Eye-Witness Account of US Attempts to Destabilize Cuba

Source: Internationalist 360

In response to US provocation, thousands of Cubans rallied across the island on July 11 in support of their Revolution and government

July 29 2021

As a Canadian with family members that live in Cuba, who was in Cuba during the anti-government protests that occurred on July 11, I found myself in a unique and disturbing position where I could see and feel the disconnect between what was being reported by the mainstream media back home and what was really happening on the ground in Cuba.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations

Approximately two weeks after Father’s Day, the COVID-19 Delta variant began to take hold, particularly in the province of Matanzas. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are important social celebrations in Cuban culture and, coupled with the level of contagion of the Delta variant, this led to a rapid escalation in new COVID-19 cases. Cuba had recently fully vaccinated a large portion of the population in La Habana province with their first approved vaccine candidate, Abdala. From there, the Cuban Ministry of Health (MINSAP) began focusing on Matanzas because it is the most popular province for tourism and this puts the population there more at risk. Abdala has an efficacy rate of 92 percent, putting it in the same league as the most effective vaccines, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.

At the same time that the number of daily reported new COVID-19 cases was spiking, we began hearing from many friends in the city of Cárdenas, Matanzas (a current hotspot for COVID-19) that their vaccination appointments were being cancelled due to a lack of syringes and needles. The government responded swiftly with a lockdown, allowing stores to only be open in the mornings so that people would be at home for the rest of the day. At the same time, the number of hospital admissions was increasing and health care workers and the hospital infrastructure itself were becoming overwhelmed. A large electrical power plant in Matanzas was operating at reduced capacity due to outstanding maintenance (the US blockade affects Cuba’s ability to import parts and supplies) and the government had to resort to rationing electricity to households in order to keep people in the hospitals alive. This meant only a few hours per day to cook or turn on your fan or air conditioner in the July heat. No public pools were open and going to the beach was not permitted due to the lockdown.

So, nearly a year and a half into the pandemic and economic crisis, you can imagine the heightened level of frustration, fatigue and despair.

US sanctions lead to huge fall in exports and imports

Since the onset of the pandemic, Cuba’s GDP has rapidly fallen by over 11 percent. The economy was already struggling before the pandemic. Since the Donald Trump administration tightened sanctions from 2017 to 2020, Cuban exports fell by 82 percent and imports by 85 percent. Trump attacked Cuba’s sources of currency, cutting back commercial flights and eventually even banning charter flights in the summer of 2020. The US also imposed sanctions on tanker companies that delivered petroleum from Venezuela to Cuba which affected movement and logistics on the island.

With the huge losses to the tourism sector in 2020 because of the pandemic, the island has lost one of its most important sources of hard currency, plunging it into one of the worst food shortages since the Special Period in the 1990s. Basic hygiene products have become increasingly difficult for Cubans to find in stores – as have over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Advil and antibiotic ointments. Pharmacies now lack vital prescription medications for manageable conditions like hypertension, diabetes and cancer as well as treatable, but potentially harmful infections. A 250-tablet bottle of Acetaminophen costs $50 USD or more on the underground market.

With many medications currently unavailable, scarce and expensive personal hygiene products and 2 to 3-hour lineups for groceries with a 50/50 chance the store will run out that day before you make it inside, the Cuban people are suffering and generally exasperated and miserable under the current conditions. This is exactly what the sanctions are designed to do.

Social media manipulation and cyberattacks 

At the beginning of July, in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Matanzas province, we started seeing the #SOSCuba hashtag coming from Cuban American celebrities living in South Florida. This was less than 3 weeks after the Abdala vaccine was found to contend with the top vaccines in the world (with Soberana, Cuba’s second candidate vaccine, not far behind) and right after 184 countries voted at the United Nations for the US to end the blockade. The #SOSCuba hashtag was an obvious smear campaign and meant to spread the idea that the Cuban government has “mismanaged” the pandemic.

Miami is home to 1.2 million people of Cuban heritage – many of whom are descendants of exiles that fled the Revolution. They have strong counterrevolutionary and anti-communist views and constitute a wealthy and politically powerful community. There is a multimillion-dollar counterrevolutionary industry based in South Florida with politicians, YouTubers, actors and artists whose entire careers are propped up by telling lies about the Cuban government and lobbying Washington to maintain and tighten its blockade. Tens of millions of dollars are spent every year by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and USAID to fund “democracy” projects in Cuba. This is code for funding political interference, fake journalism, dissenters and protestors – all to promote regime change.

After the anti-government protests, Spanish social media expert Julian Macias Tovar spoke on the Cuban television news show Mesa Redonda (“Roundtable”) and explained that the figures around the #SOSCuba hashtag are more than a little odd. Macias Tovar stated that between July 5, when the hashtag was first used, and July 8, there were just 5,000 tweets. This figure then exploded exponentially with 100,000 Tweets on July 9, 500,000 on July 10, 1.5 million the next day and two million on the July 12. Cuban TV journalists did an excellent job debunking the lies and fake photos and videos around the protests as they were being created and disseminated to keep Cubans correctly informed. Unfortunately, of course, this was not seen by anyone outside of Cuba. We now know that thousands of fake social media accounts were created in the days leading up to the protests and that bots were used to send out thousands of tweets per day and hundreds of retweets per minute on July 10 and 11. The purpose was to tarnish the Cuban government’s reputation and to prepare and encourage anti-government demonstrations.

Cubans offered money to create fake news

On July 11, there were not thousands of anti-government protestors in any Cuban city at any point in time. There were barely hundreds in a country of over 11 million people.

In Cárdenas, where I was, the participants were not working professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, lawyers, licensed business owners or workers in factories or the tourism sector. Most of the protesters were those who choose to be unemployed and live off remittances from family living abroad. Many are well-known delinquents and are not positive contributors to the community. We personally know of the woman and her husband who created a widely circulated and entirely fake video – using pig’s blood and tomato sauce – of a Cuban police officer shooting their child. The couple confessed to being offered “Moneda Libremente Convertible” (MLC, meaning freely convertible money rather than Cuban pesos) from someone in the United States to do this. Another individual, who was also offered money to participate in the Cárdenas protest, created a staged video and has a history in town of running an illegal, unlicensed business and not paying taxes.

Protest participants are generally not respected in the community and are not known for their civic engagement. Nor do they seem to be interested in peaceful dialogue with the government. Compensation appears to be their primary motivating factors. These anti-government protests were also not ongoing as mainstream media claimed in the days that followed.

Multiple false claims on social media

I want to note that most Cuban police officers do not have guns with bullets. They usually have blank guns, similar to starting pistols, that merely emit smoke and sound. There were multiple false claims on social media and in the Western mainstream media of police murdering Cuban adults and youth – especially people of colour. Many of these “deceased” people later went on Cuban public television to prove that they were in fact alive and well.

The Cárdenas protests were not characterized by police brutality and there are no missing people. There were however stores completely trashed by rioters who threw rocks through windows and at unarmed police officers, toppled police vehicles and stole things like kitchen stoves and electronics. To make matters worse, some individuals even went into the Cárdenas hospital and vandalized the pediatric ward. Health care workers reportedly needed police to provide security from these rioters who were threatening them.

Several protestors, after demolishing stores and the hospital ward, gathered at Cárdenas Bay where they expected boats from Florida that would take them to the United States. They themselves were victims of US lies and manipulation – no boats came to take them away and most have been arrested for clear-cut violations of the law. Many of them have already gone public with the communications they received from abroad that offered to transfer MLC to their bank account if they carried out destructive or deceptive tasks to create civil unrest, provoke law enforcement and fabricate videos or make false claims to foreign media and on social media. The Western mainstream media has not reported on this.

