By Nelson P Valdés, Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
November 20, 2016
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“…. At a certain time Lenin raised the idea of the construction of capitalism even under the leadership of the proletariat. For your peace of mind, of course, I tell you that we have no such thing in mind, and it is not because we disagree with Lenin, but because the circumstances are different, since our process, which could count on the assistance of the Socialist camp and the USSR, has made great progress, has very solid forces and does not have to raise the issue in those terms. “Fidel Castro, August 6, 1995.
“I remember reading how at one point Lenin conceived the construction of capitalism under the leadership of the workers, of a workers’ government. He said: ‘We must build capitalism, we must develop our productive forces’. But such was the harassment, the aggression, the isolation and the critical situation that he had no choice but to accept that challenge; Marx would have put his hands on his head, really.” Fidel Castro, August 24, 1998.
“Revolution is a sense of the historical moment; It means to change everything that must be changed …” Fidel Castro, May 1, 2000.
Those who are supposed to study Cuba do not pay sufficient attention to the institutions and practices that exist in the country.
Most scholars and reporters from the outside discuss, write and prescribe an imaginary or imagined Cuba. They write about the future and very little about the real present or the one that was. In other words, they do not ask the question –for example: Why are there CUPET and ORO NEGRO gas stations? Why are there two instead of one single company selling gasoline? They do not wonder why there are so many different types of taxis: HavanaTaxi, PanaTaxi, etc. Everything is seen as ONE State controlling them all… and everything else… because this is not analyzed. Actually, it is not even perceived.
It is obvious that in Cuba there is an almost completely monopolistic state capitalism that faces many difficulties imposed from abroad –particularly by the US government. This description is not meant to be pejorative, it is only descriptive. This state capitalism, however, focuses on the distribution of what it produces or generates from products and income. These aspects differentiate it from the typical state capitalism that distributes profits only among private investors.
With state capitalism, there are corporations which are independent of one another and can respond to different sectors within the state itself. For example, MINFAR [Ministry of the Armed Forces] has companies (including the Banco Financiero Internacional -International Financial Bank –which is different from Banco Popular de Ahorro – (National Savings Bank, which it does not control). Also, MINFAR also has a line of hotels (Gaviota) and its own farms. These farms show us that there is “vertical integration” in different productive chains on the island. And these state entities and chains –autonomous from one another –COMPETE with other state entities.
Are there possible contradictions –in Marxist terms– between Gaviota and Cubanacan, for example? And, since when have these institutions existed? They began in 1985. And who has studied the economic and political process of Cuba on the basis of these conditions? What exactly is a “business group” (e.g., AZCUBA [Cuban sugar company)?
Those who call for the introduction of capitalist measures on the island and dream of the market are out of tune and clueless. Some elements already exist, but that is not the whole reality. Everything is more complex and complicated.
Journalists and many academics from abroad confuse this with the capitalism of private corporations. They do not understand that the practice of capitalism by semi-state-owned or fully state-owned corporations is something totally different. One big difference, of course, is who appropriates the profits and how they do it. The profits in private capitalism go –eventually– to private hands. State capitalism usually appropriates profits and distributes some of those profits among the administrators and –individually or socially– among those working in or out of the company. Both types pay taxes.
Note: In Cuba, there were precedents of this situation – and they were established by the United States government. For example, the Nicaro Nickel Company was a US state corporation. Nicaro was an administrative subsidiary of the Freeport Sulphur Company which in turn “acted” on behalf of the Defense Plant Corporation and Metals Reserve Company owned by the United States.
NOTE: The use of the term “state capitalism” has no pejorative intent.
Cubadebate, Contra el Terrorismo Mediático http://www.cubadebate.cu
By Marlene Moya
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Santiago de Cuba, Feb. 21 (ACN) The united vote in the March 11 elections means giving the Yes for Cuba, for social justice and the conquests of the Revolution, said Elvira Orozco, delegate of the Popular Power of the 76th constituency, in this city.
If we read the biographies of the candidates for the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power and the Cuban Parliament, we see that they are compañeras and compañeros with plenty of merit and genuine representatives from all sectors,” this professional radio journalist in Santiago de Cuba pointed out.
She commented that, a few days ago, she saw in the National Television Newsletter a material about Commander in Chief Fidel Castro’s visit to the José Martí Urban Center, in one of the previous trips to a similar process, in an area where the leader of the Revolution was a candidate for the National Assembly.
