el maestro

el maestro
"Trincheras de ideas valen más que trincheras de piedra." José Martí

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cuba celebrates 17th Anniversary of South African Independence

Mandela and Fidel, Matanzas 1991
“The blood that you have shed in defence of the noble cause for humanity has nourished the trees that will forever bear fruits of liberation of mankind”, said South African Ambassador to Havana PJ Pitso, to a representation of the Cuban government, social organizations and members of the Diplomatic Corps at the National Hotel in the Cuban capital on the occasion of South Africa's Freedom Day yesterday.

Main stream media has never acknowledged the decisive role that Cuba played in ending racist rule in South Africa. In 1975, Cuba - at the explicit request of the government of the then newly-independent Angola - deployed 36, 000 troops to repulse a large-scale invasion by the racist South African state. Cuban troops remained for more than 15 years to defend Angola from South African aggression. During this period more than 300, 000 Cubans served in Angola: not only as soldiers but also as doctors, teachers, and engineers. More than 2, 000 Cubans died in defense of Angolan independence and right of self-determination.

Angolan-Cuban forces
In 2007-2008, the South African armed forces were definitely defeated by combined Cuban, Angolan and Namibian troops at Cuito Cuanavale in south-eastern Angola. Cuba's contribution was vital as it provided the essential reinforcements, material and planning.The defeat at Cuito Cuanavale of the South African armed forces led to the immediate independence of Namibia and accelerated the dismantling of apartheid.

In 1991, Nelson Mandela poignantly stated "the Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character."

In 1998, Mandela further declared: "If today all South Africans enjoy the rights of democracy; if they are able at last to address the grinding poverty of a system that denied them even the most basic amenities of life, it is also because of Cuba's selfless support for the struggle to free all of South Africa's people and the countries of our region from the inhumane and destructive system of apartheid. For that, we thank the Cuban people from the bottom of our heart."

Indeed, Cuba is often described as the only foreign country to have gone to Africa and gone away with nothing but the coffins of its sons and daughters who died in the struggles to liberate Africa.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

U.S. - the "freest" country in the world - denies Dr. Harold Baseman permission to travel to Cuba

Dr. Harold Baseman
Dr. Harold Baseman, a well known expert with extensive work in the field of parenteral drugs, an instructor with the US Parenteral Drug Association, and a Principal  and Chief Operating Officer for ValSource LLC, has been denied permission to travel to Cuba where today he was due to offer a lecture on the Evaluation and Validation of Risks in the Biopharmaceutical Industry in the context of the VI International Workshop on Aseptic Processing.

Prominent scientists from Mexico, Argentine, Italy, Spain, Sweden and China are expected to make important dissertations on the topic of the workshop which opened today at the Melia Chiba Hotel in Havana.

Experts in the development, production and commercialization of the pharmaceutical industry from Cuba, Peru, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Belgium, Colombia and Costa Rica are also attending the event.

The United States government acting on the inhuman and illegal blockade that it imposes on the Caribbean island continues to deny its people the right to exchange scientific and cultural information with Cuba, which can be beneficial to both countries.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wikileaks shakes Washington’s foundations again: The Guantánamo Files

In what appears to be another series of suspense, Wikileaks has begun publishing instalments of quite sensitive documents, keeping the world on tenterhooks, while some rub their hands with delight and others grind their teeth in despair.

The first delivery, on April 24, 2011, contains 779 secret files from the infamous Guantánamo Bay prison, the detainees, the workings of US intelligence, and the practice of torture known as “waterboarding”, a form of controlled drowning.

According to Wikileaks, “thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the prisoners held at Guantánamo – 758 out of 779 in total – are described in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay, to US Southern Command In Miami, Florida”.

The public will have access to detailed information about the prisoners, 60% of whom were never real terrorists or threatened the U.S. security in any way, their names, aliases, date of birth, citizenship, and other relevant information.

Follow all the details at: http://wikileaks.ch/gitmo/

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Revolution Square again: May Day

May 1, 2010, Havana
“José Martí” Revolution Square in Havana will be the center of attention again on May Day when Cuban workers, joined by more than 1,000 friends from 50 countries, will march in the historical site to back the economic and social policies recently approved by the Sixth Party Congress and to support Cuba’s socialism.

It will be another opportunity to denounce the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban Five that has lasted for more than 12 years now. These anti terrorist fighters had infiltrated extremist anti-Cuba groups in Florida, to warn their homeland of potential attacks from those criminal organizations. The U.S has charged them with spying on the government.  

