US Interventions in Latin America Continue and Intensify

Source:  The Real News Network
May 6 2018

Transcript

GREG WILPERT: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert coming to you from Quito, Ecuador.

Ten years ago, most of Latin America was governed by center-left progressive or even leftist governments. For example, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Lula da Silva in Brazil, just as an example. And Hugo Chavez, of course, in Venezuela. Since then, the so-called ‘pink tide’ has receded quite dramatically. Of these 10 governments that were left of center, only four remain. Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Vazquez in Uruguay, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. What happened? Some would argue that the U.S. played an important role in at least some of these changes.

Joining me to explore the role of the U.S. in Latin America is Mark Weisbrot. Mark is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and is the author of the book “Failed: What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy.” He’s also the president of the organization Just Foreign Policy. Thanks for being here again, Mark.

MARK WEISBROT: Thanks, Greg. Thanks for having me.

GREG WILPERT: So before we get into the role of the U.S. in Latin America, it’s useful maybe to take a quick look at the impact that the leftist or center-left governments had on Latin America. What would you say were the main achievements or the main consequences of their governments in some of those countries?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, if you look at the region as a whole, the poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28 percent. That was from around 2003-2013. And that was after the two decades prior where poverty had actually increased, there was no progress at all. So that was a huge change, and it was accomplished in different countries in different ways. You know, there were large increases in public investment in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Brazil you had also some increase in public investment , big increases in the minimum wage. You know, every country did different things to help bring healthcare, and increase, in some countries, education, access to education. And there were a whole lot of reforms. Changes in macroeconomic policy. Getting rid of the IMF.

So there were a lot of different things that these governments did that prior governments were either unable or unwilling to do to improve people’s living standards during a period of higher economic growth, which they also contributed to.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has Latin America changed now since then, when right-wing governments took over most of the continent?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you have different things that have changed. I mean, one is, of course, they’re implementing, as you would expect, right-wing reforms. Trying to cut pension system, the pension in Brazil, passing a constitutional amendment which, you know, even most economists in the world wouldn’t support in Brazil, which prohibits the government from increasing spending beyond the rate of inflation. You have, you know, huge increases in utility prices in Argentina, laying off thousands of public sector workers. So everywhere where the right has come back, you do have some regressive changes.

GREG WILPERT: And so how has the U.S. contributed to these changes, and what goals would you say is the U.S. pursuing in the area?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, I think the U.S. has contributed in so many ways it would take an hour at least to summarize just some of this history. But I think the U.S. has been involved in, in most of these countries in various ways. Obviously in Venezuela they’ve been involved since the coup in 2002, and they tried to overthrow the government and tried to help people topple the government on several occasions there. In Brazil they supported the coup against Dilma, the parliamentary coup. So they didn’t do that strongly, but they sent enough signals, for example, I’ve mentioned this before on this show, right as the House was voting to impeach Dilma without actually presenting a crime that she committed, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate came and met with the number three official from the U.S. State Department, Tom Shannon. And then of course in August of that year, the Secretary of State John Kerry went down there and had a press conference with the Acting Foreign Minister Jose Serra. And they, of course, talked about how great relations with the U.S. were going to be before Dilma was actually removed from office. So these were ways of endorsing the coup.

And of course, the Department of Justice contributed to , the FBI, the Department of Justice contributed to the investigation that was instrumental in imprisoning Lula. Now, what they did in that investigation we don’t know exactly, but we do know enough about it to know that it wasn’t a neutral investigation. That is, the investigation did end up decapitating the Workers’ Party for now, first helping get rid of Dilma, but more importantly, or more substantially, in terms of its contribution, they they helped put Lula in prison and prevent him from running for office.

And in other countries, in Paraguay, the U.S. helped in the consolidation of that parliamentary coup by organizing within the Organization of American States. In Honduras is probably the biggest role that the U.S. has played, both in consolidating the military coup in 2009, Hillary Clinton acknowledged her role in making sure that President Zelaya, the democratically elected president, would not return to office, and then more recently in November they helped consolidate the results of an election which pretty much all observers regarded as stolen.

