el maestro

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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Africa's Unknown War

September 27th & 28th, 2013
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada   

Today the African continent has 55-independent countries. While no outside power directly holds sway over African territory (with the exception of French-ruled Djibouti), the issue of African independence is posed as sharply as ever. 2013 will mark the 25th anniversary of a landmark in the struggle for African independence & self-determination: the decisive defeat in Angola of the racist armed forces of the apartheid South African state by combined Cuban and Angolan troops. This led to the immediate independence of Namibia, accelerating the end of racist rule in South Africa. These events and Cuba's extensive & crucial role in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, however, remain virtually unknown in the West. Also forgotten is the apartheid regime’s regional war of terror, which set the context of Cuba’s intervention. Africa's Unknown War: Apartheid Terror, Cuba & Southern African Liberation will commemorate the 25th anniversary, while elaborating apartheid’s reign of terrorism. The symposium will be held on September 27th& 28th, 2013 at the University of Toronto, in Toronto, Canada.
"The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character.” - Nelson Mandela –
Location: William Doo Auditorium, 45 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Canada
Friday, September 27, 2013
Patria Es Humanidad: Homeland Is Humanity
- Film screening, followed by panel discussion and Q&A -
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Session One: Apartheid’s War of Terror
- Apartheid South Africa’s regional terrorism and destabilization campaign -
Session Two: Cuba & Southern Africa Liberation
- Focus on Cuba’s internationalist contribution to the fight against apartheid - 
Session Three: Struggle & Liberation
- Panel discussions with representatives from Angola, Cuba, Namibia and South Africa -
Cultural Gala
Among those scheduled to participate are: 
*Piero Gleijeses: Author of the universally acclaimed groundbreaking Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-76. He is currently writing Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington and Pretoria in Southern Africa, 1976-91. Gleijeses is Professor of American Foreign Policy, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. 
*Jorge Risquet: Cuba's chief diplomat in Africa from the 1970s to the 1990s, who played a crucial role in the negotiations that ended South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia. 
*John Saul: Internationally acclaimed & honoured scholar on southern Africa & anti-apartheid activist. Professor Emeritus at York University (Canada), Saul is currently working on the book The Thirty Year War for the Liberation of Southern Africa, 1960-1990. 
*Isaac Saney: Cuba specialist who teaches at Dalhousie University (Canada). Author of the acclaimed, Cuba: A Revolution In Motion, he is currently finishing the book From Soweto to Cuito Cuanavale: Cuba, The War in Angola and the End of Apartheid
*Various diplomats and representatives of liberation organizations from Angola, Cuba, Namibia and South Africa.

On Apartheid South Africa’s War of Terror
From 1975 to 1988, the South Africa armed forces embarked on a campaign of massive destabilization of the region. The loss of life was immense. The South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated that "the majority of the victims of the South African's government attempts to maintain itself in power were outside South Africa. Tens of thousands of people died as a direct or indirect result of the South African's government aggressive intent towards its neighbours." South Africa’s war of terror was so devastating that in 1986 the late Julius Nyerere, then president of Tanzania declared:
When is war not war? When is terrorism not terrorism? Apparently when it is committed by a more powerful government against those at home and abroad who are weaker than itself…Those are the only conclusions one can draw in the light of the current widespread condemnation of aggression and terrorism, side by side with the ability of certain nations to attack others with impunity, and to organize murder, kidnapping and massive destruction with the support of some permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. South Africa is such a country."
On Cuba & Southern African Liberation
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. More than 330,000 Cubans served in Angola. More than 2,000 Cubans died in defense of Angolan independence and right of self-determination. The 1987-88 military defeat of South Africa in Angola constituted a mortal blow to the apartheid regime, ending its dream (nightmare for the region’s peoples) of establishing hegemony in southern Africa as a means by which to extend the life of the racist regime.  Cuba played the central role in those fateful events. Nelson Mandela has underscored Cuba's vital role. In 1991 he declared: 
"The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character. We in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty. It is unparalleled in African history to have another people rise to the defense of one of us. The defeat of the apartheid army was an inspiration to the struggling people in South Africa!”

In 1994, he further stated: "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 hearts.”
 Email: isaney@hotmail.com or call Isaac Saney:  902-494-1531
Email: melanie.newton@utoronto.ca or call Melanie Newton: 416-978-4054
Email: adifferentbooklist@rogers.com or call Miguel San Vicente: 416-538-0889
*Canadian Network On Cuba* Caribbean Studies Program, University of Toronto* James Robinson Johnston Chair of Black Canadian Studies, Dalhousie University*A Different Booklist *Taylor Report/CIUT-FM* Group for Research and Initiative in the Liberation of Africa* Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto*

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hagamos volar cintas amarillas por toda Cuba

Abogado José Pertierra

Tengo memoria histórica. Recuerdo como la campaña de la cinta amarilla en los Estados Unidos conmovió al pueblo.

Todo empezó con una crónica escrita por un brillante periodista neuyorkino, Pete Hamill, en el año 1971. La crónica se llamaba “Going Home” y fue publicada en el New York Post. Hamill contó del viaje en guagua de New York a la Florida de un tal Vingo, quien iba evidentemente deprimido y preocupado.