I had the privilege of doing that coverage and I remember his dialogue with the people gathered there spontaneously, knowing of his presence, about who were the proposed [candidates], people of the people, not millionaires as happens in other countries, and the most recent example is the current president of the United States, she said.
Donald Trump, she said, ranks in that category and does not care about any program that benefits the most vulnerable.
He said that the conquests of today, for which so many Cubans fought, for centuries, must be defended and the united vote is a way to do it.
We are not going to vote for someone who will benefit us personally or [because] we like them, we will vote for dignified men and women with a rich and revolutionary career, said Elvira.
This professional with the pen has more than a thousand voters in her constituency and this is her second term.
It has in its area, the Historic Center, three blocks from the Corredor Patrimonial Las Enramadas and several units of services, among those of commerce and gastronomy, pharmacy, two bakeries, the central post office, gymnasium and self-employed workers, especially food processing.
mmm/cmb 18 16:16
El voto unido es una manera de defender la Revolución
Santiago de Cuba, 21 feb (ACN) El voto unido en los comicios del 11 de marzo significa dar el Sí por Cuba, por la justicia social y las conquistas de la Revolución, destacó Elvira Orozco, delegada del Poder Popular de la circunscripción 76, en esta ciudad.
Si leemos las biografías de los candidatos a la Asamblea Provincial del Poder Popular y al Parlamento Cubano, vemos que son compañeras y compañeros con sobrados méritos y genuinos representantes de todos los sectores, puntualizó a la ACN esa profesional del periodismo radial en Santiago de Cuba.
Comentó que hace pocos días vio en el Noticiero Nacional de Televisión un material sobre la visita del Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro al Centro Urbano José Martí, en uno de los recorridos previos a similar proceso, en un área por donde el líder de la Revolución fue candidato a la Asamblea Nacional.
Tuve el privilegio de hacer esa cobertura y recuerdo su diálogo con personas congregadas allí de forma espontánea, al saber de su presencia, sobre quiénes eran los propuestos, gente del pueblo, no millonarios como ocurre en otros países, y el ejemplo más reciente es el actual mandatario de los EE.UU, acotó.
Donald Trump, señaló, clasifica en esa categoría y no se preocupa por ningún programa que beneficie a los más desprotegidos.
Manifestó que las conquistas de hoy por las cuales lucharon tantos cubanos durante siglos hay que defenderlas y el voto unido es una manera de hacerlo.
No vamos a votar por alguien que nos beneficiará en lo personal o nos cae bien, lo haremos por hombres y mujeres dignos y con una rica trayectoria laboral y revolucionaria, apuntó Elvira.
Esa profesional de la pluma cuenta en su circunscripción con más de mil electores y este es su segundo mandato.
Tiene en su área, del Centro Histórico, tres cuadras del Corredor Patrimonial Las Enramadas y varias unidades de servicios, entre esas de comercio y gastronomía, farmacia, dos panaderías, el correo central, gimnasio y trabajadores por cuenta propia, sobre todo de elaboración de alimentos.
mmm/cmb 18 16:16
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
U.S. imperialism stands out for the fabrication of its pretexts for its wars. But this has been done so often that no one who is moderately intelligent or well-informed believes it.
It is not yet known whether the fantastic science fiction story about alleged “sonic attacks” against intelligence personnel accredited as diplomats at the U. S. Embassy in Havana had it has achieved more than one goal. First,: to terrorize the Americans into neutralizing the attraction that Cuba awakens as a result of more than half a century of media demonization and economic blockade, in contrast to a high level of security for population and its visitors.
The hypothesis of the commentator who wrote this article is that Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio, found himself in a situation in which he thought it OK to fabricate a big lie, one that would benefit the image that needs to be built based on his plans to become president of the United States.
On September 15, 2017, the AP published a report datelined in Havana about the flooding caused by Hurricane Irma due to sea penetration that affected a part of the building housing the U. S. Embassy in Cuba, located on the Havana Malecón.
An official of the U. S. National Security Subcommittee (NSSC), who asked the AP not to be identified, told the agency that a lawsuit was being prepared against the American Technology Corporation (ATC), a manufacturer of LRAD-RX equipment used by the NSSC to communicate with its agents in Cuba.
The suit would be based on the auditory impairment that the equipment would have caused to several NSSC workers, their employees and family members. According to the plaintiff, the equipment in question was purchased less than a year earlier and the ATC experts who trained those who would use you at no time warned them against hearing problems.