Those are just a few of the examples. I mean, I guess I didn’t even mention Argentina, where other branches of government were involved as well as the executive, but the executive cut off lending from multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and tried to block loans at the World Bank, as well. And they restored everything as soon as the right-wing government was elected. And then there was Judge Griesa in New York, who took all of Argentina’s, over 90 percent of Argentina’s creditors, hostage in order to squeeze them so that the government would pay off the vulture funds. And this was very political, because he also lifted the injunction as soon as you had the right-wing government.

And I think this is very important, because obviously it’s not necessarily a conspiracy of all these branches of government. The legislative branch was involved in this as well, in the United States. But they all have the same mindset, and they’re all trying to get rid of these left governments, and they had a massive contribution. I mean, Argentina, that did contribute to the downfall of Cristina Kirchner. It contributed to balance of payments problems that they had there. So this was important, and it’s totally ignored here in the United States.

GREG WILPERT: And then why was it ignored in the United States? I mean, what is it about U.S. media coverage, and why is there so little coverage of U.S. role and Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, you know, maybe you should interview some of the reporters who cover it, if they’re willing to answer that question. I think that it’s it’s complicated in some ways, but in some ways it’s very simple. First of all, for U.S. intervention anywhere in the world they have a kind of a smoking gun standard. So you know, we have in our criminal justice system the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. But this is a much higher standard. So nothing is really discussed in terms of U.S. intervention unless it’s really a smoking gun, where they’re caught red-handed in a way that nobody could deny. And that almost never happens.

So in Venezuela, for example, in 2002 when you had the coup, you had State Department and CIA documents which documented the involvement of the United States. They helped fund and train the people who did the coup, and they made statements following the coup that they knew were false in order to help the coup consolidate itself, and they failed in that case. But you know, in Haiti in 2004, which I hadn’t even mentioned, they took the president and put him on a rendition plane, and flew him out of the country. That was in broad daylight.

But in any case, they have a story that’s not at all believable, and the press kind of accepts that and never looks back. Whenever they mentioned, you know, Chavez complained about the coup, and it was a major obvious source of bad relations with Venezuela, but they always just reported it as an allegation of a figure that they of course were discrediting at every turn.

So that’s kind of how they report all of these. When they report the facts at all, they put it in the context that makes it look like there wasn’t any intent, or any real effect of U.S. policy in the region. But mostly it’s like reporting on Ukraine and never mentioning Russia, you know, it’s as if the United States doesn’t have any real influence in the Americas, and of course anybody knows they have an enormous influence.

GREG WILPERT: So what would you say are some of the implications for the foreseeable future of this U.S. policy towards Latin America?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, right now, of course, they’re still involved. And you have intervention in Mexico, for example. U.S. officials have already said how worried they are that AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the frontrunner in the upcoming election in July. And he’s probably going to win, but they’re already trying to undermine him, lobbying accusations of Russia involvement, which is the new trend. Of course, completely unsubstantiated. In Venezuela they’re doing something probably never done in the last 50 years, openly calling for a military coup, and actually a financial embargo they’ve put in place, and threatening even a worse embargo if they don’t get rid of the current government. So that’s, I think, a more aggressive form of intervention than you had even under the prior administrations.

And they’re pretty open about it. And again, most of the media seems to treat it as a non-issue. In fact, that’s actually a very important example, because there’s an election going to take place in a couple of weeks, and the media is pretending that it’s not really an election. But you have a credible opposition candidate who’s leading in the polls, and they’ve reached agreement with the government on a set of procedures which are similar to almost all the other elections they’ve had for hte last 20 years, and a set of guarantees, which of course, the candidate Falcon won’t recognize the election if they don’t follow them. So you have a real contested election, but the U.S. government has decided they don’t want that, and the hard-right opposition is in line with them, and so they’re all pretending there’s no election at all, because they’re committed to a strategy of violence, of regime change.

GREG WILPERT: OK. We’ll certainly continue to follow this, especially the U.S. role in Latin America. I was speaking to Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Thanks again, Mark, for joining us today.

MARK WEISBROT: Thank you, Gregory.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining the Real News Network.

World Peace Council: We reject US interference for the destabilization of Venezuela!

Source:  World Peace Council
February 5 2017

world peace council 6.jpgWith renewed alarm and repudiation, we again denounce US imperialism in its interference in the affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, reaffirmed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who suggested that the Government of President Nicolás Maduro could be overthrown by the Venezuelan Army.