Successive U.S. administrations not only have turned a blind eye on the activities of these terrorist groups, but have actively promoted and funded their efforts to commit acts of terror against the island which have resulted in thousands of deaths and millionaire losses for the economy.

Cuban workers will also demand the immediate devolution of the territory that the United States has illegally occupied for 108 years in Guantánamo violating our sovereignty and our Law. This piece of Cuban land has been turned into an international center of torture where legality has ceased to exist.

Detainees in Camp Delta, Guantánamo 
Once more Cubans will denounce the U.S. blockade, unilaterally imposed by the United States of America 50 years ago in an attempt to surrender the Cuban people by death and deprivation. The world in the United Nations has overwhelmingly voted 19 times condemning the U.S. aggression against Cuba, but the aggressor continues to ignore the clamour for justice.

May Day promises to be another day of popular celebration and reaffirmation of the new path that Cuba has taken to safeguard the Revolution and Socialism.

Friday, April 22, 2011

50th National Anti-polio Vaccination Campaign begins in Cuba today

A girl is immunized in Cuba
Cuban media reports that the national Anti-polio Vaccination Campaign starts today in all of Cuba. Until April 28, and at no cost to their parents, more than half a million children under three years of age who were vaccinated last March will receive another dose (two drops orally), while nine year-old children will receive a re-activation dose.

These vaccination campaigns are conducted by local polyclinics with the support of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) and other grass roots organizations.

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious viral and infectious disease that affects the central nervous system causing permanent paralysis and even death, mainly in children between five and ten years old.

Before the triumph of the Revolution, Cuba registered an average rate of 300 cases annually, but in 1962, the government of Cuba began massive annual campaigns. To this day more than 79 million doses of this vaccine have been applied; therefore the Cuban population under 62 years of age is fully protected against this disease.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hu Jintao sends message to Fidel Castro

Hu Jintao visits Fidel in 2008

“On the occasion of the successful conclusion of the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, on my behalf and on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, I want to express my sincere respect and the most cordial greetings,” read the message published by Cuban media in Spanish.

Jintao notes that Fidel has safeguarded Cuba’s national sovereignty and dignity and has remained in the path of Socialism, which has earned him the respect and support of the Cuban people and of many nations around the world.

“You are an illustrious revolutionary, ideologist, strategist, and statesman,” adds the Chinese leader, who highlights the close ties between Cuba and China, which began 51 years ago, and recalls that Cuba was the first country in Latin America to establish diplomatic relations with China.

“You have always promoted Cuban-Chinese friendship and you have always paid close attention to the process of development of China. You have also given us fraternal assistance and support with important contributions to the steady development of friendship and cooperation between both Parties and countries,” the message notes.

“I’m convinced that, under the leadership of comrade Raul Castro Ruz, the Cuban Revolution and Socialism will undoubtedly attain more victories. We will continue contributing to Cuba’s socio-economic development as much as we can and we will continue strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation between both Parties and countries,” the message also notes.

“Opposition” in Cuba

Cuba has recently been in the news all over the world on the occasion of a series of celebrations to commemorate one of the most important victories of the Revolution, the 50th Anniversary of the Victory of Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs), and the declaration of its socialist nature, also 50 years ago. However important those two anniversaries are, and as spectacular as the military parade and the million Cubans marching for socialism in Havana on Saturday was, the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, which ended on Tuesday with the historic presence of Fidel Castro at the closing session has, with no doubt, captured the attention of friends and foes.

Hundreds of articles have been written on the topic in the last three days, some favourable and full of optimism, others oozing poison and bringing up to the fore old woes, such as the infamous “dissidents”, who are labelled as “opposition” by distorted reports of news agencies that refuse to believe that indeed, as it has been proven again and again, these individuals have a close working relationship with foreign representatives in Havana, whose governments finance their activities against Cuba.

Enemies of Cuba, blinded by their irrational and pathological obsession to vituperate against the island, cannot not comprehend how strong the Revolution and Cuba have emerged from the Party Congress and from this 50 year old battle against U.S. aggression and hostility.

The Cuban Revolution has reached the political maturity it needed to handle change and use it to its advantage, which is to the advantage of the people of Cuba, the real people of Cuba.
Where is that ghost army of opponents that mainstream media, both in North America and Europe, insist is ready to take the streets in Cuba?

This is the Cuban people
The world saw the real people of Cuba, hundreds of thousands, up to a million, marching in Revolution Square, in support of their Revolution, the same people that has resisted for 50 years and has overcome difficulties, and the very same people that vote for delegates to Parliament every five years. Elections that are widely ignored by that same mainstream media.

