Archive for February, 2013

Cuba Condemns US Disrespect for World Trade Rules

February 28, 2013

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Geneva, Feb 27 (Prensa Latina) Cuba deplored here today US disrespect for international law and for the decisions of the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization.

Speaking during a DSB meeting, Cuban Ambassador to Geneva-based international bodies, Anayansi Rodriguez, said that Washington continues doing nothing to implement OSD resolutions.

She recalled that 11 years have passed since the DSB ruled the incompatibility of “Section 211 of the US Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998″ with the Agreement on trade-related and Paris Convention-related Aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights.

Cuba considers unacceptable this situation of prolonged illegality and insubordination to decisions of the WTO’s top jurisdiction body,” said Rodriguez.

Section 211 is one of the many rules underpinning the US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba and US authorities base on it to justify and protect the robbery of the Havana Club brand in that territory.

“It also has the peculiarity that it not only affects the interests of Cuban businesses, but also those from other WTO member countries, like French company Pernod Ricard,” she denounced.

Those unilateral policies are rejected in many forums, said Rodriguez, who recalled that in the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union a declaration was adopted stating that the blockade represents a serious threat to multilateralism.

A group of countries, including Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, China, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, South Africa and Mexico, supported Cuba’s statement, according to a note from the Cuban mission in Geneva.

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‘Che dreamed of united Latin America standing strong against the US’ – Guevara’s daughter

February 27, 2013

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Aleida Guevara (AFP Photo / Adalberto Roque)

Download video(771.47 MB)
http://rt.com/op-edge/che-guevara-united-latin-america-464/,

Despite the propaganda surrounding Che Guevara, the Latin leader was a true revolutionary, and modern-day circumstances would have made him even more zealous to unite Latin Americans against their common foe, daughter Aleida Guevara told RT.

RT: Ms. Guevara, welcome and thank you for joining us. You have said that you have been very close to Fidel Castro. What do you think of the media speculation about his health; some reports claiming he’s dead, some reports claiming he’s alive? What do you think about that?

Aleida Guevara: Fidel is a totally unique man. He doesn’t get offended easily; it has to be something really offensive and usually something about other people for him to get offended. That’s why, for example, right now he is upset over all this media hype around Hugo Chavez’s medical problems. But Fidel never cared what others said about him. He pays no attention to such things, unless it is something really offensive or something about the people. That’s when he will react immediately.

RT: Aleida, your mother stayed silent about her romance with the fabled Comandante Che Guevara for almost 40 years – until recently, when she published a book revealing some of the details. Why did she find it so difficult to tell her story before? Why did she wait so long?

AG: First of all, you should know my mother. She comes from a rural area, and village folk in Cuba – like anywhere else, I suppose – are very sensitive about their romantic experiences. They are very tight-lipped about these things, and she was brought up in that culture. She has always been like that. That said, she was overwhelmingly in love with him. It was an incredibly beautiful love story. And it’s one of the things that make me feel so special – not because I am the daughter of a great man, oh no. I feel special because I am the daughter of a man and a woman who were dearly in love with each other, and I am the product of their love. That’s what makes me special.
Mother’s book tells the story of their relationship, the story of her life through the lens of that love. Just imagine what it was like for my Mother when Father died. He had been her first man. He was her fiancé, her comrade, her friend, her mentor, her lover, the father of her children. He was everything.
And then, just like that, he was gone. Imagine the pain she went through. She had to bring up and support four little children. So she was forced to lock up all those memories somewhere deep down and get on with her life. If she had been open, she wouldn’t have been able to carry on. A long, long time had to pass before she felt strong enough to revisit those memories. When she was getting down to writing the book I would often see her in tears. She cried so much I once told her, “Mom, why don’t you quit that book.” Luckily, she didn’t listen to me and she finished it. And that book is a truly incredible gift for me.

RT: That is a beautiful story. In the past ten years, there were lots of movies about Ernesto Che Guevara, and lots of biographies written. Which of the works you’ve seen and read give the most-reliable accounts?