According to the source, the suit to be filed by the NSSC included financial compensation for damages caused to operators of the equipment and their affected family members, as well as for operational damages suffered by the NSSC.
The NSSC immediately ordered the discontinuation of the use of the LRAD-RX but this implied an immediate change in the media with its agents, which led to higher expenses that exceeded the budgeted amount.
The penetration of the sea into the Embassy due to the hurricane complicated the investigation of the technological aspects of the case, because a part of the equipment was under the sea waters. Although a number of technicians and specialists had planned to travel to Cuba to verify the conditions of the equipment, this aspect of the investigation was already useless.
So far, the precedents that the United States omits in its history of the alleged sonic attacks.
Surprisingly, in May 2017, the U. S. State Department ordered the expulsion of two Cuban diplomats in response to “incidents” at their embassy in Cuba without specifying which ones, or whom they considered guilty.
According to Internet search engines, the ATC is a company with U. S. commercial registration, but it is also an entity created by the security forces of the state of Israel. From the same source it is known that LRAD is a weapon that emits a sound that makes the opponent temporarily deaf.
However, when suspicions seemed to concentrate on technological problems attributable to the supplier, scandalous statements by U. S. Senator Marco Rubio “asking for blood against Cuba”. This showed the Florida Republican to be an axis of manipulation that led to the withdrawal of 60% of the workers of the Embassy in Cuba and the expulsion of fifteen diplomats from the Cuban mission in Washington, claiming the “lack of adequate Cuban measures to protect the Cuban people”,
Observers of U. S. policy argue that Senator Marco Rubio, who is not Cuban and has never been on the island nation, has been determined for some time to become the first Hispanic president of the United States.
Hence, his obsession with excelling in the press, and his involvement with the controversial figure of Donald Trump, whose political premise is to allow only “people less intelligent than him”. And Rubio amply meets that requirement.
February 16, 2018
WASHINGTON – Students who survived last week’s massive shooting in the U. S. state of Florida are preparing today for a national mobilization called “March for our lives” to demand action against armed violence.
Through a page already available on the Internet, the promoters of the initiative announced that children and families will take to the streets of this capital on March 24 to demand’ that their lives and safety become priorities’ and that the massive shootings in schools be stopped.
Sister marches are also expected in other cities, according to five students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed and 15 wounded on 14 February when an ex-student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle.
People say this is not the time to talk about gun control and we can respect that. This is the moment: March 24, he told ABC Cameron Kasky, who is in his third year at the aforementioned educational institution.
In every city we will march together as students who plead for our lives. This isn’t about the Republican Party, it’s not about the Democrats, it’s about adults, we feel careless and, at this point, you’re with us or against us,” he told the network.
One of the students who told the U. S. media about the upcoming march was Emma Gonzalez, who made a big impact on social networks over the weekend by spreading her speech during a rally at the Federal Court in Fort Lauderdale.
“If the president wants to come to me and tell me that it was a terrible tragedy and that it should never have happened and continue to tell us that nothing will be done about it, I’m going to ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,” she said.
According to the March rally call for mobilization, the action is “created, inspired and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass shootings”.
In the tragic wake of the 17 lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians tell us that this is not the time to talk about guns. The March for our lives believes that the time is now,’ the text said.
Following the events in high school, Gun Violence Archive noted that during the first six weeks of 2018, 1,816 people died from gun violence in the United States, equivalent to an average of 40 deaths per day.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
By Mauricio Escuela firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
An anonymous young weakling who works in a low-level position suddenly sees himself in the middle of an extreme situation, says the word Shazam!, and becomes the almighty Captain Marvel. The magical word brings together the initials of numerous mythological heroes and gods of the Western past: S for the wisdom of Solomon, H because of the strength of Hercules, A representing the Greek Atlas and its universal power, Z of Zeus, M of Mercury (Hermes), who symbolizes agility. Many children of several generations locked themselves in their rooms to say that Shazam!, without anything extraordinary happening since it is just another myth.