Cuban Parliament
Here is some advice for would-be regime changers, within the context of the new model of Cuban Socialism, those so-called dissidents will have to do two things to be accepted as credible proponents of new ideas:

1. In any country, to officially oppose the government and change it, opponents have to use the channels allowed by the Constitution of that particular country. In Cuba they will have to get elected as delegates to the National Assembly (Parliament), and air their views in a constitutional manner.

2. But to be able to be trusted by their neighbours, and get nominated and elected to the National Assembly, they will have to stop collaborating with foreign powers to overthrow the constitutional government of Cuba, i.e., they will have to hold jobs and make a living as ordinary Cubans do, and stop receiving allowances from foreign governments in exchange for their dissent.

Once they get elected, I am certain that a viable and legal opposition will, most certainly, contribute to the betterment of the nation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guidelines for profound reforms approved by Party Congress in Havana

Party Congress closing session
Delegates to the Sixth Communist Party Congress approved and refined the guidelines for the State and the Party in the implementation of the much needed reforms of the Cuban economic model, among other relevant changes.

Raúl Castro was elected to the key position of First Secretary, while Machado Ventura, current first Vice-President, will be the second secretary of the Party. A reduced Political Bureau and a new Central Committee were also elected.

Fidel and Raúl
A moment of intense emotion was experienced by the party delegates when Fidel Castro, the leader of the Revolution and retired from public life since 2006, made a surprise appearance.  There were tears on the faces of many congress delegates as Fidel was aided to his seat next to Raúl.

Raúl Castro addresses the summit
There is no doubt that this congress and the new policies that it approved will strengthen the Revolution and the Party as Cuba moves forward in the consolidation of its new economic model under its own variety of socialism.

Find more information at: http://www.cubanews.ain.cu/

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cubans march for socialism in Havana

Military Parade
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans took part in a huge military parade in Havana’s Revolution Square at 8:00 in the morning today, in what has been described as a march for socialism on this 50th Anniversary of the Victory over the CIA-backed mercenaries who invaded Cuba in 1961. Three days earlier in the funerals of the April 15 bombings victims, Fidel Castro had officially declared the socialist nature of the Revolution.

Popular march and parade
Later in the afternoon the much anticipated Sixth Communist Party Congress opened at the Convention Center in the capital with the participation of 1000 militants, representing some 800 000 members. This Congress is expected to mark a turning point in a decisive moment in the history of the country. Delegates will debate and approve the final guidelines for the much needed reforms of the economic model that Cuba aims to build under its own variety of Socialism.

Cuban Youth and soldiers

Friday, April 15, 2011

José Martí Revolution Square ready for historical parade and popular march in Havana

Revolution Square, Havana
Everything is ready in Havana for the military parade and popular march of Habaneros representing the people of Cuba at the Revolution Square. The parade’s theme is youth, and as a symbol of the new generation that will take the Revolution forward, thousands of young Cubans will be marching as well.

Tomorrow is very special day in the history of the island; we celebrate with legitimate pride the 50th Anniversary of the victory over the failed Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion planned, founded and executed by the government of the United States of America. That by itself would be enough for a month of celebration, but also we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution. But that’s not all.

The Sixth Communist Party Congress convenes tomorrow, right after the parade, where 1000 congress delegates will also take part. It is a congress that will meet in a difficult and challenging context in Cuba and the world. The Communist Party as “the leading force of society and of the state, which organizes and guides the common effort toward the goals of the construction of socialism...” (Cuban Constitution) and the delegates to its Sixth Congress have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. Therefore the communist summit has obviously sparked off high expectations about the new economic model that Cuba is supposed to follow and the necessary promotion of new cadres to key posts in the party and the government.

Cuba has already introduced a series of regulations and reforms mainly in the economic field, such as the promotion of private enterprise, known as “cuentapropismo” which have logically impacted other sectors of the country. This congress has been preceded by an extensive popular debate that have enriched and modified the draft guidelines that will guide the congress debates. The party gathering is expected to approve and expand the reforms to adapt Cuba to the new international context, and preserve the achievements of the socialist Revolution and our sovereignty.

Paseo Avenue from the sea to Revolution Square

Thursday, April 14, 2011

US backed invasion of Cuba on April 1961: Chronology of a defeat

I. April 14, 1961, en route to disaster

Immediately after the victorious Revolution took power in Cuba in 1959, the United States decided that it could not allow the movement lead by Fidel Castro to take root in the island. To achieve their goals, they started making serious plans to destroy the Revolution and assassinate its leaders. In their customary arrogance, they thought that an invasion would provoke a popular uprising against the revolutionary government that had replaced US protégé and Dictator Fulgencio Batista, and that the mercenaries would be received as liberators by the oppressed masses (an assumption that more often than not has thrown the US into troubled waters, as we all know). Instead, the invaders were defeated in three days. This huge miscalculation gave the Cuban Rebel Army its first military victory over the US and turned Cuba into the symbol of resistance that it is today.

