Archive for March, 2014

Cuba may have found cure for cancer

March 31, 2014

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Cuban doctors have filed March 26 in Havana, the result of 14 years of research, a solution of antitumor peptides whose natural analogue is able to offer positive dynamics in cancer treatments.

According to Cuban specialists, what makes this solution unique is that peptides can act in areas of the human body that are impossible to operate on or treat with chemotherapy or other modern therapies.

A clear example of the success of the new method is the child, Leo, who was suffering from brain cancer. Now the boy looks like a regular guy and it is hard to tell at first glance that a few months ago he won a battle against death. The place where Leo had the tumor did not allow submission to the operation he needed, as undergoing the operation meant running a great risk of losing his life. The only possible remedy was using the minor drug developed by Cuban researchers Labiofam business group based on natural peptides.

Although the drug is still passing through the experimental phase, it has already demonstrated its specialist curative properties. The specialist in clinical trials at Labiofam, Niudis Cruz Zamora, highlighted the effectiveness of the product in the treatment of the child Leo. ”The patient began with a huge lesion measuring height thirty-two millimeters, a big hydrocephalus, and during the seven months he was bedridden he was only treated with the solution of natural peptides. The height decreased from 32.4 to 27.1 and in May 2013, the lesion reached its minimum size, ” he explained

Patients treated with the solution include people with advanced disease who have no alternative oncology. “I was as a vegetable, could not do anything, could not walk, could not talk, … for me this was a breakthrough,” says Abreu Yarislenis Castaneda who returned to a normal life thanks to the innovation of Labiofam. Experts say thanks to its impressive effect, which improves the quality of life of patients, the solution was the basis for a medicine that could become an ultimate weapon against cancer.

According to representatives of the company, the product could revolutionize the market. The scientists noted that they are not trying to create false expectations but solid tests on animals showed that 90% reduction of the tumor was achieved and in some cases it’s almost total disappearance. “There does not exist in the international database any active ingredients with similar effects,” says research scientist Labiofam, Alexis Díaz García. “We are anticipating that it can become a future formulation which can resolve the cases of cancer that have no solution, we are talking of breast, colon, prostate, which rank first in cancer mortality,” he added.

However, the company plans go beyond healing. The head of the business group, Jose Antonio Fraga, said that “this product is to be effective both in treating patients and prevention of disease.” Managers Research Center of Cuba are confident that the innovative drug production will be a major step in the near future to address this evil which takes millions of lives annually.

Source: Trabajadores

No More Pinochets in Latin America – No to Extreme Right-Wing Coup Plotters in Venezuela!

March 31, 2014

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nlondon-no-more-pinochets-in-latin-america-no-to-venezuela-coup-plotters-tickets-11004852811

chavez 100Speakers to include George Galloway MP & Dr. Francisco Dominguez, looking at the recent wave of extreme, right-wing violence in Venezuela aimed at de-stabilising – & ultimately overthrowing – the country’s progressive, elected Government & the lessons of Chile over forty years on.

Part of the National VSC Speaking Tour of the Same Name.

More info at https://www.facebook.com/events/827246743956480/?ref=notif&notif_t=plan_user_invited.

Source:   No More Pinochets in Latin America

Related article:

Chile’s 9/11: Survivors recall horrors of Pinochet coup, 40 years on

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At the UN ALBA Countries Demand an End to Regime Change Policy

March 31, 2014

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, March 27

ALBAThe countries with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) demanded at the United Nations that the United States and NATO put an end to their change of regime policy as an instrument to overthrow governments that are contrary to their interests.

Regime change, misinformation and double standards

ALBA 3Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela agreed at the UN General Assembly that such a doctrine is one of the most serious threats against world peace and security, while it violates the UN Charter and International Law.  Bolivian permanent representative at the UN Sacha Llorenti said that the term regime change is being voiced a lot these days, as well as the double standard of those who try to maintain a world based on the supply of millions of dollars and the use of misinformation against elected governments that do not abide by their rules.

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The Real Face of Reporters Without Borders.

March 31, 2014

The Hardliners Get Confused at the U.S. Capitol

March 29, 2014

Cuba Central - The Blog

The strangest thing happened this week in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. The hardliners put together a hearing, which they designed as a platform for criticizing Cuba and other governments they oppose in the region, but they ran it under a banner with a most unexpected message: “U.S. Disengagement from Latin America: Compromised Security and Economic Interests.” This seems to us a very fair critique of the Cuba policy they’ve championed for more than fifty years.  Was this their idea of post-modern irony, or didn’t they get the joke? For example, could you find a better description of the U.S. embargo they defend so tirelessly, as a policy that leaves our country isolated and disengaged from the big transitions taking place in Cuba’s economy? Tomorrow, Cuba’s National Assembly is likely to enact a law designed to increase foreign investment on the island.  What does it…

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Kcho: Art against Injustice

March 29, 2014

by Yimel Diaz
Trabajadores

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Kcho: “Silence is bad, people dislike lack of communication, and then they make documentaries about people like that of the National Geographic Channel where human suffering appears as if it were of a lion in Serengeti, Africa. Photos: René Pérez Massola

The National Museum of fine Arts will son exhibit the installation: No agradezcan el silencio (Do not thank the silence), by the famed Cuban artist Alexys Leyva Machado known worldwide as Kcho.

