Obama Declares Cuba and Venezuela National Security Threats

The executive order allows the president to use national emergency resources to fight the threat, such as enforcing sanctions against the country.

 raul y obama in cuba.jpg

In March, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years. | Photo: Reuters

Consistent with their new strategy of planning and working for regime change in Cuba through indirect and covert means,  the US government, through President Obama, has extended for another year economic sanctions against Cuba despite abstaining recently in the vote to end the blockade at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

A national emergency

The United States declared a national emergency to deal with perceived “threats” in Cuba and Venezuela on Friday, along with Iran, Libya, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and countries Washington claims “support terrorism.” The declarations effectively extend for another year economic sanctions already in place.

RELATEDObama Declares Venezuela a Threat to National Security

President Barack Obama warned that one of the main national security threats to the U.S. is mass undocumented immigration from Cuba, days after he ended the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy, which granted residency to Cubans who arrived in the U.S. without visas, reported Sputnik.

Obama used an executive order in March 2015 to declare that the situation in Venezuela has “not improved.” He cited human rights violations, persecution of political dissenters and restrictions on the freedom of the press.

When a national emergency was declared against Venezuela in 2015, Obama also ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, saying they would be banned from traveling to the United States and any and all assets and properties belonging to them would be frozen.

Under the National Emergencies Act sanctions must be renewed every year, however, the executive orders Obama signed Friday are not set to expire until two months into the Trump administration. The move appears to suggest that the Obama administration is concerned that the renewals could get overlooked in the expected chaos of Trump’s White House. If he chooses to, Trump could rescind the sanctions by executive order.

OPINIONThe Audacity of Obama’s Farewell Address

The extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran come despite the historic agreement reached last year between the two countries. The extension of sanctions against Russia, imposed in response to their actions in Ukraine and Crimea, come amidst recent hysteria about suspected interference in the U.S. election by the Putin regime. Some have speculated that Trump’s pick for foreign secretary, Rex Tillerson, may soon move to remove the sanctions given they block a multi-billion dollar project he negotiated with Russia while CEO of ExxonMobile.

The United States currently has 31 officially declared national emergencies.

Sources:  TeleSUR, Curacao Chronicle

Cuba: Zimbabwe Will Overcome the Illegal Western Sanctions

Cuban Ambassador to Zimbabwe Elio Savon OlivaCuba’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Elio Savon Oliva, is optimistic that Zimbabwe will overcome the illegal Western sanctions imposed on the country in the same manner that the Caribbean island has for more than 50 years. The United States imposed financial, commercial and economic sanctions on Cuba in 1960, two years after Cdes Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara led the overthrow of the Washington-backed Fulgencio Batista puppet regime.

The sanctions on Cuba have cost the Caribbean’s largest island billions of US dollars, and related terror activities by CIA-sponsored and trained militias have led to the loss of numerous lives through bombings and attacks on civilian air-craft.

Zimbabwe too, according to ZANU-PF’s highly subscribed 2013 election manifesto, has lost more than US$40 billion because of American sanctions over the past decade.

joice mujuruAmbassador Oliva and his wife Mrs Dlores Meras Morejon -who is also a diplomat – met Acting President Joice Mujuru (left) in Harare yesterday and said Zimbabwe too could beat sanctions.

“Zimbabwe can also overcome illegal sanctions as Cuba did. Cuba will continue supporting Zimbabwe to overcome this embargo,” Ambassador Oliva said.

He said Cuba had survived through unity of purpose among citizens and support from the international community.

The overwhelming majority of the United Nations membership has for more than 20 years voted for an end to the embargo on Cuba, with only the US, Israel and the Marshall Islands supporting the sanctions.

Similarly, much of the world – including SADC, Comesa, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Pan-African Parliament and the SADC Parliamentary Forum, among others – have called for an end to sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The sanctions on Zimbabwe were imposed after the 2000 Fast-Track Land Reform Programme that sought to adjust colonially-skewed tenure patterns.

Ambassador Oliva said his meeting with Acting President Mujuru was to reinforce bilateral relations.

He said Cuba was also implementing an economic reform programme similar to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-sset).

Zimbabwe and Cuba enjoy cordial relations dating to the days of the liberation struggle.

These ties have seen Cuba sending medical personnel to Zimbabwe on a government-to-government arrangement, in addition to training teachers.

Continue reading

Zimbabwe: Let’s Emulate Cuba’s Tourism Model, Says Mzembi

Source:  AllAfrica.com

walter nzembi zimbabweZimbabwe’s tourism and hospitality industry should benchmark itself with Cuba’s tourism industry experience due to similar sanctions-induced economic challenges, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi said yesterday.

In an interview after meeting Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Bruno Rodriguez Parilla in Harare to exchange notes on the two countries’ tourism industries, Minister Mzembi said Zimbabwe could learn a lot from their counterparts in terms of running the tourism sector in an economic milieu that is offset by western sanctions.

Cuba survived two major market collapses

“Cuba has been under sanctions since 1961 when the US broke diplomatic relations with Cuba and immediately they lost 90 percent of their source of international arrivals. And in the mid-90s they also suffered near collapse of the tourism sector due to the collapse of the Socialist countries in Eastern Europe who were major replacement markets after the collapse of the US market. So they have suffered two major market collapses.

Continue reading

Zimbabwe: ACP Assembly Calls for Removal of Sanctions

acp_logoTHE African, Caribbean and Pacific Parliamentary Assembly has trashed claims by the European Union that the sanctions regime on Zimbabwe was “smart” or “targeted” saying the sanctions were unjustified, had caused company closures and suffering among ordinary people and should be lifted.

The ACP Parliamentary Assembly, which is made up of 79 countries drawn from Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific regions made the groundbreaking declaration at its 34th session held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from Friday last week to Wednesday this week where the embargo was rapped for spawning negative economic and social consequences in Zimbabwe.

Continue reading

A comment on the newly released Index of African Governance report

The Mo Ibrahim foundation should stop taking us for a ride

by
Benedict Wachira (Kenya)

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) report was released this week, receiving different reactions from different interests.

africaI would normally not bother with an Index which gives the least priority to Human Development Index (HDI) in its ranking criteria, were it not for the fact that I found that Kenya’s ranking, especially in the areas of personal security and rule of law were completely off when compared to some of the countries ranked higher or closer to Kenya.

I thus had a look at the foundation’s website www.moibrahimfoundation.org , and found that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to these rankings. Although the IIAG claims to be the “most comprehensive collection of quantitative data on governance in Africa,” they also should openly declare their ideological leanings rather than leaving it to subtly appear in their rankings.