The obvious bias in the western media

The Western media has also not given enough attention to significant human rights violations by governments and paramilitary forces in countries like Colombia, Chile and Haiti where massive anti-government uprisings have occurred and hundreds of civilians have been abused, murdered or gone missing. But the same media was instantly ready to cover, exaggerate and downright lie about what happened in Cuba. Politicians in the US immediately called for “humanitarian” or military intervention in Cuba – including airstrikes. Media in the United States, Canada and other Western countries deceitfully published a photo of the Cuban May Day march photo in 2018, claiming it was of the anti-government protests. Facebook determined that their “community standards” were not violated by the countless comments calling for armed invasion and bloodshed, assassination of elected Cuban government officials, nuclear war against Cuba and gun running from Miami to Cuba.

In response to the July 11 protests, thousands – actual thousands – of Cubans came out in cities across the island to support their government and the Revolution. On July 17, pro-revolutionary and pro-government demonstrators, estimated in the hundreds of thousands, gathered at dawn in Havana. There was zero coverage of this on CNN or CBC. The huge pro-government turnout in Camagüey was described on social media as being anti-government protestors who had “liberated” Camagüey from the “dictatorship.” This was completely false.

Days after the protests, cyberattacks originating in the US targeted the websites of public institutions in Cuba such as MINSAP as well as Cuban news sites like Cubadebate through Denial-of-Service attacks. The foreign powers apparently did not want people being informed by the Cuban Ministry of Health during a health crisis or seeing on the news the disinformation that was being exposed and Cuban people describing how they had been offered money to cause civil unrest.

Most Cubans – even those who may be unhappy with the current administration – vehemently against violence, vandalism, looting and foreign interference

Most Cubans – even those who may be unhappy with the current administration – are vehemently against violence, vandalism, looting and foreign interference in their country. Almost everyone that we spoke with in Cárdenas was angry at the destruction in their town and ashamed of the behaviour of those who would sell out and smear their homeland and ask for humanitarian and military intervention from the United States. Many Cuban civilians took it upon themselves to observe, record and report to authorities those involved in the destructive July 11 protests. Cubans have long been resisting imperialism and most know that foreign intervention and neoliberalism would make them worse off and not improve their material conditions.

I do not know of any Cuban living in Cuba who does not want above all else an end to the repressive and dictatorial US blockade. This which would have an instant impact on every aspect of their wellbeing.

This situation has made it easy to see who the real allies of the Cuban people are. The majority of Latin Americans gave their support to Cubans and their government, affirming their right to sovereignty and self-determination. While US President Joe Biden chauvinistically offered to send vaccines to Cuba after the protests, knowing full well that Cuba has its own vaccines, Mexico’s president sent 800,000 syringes and needles to Cuba on a Mexican Air Force plane.

Era of US Domination of Latin America Coming to an End

Source:  Popular Resistance
August 9 2020
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance.

us dominatiuon in la over 2

Above photo: Marcha en Venezuela contra las sanciones de Trump – Reuters.

Despite its failings at home, the United States intervenes in countries across multiple continents seeking to control their governments and resources.

This week, we look at the US’ latest efforts in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia to undermine their independence and force them to serve the interests of the US government and transnational corporations.

In all three countries, the US has displayed a lack of understanding of the people and their support for their revolutionary processes, and as a result, is failing. As US empire fades, so might the Monroe Doctrine come to an end.

Sandanista- FSLN rally in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua: USAID Multi-Year Destabilization Plan Exposed

A US Agency for International Development (USAID) document revealed by reporter William Grigsby describes covert plans to overthrow the democratically-elected Nicaraguan government in the next two years. USAID seeks to hire mercenaries “to take charge of the plan . . . to disrupt public order and carry out other [violent] actions before, during, and/or after the 2021 elections.”

USAID is creating Responsive Assistance In Nicaragua (RAIN), allotting $540,000 in grants to remove the Sandinista government in what it calls “Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” Daniel Ortega won the 2016 election with 72 percent of the vote in what election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS), a US tool, described as taking “place in a calm, smooth and pacific manner, with no large incidents.”

Brian Willson, who has opposed US efforts to dominate Nicaragua since the 1980s Contra war, concludes the US realizes Ortega will win the 2021 election. In fact, this week, a poll showed support for Ortega’s party, FSLN, at 50% and for the opposition at 10%. One of USAID plans, as they tried in Venezuela in 2018, is for the opposition to boycott the election since they know they will lose, then call it illegitimate and create a political and economic crisis.

The real goal is not a democracy but domination so US transnational corporations can profit from the second poorest country in the hemisphere by putting in place a neoliberal economy to privatize public services, cut social services, and purge all traces of the Sandinistas. USAID also plans to “reestablish” the police and military to enforce their rule. Another goal is to stop Nicaragua from being the “threat of a good example” for its economic growth, reduction of inequality, poverty, illiteracy and crime.

Ben Norton points out in the Grayzone that “the 14-page USAID document employed the word ‘transition’ 102 times” making clear the intent is regime change.  A “sudden transition without elections,” a euphemism for a coup, is one of three possible regime change scenarios.

John Perry writes about “US interference in Nicaragua, going back at least as far as William Walker’s assault on its capital and usurpation of the presidency in 1856.” Since the 1979 Sandinista Revolution, the US has sought to take back control of Nicaragua.

USAID and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have been funding the opposition. NED financed 54 projects from 2014-17 to lay the groundwork for a 2018 coup attempt, which  also involved USAIDWiston Lopez writes the US has provided “more than 31 million dollars between the end of 2017 and May 1, 2020.” When the attempted coup in 2018 failed, the US also put in place illegal unilateral coercive measures, known as economic sanctions, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to try to weaken the country.

The USAID’s RAIN program outlines the usual regime change steps, e.g. remake the police and military as enforcers of the new neoliberal order, move “quickly to dismantle parallel institutions,”  i.e. the Sandinista Front, the Sandinista Youth, and other grassroots institutions, and implement “transitional justice measures,” i.e., the prosecution of current government officials and movement leaders.

A new area of attack is a disinformation campaign against Nicaragua’s handling of COVID-19. The opposition misrepresents the government’s response and puts forward false death statistics in an attempt to create chaos. As Wiston López points out, “Since March the US-directed opposition has focused 95% of their actions on attempting to discredit Nicaragua’s prevention, contention, and Covid treatment. However, this only had some success in the international media and is now backfiring since Nicaragua is the country with one of the lowest mortality rates in the continent.”

The US media fails to report on the success of Nicaragua in combating the virus using a community-based health system. Nicaragua has been building its health system for the last 12 years and took rapid action to prepare for the virus. Nicaragua did not impose a lock down because it is a poor country where 80 percent of people are in the informal economy and 40 percent live in rural areas. People must work in order to eat.

Stephen Sefton puts the failure of the United States so far in context. At its root, the US does not understand the people of Nicaragua, their history of fighting US domination, and their ability to overcome right-wing puppets. It also misunderstands what the Sandinista government is doing to better the lives of the people in every sector of the economy. Sefton concludes, “The US government has failed notoriously to meet the needs of its own people during the current pandemic but can still find money to try and destroy a small country whose success makes US social, economic and environmental policy look arbitrary, negligent and criminal.”

Nicolas Maduro kicks out Donald Trump. Photo by Ben Norton.

Venezuela: Bipartisan Failed Regime Change

Ever since the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, successive US administrations have tried and failed to dominate Venezuela. The bipartisan nature of this policy was on display on August 4, when Elliot Abrams, the notorious coup-monger for multiple presidents, testified in Congress. Not a single Senator criticized the attempt to illegally overthrow a democratically-elected government.

