By Katherine Leal
November 20, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The elected mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, criticized the presence of soldiers in the streets of the capital in the face of protests on Thursday, November 21. She also noted that the government should not be afraid of demonstrations that are convened by different sectors.
“I do not see why there’s so much alarm. As if we had never seen a demonstration in Colombia. The government cannot fear its citizens, this is an elementary principle because a democratic government owes its citizens,” said the mayor.
She said that “the National Army has very specific functions, is trained for very specific things and certainly not to attend public demonstrations. That is neither its constitutional function, nor is it properly trained for that so that we make a mistake.”
According to the elected mayor, “neither Bogotá, nor any city in Colombia needs militarization for a legitimate social mobilization, convened by serious organizations, which have often marched and have all said that they will do it peacefully.”
Lopez also questioned the government of Iván Duque, for saying that something very serious is going to happen, and said that “what will happen is that the citizens who expressed themselves at the polls will express themselves again in the streets.”
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“What is the novelty? What is the fear? We are acting as in the story of Gabriel García Márquez: – Something very serious will happen in this town! (…) Those same demands that were seen at the polls are the ones that are going to take to the streets. They are the ones that we have to accept, listen to and honor because citizens are asking us to listen with respect, not to instill unnecessary fear, unnecessary tension and to act. “
The mayor, who participated this Wednesday in the Congress of the Colombian Chamber of Infrastructure held in Cartagena, revealed that on Thursday (November 21), “I will be in Bogotá; I am not on strike, but at some point in the mobilizations I will go through the programmed citizen organization points,” she said.
This is considered in a report, by the non-governmental organization Amnesty International. According to the NGO, «the vast advertising architecture of Google and Facebook is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.
November 21, 2019
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the foundations of privacy and is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” said Kumi Naidoo, general secretary of Amnesty International.
In a report, the non-governmental organization Amnesty International argues that by making their free online services essential for billions of people and by using personal data collected for targeted advertising, these groups threaten freedom of opinion and expression.
“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the foundations of privacy and is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty Secretary-General, cited in the document.
Kumi Naidoo added that people are “trapped.”
«Google and Facebook have gradually eroded our privacy. Today we are stuck. Or we submit to this great surveillance machine, where our data is easily used to manipulate and influence us, or we renounce the benefits of the digital world, ”he added.
For AI’s secretary-general, the “extraction and analysis of personal data in gigantic proportions” is not compatible with the right to freedom.
According to the NGO, «the vast advertising architecture of Google and Facebook is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands because it can be used for political purposes and leaves the field open to all kinds of new advertising strategies, such as attacking vulnerable people who are fighting diseases, mental illnesses or addictions ».
Amnesty International has called on governments to “act urgently,” including through the “application of strict data protection laws and the effective regulation of the activities of technology giants.”
In the documentary a concept similar to Goebbels is clear: the masses don’t go to the movies to be taught, but to evade reality, hence the imperative to create artificial nirvanas for them. They didn’t even disguise their intention
Author: Rolando Pérez Betancourt | firstname.lastname@example.org
November 19, 2019 20:11:08
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Although the Nazi cinematography gave a great deal of expression to its ideology, and did not spare any resources to do so, it also produced “escapist” stories – comedies, musicals, melodramas, police – aimed at distracting the attention of an audience trapped in a turbulent time.
Taken in numerical terms, it could be said that that duality in production was 50/50, according to the documentary Hitler’s Hollywood (2017), which forms part of a trilogy by the essayist Rüdiger Suchsland, aimed at examining the cinema of the Third Reich, close to a thousand films made between 1933-1945 under what was intended to be a “dream factory” in the best style of Nazi Germany.
Suchsland undertakes a methodical analysis -social, political and aesthetic- marked by objectivity and contention, without diatribes against films that would have deserved it for their racist and xenophobic approaches, a cinema that liked to proclaim that it would last a thousand years, and elaborated an ideological imaginary full of stereotypes against the ancestral values of humanity.
The exhibition of part of this work, which had its highest star in Hitler, has been forbidden in Germany and permissions are needed to project it as study material, therefore, it remains unpublished for the new generations, eager to know what was really that cinematographic gear marked by an insane policy.
Suchsland’s documentary brings us closer to the days when Nazi cinema put the greatest effort into the technical quality of its productions, trying to create its own “art” and compete with Hollywood, which it had no qualms about adapting, according to a scale of values that since the 1930s had been traced by the ideologists of Nazism (in that way, the artificial “American way of life”, distilled by American films, was finding its German equivalent in amelcochado films that glorified Nazi patriotism and sang praises to the times to come after the triumph of Nazism).
