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United States/Cuba: Cuban embassy opens in Washington

Democracy Now! July 20, 2015 -- Report from the opening of Cuba's new embassy. Transcript available HERE.

By Robert Craven and Olivia Marple

July 20, 2015 -- COHA, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Amid cheers of “Cuba sí, bloqueo no” (Cuba yes, embargo no), hundreds gathered on Washington, DC’s busy 16th Street to bear witness to the symbolic close to one of the more misguided chapters of US foreign policy. Trumpeting fanfare sounded as Cuban honour guard soldiers raised their country’s flag above what is now Cuba’s embassy in the United States.

Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla presided over the flag raising and was accompanied by a large US delegation led by assistant secretary of state Roberta Jacobson.[1]

“It’s a new beginning, it’s a new opportunity for the people of Cuba,” said Karla Ramos, one of the spectators, in an interview with COHA, mirroring the sentiments of many others there to celebrate this momentous occasion 54 years in the making.

Cuba 'will always be ready to help sister nations', says ICAP president

A Cuban literacy program operating in an Aboriginal community in Wilcannia, NSW.

June 15, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, post at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and a member of Cuba's National Assembly, attended the recent national consultation of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society. Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk spoke with her about recent developments of the Cuban Revolution.

* * *

Cuba has just been removed from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism. How do you think this will affect Cuba’s relations with the United States?

First of all, there is no reason to have Cuba on such a list. We should have never been there. However, the US decided to do this back in 1992. On May 29, the removal was approved.

We consider this a very positive step in eliminating the different obstacles to forging stable bilateral relations with the US.

John Riddell: Socialist planning and the bureaucratic economy

Che Guevara.

Click for more by or about John Riddell.

By John Riddell

May 17, 2015 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following previously unpublished position paper, pulled from my archives, was written in 1992. I am posting it in conjunction with my review of Michael Lebowitz’s Contradictions of "Real Socialism". My comments raised many of the themes found in Lebowitz’s writings of that time, of which I was then quite unaware. My approach, however, gives more emphasis to the problem of economic allocation and the role of non-capitalist markets.

Raúl Castro: 'Cuba will continue to defend the ideas for which our people have sacrificed'

President Raúl Castro Ruz thanked the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for their solidarity.

By Raúl Castro Ruz, president of Cuba

[Council of State transcript of Castro's speech to the Summit of the Americas in Panama.]

April 14, 2015 -- Granma, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was high time I spoke here on behalf of Cuba. I was told at first that I could make an eight-minute speech; although I made a great effort, along with my foreign minister, to reduce it to eight minutes, and as I’m owed six summits from which we were excluded, six times eight, 48 (laughter and applause), I asked President Juan Carlos Varela [of Panama] a few moments before entering this magnificent hall, to allow me a few minutes more, especially after we have been hearing so many interesting speeches, and I am not only referring to that of President Obama, but also that of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, President Dilma Rousseff and others.

Cuba eradicates syphillis, HIV transmission to babies

A Cuban doctor examines a young patient at the health centre in the city of Jiquitaia in the state of Bahia, north-eastern Brazil.

For more on socialist Cuba's health gains, go to http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/746

March 20, 2015 -- TeleSUR English via Portside, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) will visit Cuba soon to review if the country can be certified to have eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

In order to receive the certification from the WHO, a country must have a transmission rate in less than 0.5 per cent of live births in the case of syphilis and less than 2 per cent in the case of HIV. Medical care for pregnant women and access to HIV tests must exceed 95 per cent and antiretroviral treatment must be available for 95 per cent of seropositive pregnant women.

ALBA after ten years

ALBA
By John Riddell

February 23, 2015 --  Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following talk was given at a celebration of ALBA in Toronto, February 21, 2015.

* * *

Today we celebrate a decade of achievement of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). For 10 years ALBA has stood on the world stage as a defender of peace, solidarity and popular sovereignty.

Before ALBA, Cuba stood alone for many years against the U.S.-led empire. But through ALBA, an alliance of countries, with wide influence and many friends among governments and peoples, now challenges imperialism on a range of issues. While representing only a few small and poor countries, ALBA exercises great moral authority and carries weight in world affairs. ALBA is the most effective international alliance based on solidarity in modern history.

Obama’s new Cuba policy: McDonald's in Old Havana?

Cuban students march in Havana on December 17, 2014, after the US released the last of the Cuban Five political prisoners.