AG: So far, there is not a single biography that I would recommend. When I talk to young people, I usually advise them to read what my Father wrote about himself. He had this habit of writing down everything that was happening around him since he was 17. Many of his diaries have made it through to us, you can read it firsthand and make your own conclusions. The only movie I would probably point you to is ‘The Motorcycle Diaries,’ the only worthy production in my opinion. It was made entirely by Latin Americans. It’s a great movie and I highly recommend it.

RT: There are plenty of different views about Che Guevara. Some say he was a hero and a martyr, others say he was a terrorist, a murderer. What do you think about the chapter in his life when had to kill people for the sake of his ideas?

AG: We are talking about war. When you are involved in a guerrilla war, you either live or die. This is the law of guerrilla warfare. But it is not murder. You don’t murder people. Murder is when you attack a defenseless person. But this is not the case when you are engaged in a battle. In a battle, you shoot at them because they shoot at you. You kill them because otherwise they’ll kill you. This is war. On the contrary, it was Che who was murdered. He was captured; he was unarmed and defenseless, and they killed him without trial. That was real murder.
But my father never did anything like that. They never killed their prisoners; they would take care of them, provide medical care; they would even slow down their advance because they had to guard the prisoners and leave them in a safe place.
So people who accuse him of murder simply don’t know the whole story and have no idea of how great these people were – not only Che but everybody who fought together with him, all those people. This war shaped them. The Cuban revolution never involved murder. We were defending ourselves. And we will keep doing this.

RT: There’s also a lot of speculation about Fidel on this matter. Some even say that Che being dead was much more useful to Castro than when he was alive.

AG: This is the stupidest thing you can say. When Che was alive, he was immensely helpful to Fidel in Cuba. Fidel has said this many, many times. He said he was at peace working on other things, because he knew that Che was the minister of industries. The Cuban economy was in good hands, because Fidel fully trusted Che. But the situation changed when Che left. But Che had to move on. From the very start, when Fidel and Che were in Mexico, they made a deal. Che promised Fidel he would stay in Cuba until it is liberated, and then, if he is still alive, he will move on to other countries in Latin America. Fidel agreed to that, and he kept his promise.
Once I came to Fidel. We had a very long conversation; we talked for several hours, and eventually I said to him, “Tell me about your disagreements with Dad. Tell me about these arguments people keep talking about.”
So he told me how one time, when they were in Mexico, they knew they would all be arrested, and Fidel told everybody to keep their mouth shut about their political views. And then he asked me, “What do you think your father did?” When he was in prison, he started talking to prison guards about politics. He even talked to them about Stalin! As a result, everybody was released except Che, because police said he was a Communist. Fidel tried talking to him but eventually he realized that Dad could not lie.
He was too honest; he could not lie. And there was nothing Fidel could say; there was nothing to talk about. “How can I argue with such a person?” Fidel said. So, that’s one of the arguments people say they had. But that was not even an argument. And Fidel stayed in Mexico and did not leave until my father was released, even though this jeopardized the entire plan they had for Cuba. And this was the beginning of a unique friendship between Fidel and my father. Dad realized that Fidel was a true general who always felt responsible for each of his soldiers.
That very evening, when I had that conversation with Fidel, I laughed and he asked me what was so funny. I said, “Uncle, – he was always Uncle Fidel to me – I’m laughing at you.” He said, “Why?” I said, “You don’t even notice it but you speak about Dad in the present tense, as if he was still alive.” He gave me a very serious look and said, “No, your dad is really here with us.” And that was the end of our conversation that night.

RT: The whole world knows your father’s face, and people buy merchandise with his picture on it. What do you feel when you see this?

AG: Sometimes I get angry because in many cases people abuse his image. Sometimes I even joke that I will sue them for distorting his face because Dad was a handsome man. Some of his images are just ugly. On the other hand, I always say that those pictures mean nothing if you don’t know what they represent, if you are not familiar with his life and what he did. Sometimes I would ask someone, “Why did you put on this T-shirt with Che?” And they say, “I have an exam coming up, and I’m not sure I’ll pass. So I put the T-shirt on, look at Che and tell myself not to give up, because if he made it, so can I.” Some responses are just marvelous. It means that, despite all the propaganda and nonsense told about him, people are not fooled. They don’t believe those lies. They understand what sort of people those revolutionaries were.