Although Hitler was known to like cinema, especially Disney’s work, the responsibility for driving the industry fell on Goebbels, with a culture fostered at universities in Bonn and Berlin. Appointed Minister of Propaganda and Information in 1933, one of his main tasks was to use schools and the media to turn Hitler into a god destined to dominate the world. And there is nothing better for it than cinema.
Goebbels tried to have a Nazi Potemkim filmed for him. He also forbade a German version of Titanic from reaching the screens at the last minute in 1943, when the battle of Stalingrad turned the war upside down. The film could be interpreted as a metaphor for Germany sinking and overnight its director Helbert Sepin, who had left half a skin on the set, was [deemed] suspicious to the Gestapo and without trial or argument ended up on the gallows.
Willing to impress the world with his cinema, which, in terms of pace of production, came in second place behind Hollywood, Goebbel spared no money (or pressure) to ensure the permanence in the country of directors and stars. In the early days, he tried to overcome California’s Mecca internationally, forcing him not to touch on harsh subjects, not even to make horror films that could be “misinterpreted”.
Not a few of these films show the overflowing joy of the German people, a supposed enthusiasm embodied in comedies and musicals, and there is no lack of the technically brilliant (and repudiable in their content) documentaries by Leni Riefenstahl, an innovator with the camera who exalted the myth of the Aryan race to the point of exhaustion.
In Hitler’s Hollywood, a concept similar to Goebbels is clear: the masses do not go to the cinema to be taught, but to evade a reality, hence the imperative of creating artificial nirvanas for them. They didn’t even disguise their intentions and in this respect the narrator of the documentary says: “in general, Nazi cinema was thought to abolish all distinction between reality and fantasy”.
The truth is that by separating those films from marked ideological political propaganda, what remains is an entertainment cinema not very different from the one we see today. Director Rüdiger Suchsland says: “The entertainment industry has always had the function of controlling people. Even in democracies. It can be argued that, thanks to the internet and the almost total digitalisation of society, we are in a new stage of control and manipulation, and that the entertainment industry is less and less focused on developing free minds and illuminating them. That’s what I sometimes think, but I also believe that conspiracy theories and cultural pessimism are a serious danger to democracy. They’re there to make us feel powerless.
A thesis that links Nazi cinema to the present and that is not new. The essayist Siegfred Krakauer, in his great work From Caligari to Hitler (1947) revealed that the dominant psychological tendencies in that cinema “could be profitably extended to the study of the masses, both in the United States of America and in other countries”.
It is well known that when the Nazi empire disappeared, the American cinematographic expansion ended up taking over most of the world’s screens and today only one dream factory remains.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The ruling class of the United States has been advocating possession of Cuba since the end of the eighteenth century, that is to say, since [well] before the island’s first wars of independence. Two precepts conditioned North America’s foreign policy towards the United States. Cuba: the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny and Ripe Fruit Syndrome.
In June 1783, the second president of the United States, John Adams, said that the island of Cuba was a natural extension of the continent and that its annexation was absolutely necessary for the existence of the United States. Adams held that Cuba’s independent, sovereign existence would never be permitted, and much less would Adams support the struggle of its people to obtain it. The best thing was for Cuba to continue in Spain’s possession until it could be assimilated by the US.
“Manifest Destiny” was the idea developed then as a doctrine attributing to the United States the special mission of bringing its system of economic, social and political organization throughout the Americas. all the way down from the North. Subsequently, it would be extended to the entire Western hemisphere.
Expansion to the West was completed at the end of the 19th century. Its population was annihilated and the Mexicans lost almost half of their territory (Texas, New Mexico and California).
In 1823, President James Monroe pronounced the doctrine of “America. for the Americans” [the Monroe Doctrine”], which said that any interference by any European power in the emerging Latin American republics, would be considered an unfriendly act by Washington, against the United States. He, therefore, proclaimed the right to protect the region. The apparent paternalism toward the rest of the hemisphere would soon be turned into obvious expansionism.
A few years earlier, John Quincy Adams, then-Secretary of State in the Monroe administration and subsequently his successor in the Presidency, wrote: “…if an apple, knocked down from its tree by the storm, cannot but fall to the ground, Cuba, separated by the the strength of its abnormal connection with Spain and unable to sustain itself by itself, it can only gravitate, towards North America, which cannot, because of the the same natural law, reject it from its lap.”
This principle – known as that of the “ripe fruit” – did not prevent the United States from trying buy Cuba from Spain. An offer of $100 million to that effect was rejected by the Iberian crown.