Kennedy, who during his presidential campaign had accused Eisenhower of being too lenient with the Cubans, inherited this invasion plan when he was inaugurated in January 1961. On April 12, 1961, he told reporters at a press conference in Washington that the U.S. had no intentions of intervening in Cuban affairs; five days later, and in absolute confidentiality he would give the CIA the go ahead for the operation, making provisions to keep US involvement secret.

The forces, around 1500 mercenaries who would be supported by the US Air Force, had begun gathering in Guatemala, and had just been waiting for the order to sail. The order came and they set sail to disaster in six ships from Nicaragua on April 14, 1961.

The airstrikes
II. April 15, 2011, U.S. B-26 airstrikes cover-up

On April 15, 2011, B-26 airplanes disguised to look like Cuban official aircraft attacked different points in Cuba as a prelude of the invasion. Two of those points were in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The idea was to make it appear as Cuban Air Force defectors attacking their institutions; however the cover-up was unsuccessful since the U.S. could only show one actual defector to the press, which rapidly uncovered much of the truth of U.S. involvement in the invasion.

The liberators 
III. April 16, 2011, the invasion, the failure, the humiliation

On April 16, 2011, the aggression began officially, but the plans to land the troops in a desolated and inhospitable tack of land called Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) and then request official U.S. support, did not result as it had been anticipated. Within the first hours of the operation it was clear that everything was going terribly wrong for the “liberators”; locals firmly resisted and defended the Revolution, the airstrikes did not have the desired effect, and no land could be taken and kept.

Fearing the international scandal that was nearing, the U.S. announced on April 17 that it would not intervene any further in the operation, thus sealing the fate of the invasion that was already militarily defeated by then by Cuban revolutionary forces.

IV. April 19, 1961, our first Victory

On the afternoon of April 19 the invaders surrendered, and 1,197 of them were taken captive. After 20 months of negotiations the prisoners were released in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine, and the light of Cuba spread throughout the world. On April 20, Kennedy lied again when he said to the American Society of Newspapers Editors, that the whole episode had been “Cubans fighting Cubans” and that the U.S. had not been involved at all.

The hostility and aggression unleashed during and after the failed invasion has marked how the U.S. has conducted its ‘non-relations’ with the Cuban government for the last 50 years. Shortly after the defeat suffered in Cuba, the U.S. imposed a unilateral and illegal blockade against the revolutionary island that still lasts today. Cuba, a poor country under a state of permanent siege, tries very hard to perfect its own system of development, and has struggled day by day to defend its independence and dignity. Despite the constant aggression, Cuba today is an emblem of social justice, equality and respect for the most elemental rights of human beings, facts that have been acknowledged by the United Nations and other international organizations and by most countries in the world.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

United States Denies UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Access to Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning
The United States has repeatedly denied special investigator on torture Juan Méndez unmonitored and unsupervised access to Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning. That means that Méndez can only see the detainee with a guard present, and anything the prisoner says could be used against him.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez
“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regards to my attempts to see Mr. Manning”, Méndez told The Guardian.

A senior United Nations representative on torture, Méndez, is acting on a complaint that the detainee is subjected to cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment, but so far due to the limited access he has been granted, the investigator has been unable to verify the allegations.

Bradley Manning, 23, is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret State Department cables, while he was stationed in Iraq. Those cables were later published online by the Wikileaks website. It is said that Manning is kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day in a cell at the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.

Private Bradley Manning in Iraq
A United Nations official on the mission of investigating torture should be given confidential and unmonitored visits with individuals who claim that their rights are being violated, and should get international access to prison facilities around the world so torture practices can be prevented.

with information from http://www.guardian.co.uk

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi agrees to a deal with African Union to end conflict

Gadaffi greets reporters in Tripoli today
Although no final resolution is known yet and the details of the agreement were not available, Gadaffi has accepted a plan to end the armed conflict in his nation, South African President Jacob Zuma told the press today.

Negotiations are still in progress in Tripoli between Gadaffi and a delegation of the African Union. The deal will include an end to NATO airstrikes aimed at enforcing a no-fly zone and targeting government forces, and an immediate ceasefire between the two factions. On Monday the African Union representatives will fly to Benghazi to meet with opposition leaders in the rebel stronghold.

