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Cuba: Australian Workers Union tips its hat to Washington

More than a million Cuban workers mobilise each year on May Day, organised by the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba trade union federation.

[See also "Cuban trade unionist: `Workers are key participants in the Cuban revolution'".]

By Tim Anderson

January 26, 2011 -- This January the Australian Workers Union (AWU) wrote an insulting letter to the new Cuban ambassador to Australia, Pedro Monzón. The union’s response shows the tight ideological hold that the US has over the weaker, more compliant sections of the trade union movement in Australia.

Cuba: The Campesino-to-Campesino agroecology movement: sustainable peasant agriculture and food sovereignty

The following article was recommended by Raj Patel. Patel writes:

Want to know what a sustainable climate-change-proof agricultural system might look like? Here’s an example from Cuba, in an academic paper written by my friend, comrade and former boss, Peter Rosset, together with folk from Cuba’s peasant agriculture movement. The article’s free to download (for now), but the key parts from the abstract are:

Our key findings are (i) the spread of agroecology was rapid and successful largely due to the social process methodology and social movement dynamics, (ii) farming practices evolved over time and contributed to significantly increased relative and absolute production by the peasant sector, and (iii) those practices resulted in additional benefits including resilience to climate change.

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker: `Cuba needs changes, to take us forward rather than backwards'

Cuban workers march on May Day 2009. Photo by Bill Hackwell/Havana Times.

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, click HERE.]

Translator's introduction

January 15, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal -- Alongside and intersecting with the grassroots debates on the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines and the informal debate, there is a rich discussion and debate taking place among Cuban intellectuals and academic specialists from a variety of disciplines and a spectrum of political perspectives within the broad camp of the Cuban Revolution. The Cuban magazine Temas (Themes) is one publication that carries contributions to this debate among Cuba's revolutionary intelligentsia.

Latin America: For a solidarity `Marshall Plan' with the Cuban Revolution!; Un Plan Marshall para Cuba

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, click HERE.]

By Atilio Boron

January 5, 2011 -- CADTM -- Cuba is currently faced with a crucial dilemma: either it updates, revises and reconstructs its economic model or it runs the risk of succumbing to the combined pressures created by its own errors and the aggression of the US embargo. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as all of those in Africa and Asia, cannot remain indifferent towards this situation or limit themselves to contemplating how the revolution delivered this decisive battle without any assistance other than their own strength.

Help, however, cannot be confined to verbal support, which is fine but insufficient. Cuba needs something more concrete: that its creditors, and in particular that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, cancel Cuba’s external debt.

How the Communist Party of Australia exposes the Democratic Socialist Party's 'Trotskyism'

By Doug Lorimer

[This article first appeared in the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin, The Activist, volume 10, number 7, August 2000.]

The Communist Party of Australia has recently published a pamphlet by David Matters entitled Putting Lenin's Clothes on Trotskyism which claims that the DSP's rejection of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution is really a cover for its support for Trotskyism. However, the real purpose of the pamphlet is to criticise the DSP's position on the 1998 waterfront dispute.

This is made clear in the introduction to Matters' pamphlet by CPA general secretary Peter Symon:

In writing Putting Lenin's clothes on Trotskyism, David Matters has contributed to the task of clarifying ideas and maintaining the validity and truth of Marxism...

The attack on Marxism in the name of Marx, or on Lenin in the name of Lenin, is a particularly pernicious form which can easily mislead those who are not familiar with what Marx, Engels and Lenin actually said and wrote.

The pretension that Trotsky was a great Leninist is one of these misrepresentations and was refuted time and again by Lenin.

Cuba: Economy of commands or earnings? Joaquin Infante on economic changes

December 31, 2010 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal -- Coinciding with the beginning of the three-month-long public debate on the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution, the following two-page interview with Dr Joaquin Infante, one of Cuba's veteran economists, appeared in Juventud Rebelde. It's a fascinating and revealing interview

Why does health care in Cuba cost 96% less than in the US?

Claudia Lopez, an intern, with outpatients at 5 de Septiembre Polyclinic, Havana. Photo by Gail Reed/World Health Organisation.

By Don Fitz

January 5, 2011-- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When Americans spend $100 on health care, is it possible that only $4 goes to keeping them well and $96 goes somewhere else? Single payer health care [government-funded universal health insurance] advocates compare US health care to that in Western Europe or Canada and come up with figures of 20–30% waste in the US.