The superheroes represent that very thing, the hidden force of a society, that being that can be invoked at any moment, and that is not only above all human, but also imparts justice beyond the failed legal structures. Throughout the Batman saga, the almost null Inspector Gordon is limited to illuminating the sky with a reflector so that the man-bat appears to correct what gets away from politics, society, the rule of law. In this way a strong covert message is sent in adventures and empathy: there is no law, only the market, and the only thing that can save you is a mythological figure that comes out of nowhere, anonymously. That capitalist miracle in the midst of chaos responds to the climate of the decade in which comics emerge: that of the 1930s, that of the Great Depression in the United States. The hero appears in this scenario of extreme inequality, comes from the planet Krypton, fell from the sky and is made of steel.
If, in the Germany of the interwar crisis, a pessimistic expressionism flourished, full of unrecognizable figures and appealing to the Germanic mythological past (vampires, monsters, night shadows, sorcerers), in the United States the mythological universe had to be created from the ideario of a power librecambista and of recent creation, whose best writers perhaps were about to be born. In the era of demystification and the crisis of credulity, the new pulpit was appealed to: the media and the strength of the image. They also prefixed the most vulnerable targets, children and adolescents, men who, tomorrow, could make the dangerous revolution if they are not taught that Superman will sooner or later impart the justice that they do not see anywhere.
If the myth appeals to the collective subconscious, to that which is beyond the visible, it can be put on any suit and will preferably be uniformed according to the dominant ideological values. In the Batman saga, for example, on more than one occasion, the superhero talks with young Robin to explain why crime exists: “they hate the order in our city.” Therefore, the causes of the rupture of justice should not be sought in scientific estates, or studying the political economy of the moment, but should assume the same metaphysics: if the hero comes out of nothing, the villain too, and none of both need to be explained. Both myths are the owners of the duality that makes up the ethical concept (good and evil). They are beyond the measurable, not imprisoned or legitimized or the police, much less the vote of the elector. Both Gotham City and Metropolis are safe cities because they are Batman and Superman, not because the state elected by the people normatively exercises its functions. It happens that neither of the two are real.
Being above good and evil, superheroes can make mistakes, but that never happens, and that unlikely factor is the ideological support of the comic: laws can be a kitchen towel, the world will fall apart, this market devours and only produces unproductive tyrants, but the ideal is still perfect. The nullity of the state and the apology of the famous “invisible hand” of the liberal Adam Smith, both function as pillars of capitalist consciousness before and after Captain America, only that its update through super-powered media models comes to place us in front of an opium of the villages almost charming.
The dark of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns , sure bothered the ideologues of the comic because, how is it that our hero is allowed to hit by Catwoman or, even, takes off the mask, so that your girl loves her true self and not the myth? It was a very intellectual and human dark, something far from nationalist steel. Result: Tim Burton was fired and the saga continued with a Batman who even uses torture to obtain information (this in the Bush Jr. era and the use of illegal prisons and preventive invasion). Trashing the rule of law and the prevalence of free trade as a shield despite the evils that entails, that is what those who gave gourds to the genius of Tim Burton want.
Spiderman better supplied his mythological role, with that pure consecration to the cause of justice, that not even an American blonde and her charms can divert. So, the superhero barely gave his girl a little kiss, while holding her head and masked. The sneaking of something other than the fight against evil demonstrates the apolitical and virile of the ideal of justice embodied in that kind of omnipresent myth. The sexuality of superheroes is almost invisible, despite the fact that male marks are evident in tight suits and perfect bodies. The companies place brides next to these characters, but rarely do we see that these relationships are consumated, since it seems that the myth is there untouchable before the human and imperfect macula of sex. The superhero is made of the best, and this practically implies a celibacy before ordinary things. Let us not forget that it is aimed at young people and that libido is, according to Freud, the sine qua non mechanism of liberation of the true self trapped in Western conventions.
The mask of the superhero supplies the feeble face of the real man, because the idealistic condition seems given by a supra and unknown being, beyond the same protagonist, who does not choose to be as he is. Thus, the human doubles of Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, etc., are perhaps even more unhappy than the rest of humanity. They show an obvious disability, as is the case of the surly character of the boy who becomes Spiderman, who I would suffer from agoraphobia. It is the invisible hand that draws them and places them in the middle of situations that they resolve and after which they must disappear behind anodyne human existence, to a normal life marked by the crisis of a system that, in the discourse of comics, is not perfect but has its own regulatory mechanisms of justice beyond legal justice.