Abrams was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for his inability to remove President Maduro from power. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) was most open about the coup attempt describing it as “a case study in diplomatic malpractice” and claiming Trump botched a winning play in a comedy of errors that strengthened Maduro. After the hearing, Murphy posted a series of Tweets admitting the coup and how it could have been done better.

clip from Murphy’s embarrassing comments was shared widely including by the Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. When Vijay Prashad asked Arreaza his reaction, he described the US openly admitting crimes and said the “confessions” of Murphy, Gen. John Kelly, John Bolton, and Elliot Abrams “are priceless evidence for the complaint we raised at the International Criminal Court.”

Elliot Abrams testified that he would continue to work very hard to remove Maduro hopefully by the end of the year.  This echoed a statement by President Trump at SouthCom headquarters in Florida. Sen. Murphy’s comments are consistent with those made by Joe Biden who says he would be more effective at removing Maduro than Trump. Biden described Trump as soft on Maduro because he considered talking to him.

Elliot Abrams announced the US will be starting a media war against Venezuela. The reality is the US has been conducting a media war against Venezuela for more than 20 years.

Venezuela is moving ahead with elections for the National Assembly on December 6, 2020. Unlike 2018, more parties are agreeing to participate including the larger Democratic Action and Justice First parties, as well as a new Communist Party alliance and the hard-right Popular Will party, which was US puppet Juan Guaidó’s former party. There will be 105 political parties contesting for 277 National Assembly seats, 110 more than the current term. Venezuela uses a combination of majority winners and proportional representation. Venezuela also requires half the candidates to be female, and they use electronic voting confirmed by paper ballots with a public citizen audit on Election Day.

Juan Guaidó and others allied with the United States said they would boycott the election. Guaidó cannot risk running because he is likely to be defeated. The US is encouraging a boycott and then will claim the election was not legitimate as it did in the last presidential election. After December, Guaidó will not hold any elected office making his fraudulent claim to the presidency even weaker.

These events come after two major embarrassments for the US in Venezuela. Operation Gideonan attempt by mercenaries to invade Venezuela was foiled on May 4, leading to their arrests and the arrests of their co-conspirators. The State Department abandoned the mercenaries, and this week two former Green Berets were sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting their guilt. It was evident that Guaidó was heavily involved in this failure adding to his failed presidential takeover and tainting him beyond repair.

The second defeat was Iran and Venezuela working together to deliver oil and equipment for Venezuelan refineries. Five Iranian oil tankers passed by the largest US armada in the Caribbean since the invasion of Panama. Southcom has been repeatedly sending warships into Venezuelan waters. The solidarity of Iran and Venezuela overcame the naval blockade, undermined US sanctions, and sent a shudder through the US by showing other nations they can defy the United States.

Venezuela has a strong history of struggle against imperialism but the US’ economic war is costing their economy hundreds of billions of dollars and leading to the premature death of Venezuelans. In addition, the United Kingdom is refusing to release more than a billion dollars of Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England that was to be used for food and medicine. The UK court ruled against Venezuela but they are appealing the decision.

Bolivians protest the postponement of the election.

Bolivia: US Dictator Fears Democratic Vote

On November 12 2019, a US-backed coup in Bolivia removed President Evo Morales who had just won re-election. The self-proclaimed President Jeanine Añez, a right-wing Christian, leads a de facto government involved in massacres, persecution and imprisonment of political leaders. It is destroying the social and economic model and achievements of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS Party) led by Morales.

The OAS played a crucial role in the coup with their false analysis of Morales’ re-election. The western media reported the false OAS analysis without criticism. Now, studies by MIT and the Center for Economic and Policy Analysis have shown that Morales clearly won the election and should have remained in power. For months the Washington Post claimed Morales’ re-election was a fraud, but finally, in March, it acknowledged the election was legitimate. Similarly, the New York Times admitted in July that Morales won the election.

Many have called this a lithium coup because the element is plentiful in Bolivia and critical for batteries. This was made evident when Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, said on Twitter “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” Tesla would benefit from cheap and plentiful lithium for electric car batteries.

The people of Bolivia are struggling to restore democracy. The fraudulent report by the OAS led to a three-week conflict between right-wing Bolivians protesting alleged fraud and pro-government, mostly indigenous, demonstrators defending Morales. The military and police sided with the right-wing coup. The coup government threatened legislators and their families while repressing the people. There were racist attacks against the majority Indigenous population and the Wiphala, the indigenous flag, was burned in the streets. When she took power, Áñez, surrounded by right-wing legislators, held up a large leather bible and declared, “The Bible has returned to the palace.”

The US recognized the coup government, similar to its recognition of the failed coup leader, Juan Guaidó in Venezuela. Añez claimed she’d be transitory until the next election, but at the direction of the US, she is putting in place deep roots and has delayed elections.

The repression has galvanized the MAS party, as well as peasant unions and grassroots organizations who continue their struggle to restore Bolivian democracy. The pressure led to elections being scheduled. Initially, Áñez said she would not run but reversed herself and is now a candidate while she is trying to outlaw the MAS party and its candidates.

Elections were scheduled for May 3, but have been postponed twice allegedly due to the pandemic, but really because this is an ongoing coup.

It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Bolivia hard with horror stories about people unable to get medical treatment. Immediately after the coup, the Añez government expelled the Cuban doctors. The coup-government is unable to manage the health system. Corruption is rampant in the purchase of medical equipment. The health ministry has had three ministers during the crisis. The situation is dire with overcrowded hospitals, lack of basic supplies, and corpses in the streets and in their homes with nowhere to be buried.

The coup-government is using the virus to try to delay elections because polls show the MAS candidate, Luis Arce, is far ahead and likely to win in the first round of elections with Áñez coming in a distant third. Áñez has sought to prosecute Arce to keep him from running, so far unsuccessfully.  On July 6, the Attorney General of Bolivia charged Evo Morales with terrorism and financing of terrorism from exile and is seeking preventive detention.

Since mid-July, thousands of Bolivians have been protesting the postponement of elections. They are holding sustained protests throughout the country and blocking many roads. Indigenous and peasant groups, agricultural groups, along with women and unions are joining together calling for elections.  Morales, Arce, and the MAS Party have denounced the delay.

Domination Will Not Reverse Decline

Evo Morales said in a recent interview “The United States is trying to make Latin America its backyard forever. We know about the hard resistance of the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua. The struggle of our peoples is very important. The United States wants to divide us in order to plunder our natural resources. The peoples no longer accept domination and plunder. The United States is in decline, and yet it lashes out.”

The US is weakening as a global power and its failures in Latin America are both a symptom of this and are causing further decline. The US’ violations of international law are obvious and are being challenged. But the US is an empire and it will not give up the Monroe Doctrine easily.

As citizens of Empire, we have a particular responsibility to demand the US stop its sanctions and illegal interference in Latin America and elsewhere around the world. In this time of multiple global crises, we must demand the US become a cooperative member of the world community and work peacefully to address the pandemic, recession and climate crisis.

Structures to do this exist to help with this such as the global ceasefire and the Paris Climate agreement. And on the anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, we must add the Nuclear Ban Treaty as another effort the US must join.

Evidence Talks: US Government Propelled Coup in Bolivia

Source:  Global Research

November 25 2019

 

A coup on November 10 removed the socialist government of Bolivian President Evo Morales. The U.S. government made preparations and orchestrated the final stages of the coup. It was in charge. In power for almost 14 years, Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera had won elections taking place on October 20. The two leaders would each have been serving a fourth term in office.

Evidence of the U.S. crime appears below.  It’s about money, U.S. influence within the Bolivian military, and U.S. control of the Organization of American States (OAS):

1. For many years the Santa Cruz Civic Committee and its proto-fascist Youth Union received funding from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy. According to analyst Eva Golinger some years ago, the USAID provided $84 million to Bolivian opposition groups.