Beginning a visit to Latin America and the Caribbean, Tillerson even referred to past military coups that overthrew popular or progressive governments under the guidance and support of the United States and imposed untold suffering on the people! The dictatorships fed and coordinated by his country decreed as politics the terror of the criminals who instituted the torture basements, the kidnappings and murders, for decades. That is why memory and indignation will surely prevent Latin Americans from accepting such ignominy!

Solidarity with the Venezuelan people

The World Peace Council has repeatedly affirmed its solidarity with the Venezuelan people in defending the Bolivarian Revolution, stability and peace in the country, based primarily on respect for Venezuela’s sovereignty and internal political dialogue, without foreign interference. It is widely known, however, that the increasingly fascist opposition in the country counts on the broad support and encouragement of US imperialism, as evidenced by the criminal attitude of its Secretary of State and that of other reactionary forces in Latin America.

Therefore, we express total repudiation of any attempt by the US to promote the destabilization of Venezuela and the region, by insulting democracy and the sovereignty of nations! We repudiate the persistent media war and inflammatory speeches against the government of President Maduro, who is legitimately elected and committed to a solution to the crisis.

We vehemently reject any suggestion of intervention or military coup promoted by reactionary forces and US imperialism. We believe that the incitement will certainly be frustrated by the conscious and already asserted support of Venezuelan officials for the defense of their country’s peace and sovereignty, rejecting the role of the slaughterers of democracy that the US would like to see them play.

Hands off Venezuela, now!

Down with imperialist interference!

Socorro Gomes
President of the World Peace Council

Deceptive Intelligence: CNN breaks story on Slave Trade in Libya; French Government voices concern for African Migrants

Source:  Ghana Today
November 25 2017

Gerald A. Perreira

 

libya slave trade

World turns blind eye to Libya slave trade – Reuters

The world we find ourselves in is complex and full of contradictions. It is easy to fall for rudimentary textbook propaganda based on simplistic dichotomies, such as ‘the good guys versus the bad guys’. If we are not aware of the complexities and nuances facing us, we can fall for this type of propaganda, whose sole aim is to keep us apart and destroy any type of unity that could strengthen our ability to defeat the enemy.

Hypocrisy and insincerity

When examining and assessing the latest information fed us by one of imperialism’s mouthpieces, CNN, there are important things for us, as revolutionary Pan-Africanists, to keep in mind. The first thing to note is the clear hypocrisy and insincerity which is nowhere more stark than CNN’s recent expose of “Libyan crimes against humanity” and French President, Emmanuel Macron’s call for a special meeting of the UN Security Council to demand immediate action against this heinous “Libyan” crime.

I know this much for sure, as an African revolutionary I do not look to the devil for the truth. I know that the devil does not lie some of the time; he lies and deceives all of the time. In whatever form the devil manifests himself, I do not deal with him. He can come in the guise of the imperialists and White Supremacists themselves, or their mouthpieces such as CNN, BBC, Fox News or any of the mainstream corporate media outlets. We should never forget their role as cheerleaders and purveyors of the fake news that laid the groundwork for the invasion and destruction of the Libyan Jamahiriya. Therefore, let us ask ourselves the burning question, why are they providing us with this information, and why now? Why are the imperialists suddenly feigning concern for the plight of Africans?

A counter -revolution

In my first article on the invasion of Libya, published March 2nd, 2011, titled, Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective, I said that “the conflict in Libya is not a revolution, but a counter-revolution. The struggle is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi’s vision of a united Africa, and reactionary, racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi’s vision of Libya as part of a united Africa.”

Events have proved this analysis correct. Muammar Qaddafi and the Revolutionary Committees Movement of the Al Fateh Revolution had a monumental task on their hands: to conscientize and reposition the Libyan people for a significant role in the revolutionary Pan-African project for a United States of Africa. This is a battle for all African revolutionaries. In Sub-Saharan African countries, where almost the entire population comprises Black Africans, we face the same battle. Here in the Caribbean, it is no different. So, when Qaddafi urged his people to look towards a United States of Africa and a revolutionary Pan-African perspective, he had to face Libyans who rejected this program in favor of Libya and the entire North African region joining the Barcelona Project, a Mediterranean-European alliance, whose aim is to take North Africa out of Africa.