By Marce Cameron

February 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I want to see Cuba before everything changes,” is how many reacted to Barack Obama’s surprise December 17, 2014, announcement that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba — severed by the US in 1961 — and urge Congress to lift the US blockade.

Seeing Cuba for oneself can only be encouraged, but those who fear that it will soon be transformed by American tourists, US corporations and commercialism need not rush to book flights.

Hordes of American tourists and a hotel boom to accommodate them may well be inevitable, but a US corporate invasion is not. Fears or hopes that Obama’s new Cuba policy will unleash a US corporate take-over and cultural recolonisation are unfounded. These fears and hopes are based on the dubious assumption that what holds back the tide of capitalist restoration on the Cuban archipelago is, ironically, the US blockade.

Cuba: The 'solarisation' of Granma province

By Laurie Guevara-​Stone

January 14, 2015 -- Rocky Mountain Institute, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement that he wants to begin normalising relations with Cuba generated news around the world. But the Cuban province of Granma may soon be making headlines for another reason: its embrace of renewable energy.

While Cuba is an island full of sun, rivers and windy coasts, only 4 per cent of the island’s electricity is generated from renewable energy. The island hopes to soon change that, with a goal of generating 24 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030, and Granma is leading the way.

Marxist economist Claudio Katz on the Cuban Revolution and its economic reforms

Small businesses in Havana, 2014.

By Claudio Katz, introduction by Richard Fidler

December 29, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The release December 17 of the remaining three of five Cubans held for 15 years in US prisons is an historic victory for the Cuban people, their government and supporters around the world.

Ramon Labañino, Geraldo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero joined Fernando González and René González, released earlier, in an emotional reception in Havana with President Raúl Castro.

The five were arrested in 1998 while working in Miami to uncover terrorist plots against the people of Cuba being masterminded by anticommunist extremists in Florida. In a 2001 report to the United Nations, the Cuban government catalogued 3,478 deaths on the island as a result of terrorism, aggression, acts of piracy and other actions. Many of these actions were attributed to operatives of the CIA.

For background information on the case of the Cuban Five, see http://www.freethefive.org/.

Cuba to stand by its communist principles, Castro says; ‘US got isolated trying to isolate Cuba’ -- Rene Gonzalez

Raul Castro.

Click HERE for more on Cuba.

December 20, 2014 -- RT, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuba's leader Raul Castro said the country would not give up its political values for which it has fought. Calling for mutual respect in the new development of relations with the United States, Castro stated Cuba would continue its socialist route.

"In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours", Castro told Cuba's National Assembly in a session on December 20.

Having expressed gratitude to US President Barack Obama for his initiative to open a "new chapter" in the two countries' history by making a decision to lift the blockade, Castro stressed that the US president's move would in no way make Cuba abandon the ideas it has struggled for over half a century.

"Cuba is a sovereign country, with its people having determined its path to socialism and its political system by expression of will", Raul Castro said, adding that blood has also been shed to stand for the national ideas.

Cuban Five now all free! Will the US blockade of Cuba now end?

Click HERE for background on the Cuban Five.

By Julie Webb-Pullman

December 18, 2014 -- Scoop -- Cubans and many others around the world are jubilantly celebrating the return to Cuba on December 17 of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, the final three members of the Cuban Five to be released from US prisons, in a prisoner swap for US spy Alan Gross.

Cuba's President Raul Castro said in Havana that the release of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters was the culmination of a respectful and reciprocal dialogue, without detriment to Cuba's national independence and sovereignty.

In a simultaneous address in the United States, President Barack Obama announced the release of Alan Gross, who arrived back in the United States on December 17 morning with his wife.

At the same time, both leaders announced a normalisation of relations, including re-establishment of diplomatic relations and an easing of US economic and travel restrictions on Cuba.

However, the complete lifting of the 50-year blockade requires US Congress approval.

In his announcement, Obama said that isolation has not worked, and it is time to try a new approach.

Cuba: Teaching the world about containing Ebola

Havana took up the challenge by hosting a special Summit on Ebola with its regional partners and global health authorities on October 20.

By Conner Gorry, Havana

October 24, 2014 -- Guardian Professional -- West Africa needs what Cuba has: a well-trained, coordinated healthcare system. Anything less and Ebola wins.

Naomi Klein: ‘Only mass social movements can save us’ from climate catastrophe

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

By Naomi Klein
Alfred A. Knopf, 2014

Review by John Riddell

October 20, 2014 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Despite endless conferences, treaties and solemn promises, greenhouse gas emissions have risen 61% since 1990, and the rate of increase is accelerating. As Naomi Klein tells us in her new book, This Changes Everything, we are now experiencing an “early twenty-first century emissions explosion”.