The experience came from the experience lived by the Cuban Five Heroes in the Special House Unit known as The Hole in the Federal Detention Center in Miami, where they were for 17 months, despite the regulations for prisoners in the United States (U.S.) reduces to 60 days the maximum time of punishment.

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Kcho: “Siento que las personas van a venir espontáneamente y que la mayoría querrá vivir la experiencia completa, incluido el paso por la celda, que será opcional. De todas formas el que entre a la instalación sentirá, desde el primer momento, la incomodidad de estar en un espacio controlado, encerrado, rodeado de rejas y candados. Esa es la idea”.
Kcho: “I feel people will visit the exhibition spontaneously and that the majority will like to live the complete experience, including that of the cell that will be optional. Anyhow, those who enter the facility will feel, since the first time, the inconvenience to be in a controlled space, locked, inside bars and padlocks. That is the idea.”

Thanks to this new proposal by Kcho, visitors will discover one of the thorniest problems of the American penitentiary system. People will experience five minutes of imprisonment, if they want, in a cell of 15 feet long and seven feet wide, with no more furniture than an iron litter with a thin mattress, a table and a chair made of concrete. The toilet is made of metal, the washbowl and the mirror that show your sad glance.

Those are conditions created to make people feel like waste, to degrade them to the minimum expression, said Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez to the artist in a meeting held at “the construction site” on Wednesday, March 19, when they visited Kcho working on the cell.

Kcho investigated the topic in detail, but testimonies of the anti-terrorist fighters that have returned to Cuba as well as the paintings by Antonio Guerrero were vital for the realism that highlights the piece.

“This is going to be like a great black bucket- Kcho said-, covered by a black curtain half transparent, so that you could see something, but part of it will be hidden. There will be orange dungarees with the name and the sentence of each of the Cuban Five printed on the back.”

Those that would like to experience it should take off all the clothes and wear one of the uniforms including the sandals. From that moment on, the person will receive the similar treatment of those sentenced to The Hole received, including handcuffs and feet chained, as well as the called “walk” when they are taken out of the cell.

The work also includes a hall (like a cell too) for transitory exhibitions and a small classroom with writing desks where some of the audio visuals done about the topic of the antiterrorist fighters during 15 years of struggle for their release will be screened.

“But it is not only for the Cuban five- said Kcho to Trabajadores newspaper -, it is also for the Puerto Ricans and all political prisoner fighters who have faced the empire. It is also to criticize the system that has turned the prisons a lucrative and cynical business. They need the criminals who they suppose are in need to educate.

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Kcho: “Yo seré el primero en vivir la experiencia, me quedaré esa noche inaugural. Soy de poco dormir, por eso tendrán que disculparme la licencia de conservar un cuaderno para poder pintar. Creo que solo así aguantaré tantas horas encerrado”.
Kcho: “I will be the first one to experience it; I will stay there the opening night. I do not sleep very much, so you will have to excuse me to carry a notebook to paint. I think that is in the only way I will stand so many hours in that cell.”

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Kcho: “This work is a report to an unjust regime that turns men into waste. The U.S. has more than 2 million prisoners and the system works as an enterprise. Resources are needed to be profitable. There is the case of Herman Wallece, for instance, the Black Panther, who was freed, just when he was about to die and stayed more than 40 years in solitary confinement”.

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Kcho: “Los antecedentes de esta obra están en una que hice en 1999 para Casa de las Américas, se llamó No me agradezcan el silencio. Era un gran barco jaula, una cárcel, con cerca perles. En 1990 había hecho otra jaula que está en Bellas Artes y que también habla de la privación de libertad. Es un llamado a no ser cómplices de ese silencio que reina en las prisiones. Ese silencio es malo.
Kcho: “The antecedents of this work are in one I did in 1999 for Casa de las Americas that was named: No me agradezcan el silencio (Do not thank me for the silence). It was a big ship inside a cage which is in Fine Arts Museum that also talks about the depravation of freedom. It is a call not to be accomplices of the silence in prisons. That silence is bad.”

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Fernando: “Parte del castigo es la incomunicación, nunca ves a nadie, había que esperar a sentir una llave, gritar a ver si te hacían caso y pedirle al guardia los químicos para limpiar. En mi última experiencia por allí casi siempre decían que no había, al parecer por problemas de presupuesto”.
Fernando: “Part of the punishment is the lack of communication, you never see anyone, and you had to wait for the noise of a key, shout to see if they pay attention to you and ask the guards for chemicals to clean. In my last experience there, they most of the time said there were none. It seemed it was a problem of budget.”

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Incluso dentro de El Hueco se aplicaban diversos regímenes de seguridad —explicaron Fernando y René a Kcho—, en dependencia de eso se empleaban las esposas o las cadenas que también ataban la cadera y los pies.
Even inside The Hole they followed several regimes of security –said Fernando and Rene to Kcho-, depending on that, they used handcuffs or chains tied to the hip and feet.

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Este fue el primer encuentro de Fernando con Kcho luego de su regreso a la Patria el pasado 28 de febrero tras cumplir íntegramente su condena de 15 años, 5 meses y 15 días.
This was the first meeting between Fernando and Kcho after his return to the Homeland last February 28 after serving for 15 years and 15 days.