The comic superhero emerges as the modern mythical expression of capital, coming to give security to the insecure in the middle of the voracious market. In the subtext is the call not to go to strengthen the eligible structures, such as the state or the laws. Instead it wants you to rely on an invisible and a much more powerful metaphysics that nobody knows, but that arises as soon as “Shazam!” is said. There is also there, among the ink of colors, the message that justice has a private owner, a millionaire conscious of his social role (Batman), capable of establishing it with the required perfection. Now, the role of those who look at the comics should not be to separate them, but to know well that we are not like Inspector Gordon, who leaves everything in the hands of a sign in heaven. Justice is a social good and is chosen in a democratic way, the ethics of a socio-political moment is knowable and can be studied through the existing structures. It is not about metaphysical heroes and villains flashing in the sky, but about elites of power and working peoples in the perpetual challenge of the history of the class struggle.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The real revelation in Michael Wolff’s new and successful book, Fire and Fury, is not that President Donald Trump acts like a child, suffers from psychopathologies like delusions of grandeur and paranoia, is an ignoramus who neither reads nor listens and, in short, is totally incapable of fulfilling the duties of his office.
It is not necessary to be a mental health professional to realize that Trump is an extremely dangerous character, a psychologically-distorted personality, a man with cognitive impairment, in complete denial, and with the unilateral power to initiate a nuclear holocaust that could destroy civilization. The Republican, right-wing and conservative project tries to erase the traces of the mid-20th century American Enlightenment and aims to make the United States once again great for religious fanatics, racists, xenophobes, misogynists, homophobes, plutocrats and the wildest capitalists.
To complete this project, the Republicans, despite their hypocrisy, have shown themselves ready and eager to sign a pact with the devil. They have done so with a political leader who is not satanic, but only a demagogue, serial liar, swindler and manipulator of the ethnic and economic fear of Americans. His goal is to fuel anger and hatred. He is a man lacking empathy, a sense of impartiality, history, appreciation and understanding for science and knowledge, and a man lacking in temperament and judgment to rule the world’s most powerful country.
The preceding paragraphs are the first of a very popular article published by the Progreso Semanal website, published in Florida, USA, about Wolf’s well-documented book that has been, as expected, a great publishing success in that country.
Anthony Zurcher, Washington correspondent for the British Crown Media Complex, the BBC, sums up in ten points what the media has been doing for the past ten years.
(1). Steven Bannon, the former chief strategist of Trump and his former trusted man, describes the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. as “traitor” and “unpatriotic.
(2). Trump expressed astonishment and consternation after his victory in the November 2016 presidential elections. Donald Trump, Jr. revealed to a friend that his father was perplexed, transformed himself into an incredulous Trump and then into a horrified Trump. Then came his final transformation into a man who believed he deserved everything, capable of being the president of the United States.
(3). Trump did not enjoy his inauguration because of the event’s non-attendance by top-level personalities. He was dissatisfied with the White House lodging, and was seen fighting with his wife -who seemed to be on the verge of tears- in anger, with bent shoulders, swinging arms, eyebrows and wrinkled lips.
(4). Trump found the White House to be creepy. He asked for a lock on the door, which led to a confrontation with the Secret Service, which insisted on having access to the room.
(5). Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, and her husband, Jared Kushner, allegedly reached an agreement for her to become the first woman president, Wolff said:
(6). Ivanka herself mocked her father’s so-called “scalp reduction surgery”, ironically, going as far as to mock her hair in front of others. She often described to her friends the mechanics of his hairstyle.
(7). Not even the most trusted White House staff are aware of management priorities.
(8). Trump’s admiration for media mogul Rupert Murdoch is evident in the book even though he had repeatedly spurned Murdoch as a charlatan and a fool.
(9). Murdoch thought that a liberal approach to granting H-1B visas to specialized foreign workers in desperate need would open the door to immigrants. And that it could be difficult to set up with the promise of building a wall with Mexico and closing the borders. Trump seemed indifferent, but immediately he said to Murdoch,”Let’s solve it! And soon after, Murdoch muttered: What a fucking idiot! and shrugging his shoulders, he hung up the phone.”
(10). Michael Flynn, the former National Security advisor had been warned by friends that it was not a good idea to accept $45,000 from the Russians for giving a speech. He later admitted that he had lied during the Justice Department’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential elections. According to the author of this selection of outstanding notes in the book, Anthony Zurcher: “Sometimes there has been a disconnect between Trump’s rhetoric and his actions. Maybe because the President reflects his sensitivity in business. Or simply because he was echoing the opinion of the last group of people he had met.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
By Redaccion OnCuba
January 27, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The sign says, “If we weren’t Cubans, we would pay to be.”