The reason for this ominous failure, she shows, is that the present capitalist profit system itself is incompatible with climate and environmental stability. Our only hope is the rise of mass movements with the combined goals of saving the environment and achieving social justice.

This Changes Everything is a rich resource of fact and argument: it’s a book that every climate justice activist should read, use and share.

‘The Right is right’

Africa: Cuba deploys ‘world’s finest medics’ to Ebola-hit Sierra Leone

Doctors from all over the Third World are trained for free at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, which is one of the world’s most advanced medical schools.

By Ségolène Allemandou

September 22, 2014 -- France 24 -- Cuba is joining the fight against Ebola by sending a 165-strong army of doctors and specialists to West Africa. Despite decades of financial hardship, the communist country remains at the forefront of the world’s medical expertise and know-how.

The team, which includes doctors, nurses, epidemiologists and intensive care specialists, is due to touch down in Sierra Leone in the beginning of October.

Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 2)

August 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is the next installment of the debate between Felipe Stuart and Michael Karadjis on the question of the concept of an anti-imperialist "camp" and related positions, strategies and tactics. The first part can be read at "Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 1)". Below, Stuart responds to Karadjis' previous contribution, followed by a final reply by Karadjis. Further discussion will continue in the comments section at the end of this post.

By Felipe Stuart

Michael Karadjis, thanks for your response to my last article.

I suspect that your distinction between class-based politics and anti-imperialist-based politics is rooted in a failure on your part to understand that imperialism itself is all about class and class struggle. I hope I am wrong, but let’s discuss that.

Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 1)

Leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Cuba at its 2014 meeting.

[Michael Karadjis responds below. Read part 2 of this debate at http://links.org.au/node/3982.]

By Felipe Stuart

July 31, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Michael Karadjis, I read the exchange between Einde O and you where you state that:

Mariela Castro's Toronto speech on LGBTI rights in Cuba

Click HERE for more on Cuba and LGBTI rights

July 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuban political leader and advocate of gay and lesbian liberation, Mariela Castro, was an invited foreign guest and participant in the festivities and discussions during the WorldPride celebration in Toronto in late June 2014.

Mariela Castro is the director of the National Center for Sexual Education in Cuba (CENESEX). Castro and CENESEX have greatly helped to sustain and lead the fight against homophobia in Cuba. She is also an elected member of Cuba's parliament, the National Assembly.

She spoke at several events that were part of the WorldPride program and she attended the huge World Pride Parade.

During the WorldPride events in Toronto, the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Syd Ryan, awarded Mariela Castro the OFL's International Workplace Rights Award. Ryan motivated the award to Castro, citing, in part, the major gains registered by Cuba's new labour code. It bans discrimination and violence in the workplace based on sexual orientation.

Progressive ‘extractivism’: hope or dystopia?

By Don Fitz

July 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The controversy over "extractivism" in Latin America has become a lot hotter. Though social justice and environmental activists have sought a partnership for years, this could become a wedge issue. The debate is core to our conceptualisation of what type of society we are working to build and how we plan to get there.

Barry Sheppard: Three theories of the USSR

"In the US and elsewhere, including Britain, a mass anti-war movement developed against the US war in Vietnam. By 1968, the International Socialists in the US and the IS in Britain changed their line [of neutrality between the 'two imperialisms'] and came out against the US and defended Vietnam. In the US they joined the mass demonstrations to 'Bring the troops home now!'"

Read more by Barry Sheppard HERE.

By Barry Sheppard

June 6, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this two-part article I examine the ramifications for today of the three theories of the USSR that emerged from the Left Opposition: state capitalism, bureaucratic collectivism and Leon Trotsky’s theory of the degenerated workers’ state. (Read more on the theory of state capitalism HERE.)

Samuel Farber discusses Cuba’s future – but ignores the blockade

[See also Chris Slee's free pamphlet Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution and "System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems", Slee's review of Farber's book Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment.]

By Chris Slee

January 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samuel Farber has recently written an article on “The Future of the Cuban Revolution”.[1] This article contains some useful information on “the emergence of new tendencies and debates” in Cuba. But Farber’s article is fundamentally flawed. It contains not a single word about the 55-year-long campaign by the United States government to overturn the Cuban revolution!

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