Hopefully this time negotiation will take precedence over the use of force, because as we well know, the use of force does not protect innocent lives. Really, it doesn't.

Civilian victims of NATO airstrikes

Leftist hopeful Ollanta Humala wins first round of presidential elections in Perú

Ollanta Humala
According to the latest exit polls results and in what is considered as an expected and easy victory, today, Ollanta Moisés Humala Tasso, 46, won by ample margin the first round of presidential elections in Perú obtaining 31.8% of the vote. Left behind was Keiko Fujimory at a distant 22.8% and at a third place, Kuczyinski with 19.6%, none of them, however, managed to accumulate the percentage required to avoid the runoff.

Perú is a leading exporter of cooper, gold and silver, commodities whose spiralling prices have helped to sustain a 7% economic growth over the past five years. Unfortunately, this growth has not reached the vast poor and marginalized sectors.

Humala is a retired army officer and son of a former socialist leader and is the candidate of Perú's Nationalist Party. His father is the founder of a tendency known as “etnocacerismo” that defends and inculcates the values of the Incaic and nationalist past.  He represents a radical departure from mainstream politicians by opposing neoliberal traditional practices, and has promised to redistribute Perú’s mineral wealth.  In the 2006 presidential elections, Humala also won the first round but failed to do the same in the runoffs, where he lost 53% to 47% to incumbent President Allan García.

Campaigning with his wife Nadine
A wave of socialist renovation sweeps Latin America, where the masses, frustrated of centuries of exploitation, discrimination and inequality have turned to leaders who advocate a fair distribution of the riches and a new and just approach to social justice and in many cases appeal the constituent force of the forgotten to advance the will of the majority. Today thirteen countries out of twenty-one, either have openly socialist  governments, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, or left-leaning presidents, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, and others, while there are also strong left-oriented  movements in Mexico, Chile, Honduras and Perú. Will that wave of socialist renovation reach Perú this time?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Posada Carriles, ex CIA member and reputed assassin, acquitted of all charges in El Paso, Texas

After a 13 week trial, it took jurors three hours to agree that the man responsible for the deaths and torture of innocent individuals in Cuba and other countries in Latin America, and the blowing up of a Cubana airliner in 1976 that killed all 73 people on board, is innocent of perjury, obstruction and immigration fraud. The U.S. government has refused repeatedly to prosecute this confessed terrorist for his real crimes or to extradite him to Venezuela or Cuba where he is requested to stand trial.

This should come as no surprise to anybody who is familiar with this case; it clearly shows how “selective” the U.S. justice system is. Of course, it could not be any other way. This individual, besides the crimes mentioned above, was also actively involved in the dirty war carried out by the CIA against revolutionary governments in Latin America.  Posada Carriles knows too much and could become a nightmare for the U.S. if the authorities of this country do not protect him.

If he relatives of Posada’s victims both in Cuba and Venezuela had any hopes that they would finally get some closure for their pain, they were wrong.   If the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Panamá, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, just to name a few, thought that justice would be served in the North to compensate for the affront inflicted by this criminal to them, they too were wrong. 
The fallacy of the trial, the manipulation of the truth, and the verdict are evidence of the disdain and arrogance with which the U.S. ignores the suffering and the right to justice of Latin America.
For how much longer do we have to stand the insult?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Miami concert suspended because it featured Cuban musicians from the island

The concert that never was
Fuego Cuban Music Worlds Festival, a concert that was to be held at the Homestead Miami International Speedway has been cancelled, according to the organizers, who have filed a civil suit against the owners of the venue.

Posada Carriles, terrorist of Cuban origin, free in Miami
Miami is the base of extremist anti-Cuba groups who for more than 50 years now have maintained a bitter- aggressive, yet futile posture against Cuba and its Revolution. These Cuban exiles operate with total impunity in the United States, whose government encourages the perpetration of acts of terror against their homeland since 1959. This cancellation proves once more how far the reach of their arm is and how the atmosphere of intolerance reigns almost uncontested in that city.

Invasion defeated in 72 hours
The date of the concert was April 9, shortly before April 19th, the 50th Anniversary of the Victory of Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs), an invasion planned, financed and manned by the CIA with the express approval of the U.S. government, which ended in a spectacular defeat after a 72 hour battle.  Apparently this was considered to be an insult to for the exiled community.

It has been a policy of successive U.S. governments, under the illegal blockade imposed to Cuba by the same president who ordered the invasion (Kennedy, 1961), to nurture an atmosphere of hostility and intolerance, while trying to asphyxiate the revolutionary island.