En la guagua iban también seis adolescentes de vacaciones. Una de ellas le sacó conversación a Vingo y éste le contó que había estado preso por varios años y que lo acababan de liberar. Que le había dicho a su esposa anteriormente que si la separación era muy dura para ella, que lo olvidara y se buscara otra pareja. Que él tomaría una guagua desde New York a la Florida. Que la guagua pasaba por la casa, donde había en el jardín un roble gigante. Le dijo que si ella quería que él regresara a la casa, entonces que pusiera una cinta amarilla en el árbol. Vingo le dijo: “Si veo la cinta en el roble, me bajo de la guagua. Si no la veo, sigo de largo.”

La muchachita le contó a los demás y todos los pasajeros se pegaron a las ventanas de la guagua para ver si aparecía la cinta amarilla en el roble. Cuando la guagua se acercó a la casa, los pasajeros lloraron al ver cientos de cintas amarillas atadas al roble. “El roble se había convertido en un cartel de bienvenida y era como una bandera que ondeaba y bailaba con el soplo del viento”, escribió Hamill.

Mientras los pasajeros aplaudían, gritaban y lloraban, Vingo se bajó de la guagua y entró a su casa.
Esa es la crónica que inspiró la canción.

Yo la recuerdo como si fuera ayer. También recuerdo la canción y lo que significó para los familiares de los prisioneros de la guerra en Vietnam.

Después de la guerra quedaron cientos de soldados estadounidenses presos o desaparecidos en Vietnam. Los estadounidenses no los olvidaron. Colgaron cintas amarillas en los árboles, en las casas y en la ropa. Igual hicieron cuando la crisis de los rehenes en Irán.

Esta idea de René, con la cubanización de la canción de Tony Orlando que han hecho nuestros músicos (Silvio, Amaury, Kiki, Frank), es genial, y me emocionó tanto o más que la versión original, porque cualquier cubano digno, esté donde esté, siente lo que dice esa canción. Tenemos a cuatro hermanos presos injustamente en Estados Unidos, y por tanto hagamos volar cintas amarillas por toda Cuba para que el mundo sepa que ellos llevan 15 largos años lejos de sus seres queridos y de su patria. Que esas condenas nos duelen, porque son injustas. Que ellos son nuestros héroes, nuestros hermanos. Que no los hemos olvidados y que los estamos esperando.

Intervención de José Pertierra en la Mesa Redonda de la Televisión Cubana del 4 de septiembre de 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Action Plan in Toronto on behalf of the Cuban Five

Free the Cuban Five Now!

End the Injustice!

15 Years: Too Long, Too Wrong!

September 12, 2013 is the 15th anniversary of the arrest of the Cuban Five.

These five men who harmed no one have been unjustly held in U.S. prisons under extraordinarily harsh, politically motivated sentences.

Their only "crime" was to protect their homeland, Cuba, from repeated terrorist attacks engineered in Florida.

The continued imprisonment of the Five is an international outrage.

They must be released now! On this 15th anniversary of the wrongful arrest of the Five, the international movement for their freedom will rally many thousands of people behind this call ― at protests, pickets, and a myriad of other actions.

In Toronto, join us as we raise our voices loudly to demand freedom for the Five!

Call on U.S. President Obama to use his constitutional authority to order their immediate, unconditional release!

March and Rally at 1:00 pm, Saturday, September 7, 2013

Assemble at Dundas Square (Dundas & Yonge) then march to and rally at
360 University Ave., north of Queen across from the U.S. Consulate

Attend These Special Toronto-area Events in Solidarity with the Cuban Five:

Five Day Film Festival - for the Freedom for the Cuban 5

Marking 15 years since their arrest in the United States
on September 12, 1998.
- Opening Night -

Sunday, September 8, at 6:30 pm

The Royal Cinema, 608 College St.

Admission $7

Suitable for children able to read English subtitles.
VIVA CUBA – an amusing and touching award winning film about a friendship between a young girl and boy who creatively combat the impending separation that looms when one parent plans to take her child out of Cuba.
Wednesday, September 11, 6:30 pm

Bloor-Gladstone Library,
1101 Bloor St. W. (½ block east of Dufferin)

Free Admission
Como Angeles (Like Angels) – Dedicated graduates of the Latin American Medical School in Cuba working in different countries.
Monday, September 16, 6:30 pm

Brampton Soccer Centre, Room 2
1495 Sandalwood Parkway E.
(east of Hwy 410 at Dixie Rd.)

Free Admission
On the Hillsides of the Himalayas – a film about Cuba's internationalist humanitarian response to the massive 2005 earthquake in Northern Pakistan in which 80,000 people died.
Thursday, September 19, Time TBA
York University

Free Admission
Como Angeles (Like Angels) – Dedicated graduates of the Latin American Medical School in Cuba working in different countries.
Saturday, September 21, 1:30 pm

Cedarbrae Library – 545 Markham Rd. (south of Lawrence Ave. E. Scarborough)

Free Admission
On the Hillsides of the Himalayas – a film about Cuba's internationalist humanitarian response to the massive 2005 earthquake in Northern Pakistan in which 80,000 people died.
Organized by the Friends of the Cuban Five Committee - Toronto

All films have English sub-titles.