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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.

Honduras: (Updated July 3) Solidarity and left movements condemn coup, demand elected president be returned to power

Solidarity protest in Sydney, Australia, July 1, 2009. Photos by Peter Boyle.

Below are just some of the statements released by solidarity groups, left parties and governments, and international organisations demanding the return to power of Honduras' elected presidet Manuel Zelaya. They have been compiled by Australia's Green Left Weekly.To view the complete list, click HERE.

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Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN)

DSP reiterates support for the right of self-determination for the Tamil people

Democratic Socialist Perspective (Australia) statement in response to the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka

June 12, 2009 -- The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) -- a Marxist organisation affiliated to the Socialist Alliance of Australia -- supports the right of Tamils to self-determination. We have campaigned in solidarity with the Tamil people for several decades. For example, at the time of the 1983 massacre the DSP worked with the Tamil community in Australia to organise protests. This year too, the DSP, Socialist Alliance and Resistance worked closely with Tamil communities, including helping organise rallies, to highlight the calls for a ceasefire and for self-determination.

Fidel Castro’s declarations of resistance

Review by Alex Miller

The Declarations of Havana,
by Fidel Castro, with an introduction by Tariq Ali,
Verso, 2008, 138 pages

May 22, 2009 -- As Cuba celebrates the 50th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, it is fitting that three of the most famous documents relating to the struggle against Batista and the early days of the revolution are published together in a single volume. The Declarations of Havana is part of Verso’s new “revolutions” series.

By reading the three documents back-to-back, one is able to trace the development of the Cuban Revolution from its nationalist-democratic beginnings to its socialist conclusion.

On July 26, 1953, a 26-year-old lawyer named Fidel Castro — along with his younger brother Raul — led an armed attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba, hoping to spark an uprising that would remove the hated Batista from power.

International Day against Homophobia celebrated in Cuba -- three reports from Havana

Havana, 16 May, 2009 -- Prensa Latina -- International Day against Homophobia was observed here today, with the participation of a diverse, largely youthful public.

In the early hours of the morning, the day's activities began at the headquarters of the Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and the Pabellón Cuba, in the central district of El Vedado.

Mariela Castro Espín, the director of the National Center of Sex Education (CENESEX), presided over the inauguration of the day's events with a parade and the opening of the panel on "Sexual diversity in the Cuban family."

Socialist feminist revival spearheaded by Venezuelan and Cuban revolutions

By Reihana Mohideen

May 4, 2009 -- There is a revival of socialist feminism in Latin America, spearheaded by the Venezuelan and Cuban revolutions.

I have just returned from a workshop on gender-based violence organised by the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Venezuela and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Speakers included Maria Leon, Venezuela's minister of women's affairs, and Nora Casteneda, president of Banmujer (Bank for the Development of Women). The two women explained the gains made by women as a result of Bolivarian socialist revolution in Venezuela. Truly amazing attempts in empowering women towards achieving gender equality were reported candidly by both women, who also outlined the challenges women in Venezuela have as yet to overcome.

Venezuela's Bolivarian constitution is the first in the South (and possibly the world) to recognise women's housework as a legitimate economic activity producing wealth and contributing to the social welfare of the population: "The State will recognise household chores as an economic activity that creates added value, produces wealth and social welfare. Housewives have the right to social security according to the law" (Article 88). As Maria Leon explained, in Article 88 "the work of all previous generations of women are also recognised and valued".

A Green's view of Cuba: Reflections on the 50th anniversary of the revolution

Barb in Cuba
Barbara Chicherio and husband Don Fitz in Havana.

By Barbara Chicherio

During January 2009 I visited Cuba over a long weekend. My stepdaughter started medical school there this past August and this was the first chance in several months for her Dad and me to see her. Visiting Rebecca was wonderful, but I was unprepared for what I encountered during the three short days spent in Cuba and how the experience would shift my perception of the global economy.

