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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.

Report on 15th Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade to Venezuela

By Paul Dobson, brigade leader, Caracas

January 12, 2015 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Following months of organisation and planning, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 15th solidarity brigade touched down in Maiquetía International Airport in Caracas on December 1, 2014, at a highly important time for the Bolivarian revolution.

With imperialism increasing its efforts to undermine the revolution and exacerbate internal weaknesses, and with the Venezuelan people still reeling from the blow of the premature death of former president Hugo Chavez, international solidarity is needed like never before to maintain the revolutionary advances made by and for the Venezuelan people.

The 2014 brigade, which was made up of activists of Australian, New Zealand and Malaysian nationalities, spent two weeks in Venezuela, during which time it fulfilled all three of its objectives. These were:

Mexico: 2014 saw a resurgence of the broad opposition movement

Click the following links for more by Dan La Botz, and more on Mexico.

By Dan La Botz

January 8, 2015 -- New Politics -- Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, who had been so successful in advancing his fundamentally conservative economic program during his first year and a half in office, suddenly faced a serious challenge beginning in September 2014 when police, apparently cooperating gangsters, killed six students, injured at least 25 and kidnapped 43 in the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero.

Protest demonstrations demanding that the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College be returned alive, led by parents, students and teachers quickly spread from Guerrero to Mexico City and around the country. An international solidarity movement has also developed, with demonstrations at consulates in several countries.

Mexico: First congress of the Organización Política del Pueblo y los Trabajadores

By Nevin Siders

January 5, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The People’s and Worker’s Political Organization (Organización Política del Pueblo y los Trabajadores, OPT)  held its first national congress in Mexico City on the weekend of December 12 and 13, 2014.

Since its founding in 2011, the party has grown to have local units registered in 16 of Mexico’s 32 states. According to convention organisers, 200 members attended the convention held in the headquarters of the Mexican Electricians Trade Union (SME), which was the protagonist for its founding in 2011 and has continued to press for it as an alternative to the parties of capital and their hangers-on.

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/.

Venezuela: After Chávez, has the Maduro government stalled the revolution?

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Steve Ellner

December 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse.

The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen.

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.

Lateinamerika: Ende der 'Rosa Welle' vorschnell prognostiziert

Dilma Rousseff.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4184.]

Von Federico Fuentes; Übersetzung: Christian Klar

01.12.2014 -- amerika21.de -- Seit Anfang des Jahres haben zahlreiche Zeitungen vorhergesagt, dass sich ein Niedergang der sogenannten "Pink Tide" abzeichnet. Der Begriff "Pink Tide" wird verwendet, um die Welle von Regierungen links der Mitte in Lateinamerika zu bezeichnen, die in den vergangenen Jahren durch Wahlen an die Regierung kamen. Eine Reihe von ihnen waren bereits wiedergewählt worden und Meinungsforscher und Kommentatoren gleichermaßen erörterten, dass für viele nun ihre Zeit an der Regierung um sei.

Stattdessen sahen die Brasilianer am Sonntag, den 26. Oktober, Dilma Rousseff als wiedergewählte Präsidentin eine vierte Amtszeit in Folge für die Arbeiterpartei beginnen. Noch am selben Tag gaben die Wähler im benachbarten Uruguay der amtierenden Frente Amplio (FA) eine Mehrheit in beiden Kammern des Parlaments, und FA-Kandidat Tabaré Vasquez geht als heißer Favorit in die zweite Runde der Präsidentschaftswahlen, nachdem er 49,5 Prozent der Stimmen in der ersten Runde gewann – im Vergleich zu 32 Prozent für seinen zweitstärksten Rivalen.

Latin America: Why predictions of an ebb in the 'Pink Tide' proved premature

On October 26 Brazilians re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president, ushering in a fourth consecutive Workers’ Party administration.

By Federic Fuentes

December 7, 2014 -- first published in TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Since the start of the year, numerous newspapers have dedicated article after article to predictions of a looming demise of the so-called “Pink Tide”. The term is used to refer to the wave of left-of-centre governments elected to power in Latin America during recent years.

A number of these governments were up for re-election this year, and pollsters and commentators alike argued that for many, their time in government was up.

Instead, on October 26 Brazilians re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president, ushering in a fourth consecutive Workers’ Party administration. That same day, voters in neighboring Uruguay handed the incumbent Broad Front (FA) a majority in both houses of parliament, and FA candidate Tabare Vasquez went into the second round of the presidential elections as hot favorite after winning 49.5% of the vote in the first round (compared with 32% for his nearest rival).

Dan La Botz: 'We are all Ayotzniapa!' Mexico crisis deepens

Tens of thousands protest in Acapulco, Mexico, over the disappearance of 43 students.

Click the following links for more by Dan La Botz, and more on Mexico.

By Dan La Botz

November 29, 2014 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Mexican government confronts a major political crisis on two fronts. The first is as a result of the massacre and kidnapping that took place on September 26 when police and other assailants in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero killed six, wounded 25 and kidnapped 43 students.

Since the massacre and kidnapping, there have been demonstrations in Guerrero, Mexico City and several other states, some of them massive and some violent. Mexicans are appalled at the abduction of these young people and indignant at both the involvement of local officials and police and the national government’s failure to deal with the issue.

Challenging the globalisation of indifference: Pope Francis meets with popular movements

The author, Judith Marshall, meets Pope Francis.

By Judith Marshall

November 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have recently returned from three fascinating days in Rome where I participated in a World Meeting of Popular Movements. This event brought to the Vatican a throng of articulate delegates from among the poor and excluded of the 21st Century, people fighting for land, for housing, for work and for dignity. Pope Francis was a central force in creating this gathering in Rome. Our meeting with him in the Old Synod Hall of the Basilica was a high point.

The meeting brought together 150 delegates. Thirty of them were Bishops from various parts of the world whose ministries include strong accompaniment and support for movements of the poor. The other 120 came from various popular movements working on the thematic issues of the meeting – Terra, Labor, Domus. Men and women fighting for land, work and housing were present from every continent. In a statement from the organisers, the logic was clear.

What will it take to go beyond 'extractivism'? Federico Fuentes replies to Don Fitz

A miner in Bolivia.

For more on the "extractivism" discussion, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

October 31, 2014 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article appeared first at TeleSUR English -- In recent years, a number of important discussions have emerged among and between environmentalists and solidarity activists. None has generated quite as much heat as the debate over extractive industries, particularly in South America.

This is perhaps unsurprising given what’s at stake: South America is home to some of the world’s largest and most important natural resource deposits. It is also a region dominated by progressive governments that have taken strong stances internationally in support of action on climate change, while facing criticism at home for their positions on extractive industries.

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.

Der sieg von Evo Morales zeigt, wie sehr sich Bolivien verändert hat

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4111.]

Von Federico Fuentes

Oktober 20, 2014 -- Einartysken -- Die Vorhersagen der Umfragen und Kommentatoren, dass Evo Morales die Präsidentenwahl am 12.Oktober lässig gewinnen wird, bestätigten sich, als er 60 % der Stimmen erhielt.

Die meisten Leute sind jedoch verschiedener Meinung, warum die 'Bewegung Richtung Sozialismus (MAS)' von Morales nach fast 10 Jahren an der Macht immer noch so hohe Unterstützung genießt.

Ihre Erklärungen neigen dazu, sich auf spezifische oder politische Faktoren zu konzentrieren, wie die gestiegenen Rohstoffpreise oder die Fähigkeit der MAS, die sozialen Bewegungen des Landes zu kontrollieren oder zu kooptieren.

Um jedoch zu verstehen, warum Morales bald der am längsten an der Macht stehende Präsident in einem Land ist, das für seine Staatsstreiche und Rebellionen berühmt ist, ist es notwendig, die tiefgreifenden Veränderungen unter seiner Präsidentschaft zur Kenntnis zu nehmen.

Ökonomische Umwandlung

Bolivia: Evo Morales re-elected, important challenges lie ahead

Evo Morales addresses supporters in La Paz on election night. In foreground is David Choquehuenca, Bolivia’s foreign minister.

By Richard Fidler

October 19, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- As expected, Evo Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government won a resounding victory in Bolivia’s national presidential and parliamentary election October 12.

Although official results will not be available until November (more on that below), the MAS was re-elected with just over 61% of the popular vote, three percentage points less than in 2009 and short of the 74% support the MAS had proclaimed as its goal. However, the MAS vote was more evenly spread throughout the country; it won a plurality in eight of Bolivia’s nine departments, including three of the four that make up the so-called “half-moon” in the country’s east and north, which in 2008 were in open revolt against the indigenous-led government.

Evo Morales’ victory demonstrates how much Bolivia has changed

By Federico Fuentes

October 20, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The failure of opposition forces and critics to recognise or accept that a political revolution that has taken place explains why they are so far out of touch with the majority of Bolivian society.

Predictions by pollsters and commentators that Evo Morales would easily win Bolivia’s October 12 presidential elections were confirmed when the incumbent obtained over 60% of the vote.

Most however differ over why, after almost a decade in power, Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) continues to command such a huge level of support.

Their explanations tend to focus on specific economic or political factors, such as booming raw material prices or the MAS’ ability to control and co-opt the country’s social movements.

However, to understand why Morales will soon become the longest-serving head of state in a country renowned for its history of coups and rebellions, it is necessary to start with an acknowledgement of the profound changes that Bolivia is undergoing under his presidency.

Economic transformation

How Bolivia is leading the global fight against climate disaster

A women in Bolivia views a melting glacier's water.

For more on Bolivia, click HERE.

By Richard Fidler

October 6, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Bolivia goes to the polls on Sunday, October 12, in the country’s third national election since the victory of Evo Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) in December 2005 and the second since the adoption of its radically new constitution in 2009. The MAS list, led by President Morales and his vice-presidential running mate Álvaro García Linera, is far ahead in the opinion polling over four opposition slates, all to the right of the MAS.

Although Bolivia’s “process of change”, its “democratic and cultural revolution” as García Linera terms it, is still in its early stages, the country’s developmental process has already attracted considerable interest — and some controversy — internationally, not least because of its government’s role as a leading critic of global climate change, which it forthrightly attributes to the effects and the logic inherent to the capitalist mode of production.

Haiti: Tyrant Jean-Claude Duvalier dead, but his legacy survives

Papa Doc with Baby Doc.

For more on Haiti, click HERE.

By Roger Annis

October 8, 2014 -- Truthout, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Jean-Claude Duvalier, the tyrant who ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986, has died in Haiti at the age of 63. His death provides a moment for political reflection by the Haitian people, especially in view of the reality that so much of Duvalier's harsh political legacy remains alive and well in the island country.

A UN Security Council foreign military occupation has entered its 11th year. It serves to bolster much of the authoritarian Duvalier legacy, which has always, at its heart, been about excluding the Haitian people from governing their own country.

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