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Fidel Castro: The lesson of Haiti

By Fidel Castro Ruz

January 14, 2010 -- Two days ago [January 12], at almost six o’clock in the evening Cuban time and when, given its geographical location, night had already fallen in Haiti, television stations began to broadcast the news that a violent earthquake -– measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale -– had severely struck Port-au-Prince. The seismic phenomenon originated from a tectonic fault located in the sea just 15 kilometres from the Haitian capital, a city where 80% of the population inhabit fragile homes built of adobe and mud.

The news continued almost without interruption for hours. There was no footage, but it was confirmed that many public buildings, hospitals, schools and more solidly constructed facilities were reported collapsed. I have read that an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.3 is equivalent to the energy released by an explosion of 400,000 tons of TNT.

Tragic descriptions were transmitted. Wounded people in the streets were crying out for medical help, surrounded by ruins under which their relatives were buried. No one, however, was able to broadcast a single image for several hours.

Free pamphlet to download: `Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution'

On January 1, 1959, the hated US-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba was overthrown by the workers, peasants and students. To mark that momentous occasion Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making freely available Resistance Books' Cuba: How the workers and peasants made the revolution, by Chris Slee (2008). Please click HERE to download the pamphlet in pdf format, or read it on screen below. If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the pamphlet, please visit Resistance Books.

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By Chris Slee

January 10, 2010 -- Some left groups claim that the Cuban Revolution was made by a few hundred guerrilla fighters, and that the working class played no role.

For example Ruth Braham, writing in the Socialist Alternative magazine, claims that the Cuban Revolution “entailed a mere 800 armed guerrillas seizing power, again on behalf of the majority but without their active involvement”.

Fidel Castro: The struggle now is to save our species

Rebel army enters Havana, January 1, 1959.

By Fidel Castro

January 3, 2010 -- As the Cuban Revolution celebrated its 51st anniversary two days ago, memories of that January 1, 1959, came to mind. The outlandish idea that, after half a century — which flew by — we would remember it as if it were yesterday, never occurred to any of us.

During the meeting at the Oriente sugar mill on December 28, 1958, with the commander in chief of the enemy’s forces, whose elite units were surrounded without any way out whatsoever, the commander admitted defeat and appealed to our generosity to find a dignified way out for the rest of his forces. He knew of our humane treatment of prisoners and the injured without any exception. He accepted the agreement that I proposed, although I warned him that operations under way would continue. But he travelled to the capital, and, incited by the United States embassy, instigated a coup d’état.

Fidel Castro on who really was to blame for the failure in Copenhagen

Protest in Copenhagen, December 12, 2009.

By Fidel Castro Ruz

December 26, 2009 -- Climate change is already causing enormous damage and hundreds of millions of poor people are enduring the consequences.

The most advanced research centres have claimed that there is little time to avoid an irreversible catastrophe. James Hansen, from the NASA Goddard Institute, has said that a proportion of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still tolerable; however, the figure today is 390 ppm and growing at a pace of 2 ppm every year. Each one of the past two decades has been the warmest since the first records were taken, while carbon dioxide increased 80 ppm in the past 150 years.

The melting of ice in the Artic Sea and of the huge two-kilometre thick ice cap covering Greenland, of the South American glaciers feeding its main fresh water sources and the enormous volume of ice covering Antarctica; of the remaining ice on Mt Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas, and the large frozen area of Siberia are visible. Outstanding scientists fear abrupt quantitative changes in these natural phenomena that bring about the change.

Copenhagen: Morales and Chavez a `smashing success' -- an insider's report from the ALBA delegation

Evo Morales.

[See the ALBA countries' declaration on the Copenhagen talks below.]

By Ron Ridenour

December 23, 2009 -- “Nobel War Prize winner walked in and out of a secret door, and that is the way capitalism and the United States Empire will end up leaving the planet, through a secret back door.” So spoke Venezuela President Hugo Chavez from the plenary podium on the last afternoon, December 18, of the 12-day long Copenhagen climate conference (COP15).

“While the conference was a failure, it, at least, led to more consciousness of what the problem is for all of us. Now starts a new stage of the struggle for the salvation of humanity, and this is through socialism. Our problem is not just about climate, but about poverty, misery, unnecessary child deaths, discrimination and racism—all related to capitalism”, Chavez said at the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA) press conference held at the Bella Centre immediately following Chavez’ last remarks at the plenary.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales followed Chavez’ remarks by saying:

Fidel Castro: The truth about what happened at Copenhagen

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Fidel Castro Ruz

December 19, 2009 -- Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centres on whether human society will survive. These are not dramatic phrases. We must get used to the true facts. Hope is the last thing human beings can relinquish. With truthful arguments, men and women of all ages, especially young people, have waged an exemplary battle at the Copengahen COP15 summit and taught the world a great lesson.