The hidden agenda

Prejudice against dark-skinned Africans exists all over planet earth. Even in countries where the population is almost 100% Black African, we have to contend with ‘shadism’, a hangover from colonialism and plantation culture, where Africans with lighter skin shades are held in higher esteem than Africans with darker skin shades. However, to say that “Arab Libyans” are selling “Africans” is overly simplistic and deliberately misleading. There is a hidden agenda here – beware. The objective is to ignite hostilities between so-called Arab-Africans and so-called Sub-Saharan-Africans. There is a debate amongst Africans about who is an African. On the one hand, there are those who limit the definition of African to Black Africans in the Sub-Saharan region of the continent. On the other hand, there are those of us who believe that Africa is one, and we will resist any attempt by the imperialists to redefine and further balkanize Africa. Rather than becoming part of the European Community, North Africans promoting the Barcelona Project would be better off seeking out their African roots. This is what Muammar Qaddafi told all Libyans.

Those who today call themselves “Arabs” have a historical, ancestral and moral duty to recognize their Africanity. Those “Arabs” who live in countries on the African continent and those who live in the region outside of the continent, need to explore and reexamine their history. The region they inhabit, erroneously named “Middle-East” and “Levant” by the European colonizers cannot be divorced from Africa. I agree with Islamic theologian and historian, Dr. Wesley Muhammad, that the area known as “Middle-East” or “Levant” is more aptly named ‘Afrabia’.

Anyone interested in more information on this and the Aryanization of Christianity and Islam, should refer to the brilliant works of Dr. Wesley Muhammad, especially his book ‘Black Arabia and the African Origins of Islam’.

The North Atlantic Tribes Organization (NATO) deeply fear this type of awakening and the unity of purpose and action it could lead to in this oil rich and wealthiest region of the world.

Muammar Qaddafi’s persistent struggle

Minister Farrakhan said many years ago, reflecting on periods of unity in our history, “we did it before and we can do it again”. Muammar Qaddafi persistent struggle to forge a United States of Africa was starting to pay off. He was on the verge of creating an African currency that would have shifted the global economic imbalance, preparing the way for Africa to take its rightful place in the world. Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Ivory Coast, was openly supporting Qaddafi with this radical move. Gbagbo believed that those who were serious should declare a United States of Africa and the others could follow. Fear of this emerging African unity, especially between countries in the north and south of the continent, prompted France to orchestrate Gbagbo’s removal from power at the same time as the NATO led invasion of Libya. Genuine African unity, resulting in anything more than talk, will always be opposed, no matter what the cost, by the forces of White Supremacy.

As we now know, even those Libyans who opposed Qaddafi’s drive for a United States of Africa, did not support the overthrow of the Jamahiriya. It is a well-substantiated fact that the rag-tag and opportunistic conglomerate of reactionaries, including monarchists, Arab supremacists and al-Qaeda linked Islamists, such as those from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, constituted an insignificant minority. The Libyan Revolutionary Armed Forces could have easily contained these retrograde forces, if NATO had not bombed them into power. Without the backing of France, the US, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and their satellites, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, the so-called Libyan rebels amounted to nothing when confronted with the overwhelming support of the majority of Libyans for Muammar Qaddafi and the Al Fateh Revolution. This revolution brought dignity, stability, prosperity and liberation from foreign domination to all Libyans, from the fairest to the darkest in complexion. One thing you knew as soon as you stepped off the plane at Tripoli Airport was that the Libyans – all Libyans – were in control of their country! It was people power, seemingly chaotic and misunderstood by outsiders, but a truly participatory democracy to those who lived it and experienced it. The majority of Libyans were aware of this and supported Al Fateh.

Demons unleashed in Libya

Knowing who the so-called rebels truly are, it came as no surprise to me, that in addition to the long list of crimes against humanity attributed to these scoundrels, they would auction Black Africans as slave labor.