27 January, 2018
Padura, who was in the Spanish city of Toledo to present his new novel La transparencia del tiempo, answered reporters’ questions, that although he can’t be sure, he believes Trump is president “because in ahead of him, there was a candidate who was a woman.
And, in the United States, it was easier to have a black president than a female president, it’s a very complicated society,” he added.
Cuban writer Leonardo Padura said that the president of the United States, Donald Trump,”is the sin that Americans themselves are paying for their way of thinking”.
In this regard, he recalled that the story he tells in his latest novel takes place fundamentally in 2014 and ends with the beginning of talks between Cuba and the United States to re-establish relations.
It was a very hopeful development for the vast majority of Cubans and a large majority of Americans. But unfortunately, one of President Trump’s fundamental policies has been to dismantle President Obama’s policies,” said Padura.
I don’t believe that he has had a definite policy, except in the dismantling of what Obama created, and that’s where Cuba also fell,” said the writer, for whom relations between Cuba and the United States were restored but not normalized,” because, with an economic and financial embargo there can’t be normal relations.
In this context, he stressed that the Cuban community in Miami “is really very important.
It is a community that has made great efforts, which has even been able to accumulate capital “and will be important in the future development of Cuba,” according to Padura. He added that although in his principles this community “was characterized by being totally hostile to the Cuban revolutionary system,” now other more open generations have arrived.
The new generation of Cubans from Miami is much more open, its members travel to Cuba very often ” and they feel Cuban,” said Padura. He added that he has personally perceived that “it is increasingly possible for a Cuban artist living in Cuba to present himself as something normal in Miami.
There is an atmosphere “in which you can find some sense of hostility,” although he pointed out that “this has remained for a political class for which the bad relationship with Cuba is part of their work and is also part of their business.
But, in general, I feel that it is a community that has changed a lot in recent times. The historical exile no longer exists,” said Padura, who, for this novel brings back the character of police officer Mario Conde, who has starred in half a dozen novels.
In the plot, Conde is going to turn 60 years old and age begins to worry him. Not because of vanity,”but because he wants to witness things that may happen in the future” even though he is a man obsessed with the past “and knows that this vital period is running out”.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation edited by Walter Lippmann.
A good friend of mine who has been living in the United States for many years,
whom I consider an excellent analyst of international political issues, tells me that former President James Carter recognized, just a few months ago, that it was his mistake not to have completed the process of normalization of relations with Cuba during his term in the White House.
The subject came up in light of the indication that, in his view, for more than two months, Trump’s destructive drive against relations with Cuba has entered a new phase. The momentum seems to have lost steam in the sense that there have been no new hostile actions. The farce of the “sonic attacks” was officially frozen, and the bilateral meetings and specific negotiations that began before Trump are being resumed.
According to my friend, “it is as if the course towards the collision was being reconsidered, giving way to a kind of temporary truce, or towards a certain arrangement or new modus vivendi.” This is not the first time an approach of this type has turned up in the policy options that appear at the level of the executive branch by way of proposals.
In 1979, Robert Pastor, assistant and very close advisor to Zbigniew Brzezinski, himself advisor to US President Lyndon Johnson between 1966 and 1968 —when describing several proposals on Cuba— introduced the notion of “Cool but Communicative”. This meant that Washington should maintain communication channels with Havana, but at the same time, should be tightening a siege around Cuba’s neck.
Could this apparent temporary truce be a new version of the “Cool but Communicative” style or —considering the different context that sustains Cuba’s international position? Could it as well the domestic support in the United States for normalization of ties with the Island— a move towards a low profile modus vivendi, that might bring stability?
Of course, the siege that Pastor talked about then was set in a very different context from today’s. The governments of Canada and of all Latin America are aligned in favor of the normalization of trade and cooperation with Cuba.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, visited Cuba and promotes relations with his country. South Korea has become an important commercial partner of Cuba and their positions are approaching normalization.
The European Union advances in the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement with Cuba, after three visits to Havana by Federica Mogherini, the High Foreign Policy Representative and Vice President of the European Union.
Just a few days ago, Trump met with the Prime Minister of Norway, a country that has cooperated closely with Cuba for years in the peace process in Colombia. Without these players on the oppressor´s side, there is no possible siege; the position of all of them contradicts the course announced by Trump in Miami last June 16.
