el maestro

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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Statement by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla at UN General Assembly, October 28th. 2014

 Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla

Mr. President;

Distinguished Permanent Representatives;


The United Nations General Assembly will consider today, for the twenty-third time, this issue which is so important to the international community, because it is related to international law, which protects all states, large and small, rich and poor, and guarantees their independence and the exercise of national sovereignty, which is the basis of sovereign equality.

It is also directly linked to the enjoyment of human rights by all persons and by all peoples.
This matter concerns freedom of trade and navigation, which protects the interests of states, companies and individuals.

We are, however, gathered here at a very specific international conjuncture, characterized by serious threats to international peace and security, atrocious wars and terrorist actions of extreme cruelty, the risks posed by the existence of huge nuclear arsenals and outrageous military expenditures - useless to the solution of any of the serious problems facing the world’s population, which is rapidly approaching the eight billion.

This is a critical moment in the impact of climate change which, among other catastrophic consequences, can provoke unprecedented famine, generalized extreme poverty in entire regions, and massive waves of migration.

We are living in an age characterized by a systemic global crisis, affecting simultaneously all economic, food, energy and water components.

In addition to poverty, which takes a higher toll on human lives than war, there is an increased risk posed by serious diseases like the Ebola virus, an epidemic which could become one of the worst pandemics in history, if it is not stopped and resolved in the affected sister nations of Western Africa, through the immediate, effective cooperation of all countries.

As was recently stated by President Raúl Castro Ruz, “Such a noble and urgent endeavor demands the indispensable commitment and dedication of every nation in the world, in accordance with the ability of each. We are of the opinion that this grave problem should not be politicized, to avoid the risk of losing track of the main objective, which is helping to confront the epidemic in Africa and prevent its expansion to other regions.”

Thus created is an unprecedented combination of problems, old and new, leading toward making human life unsustainable. None of these can be resolved if there is no change in our attitude, in the manner in which we confront and attempt to transform reality, and establish genuine cooperation in the interest of humanity’s survival.

As was recently written by compañero Fidel Castro, “Any conscious person knows that political decisions which involve risks to highly qualified personnel imply a high level of responsibility on the part of those who call upon them to fulfill a dangerous task. It is even more difficult than sending soldiers, who have also done so as their duty, to combat and die for a just political cause.

“The medical professionals who travel to any location whatsoever to save lives, even at the risk of losing their own, provide the greatest example of solidarity a human being can offer …”

Mr. President:

It is a fact that, in recent times, the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba has been tightened and that its extraterritorial application in all regions of the world has been intensified, in particular with the levying of huge, unprecedented fines of some 11 billion dollars against 38 banks, among them the French bank BNP Paribas, for processing transactions with Cuba and other countries.

The accumulated economic damages, which are huge for a small economy like ours, amount to 1,112,534,000,000 dollars, estimated on the basis of the price of gold, which is being manipulated by those who created the nefarious monetary system currently in force, and is being affected by the impact of an insurmountable crisis, and batters the poorest countries.

Human damages caused by the blockade are on the rise. The number of Cubans who have been born under these circumstances has already reached 77% of the population. The hardships families face are incalculable. There are many international conventions which proscribe the blockade, including the Geneva Convention of 1948 against genocide. The exercise of human rights by an entire people is being impaired. The economic development of the country is seriously hampered.

Although our health and social care systems manage to prevent the loss of human life, no honest person, whether in the United States or the world, could agree with the devastating consequences caused by the blockade.

Despite all of this, our national culture, our education and protection of equal rights and opportunities, allow us to be a cultured and fraternal nation.

Mr. President:

On both sides of the Florida Straits, the peoples of the United States and Cuba have always shared close ties.

Despite the systematic, slanderous campaigns launched against our country over half a century, the U.S. people supported the return to his family of a Cuban child kidnapped in 1999.

Cuba offered all possible assistance in the immediate aftermath of the terrible terrorist actions occurred on September 11, 2001, when thousands of aircraft in flight were left without a place to land, and, later on, to alleviate the deficit of antibiotics, at the time of the anthrax attacks in the United States.

