Caricom Rejects US Attempt to Split the Caribbean

Source: Cuba Debate / Internationalist 360
January 20 2020

https://i2.wp.com/www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Mia-Motteley.jpgThe Caribbean Community (Caricom) today rejected US attempts to divide the region, in the wake of a meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several leaders in Jamaica.

Barbadian Prime Minister and Caricom President Mia Mottley criticized the meeting between Pompeo and an undisclosed select group of Caribbean representatives, which is intended to fragment the region.

In a speech at the gala marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Barbados prime minister and regional integrationist Errol W. Barrow, Mottley said her decision to reject the invitation to send her foreign minister to the meeting in Kingston on Tuesday was based on the right to peace.

“I do not seek to fight, but I am aware that if this country does not stand for something, it will fall for anything. As president of Caricom, it is impossible for me to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with someone to which Caricom members are not invited. It is an attempt to divide this region, ”she said.

Likewise, Mottley said principles only mean something when it is inconvenient to uphold them, aware that Caricom “must always monitor itself to ensure that we do not become the pawns of others”.

Pompeo will arrive in Jamaica from Costa Rica and hold official talks with Prime Minister Andrew Holnnes, who is expected to give a speech on the importance of the Caribbean region to the United States.

Last year Holness, along with the leaders of St. Lucia, the Bahamas and Haiti, flew to Miami to meet with US President Donald Trump, where they discussed the ongoing political situation in Venezuela and Washington’s attempts to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

The Caribbean Community has reiterated its opposition to interference in the internal affairs of nations and called on governments to work together in pursuit of sustainable development objectives.

Today on his Twitter account, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez highlighted the importance of the Caricom Summit to be held in Havana next December.

The United States changes its strategy on Venezuela

Source:  Chamosaur

January 13 2020

By Francisco Herranz

As a result of the strong support of Russia and Cuba for Nicolás Maduro, and the division of the opposition groups, the US has modified its strategy towards Venezuela. It no longer shuffles the use of force among his plans. Now it only demands a negotiating process between the two opposing parties with the aim of renewing the Presidency and Parliament.

Although it occupies only three paragraphs, the statement of the US Department of State, released on January 9, clearly indicates an important change of course, not because of what it says but because of what it omits. It doesn’t say it has all the options on the table. Nor does it require the immediate or prior departure of Maduro as an essential condition to address the necessary changes. That represents a very remarkable circumstance in diplomatic and political terms.

The document, signed by the US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, argues that “a rapid negotiated transition to democracy is the most effective and sustainable route to peace and prosperity in Venezuela.” Pompeo adds that “the negotiations could open the path of the crisis through a transitional government that will organize free and fair elections.”

The Pompeo project sets a road map for the two elections to be held later this year. For this, it demands a new and independent National Electoral Commission, elected by the National Assembly (Parliament), as stipulated in the Constitution, to control the electoral process.

Two other requirements cited by Washington would be the renewal of the Supreme Court of Justice, the highest body of the Venezuelan judicial system, as well as unlimited access to media, telecommunications, internet and radio and television spaces of all candidates, parties and electorate. .

Pompeo wants elections open to all parties and candidates, which would apparently include the chavistas of the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), but that is especially complicated because the four most important opposition formations are banned and their main leaders, disabled.
This is about:

First Unit, party of the former presidential candidate and former governor of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, sentenced to 15 years of disqualification for corruption by the Comptroller General of the Republic;
Voluntad Popular, the party led by Leopoldo López, currently host-refugee at the Spanish Embassy in Caracas;

  • A New Time;
  • Democratic Action

The first three are part of the main opposition coalition, Bureau of Democratic Unity (MUD).

The tactical change is very significant because for months the Trump administration insisted that “all options were on the table” in relation to the crisis in Venezuela. That meant that it included the military option, that is, a scenario with invasion of ground troops and special operations.

Does Venezuela have two National Assemblies?

At the beginning of last December, Pompeo himself showed that the US Executive no longer considered the possibility of sending the Marines, although he did not say so clearly. Instead of the military option, the Secretary of State then mentioned the economic sanctions decreed by the US against the Venezuelan oil industry.

The idea of ​​applying new sanctions is the one that takes more force and particularly against other politicians, for example, against Luis Parra, a First Justice deputy who went to the ruling party and proclaimed himself president of the National Assembly, unsuccessfully disallowing the leader of the Legislative, Juan Guaidó.

The United States had asked Maduro since January 2019 to leave the country, and in April of that year Pompeo had said, after a stifled military uprising, that the Venezuelan leader had a plane ready to flee to Cuba.