The fight to be a society of good ancestors -- capitalism and ecosocialism

Ian Angus addresses the World at a Crossroads conference. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

By Ian Angus

[Ian Angus was a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads: Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century conference, in Sydney Australia, April 10-12, 2009. The event, which drew 444 participants from more than 15 countries, was organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Below is Angus’ talk to the plenary session on “Confronting the climate change crisis: an ecosocialist perspective”. It first appeared on Climate and Capitalism and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

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(Updated April 23) `Capitalism is putting an end to humanity and the planet' -- ALBA on the 5th Summit of the Americas

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez greets Cuba's President Raul Castro.

Translated by Federico Fuentes

Cumaná, April 17, 2009

The heads of state and governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela -- member countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) -- consider that the proposed Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas is insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:

Evo Morales: `I declare myself Marxist ... now let the OAS expel Bolivia'

April 16, 2009 – During his intervention at the seventh ALBA Summit, Bolivia's president Evo Morales recalled the 1962 documents of the Organisation of American States (OAS) that resulted in Cuba being expelled from the organisation, and outlined the importance of reflecting on the motives of that expulsion.

The resolution indicates that the adherence of any member country to Marxism-Leninism, and the association of any member government of the organisation with the communist bloc, broke the unity and solidarity of the hemisphere. Therefore, given that the government of Cuba identified itself as Marxist-Leninist, it was incompatible with the purpose of the OAS and was therefore excluded from participating.

Beards, Cuban and Pakistani

By Farooq Sulehria

March 30, 2009 -- Fidel Castro finds beards a practical advantage: “You don't have to shave every day. If you multiply the fifteen minutes you spend shaving every day by the number of days in a year, you'll see that you devote almost 5500 minutes to shaving. An eight-hour workday consists of 480 minutes, so if you don't shave you gain about ten days a year that you can devote to work, to reading, to sports or to whatever you like.”

But having a beard is more than saving time. Cuban revolutionaries let their beards grow out also as a symbol of the Cuban Revolution. Castro describes how it happened: “We didn't have any razor blades, or straight razors. When we found ourselves in the middle of the wilderness, up in the Sierra, everybody just let their beards and hair grow, and that turned into a kind of badge of identity. For the campesinos and everybody else, for the press, for the reporters we were ‘los barbudos’ – ‘the bearded ones.’ The positive side was that in order for a spy to infiltrate us, he had to start preparing months ahead -- he'd have to have a six-month's beard growth, you see. So the beards served as a badge of identification, and as protection, until it finally became a symbol of the guerilla fighter. Later, with the triumph of the Revolution, we kept our beards to preserve the symbolism.”

La revolucion energetica: Cuba's energy revolution

By Laurie Guevara-Stone, photos by Mario Alberto Arrastia Avila

April 2, 2009 -- A new revolution is sweeping the island of Cuba, which is making massive progress on energy efficiency and renewable generation. Indeed, such is the success of the two-year old program on this small island of 11 million people, that many other countries could learn from its efforts to be energy independent and curb climate change.

`Let us rediscover Marx' -- Two talks on Michael Lebowitz's `Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working Class'

By Michael A. Lebowitz

[Michael Lebowitz will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets. Find other articles by Michael Lebowitz HERE.]

Fidel Castro: Contradictions between Obama’s politics and ethics

By Fidel Castro Ruz

February 4, 2009 -- A few days ago I referred to some of Obama’s ideas which point to his role in a system that denies every principle of justice.

Some throw their hands up in horror if anything is said to criticise the important personality, even if it is done with decency and respect. This is usually accompanied by subtle and not so subtle darts from those with the means to throw and transform them into the elements of media terror imposed on the peoples to sustain the unsustainable.

Every criticism I make is always construed as an attack, an accusation and other similar qualifiers reflecting callousness and discourtesy towards the person involved.

This time I’d rather address some questions of many that could be raised and that the new President of the United States should answer.

The following for example:

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