In the 1880s, U.S. capital was already solidly involved in Cuba, especially in the sugar industry. as a result of its interest in converting the Caribbean islands into sugar economies.
In US popular memory, the roots were still alive in the United States, and so many ordinary citizens of that country. had sympathy for Cuba. This fact overlapped a tense preparation in the US for a direct military intervention during Cuba’s independence war against Spain.
However, in 1895, shortly before falling in combat, Cuban revolutionary José Martí wrote that, in his fight against Spain, Cuba tried to “prevent, with its independence, the expansion of the United States through the Antilles and fell with that much greater force. on the lands of our America. All that I have done so far has been meant for this,” Martí emphasized.
On December 24, 1897, US Under Secretary of War J.C. Breckenridge wrote in a memorandum:
“This (Cuban) population is made up of whites, blacks, Asians, and people who result from the mixing of these races. The inhabitants are generally indolent and apathetic…. While these people have only a vague notion of good and evil, they tend to seek pleasure, not through work but through violence. It’s obvious that the immediate annexation of these disturbing and numerous elements to our federation would constitute madness, so, before proceeding to it, we must clean up the country. We must destroy everything within reach of our cannon fire. We must impose a strict blockade so that hunger and its perennial companion, diseases undermine the peaceful population and decimate its army. The allied army must be constantly engaged in reconnaissance and vanguard actions so that the Cuban army is irreparably caught between two fronts.
“When that time comes, we must create conflicts so that the independent government will have to face these difficulties. That, in turn, must coincide with the unrest and violence among the aforementioned elements, whom we must support. To sum up, our policy must always be to support the weakest against the strongest, until we have managed to exterminate both of them, in order to annex the Pearl of the Antilles.”
September 30, 2019. This article can be reproduced.
The novel 1984, by English writer Eric Arthur Blair, known worldwide by the literary pseudonym George Orwell, constituted an accusation against totalitarian regimes and became the Central Intelligence Agencies greatest success
by: Jorge Wejebe Cobo | email@example.com
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
English writer Eric Arthur Blair, known worldwide by the literary pseudonym George Orwell, was a combatant during the Spanish Civil War, which he said he joined “to kill fascists, because someone had to do it.”
His novel 1984 was an indictment of totalitarian regimes and became the CIA’s greatest success in its most widespread propaganda operation against the Soviet Union in the 1950s.
Orwell was born June 25, 1903 in India, where his father worked as a low-level colonial government official at the age of two, he moved with his mother and sister to England.
His literary career was based on those early experiences. He wrote the novel Burmese Days and essays such as A Hanging (1931) and Shooting an Elephant (1936) in opposition to the colonial system, in addition to writing stories about workers’ conditions.
These first texts place him in the liberal tradition of the generation of European writers born at the beginning of the 20th century, defrauded by the crisis of bourgeois society. In the face of the new conflict that German fascism would provoke, many of them took positions sympathetic with socialist ideas and the USSR in opposition to Nazi barbarism.
Another stage in his formation began in the Spanish Civil War, in which he was wounded and knew first hand the internal divisions of the anti-fascist front, among Trotskyists, with whom he sympathized, communists, anarchists and other tendencies. Meanwhile, from the USSR, came news about Stalin’s purges that shook his ideas favorable to socialism in that nation.
He wrote: “The Spanish war and other events in 1936-1937 changed things, and since then, I knew where I was. Every serious line I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and in favor of democratic socialism as I understand it.”
Under these premises he presented in 1945 the novel Animal Farm, a parody of a totalitarian society in which the local animals carry out an insurrection against the humans, a plot which expresses open criticism of the Soviet system and of English society of the time.
Later, in 1948, he finished his novel 1984, in which he presented a world ruled by great dictatorial powers and describes a totalitarian empire directed by “Big Brother”, or the maximum leader. He bases his power on instruments of domination of the whole life of his subjects, whose civil rights are violated and even their love life is regulated.
He spent his last energies in the writing of that narrative, affected by the tuberculosis that would take him to his grave in 1950. [Meanwhile], on the other side of the Atlantic, in the United States, the recently-founded Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) fine-tuned a subversive campaign aimed at “conquering the hearts and minds”, mainly of the European intelligentsia.
One of the propagandistic themes of that battle was the promise that, after the defeat of “Asian barbarism”, identified with the USSR, the Western camp led by the United States would build a better world, based on democracy, human rights and freedom. [This was] a fable in which not a few intellectuals of the time believed.