U.S. Embassy officials conspired with and paid the “civic committees” of Bolivia’s four eastern departments. Representing the European- descended elite of Bolivia’s wealthiest region, these groups promoted racist assaults. They concocted a separatist movement and tried to assassinate Morales. In response, the Bolivian government expelled the U.S. ambassador, Drug Enforcement Agency, and U. S. Agency for International Development.

2. Bolivian armed forces commander in chief Williams Kaliman Romero on November 10 “suggested” that Morales resign. That was the coup de grace. Within three days, Kaliman himself resigned and moved to the United States. Sullkata M. Quilla of the Latin American Center for Strategic Analysis explains that Kaliman and other military chiefs each had received $1 million and that top police officers received $500,000 apiece. U.S. Chargee d’affaires Bruce Williamson allegedly arranged for monetary transactions that took place in Argentina’s Jujuy Province under the auspices of Governor Geraldo Morales. The story first appeared on the website www.Tvmundus.com.ar.

3. Money flowed freely prior to Morales’s departure. Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti – a Morales supporter – reported that, “loyal members of [Morales’s] security team showed him messages in which people were offering them $50,000 if they would hand him over.”

4. According to the respected Argentinean journalist Stella Calloni, Ivanka Trump arrived in Jujuy on September 4-5 ostensibly to honor a small group of women entrepreneurs. Some “2,500 federal agents” and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan accompanied her. At the same time, Governor Gerardo Morales was informed that the United States would be delivering $400 million supposedly to pay for improvements to a big highway in Argentina. Cattaloni suggests that a freight train running through Jujuy en route to Santa Cruz, the center of anti- Morales plotting in Bolivia, was transporting military equipment to opposition groups.

There’s media speculation as to how Governor Morales may have facilitated the transfer of U.S. money to Luis Camacho, leader of the coup and head of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee. He may have done so in Santa Cruz, where he visited on September 4, or in Jujuy Province where Camacho may have showed up later that day or the next.

5. According to analyst Jeb Sprague:

“At least six of the key coup plotters are alumni of the infamous School of the Americas, while [General] Kaliman and another figure served in the past as Bolivia’s military and police attachés in Washington.”

For decades, Latin American military personnel have received training and indoctrination at that U.S. Army school now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

Sprague notes also that the top commanders of police that mutinied had received training at the Washington-based Latin American police exchange program known by its initials in Spanish as APALA.

6. The OAS played a crucial role in the coup. Votes were being tallied on October 20 when the OAS, having audited preliminary results, announced that they showed irregularities. The U.S. government echoed the findings and street protests intensified. On October 24 the Supreme Electoral Tribunal declared first-round victories for Morales and García Linare. Protests mounted. The government, under stress, requested another OAS audit.

The OAS made its conclusions public on November 10, earlier than expected:

The OAS couldn’t “validate the results of this election [and called for] “another electoral process [and] new electoral authorities.”

This was the tipping point. Morales convoked another election but shortly thereafter General Kaliman forced him to resign.

The OAS findings were false. Walter Mebane and colleagues at the University of Michigan, having examined voting statistics, indicated that fraudulent votes in the election were not decisive for the result. The Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research performed its own detailed study and reached the same conclusion.

The OAS served as U.S. handmaiden. Headquartered in Washington, the organization took shape under U.S. auspices in 1948 with the assigned task of protecting Latin America and the Caribbean from Communism. More recently the OAS, under Secretary General Luis Almagro’s guidance, has spearheaded U.S. efforts to expel President Nicolas Maduro’s progressive Venezuelan government.

Paradoxically, Almagro in May 2019 gave Morales the go-ahead for a fourth presidential term. That was despite a referendum having been defeated that would have allowed the extra term. Almago’s intention may have been to lull Morales into cooperating with OAS overview of the election results.

7. Other signs of U.S. coup preparations are these:

  • Prior to the October 20 elections President Morales charged that U.S. Embassy officials bribed rural residents to reject him at the polls. They traveled, for example, to the Yungas region on October 16 with pay-offs to disaffected coca farmers.
  • According to Bolpress.com, the National Military Coordinator (Coordinadora Nacional Militar), an organization of reserve military officers, received and distributed money sent from the United States to create social crisis prior to October 20. The United States also used embassies in Bolivia and the evangelical church as facades to hide its activities. Mariane Scott and Rolf A. Olson, U.S. Embassy officials in La Paz, met with counterparts in the embassies of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina to coordinate destabilization efforts and to deliver U.S. financing to opposition forces inside Bolivia.
  • Weapons shipments from the United States arrived at the Chilean port of Iquique on their way to the National Military Coordinator group inside Bolivia.
  • The State Department allocated $100,000 to enable a company called “CLS Strategies” to mount a disinformation campaign through social media.
  • The CIA station in La Paz assumed control of Bolivia’s Whatsapp network in order to leak false information. More than 68,000 fake anti-Morales tweets were released.
  • In mid-October “political consultant” George Eli Birnbaun arrived in Santa Cruz from Washington with a team of military and civilian personnel. Their job was to support the U.S. – preferred presidential candidacy of Oscar Ortiz and to destabilize the country politically after the elections. They provided support for Santa Cruz Civic Committee’s youth organization – specialists in violence – and supervised the U.S. – financed “Standing Rivers” NGO, engaged in spreading disinformation.
  • Sixteen audio recordings of the plotters’ pre-election conversations were leaked and showed up on the internet. Several of the voices mentioned contacts with the U.S. Embassy and with U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Robert Menendez, and Marco Rubio. Sprague reports that four of the ex-military plotters on the calls had attended the School of the Americas.

This presentation focuses entirely on the evidence. In a criminal investigation, evidence is central to determining guilt or innocence. Considerations of motive and context are of lesser importance, and we don’t deal with them here. But when and where they are attended to, they would logically fall into categories that include the following:

1. A socialist experiment was showing signs of success and capitalists of the world were facing the threat of a good example.

2. A people once held hostage by colonial powers was able to claim sovereign independence and in that regard had endeavored to retain much of the wealth provided through natural resources, lithium in particular.

3. Throughout its existence the Morales government, headed by an indigenous president, was up against anti-indigenous prejudice, racist in origin, and social-class divisions.

4. All the while, that government was the target of hostility, plotting, and episodic violence at the hands of the entitled classes.

So the evidence is clear. It points to a controlling U.S. hand in this coup d’état. The U.S. government bears heavy responsibility. There were Bolivian instigators, of course, but the U.S. plotters fall within the range of our own political processes. That’s why our accusing finger points at them.

In this instance, the U.S. government, as is its custom, disregarded international law, morality, respect for human life, and common decency. To stifle popular resistance the U.S. government evidently will stop at nothing, other than force in the hands of the people. What kind of force remains to be seen.

*

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W.T. Whitney Jr. is a political journalist with a focus on Latin America and health care issues. He is a Cuba solidarity activist who formerly worked as a pediatrician.

Featured image is from Peoples Dispatch

How USAID prepared conditions for a soft coup against the government of Nicaragua (Part I)

Source:  La Santa Mambisa /  Cubadebate
December 17 2018

usaid in nicaragua.jpg

The strategy of USAID in Nicaragua is long-term, covering the period 2010-2020 and with a focus on the presidential elections of 2021. The stategy is being implemented through the achievement of three general objectives:

  1. Increase the participatory capacity of the opposition in the political scenario of the country, through the formation of a new opposition leadership and strengthening of the right-wing media to boost the media war.
  2. Form anti-government awareness in vulnerable sectors of society, with emphasis on the Caribbean Coast, a region cataloged by the US Department of State as a priority area for its political objectives in the Nicaraguan territory.
  3. Develop a new youth leadership and control over independent media.