RT: Traveling across Latin America changed Che Guevara’s mindset. It made him a revolutionary. If he were to take a similar trip today, what would he see? Would it strike him as much as back then in the 1950s?

AG: Sadly enough, what made Che seek social justice for all is still alive and has even gained ground since then. The gap between the rich and the poor is only getting bigger, and people in Latin America know this very well. However, in recent years we have observed a new trend, with more leaders caring about people’s needs. Latin American leaders are beginning to understand that, if we join our efforts, nothing will stop us.
My dad would have certainly loved to find out that a Native American like Evo Morales has made it to the presidency. I think Che would’ve tried to support him and offer whatever assistance he could. He would have also endorsed the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. For the first time in history, a president made his people the sole owner of all the oil resources in the country. It is unique in modern history. I think Che would have welcomed it and would have done his best to help Chavez. So many things nowadays would have made him a little happier, but the same things would have made him even more zealous because there is still so much more to do.

RT: How do you think Che would respond to today’s integration across Latin America? Would he support it?

AG: Well, that has long been a dream, and not just for Che. Che would say that unity among all Latin Americans is our only hope of standing strong against our common foe. And he made it clear that Latin America’s worst enemy is the United States.

RT: What about Cuba? If Che were to see the situation and the quality of life in today’s Cuba, would he feel proud about it?

AG: He would realize that there are still many issues that need to be addressed, and many things that need to be improved. But my Father would always stand by the people of Cuba. He had this manner of voicing bare-knuckled criticism, and the people were always willing to listen. So if he were still with us today, he would be working just like everybody else, trying to make things better. I guess he wouldn’t hold back his criticism, either, but he would be committed to finding solutions. He would be very busy.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Panel at UMD Demands Freedom for the Cuban Five

February 27, 2013

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On February 20 a packed room at the University of Maryland-College Park heard a series of presentations that passionately and expertly explained the case of the Cuban Five. Sponsored by the Nyumburu Cultural Center and Black Male Initiative at the University of Maryland, student organizers engaged in several weeks of outreach to spread the word on campus and in the community to fill the room.

ANSWER Coalition National Coordinator Brian Becker spoke on the panel, chaired by two student activists, and remarked on the long U.S. campaign against Cuba in every sphere. The ANSWER Coalition, through its email list and activist efforts like leafleting, spread the word about the event through the Washington, D.C., area.

Becker detailed the extensive evidence obtained by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, along with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and Liberation newspaper, of illegal payments by the U.S. government to journalists who wrote articles smearing the Five. In the question-and-answer period, Becker further motivated the need for a mass movement to free the Five, highlighting the experience of the Puerto Rican political prisoners freed in the late 1990s. Becker noted that even the most politicized court cases can be won through political mobilization.

Glen Ford from Black Agenda Report detailed the long history of U.S. colonial attitudes and antipathy towards Cuba, linking this with the positive social and economic example Cuba has offered Latin America and the world.

Following Ford was William Norris, attorney for Ramon Labanino. Mr. Norris described in great detail the intricacies of the Cuban Five case. He highlighted in particular the deeply prejudiced environment that existed in Miami regarding the Cuban Five trial. In the question period, Norris linked the case of the Five to the broader injustice in the U.S. criminal justice system in underscoring the need for a broad progressive movement.

Attorney Jose Pertierra built on both of the preceding talks by outlining the long history of anti-Cuban terrorism unleashed by the CIA and Cuban counter-revolutionaries, detailing some of their most vicious acts, such as the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, which killed 73 people, and the string of deadly bombings of Cuban hotels in the 1990s. Pertierra further informed the crowd of how the mastermind of many of these attacks, Luis Posada Carriles, remains free, living in Miami with the tacit support of the U.S. government that refuses to extradite him to Venezuela to answer for many crimes.

