Posts Tagged ‘imperialism’

CELAC Rejects Inclusion of Cuba on List of States that Promote Terrorism

May 27, 2014


The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States ( CELAC) rejected on Wednesday the U.S. government ‘s decision to include Cuba again, in an arbitrary and unilateral way, on the list of States that are promoters of International Terrorism.

In a communique, the CELAC expresses its concern about the stance of the U.S. State Department on April 30 to include Cuba, for the 32nd time, on this list, despite the condemnation caused by this measure in the United States and internationally.

The CELAC reiterated its total opposition to the making of unilateral lists accusing States of allegedly supporting and co-sponsoring terrorism and urged the U.S. government to end this practice.

The regional bloc expressed its position in paragraph 41 of the Declaration of Havana and in the Special Declaration of Support for the Struggle against Terrorism in all its Forms and Expressions, both adopted by the Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the Caribbean at the Second Summit of CELAC, held in January.

The rejection of unilateral lists affecting Latin American and Caribbean nations
The article specifies the rejection of unilateral lists and certifications created by the developed countries particularly those related to terrorism, human and drug trafficking which affect nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, .

In addition, the paragraph confirms the Special Communique approved by the CELAC which rejects the inclusion of Cuba in the U.S. list of States sponsoring terrorism. CELAC sees this as manipulation of a sensitive topic like international terrorism to turn it into an instrument of politics against the island.


From a hawk to a dove: Another Cuba envoy sees the light

September 4, 2013


It is a curious fact that once they retire from active duty, US diplomats that have served in the US Interests Section in Havana, turn into advocates of an improvement in relations with Havana. Latest to add his voice to the chorus of former envoys is Michael Parmly who, Reuters reports, is now saying that the US should give Guantanamo Bay back to Cuba.

Obama, by negotiating a deal, could build a long-term relationship with its people, Reuters quotes Parmly as saying.
Parmly, was head of the U.S. interests section in Havana from 2005-2008 at a time when relaitons between the two countries were at their worst since the end of the Cold War.
But now he has changed his tune and has written a 26-page paper soon to appear in the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, published by the Fletcher School in Massachusetts.
According to Parmly, the U.S. base is a “historic anomaly” even though the two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 1961.
“The current partisan tensions on the (Capitol) Hill ensure that it would be an uphill climb, but it is the thesis of this paper that a similar bold step, akin to the Panama Canal, is called for regarding Guantanamo,” he said, citing that 1977 U.S. return of the waterway to Panama as a precedent.
“Both sides would have an interest.”
Since 1903, the United States has had treaty rights to Guantanamo Bay, a 45 square-mile territory in southeastern Cuba, originally needed as a fuelling station for U.S. warships.
A prison at Guantanamo was set up by former U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration for foreign suspected militants after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Obama has pledged to close the prison which has held dozens of suspected militants, most without charge, for more than a decade. But he has faced congressional resistance.
Parmly, who now lives in Geneva, says the U.S. and Cuban governments could agree that 46 “problem cases” remain at a U.S.-run jail even after operational control of the base is transferred. The remaining 118 inmates could be sent to U.S. prisons and then face trial or be released.
An agreement could also be reached with Cuba allowing the U.S. Navy to use the base for its operations in the Caribbean, he said. The U.S. centre at Guantanamo for processing Cuban and Haitian migrants picked up at sea could be kept or transferred, said.
“Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is not U.S. territory. Cuba is the ultimate owner,” Parmly says.


August 5, 2013


By Manuel E. Yepe

The Cuban ration book is now 50 years old, and Cubans are remembering this with a display of humor and pride.

There were humoristic TV and radio shows full of popular jokes and mockery recalling the birth of the “libreta de los mandados” [ration booklet for groceries] –as Cubans have called it since its emergence in July 1963.

The libreta was a response by the revolutionary project to the malicious measures of the commercial and economic blockade decreed by the government of the United States, and made official in 1962.

On April 6, 1960, the genocidal policy was formalized. On that day, Lester I.D. Mallory, the State Department’s Assistant Undersecretary for Inter American Affairs, wrote in a secret report –declassified in 1991- that the majority of Cubans supported the Revolution, and therefore the objective of overthrowing the Cuban Government had to be achieved “swiftly, using all means to weaken their economic life with a line of action as skillful and discreet as possible to promote disappointment and frustration that would arise from dissatisfaction and economic difficulties; denying money and supplies to reduce real salaries and financial resources to cause hunger, despair and the overthrow of the government.”