To comply with these objectives, USAID allocated an approximate amount of 68,414,563.00 USD, to which was added an increase in 2016 of 7,995,022.00 USD, aimed at strengthening the execution of the following programs:

 Training in data journalism and data visualization

This program is being executed by the North American International Research and Exchange Board (IREX), with funds in addition to the Open Society. An initial budget of 3 850 000.00 USD is foreseen for the period 2015-2020, to which a budget of 890 000.00 USD for a total of 4 740 000.00 USD was added in 2016.

It is implemented in Nicaragua through the “Voices for All” initiative promoted by IREX itself with the participation of the local NGO Fundemos.

This project is mainly aimed at negatively influencing Nicaraguan public opinion and building a communication matrix against the government of Daniel Ortega that maintains a level of discontent as a trend in the population.

 Institutional Strengthening Program

This project was executed by the North American contractor Dexis Consulting Group and Chemonics in the period 2013-2018, with an initial amount of 6,498,767.00 USD, to which was added an increase in 2016 of 2,500,000.00 USD, totaling 8,998,767.00 USD to the present.

The purpose of the program was to strengthen the mobilization capacity of the Nicaraguan opposition organizations in order to accompany the media campaigns that were generated and other mobilization actions that merit it according to their interests.

 Civil Society Grants Program

It was executed by the local NGO Ethics and Transparency in the 2013-2017 period with an amount of 1 980 000.00 USD. The program was aimed at training and reactivating opposition organizations to demand the implementation of constitutional reforms and to organize media actions with the purpose of discrediting the electoral processes, as well as to denounce supposed cases of corruption committed by government institutions.

– Program for Strengthening the Media

This program is being executed by the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation under the cooperation agreement No. 524-A-14-00001 for the sum of 1,600,000.00 USD during the period 2014-2017, subsequently adding an amount of 930,000.00 USD to an initial total of 2 530 000.00 USD.

The program was directed in this first stage to undermine the image of the government of Nicaragua in the face of the presidential electoral process of 2016, through the training and financing of independent media.

Subsequently, in 2017, the USAID / Nicaragua office decided to extend the program until 2020, adding a fund of USD 3 700 000.00, for the electoral process of 2021, readjusted after the outbreak of the coup in April to demand an advance of elections.

 Local Governance Program

It is executed by the North American NGO Global Communities during the period 2016-2018, with an initial amount of 25 999 763.00 USD, adding in 2016 an increase of 2 950 000.00 USD for a total of 28 949 763.00 USD.

It was aimed at wearing down the government by generating political pressure from the municipalities. The activities of the program were focused on promoting civil disobedience and instability in the administrative entities governed by the Sandinista Front, using local entrepreneurs linked to the opposition as agents of social change.

 Democratic Leadership Development Program (DLDP)

Executed by the NDI under cooperation agreement No. 524-A00-10-00003-00 during the period 2016-2018, with an initial amount of 18,000,000.00 USD and in 2016 received an increase of 1 655 022.00 $ USD , totaling 19 655 022.00 $ USD.

It is one of the most important USAID programs in the country and its purpose was to create a mass of young critics to the Sandinista government that would serve as agents of change so that in the medium and long term they could assume the generational replacement of the traditional opposition, taking account for the natural wear of the latter.

 Promotion of Economical and Social Development in Nicaragua

The program was executed by the local NGO Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) under the cooperation agreement No 524-A-11-00001 in the 2011-2016 period, with a total amount of 2 491 011.00 USD

Its initial purpose was to strengthen the international image of this Nicaraguan NGO, also created by USAID itself to give it a public credibility in the national and international economic and financial sector, in particular its director Juan Sebastian Chamorro. This would allow it to be used, in the medium and long term, as a spearhead against the government’s economic policy, generating an unfavorable state of opinion through the academic work they carry out.

Every single member of US Congress approve crushing sanctions on Nicaragua

Source:  Mintpressnews.com
December 15 2018

By Ben Norton

lleana ros-lehtinen king upton us congress.jpg

Above Photo: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., flanked by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., left, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 9, 2017. J. Scott Applewhite | AP

After defeating a violent US-backed coup attempt, Nicaragua’s elected government faces the NICA Act. The bill aims to force the Sandinistas from power by ratcheting up economic despair.

GrayZone Project — Every single member in both chambers of the US Congress approved legislation that will impose sanctions and financial restrictions on Nicaragua in an explicit effort to weaken its government.

Known as the NICA Act, the bill is now on its way to the desk of President Donald Trump, who will almost certainly sign it into law. Its passage was spearheaded by neoconservative lawmakers centered around the Miami lobby of right-wing Latin American exiles dedicated to eradicating any iteration of socialism in the Western hemisphere.

The United States has spent decades trying to topple Nicaragua’s government, now led by the left-wing Sandinista movement. In April, US-backed opposition figures launched an unsuccessful and exceedingly violent coup attempt in the Central American country — one of the last bastions of leftist politics in an increasingly right-leaning Latin America.

The newly approved Nicaraguan Investment and Conditionality Act(NICA) will give the US president the authority to impose targeted sanctions on Nicaraguan government officials, former officials, or people purportedly “acting on behalf of” Managua.

The bill also seeks to prevent international financial institutions from providing “any loan or financial or technical assistance” to Nicaragua’s government.

The NICA Act enjoyed bipartisan support, but the campaign behind it was largely led by neoconservative Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, with help from Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Ros-Lehtinen and Cruz met for a Facebook live this December 13 to celebrate the bill’s passage.

In June, these three right-wing Cuban-American lawmakers gathered with young leaders of the Nicaraguan opposition in Washington, DC.

The NICA Act encourages the US government to increase assistance to anti-government “civil society in Nicaragua, including independent media, human rights, and anti-corruption organizations” and to “support the protection of human rights and anti-corruption advocates in Nicaragua.”

The legislation also suggests that political negotiations should be “mediated by the Catholic Church in Nicaragua,” which has for decades supported violent right-wing forces in the region.

This October, leaked audio revealed the Catholic Church’s auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio Baez, conspiring with the opposition to oust Nicaragua’s elected president, Daniel Ortega.

“The unity that we need at this moment must include everyone opposed to the government, even if they are suspected of being opportunists, abortionists, homosexuals, [drug] traffickers…,” Baez declared, according to a translation of the leaked audio.

Baez urged the opposition to put up more of the tranqueroadblocks that had plunged the country into violence and strangled its economy, describing them as “an extraordinary invention.”

In November, USAID Director Mark Green announced an infusion of $4 million to civil society and media groups opposed to the Sandinista front.

Neoconservative Gloating

In September, the NICA Act was combined with a remarkably similar bill from Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez: the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act, which imposed additional sanctions on Nicaraguan government officials.

Menendez – a Cuban-American whose legal defense from corruption charges was bankrolled by the pro-Israel lobby – joined his neoconservative colleagues in referring to Nicaragua’s democratically elected president, Daniel Ortega, as a “dictator” who leads a “regime.”

Ortega — who voluntarily stepped down from power after losing an election to a US-backed right-wing oligarch in 1990 — won his third presidential term in 2011 with 62 percent of the vote, in what international observers recognized was a fair election. Even the staunchly anti-Sandinista New York Times admitted at the time that Ortega had widespread support.

Ros-Lehtinen declared that “the NICA Act that will help the Nicaraguan people break free of Ortega’s despotic rule.” She has previously insinuated that Nicaragua was a national security threat to the US, proclaiming, “We must also remain vigilant of efforts by Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, China and Iran that continue to help Ortega with military equipment, surveillance, and other technology support.”

For his part, Rubio boasted, “We are one step closer to expanding sanctions and other pressures against the oppressive Ortega regime.”

In lieu of a formal vote, the NICA Act was sent to the bipartisan House Committee on Foreign Affairs for amendments, and these changes were then agreed to by each chamber, without any objections.