But there is one country with very low level of economic activity yet with a level of health care equal to the West: Cuba.

Life expectancy of about 78 years of age in Cuba is equivalent to the US. Yet, in 2005, Cuba was spending US$193 per person on health care, only 4% of the $4540 being spent in the US. Where could the other 96% of US health care dollars be going?

1. A fragmented system

Cuban medics in Haiti put the world to shame (UK Independent)

[See also "Cuba: Reversing the medical `brain drain’ – the many faces of ELAM".]

By Nina Lakhani

Castro's doctors and nurses are the backbone of the fight against cholera

December 26, 2010 -- The Independent -- They are the real heroes of the Haitian earthquake disaster, the human catastrophe on America's doorstep which Barack Obama pledged a monumental US humanitarian mission to alleviate. Except these heroes are from [the United States'] arch-enemy Cuba, whose doctors and nurses have put US efforts to shame.

A medical brigade of 1200 Cubans is operating all over earthquake-torn and cholera-infected Haiti, as part of Fidel Castro's international medical mission which has won the socialist state many friends, but little international recognition.

* * *

STOP PRESS: New Henry Reeve Brigade arrives in Haiti

By Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver

Washington's war of terror against Cuba

By Jane Franklin

September 25, 2010 -- janefranklin.info -- On September 19, 1960, Fidel Castro and Malcolm X had an historic meeting in Harlem’s Hotel Theresa. Fifty years later people packed a meeting hall in the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building across 125th Street to commemorate that meeting. Among them were Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Cuban ambassador to the United Nations Pedro Núñez Mosquera.

What a different kind of commemoration we could have had if such important leaders as Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba, Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Hampton and countless others had not been assassinated. When Malcolm X met with Fidel Castro they talked about Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, a leader whose importance for Africa and all of us was globally recognised. Only five days earlier, Lumumba had been overthrown by Colonel Joseph Mobutu with the support of the CIA. Four months later Lumumba was executed. And in less than five years assassination took away the life of Malcolm X himself.

Raul Castro: `Socialism is the only guarantee Cuba will continue to be free and independent'

Delegates at Cuba's National Assembly consider the Draft Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution. Photo by Calixto N. Llanes.

Below is a translation of Cuba's President Raul Castro's speech, on December 18, 2010, at the close of Cuba's National Assembly session, where the Draft Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution document was debated.

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, click HERE.]

* * *

Comrades all,

Cuba on Cancun climate talks: `Another year has been lost since the deception of Copenhagen'

Two speeches by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuba's minister of foreign affairs, at the COP16 of the UNFCCC, Cancun, Mexico

December 8, 2010 -- Translation by Granma International -- Powerful forces are assuring us without hesitation that climate change does not exist, that there is nothing to be concerned about and that the serious problem bringing us here today is a total fabrication.

They are those in the United States Congress who are currently opposing the ratification of the weak agreements which control the proliferation of nuclear weapons, in a senseless crusade whose sole purpose is to retrieve a small part of the power that they lost barely two years ago.

Fidel Castro on Wikileaks: The empire stands accused

By Fidel Castro Ruz

December 14, 2010 -- Julian Assange, a man known only to a very few in the world some months ago, is demonstrating that the most powerful empire to have existed in history can be challenged.

The daring challenge did not come from a rival superpower; from a state with more than 100 nuclear weapons; from a country with millions of inhabitants; from a group of nations with vast natural resources which the United States could not do without; or from a revolutionary doctrine capable of shaking to its foundations the empire based on plunder and exploitation of the world.

Cuba: Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution

Translation by Marce Cameron (Australia-Cuba Friendship Society), corrections by Paul Greene.

Please note that this is an unofficial translation. This English translation first appeared here and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the translator's permission. This document forms the basis of a discussion about Cuba's economic reforms that is taking place throughout the country. The Spanish original is available at http://www.cubadebate.cu/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/proyecto-lineamientos-pcc.pdf.

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, click HERE.]

* * *

Wikileaks: Bolivia's UN rep on secret US manipulation of climate talks & West's blocking action at Cancun

[For more analysis of the Cancun climate talks, click HERE.]

December 6, 2010 -- Democracy Now! -- Secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed new details about how the United States manipulated last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen. The cables show how the United States sought dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming, how financial and other aid was used to gain political backing, and how the United States mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the [US-sponsored and -imposed] "Copenhagen Accord". We speak to Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Pablo Solón. Several of the cables addressed Bolivia’s opposition to the US-backed accord.