Following the heroic battle of Sirte, back in December 2011, in an article titled, Demons Unleashed in Libya: NATO’s Islamists Continue Program of Ethnic and Ideological Cleansing”, I wrote about the horror that was taking place. A horror that was instigated by the Anglo-Franco-American Imperialists, under the watchful eye of the UN – all of whom are now shedding crocodile tears over the sale of African migrants in Libya. In that article, I wrote about the “complete whiteout by the corporate media regarding all news from Libya”. I stated that, “Even the United Nations, an architect of the nation’s destruction, says 7,000 prisoners are held without trial or charge, most of them Black, many of them tortured. Any known Qaddafi loyalists who have not been able to get out of Libya have to stay underground. Death squads scour the land. Truckloads of bodies are being carted away, as the now feuding armed gangs, each with their own command structure, and none adhering to anything the Western installed NTC says, introduces the only policy they ever had – exterminate Qaddafi and all those loyal to him.”

These are NATO’s thugs.
I went on to note that, “In addition to loyalty to the Leader, and defense of their country against foreign invaders, having black skin and asserting one’s Africanity has become a crime in the new Libya. Ethnic cleansing is continuing unabated. Every day Black Africans from Libya and other parts of Africa are hunted down. Thousands have been brutally tortured and executed. Rape of Black women is a favored weapon of NATO’s Islamists. Many of the female bodies found show signs of rape, beatings and torture. Large numbers of Black Africans make up the ranks of the Green Resistance.”

I quoted one Tripoli resident as saying:
“Everyone is terrified of the NTC and their armed gangs. We have seen with our own eyes what they are capable of – they are animals. All around us people are being rounded up and imprisoned. We have no way of knowing how many have been murdered. Anyone who is associated with Qaddafi or suspected of loyalty to him is at risk. Even people who have worked for people who are known supporters of the leader have been rounded up and tortured. I personally know of many persons who were just working for people associated with the leader who have been taken away and never seen again. If you are black you are an immediate suspect – these rebels call black Libyans “abd” means slave and they are rounding them up just because they are black – it is making me sick and ashamed.”

“…What these rebels have done to their own people is disgusting – some of the acts of torture I can’t even speak about. There has been a lot of rape. I wept when I learned of what these animals did to the leader’s female bodyguards – they are not human and that is why there is so much fear. Any known Qaddafi loyalists who have not been able to get out of Libya have to stay underground. Libyans are afraid to talk to other Libyans – anyone could be an informer. It feels like the last days are upon us – Libya has been turned into a living hell.”

The imperialist media, including CNN was completely silent regarding all of these crimes against humanity, despite the fact that genocide in the form of an ethnic and ideological cleansing pogrom was unfolding right before our eyes. There was no outcry from the UN or the North Atlantic Tribes. No time or motive for outcry – having shared the spoils, these callous warlords had already moved on to their next victim – Syria.

So why now?
Could it be that the Green Resistance is gaining ground? Could it be that although they killed Qaddafi and buried him in an unmarked grave (they know why), his dangerous (for them) ideas are better known now than before? Could it be that Muammar Qaddafi’s vision for a United States of Africa could once again re-surface?

Prior to the overthrow of the Jamahiriya, thousands of Africans travelled to Libya to work, and they prospered. Employment opportunities existed across a range of occupations, including teachers, librarians, nurses, hotel workers, chefs, mechanics, electricians, construction workers and unskilled laborers. They were able to send money home to their families. African businesses and companies also traded extensively in Libya. There was zero tolerance in the Jamahiriya for the mistreatment of Libyan or migrant workers or anyone for that matter. I know of many foreigners who received favorable judgements in employment disputes.

The destruction of this most prosperous and just African country was led by France, who now dares to call for a special meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the crimes committed against African migrants “by Libyans”. This is devil-speak. The same devil who, in the words of the Honorable Minister Farrakhan, “unleashed the demons” that are now committing these and other heinous crimes, is trying to sow more discord by talking about “Libyan crimes”. Where was CNN and the French government when these same gangs of demons were committing the atrocities described above?

Deceptive intelligence

We have known since the first day of NATO’s invasion that this was perhaps one of the most racist and atrocious crimes of the 21st century. The question that we must ask ourselves is why CNN, the French government and others who led the charge in 2011, are all of a sudden concerned about the plight of Africans in Libya. Minister Farrakhan calls it “deceptive intelligence”, and warns us that, “every time the serpent raises its head it should be de-capitated”.

