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Conference: `Bolivar, Lincoln and Marti in the ‘ALMA’ of our America', Caracas, Venezuela, November 17-20, 2010

Official announcement for the II International Conference “Bolivar, Lincoln and Marti in the ‘ALMA’ of our America” to be held in Caracas, Venezuela, November 17 to 20, 2010, within the framework of the bicentennial of the independence of Ibero-America.

The first International Conference ‘Marti, Juarez and Lincoln in the ALMA of Our America’ held in October of 2009 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico was convened with the objective of defining the bases for the creation of the Marti Alternative for Our America (ALMA) which would strengthen integration mechanisms such as ALBA and turn into reality the dreams of achieving unity and integration of our Great American Homeland. These bases are contained in the Final Declaration approved which is called the “Declaration of Monterrey”.

Cuba, the corporate media and the suicide of Orlando Zapata Tamayo

By Salim Lamrani

March 4, 2010 -- On February 23, 2010, Cuban inmate Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after 83 days on hunger strike. He was 42. This is the first such incident in Cuba since inmate Pedro Luis Boitel died in 1972 under similar conditions. The corporate media put the tragic incident on front pages and emphasised the plight of Cuban prisoners.[1]

Zapata's dramatic exit sparked a justifiable global uproar. The Cuban prisoner's case undeniably fosters sympathy and a sense of solidarity with a person who expressed his despair and malaise in prison, carrying out his hunger strike to the ultimate consequence. The heartfelt emotion aroused by his case is quite respectable. In contrast, the manipulation of Tamayo's death and of the grief of his family and friends by the corporate media for political purposes violates the basic principles of journalistic ethics.

¿Es creíble Human Rights Watch cuando habla de Cuba?

Por Tim Anderson, traducido para Rebelión por S. Seguí

A finales de 2009, la organización Human Rights Watch (HRW), con razón social en Nueva York, publicó un informe titulado Un nuevo Castro, la misma Cuba. Basándose en el testimonio de ex presos, el informe condenaba de manera sistemática al gobierno cubano, calificándolo de tiránico y acusándolo de utilizar “su maquinaria represiva, leyes draconianas y juicios arbitrarios para encarcelar a decenas de personas que osaron ejercer sus libertades fundamentales”.

El grupo afirma que entrevistó a 40 prisioneros políticos y que analizó las leyes extraordinarias que permiten que los cubanos puedan ser encarcelados simplemente por expresar opiniones críticas de su sistema socialista.

A primera vista, se nos podría perdonar por pensar que Cuba es uno de los peores violadores de los derechos humanos en las Américas. Sin embargo, la más somera reflexión podría llevar a cuestionar tales declaraciones procedentes de los EE.UU., un país con miles de prisioneros mantenidos en una red internacional de cárceles secretas, muchos de ellos sometidos a regímenes de tortura. 

¿Es creíble este informe crítico sobre Cuba? ¿A quién representa Human Rights Watch?

How credible is Human Rights Watch on Cuba?

Human Rights Watch does not see the US blockade of Cuba as a human rights abuse.

By Tim Anderson

February 11, 2010 -- In late 2009 the New York-based group Human Rights Watch published a report titled New Castro Same Cuba. Based on the testimony of former prisoners, the report systematically condemns the Cuban government as an “abusive” regime that uses its “repressive machinery … draconian laws and sham trials to incarcerate scores more who have dared to exercise their fundamental freedoms”.

The group says it interviewed 40 political prisoners and claims to have identified extraordinary laws by which Cubans can be imprisoned simply for expressing views critical of their socialist system.

At first glance one might be forgiven for thinking that Cuba must be among the worst of human rights abusers in the Americas. A little reflection, however, might lead one to question such statements coming from the USA, a country with thousands held in an international network of secret prisons, many subject to torture regimes.

So how credible is this scathing report on Cuba? And who does Human Rights Watch represent?

Cuba and the South African anti-apartheid struggle

Twenty years ago, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, South Africa, on February 11, 1990. That historic victory was the product of the long and courageous struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa. It was also a victory for the international movement against apartheid. Revolutionary Cuba played a vital role in the international movement against white minority rule in South Africa, as the following article describes. (See also "Cuito Cuanavale: How Cuba fought for Africa’s freedom".)

* * *

By Nicole Sarmiento

January 21, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- Cuba's relations with African liberation movements began as early as the 1960s, and shortly after the triumph of the struggle against the Batista dictatorship in Cuba. Members of the Cuban leadership travelled to Algiers to build formal relations with the Algerian National Liberation Front (Gleijeses, 1996a). Che Guevara's trip around the African continent in 1963 was a significant turning point in strengthening Cuba's relationship with liberation movements around the continent.

Fidel Castro on Haiti: Cuba `sends doctors, not soldiers'

By Fidel Castro Ruz

January 23, 2010 -- In my reflection of January 14, two days after the catastrophe in Haiti, which destroyed that neighbouring sister nation of Haiti, I wrote:

In the field of healthcare and other areas, Cuba –- despite being a poor and blockaded country -– has been cooperating with the Haitian people for many years. Around 400 doctors and healthcare experts are offering their services free of charge to the Haitian people. Our doctors are working every day in 227 of the country’s 337 communes. On the other hand, at least 400 young Haitians have trained as doctors in our homeland. They will now work with the reinforcement brigade which traveled there yesterday to save lives in this critical situation. Thus, without any special effort being made, up to 1000 doctors and healthcare experts can be mobilised, almost all of whom are already there willing to cooperate with any other state that wishes to save the lives of the Haitian people and rehabilitate the injured...

Cuban doctors in Haiti: `The worst tragedy is not being able to do more'

January 18, 2010 -- Since 1998, Cuba's health cooperation with Haiti has made it possible for 6000 doctors, paramedics and health technicians to work there. Besides, 450 young Haitians have graduated as doctors from Cuban colleges, free of charge, in the past 12 years. More than 400 Cuban specialists, 344 of them doctors and paramedics, have been in Haiti, jointly sponsored by the United Nations and the Cuban government. But in the wake of last Tuesday's disaster, the largest earthquake ever to hit the Caribbean Basin, Cuba dispatched another team of 60 doctors, health technicians and medications to join the doctors on the ground in Haiti. Cuba has also sent ten tons of medications.

* * *

By Leticia Martínez Hernández, photos by Juvenal Balán

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.

* * *

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.

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