To achieve that goal, the CIA organized the Congress for Cultural Freedom in the early 1950s. It was supported by a vast global network of allied governments and special services, cultural institutions, think tanks, press organs, publishing houses, foundations, and all kinds of institutions related to the sphere of culture, in a mega operation that extended into the 1960s.
As never before, incalculable efforts, resources and police methods of recruitment, blackmail, propaganda and psychological influence were directed at a sector of the intelligentsia. [They had been] pigeon-holed by the strategists of the special services under the term “non-Communist or anti-Soviet left”, [who were] also joined by some who repented their support for the Soviet ideal in the first half of the century, among whom was George Orwell.
Michael Warner, a CIA historian, wrote that the strategy of conquering that left was “the foundation of the Agency’s political operations over the next two decades,” cites English researcher Frances Stonor Saunders in her book The CIA and the Cultural Cold War.
The researcher points out that after Orwell’s death in 1950, the CIA, through its cultural front, negotiated with the writer’s widow the making of an animated film based on Animal Farm. [It was] considered the most ambitious project of its kind to that time.
More than 100,000 handmade illustrations were used for the animated film. Censorship of the original text was exercised, attacking characters [which he had] depicted as pigs, identified as the English and German bureaucracies and governments, which were removed from the final script to highlight anti-Soviet references.
Something similar happened with the film that was made about the other novel, 1984, in which all criticism of capitalist states was blurred. This turned the work into a notorious anti-communist manifesto, paid for with $100,000 dollars from the U.S. government.
Many years later, with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent dissolution of the USSR, the supposed end of history was proclaimed with the victory of the world capitalist system with the United States at its head.
This was the context in which the foundations were laid for the concept of maximum surveillance by the wave of the revolution in new communications and information technologies. This has had a greater impact than ever before on the history of human development in all spheres of society.
The “Big Brother” of Orwellian fiction was established in the new millennium in the virtual world of the Internet. There, the not-so-virtual creeds, yearnings, hopes and information of millions of inhabitants pass. But, unlike the literary image, this new system is built and generalized on programs of artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technology to manipulate society with lies, with media names like “post-truth,” “soft power,” “color revolutions,” “asymmetric wars,” “fake news,” and other concepts.
These doctrines come from the chain production of the centers of the U.S. National Security Agency. They are dedicated to electronic snooping on the secrets of friends and enemies around the globe. [This is done] at the command of the Pentagon and the intelligence community of powerful countries. There, an army of thousands of efficient servants of an empire that seemed destined to surpass by far the ideas of the controversial and censored creator of 1984.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
There is no doubt that we are facing a wave of extreme right-wing movements. In order to understand what is happening, it is important to turn to a historical perspective. For that, we turn to the explnation given by John Bellamy Foster, Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon and editor of the US left-wing magazine Monthly Review.
The political map on both sides of the Atlantic seemed to reveal a rise of the extreme right in the world. In most European economies, from the largest and strongest to the smallest and weakest, there was an increase in electoral support for right-wing forces. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, these forces of reaction achieved one success after another with impunity by resorting to various forms of disguised violence.
But the clean and resounding electoral triumph of Andres Manuel López (AMLO) in the race for Mexico’s presidency seems to have been a watershed towards a different reality.
It is known that, against this great victory by the Mexicans, there was put into practice a great clandestine Berlin operation. It’s named after the name of the street in the Mexican capital where the clandestine headquarters of the imperialist operation operated.
They used cyber techniques similar to those used shortly before, under the direction of the CIA. They targeted the electoral processes in Brazil, Ecuador and other points in Latin America and Africa that left distorting fruits of popular will, Operation Berlin was carried out in Mexico. Only this time, in Mexico, they failed. Marxist theorists, along with most historians, have explained that fascism has as its backbone a political alliance between monopoly capital and a certain stratum of the middle class (or petty bourgeoisie).
Historically, the extreme right, too, has gained followers from the countryside, from established religions and from sectors of the armed forces. Fascism is always marginally present in all capitalist societies. It never emerges with all its strength on its own. It is consolidated as a movement only in those cases in which the capitalist class offers its encouragement and support, mobilizing the most reactionary elements of the “middle class”, which acts as the rear of the system.
If, in a period of economic and political crisis, the liberal state becomes an impediment to capitalist government, the existing powers will seek to preserve, consolidate and expand their rule through a regressive change in the capitalist state using the political forms provided by the extreme right.
Neoliberalism de-legitimizes the state. It encourages the development of radical right-wing or neo-fascist movements that oppose neoliberal political elites in the exercise of power and influence impoverished sectors through bribery.