Let us resist this crude attempt to divide and ruin us yet again. Let us not be distracted and misled by imperialist propaganda. Let us make sure that our enemies do not set our agenda, causing us to react to their devious attempts to pit us against each other. Let us set our own agenda for our second liberation. Crimes against Black Africans and Qaddafi loyalists, of every complexion, began in Libya in 2011, and continue to this day, unabated. Thousands languish in detention centers, Libyans of every complexion and migrants from all over Africa. Those carrying out these crimes on the ground are the foot soldiers and thugs of the criminal masterminds of the hell that is now Libya. Arrest warrants should be issued immediately for Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Emir Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani to name but a few.

I end with a message to “All our Brothers and Sisters in Africa and the Diaspora” from long time Revolutionary Committee Movement member, Dr. Salem Zubeidy:

“This letter is addressed to our brothers, officials, and residents of the sub-Saharan African countries, who are characterized by dark features….

There have been many reactions and statements by African leaders, politicians, organizations and institutions following an investigation published by CNN that there are markets for the selling of Africans of dark skin in Libya …

No one stopped to question the validity of this report, and where is the market? When did this happen? Where do the (alleged) slaves go?

Then, no one asked how the channel got to the supposed market, and how was it able to video the “auction”? What is the purpose of the American channel to broadcast such a program that distorts an entire people, and accuses them of committing a heinous crime that is not accepted by a reasonable mind and not approved by any logic?

We can find explanations and justifications for a US channel harboring suspicious purposes in fueling separation and instigating seditions.

As an answer to the voices and forces that see in this an opportunity to falsify the facts, and play down the Libyan people’s accomplishments, side by side with their African brothers and sisters in the golden times of the al-Fateh Revolution, it behooves us to clarify some points:

  1. Libya, which you know has been hijacked since the Fall of 2011, and its capabilities are being controlled by criminal gangs that had been enabled by means of the Western war machine of NATO, after destroying the foundations of the state.
  2. Libya was the Bureau of the liberation movements, which trained, armed and equipped thousands of young people in the southern regions of Africa, Rhodesia, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola, and enabled them to return with their full military gear, with Libyan advisers, to fight the battles of liberation.
  3. Libya offered total support to the struggle of Cabral in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde and dispatched Libyan officers as volunteers to fight alongside him, some of whom are still living witnesses amongst us.
  4. Libya presented absolute support for revolutionary and progressive regimes in African countries seeking liberation from imperialism and neo-colonialism in the Congo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, and others.
  5. Libya alone has resisted the Barcelona process, which had as an objective the separation of the light-skinned in the north of the continent linking them with the Mediterranean in the so-called “Mediterranean Organization” and established the CEN-SAD in response to the Barcelona process, to prove the unity of the continent.
  6. Libya fought the battle for the unification of the continent and the affirmation of its freedom, identity, and dignity through pressing for the establishment of the African Union.
  7. Libya embraced African political opposition movements, supporting their programs and bringing many of their leaders to power.
  8. Libya represented the ongoing battle for peace, development, and construction. It convened dozens of meetings, organized dozens of mediation affairs and reconciliations. It also invested huge sums in important projects in most countries of the continent …

We can go on in more detail, but we just want to tell you and the world that your Libyan brothers and sisters cannot accept to disassociate themselves from their continent, no matter how the enemies of Africa try.”

A full statement from Libyan People’s National Movement (LPNM) can be found at:

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/libyan-peoples-national-movement-statement-on-the-slave-trade/

Gerald A. Perreira is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP), International Secretary for ARM (African Revolutionary Movement) and executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network for Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah Revolution, and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Libya. He can be reached at mojadi94@gmail.com.

Marabu charcoal: First Cuban export to the U.S. in 50 years

As Cuban fields are being cleared of Marabu, U.S. citizens will now be able to purchase this quality variety of charcoal. On January 18, two days before U.S. President-elect, Donald Trump, is sworn into office, the first 40 ton shipment will arrive to the U.S. from Cuba, representing a historic occasion – the first export of Cuban goods to the U.S. in five decades.

This is the result of an agreement signed between the CubaExport entity and U.S. Coabana Trading LLC company, which took place at midday, January 5, at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment (Mincex), following a lengthy negotiation process.

The accord was signed by director of CubaExport, Isabel O’Reilly, and President of Coabana Trading LLC, Scott Gilbert.
“This will be the first contract, but we hope to continue our relations for many years to come and not just with vegetable charcoal, but other exportable products such as honey and coffee,” explained O’Reilly speaking to Cubadebate.

