By Patricia Sulbarán Lovera
June 16, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
In the midst of a wave of protests against racism in the United States, two deaths initially labeled as suicides have caused shock and raised questions.
In the last few weeks, the bodies of two black men, Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch, were found hanging from trees in two Southern California cities.
In the first announcements, the authorities pointed to suicide as a possible cause of death in both cases, but have now opened investigations.
This was after the families demanded investigations after expressing their unconvinced opinion that they had been suicides.
About 50 miles and 10 days separate the deaths of Fuller and Harsch.
The names of Fuller and Harsch resonated widely on social networks over the weekend, and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement joined the demands of their families.
The characteristics of the incidents have also brought to mind the terrible past of lynching of blacks in the United States in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Robert Fuller, 24 years old
At almost 4 a.m. last Wednesday, June 10, the body of 24-year-old Fuller was found near City Hall in Palmdale, a city of 150,000 people, about an hour north of Los Angeles.
“No one was at the scene and paramedics found the body hanging from a tree,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said Monday.
A passerby who saw the body contacted the authorities.
An autopsy was carried out last Friday 12th, the results of which have yet to be announced.
“Initial reports seemed to be consistent with suicide, but we thought it prudent to step back and continue to investigate,” said Jonathan Lucas, head of the county coroner’s office.
Lucas explained that there was initial talk of suicide, due to the “absence of evidence” indicating a possible homicide.
According to authorities, there were no chairs or other artifacts in the vicinity of the site and only “what was in his pocket and backpack” was found, Kent Wegener, in charge of the sheriff’s office homicide unit, said Monday.
Wegener detailed that a forensic analysis of the rope will be done, as well as a study of the type of knot to determine how it was made. They will also investigate whether “there is video footage from surveillance cameras or from homes” that has captured what happened, and they will check the young person’s cell phone.
Authorities said they will also investigate the medical history of Fuller, who was assigned to a state social worker, although the reason is unknown.
According to what county sheriff Alex Villanueva said Monday, the attorney general’s office “is going to monitor and review our investigation.
The official also noted that the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) will be involved in the investigation from the civil rights division.
What was the reaction and what did your family say?
Last Friday, after news of his death was made public, Palmdale residents questioned authorities for first reporting it as a suicide.
“Where are the surveillance videos?”, “We don’t trust you”, “Why did you conclude it’s a suicide?”, some questioned the city sheriff in the middle of a tense press conference.
On Saturday, Fuller’s sister spoke from the square where the incident occurred and where hundreds of protesters gathered.
“We want to know the truth about what really happened. Robert was a good little brother. And it’s like everything we’ve been told isn’t right (…) we hear one thing and then another, and we just want to know the truth,” Diamond Alexander claimed.
“It doesn’t make sense, my brother wasn’t suicidal,” he said.
Antelope Valley, the area where Palmdale is located, “is known in Southern California as a bastion of white supremacy and that goes back decades,” Los Angeles KCRW radio reporter Cerise Castle said in a report Monday for National Public Radio (NPR).
“In 2016, there was an incident in which three men were charged with a hate crime after attacking a group of Latinos in a park. This was one day after the Ku Klux Klan [white supremacist extreme group] held an event in the area,” he said.
Malcolm Harsch, 38
A una hora de Palmdale en dirección este, en la ciudad de Victorville, un grupo de bomberos acudió a la escena en la que Malcolm Harsch, de 38 años, había aparecido colgado de un árbol el pasado 31 de mayo.
According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office report, shortly after 7:00 a.m., a call came in to the 911 emergency number from a woman who reported that her boyfriend had hung himself.
The paramedics arrived at the site, which the authorities describe as a “land” where there is a camp of homeless people.
The woman indicated that “she and her boyfriend, later identified as Malcolm Harsch, had been together during the morning, but she had returned to her tent for a short period of time.
“Others in the camp warned him that Harsch had been found hanging from a tree,” that he had been taken down from there and was being given CPR “to resuscitate him,” the statement said.
The emergency personnel who arrived later continued unsuccessfully with the attempts until he was declared dead.
The cause of death is yet to be known.
The authorities present at the scene, including forensic personnel, stated in the letter, “did not collect any evidence suggesting a possible murder”.
What did the family say?
Harsch’s relatives, who live in the state of Ohio, said in a statement last Saturday that they found it hard to believe the man had killed himself, that he “did not seem depressed” and that he had “recently talked with his children about seeing each other soon.
In the letter, the relatives reported that the autopsy had been carried out “12 days after” his death.
“There are many ways to die, but considering the current racial tensions, for a man to have hung himself from a tree definitely does not make sense at this time. We want justice, not easy excuses,” they said.
The city authorities reported that they would make the results of the investigation public once it is completed.
County Sheriff John McMahon said his office was in contact with the state Department of Justice, which was following up on the inquiry.
The protests against racism, supported in different latitudes of the planet after the assassination of George Floyd, have also gained strength in the field of sport
Author: Alfonso Nacianceno | email@example.com
June 10, 2020 00:06:46
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Donald Trump attacked the Black football players, members of the well-known NFL, because a group of them were kneeling on the ground to hear the national anthem, in protest against racial segregation.
U.S. law requires the military to perform its usual salute. All other citizens, including athletes, must remain standing, facing the national flag, with their right hand resting on their heart, while the anthem is played.
By not following this guideline in different facilities, Trump, although there was no clause in the NFL regulations, pressured the organization’s directors to punish all players who expressed themselves in this way against racism and inequality.