In 2005, truly concerned about the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, we offered our medical cooperation to the people of New Orleans, a moment that led to the creation of a medical contingent specialized in the management of disasters and epidemics - which bears the name of Henry Reeve, a heroic young U.S. citizen who fought for the independence of Cuba back in the 19th century - now being deployed in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. This prestigious name identifies the brigade which in 2005 assisted Pakistan in the aftermath of an earthquake there, and continued to engage in productive cooperation with the U.S. military medical personnel, which had already begun in El Salvador, after the earthquake of 2001, and later in Guatemala in the 2002 and 2003, to treat onchocerciasis, known as “river blindness.”

In 2010, after the earthquake in Haiti, the United States and Cuba also cooperated to assist that long-suffering nation.

The Cuban Government has invariably shared with the U.S. government reports on terrorist actions and attacks against the United States being planned.

Despite the old tensions, and the attempts by violent extremists and terrorist groups to inflame these, there has been no war, no young U.S. soldier has died in Cuba. Cuba, despite being slandered, has never been a threat to the national security of the United States.

There is no hostility between our peoples. Cuba hospitably welcomes the few U.S. citizens who are allowed by their government to visit our country, or who face the legal risks which may result from doing so, as well as those who come to offer humanitarian assistance, such as members of “Pastors for Peace,” or to study Medicine.

Well known are opinion polls showing increasing majority support from absolutely all sectors of U.S. society for the lifting of the blockade, and normalization of bilateral relations. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that this support is even more marked in Florida, something also confirmed by voting trends observed during the most recent Presidential elections.

Political figures from diverse tendencies, as well as outstanding scholars, have recognized that this policy has failed to meet its purpose, and has not served the national interests of this powerful country. Suffice it to read the editorials published by The New York Times in recent weeks.

Religious leaders have cited legitimate and indisputable ethical and humanitarian reasons for a change.
U.S. citizens are demanding the freedom to travel to the only place on the planet where they are prohibited from doing so, as well as for the right to receive direct, personal information about Cuba’s reality.

Entrepreneurial organizations and business people believe that the blockade harms their economic interests. Majority public opinion is opposed to maintaining the current state of affairs and is expressing this in an ever more critical way.

Cuban émigrés have been affected by discriminatory measures, and must cope with numerous obstacles hindering family reunification, travel in both directions, the excessive costs imposed on them, political manipulation and even terrorist violence. But the majority wishes peace and wellbeing for their relatives and their people, and a normal relation with their nation of origin.

What’s the point of encouraging the illegal use of information technologies instead of authorizing mutually beneficial business in the area of telecommunications? What’s the point of preventing Cuba’s connection to nearby underwater cables, thus limiting and hindering our connectivity?
The blockade is harmful to Cuba, but it is also harmful to the United States.

The absurd and ridiculous inclusion of Cuba on the list of state sponsors of international terrorism, which has been used to justify the imposition of additional financial sanctions, only serves to discredit the United States.

The 16 years of unjust imprisonment imposed by fraudulent means on the three Cuban anti-terrorist fighters has not weakened them. Quite on the contrary, it made them heroes and an example for future generations of Cubans, as well as a source of pride for those whose sacrifices contribute to paving the way toward a new Cuba.

The decision to lift the blockade will be welcomed on a global level, and will become a unifying influence in the interest of peace and the peaceful resolution of conflicts and differences.

After the limited but positive measures of 2009 and 2011 regarding family visits, remittances sent by Cubans settled in the U.S. and travel licenses for certain categories of U.S. citizens to engage in exchanges of various sorts, the technical dialogue has been expanded to include other aspects, and cooperation has increased in areas such as the confrontation of drug trafficking, transnational crime, trafficking in persons, oil spill prevention, search and rescue operations, air and aviation safety, or in the event of any other specific occurrence.

The reaction on the part of U.S. society and the international community to these modest advances has been one of support and encouragement.

President Barack Obama has the constitutional prerogative, with no Congressional support required, to modify crucial aspects of the blockade and introduce a new, decisive dynamic in our bilateral relations.