The product will be sold at 420 USD per ton, the highest price achieved by CubaExport in over 10 years marketing this product, which normally sells on the international market for between 340 and 380 USD, “but with the U.S. we were able to get a higher price,” added O’Reilly.

Meanwhile, Scott Gilbert noted that it was a privilege to be visiting the island, and described the agreement as important for both countries and a step further toward building bridges between the U.S. and Cuba.

Regarding Donald Trump’s presidency, to begin January 20, Gilbert noted that if his administration supports free trade, then there should be no problem establishing these types of agreements.

The process to export Cuban marabu charcoal starts with agricultural cooperatives which cut down the material to clear the way for their crops. This is then sold to another entity which processes and prepares it for sale, with CubaExport responsible for handling export procedures.

In addition to CubaExport, Cuban charcoal is also marketed by Cimex, Cítricos Caribes and Alcona, which between them export a maximum of 80,000 tons a year to between five and six countries. Meanwhile, efforts are currently underway to branch out to the UK and German markets.

Marabu charcoal has a high calorific power, making it one of the best in the world. It is produced in natural wood burning stoves and does not contribute to deforestation. (Cubadebate)

In Africa, The U.S. Military Sees Enemies Everywhere

Source:  Popular Resistance
July 14 2016

By Nick Turse, www.theintercept.com

us africa command.jpg

Above Photo: U.S. Africa Command

FROM EAST TO WEST across Africa, 1,700 Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other military personnel are carrying out 78 distinct “mission sets” in more than 20 nations, according to documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act.

“The SOCAFRICA operational environment is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous,” says Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, using the acronym of the secretive organization he presides over, Special Operations Command Africa. “It’s a wickedly complex environment tailor-made for the type of nuanced and professional cooperation SOF [special operations forces] is able to provide.”

Equally complex is figuring out just what America’s most elite troops on the continent are actually doing, and who they are targeting.

Shadow war currently being waged by American troops all across the continent

In documents from a closed-door presentation delivered by Bolduc late last year and a recent, little-noticed question and answer with a military publication, the SOCAFRICA commander offered new clues about the shadow war currently being waged by American troops all across the continent.

“We operate in the Gray Zone, between traditional war and peace,” he informed a room of U.S., African, and European military personnel at the Special Operations Command Africa Commander’s Conference held in Garmisch, Germany, last November.

According to Bolduc’s 2015 presentation, SOCAFRICA is taking part in seven distinct operations, although he failed to elaborate further. Among the goals of these missions: to “enable friendly networks; disable enemy networks.”

The identities of most of those “enemy networks,” are, however, a well-kept secret.

Last fall, The Intercept revealed that Bolduc had publicly disclosed that there are nearly 50 terrorist organizations and “illicit groups” operating on the African continent. He identified only the Islamic State, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, and the Lord’s Resistance Army by name or acronym, while mentioning the existence of another 43 groups. Despite repeated inquiries by The Intercept, however, neither the Department of Defense, U.S. Africa Command, nor SOCAFRICA would provide further information on the identities of any of the other organizations.

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Map of Africa’s active Islamic militant groups. Source Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Recently, however, the Defense Department’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies — a research institution dedicated to the analysis of security issues in Africa — published a map listing “Africa’s Active Militant Islamist Groups.” In addition to usual suspects, it named 18 other terror organizations.

The Africa Center says that “group listings are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered official designations.” It is, however, the most comprehensive list available from an agency or element within the Department of Defense and may shed light on Bolduc’s enemies list.

SOCAFRICA failed to respond to questions about that list or the names of its operations. U.S. Special Operations Command also declined to provide additional information. “We have no idea what BG Bolduc’s remarks were to a group of commanders who are subordinate to him,” spokesperson Ken McGraw told The Intercept.

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Popular Cuban TV shows broadcast in the US

Source:  Cuban News Agency
July 14 2016

dish latino 2Dish Latino, part of the American satellite network Dish has signed a deal to show Cuban television shows and films in the United States on a new channel called CubamaxTV. The initiative includes the popular comedy show Living by One´s Wit, top rated on the island.

The comedy show, known is Spanish as Vivir del Cuento, is so popular in cubamax tv 2Cuba that U.S. President Barack Obama made two guest appearances on the show as part of his historic visit to Cuba.