It is important now that Cuba and the world come to know as much as possible of what happened in Copenhagen. The truth can be stronger than the influenced and often misinformed minds of those holding in their hands the destiny of the world.

Beyond Copenhagen: left alternatives to capitalism

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Lauren Carroll Harris, Copenhagen

"Can a finite Earth support an infinite project? The thesis of capitalism, infinite development, is a destructive pattern, let’s face it. How long are we going to tolerate the current international economic order and prevailing market mechanisms? How long are we going to allow huge epidemics like HIV/AIDS to ravage entire populations? How long are we going to allow the hungry to not eat or to be able to feed their own children? How long are we going to allow millions of children to die from curable diseases? How long will we allow armed conflicts to massacre millions of innocent human beings in order for the powerful to seize the resources of other peoples?"

-- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, speaking at COP15, December 16, 2009

Copenhagen: ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela) representatives at COP15 speak


Joint press conference of the ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela) representatives at COP15, December 10, 2009.

Cuba and ALBA let down Sri Lanka’s Tamils

By Ron Ridenour

"Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies… Our country is really the whole world, and all the revolutionaries of the world are our brothers." -- Fidel Castro.[1]

“The revolutionary [is] the ideological motor force of the revolution…if he forgets his proletarian internationalism, the revolution which he leads will cease to be an inspiring force and he will sink into a comfortable lethargy, which imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize well. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. So we educate our people.” -- Che Guevara.[2]

November 14, 2009 -- I think that the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua let down the entire Tamil population in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as well as “proletarian internationalism” and the “exploited”, by extending unconditional support to Sri Lanka’s racist government.

Cuba: UN for the 18th consecutive year demands end to US blockade

28 October 2009
General Assembly
GA/10877

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

UN General Assembly, for 18th consecutive year, overwhelmingly calls for end to the US economic, trade embargo against Cuba

Vote: 187 in favour to 3 against, with 2 abstentions;

Cuba's 2009 report to United Nations on the US economic blockade


To be presented to the UN General Assembly on October 28, 2009

1. Introduction

Audio: Attorney Leonard Weinglass on the Cuban Five

Steal This Radio -- Attorney Leonard Weinglass discusses the case of the Cuban Five with Mitchel Cohen. The show first aired on August 11, 2009.

East Timor: The struggle for full independence — 10 years on

Oil rig in the Timor Sea. Timor Leste's oil wealth has not benefitted the people.

By Mericio Akara, translated by Vannessa Hearman

September 30, 2009 -- Dili -- What is commemorated as Timor Leste’s (East Timor) “liberation” is the United Nations-facilitated referendum on August 30, 1999. 

East Timor, which had been a Portugese colony, was already an independent country, as a result of the pro-independence political party Fretilin declaring East Timor independent on November 28, 1975. But barely days after the independence proclamation, on December 7, 1975, the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia used all its military firepower to invade Timor Leste.

The invasion was brutal and the occupation lasted 24 years before the UN referendum in 1999. During the occupation, the Indonesian military tortured and slaughtered our people. Such terrible acts became an everyday spectacle in Timor Leste.

Fidel Castro on Honduras: A revolution in the making

Fidel Castro’s reflections on current political developments are available at Reflexiones del compañero Fidel. This article was published on September 24. The translation is by Socialist Voice, Canada.

By Fidel Castro

September 24, 2009 -- Last July 16, I said that the coup d’état in Honduras “was conceived and organised by unscrupulous characters on the far-right – officials who had been in the confidence of George W. Bush and were promoted by him”.

I mentioned the names of Hugo Llorens, Robert Blau, Stephen McFarland and Robert Callahan, Yankee ambassadors to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua appointed by Bush in July and August 2008. The four pursued the line of John Negroponte and Otto Reich, two characters with murky histories.

I then indicated that the Yankee base at Soto Cano [Honduras] had provided the main backup to the coup and that “the idea of a peace initiative from Costa Rica was transmitted to the president of that country [Oscar Arias] from the State Department when Obama was in Moscow and was declaring at a Russian university that the only president of Honduras was Manuel Zelaya.” I added,

Los! Hau Bele! -- `Yo! Si Puedo' comes to Timor Leste: Cuba assists the eradication of illiteracy

By Bob Boughton

In Timor Leste [East Timor], which is one of the world’s newest countries and Australia’s poorest Asia-Pacific neighbour, Cuba is delivering an educational aid program which aims to eradicate illiteracy, currently affecting nearly 50% of the adult population, within a period of less than 10 years. The Timor Leste national literacy campaign, utilising the Cuban-developed Yo! Si Puedo (Yes! I can) audiovisual teaching method, opened its first classes in the capital Dili in June 2007.