I do not share the forecast that Trump’s policy towards Cuba includes a cooling and temporary truce in its aggressiveness. That is not what becomes apparent, among many other things, after the announcement of the setting up of a new Internet Task Force aimed at subverting Cuba’s internal order. This assumes the continuity of failed Cold War policies and the blockade as part of the doctrine of Unconventional Warfare that have proven inoperative against the concept of All Peoples’ War on which the Island bases its defense readiness.
On the other hand, I do fully agree as to how influential a majority opinion can be in favor of the normalization when it is supported by important pressure groups and American economic interests agreeable to a low profile modus Vivendi. This option runs contrary to the one Marco Rubio has been working for with his spectacular farce of sonic attacks and inconsequential senatorial hearings against Cuba.
The coming electoral victory in socialist Cuba will bring continuity to the revolutionary process on the Island. It will stimulate peoples throughout Latin America to continue their struggle for self-determination against the designs of the local oligarchies and the imperialist hegemony of the United States.
The presidential victory of the Chilean right wing led by Santiago Piñera could not silence a remarkable rise of the center-left forces represented by the novel example of the Frente Amplio (Broad Front). Additional factors will include: the return of Lula and the Workers’ Party in Brazil, MORENA with López Obrador in Mexico, the almost certain victory of Maduro and the United Socialist Party in Venezuela, in the face of an atomized opposition backed by all the resources of the US empire; the undoubted victory of Evo in Bolivia. Finally, there are Macri´s crisis in Argentina, the uncertain outcome in Colombia and the return of the left in Paraguay, are the most commented scenarios of in Latin America’s patriotic struggle in 2018.
January 25, 2018
USAtells its citizens to reconsider trips to Cuba, one of the safest countries in the world
Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | email@example.com
January 10, 2018 23:01:15
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Although Cuba is one of the safest destinations in the world, and meets all international standards, the United States on Wednesday recommended that its citizens “reconsider” possible trips to the Greater Antilles.
The State Department changed its old alert system with a ranking that places all nations on four levels, where the first only involves “taking normal precautions” and the fourth receives the warning “do not travel.”
Cuba, whose citizen security indicators are among the best in the region, was located at level three, with the suggestion of “reconsidering visits” because “there are serious risks to their safety and protection.”
Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti and Guatemala are among the Latin American countries given the same classification.
As on September 29th of last year, when an unjustified travel alert was issued against the Island, the argument used by Washington once again was the occurrence of alleged “attacks” against US diplomats in Havana, about which there is no any evidence.
“Because the safety of our personnel is at risk and we can not identify the source of the attacks, we believe that US citizens may also be exposed to danger,” says the Department of State website.
However, after months of both US and Cuban investigations, evidence to support the hypothesis of the so-called “acoustic attacks” is still lacking.
Three State Department officials acknowledged before a US Senate hearing last Tuesday that the causes and reasons for the health conditions alleged by their staff in Havana are still unknown.
Also, a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), cited by the Associated Press, argues that there is no evidence that “sonic attacks” have been carried out against US diplomats in Cuba.
On Tuesday, Josefina Vidal, General Director for the United States of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, criticized on Tuesday the State Department for continuing to use the word “attack” when it lacks evidence to support that.
“Cuba is a safe, peaceful and healthy country for Cubans, for foreigners, for accredited diplomats and for the millions of people who visit us every year, including the Americans,” said Vidal.
SAFER THAN IN THE UNITED STATES
Despite the unilateral measures taken by the administration of Donald Trump to strengthen the blockade and limit travel between the two countries, in 2017 there was an increase in visits by Americans to Cuba.
According to official figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, between January and November of last year 579 288 people traveled from the United States, for an increase of 248.7% in relation to 2016.
The increase in visits has occurred in a security environment, as recognized by travelers, specialized sites and tour operators.
«I have always felt safe in Cuba. I spent a month there recently and I felt more secure than in Los Angeles,” American journalist Walter Lippmann told Granma.
“Under the current law, it is still illegal for Americans to travel as tourists,” Lippmann recalled.“But anyone who visits the island, no matter the route, will find that they are in what is probably the most peaceful country in the world.”
Daniel Howell, a professor at the University of New York and a specialist in Cuban literature, told this newspaper that Cuba is objectively a very safe country, because there are almost no crimes, especially compared to the United States, which has one of the highest rates of highest violence in the first world.