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No agradezcan el silencio será inaugurada próximamente en el Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Sus dimensiones, las rejas y candados, las cámaras de seguridad y la presencia de objetos similares a los empleados en El Hueco, multiplican el realismo de la obra.
No agradezcan el silencio (Do not thank the silence) will be inaugurated in the National Museum of fine Arts. Its dimensions, the cells and padlocks, the security cameras and the presence of similar objects to those used in The Hole, multiply realism of the work.

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Entre las piezas que multiplican el realismo de No agradezcan el silencio destacan el aro con múltiples llaves (ver mano derecha de Kcho) y la “línea” que consistía en una larga cuerda hecha con un pedazo de sábana a la que se ataban en la punta un tubo de pasta vacío (ver mano izquierda de René), esta servía para pasarse, por debajo de la puerta y a toda velocidad, “revistas y un montón de cosas más”, según testimonio de Antonio Guerrero en la serie de acuarelas Yo me muero como viví.
Among the pieces that multiply the realism of No agradezcan el silencio (Do not thank the silence) highlights the ring with many keys (see Kcho’s right hand) and the “line” that consisted on a long rope made of a piece of sheet with an empty toothpaste tube (see Rene’s left hand), and was to pass through, under the door and at all speed, “magazines and a lot of things more,” according to a testimony of Antonio Guerrero in the series of watercolors Yo me muero como viví (I will die as I lived).

Belgas solidarios trabajan en obra sanitaria en Santiago de Cuba

March 24, 2014

Siempre con Cuba

Santiago de Cuba.- Integrantes de la brigada belga de solidaridad Carlos Habré desarrollan jornadas de trabajo en la rehabilitación de la sala de terapia intensiva del Hospital General Ambrosio Grillo, a unos 20 kilómetros de esta ciudad.

Los activistas europeos, de la filial de Gante en ese colectivo, hicieron llegar previamente a la urbe cargamentos con medios necesarios para esa obra, como parte de la ayuda desinteresada para contribuir al mejoramiento de los servicios de salud en el país.

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Now for the prompt return of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio

March 23, 2014

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by Andrés Gómez, director, Areítodigital

Miami – I was in Havana when one month ago, February 28, our brother Fernando González Llort returned to the homeland the day after completing his sentence. How happy and proud I felt that day watching him on national television, content, firm and healthy, as he came down the stairs of the little plane that brought him from hell. What a relief.

There was happiness, pride and relief shared by his family, especially his compañera Rosa Aurora, and his mother, Magali; by his comrade in arms, René, free in Cuba, and by his other comrades Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio, still in United States prisons. Happiness, pride and relief shared also by the immense majority of a grateful Cuban people, its revolutionary leadership and by thousands of activists in every corner of the planet who for years have been struggling for the freedom of the Cuban Five.

Fernando was originally sentenced in December 2001 in Miami — city where the U.S. government decided to conduct its infamous trial against the Five — to 19 years for three minor charges: general conspiracy, the use of false identity and conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent. For those three charges Judge Joan Lenard, pressured by the federal government, maliciously imposed that excessive sentence. Three minor charges, while the major media in Miami, the United States and most of the world labeled him as a “spy.”

It was a sentence that a panel of three judges in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals annulled in the summer of 2008 for being excessive, and ordered Judge Lenard to re-sentence him to a lesser sentence. This also occurred with the sentences of Ramón and Antonio.

In December 2009, Miami, the same judge in a display of malice and cynicism, lowered his original sentence of 19 years by only one year and three months, to 17 years and 9 months in prison. Fernando completed that sentence on February 27, when he was freed after serving 15 years, five months and 15 days in prison. According to the regulations of the U.S. federal prison system, the prisoners receive a 13% reduction of their sentences for good conduct, as was the case for Fernando and René.

Well, what a relief to see him home, safe and sound, the same as it was for René. It was so good to see him strong and firm and obviously mindful of having fully completed his duty to his people. Fernando expressed himself carefully but with confidence and clarity. I see him as a man with an instinctive need to be precise in his ideas and thoughts when talking, communicating. He has shown himself to be a gentleman, polite and appreciative.

Grateful to everyone in Cuba and elsewhere who for all these long years have struggled not only for the Five’s freedom, but also against the policy of State terrorism that the United States government has maintained against the Cuban people for more than 55 years, to try to force it to surrender its independence and freedom. It is a policy that has required the Cuban government for that same period, to have agents infiltrated in the organizations tasked by the United States to carry out that perverse and criminal policy, according to the declassified documents of U.S. intelligence agencies.

In part of Fernando’s allocution before the judge who arbitrarily sentenced him in December 2001, he said:

“President Bush, in his speech to the Joint Session of Congress on September 20, 2001, declared: ‘Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom.’ […]

“Your Honor:

“My country and my people were forced to awaken to danger and called to defend freedom over 40 years ago. I feel proud to have been one of those who forewarned my people of such dangers.

“Later that night, in that same speech, President Bush stated:

“‘We will come together to strengthen our intelligence capabilities, to know the plans of terrorists before they act and to find them before they strike.’

“Cuba, which has suffered terrorist attacks for 42 years, also has the right to defend itself in this way.”