CCTV reported that the lead character in the comedy, an 80-year-old pensioner called Panfilo, is played by a much younger actor Luis Silva, who recently flew to the U.S. for the official channel launch.

vivir del cuento

There are around 2 million Cuban Americans, many of them living in Miami. The older generation, who consider themselves political exiles, may not approve. But their children and more recent arrivals, mainly economic migrants, are the potential audience, according to CCTV.

A window on Cuban culture

The Cuban partner, state television’s commercial wing RTV, hopes this will become a window on Cuban culture for a wider audience as well.

This new channel isn’t just showing programs produced by Cuba’s state-run television here. It’s also a showcase for some of the island’s independent film and documentary makers.

The programming also includes a mix of soap operas, comedies and TV series along with documentaries and films. The only shows that won’t be offered are news and political programs.

Imperialism Obama Style: 800 Military Bases Around the World

Source:  Cuba- Network in Defense of Humanity
July 4 2016

by Sarah Lazare

Sec. of State Kerry brags we are “involved” in more countries than ever, as Obama becomes first president to serve two terms always at war.

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Turmoil and strife

Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival on June 28, Secretary of State John Kerry sought to ease anxiety over an ever-rising global “turmoil and strife” by pointing to an eyebrow-raising fact. “I state unabashedly to every single one of you: The United States of America is more engaged in more places with greater impact today than at any time in American history,” he reassured the audience. “And that is simply documentable and undeniable.”Kerry made it clear that when he talks about “engagement,” war is a key part of the equation.

Libya, Afghanistan and Ukraine

“We’ve been working with countries to support a new Government of National Accord in Libya,” he said, referencing a dubious state that the U.S. is moving to heavily arm. “I was recently in the United Arab Emirates. I think we’ve come to a common understanding of how to strengthen that government and go after Daesh in Libya. We’re supporting Afghanistan in its fight against extremists and support a sovereign and democratic Ukraine.”

The United States “probably has more foreign military bases than any other people, nation, or empire in history” … David Vine

Kerry’s observation of unprecedented engagement may, in  fact, be an understatement. As David Vine, the author of the book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, noted in 2015, the United States “probably has more foreign military bases than any other people, nation, or empire in history.” The roughly 800 U.S. military bases around the world compare to a grand total of zero free-standing foreign bases on U.S. soil, Vine reported.

Special operations forces deployed to 135 countries

Meanwhile, Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command, told journalist Nick Turse that, by the 9th month of 2015, special operations forces had already deployed to 135 countries—or 70 percent of all the nations on the planet. This compares to about 60 countries under the George W. Bush years. The Government Accountability Office concluded that special operations funding has ballooned from $3 billion in 2001 to just under $10 billion in 2014.

In recent years the U.S. military has, in fact, developed a remarkably extensive network of more than 60 outposts and access points in Africa

And then there is the steady creep of AFRICOM. Journalist Nick Turse wrote in November 2015, “in recent years the U.S. military has, in fact, developed a remarkably extensive network of more than 60 outposts and access points in Africa. Some are currently being utilized, some are held in reserve, and some may be shuttered. These bases, camps, compounds, port facilities, fuel bunkers, and other sites can be found in at least 34 countries—more than 60% of the nations on the continent—many of them corrupt, repressive states with poor human rights records.”

The Pentagon even runs an estimated 170 golf courses around the world.

Tallying up the list of U.S. direct or proxy wars is no simple task. In a May 2013 article published in the journal Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator noted:

U.S. military operations are involved in all the five continents

Today U.S. military operations are involved in scores of countries across all the five continents. The U.S. military is the world’s largest landlord, with significant military facilities in nations around the world, and with a significant presence in Bahrain, Djibouti, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to long-established bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the UK. Some of these are vast, such as the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, which has recently been expanded to accommodate up to 10,000 troops and 120 aircraft.

Militarized intervention drives the greatest crises of human strife and displacement since World War II

The authors ultimately concluded that the U.S. was directly or indirectly involved in wars in 74 countries at the time.

As recently as May 2016, New York Times reporter Mark Landler observed that Obama is the “only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.”

Kerry is certainly correct to point out that U.S. engagement in vaster than it ever has been before. But as militarized intervention drives the greatest crises of human strife and displacement since World War II, this observation is no comfort at all.