The sharp turn taken by the White House is the result of a serious failure of political calculation. The US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, acknowledged to the press that his country underestimated the support of Russia and Cuba for Maduro, which was ultimately a blunder. Moscow and Havana “are the two pillars of support for the regime and, without them, [Maduro] would not be in power,” said the veteran US diplomatic representative, who obviously feels “frustrated” by the current situation of the crisis that It crosses the Caribbean nation.

The United States sees what happened in 2019 and Maduro is still at the Miraflores Palace, and maybe it is looking to change his toolbox (sanctions, threats, blockades, diplomatic and political siege) for a new one that sets course towards a negotiated solution. Trump would like it to be this year to show it as an achievement for his re-election in November.

“Nor is it ruled out that he seeks to push Maduro toward the dilemma of making concessions or facing greater danger. Anyway, it seems that someone in Washington reread Kissinger, ”says an experienced Venezuelan journalist.

However, the negotiations that the State Department is talking about now sound like mere illusions, because the process of open dialogue through Norwegian mediators has been suspended for weeks. A couple of days ago, Guaido himself informed national and international public opinion that a commission from the Kingdom of Norway was arriving in Caracas, but added that they were not “going to participate in any meeting”, especially after the incidents occurred on January 5, when a group of soldiers and police prevented him from entering the National Assembly building to be re-elected one more year in office.

Who are the opponents of Guaidó and Maduro who are now key in Venezuela
After his vain attempt, Guaidó organized an unpublished session in the newspaper El Nacional, where he was ratified by 100 opposition deputies of the 167 that the Chamber has.

Another reason for the change of opinion of Pompeo would be the great political and personal differences between the Venezuelan opposition. They did not learn from the mistakes of yesteryear and their unity cracks. Guaidó, who has not achieved much in this last year as “president in charge” of Venezuela, is increasingly facing the radical sectors of the opposition that favor the use of military force to drive Maduro out of power.

The most famous clash against Guaidó has been starred by María Corina Machado. The media coordinator of the Vente Venezuela movement has already denounced that the leadership of the National Assembly is “infiltrated” and that it leads the country to “false dialogues” and “criminal cohabitations”. The uncompromising but popular María Corina Machado has declared, by active and passive, that Maduro “only yields to the force” and proposes an international joint action, while Guaidó considers, until now, that this path is meaningless, very dangerous and risky.

Sanctions kill more people than bombs or wars … Sara Flounders

December 16 2019

RT:  So joining us to understand sanctions a little better we’re being joined by Sarah Flounders she’s the co-director of the International Action Center in New York City.

Sarah thank you for being with us today. So you say in your article that sanctions actually kill more people than bombs or guns.  Can you explain that to us.

SF:  Yes sanctions are war. They are actually directed at the poorest, the most defenseless, those who are older, sick; the youth, and as such they have a deadly consequence.

If the most basic medicine, or if you create artificial famine – and that is what they do – it actually helps to spread disease by preventing the most basic medicine.  And it happens in country after country. 39 countries, a third of the population of the world, think of the impact and there are countries where it’s well known – Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China and so on.  And there are all kinds of countries around the world that we don’t know and that you see on the sanctions list; and this is true for Zimbabwe or Laos or Guinea.  We could go on – Mali, Nicaragua, one country after another, that suddenly can’t get the most basic material.

RT:   And Ajama Baraka has actually said on on this very program that sanctions he said softens a country for military invasion.  What recent invasions can you point to that can prove that point is that a true thing.?

SF:   Well when you look at the impact in Venezuela certainly sanctions were used absolutely to try to undercut support for a very popular government.   We could look at Syria where sanctions since 2003 were an economic destabilizing force and and created great dissension within the country.  So it can be a precursor to military action, to using contra and reactionary forces; and at the same time the economic strangulation is meant to undercut support for popular and for elected governments around the world.

It happens without us being aware of it here and that’s why we need really a grassroots International People’s Campaign which is exposing this as an act of war.

….

Fascist Bolivian Coup Leader Fails in DC Charm Offensive

Source:  Popular Resistance.org

 

On Red Lines, Anya Parampil covers the obliteration of Bolivian coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho’s big event in Washington, where he was auditioning for US support at the Inter-American Dialogue think tank on December 12. The presidential candidate had hoped to present himself as a unifying figure, but was instead met with ferocious resistance by Bolivians and US anti-war protesters denouncing his fascist past. ||| The Grayzone ||| Find more reporting at https://thegrayzone.com

The Richest Country’s Empty Plates. 50 Million Hungry Americans

Source:  Global Research
December 18 2019

In July of 2013, Rose Aguilar wrote a wonderful article for al-Jazeera (1), in which she discussed the dire hunger crisis that envelops the US today. In her article, she brought back a memory of something I had long forgotten, an event that so outraged the American public that the government was temporarily forced to respond with more humane policies. That event was a 1968 CBS special hour-long documentary called Hunger in America, in which viewers literally watched a hospitalized child die of starvation. Nixon responded because the public outrage left him no choice, but Reagan quickly dismantled those improvements.