According to figures from the Brady Center Against Armed Violence, about 93 Americans die every day from the use of firearms. Last year, one person killed 58 others in Las Vegas, using more than a dozen assault rifles that can be purchased without difficulty in that country.
“It does not make sense to recommend to Americans not to visit Cuba. I think they use the supposed sonic attacks to scare away tourists, but this does not make sense,” Howell added.
DISAGREE WITH THE MEASURE
Although Cuba was placed in one of the most negative categories, without the support of objective data, some lawmakers of Cuban origin reacted indignantly, expecting a worse rating.
“The Department of State should not minimize Cuba’s threat to American citizens. Lowering the level of travel warning to the Island is irresponsible, especially when there are still so many unanswered questions about the attacks against US diplomats in Havana, “Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a well-known supporter of the anti-Cuban ultra-right of Miami.
In her opinion, the new classification is less drastic than that of last September 29, when the US authorities, despite lack of evidence, said that their citizens “could be at risk of being victims of sonic attacks” and recommended abstaining from everything about traveling.
Michele Thoren Bond, an undersecretary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the State Department, was consulted on Wednesday in a teleconference.
“We made a careful examination, we consulted with our experts and this has been the conclusion regarding Cuba,” she said after pointing out that the new classification is not due to “a change in the situation on the island, but to the need to be consistent.” in classifications of risks in different countries ».
Quoted by several media, she explained that category four includes countries where there is “a high probability of life risks.” Eleven nations have that classification: North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya and Mali.
The legislators of Cuban origin, opposed to the rapprochement between the two countries, would be pressing for Cuba to appear in the fourth level and thus achieve an even more drastic reduction in the flow of people between the two nations.
Counseled by some of them, including Senator Marco Rubio, the Trump administration has already taken unilateral measures such as reducing the categories of approved trips and drawing up a list of products and places banned for Americans in Cuba.
In addition, under the pretext of the supposed acoustic attacks, the State Department reduced the personnel of its embassy in Havana to the essential and paralyzed the consular services. He also demanded the withdrawal of 17 Cuban officials from Washington.
These actions have a “high cost for our population, Cuban emigration and the American people,” recently reported Josefina Vidal. (With the collaboration of Ernesto Gómez, Dayron Rodríguez and Jeiddy Martínez)
By Francisco Castro, November 12, 2017.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Whistles and compliments – sometimes risque – are constant and common. So are harassment and even sexual attacks in exchange for work or favors, and complaints, due to fear, ignorance or immigration status, are nonexistent.
This is how Ramona Félix, coordinator of the program on harassment and sexual assault and human trafficking for the Líderes Campesina organization, describes what happens in the countryside to rural women.
“People are afraid to report it, they are afraid of being fired, many are single mothers,” about what agricultural workers live on. “There have been cases where there is harassment and run and supervisors spread the word ‘she is problematic’. The woman is left without any money. For fear, for the legal status, for what they will say, they remain silent. “
That’s why this Sunday, almost two dozen of them traveled from Ventura County to be present and participate in the #MeToo March against sexual harassment that took place in Hollywood.
Survivors of harassment and sexual assault and abuse walked from the meeting point – the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue – to the offices of a television station [CNN] where several people spoke out against this social scourge, before going back to the point initial.
The scandal over allegations of sexual harassment against powerful men in the film industry has opened the door for women in all kinds of industries to raise their voices and tell their cases.
“For every Harvey Weinstein (the famous Hollywood producer), there are hundreds more men in the neighborhood who are doing the same,” said Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement. “The conversation around Hollywood will spread to include other industries if we force it to happen.”
“This goes beyond Hollywood,” said Brenda Gutierrez, one of the organizers of the march. “I think it’s time that we no longer keep silent, that we are not ashamed and that we end up with the stigma and I think that is the great message of this march.”
“If a person can go out and get help, that will make me happy,” Gutiérrez added.
With chants of “Stop the violence, stop the rapes”, “Stand up for the women of the world” and “Violence must disappear”, hundreds of women – and men – joined the march yesterday in solidarity with their wives, mothers and sisters, as well as, some actresses.
“If people start talking about this, I think it will make a difference,” said Elizabeth Perkins, actress of the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.
Many women said that men’s help in stopping this is essential.
“They are the ones who can solve this,” said Gretchen, who did not want to give her last name. “There are many wonderful men out there, but they have to go and talk to those who cause problems.”
TIME MAGAZINE story, including support statement by female farmworkers: