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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.

Venezuela: Chavista leader Robert Serra assassinated in likely right-wing terror attack

Robert Serra.

By Ewan Robertson, Merida

October 2, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -– Robert Serra (27), a legislator of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and the National Assembly's youngest parliamentarian, was found dead in his Caracas home on October 1.

Authorities confirmed that Serra and his partner Maria Herrera had been murdered in their residence. According to daily newspaper Ultimas Noticias, unofficial reports say that Serra’s body showed signs of torture before he was killed.

The minister of interior affairs Miguel Rodriguez Torres informed state television VTV that an investigation had been launched into the murders.

“They were horribly assassinated in their house … a motive still hasn’t been determined, what we can assure is that there is a specialised team at the site to investigate who is responsible for this act”, he stated, while asking PSUV members to “remain calm”.

Serra was a rising figure within Chavismo, and had been a prominent student leader in the PSUV. Originally from the western city of Maracaibo, the law graduate and criminologist also spearheaded initiatives to tackle violent crime in Venezuela. He was elected to the National Assembly for the PSUV in 2010.

Brasile: l’ascesa di Marina Silva è una conseguenza dei fallimenti e non del successo della sinistra

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4059.]

Di Federico Fuentes

16 settembre 2014 -- ZNet Italy -- A due settimane dalle elezioni nazionali del Brasile del 5 ottobre la grande notizia è stata il significativo aumento dell’appoggio a Marina Silva, ex ministro di governo del Partito dei Lavoratori (PT) ed attivista ambientalista; alcuni sondaggi predicono che potrebbe vincere la corsa alla presidenza.

La presidente in carica e candidata del PT Dilma Rousseff, mantiene uno stretto vantaggio su Marina, ma le elezioni andranno certamente a un ballottaggio il 26 ottobre.

Se questo succederà, le indicazioni attuali sono che Marina ha una probabilità di vincere, una notevole impresa dato che poco più di un mese fa non era neanche candidata alla presidenza.
La sua candidatura è arrivata soltanto come conseguenza della morte avvenuta il 13 agosto del candidato presidenziale del Partito Socialista Brasiliano (PSB), Eduardo Campos. Avendo in precedenza assunto l’incarico della vice presidenza come parte di un accordo tra il PSB e il suo proprio partito non registrato, la Rete di Sostenibilità, Marina è stata promossa a candidata alla presidenza.

Brazil: Marina Silva’s rise is a result of the left’s failures

Marina Silva.

For more on Brazil, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

September 16, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A fortnight out from Brazil’s October 5 national election, the big news has been the significant surge in support for Marina Silva, a former Workers’ Party (PT) government minister and environmental activist, with some polls predicting she could end up winning the presidential race.

Incumbent president and PT candidate Dilma Rousseff maintains a narrow lead over Silva, but the elections will almost certainly go to a second round run-off on October 26. 

If this occurs, current indications are that Marina Silva has a chance of winning, a remarkable feat given that a little over a month ago she was not even a presidential candidate.

Venezuela: Maduro announces 'five big revolutions'

Maduro announced a new stage of the revolution.

September 2, 2014 -- TeleSUR English -- In declarations to the country on September 2, Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro announced what he described as "five revolutions", as part of a need to "improve our service to the people".

Maduro said the revolutions would be a "a new way of functioning" for the government, and emphasised the need for a more "efficient" government. The following five revolutions, he said, "should be united, and should define the government policies, giving power to the people, it will be the people who push government policy".

The first revolution that Maduro outlined is the economic revolution, promoting production, "in order to guarantee stability". "All the efforts of the government should be concentrated on this, to make this revolution successful," he said.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', September 2014 issue: Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement

El Foro Social Latinoamericano se pronuncio el 12 de agosto sobre la detención de Liliany Obando, activista colombiana de derechos humanos. Muchos en Australia conocen Liliany por
su visita a nuestro país y su incansable lucha en Colombia, incluyendo desde dentro de la cárcel.

September 3, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

Marta Harnecker: New paths require a new culture on the left

Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro with Marta Harnecker at the award ceremony.

For more by or about Marta Harnecker and her ideas, click HERE.

Speech given by Marta Harnecker on August 15, 2014, accepting the 2013 Liberator’s Prize for Critical Thought, awarded for her book, A World to Build: New Paths towards Twenty-first Century Socialism; translated by Federico Fuentes

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