On November 27, amendments for the combined legislation were approved with unanimous consent in the Senate. Then on December 11, the changes were unanimously approved in the House without objection.

US Corporate Media Echoes Nicaragua’s US-Backed Opposition

The unanimous approval of the de facto economic embargo on Nicaragua received very little attention in the English-language media. The story was covered by only a small handful of local newsoutlets, although it received much more attention in right-wing Spanish-language media.

In an interview with Confidencial – an opposition outlet funded by the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy regime change arm – Nicaragua’s former foreign affairs minister Norman Caldera exclaimed that the “NICA Act is a devastating blow for the regime.”

The right-wing channel 100% Noticias, whose director, Miguel Mora, stands accused by family members of coup victims of inciting hatred and violence, echoed the celebratory language.

CNN Español reported favorably on the NICA Act (it even has a tag on its website devoted to the law), although its English-language counterpart demonstrated little interest. CNN Español referred to the democratically elected government in Managua as a “regime” and noted, “The opposition of Nicaragua celebrates this decision.”

The chaos unleashed by last summer’s coup attempt has badly bledNicaragua’s economy, plunging growth from a steady five percent to almost zero and eliminating tens of thousands of jobs. With the NICA Act, the US and its local proxies are hoping that exacerbating the economic desperation even further will bend a largely non-compliant Nicaraguan population to their will.

Nicaragua is now the target

U.S. organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID have meddled in other countries’ affairs since their founding at the height of the Cold War

Author: Raúl Antonio Capote | informacion@granmai.cu

July 13, 2018

nicaragua now the target 1.jpgYoung people in Nicaragua have been victims of media and political manipulation. Photo: elpreg.com

Masked individuals, armed with homemade mortars and bazookas, block avenues, close the main streets, attack state institutions, burn tires, start fires, loot and kill.

To date, approximately 170 people have died as a result of the chaos and violence in Nicaragua. A powerful media campaign follows the events and more than that, openly promotes, falsifies, and multiples them.
The violent acts are presented as peaceful demonstrations by students, and the press publishes photos of those supposedly killed by the Sandinista government, but just as the truth will come out, the deception is discovered. Several have complained, demonstrating that the supposed dead are actually alive. One young man who resides abroad returned to state as such before the cameras, but of course this was not reproduced by the mainstream media.

U.S. author, journalist, and blogger Max Blumenthal recently published an article noting that a group of activists opposed to the current Nicaraguan government went to meet with leaders of Freedom House in Washington D.C. According to Blumenthal, the opposition group known as M-19, “were there to beseech Donald Trump and other right-wing U.S. government officials to help them in their fight against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.”

The links between U.S. organizations and the events underway in Nicaragua and other parts of the world are clearly revealed in Blumenthal’s piece: “The NED (National Endowment for Democracy) is a leading agent of U.S. soft power that has meddled in other countries’ affairs since its founding at the height of the Cold War, in 1983.” And the author cites Allen Weinstein, a founder of the NED, in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

The budget with which the NED operates comes from the United States Congress, which grants it millions of dollars every two years, as part of the State Department budget. The organization also receives donations from four associations: the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Ohin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and Freedom House, indirectly funded by federal contracts.

nicaragua now the target 2.jpgMasked individuals, armed with homemade mortars and bazookas block the streets and incite violence in Nicaragua. Photo: telemetro.com

The money is distributed to the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the American Center for International Labor Solidarity of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which in turn distribute monetary and material resources to other organizations in the U.S. and around the world, and disburse money and materials for opposition organizations in countries whose governments are not to the liking of the U.S. government.

The report from this U.S. journalist identifies the culprits: “Aside from NED, USAID has been the most active promoter of regime change against socialist-oriented governments in Latin America. In Nicaragua, USAID’s budget topped $5.2 million in 2018, with most of the funding directed towards training civil society and media organizations.”

This is the same USAID that used funds from the Alliance for Progress, a U.S. “economic aid,” “political” and “social” program, a kind of Marshall Plan and the first big attempt to halt the prospect of revolution in Latin American and isolate Cuba, and finance repression. Instead of engineers, technicians, and skilled workers, USAID trained unscrupulous police, soldiers, paramilitaries, torturers, and killers; instead of factories, farms, and schools, detention and torture centers were built.

Let’s not forget that this is also the same USAID that financed the training of death squads, promoted “health” programs that concealed inhumane sterilization processes in Central America, and collaborated with CIA narco agents in the Iran-Contra operation.

USAID has created an extensive network on our continent, which attracts cadres, manufactures leaders, and penetrates civil society. A true interventionist army of “experts,” “advisors” and “consultants,” working to develop its subversive plans. In its first ten years alone, the NED distributed more than 200 million dollars in 1,500 projects to support so-called “friends of America.”

Serbia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, and Venezuela; wherever there is a government that goes against the interests of the United States, these generously financed experts in destabilization and chaos swiftly act.

Mercenaries, delinquents, hirelings of the “Soft Coup,” of the “Color Revolutions,” or other “revolutions” with eye-catching and peaceful names, designed in Langley’s laboratories, such as the Rose Revolution, Tulip Revolution, Orange Revolution, or known by names closer to reality such as the Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia; where the purchase of uncritical consciences and deception, seduction through the use of attractive concepts for young people, and a lot of money, all the money that is necessary, are the soldiers and weapons of this new war. And of course, Nicaragua is now the target.

U.S. subversion against Cuba continues

Source:  Granma
October 24 2016

by Sergio Alejandro Gómez | internet@granma.cu

Even while the ink of Barack Obama’s new Presidential Directive on Cuba is not yet dry, an announcement for new subversive projects against Cuba was published on the U.S. State Department website

us subversion against cuba.jpg

Funding announcement posted on U.S. State Department website. Photo: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/263310.htm

If you mix the same ingredients any number of times, the result will always be the same. The United States, however, is attempting to change its Cuba policy while maintaining the same subversive recipe.

Even while the ink of Barack Obama’s new Presidential Directive on Cuba is not yet dry, an announcement for new subversive projects against the island, containing all usual ingredients of the typical aggressive and interventionist policies of the past, was published on the U.S. State Department website on October 21.

Using the guise of assistance projects

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, is offering funding opportunities for projects which supposedly promote “democratic changes” in the spheres of civil, political and labor rights in Cuba.

Washington has historically used the guise of assistance projects to hide their subversive plans, not only against Cuba, but also communities which do not respond to the geo-strategic interests of the U.S.; while the country maintains relations with some of the nations with the worst human rights records on this planet.

The Bureau is offering those interested in interfering in the internal affairs of the island, some 5.6 million dollars, subject to availability.

USAID

We want to engage “openly and honestly with the Cuban people,” stated U.S. National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, on October 14, in regards to the new presidential policy directive; adding that in order to do so, the so-called “democracy assistance” programs in Cuba will be made more “transparent.”

The final part of the directive contains terms almost identical to those used by various government bodies, in particular the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which funnels billions of dollars into projects aimed at defending Washington’s interests around the world.

According to the directive, “The USAID will co-lead efforts with State to ensure that democracy programming is transparent and consistent with programming in other similarly situated societies,” as if the mere act of making these programs more transparent, without changing their subversive nature, would automatically make them acceptable for Cuba.

Off-island activities

The new announcement helps to dispel doubts surrounding euphemisms by the U.S. government: “DRL’s programmatic emphasis aligns with the U.S. government policy to promote human rights in Cuba,” reads the announcement. It continues by noting that “DRL prefers creative approaches” to fulfilling its objectives and that approved activities “should have potential for short-term impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms.”
Among activities typically funded by the DRL the announcement highlights: “Capacity building on and off the island. Off-island activities sometimes include short-term fellowships.”