Finally, former mayor of Baltimore and former Dean of Howard Law School Kurt Schmoke gave remarks that again pointed to the connection between the case of the Five and the U.S. campaign against the Cuban people. Dr. Schmoke decried the irrational nature of the anti-Cuba campaign and raised the need for President Obama to commute the sentence of the Five and allow them to return to Cuba.

Following the panelists’ presentations, audience members engaged in a question-and-answer period where both members of the audience and panel urged everyone in attendance to join the struggle to free the Cuban Five. Organizers from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five circulated petitions demanding the freedom of the Five and handed out informational material on the case to all of the participants. Notably, activists made contact with students and faculty from other universities who are eager to take action on the case of the Five.

http://www.freethefive.org/updates/Comuniques/COUMd022113.htm,

http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/panel-at-umd-demnds-freedom.html,

New abusive measure against one of the Cuban Five

February 27, 2013

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STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

New abusive measure against one of the Cuban Five.

René González Sehwerert, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, has been the subject of new arbitrary measures by the Government of the United States that is toughening the conditions of his supervised release, making it seem even more as prison conditions, with the aim of continuing to punish him after so many years of unfair and cruel treatment.

Since September of 2012, the Department of State has denied all requests by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington to let Cuban diplomatic officials visit René. These visits had been permanently authorized during the 13 years in which he was imprisoned and during the first few months of his supervised release upon finishing his prison term. Up to now our Diplomatic Mission in the United States has unsuccessfully presented the Department of State several alternatives for continuing regular consular visits to René, and these have been rejected.

This fact constitutes a flagrant violation of the obligations of the Government of the United States under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 which covers René González’ right to freely have communications with Cuban Interests Section officials in Washington and for those officials to do likewise and be able to visit him.

This deliberate and cruel decision also represents an additional punishment that is added to the already strict conditions of René’s supervised release. René is forced to remain another three years in the United States, separated from his family, after having served up to the last day his long and unfair prison sentence.

Cuba strongly denounces this arbitrary decision of the United States authorities which violates René’s rights while at the same time making the American government responsible for [his] physical safety and integrity.

Cuba will not cease to denounce these abuses before the whole world, and it will not relent in its efforts to attain the return to their Homeland of René and of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernándo González Llort, unjustly imprisoned in the United States for almost 15 years.

Havana, February 27, 2013

Yoani Sánchez denies that she is in the CIA

February 25, 2013

The controversial Cuban ‘blogger’ Yoani Sánchez, darling of the western media and the White House, is currently enjoying the liberty to travel afforded by recent changes to the migration regulations in order to make a much publicised tour of Brazil.
So far it has all been a bit of a circus. In Brazil, pro-Cuban supporters have hounded the ‘bloguera’ and unsurprisingly the media spotlight has focused intently upon her. At one press conference (see film above), when she was asked if it was true that Wikileaks had revealed she was an agent of the CIA, she denied it saying: “I well remember the Wikileaks documents in which my name is mentioned and there is not one that says ‘Yoani Sanchez is CIA.’ That is totally false, it does not exist. It could not exist because I am not in the CIA.”
She chose her words carefully. There is, after all, a distinction between being IN the CIA and working FOR the CIA or, for that matter, in the interests of the United States.
In fact her name crops up in many Wikileaks documents linking her to the US Interests Section in Havana. One for example, that Yoani did not mention, reveals that in 2011 she and her husband, Reynaldo Escobar, were guests at the home of Michael Parmly, then Head of the US Interests Section in Havana:

http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=07HAVANA622&q=parmly%20sanchez%20yoani

This report is interesting. For example it openly states:

“HUSBAND-AND-WIFE TEAM REINALDO ESCOBAR AND YOANI SANCHEZ VISITED THE U.S. CHIEF OF MISSION’S RESIDENCE TO SHARE THEIR IMPRESSIONS OF CUBA’S MEDIA ENVIRONMENT AND EXPOUND UPON THE UNIQUE POSITION THEREIN OF THEIR ON-LINE PUBLICATION, CONSENSO.

