the blood runs

And it runs through our line,

And our hearts, heart of hearts divine, yeah!

And John saw them coming, ooh!

A with the truth

From an ancient time

The brotherly love (brotherly love)

The sisterly love (sisterly love)

I feel this morning, I feel this morning

Brotherly love (brotherly love)

The sisterly love (sisterly love)

I feel this morning, this morning, hey!

They don’t want us to unite

All they want us to do is keep on fussing and fighting

They don’t want to see us live together

All they want us to do is keep on killing one another

Top ranking’ (top ranking’)

Did ya mean what you say now? (top ranking’)

Are you skanking’? (skanking’, skanking’)

Are you skanking’? (skanking’, skanking’)

Top ranking’ (top ranking)

Did you mean what you say? (top ranking’)

Are you? (ranking’, ranking)

Are you? (skanking’, skanking’)

Top ranking’ (top ranking’)

Top ranking’ (top ranking’)

Are you? (skanking’, skanking’)

Ow are you? (skanking’, skanking’)

Journalism of the left in times of the right

Source:  Granma
March 13 2019

The truth can be silenced, if it does not reach everyone, or is drowned out by lies shouted louder

walter martinez telesur.jpgWalter Martínez is one of those journalists who struggles everyday to spread the truth on his teleSUR program. Photo: panorama.com.ve

As children, one of the first things we learned was that there is strength in unity. Be it from “Once upon a time” tales or the stories of Mama Oca, we came to understand that all together we could move mountains, while alone, the road was steeper.

Later, something simple, that could be so easily understood at an early age, became increasing complicated as the years went by, as we divided ourselves as independent, sometimes selfish, beings, in search of our own wellbeing.

What may appear as no more than a bedtime story is applicable in all spheres of life, even politics, as the people of Latin America should know.

The conservative restoration

The years when Hugo Chávez began a project in Venezuela to put those who were last first – joined by 11 progressive governments across Latin America and the Caribbean, beginning in 1998 – may seem like a long time ago, given the current panorama.

But, as Basque political analyst and journalist Katu Arkonada said on teleSUR: “The 2009 coup against Mel Zelaya in Honduras; the parliamentary coup against Fernando Lugo in Paraguay in 2012; the 2016 impeachment of Dilma in Brazil; and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, allowed the attempted conservative restoration to be partially accomplished.”

A restoration which now includes Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian Trump, as the new head of state is known, who is creating a military government, according to the eminent intellectual Frei Betto.

In Ecuador, since the end of Rafael Correa’s administration, the left has been split, and the Citizens Revolution social project dismantled.

Venezuela, for its part, is facing a difficult moment and a fierce media campaign intended to create confusion and fear, to destabilize the country and discredit the government of Nicolás Maduro, democratically elected by a clear majority.

The role of committed media and journalists

So, given this discouraging panorama, what is the role of committed media and journalists? How can we advance the struggle when giant media corporations like O Globo, in Brazil, or Clarín, in Argentina, defend capitalist interests?

Surrender will never be the solution. We must fight, use our revolutionary self-criticism, reach the people; portray the governments that have reduced poverty, provided health, education, and jobs.

This lesson is a pending issue for the left in countries where today neoliberalism is being imposed on our peoples.

Argentine journalist and intellectual Stella Calloni, in an interview with Granma, noted that the left is going through a difficult moment; that in her country telling the truth can be very expensive, as the 3,000 media workers dismissed for “ideological differences” know well.

This is happening in Brazil, too, where television broadcaster O Globo controls 80% of the country’s stations. Journalist Beto Almeida, told Granma, that reporters are suffering persecution, highlighting the case of his two colleagues Juca Kfouri and Jean Wyllys, whose lives have been threatened.

Venezuela offers another example of the damage that new media can do if used maliciously. The truth, if it does not reach everyone, and is drowned out by lies shouted louder, can be silenced. Infamous fake news reports, spread by unethical professionals who prioritize impact over accuracy, influence individuals with manipulative, manufactured scenarios.

The need for journalists of the left to come together

Given this reality, Stella Calloni emphasizes the need for journalists of the left to come together to tell the stories that don’t make the headlines, “We are coming up with ways nows, for example, bringing together all individuals who have web sites to struggle as alternative media, bringing them together to have an amalgam of voices to tell what is happening and is not known.”

Brazilian sports reporter Juca Kfouri commented, “Journalism is characterized by its attempt to make a better world,” and given this premise, he continues to denounce what is going on in his country, despite the threats, using football to raise consciousness.

It is clear that, in the current scenario, more than ever the courage is needed to open the eyes of readers, viewers, radio listeners, knowing how to use media weapons is an urgent challenge. Calloni, in comments made during the International Journalism Forum, emphasized that information is a weapon of war, and reaffirmed that we are facing a cultural battle, with painful results, in which discredit is stronger than a bullet. The right knows how to use these weapons well. The facts show it. Numerous studies show that WhatsApp played a key role in Bolsonaro’s electoral victory. A similar case is that of U.S. President Donald Trump. As journalist Rosa Miriam Elizalde expressed in a recent lecture: “We are facing a new media architecture. While the mass media imposes the agenda, others deal with the personal and emotional base. Today public opinion is not built exclusively with published opinion, but with shared opinion. ”Social media move emotions, which in turn move voters who go to the polls without confirming what they read, accepting Facebook posts as unquestionable truth.

Thus the importance of finding new ways of communicating, while preserving ethical practices of the trade, without resorting to crude manipulations. Seeking, as Calloni said, “a creative way to resist.”

Life online and offline

IN CONTEXT:Many times the debate within the left is lost, counterpoising taking the street versus taking the internet, as if they were mutually exclusive. If there is a central task on the left, it is to understand that life online and offline are not separate, they are a continuum, part of a single body, and the internet can be many things, except an intangible, ethereal world apart. Cyberspace is the heart of a supranational system that is directly related to physical space, in at least three dimensions. First, its communication routes, nodes, and servers (physical infrastructure) are located somewhere geographically. Second, the protocols or rules of the game that allow people to connect – domains – have a national identity and involve zones of sovereignty, state control, and their own language. And third, cyberspace emphasizes physical geography in a special way: with services, navigation devices, technical gadgets, and mobile devices, which create an interactive map of interconnected channels of information, technology, and people. People have nationality, obey laws, and are also physically present somewhere.

It is not chaos, there are laws. This scenario is regulated by hierarchies and the main network nodes (internet) located in a specific physical spot, which accentuate the disparities of contemporary society, establishing a new map in which center and periphery are clearly located. Of course, notions of time and space, of power and freedom, the individual and the collective, the public and private, national and international culture, and the productive and unproductive, but all within this hegemonic capitalist framework. Within this structure, the development of new models of mediation is encouraged, impacting subsystems of production, distribution, and consumption, on the one hand, and the mechanisms of social reproduction and power, on the other.

Source: Lecture by Rosa Miriam Elizalde during the International Journalism Forum, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s Mission Truth and the foundation of Prensa Latina.