Emerging neo-fascism in the United States is rooted in the “white supremacism” that goes back to slavery and the predominant thinking of the first British settlers, mixed with all sorts of new ideological elements.
Trump’s militant political base is estimated to be between 25 and 30 percent of the electorate and is located in the lower-middle stratum, with family incomes of about $75,000 a year.
It is a very white sector of the population that finds itself in a position of extreme economic insecurity. Its ideology is national-imperialist, with militant racism. A large part of this demographic group is associated with right-wing evangelism. It is something similar to the mass in Brazil that supported Jair Bolsonaro.
Trump’s main value for the ruling class lies in the fact that the radical right has been able to deliver added value to the rich: it has removed obstacles to market dominance over the whole of society.
The notion that coheres its social base is the construction of a wall along the Mexican border and new detention centers. These symbolize a war against poor immigrants. But the economic policies of the Trump administration have little to do with the demands of its social base. Trump has increased the power of financial monopoly capital, given huge tax and subsidy exemptions to big business and the rich. He has promoted economic and environmental deregulation, undermined unions, privatized education, expanded the penal state, destroyed the little progress which had been made in health care, and waged a relentless war for U.S. hegemony. Hence, Mexicans can feel like they are on the cusp of a well-deserved future.
October 31, 2019.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Decadence and neofascism are two concepts that are difficult to define although essential to understanding current reality. Their overwhelming presences, their blurred frontiers make them sometimes invisible to the eyes. Where does bourgeois authoritarianism end and begins? How can a process of decadence be distinguished from a great persistent turbulence or a phenomenon of widespread social corruption?”
This is what the Argentine thinker, economist and Marxist Jorge Beinstein wrote shortly before his death.
Emerging neo-fascism in the United States today is rooted in “white supremacy”. It dates back to the time when slavery was the predominant thought among British English settlers, of course with influences from several other new ideological elements.
Today, in most European economies, from the largest and strongest to the smallest and weakest, an increase in the electoral strength of the right is noticeable – with very few exceptions.
On the other side of the spectrum, resorting to violence, we are faced with a wave of extreme right-wing movements, for which the term neo-fascism seems to be the most appropriate designation. In order to try to understand what is happening, it is important to turn to a historical perspective. All these reactionary movements share certain similarities in terms of class.
Trump’s militant political base is estimated at about 25-30% of the electorate. It is located in the lower-middle stratum, with family incomes of about $75,000 a year. It is a very white sector of the population that is in a position of extreme economic insecurity. Its ideology is national-imperialist and wit0qw an accentuated racism.
A large part of this demographic group, in addition, is associated with right-wing evangelism which, in many aspects, resembles those Brazilians who support Jair Bolsonaro.
Within the neo-fascist bloc, the economic sphere invariably dominates. Capital is the first and most important nexus. Trump’s main value – for the ruling class – lies in the fact that the radical right has been able to deliver added value to the rich while removing obstacles to market dominance over all aspects of society.
Therefore, if you look at Trump’s program in detail, you will see that many of its ideological characteristics are in line with those of the lower middle white stratum (nationalism, racism, misogyny, anti-socialism, etc.),. Trump’s political ability has been to take advantage of these regressive ideologies as a means of mobilization and political power.
Hence, the slogan that gives cohesion to its social base is the construction of a wall along the Mexican border and the new detention centers – or, rather, concentration camps – symbolize that a war is being waged against poor immigrants.
But the economic policies of the Trump administration have little to do with the demands of its social base. Trump has increased the power of financial monopoly capital, given huge tax and subsidy exemptions to the wealthiest and big business; promoted economic and environmental deregulation; undermined unions; privatized education; expanded the penal state; destroyed the few advances made in health care; and is in a constant war for U.S. hegemony.
The disappearance of the Soviet bloc countries and the collapse of social democracy have disarmed this left. To some extent, the extreme right has filled this political vacuum by pretending to confront the ruling elites.
Despite its populist rhetoric, the radical right directly defends the current order, which includes promoting a neo-liberal policy of austerity that has lost all legitimacy.
Under the slogan of Make America Great Again, they pit the neo-fascist elements against the liberal state, itself in full stagnation.
For the left, the challenges are much more complex. There are two options: social-democratic policies designed to save capitalism in a fatal compromise with neo-liberalism or, on the other hand, a true movement towards socialism that represents a long revolutionary road against capitalism in its superior imperialist stage.
Social democracy, as a strategy, has proved increasingly dysfunctional and has capitulated again and again to the neo-liberal state, when genuine socialist movements have not been able to confront the capitalist regime in a clear and total way.
November 18, 2019.
This article can be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.