The US Interests section cable describes Consenso as “GROUNDBREAKING IN CUBA AND POSES A THREAT TO A CUBAN GOVERNMENT,” and goes on to say this about Yoani and her partner:

“THE DUO IS UNIQUE AMONG CUBA’S INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS IN THAT THEY VOLUNTARILY RETURNED TO CUBA TO HELP EFFECT CHANGE AFTER HAVING ESTABLISHED SUCCESSFUL CAREERS IN EUROPE. INDEED, CITING THE FACT THAT “THE BATTLE MUST TAKE PLACE IN CUBA,” MS. SANCHEZ CLAIMS TO HAVE DISCARDED HER PASSPORT.”

Evidently, Yoani still has her passport and the strategy of fighting the battle inside Cuba appears to have been abandoned. Shortly after her Brazil trip we can expect the ‘I am not Yoani CIAnchez’ to pop up in the United States, where she is due to make a tour of universities, apparently organised by a professional acquaintance of mine, Ted Henken, whose own blog, El Yuma, I notice is following her progress with a dedicated interest…

In all this Humbert Wolfe’s rhyme about British journalists comes to mind:

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
British journalist.
But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there’s
no occasion to.

Posted by Steve

Policy towards Cuba Obsolete, Says US Legislator McGovern

February 25, 2013

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The US Government maintains an obsolete policy towards Cuba, which has failed and is really a Cold War relic, said US Congressman James McGovern (D-MA).

McGovern, who travelled to Havana recentlyas part of a delegation of seven Congressmen, one of the highest level in the past few years, told CNN television network that his country must reassess and have a more mature policy towards Cuba before thinking of a normalization of relations.

The Representative from Massachusetts said that this US attitude has failed to lift “barriers triggered by paranoia.”

He said “time has come for us to assess again our policy,” and suggested his government to “engage in a more formal, broad ranging, direct negotiation with the Cubans. This must not be only about Alan Gross. Our problems are much complex. We ought to put everything on the table.”

(prensalatina)

YOANI ON TOUR OF LIES

February 25, 2013

- yoani on tour

Fidel Castro: We fight for Ideas, not for Glory

February 25, 2013

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“We do not struggle for our own glory or for honors; we fight for ideas we consider fair and to which millions of Cubans have dedicated their youth and their lives,” said Fidel Castro in his address to the Eight Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Pwer, which was set up on Sunday.

Fidel said he deeply appreciated the noble gesture by the people to have elected him a Parliament deputy. He said he never thought he would live that long and that his enemies would be that clumsy in their hateful practice of eliminating their adversaries, who are determined to fight.

“In such an unequal battle, our people proved their astonishing capacity to resist and overcome,” he pointed out, and stressed that some eight hundred thousand Cubans have met internationalist missions.
The Cuban Revolution leader recalled important moments of recent Cuban history, like the 1962 missile crisis, where the island was about to turn into a nuclear battlefield; the 1961 Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion backed by Washington; the participation of Cuban internationalist troops in the victory of Cuito Cuanavale, which led to the end of the former Apartheid System.

Fidel Castro said that after the 1959 Revolution triumph, the domestic battle targeted political ignorance and anti-socialist ideas instilled by the bourgeoisie and US imperialism. The fight of social classes unleashed just few miles from the United States was the most efficient political school for the country.

However, he said, the big battle now focuses the need to deal with bad habits and mistakes that are being committed by many citizens, including Communist Party members in different social areas.

Fidel said that humanity is now experiencing a unique stage, which is quite different from centuries ago. The world population increased to 7 billion people, an alarming figure expressing a demand for vital foodstuffs that science, technology and the natural resources of the planet are quite far from meeting.

Fidel also referred to current natural threats on humanity, such as the consequences of climate change.
He concluded his statements by paying tribute Cuban National Hero Jose Marti on the 160th anniversary of his birthday and on the 118th anniversary of the start of Cuban independence war against Spanish colonial rule. He said Marti was the revolutionary, anti-imperialist and bolivarian man that instilled in the Cuban youths the first ideas about their duty.

acn-ain

http://www.cubadebate.cu/fidel-castro-ruz/2013/02/25/fidel-no-luchamos-por-gloria-ni-honores-luchamos-por-ideas-que-consideramos-justas/,

New Cuban Parliament, new Council of State

February 25, 2013

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( new vice-president Diaz-Canel )

Cuban President Raul Castro gave the closing remarks of the parliamentary session that set up the new National Assembly of People’s Power with its new president, and elected the new Council of State. Raul said that upcoming modifications of the country’s constitution include the limit of a top 10-year period for main state and government posts, also with limited age to occupy such responsibilities. However, he said that in his specific case, this will be his last term in office.

The deputies elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, in a decision of historic significance because it is a step towards the future configuration of the country’s leadership, through a progressive and orderly transfer of power to the new generations, said Raul.

He recalled that 41.9 percent of the members elected to the Council of State are women, 38.6 percent is made up of black of colored persons, while the average age of its members is 57 years, with 61.3 of them having been born after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

At the same time, said Raul, the Parliament underwent a 67.26 renovation of its members, with 48.86 percent of women, 37.9 persons of color, while 82.68 percent of deputies graduated from higher education, and the average age is 48 years.

Raul said that the above-mentioned data confirm the quality of the Cuban electoral system and the potential of the people’s power bodies, including the national parliament to meet the important duties established by the country’s constitution.

In that regard, Raul said that the current legislature is in charge of undertaking an intense legislative work to strengthen institutional order and to implement the social and economic guidelines adopted by the Communist Party, which now entail far-reaching, deeper and more complex issues.

Referring to the election of Esteban Lazo as new Parliament president, Raul said that it is an honor that the assembly is being chaired by a black man of humble family, a former sugar cane cutter, who was able to get an economy diploma after huge effort and without abandoning his political responsibilities.

Referring to the transformations taking place in the country Raul said that they will continue to progress with no haste but without any pause, by protecting the people and by climbing the barriers of an obsolete mentality in order to favor the action of productive forces and the advancement of Cuban economy, along with the protection of the social achievements of the Cuban Revolution, such as education, public health, culture, sports.

The Cuban president stressed the need to strongly fight illegalities, indiscipline and any act of corruption.

Raul reiterated the Cuban people’s congratulations to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for his electoral victory and he conveyed fraternal greetings to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and his people by ratifying the solidarity by the Cuban Parliament and the people of Cuba.

Raul said that Cuba will continue to demand the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. and he concluded his speech by citing the concept of the word Revolution, first given by Fidel Castro in the year 2000.

( ACN-AIN )

! raul_discurso

CUBAN ELECTIONS

February 25, 2013

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By Manuel E. Yepe

Not too many foreigners understand why the recent general election in
Cuba was considered a great success as its result was the election of
all the candidates.

When the Revolution triumphed in 1959, the masses identified with the
victorious Revolution were fully aware, almost unanimously, of the
things that would have to be demolished. Among these was the
electoral system.

Cuba’s electoral system was announced as a carbon copy of the US
system, but in reality it was just its parody.

The system had been put in place at the end of the military occupation
the Island had suffered between 1898 and 1902, and remained in place
during all the neocolonial period until the last day of 1958.

Elections in Cuba, like those in the US, were structured in such a way
that they favored those candidates with more economic resources for
their campaigns. This guaranteed that their commitments with the
wealthiest sectors determined their governments to benefit the rich.

In normal periods, every four years the citizens enjoyed the right to
chose the highest authority of the nation among the candidates
proposed by political parties controlled by sectors of the domestic
oligarchy linked to the United States. This ensured the exercise of
the real power by a clique at the top which did not submit to any
election.