When Reagan came to power in 1980, there were 200 food banks in the US; today there are more than 40,000, all overwhelmed with demand and forced to ration their dispersals. Before 1980, one out of every 50 Americans was dependent on food stamps. Today, it is one out of four. Before Reagan, there were 10 million hungry Americans; today there are more than 50 million and increasing. A substantial part of the Great Transformation included not only tax cuts and other benefits for the wealthy, but a simultaneous massive reduction in budgets for social programs – in spite of the fact that Reagan and the secret government were creating the conditions that would desperately require those same social programs.

That 50 million hungry Americans today includes the 25% of all children in the US who go to sleep hungry every night. About 25% of the American population today cannot buy sufficient food to remain healthy, with most of these being hungry for at least three months during each year. It is so bad that many college students have resorted to what we call “dumpster-diving” – looking in garbage bins for edible food.

In 2013, America’s largest food bank in New York City delivered more than 35 million Kgs of food, and still 1.5 million of the city’s 8 million inhabitants are hungry. After that CBS documentary and prior to Reagan’s appearance, New York had almost no need for emergency food services, and had only 28 food agencies. Today that number is more than 1,000. The problem is so serious that many agencies fear that desperation for food will lead to increasing violence.

By contrast, only about 5% of Chinese said there had been times during the previous 12 months when they had been hungry, while in the US that number is now 25% and still rising. Maura Daly, a social agency spokesperson said,

“People have a lot of misimpressions about hunger in America. People think it’s associated with homelessness when, in fact, it is working families, it’s kids, it’s the disabled.”

Perhaps even more alarming was the release of study data in the middle of 2014 documenting that 25% of the US military members are also dependent on food stamps, food banks and other civilian welfare projects for their survival. After compiling four years of data, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, released its largest and most comprehensive study which showed, among other things that 15% of all Americans rely on food banks for all their basic nutrition. In other words, no other source of food. But perhaps the most shocking revelation was that 25% of military personnel were in the same financial position. Of course, the Pentagon was quick to take issue with the study’s methodology, using statistical babble to cloak their embarrassment.

Re-Targeting Cuba: US Renews Effort to Squash Cuba

Source:  Counterpunch
March 20 2019

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

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

Inflicting suffering and destabilization

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

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

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

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

Violation of Cuban sovereignty

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

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

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

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

Violation of International Law

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

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

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

Food imports

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

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

Political terrorism

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

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

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More articles by:W. T. WHITNEY

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

 

The Helms-Burton is not applicable in Cuba

Source: Granma
May 17 2019

by: Yudy Castro Morales | internet@granma.cu

the helms burton is not applicable to cubaPhoto: José Manuel Correa

“The Helms-Burton Act is not applicable in Cuba; in the first place, because it is a law of the United States and therefore its jurisdiction, its range of action, is the United States. No sovereign country that respects itself would allow the extraterritorial application of a U.S. law in its territory. In addition, in our case, Cuba has a law approved in 1996 that declares the Helms-Burton Act null and void.”

Carlos Fernández de Cossío 2.jpgThis is how Carlos Fernández de Cossío, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ general director for the United States, explained the situation, which is worth repeating for those with doubts about this famous law’s lack of validity. This legal creation, meant to strangle the Cuban economy, is well-known precisely because of its extraterritoriality, and its disrespect for international law.

A violation to Cuba’s sovereignty

The Helms-Burton Act is, above all, a violation to Cuba’s sovereignty, which purports to compensate potential claimants of U.S. properties nationalized in Cuba after the triumph of the Revolution. This barely exceeds the category of a pretext, although it is probably the argument that has caused the most turmoil, since it implies potential damage to third parties. This has been enough to intimidate those who can be intimidated and creating uncertainty.The essential nature of the law, as several experts have noted, lies in its colonizing spirit, in its expansionist hunger in the most faithful imperial style.