Eighteen months later, by December 2008, nearly 18,000 adults had completed a course of 65 lessons, led by local village monitors who work under the close supervision of 36 Cuban education advisers deployed throughout the country. If it continues at this rate, the literacy campaign can be expected to have a major impact on the stabilisation and development of Timor Leste, providing a model for other Pacific countries struggling to overcome their educational disadvantage.

HIV/AIDS treatment in Cuba: a rights-based analysis; Lessons and challenges

One of Cuba's many neighbourhood health clinics, centrepieces of Cuba's health system.

By Tim Anderson

Cuba has achieved the lowest rate of HIV infection and the highest level of AIDS treatment in the Caribbean region. Yet the Cuban HIV program — part of its famous health system — has been subjected to many criticisms, usually linked to the themes of “freedom” and “rights.” These criticisms must be seen in the broader context of demands for economic “freedoms” in Cuba and in the context of US demands for the dismantling of Cuban socialism and for widespread privatisation, including privatisation of the public health system. Outside understandings of the Cuban health system are further undermined by the US economic blockade of Cuba, roundly condemned each year by the United Nations General Assembly, which prevents normal scientific and cultural exchange between the US and Cuba.

Hypocrisy over Cuba’s `political prisoners'

By Tim Anderson

September 13, 2009 -- Political prisoners and Cuba can be a confusing mix, in our times of mass propaganda. Three groups have attracted international attention, over the past decade.

The first group, 70 or so (the ``dissidents''), were arrested in March 2003 by the Cuban government and charged with taking money from a US program which aims to overthrow the Cuban constitution. Amnesty International and many European states, along with the US government, immediately declared them ``prisoners of conscience''. A number have since been released.

The second group of several hundred (``enemy combatants'') were collected by the US government in Afghanistan and Pakistan over 2001-2002 and held for many years in concentration camps at a US military base carved out of the island of Cuba. International protest built up more slowly, and eight years on many are still held without charge or trial.

The third group of five men (``the Cuban Five'’) were arrested in the US in 1998 and accused of being spies, for passing on information about groups in south Florida that were preparing terrorist attacks on Cuba. The US courts have rubber-stamped their convictions. On September 12, 2009, they completed 11 years in US jails.

Eyewitness to Cuba: Report by the Scottish Socialist Party's delegation to Cuba

Che memorial statue, Santa Clara. Photo by Gerry Corbett.

In February 2009 for two weeks, a nine-strong delegation from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) visited Cuba at the invitation of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). Bill Bonnar reports on the visit.

The delegation had a number of purposes: to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, to cement relations between the two parties and to allow the delegation an insight into the development of socialism in Cuba in the first years of the 21st century. The invitation to send a delegation followed a meeting in Edinburgh between the SSP and Teresita Trujillo, a political officer attached to the Cuban embassy. They were keen to re-establish contact with the SSP following the split with Solidarity and, with that, the removal of elements from the SSP who were hostile to the Cuban Revolution. The delegation, when assembled, represented a cross-section of the party with members from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife. Two of the nine delegates were women.

The program organised by the CPC was both demanding and insightful. It involved stays in Havana, Santa Clara and Pinar del Rio and involved travel of more than 700 miles.

Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution

Mass rally in Havana, 1959.

July 26, 2009, marks the 56th anniversary of the guerrilla attack on the Moncada military barracks by revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro in 1953, viewed by Cubans as the start of the revolution. 2009 is also the 50th anniversary year of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Chris Slee, author of Cuba: How the Workers & Peasants Made the Revolution (Resistance Books, 2008), explains how the revolution was made and defended by Cuba’s working people.

[For more coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, click HERE.]

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Workers, peasants and students played an active role before, during and after the insurrection that destroyed the brutal and corrupt US-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in January 1959. Batista seized power in a coup in March 1952.

Cuba's solidarity with Timor Leste and the Pacific -- the Pacific School of Medicine


Part 1 (Part 2 follows text)

By Tim Anderson

July 14, 2009 -- In 2008, the 700 Timor Leste and Kiribati students studying medicine in Cuba were joined by students from all over the South West Pacific -- Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu. Their college in western Cuba has been called The Pacific School of Medicine. For more information see ``Solidarity aid: the Cuba-Timor Leste health programme'', visit the ``Timorese students in Cuba'' Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#/group.php?gid=84093583428 or see the leaflet below.

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