In light of the current events in the convulsed American scene, when this Tuesday would be the burial of George Floyd in the middle of the incombustible protests, the United States Soccer Federation (US Soccer) will open a debate to on ending the controversial rule of prohibiting its athletes from taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, the spokesman of the entity confirmed.
If the rule were to be repealed, it would immediately cease to have any effect. The measure came to life when Megan Rapinoe, four-time U.S. women’s national team champion and Golden Ball winner, knelt on the field in solidarity with American footballer Colin Kaepernick, who in the same gesture in 2016 sparked the anger of Trump, who pushed him out of the NFL
Rapinoe’s solidarity with the expelled player was the reason used by the president to radicalize the ban on kneeling on the ground.
The protests against racism, supported in different latitudes of the planet after the murder of George Floyd, have also gained strength in the field of sport, an important aspect of American national life. This is not only because of the rivalry that exists between the teams of disciplines that are widely followed by the population, but also because athletes are symbols that awaken empathy.
The quality of Black athletes in the United States is internationally recognized; many have been the protagonists of feats remembered throughout the world. Today, even though major competitions have been halted by the pandemic in that country, it is to be hoped that, when they return to action, there will also be a revival of protests in the stadiums, and knees on the grass.
As the crisis in the U.S. deepens and the protests following George Floyd’s assassination take on a broader tone, old and new wounds of a society in need of profound change come to light
Author: Raúl Antonio Capote | firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
As the crisis in the U.S. deepens and the protests that have erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s assassination take on a broader tone, old and new wounds of a society in need of profound change come to light.
The makeup that was intended to cover the worn-out face of the US Statue of “Liberty” is slowly fading, and the truth is making its way into the minds and hearts of the people. A protester in New York asks in front of the cameras of a TV network covering the protests: Where is the greatest country in the world, and he answers himself with anger and pain: “It is not here.”
It’s a fact that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boasts of being an accomplished liar and recalls during an interview at the University of Texas A&M, the time when he was director of the company, his image as a supposed strongman is not respected either.
The head of U.S. diplomacy is still the same cynic who said, “I was the director of the company. We lied, cheated and stole. We even had training courses” which drew applause from those present, who must have included some of those who, these days, obeying Trump’s “guidance”, gargle with chlorine to combat COVID-19.
You can’t fool everyone all the time. The current government is responsible for more than 112,000 deaths from the pandemic, rampant unemployment, loss of rights, hunger for many (a hunger they can no longer hide), lack of medical care for the majority of the people and racial discrimination.
The man already considered by many the worst president in the history of the United States is covered by a deluge of criticism, with a shower of lies launched through Twitter, a kind of “counter-water” strategy that seems to make no sense, but it does.
Donald Trump speaks to his base, those who voted for him in the previous election, and hopes they will do so in the next one, on November 3. They are secure bases that have remained faithful to their president, despite the defection of a group of the less firm.
Who will vote for whom?
Those who will vote for Trump are those who see him as a “winner” who will achieve success for America, those who admire his showmanship, his misogynistic poses, his image as a rich, powerful man, with a lot of luck with women.
Those who are alienated by conspiracy theories, including those who believe that health care reform and 5G [Internet] seek to control the population.
The U.S. government, which is opposed to vaccination, believes that the left belongs to an alien invading race that wants to dominate the world, and a thousand and one other absurd theories.
Trump gloats over the unconditional love that many ultra-nationalists, religious fanatics, racists, supremacists, and separatists have for him, to whom he presents himself as a political outsider.
Trump and his team calculate that many of the people who oppose his re-election will not vote for Joe Biden either.
They estimate that the most radicals, who want a profound change in the country, would not vote for the neo-liberal group that the former vice president represents. Many millennials and Z-generation supporters do not see Biden as a viable option for solving the country’s problems.
Therefore, faced with possible massive abstentionism, motivated by the lack of valid alternatives and the security of the vote of their bases, the followers of the current president trust that they can win again.
An uncertain future
However, the situation is getting darker for him. Important figures of the Republican Party, prestigious military and hawks with voice and influence, are closing ranks against Trump’s possible re-election.
Colin Powell, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the last of a series of retired senior officers to publicly criticize Donald Trump.
“We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the president is walking away from it,” Powell said in an interview with CNN, in which he accused him of “lying about a lot of things.
Powell, who served as secretary of state during the George W. Bush administration, and according to the Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, his statements can influence independent voters, who make up 38 percent of the electorate.
Among others, Trump has been criticized by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Powell has been joined by the voices of several prominent military figures, including former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who said that Trump is not “a mature leader” and accused him of “deliberately trying to divide the country.
Former U.S. Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired general who served in the U.S. government, called on the American people to “look carefully at who you elected.”
Another uniformed man who spoke out against the White House tenant was retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, the commander who led the military operation in which the U.S. killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
“It’s time for new leadership in this country, Republican, Democrat or independent,” adding that “the president has shown that he doesn’t have the qualities to be a good commander-in-chief.’
Current Defense Secretary Mark Esper criticized Trump’s actions during the protests: “I do not support the invocation of the Insurrection Act. These measures should only be used as a last resort, and in the most urgent and extreme situations.
Prominent intellectuals, renowned artists and sportsmen, workers, unemployed, Afro-descendants and Latin Americans, businessmen and ex-soldiers, small landowners ruined by the crisis, young people from all walks of life, have joined in the protests across the U.S.
Many are talking about giving their all so that the current administration will not be re-elected. It looks bad for the tycoon-president. Whatever he does, history is bent on sawing the floor to him.