Mr. President:

We invite the government of the United States to establish a mutually respectful relationship, based on reciprocity, sovereign equality, the principles of international law and the UN Charter.

We can attempt to find a solution to our differences through respectful dialogue and cooperation in areas of common interest. We can live and relate to each other in a civilized manner, despite our differences.

Cuba will never renounce its sovereignty, or the path freely chosen by its people to build a more just, efficient, prosperous and sustainable socialism. It will never forego its quest for a different international order, nor cease in its struggle for “the equilibrium of the world.”

Mr. President;

Distinguished Permanent Representatives and delegates;

At this difficult and special conjuncture, I must ask you to vote in favor of draft Resolution A/69/L.4 entitled “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America on Cuba,” to support the idea that the current serious problems facing humanity require a change in our way of relating to one another, to be able to resolve these problems, to preserve peace and human life.

Thank you very much.

Source: Granma

Monday, October 20, 2014

Key address by Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz at the Special ALBA-TCP Summit on Ebola

President of Cuba Raúl Castro declares ALBA_TCP Summit open

Esteemed heads of State and Government, and chiefs of delegations; His Excellency Mr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General; Her Excellency Mrs. Clarisse Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization; His Excellency Mr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organization of East Caribbean States

We welcome you to our country on the occasion of this Special ALBA Summit on Ebola convened on the initiative of President Maduro.

Ladies and Gentlemen, comrades;
A dreadful epidemic is advancing today on our fraternal peoples of Africa, and threatening us all. A high number of cases have been diagnosed with Ebola and many people have perished from the disease in several countries, including two outside the African continent.

This poses a huge challenge to humanity, one that should be met with utmost urgency. The action of the international community as a whole, under the leadership of the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, is much needed.

As part of the melting pot of Latin American and Caribbean cultures, African blood flows through the veins of ‘Our America’, contributed by those who fought for independence and helped in the creation of wealth in many of our countries and others, the United States included.

Africa and Cuba are bound together by deep affection. Over 76 thousand Cuban collaborators have rendered health services in 39 countries, while 45 nations have had 3,392 physicians trained in Cuba absolutely free of charge.

At the moment, more than 4 thousand Cuban healthcare collaborators are working in 32 African countries and, as our Public Health Minister will explain; they are all joining in the preventive effort against Ebola.

Last October 1st, in response to a request from the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, and UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, a specialized Cuban medical brigade traveled to Sierra Leone to take part in the struggle against that epidemic; and tomorrow, Tuesday, October 21st, two other Cuban brigades, whose leaders are already in the field, will be leaving for Liberia and Guinea.

The numerous alerts and concerns recently manifested over the insufficient resources contributed and the pace of the actions are a reflection of the growing universal awareness on the necessity to move ahead promptly in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis of unpredictable consequences.

I stand convinced that if this threat is not held back and resolved in West Africa, through an immediate and effective international response, with sufficient resources and coordinated by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, it may evolve into one of the gravest pandemics in the history of mankind.

Actually, such a noble and urgent endeavor demands the indispensable commitment and dedication of every nation in the world, to the extent of everyone’s possibilities.

We are of the view that this grave problem should not be politicized to avoid the risk of losing track of the main objective, which is helping to confront the epidemic in Africa and to prevent its expansion to other regions.

Following my conversation with the UN Secretary General last September 5th, instructions were given to our representatives in events called by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, to reaffirm that Cuba is willing work side by side with every country, including the United States.

The modest experience accumulated by the Cuban healthcare system indicates that an integrating disposition is required, along with the proper organization, planning and coordination, not only of the clinical and healing work but also of preventive measures. An inescapable complementation to this would be the systemic and permanent labors of the specialists who shall exercise great
discipline and severity in the observation of the medical protocols established. In the course of this meeting, we shall discuss the practical features of this matter.

In order to avoid being affected by the virus, we should prepare ourselves intensively, work together throughout the Americas on preventive measures, and be ready to deal with the disease and prevent its dissemination.