Fernando and René are home now. Now it is up to them and all of us to continue to struggle for the freedom of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio as soon as possible, as well as continuing the other part of that same struggle: against the perfidious policy of State terrorism by the United States against the Cuban people, which has caused so much damage and hardship.

trad: http://www.freethefive.org/updates/Comuniques/COAndres032114.htm

The U.S.’s Terrorism Double Standard and The Vicious Campaign Against Cuba

March 20, 2014

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by MATT PEPPE *
( counterpunch )
During the last 50 years, the United States has suffered from a constant stream of vicious terrorist acts, first carried out by the Cuban government and then later outsourced to anti-capitalist groups who were given safe haven in the country. The human toll is enormous – 3,478 dead, 2,009 injured, and many more suffering the mental health problems associated with traumatic stress. The terrorist attacks include blowing up a civilian airplane, bombing hotels and restaurants in tourist neighborhoods, machine gun attacks from speed boats against coastal towns, introduction of chemical and biological agents such as dengue fever, and a program of conspiracy between the Cuban state and the Catholic church to remove thousands of children from their parents and the U.S.

All of this is true – only in reverse. The victim of the hostile aggression has always been Cuba. The country may be the worst victim of terrorism in the Post-WWII era. But in the bizarro world of the U.S. government, in a textbook case of projection, it is the Cuban government who is responsible for sabotage, destabilization and interference. The U.S. has even designated Cuba as a “state sponsor or terror.” In a historic irony, it was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that was removed from the list to make room for Cuba in the early ’80s.

Terrorism was the main tactic in the campaign of subversion and interference that started immediately after the success of the revolutionary movement led by Fidel Castro. In March 1960,President Eisenhower green-lighted the first funds for the CIA to overthrow the new government. It is safe to say that Eisenhower did not lose any sleep over the mandate in the U.N. Charter that nations must refrain from the threat or use of force against another sovereign nation. By the time the Bay of Pigs Invasion was carried out, after being approved by new President John F. Kennedy, it was a full-scale ground operation launched in April 1961, consisting of 1,400 paramilitary troops and air support from B-26 bombers. The Cuban Army was quickly able to beat back the invasion, and the terrorist and mercenary forces quickly surrendered.

While all of Latin America rejoiced at the imperialist U.S.A. walking away with its tail between its legs, the military planners in Washington were just getting started. Their response to the humiliating defeat was not to obey international law and leave the rightful Cuban government alone, but to double down. The result was Operation Mongoose, which was authorized by President Kennedy in November 1961. Operation Mongoose involved thousands of people, millions of dollars and a violation of the Neutrality Act, which prevented CIA Operations in the United States, according to Noam Comsky.

“These Operations included bombing of hotels and industrial installations, sinking of fishing boats, poisoning of crops and livestock, contamination of sugar exports, etc. Not all these actions were specifically authorized by the CIA, but no such considerations absolve official enemies,” Chomsky writes.

Harvard historian Jorge Dominguez, in his review of thousands of declassified documents regarding the terrorist campaign against Cuba notes the complete lack of indifference toward human life.

“Only once in these nearly thousand pages of documentation did a U.S. official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to U.S.-government sponsored terrorism’: a member of the NSC staff suggested that it might lead to some Russian reaction, and raids that are ‘haphazard and kill innocents … might mean a bad press in some friendly countries,’” Dominguez says.

The hysteria of the U.S. military planners is evident by looking at the proposed terrorist campaign Operation Northwoods, a series of false flag attacks to be carried out within the United States and blamed on Cuba to create public support for a U.S. military invasion to overthrow Castro once and for all. The project made it as far as getting approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but thankfully President Kennedy showed some semblance of humanity by rejecting terrorism against his own citizens.

Terrorism against Cuba continued throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but eventually operations were left to right-wing anti-Castro militants based in Miami. The new government strategy was to turn a blind eye. Many of the people in these terrorist organizations were former CIA agents and paramilitaries who were veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion. The two most prominent and dangerous such agents were Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.

Posada and Bosch were suspected in the bombing of Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 in 1976 that killed all 78 people on board. The victims included all 24 member of the Cuban national fencing team that was returning with gold medals, after being victorious in the Central American Championships. Also on board were a group of fisherman who had completed a contract fishing in Guyana. Two men who boarded the plane and later disembarked before the plane took off from its final stop in Jamaica were later caught. Both confessed that Posada and Bosch were the masterminds behind the plot. A declassified FBI report quotes a reliable source confirming that Posada was involved in the planning.

Both men later ended up living in the U.S. Bosch would die in Florida a free man in 2011, after years of involvement with militant anti-Cuban organizations. He was jailed on unrelated charges in the ’80s, but pardoned in 1990 by George H.W. Bush. The first President Bush did so at the request of his son Jeb, who was acting on behalf of his allies in the powerful Miami anti-Castro community. The President issued his pardon despite warnings from his own Attorney General who called Bosch and “unrepentant terrorist.”

Posada has also wound up in U.S. jails but is now free living in the Miami area. The U.S. has refused to extradite him to either Venezuela or Cuba. He continued his terrorist career and was responsible for more deaths. Speaking to the New York Times, Posada admitted: “he organized a wave of bombing in Cuba [in 1997] at hotels, restaurants and discotheques, killing an Italian tourist and alarming the Cuban Government.” Mr. Posada, the article states, “was schooled in demolition and guerilla warfare by the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960′s.”