To promote regime change

Cuba recently denounced the true intentions behind the World Learning program, offering surreptitious summer scholarships to Cuban youth and organized outside of the state apparatus, which aim to create an alternative leadership movement to promote regime change on the island.

“Access to software that would be easily accessible in an open society, or the adaptation of software for the Cuban technological environment,” is another priority area.
The most recent example of such projects was the case of ZunZuneo revealed by U.S. news agency AP, in 2014.

Cuban Twitter

USAID financed the creation of an alternative cell-phone messaging service, which came to be known as the Cuban Twitter, targeting the island’s youth with apparently inoffensive messages on sports and culture. However, the app was really designed to create a platform among this sector of Cuban society, which could be used to launch future destabilization initiatives.

According to the DRL announcement, projects can be submitted by “a U.S.-based or foreign-based non-profit organization/non-governmental organization (NGO), or a public international organization,” among others.

However, the document clearly states that no project involving the participation of the island’s legitimate institutions will be accepted: “DRL does not fund programs for Cuba that are directed towards supporting Cuban government institutions, individuals employed by those institutions, or organizations controlled by government institutions.”

Supposed objectives

The clearest demonstration of the masked interests of DRL funded programs lies in their supposed objectives on the island: “Programs should support the realization in Cuba of the rights and principles enshrined within the following Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” including “the prohibition of torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…The right to a free and fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal; the right to privacy; the freedom of movement within one’s country; the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;” in addition to “the right to work in conditions of dignity with fair remuneration and the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of the workers’ interests.”

The announcement also notes that the “DRL strives to ensure its projects inter alia advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable, marginalized or at-risk populations.”

Guantanamo

Anyone who stays informed as to what’s happening in Cuba, and is aware of the negative propaganda continually published by the mass media, will know that the island’s recently approved Labor Code is at the vanguard of global labor rights.

In Cuba, men and women receive equal pay for equal work, while employee maternity, paternity, and social security rights, which private sector workers also enjoy, are achievements which are still only a dream in various other countries across the world.

The only acts of torture perpetrated in Cuba are carried out in the territory illegally occupied by the Naval Base in Guantánamo, under U.S. control, where 60 individuals are currently being held, all deprived of their most basic legal rights.

African American minority in the US targeted 

It seems like a waste of money, even for a power like the United States, to allocate 5.6 million dollars to helping supposedly excluded minorities in Cuba, when African Americans in the U.S. are being targeted by police and the unemployment rate among this sector is double that of the country’s Caucasian population.

Neither does the U.S. recognize the Convention of the Rights of Migratory Workers and their Families, employing degrading practices in blatant violation of human rights against those traveling to the country in order to improve their economic situation.

U.S. maintains the highest child poverty rate

While the nation’s rich continue to amass more wealth, the U.S. maintains the highest child poverty rate among all industrialized countries, and continues to violate the rights of thousands of migrant minors; indiscriminately separated from their parents.

Washington should take care when using such explosive ingredients in its failed subversive recipe against Cuba, as it won’t be the first time the mix ends-up blowing up in their hands. One might think that Obama’s policy change toward Cuba would include abandoning “failed policies,” but everything seems to indicate that some powerful sectors of the U.S. refuse to “leave the past behind.”

Clinton Emails Reveal Direct US Sabotage Of Venezuela

Source:  Popular Resistance
July 30th, 2016

By noblehuman, www.linkis.com

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton led a team committed to delegitimizing the politics of the late Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

chavez y hillary clinton.jpg

Above Photo: From linkis.com

Hillary’s support of destabilization efforts in Venezuela

While Hillary Clinton publicly welcomed improved relations with Venezuela as secretary of state, she privately ridiculed the country and continued to support destabilization efforts, revealed her emails leaked by WikiLeaks.

In 2010, Clinton asked Arturo Valenzuela, then assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, how “to rein in Chavez.” Valenzuela responded that, “We need to carefully consider the consequences of publicly confronting him but ought to look at opportunities for others in the region to help.”

Emails reveal US divide and rule strategy against Venezuela

His answer was in line with the U.S. embassy strategy in 2006, also revealed in WikiLeaks intelligence cables: “Creative U.S. outreach to Chavez’ regional partners will drive a wedge between him and them,” said the confidential cable from the embassy. “By refusing to take each of Chavez’s outbursts seriously, we frustrate him even more, paving the way for additional Bolivarian miscalculations. We also allow room for other international actors to respond.”

Spain was among the countries willing to help the U.S. in its subversive foreign relations strategy. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright passed on a message from the administration of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2012 expressing intentions “to re-orient Spanish foreign policy so that it can work with the U.S. in Latin America, especially on Venezuela and Cuba … As a transition in Cuba and something significant in Venezuela (and possibly the Andes) loom, a stronger working relationship between the U.S. and Spain could be very helpful.”

When keeping an eye on regional meetings, Clinton was especially concerned with Venezuela. Responding to a United Nations statement against the coup in Honduras in 2009—that she supported—Clinton shifted the attention to Venezuela: “Ok—but have they ever condemned Venezuela for denying press freedom?” she wrote to Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan.

He responded “I highly doubt it. And that is just the tip of the iceberg,” to which Clinton wrote, “Ah, the proverbial iceberg.”

Clinton was cautious not to respond to all of Hugo Chavez’s “antics,” but her staff insisted that Venezuelan politics were a threat to U.S. interests.

Using USAID funds

An email advising how to spend USAID funds strongly suggested refraining from backing leftist states like Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba because the money “could undermine real democratic development to hand over ‘ownership’ to populist centralizers.”

Clinton should use language like “‘local ownership’ in a nuanced way” to avoid having her words “used against her by demagogues and kleptocrats,” said the email. Any funds channeled into such unreliable states, it added, must be accompanied by “(h)uman behavioral changes.”

International aid to Venezuela was siphoned off, but broadcasts to counter local “propaganda” were amplified.

Using the media

The Broadcasting Board of Governors—which runs the Marti stations, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks—requested more funding in a 2010 email forwarded to Clinton to “combat the public diplomacy efforts of America’s ‘enemies,’ which he (chairman Walter Isaacson) identifies as Iran, Venezuela, Russia, and China.”

The BBG, with a US$700 million annual budget—now increased to over US$750 million—was “facing increased competition from other governments’ forays into international broadcasting … including Venezuela’s teleSUR.”

A month later, when the board was facing cuts, Cuban-born Florida Senator Ileana Ros-Lehtinen suggested focusing resources on high-priority countries like Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador.

“Let the fun begin—and let’s keep going w(ith) our plans,” responded Clinton.

Radio and TV aggressions against Cuba

Another leaked email from Stratfor described the BBG as “responsible for the radio and TV aggressions against Cuba,” which received its own category of state funding of nearly US$40 million. The board separated from State Department control in 1999, officially becoming an independent agency. “Congress agreed that credibility of U.S. international broadcasting was crucial to its effectiveness as a public diplomacy tool,” according to Congress’s 2008 budget on foreign operations.

While giving the cold shoulder to Venezuela, Clinton was cozy with Latin American players that opposed the country’s leftist politics.

Her counselor and chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, forwarded her a recommendation for Mari Carmen Aponte to be appointed as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador. Aponte, noted the email, “has consistently fought Cuba and Venezuela’s efforts to gain influence in Central America and as a result of her negotiating skills, the U.S. and El Salvador will open a new, jointly-funded, electronic monitoring center that will be an invaluable tool in fighting transnational crime.”

She won the appointment and later became assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Clinton also drew fire for saying, “We’re winning!” when the Venezuelan opposition won a majority of seats in parliament in 2015 and for serving as secretary of state while the National Security Administration regularly spied on Venezuela.