The libreta has served, during the half century of its existence, to guarantee each one of the 11 million Cuban citizens a modest food basket (rice, beans, bread, coffee, eggs, meat, sugar, cooking oil, and other products) at state-subsidized prices, in order to exclude hunger – the denigrating social phenomenon typical of market economies from which not even the highly industrialized countries escape- from the everyday reality of Cubans.

As a defense mechanism against Washington’s goal of overthrowing Cuba’s revolutionary government through hunger, the libreta and its associated sub-systems of collecting and distributing products, constitute a complex supply network which comprises the egalitarian basic food distribution system that operates in Cuba.

The libreta has played a bigger or smaller role in the diet of Cubans, sharing its function with other mechanisms, such as the venta liberada or the mercado paralelo [products available for purchase outside the rationing scheme] whose difference from the libreta is that their products are not subsidized.

During the crisis the island suffered in the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had been its main support in the struggle against the U.S. blockade, Washington intensified its measures of economic suffocation with opportunistic aims.

The Torricelli Act was passed in 1992, giving a legal foundation for the blockade’s regulations, and conditioning its lifting on issues related to human rights and “democratization” — policies systematically manipulated by U.S. diplomacy.

In 1996, the Helms-Burton Act increased the extraterritorial nature of the blockade by making it applicable to branches of U.S. companies overseas, and forbidding merchant ships of any flag to touch U.S. ports for a period of six months after touching Cuban ports.

Cuba then applied a survival strategy of policies and measures that as a whole was named the “Special Period”. Among these measures was the creation of several chains of shops to collect convertible currencies. Their aim was to stimulate foreign currency incomes by offering products that are not normally sold in the national network which offers goods and services.

To complement this measure, the Cuban banking system issued -in parallel to the national currency- the convertible peso which is the only currency accepted at the shops that collect convertible currencies.

The dual currency fulfilled its role of collecting the convertible currencies urgently needed by the economy after the crisis of the 90’s, but it has also created social inequalities and complex accounting and practical problems. These are in the process of solution and represent one of the main economic objectives of the ongoing process of updating the Cuban socialist model

The libreta has survived much longer than the dual currency, and has also rendered a remarkable service to the survival strategy of the Cuban Revolution. It will also disappear in the short or medium term. The concrete advances the Cuban economy has been experiencing, despite the blockade and the persistent hostility of its powerful neighbor, allows and advises setting the objective of eliminating the ration book. This must be done based on the premises that the state should subsidize persons instead of products, that nobody should be abandoned without help, and that education and health services remain free and available for all.

July 2013.

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.


Guantanamo: A Simple Solution

August 4, 2013

_1-base guantanamo_bay_

A Simple Solution
by Saul Landau and Philip Brenner

President Barack Obama has a simple way to solve his Guantánamo dilemma. Five years after the president promised to close the detention center for alleged terrorists the prison remains open and continues to leave a stain on the honor and integrity of the United States and its proclaimed commitment to universal human rights.

With a brief and unambiguous message to Cuba’s President Raúl Castro, President Obama could offer to return Guantánamo naval base to Cuba on the condition that Cuba accept all of the prisoners. In one act the United States would rid itself of a loathsome prison and prisoners it has been unable to send anywhere else, open the way to repairing a sixty-year old dysfunctional relationship with Cuba, and repatriate territory that all Latin Americans — not just Cubans — have long viewed with resentment as a symbol of U.S. imperial behavior in the hemisphere. It would be the single most significant action that could break through the barriers of distrust and misunderstanding both countries have erected.

Most Americans don’t know the history of Guantánamo. Under the terms of the 1902 Platt Amendment — a relic of the Spanish-American war that allowed us to control Cuba’s affairs — the United States forced Cuba to give it a 99-year lease for the 47 square-mile territory on which it built the Guantánamo base. In 1934 President Franklin Roosevelt abrogated the Platt Amendment as a good neighbor gesture, but pressured Cuba to sign a new Guantánamo lease, this time with no end date. Following the 1991 Haitian coup, the United States rediscovered Guantánamo’s utility, as a refugee camp for escaping Haitians unwanted in the United States. After the 9/11 attacks the military converted the camp to a high security prison.

To be sure, several matters would need to be negotiated in order to implement this “simple” solution. Apart from the disposition of the base facilities, the two countries would need to agree on the latitude Cuba would have with regard to the prisoners. For example, the United States might seek assurances that Cuba would prevent the travel of released prisoners to the United States or a U.S. territory.

But once positive energy vibrates through U.S.-Cuba diplomacy, many of the disagreements between the two countries would emerge as soluble, as solutions build on one another to engender confidence. It is likely that even before the details of returning the naval base to Cuba were settled, the two countries might be able to overcome the most vexing, immediate source of irritation between them.

The United States holds in federal prisons four Cuban agents convicted of espionage, and Cuba holds an employee of a U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor convicted of “acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state.” Just as we have swapped prisoners with Russia and other adversaries, there is nothing stopping us from exchanging Mr. Gross for the four and allowing them all to return to their homes.

Similarly, Cuba has successfully negotiated agreements over expropriated property with every country except the United States. The typical debt-for-equity formula Cuba has used could resolve this fifty-year old issue to the benefit of U.S. citizens and corporations, and might even open the way to new U.S. investment in Cuba.

Or consider that the United States and Cuba already have achieved impressive levels of cooperation in areas of mutual concern – such as drug interdiction and natural disaster preparation – which would be even more effective if the engagements could be deepened, institutionalized, and undertaken without fear of domestic repercussions.

The U.S.-Cuba relationship has baffled ten previous U.S. presidents. It is source of tension between the United States and nearly all of the countries in Latin America. There is no objective reason for it to continue this way, along a hostile road. Solving the Cuba problem is one certain way that President Obama could keep his promises in 2009 to forge a new relationship with Latin America based on mutual respect and have a positive foreign policy legacy. Cuba has indicated a sincere desire to enter into discussions with the United States on all bilateral issues of concern between the two countries, but until now the United States has responded with a self-defeating aloofness.

As dozens of Guantánamo detainees continue their hunger strike, and a ruling about force-feeding them remains in limbo between different federal courts, the moment is ripe for President Obama to act with courage and decisiveness. Guantánamo gives him the opportunity of turning a lemon into lemonade.

Saul Landau is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, and producer/director of “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up.” Philip Brenner is a professor of international relations at American University and co-editor of A Contemporary Cuba Reader.

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comment: this set of statements is not true, as to the term of the lease and the termination of the lease.
“Under the terms of the 1902 Platt Amendment — a relic of the
Spanish-American war that allowed us to control Cuba’s affairs — the
United States forced Cuba to give it a 99-year lease for the 47
square-mile territory on which it built the Guantánamo base. In 1934
President Franklin Roosevelt abrogated the Platt Amendment as a good
neighbor gesture, but pressured Cuba to sign a new Guantánamo lease,
this time with no end date.”
The original documents are available at Yale Law School online, the “Avalon”
project, or use Google. The documents are possibly a page long, not hard to find
or read. Definitely doable.
There are 4 that are relevant:
1. 1903 Feb agreement to have a lease
2. 1903 May Treaty of Relations (BFF)
3. 1903 July lease
4. 1934 May Revised Treaty of Relations (we won’t invade without asking)
The term of the lease was always and only “for the time required for the
purposes of coaling and naval stations”, from the February agreement.
Objectively, that time has passed.
There was another in 1912, signed in 1940, but not ratified, about something or
other; Bahia Honda.


Why the US Has No Right to Lecture Latin America

July 31, 2013


A Breathtaking Hypocrisy

Venezuela has announced that it is ending efforts to improve ties with the United States after the Obama administration’s nominee for the role of ambassador to the United Nations labelled the country “repressive.” Samantha Power, who is widely known for her strong stance on human rights, vowed to contest “the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia and Venezuela.”

For obvious reasons, Power is selective in who she choses to criticise. The likes of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, all of whom have presided over major crackdowns on dissent in recent years, warrant no mention, which is not surprising given the US government’s staunch support for the regimes in question. Regarding Saudi Arabia, Washington’s attitude towards democracy is best expressed by William M. Daley, Obama’s chief of staff during the Arab uprisings, who said that “the possibility of anything (like the revolution in Egypt) happening in Saudi Arabia was one that couldn’t become a reality.” Daley explained that “for the global economy, this couldn’t happen”, referring of course to the importance of Saudi oil, which was described by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2003 as the primary reason for US support for the monarchy. An unsurprising claim, in light of the US State Department’s description in 1945 of the Gulf’s oil reserves as “a stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”

Returning to Latin America, the hypocrisy is again breathtaking. Condemning Venezuela as “repressive”, Power neglects to mention that the “most dramatic setback”, according to Americas Watch, for human rights in Venezuela came in 2002 when a coup d’etat, allegedly supported tacitly by the United States, removed Chavez from office and “dissolved the country’s democratic institutions.” It is also worth noting that the US supported enthusiastically the Caldera and Perez administrations which preceded Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, both of which were vastly more repressive than the current ‘revolutionary’ government.

Also strikingly absent from Power’s remarks was any mention of Colombia, the United States’ closest ally in the region, which according to Americas Watch, “presents the worst human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere.” This year’s annual report claims that “over the past decade, the Colombian army committed an alarming number of extrajudicial killings of civilians”, carried out in “a systematic fashion”, during which time the army was the highest recipient of US military aid in Latin America. Most of the killings occurred under the presidency of Alvaro Uribe, whom President Bush described in 2006 as “a personal friend” and “a strong believer in democracy and human rights.” Under Obama, Colombia has continued to receive more military aid than any other country in the hemisphere, with Mexico, whose well-documented record of “extrajudicial killings, disappearances” and “widespread torture” is not much better, coming second.

This practice- of giving military aid to the Hemisphere’s worst human rights abusers- runs throughout history. A 1979 study into Amnesty International’s reports on torture revealed that 25 of the world’s 36 most prolific torturers between 1945 and 1975 received military aid and training from the United States, with Latin American regimes accounting for “more than 80%” of the most urgent appeals for victims of torture at the time.

The military aid policy continued through the 1980s with the Reagan administration’s backing of the Contras in Nicaragua. According to a 1985 report by Reed Brody, who later became a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch, “the contras used American advice and dollars to terrorize the population of Nicaragua and hardly a word about it was printed in the United States.” Thousands of civilians were “assassinated, raped, tortured and mutilated” by forces who, in the words of President Reagan, were “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.”

In 1984, the World Court found the United States guilty of the “illegal use of force” against Nicaragua, and demanded that the government cease their sponsorship of the Contras and “pay Nicaragua reparations.” The US rejected the verdict and continued as before. In his Address to the Nation two years later, Reagan justified his administration’s ongoing support for the Contras by condemning the Nicaraguan government, without irony, as “a command post for international terror” which sought to “subvert and topple its democratic neighbours.”

The “democratic” neighbours referred to were the military regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala, both closely allied to the United States. Their records are not pretty. Under Reagan, and then Bush, the Salvadoran army was the biggest recipient of US military aid in the Hemisphere, killing tens of thousands of people during the country’s thirteen-year internal conflict. According to the New York Times’ top reporter in the country, some of the “worst massacres of civilians” were carried out by battalions trained by the United States, indicating “a whiff of secondary American responsibility.”

In Guatemala, the American-backed military massacred nearly 200,000 people during a civil war instigated, at least in part, by a CIA-sponsored coup in 1954. Atrocities peaked in the early 1980s under the rule of General Rios Montt, “a man of great personal integrity” according to President Reagan, whose conviction for genocide was overturned on a technicality earlier this year.

An Americas Watch report in 1985 said that the Reagan Administration “shares in the responsibility for the gross abuses of human rights” perpetrated in the country, an accurate perception in light of the US government’s provision of millions of dollars of military aid to Guatemala during “one of the bloodiest periods of the conflict.”

Investigate journalist Allan Nairn reports that “the Guatemalan military would pursue (villagers) using US-supplied helicopters and planes. They would drop US 50-kilogram bombs on them, and they would machine gun them using US-supplied heavy-caliber machine guns.” Asked if he should face trial, Rios Montt is alleged to have replied “if you’re going to be put me on trial, you have to try the Americans first.”