We wish to submit to the consideration of the member countries of ALBA and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) some collective proposals of cooperation that may help in training the healthcare personnel and designing and implementing comprehensive and effective preventive measures, giving a priority to Haiti and the Caribbean countries; we should all assist the most vulnerable states.

At the same time, we invite the countries of North America to also cooperate in this endeavor.

If the respective governments would agree, our healthcare collaborators currently working in Latin America and the Caribbean, could support, to the extent of their capabilities, the preventive actions and the training of local personnel, as well as offer advisory.

In summary, we have 45,952 Cuban healthcare collaborators working in 25 countries of Our America, 23,158 of them, that is, 50.4% are doctors, who along with their colleagues from the continent make up a powerful force capable of meeting such a challenge.

It’s worthwhile recalling that many countries of our region count on 23,944 doctors graduated in Cuban universities until today, basically in the past fifteen years.

Finally, on December 14th, we will host another Summit in Havana to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Alliance, the fruit of the will of our peoples in the region and of the actions of Hugo Chavez Frias and Fidel Castro Ruz. We look forward to that opportunity when we shall examine the implementation of what we agree here today.

Without further delay, we declare this Special Summit open.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Toronto Star Attacks Cuban Justice System. Why?

foto: canadianlawyermag.com

The Toronto Star's Sept. 30th opinion piece "Jailing Investors Cuba's Big Chill" is a vicious attack by a major daily in Canada that cannot stomach the fact that the government of Cuba is fearless when it has to apply the laws of the land against any one entity and individuals who dare to get involved in corrupt economic behaviours which is not only damaging to the country's economy but its reputation and ethical values; and therewith the sentencing of the Canadian businessman/investor Vahe Cy Tokmakjian, his associates, as well as a Cuban deputy minister of Sugar Industry and others associated with it.

But why the Toronto Star states that, "Yet suddenly, in 2011, President Raul Castro's anti-corruption prosecutors set their sights on Tokmakjian and charged him and 16 others." Well, as a matter of fact it wasn't so "sudden". For some four years the Cuban nation did organize meetings throughout the society in order to tackle the many issues the country was facing and determined what changes and approaches to be taken. One of the items put on the agenda of the leadership of the government by the people was to fight corruption. And this corruption case  was a big one and had to exhaust all the legal process and that is why the Cuban  justice system during a public and oral hearing between June 9 to 21 (2014) at Havana's Provincial Court addressed  the crimes of bribery, acts to the detriment of economic activity, falsification of banking and trade documents, criminal deception, trafficking in currency and tax evasion against Canadian entrepreneurs Vahe Cy Tokmakjian, Marco Vinicio Puche Rodriguez and Claudio Franco and others involved.

The Corruption of Public Officials Act in Canada clearly states that any entity/individual that gets involved in any behaviour which corrupts officials of another country is liable and must face justice. That is why the editorial board of the Toronto Star shall do its homework first before being Judge, jury and the executioner in the above case and withdraw its demand and advice to the government of Canada, requesting  the immediate release of the convicted individuals and their "assets"!

And the government of Canada knows very well that the Cubans have shown ample evidence proving their case in the above-mentioned. Otherwise, the Conservatives in Ottawa are not known to be great friends of Cuba or they would have intervened in the case of the anti-terrorist Cuban Five political prisoners of the empire who did nothing in the U.S. but to infiltrate terrorist and ultra right organizations  in order to expose their plans! Plans carried by terrorists out of the U.S. territory which caused the death of Fabio di Celmo, a permanent resident of Canada from Montreal in Aug. 1997 which to this date the government of Canada has not raised a finger to bring the mastermind of the terrorist act-Luis Posada Carriles who walks freely in Miami-to justice.