* * *

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker: Risks in expanding non-state enterprises in the Cuban economy

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By Camila Piñeiro Harnecker

October 7, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This article is intended to call attention to the most important negative consequences that the recently announced decision to permit free hiring of salaried labour could generate in Cuban society. It also attempts to suggest some measures to increase the possibilities that the new non-state enterprises (self-employment, cooperatives and conventional private businesses) may contribute to the development of the Cuban economy in consolidating our socialist development; that is, the creation of a more just and humane society. It is a synthesis drawn from the paper “New enterprise forms in the Cuban economy”, prepared for the seminar “Economy and administration” organised by the Economics Department of the University of Havana and Humboldt University, Berlin, September 24-25, 2010.

Cuba: Reforms bode shaky future

Photo by Steve Morgan/Havana Times.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is posting Ron Ridenour's critical analysis of the proposed economic changes in Cuba, with Ridenour's permission, to reflect as many perspectives of friends of the Cuban Revolution as possible, and to inform the discussion among them. For more analysis, click HERE.

* * *

By Ron Ridenour

November 30, 2010 — Havana Times — With the November 2010 publication of 291 proposals for reforms in 12 areas of economic and social life Cubans are once again faced with a national debate on policies. A key question is if the 800,000 Communist Party (PCC) members’ discussion, plus that of non-members, will affect the policies to be taken at the forthcoming PCC VI congress, in April 2011. There is no proposed mechanism to assure such in the 32-page document.

Cubans discuss economic changes: `It is the people who will decide'

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

November 19, 2010 -- Granma -- The 6th congress of the Communist Party of Cuba will take place in April 2011 and the only topic of discussion will be the analysis of the country's economic and social model. Prior to the congress, from December 2010 through February 2011, a process of popular debate will unfold based on a fundamental party document entitled "The Economic and Social Policy Development Project", which is already in the hands of the people, a sampling of whose opinions Granma offers.

`This is genuine socialist democracy'

Cuba: Reversing the medical `brain drain’ – the many faces of ELAM

ELAM students.

By Don Fitz, Havana

November 7, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuba is doing more than any other country in the world to reverse the “brain drain” of doctors abandoning impoverished areas. A physician who leaves Sierra Leone for South Africa can earn 20 times as much. Higher pay in English-speaking countries lures medical graduates from India (10.6% of doctors), Pakistan (11.7%), Sri Lanka (27.5%), and Jamaica (41.7%). Only 50 of 600 doctors trained in Zambia remained there after independence. There are more Ethiopian doctors in Chicago than in Ethiopia.[1]

The Cuban alternative is the 11year old Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM, Latin American School of Medicine). With their educational costs covered by the Cuban government, students focus on returning as doctors to under-served communities in their countries.

The more than 20,000 medical students in Cuba receive much, much more than a free education — they are participating in a project to build a new model of medicine for the world’s poor. Students are well aware that they represent 1 of 100 countries, each of which has a unique relationship to the yoke of imperialism.

Cuban Communist Oscar Martinez: `Our economic reforms are based on socialist principles'

"We are reorganising the workforce, not firing workers. We are directing them to other areas of work vital for the economy, mainly food production."

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

November 3, 2010 -- Umsebenzi -- A South African Communist Party (SACP) delegation recently visited Cuba a part of its political interaction between South Africa and Cuba, and its quest to build socialism and strengthen ties between it and the Communist Party of Cuba.

Yunus Carrim, editor of  the SACP's monthly journal, Umsebenzi, interviewed Oscar Martinez, the deputy head of the International Relations Department of the Communist Party of Cuba. Published below is the full interview, as it appeared in Umsebenzi.

* * *

Yunus Carrim: What is the nature of the economic problems Cuba is currently experiencing?

Behind the new economic measures in Cuba

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By Ike Nahem, Cuba Solidarity New York

Marxism is the concrete analysis of a concrete situation — Lenin

October 27, 2010 -- On September 13, 2010 the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) – the mass trade-union organisation that is a central component and pillar of the Cuban workers’ state and the revolutionary government headed by Raul Castro – issued an announcement which codified and specified new measures and significant changes in economic, financial and commercial policies that will be implemented in Cuba over the coming months and years. These new economic policies have been long-debated and broadly discussed inside Cuba from local grassroots mass organisations and work places to the highest levels of government and state. They come as a surprise to no one in Cuba.

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