The former CIA terrorist also admitted the involvement of other groups based in Florida. He said: “the hotel bombings and other operations had been supported by leaders of the Cuban-American National Foundation. Its founder and head, Jorge Mas Canosa, who died [in 1997], was embraced at the White House by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton.”

Today Posada lives as a free man in Miami, as Bosch had before he passed away. Posada is still active in supporting anti-Castro groups such as the Ladies in White, who generated much controversy recently when members were detained in Havana for several hours upon protesting publicly.

Another example of horrific terrorist acts against Cuba are the numerous instances of chemical and biological warfare. The worst may be the alleged introduction in 1981 of dengue fever, whichkilled hundreds and sickened thousands more. Many other cases involving poison and sabotage of tobbaco and sugar crops have been reported.

In his excellent book “Voices from the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba,” Keith Bolender interviews survivors and relatives of terrorism victims in Cuba. His many interviews include a woman who lost her leg as a child from machine gun fire by terrorists from Miami attacking her coastal village; the wife of the pilot of Flight 455; a mother who lost her daughter to dengue fever; and a man who as a teenager found an unexploded bomb at a hotel while waiting to play in a chess tournament.

Bolender also puts the terrorist actions in the context of American policy.

“American aggression ran from the embargo, propaganda, isolation, and the Bay of Pigs military invasion. As the rhetoric increased, terrorist acts were formulated and carried out.. American officials estimated millions would be spent to develop internal security systems, and State Department officials expected the Cuban government to increase internal surveillance in an attempt to prevent further acts of terrorism. These systems, which restricted civil rights, became easy targets for critics,” he writes.

There are many other terrorist organizations who live openly in Florida. With names such as Omega 7, Comandos F4, Brigade 2506 and Alpha 66, these groups have admitted to killing people in the past and announce their intention to do so in the future.

“Other than an occasional federal gun charge, nothing much seems to happen to most of these would-be-revolutionaries,” write Tristram Korten and Kirk Nielsen in Salon. “They are allowed to train nearly unimpeded despite making explicit plans to violate the 70-year-old U.S. Neutrality Act and overthrow a sovereign country’s government… No one has ever been charged for anti-Cuban terrorism under [anti-terror] laws.”

The article goes on to mention how the federal government has failed to extradite other militants accused of terrorism and murder such as Luis Posada Carriles.

Anyone who has use of his brain can see the hypocrisy in the U.S.’s official position on terrorism enunciated by George W. Bush in an address to Congress the week after September 11, 2001.

“From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice, we’re not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans,” Bush said. Shortly after, he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan after refusing to provide the Taliban regime with any evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

According to his own doctrine, Bush himself would be fair game for a Venezuelan commando raid on his Crawford ranch. And his father would likewise be a legitimate target in his Kennebunkport home for a Panamanian commando squad. Cuban jet fighters and drones would be completely justified in launching attacks in Miami whenever they saw fit.

In reality, the Cuban government has decided to follow the course of international law in its efforts to combat terrorism. They have managed to infiltrate right-wing militant groups in Florida to prevent future plots. After gathering evidence and making a case for what these groups were planning, Cuban authorities shared their intelligence with FBI officials in 1997. The FBI listened to Cuba’s case, took the information back to the States – and arrested the Cubans who had foiled the plots. (For comparison, after catching the paramilitaries who physically invaded Cuba on a military mission to overthrow the government at the Bay of Pigs, most invaders were questioned and sent back to the U.S.)

The Cuban Five, as those imprisoned for fighting terrorism are called, are hardly known, if at all, in the United States. But they are heroes in the native country.

Stephen Kimber, writing in the Washington Post, tries to put the story of the Cuban Five in perspective: “Consider for a moment what would happen if American intelligence agents on the ground in a foreign country uncovered a major terrorist plot, with enough time to prevent it. And then consider how Americans would react if authorities in that country, rather than cooperate with us, arrested and imprisoned the U.S. agents for operating on their soil.

“Those agents would be American heroes. The U.S. government would move heaven and Earth to get them back.”

Members of Seal Team 6, who carried out an illegal premeditated assassination of Osama bin Laden in the sovereign territory of Pakistan, have been treated as heroes. As are soldiers who have served in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. How can the U.S. expect to have any credibility in the world when it acts with such blatant hypocrisy?

As Noam Chomsky points out, the U.S. has a long history of hypocrisy when it comes to terrorism. In the ’80s, after Reagan announced his desire to wipe out “the evil scourge of terrorism,” the United Nations took up the issue with a resolution announcing “measures to prevent international terrorism which endangers or takes innocent human lives or jeopardizes fundamental freedoms.”

The bill was passed with virtual unanimous approval of the entire world by a vote of 153 to 2. In opposition were the United States and its client state Israel.

Chomsky describes the U.S. use of the “propagandistic approach” to terrorism. “We begin with the thesis that terrorism is the responsibility of some officially designated enemy. We then designate terrorist acts as ‘terrorist’ just in the cases where they can be attributed (whether plausibly or not) to the required source; otherwise they are to be ignored, suppressed, or termed ‘retaliation’ or ‘self-defence.’”