But why the Toronto Star use of such language as "Castro regime should be put on notice"! To be put on "notice" because fighting corruption to its roots, no matter who is involved, is a bulwark of the Cuban Revolution. And the Cuban justice system is so radical that even the mercenaries who were organized, armed and sent to Cuba by the U.S.  in 1961 to overturn the Cuban Revolution could not be abused in any way by anyone even though they had killed their own country men/women at the order of another foreign country! hmmmmm

And how could the Toronto Star attack Cuba! It reported once that Nabeel Yar Khan from Toronto is studying medicine in Cuba free of charge for the simple fact that Cuba's humanitarian health system provides for the education of tens of thousands of humble young students from around the world including the United States and Canada. Who would expect passionate behaviour from a government that is "a travesty of justice" in the words of Peter Kent! And I don't recall the Toronto Star asking business investors/creditors to  go to Cuba as a way to  "recompense" Cuba for its internationalist and humanitarian acts.

That is why I believe, the Toronto Star is stuck on attacking Cuba while defending business personalities caught in the vice of justice in Cuba for illegal acts! And all of a sudden investigative reporting gives way to vulgar, anti-Cuba verbiage. A Cuba that sets an example for the world over to share what they have, especially in health care, education and cultural values like, "homeland is humanity".

And again one wonders what bothers the Toronto Star to unleash its venom against Cuba and advising investors to stay away from Cuba and go somewhere else to make "a buck"! Is it that the World Health Organization's director, Margaret Chan, announced to the world that "we all have to learn from the very effective approach of Cuba to fight natural disasters and epidemics..." and praised Cuba for its contributions to fight Ebola virus in Africa where Cuba already has some 3000 medical personnel in 32 countries (in the African continent alone) and has dispatched some 450 medical specialists to fight Ebola only to this day. Where is Toronto Star's praise of Cuba!

The truth is that the capitalist media, including the Toronto Star, has no way of hiding for good the truth that comes out of Cuba and the shining path that it puts before the world. That, yes, it is possible with the least of resources and being one of the poorest countries in the world when it comes to underground minerals-or so it is thought- to have the highest level of education in Latin America and for sure ahead of the U.S.; to have the lowest infant mortality rate in the Americas ahead of Canada; or to have a national parliament whereby no one gets  an extra penny for being a member of-beyond their regular salaries/wages paid by their workplaces-and has an average age of 51.3 years and some 48 percentage of them are women! Oooh, some countries truly envy that.

Or the Toronto Star does not want its readers to know that while Canada, under the leadership of the United States, goes to war in order to occupy other countries for the sake of natural resources and cheap labour or...;  Cuba sends thousands upon thousands of its health workers around the world to save lives! And of course we all should know about the martyrdom of some 2000 Cuban internationalists in the struggle against the apartheid regime of South Africa.

And the Toronto Star very conveniently evades the matter of the U.S. government's genocidal practices of The Economic, Financial and Trade Blockade of Cuba which is very fundamental in the damages done to Cuba's "feeble economy".  A practice that is condemned by the world over at the United Nations General Assembly year after year with the exception of the largest military/economic power in the world, the U.S. of A, and the Zionist regime of Israel!  And this matter, if the Toronto Star is really worried about Cuba's economic future and "foreign investment" should have been mentioned to show that the paper is not really biased against Cuba; and for embezzlement/corruption and those bad things we all are just  sick of hearing, seeing and reading daily in the media which are part and parcel of a bankrupt profit-driven system!

Well, if the Toronto Star is really worried about the miscarriage of "justice" then it should really cover in its pages the case of the Cuban Five and demand justice for Fabio di Celmo since "justice delayed is justice denied" and most certainly millions of people from Canada who vacation in Cuba must have found it safe and joyous to go there and not "open season on Canadians" as the paper wants us to believe.

Hope in vain that the Toronto Star will correct its very dangerously mistaken approach towards the above story and send a team of its investigative reporters to Cuba to find the truth firsthand instead of relying on the lawyers of a company that got caught red-handed and instead of quoting a desperate conservative MP, Peter Kent, looking for votes in a mainly middle-class neighbourhood which is not a natural friend of socialist Cuba! That could be called "easy" journalism but certainly not a serious and sincere one.

And of course the undersigned is more than ready for a public and open debate with the editorial board members of the Toronto Star in order to get to the bottom of the accusations made against the Cuban Revolution, its leadership and the findings of its justice system so we all can take a just stand when it comes to issues related to Cuba.

Take care and have a nice day.
Morteza Gorgzadeh