Today, Latin America is politically freer, but the horrors of the past, and more specifically the American role in them, have not been forgotten, as we have seen during the recent protests in Guatemala and Chile. Many Latin Americans will thus consider Samantha Power’s comments about Venezuela’s “crackdown on civil society” ideologically driven and hypocritical, in light of the American record in the region. This is with justification, as her narrow choice of “repressive” govts, limited solely to unfriendly regimes, indicates. Latin Americans understand this hypocrisy better than anyone. Their know their own history too well to fall for it again.

* Daniel Wickham is an assistant at the Campaign Against Arms Trade.

taken from Counterpunch

25 truths about the Evo Morales/Edward Snowden-case

July 4, 2013


Salim Lamrani
Opera Mundi

The case of Edward Snowden was the source of a serious diplomatic incident between Bolivia and several European countries. Following an order from Washington, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal forbade the Evo Morales presidential plane to overfly their territory.

1. After an official visit to Russia to attend a summit of gas-producing countries, President Evo Morales took his plane to return to Bolivia.

2.. United States, thinking that Edward Snowden, former CIA and NSA author of the revelations about espionage operations in his country was in the presidential plane, ordered four European countries, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, to forbid Evo Morales to fly over its airspace.

3. Paris immediately fulfilled the order from Washington and canceled the authorization to fly over its territory which had been granted to Bolivia on July 27, 2013, while the presidential plane was located just a few kilometers from the French border.

4. So, Paris endangered the life of Bolivian President, which had to make an emergency landing in Austria, for lack of fuel.

5. Since 1945, no nation in the world has prevented a presidential aircraft overfly its territory.

6. Paris, as well as unleashing a crisis of extreme gravity, violated international law and diplomatic immunity which any Head of State enjoys absolutely.

7. The socialist government of François Hollande seriously compromised the prestige of the nation. France appears in the eyes of the world as a servile and docile country which does not hesitate a moment to obey Washington's orders, against their own interests.

8. By taking such a decision, Hollande decried France’s voice on the international scene.

9. Paris also becomes an object of laughter in the world. The revelations made by Edward Snowden led to the discovery that the U.S. spied on several European Union countries, including France. Following these revelations, François Hollande firm public asked Washington to stop such hostile acts. However, in the details, the Elysée Palace faithfully followed the orders of the White House.

10. After discovering that it was false information and that Snowden was not in the plane, Paris decided to overturn the ban.

11. Italy, Spain and Portugal also followed the orders of Washington and banned Evo Morales’ flights over its territory, before changing its mind after learning that the information was not true and allowed the Bolivian president to follow his path.

12. Earlier, Spain, to review the presidential plane, demanded in violation of all international laws. “This is blackmail, we are not going to allow for a question of dignity. We will wait as long as necessary “, said the Bolivian Presidency. “I’m not a criminal,” said Evo Morales.

13. Bolivia reported an attack on its sovereignty and immunity against its president. “This is an instruction from the U.S. government,” according to La Paz.

14. Latin America unanimously condemned the attitude of France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

15. The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) urgently convened an extraordinary meeting after this international scandal and expressed “outrage” by the voice of its Secretary General Ali Rodriguez.

16. Venezuela and Ecuador condemned “the offense” and “attack” against President Evo Morales.

17. President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela condemned “aggression rude, brutal, and uncivilized inadequate”.

18. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa expressed his indignation: “Our America can not tolerate much abuse!”

19. Nicaragua denounced a “criminal and barbaric action.”

20. Havana criticized “unacceptable act, unfounded and arbitrary offends all of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

21. Argentina President Cristina Fernandez expressed her dismay: “Definitely they’re all crazy. A Head of State and his plane have total immunity. There can not be this degree of impunity. ”

22. Through the voice of its Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, the Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the decision of the European countries: “There are no circumstances to commit such actions to the detriment of the president of Bolivia. The countries concerned must give an explanation of the reasons why they made this decision, particularly because it endangered the life of the president of a member country of the OAS. ”

23. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) denounced “blatant discrimination and threat to the diplomatic immunity of a head of state”.

24. Instead of granting political asylum to the person who allowed it to discover it was the victim of hostile espionage, Europe, particularly France, did not hesitate to create a diplomatic crisis with the aim to handing Edward Snowden over to the U.S.

25. This case illustrates that if the European Union is an economic powerhouse, is a political and diplomatic dwarf unable to take an independent stance toward the United States.

Google translation. Revised by Walter Lippmann.

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