A look at the U.S.’s flagrant disregard for international law and principles reveals actions such as denial of habeas corpus and due proccess (originated in the Magna Carta almost 800 years ago); unilaterally undertaking aggressive wars; “shock and awe” bombings; extraordinary renditions; and extrajudicial assassinations, including with drone strikes and Hellfire missiles. These all demonstrate the extent to which the U.S. is willing to disobey all legal and moral conventions to achieve its political goals, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

To deny that Cuba and its residents have been, and are the victims of terrorism for more than half a century is an outrage. To add insult to injury by labeling the Cuban government a sponsor of terrorism because of political considerations is just cruel.

The many victims of terrorism in Cuba may never see justice carried out by those responsible. But their suffering is the same as that felt by Americans after 9/11. The least we can do is admit that, and stop allowing our government to use terrorism as a propaganda tool for its own convenience while the real human cost is ignored in countries other than our own.

* Matt Peppe holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY Albany and a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature from NYU. He writes about U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog: http://royalrooter2013.blogspot.be/,

The Cultural War in Cuba.

March 19, 2014

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The culture of being and the culture of having.

By Enrique Ubieta

There are two manners of understanding the relations between persons and objects that express what we call, on one part, the culture of the being and, on the other hand, the culture of having.

I have travelled the country and talked to many students about these subjects and observe this space, not only because it is called by the Asociación Hermanos Saiz but also because it offers the possibility of addressing a heterogeneous public that I don’t know, and could be from any sector of society.

I have always been asked to talk about subversion, let me clarify the concept in function of my work; it is the battle of ideas or the struggle of the ideological environment that I tend to focus on, above all, in cultural fields. I believe it is more to the point to talk of the cultural war established within the construction of an alternate society and the general offensive produced these last years to take advantage of a biological goal of an historic generation made by the Revolution, the rise to power of new generations.

I am referring to a cultural war – I want to stress this point – because I understand that the concept includes the ideological and political and some more points that I find essential. It is not a simple struggle for power: it is not a war between persons who are in favor or against a government. It is about a war between persons who are in favor or against a system that also implies cultural perception of the world, a manner of understanding the concept of happiness, both in personal life as the collective one. So then what they want to change is our mind. They want Cuban society to change its way of thinking, its ideals, its hopes; they want to build a process of gradual changes of the minds of the Cuban who lead us without the need to produce a fall of the government towards capitalism.

I am referring to two manners of understanding relations between persons and objects expressed in what we call, on the one hand, the culture of being and, on the other hand, the culture of having. What I understand of culture is having a form of life ruled be laws of consumerism – no consumption – that makes us slaves of objects because these objects establish the value of the person, of their worth, their importance, the level of success achieved in society. In a culture where the origin of money does not matter. You can have a lot because you won the lottery or inherited it or because you stole it and have not been arrested or because being an actor in a bad picture but with high box office success: if you have a lot you are an important person. In other words, being falls to a lower level in comparison to having. And having entails at the same time an exhibition of what you have. You are no one if you don’t show it because people cannot appreciate what you have as a mark of your value in society.

In Cuba when we talk about speculation, a term that has nothing to do with exhibitionism (because popularly it is used as a synonym) we refer to the predomination of culture of having in some persons There is an Arab proverb that Forbes magazine places among the ten richest men in the world and one who plated his personal plane in gold – I suppose he calculated correctly so that it doesn’t fall from the sky –; what is different is there between one person who is not crazy to one who is obsessive, simply someone of a system that needs to show the world how much he has because it establishes his worth while the other one sitting in my block in the Colon barrio of Centro Habana has three gold chains around his neck?

The difference is obviously in the amount of money but there is no difference in the intention because we talking of the same action within a system of values of a culture of having. That is to say I am worth three gold chains and am not more worthy because I have a plane plated in gold.

Of course socialism does not mean that people do not have. That would be absurd and a society could not still exist without a reasonable consumption that leads to a better standard of living that means somehow personal progress. All this is correct and socialism cannot deny it, on no account. But if we propose to comply – and we know that the current Cuban society does not comply – with the principle of to each according to his capacity and his work. In this case, it places in first place what one is (what he gives to society) and, therefore, what he deserves in exchange for his work.

In the Cuban society of today we have an inverted pyramid. Precisely the Guidelines aim to place the pyramid in its rightful position and that persons earn according to their contribution and that this profit be sustained in what the people are, in fact.

This seems very general and perhaps high brow. I think it is the basis of what we understand to be a confrontation between the culture of capitalism and culture of socialism, as an opposite alternative in life. I stress this because there are persons who somehow discard this contradiction and at the end are caught up in it. What we are today in Cuba and what we are trying to build today is part of a national tradition, of a national thought but also a concept of alternative life to capitalism.

When we are told you have to be “normal” has taken 50 years of the Revolution to be normal. I always ask …what do they want? When they say we should be normal? What do they mean by that?

Normal in the world is consumerism, normal in the world are the crushing laws of the market and I don’t want to be normal.

I do not want this country to move backward. I believe in the great victory of Cuba not being normal in a world where social injustice and indifference are normal. Then Cuba is going on a different road, on an alternative road that intends to stay afloat in an extraordinary hostile world because it is a world designed by the capitalist hegemony.

When asked: What predominates today in Cuba, culture of capitalism or socialism? I have to begin by saying that culture of capitalism is a culture that predominates in the world, it is a culture sustained on the material basis of capitalism.

Socialist culture is a project in construction and that implies, obviously, that we are consumers of capitalist culture and that, in addition, we reproduce it. We fall in the trap of reproducing capitalist values with television programs that we make and, also, in films or in literature. Because socialism is not an arrival port. Socialism is a change by which we decide for negation and surpassing that of capitalism.

It is a contradiction between two systems that is not reduced but intensified in the long road of surmounting. I give you a very current example: the subject of corruption, something that our enemies point to constantly and that we also point to it in Cuba because it is totally a contraction of the system. Corruption hurts us, surprises us and makes us think that it is “our” serious problem and what it is, is a cancer for socialism; corruption is not visible in capitalism because it is inherent to it; it does not destroy capitalism, but us it does. Corruption is not the result of socialism; it is proof that capitalism still blossoms in our society. Socialism presupposes a social and higher individual ethics and implies a much higher individual demand.

Another cultural sphere that I believe important is historical memory. We live in a country where the large majority of the population was born after the Revolution. It means that we are building an alternate society to one we did not experience and of which we have no personal experiences. The young people who assume a fundamental position in the country are the ones who will have to lead the revolution without even having at their side the last generation who lived in capitalism, in the midst of a highly intense cultural war. Because there is no project for the future that sustains a tradition, that does not look to the past, or instead, an interpretation of the past. I am very respectful of the scientific instruments of historical studies that I think are very important but at the same time, I do not cease in reminding that all interpretation – history is not merely a continued re interpretation of the past – it leads to a specific future in which each new era re-interprets the past in function of a future project. In Miami, you know, there is a monument to the heroes of Playa Girón, in other words to the mercenaries who disembarked in Bahía de Cochinos as they say while there is not one for the milicianos who defended the country against the invasion. Those are the heroes of this project; what I mean to say is that there is no project of society in which those mercenaries and those milicianos are at the same time heroes: each society has its own. They are a function of the project for the future.

I always recall this anecdote: once I was helping my uncle to build a change in his house and I came across a woman who imagined she was living under capitalism in Cuba and offered my uncle an apartment “with a garage” but, who knew the apartment she was offering? I told her it did not have one because that garage had been declared a national monument because José Antonio Echeverría had hidden there with the attackers of the Presidential Palace and Radio Reloj in1957. That woman stepped back with a smile on her lips and answered: But sir, José Antonio Echeverría is only important for this government but in the future no one is going to remember him. I thought that statement so offensive that I began to argue but then I understood that she did not know what she was saying. Because the heroes of a capitalist Cuba will not be Julio
Antonio Mella, nor Villena, or José Antonio Echeverría, or Jesús
Menéndez, Frank País, Ernesto Che Guevara. That the pantheon for the heroes will be another. That is why we revolutionaries are asked to be obsessive with the truth because all revolutions need it. It begins with alphabetizing the population, begins demanding that the population study – that we rescue and place all personalities of history in the same place would be hypocritical. It is true that in time we have explained historical events mechanically and that the victory of our heroes is grand, precisely, because our villains were not stupid or cowardly like it seems at times in the description of the events. But there are no ecumenical pantheons. When one visits Eastern Europe and observes that all the heroes of socialism, their own and others were stripped from their pedestals you understand how hypocritical those demands were. Who would be the heroes of that capitalist Cuba so desired by them? Trashy heroes. Already in progress is a history: Batista the benefactor”; Che Guevara “the killer”.

But there is another way of reconstructing history and it is through an emotional manner: they want to sell us false images of the 50s as if it had occurred in an era of festivity, of enjoyment: they sell us a Havana filled with lights, bars, nightclubs, of happiness and then, of course, came the worse: as aid in the song by Carlos Puebla (interpreting it literally): “and the Commandante put a stop to the diversion”. They want to make us believe that the 60s were years of sadness, of darkness. It is an opposition that does not function rationally but on an emotional level and is supported by external political elements because in the whole world there is a certain fashion, a tendency to recover the architecture, the images of the 50s because they were years in which United States capitalism had a certain economic stability. That decade became a myth that is taken up today in the midst of the violent economic crisis. But Cuba arrived marred by the confrontation between two systems, by a clear division of epoch marked by 1959. And we have the idea planted that we must recover the idols before 59. Each little piece of Havana as it was before 59; as if it were our real tradition and I want to warn that Cuba has lived more years in Revolution than it did in neo colonial times. Some intend to substitute the names of streets or stores – that the people identify with their current names; I don’t refer to names that were never accepted – by what it had during the first half of the 20th century.

I want it understood that today we need a debate, a discussion, as never before. I want to insist on this also. Because the cultural war can only be won with a debate. It is only possible to win it with the construction of critical views. By the capacity of people – mostly young people – to distinguish what is good and what is bad. There is a large exposition of these material moments; there is a shifting around of information that has nothing to do with what the state produces and distributes. The new technologies introduce this possibility. There are video clips, for example, such as the Yakarta and Chacal. “They are crazy” and excellent for a class of what we are saying. In this video the signers have handfuls of bills and throw them up in the air; they are surrounded by beautiful naked women, enjoying power that money buys.