This “legislative instrument” denies, in terms of sovereignty, everything that Cuba has conquered for its people, enshrined in its Constitution with the majority support of the people.Cuba’s Magna Carta, which we Cubans approved, of our own free will, states in its first article, “Cuba is a socialist state of law and social justice, democratic, independent, and sovereign, organized with all and for the good of all as a unitary and indivisible republic, founded on work, dignity, humanism, and the morality of its citizens for the enjoyment of freedom, equity, equality, solidarity, wellbeing, and individual and collective prosperity.”And the sovereignty which this law is intended to violate “resides intransferably in the people, from whom all state power emanates.” Thus the Helms-Burton has no legitimacy, nor do such international relations, which are to be based, according to the Constitution, “on the exercise of sovereignty and anti-imperialist, internationalist principles, to serve the interests of the people.”

No negotiation under coercion

Article 16 reaffirms that “economic, diplomatic, and political relations with any other state can never be negotiated under aggression, threat, or coercion,” and reiterated is the aspiration for “an honorable, true, and valid peace for all states, based on respect for independence and sovereignty of the peoples and their right to self-determination, expressed in the right to freely chose their political, economic, social, and cultural system, as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations.”

Likewise established is the commitment “to strictly abide by the principles and norms of international law, in particular equality of rights; territorial integrity; the independence of states; no use or threat to use force in international relations; international cooperation for mutual, equitable benefit; the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the basis of equality, respect and other principles proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.”

Cubans are governed by our own laws

The Helms-Burton obviously advocates the contrary, but Cubans are governed by our own laws.

The Constitution also “condemns imperialism, fascism, colonialism, neocolonialism, and other forms of domination, in any of their expressions.” Is not any attempt to implement the Helms-Burton meant to impose subjugation?

Also ruled out are “direct or indirect intervention in the internal or external affairs of any state, and therefore, armed aggression, any form of economic or political coercion, unilateral blockades that violate international law, or any type of interference or threat to the integrity of states.”

We already know, based on our 60 years of experience, that the unilateral blockade is one of the keys to our northern neighbor’s foreign policy. In fact, the Helms-Burton codifies in law this policy and extends its impact internationally.

A mockery of international norms

Cuba’s Constitution insists on maintaining and fostering “friendly relations with countries which, having a different political, social and economic regime, respect our sovereignty, observe the norms of coexistence among states, and adopt a reciprocal attitude with our country, in accordance with the principles of international law. “But what is the Helms-Burton Law if not a mockery of international norms, of every elementary principle of coexistence among nations?The Magna Carta indicates that the Cuban state will, “promote multilateralism and multipolarity in international relations, as alternatives to domination and political, financial, and military hegemony or any other manifestation that threatens the peace, independence or sovereignty of peoples.”In other words: Cuba rejects each and every one of the postulates put forward by the Helms-Burton Act.

The implementation of its Title III

The Helms-Burton purports to establish the blockade as perpetual. The implementation of its Title III, suspended through May 2, reinforces and tightens the blockade. A new measure set up for failure, at a time when Cuba is precisely focused on attracting foreign investment, and diversifying, broadening its markets, not cutting them off.

In fact, the Constitution establishes this with great clarity: “The state promotes and provides guarantees for foreign investment, as an element important to the country’s economic development, on the foundation of protection and rational use of natural and human resources, as well respect for national sovereignty and independence.”

miguel diaz canel 20.jpgThese guarantees, as noted by the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, on his official Twitter account, are established in Foreign Investment Law 118, and Law 80 on the Reaffirmation of Cuban Dignity and Sovereignty, despite the aggressive escalation and uncertainty that the illegal Helms-Burton Law causes.

And speaking of guarantees, Cuba’s Constitution explicitly reiterates that the socialist property of the entire people includes “lands not owned by individuals or cooperatives, the subsoil, mineral deposits, mines, forests, waters, beaches, means of communication, and both living and non-living resources within the Republic’s exclusive economic zone.”

Also included are “other assets such as infrastructure of general interest, the principal industries, and economic and social installations, as well as others of a strategic importance to the country’s social and economic development.”

“These assets are nontransferable and their ownership can only be altered in exceptional cases, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, provided that they are to be destined for the economic and social development of the country and do not affect the political, economic, and social foundations of the state.”Have you thought about whether your children’s school was one of the properties that someone could claim; or the hospital you go to, the bank, the stadium, the market…?Probably not, because we rarely waste time on such nonsense.The Helms-Burton Act is disconcerting. No doubt. Nonetheless, as emphasized by the Constitutional principles that govern the country’s entire legal system, “Cuba repudiates and considers illegal and null any treaty, concessions or pact agreed upon under conditions of inequality, or that ignore or diminish our sovereignty or territorial integrity.”