When conditions allowed, opposition forces that did not represent a
real threat for the control of the situation could participate in the
elections. But if a serious threat was observed there would be a coup
d’état by a sector of the officials in the armed forces whose fidelity
to the interests of Washington was guaranteed. The military would
then remain in power until it was advisable to return to the
“representative democracy”

The electoral campaigns of the political parties within the system
would cost many millions of dollars, mostly supplied by the oligarchs
and economic groups that competed for better positions to increase
their profits. They would support one, some, or all the candidates to
ensure the commitment of the winners, and more influence on government
decisions during the continuity of the regime.

Electoral posters would cover the walls, poles, bridges, electrical
and telephone lines of all the country and there would be a flood of
electoral announcements in billboards, the press, radio and
television.

These huge expenditures, so disproportional considering the misery
suffered by most of the population, were later returned by the
politicians to their generous contributors through favors derived from
the most shameless corruption.

With the new institutional system shaped in 1976, the present
electoral system was put in place. This promotes an active popular
participation evident in the right of the citizens to chose, nominate,
elect, control, and revoke their representatives.

In the Cuban political system no electoral parties participate. The
Municipal Assemblies, made up by delegates nominated and elected
directly at grass roots levels, agree on the candidates to be
nominated for the Provincial Assemblies and the representatives for
the National Assembly (Parliament) who will be voted on by the
population in a direct, secret and voluntary way.

Canditature Commissions are created by Municipal Assemblies in order to present prospective candidates for the positions of Delegate at the Provincial Assemblies and Deputy at the National Assembly of Popular Power, and to attend to duties arising from this task.

These Commissions comprise representatives of the CTC (Trade Union), CDR (Committees to Defend the Revolution), FMC (Cuban Women’s Federation) ANAP (Small Farmers), FEU (University Students Union) and the FEEM (Middle Level Students) who have been appointed by the national leadership of these mass organizations. In accordance with Electoral Law, The Commissions are presided over by a CTC representative.

Should a member of the Candidature Commission be nominated as a pre-candidate he/she should be immediately replaced by a member of the organization he/she represents.

The purpose of the Municipal Commissions is to

(a) Prepare for and present to the National Candidature Commission proposed pre-candidates for Deputy at the National Assembly of Popular Power.

(b) Prepare and present for the consideration of the National Assembly of Popular Power proposed candidates for selection as President, Vice-President and Secretary of the National Assembly.

© Prepare and present for the consideration of the National Assembly of Popular Power proposed candidates for the positions of President, First Vice-President, Vice-Presidents, the Secretary and other members of the Council of State.

It is the exclusive remit of Municipal Assemblies of Popular Power to nominate candidates for Deputy at the National Assembly of Popular Power.
Each Municipal Assembly nominates the number of candidates that correspond to that municipality. Voting on the nominations is by a show of hand and those candidates who get more than half of the votes cast are deemed to have been nominated.

,Another uniqueness of the Cuban political system is that no candidate,
representative or delegate at any level receives any remuneration
-salary, fee, perdiem, or any other income or benefit- for the
performance of the task for which he or she was elected.

In Cuba no electoral campaigns are accepted. The Electoral Committee
of each locality is responsible for the dissemination of the
information about each candidate on equal footing. For each posting
there must be a minimum of two candidates.

Voting is absolutely voluntary, but the highest participation is
promoted and stimulated, and there is a tradition of an enthusiastic
mass participation of the citizens in every electoral event.

Each voter that cast a ballot on February 3, 2013, did so to show its
approval or not to the profoundly democratic process that culminated
with the nomination of the delegates for the Parliament and the
Provincial Assemblies, and thus completed a process that had begun
shortly before in its locality and of which it was kept up-to-date
through its delegate.

It was certainly remarkable that more than 90% of Cuban voters
actually voted and that in the process only 4.6% of the ballots were
blank and 1.2% were null.

This was a strong demonstration of the approval enjoyed by the Cuban
political system.

February 2013.

http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs3685.html
A CubaNews translation and Sean Joseph Clancy. Edited by Walter Lippmann and Karen Lee Wald, with help from Manuel Yepe.


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