That video was not broadcast on television, but it spread throughout the country and many young people saw it. The television is a place that has to establish hierarchies and responsibilities for what it offers. You can paint any barbarity in your house and no one forbids it but you cannot ask a gallery to show it.

We have to educate the critical capacity of these young people. A critical capacity that allows them to see it all – and I think that young people should see it all and know how to distinguish – and that has to be internalized in the base committees, in the FEU brigades, in the collectives of professors. I believe that a teacher of secondary level must see youth series broadcast on the TV before dinner. U.S. series very well made that reduce the values of a culture of having and should talk with these young people about these series, not to challenge them but to offer another view, other arguments that increase the capacity of reception of their students. The teachers can do much in this direction.

Comments during the debate.

I love this kind of debate. It allows a means to rethink many things, adjust them and affirm them. It is a debate that is always useful for everyone. I don’t agree completely on the phrase that we have changed nothing (about the press) and I believe there is a process in evolution. The world of free information, of the large transnational companies, is the one that constructs schemes of thought that constructs views. It is not interested in the truth; it is interested in the construction that sustains the credible, work with the credible and constructs a general condition of opinion.

Socialism in the world arose in underdeveloped countries in conditions of total war. And for a long time the idea prevailed that these countries were trying to create an alternate culture, to establish a sort of shield; to protect themselves from the misinformation of the so called free press. That we inherited also. At the point we are in we may think that we are protected by a shield when in truth we have no shield. Today these new technologies allow the system of constructing an anti social mentality that introduces capitalist values is in the street, reproducing, and talking with the people. We have to confront this form of culture from a critical debate. The only thing that saves us the formation of critical thought capable of distinguishing that it is not merely a sum of knowledge since there are persons who know very much and are easily contaminated with any stupidity. This critical capacity does not arise from a special knowledge but a special training deriving from debate. This debate must be in the base committees, in the FEU groups, etc.

What is a criticism? I insist on this because there is a tendency to de- idealizes it. I believe that there must be a means of distinguishing between revolutionary criticism and counter revolutionary criticism. I refuse to homogenize, to avoid using names when talking about criticism. If there is something that continues to be certain is whether said by a revolutionary or a counter revolutionary. But criticism is not a statement. A counter revolutionary and I can coincide in saying that there is corruption and prostitution in Cuba and we are beginning with a specific fact but a criticism is more than a statement. And the truth is constructed from two fundamental facts: its history – that is to say, all truth has a history framed in an internal logic – and its solution, its implicit project of solution. This is a very specific point where we differ. If Yoani Sánchez says that there is corruption in Cuba and mentions a specific case of corruption and then says that corruption is inherent to socialism and we must move towards capitalism to save the country from corruption he is promoting a colossal lie. Because corruption is inherent to capitalism. And if he says that there is prostitution and then goes on to say that prostitution is a result of socialism, of the construction of an alternate society … no, if there is capitalism prostitution is institutionalized. It becomes a Mafia totally held up by the system. That is when criticism acquires a revolutionary content or a counter revolutionary content.

I believe that truth is always revolutionary and only revolutionary criticism is true. Counter revolutionary criticism always ends up being a lie that manipulates the concept of truth.

What makes a critical conscience? I often try to separate from statistics that are handled with fanciful science in the country. I distrust statistics. I like to repeat the famous phrase by Martí When he spoke in Tampa of the spirit of Revolution existing in Cuba and someone recently arriving said that he could not breathe that spirit in the Island. Martí answers: but I am not talking of the atmosphere, I am talking of the subsoil.

Instead, I want descriptions of atmosphere; I believe that all reality is what is visible and what potentially could be, from our convictions and views of the world. When I speak of these subjects I do not do it confronting the institutions. I would want Cuban television to be better – although it is better than what is commonly transmitted in the world – and I try to do something however little because I don’t work in television but I move around in universities where I discuss my ideas and where I can move about socially. I make a difference between the actions of institutions – that undoubtedly must be pressured – of the individual responsibility that each of us has. I am fully aware of the need to prepare a consumer, an educated reader. The damage of the special period and the plans of the enemy is that the revolutionaries at the time did not build ourselves generationally. But that will not stop me at all.

I think that the language of violence is a counter revolutionary language. Violence is counter revolutionary. The enemy wants us to believe that violence is the result of revolutionary action. They talk of the “violent” revolutionary left and “democratic” left is allegedly a peaceful left, conciliatory. It is true that the revolutionary left that I do not fully adhere to, is violent while the right tries to justify a violence that implies injustice and makes inoperable other forms of struggle that is not violent. But I do not support a violence that is not my future for life. Violence makes me take actions that are not what motivates me in life. Revolutionary violence is a response to counter revolutionary violence. There is a form of recovery of a reconciliatory idea. I agree with it if it is in socialism. What happens at times is that reconciliation is understood as a surrender. It happens when a Cuban artist goes to Miami in peace, in good will and goes on television and tries to be peaceful, apolitical and ends up crushed because it is not a television made for any kind of peace. It is made for cultural war, of values that is truly a war between socialism and capitalism. That is why it is not good to recall also that we are at war. When a revolutionary says that he is not political, he is misunderstanding the concept: the revolutionary does not make politics if he intends to occupy posts, he is betting his life on the transformation of the world in favor of truth, beauty and justice. That is what is meant to be a political revolutionary regardless if he occupies state or party responsibilities.

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