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The US Spent $33 Million on Haiti’s Scrapped Elections — Here is Where it Went

Source:   Cuba – Network in Defense of Humanity,  Center for Economic and Policy Research
July 2 2016

clinton y martelly.jpegHaiti’s electoral council announced yesterday that new first-round presidential elections would be held in October after a commission found widespread fraud and irregularities in the previous vote. The prospect of the new vote — to be held alongside dozens of parliamentary seats still up for grabs, has raised questions about how it could be funded. The previous elections — determined to be too marred by fraud and violence to count — cost upward of $100 million, with the bulk of the funding coming from international donors.

But now, donors are balking. Last week the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator Ken Merten said that if elections are redone “from scratch” then it would put U.S. assistance in jeopardy. It “could also call into question whether the U.S. will be able to continue to support financially Haiti’s electoral process,” Merten added. In a separate interview, Merten explained:

We still do not know what position we will adopt regarding our financial support. U.S. taxpayers have already spent more than $33 million and that is a lot. We can ask ourselves what was done with the money or what guarantees there are that the same thing will not happen again.

So, what was done with the money? Could the same thing happen again?

Many millions of that money never went to electoral authorities, but rather to U.S. programs in support of elections

To begin with, that figure seems to include money allocated in 2012 – years before the electoral process began. Local and legislative elections, which former president Michel Martelly was constitutionally required to organize, failed to happen. A significant share of this early funding likely went to staffing and overhead costs as international organizations or grantees kept their Haiti programs running, despite the absence of elections. It’s also worth pointing out that many millions of that money never went to electoral authorities, but rather to U.S. programs in support of elections.

USAID  grant

In April 2013, USAID awarded a grant to the DC-based Consortium for Elections and Political Processes. In total, $7.23 million went to the consortium before the electoral process even began. An additional $4.95 million was awarded in July 2015, a month before legislative elections. The consortium consists of two DC-based organizations, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). In a January report to Congress, the State Department explained further what some this money went towards:

  1. “the creation and implementation of twenty-six Electoral Information Centers (EICs) … to provide information to the general public on the electoral process”
  2. “training more than 100 journalists in several departments on topics such as the international standards for elections …”
  3. “Funding through INL supported election security.”
  4. “USAID also supported the creation of a new domestic election observation platform that helped build greater transparency into the electoral process by establishing a grassroots coalition of reputable and well-trained domestic observers …”

Questionable returns

Some funding also went to increasing women’s participation in the electoral process. But it’s questionable what the return on that $12.18 million really was. Not a single woman was elected to parliament — though it now appears as though at least one was elected, only to have her seat stolen through the bribing of an electoral judge. In terms of providing information to the public about the elections, participation in both the legislative and presidential elections was only about a fifth of the population.

$1 million to the OAS

The money spent on local observers may have been more successful, but not for U.S. interests. The local observer group, the Citizen Observatory for the Institutionalization of Democracy, led by Rosny Desroches, agreed with other local observation missions that a verification commission (opposed by the U.S.) was needed to restore confidence in the elections. The U.S. spent millions training local observers, only to later ignore their analysis. Instead, the U.S. has consistently pointed to the observation work of international organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the EU. The U.S. also provided $1 million to the OAS for their observation work.

4 out of every 10 dollars went to overhead, staff in Washington DC or to the expatriate country director who made more than a quarter of a million dollars

Perhaps it’s not a surprise the funding didn’t have the intended effect. A 2012 evaluation of NDI conducted by Norway’s foreign development agency found that about “4 out of every 10 dollars” went to overhead, staff in Washington DC or to the expatriate country director who made more than a quarter of a million dollars.

The U.S. contributed $9.7 million to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) “basket fund” for elections. The UNDP controlled the pooled donor funds and also funds contributed by the Haitian government (more than any other individual donor). Funds were used to print ballots, train workers, and for other logistical operations. However, it’s important to note that $3 million of these funds were distributed in 2012 and 2014, well before any election would take place.

$7.57 million went to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

An additional $7.57 million went to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for logistical operations for the elections, mainly distributing and picking up ballots before and after the election. After the August legislative elections were plagued by violent groups that shut down voting, UNOPS shifted strategy for the October election. In certain “hot spots,” ballots would not follow the normal procedures for transportation to the tabulation center, instead, UNOPS would bypass the chain, picking up electoral information at 67 voting centers and bringing the materials straight to Port-au-Prince. According to diplomatic sources, UNOPS threatened to pull out entirely if additional funds for this measure were not given. The U.S. awarded $1.8 million to UNOPS on September 29, 2015.

An additional $1.77 million was given to UNOPS in December, but the second-round presidential election never took place. Though it was clear to many that the elections would not be held given widespread condemnation by local observers and civil society groups, the U.S. and others in the international community insisted the second round go ahead. With protests increasing, they moved forward and distributed electoral materials for an election that was never going to happen. This strengthened Martelly’s bargaining power over the opposition, but meant millions of dollars were spent for no reason.

Funding to UNOPS, UNDP, OAS, IFES and NDI totaled $30.45 million

In total, funding to UNOPS, UNDP, OAS, IFES and NDI totaled $30.45 million. This is the vast majority of the $33 million the U.S. says it contributed to the electoral process. Additional funds were also awarded through the State Department for election-related security.

So yes, the U.S. spent over $30 million on Haiti’s elections, but not all of that went directly to the elections or was even spent wisely in supporting them. It’s clear it would take far less for the U.S. to support a Haitian-led electoral process next October. And perhaps the best reason for the U.S. to continue to fund the election, if Haiti requests such support, is that it was the U.S. and other actors in the international community that pushed ahead and put millions of dollars into a fatally flawed electoral process that Haitians have now determined was irreparably marred by fraud. The problem is not that Haitian’s wasted U.S. taxpayer dollars by scrapping the election results; it’s that the U.S. was throwing good money after bad. That’s something that can be fixed.

US Public Funding Anti-Government Media, Journalists in Ecuador

Source:  TeleSUR
June 7 2016

us funding in ecuador.jpg

The photo shows the connection between CIA agents and journalists in Ecuador.
| Photo: teleSUR

teleSUR report shows how the U.S. agencies are coordinating with government opponents in Ecuador.

U.S. agencies are financing political groups and journalists against progressive governments in Latin America and specifically the leftist Ecuadorean government, according to a teleSUR investigation.

IN DEPTH:  For More Than 50 Years, CIA Went Deep into Ecuadorean Society

USAID-NEDThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), are among the bodies that provide funds to opposition NGOs who promote U.S. interests in Latin America.

One such organization, Fundamedios, receives funding from NED purportedly to monitor threats to freedom of expression, and to provide workshops and lectures on the condition of journalism in the country. However the group has been criticized for promoting materials and demonstrations from opposition parties.

Funds transferred to several opposition groups

Cesar Ricaurte, head of Fundamedios, also transfered funds to several opposition media groups, including the popular social media outlet Crudo Ecuador who received US$24,000. Gabriel Gonzalez, the founder of Crudo Ecuador, is employed as a social media expert by opposition mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas.

The U.S. agencies, which operate with public funds, are accused of giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to a network of Ecuadorean analysts, politicians and reporters, to create media outlets and organize anti-protests.

For 2015, over US$972,000 were given by the NED to these type of groups in Ecuador.

WATCH: Documents Reveal Ecuador Was Targeted by the CIA

According NED founding father, Allen Weinstein, “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

teleSUR’s investigation also outlines connections between staff members of the U.S. embassy in Ecuador with prominent opposition politicians and leaders, as well as with heads of other NGO’s.

Building from teleSUR’s report, the local daily El Telegrafo draws connections between the CIA to more than 25 politicians, journalists, bankers, and former military members in the country.