In the course of next week, Correos de Cuba will put on sale in all its units and newsstands, the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba that was approved in the Second Ordinary Session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, at the price of one peso in national currency. Correos […]
Author: Rolando Pérez Betancourt | firstname.lastname@example.org
December 8, 2019 22:12:47
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Finally exhibited at the 41st New Latin American Film Festival, The Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas, 2019) makes it clear with historical objectivity that the Cubans who infiltrated counterrevolutionary Miami exile organizations had the right to watch over the security of their country, and thus stop the wave of terrorist attacks of the 1990s carried out under the protection of the United States.
This is an important aspect to be taken into account in the film by the Frenchman Assayas, a prestigious director whose work is known in our country. He has made it possible to appreciate the sensitivity of an artist capable of tackling the most dissimilar human problems from intimate stories.
Based on the book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War, by Fernando Morais, Assayas himself wrote the script about a conflict that – it could not be otherwise – establishes who are the aggressors and who are the victims in a history that goes back half a century.
It was enough for the Miami counterrevolution, without seeing the film, only news after its presentation at the Venice Film Festival, to make a fuss and a pathetic warning: in those lands, the film couldn’t even show its head.
The theme of the Five Heroes and the stories that flow from it would allow us to make a few films and series. But in any work based on reality, there is a selection of events and characters, along with artistic licenses put into function of a dramaturgy and simplification of the plot. From Morais’s book, Assayas highlights what he considered pertinent to build a web of events that span several years and not a few intrigues. Although the film has been promoted as an espionage thriller, the director says that it is a historical vision conceived with the intention of capturing a feat that, after he learned about it it, captivated him.
It was advisable, however, to balance the tone and balance the conflict in such a way that a whole point of view in favor of the revolutionary cause did not prevail in a film with foreign funding and international distribution. Besides, the assumption of the political factor in any subject is always a reason for division of opinions and even entrenchments. These can be seen now, even, in “artistic” criticisms in which ideological positions against the “Cuban communist regime” stand out more than an unprejudiced practice of professional analysis.
But facts are facts and artistic honesty, although it is necessary to qualify, cannot be detached from them.
For this chronicler, The Wasp Network ends up being a film worthy and meritorious to see, which is not free of inconsistencies in its realization. Of these, the most significant, is the dispersion motivated by wanting to cover everything and explain more than necessary, taking into account the possible ignorance of the subject that an international audience could have. In this sense, the script resorts to leaps in time and an entry and exit of characters that leaves gaps in terms of purposes of the story and the lack of roundness of certain situations, such as the one concerning the flight to Cuba undertaken by the infiltrator Juan Pablo Roque (Wagner Moura).
Another debatable card -which for a Cuban spectator has nothing revealing about it- is the surprise factor that is intended to impregnate the infiltrators in Miami. It first, it makes them appear as traitors who escape from the Island and later, in their real function, a double game devoid of the dramatic force that, it is guessed, was among the director’s goals.
The Wasp Network is focused on the stories concerning René González (Édgar Ramírez) and his wife Olga Salanueva (Penélope Cruz, in an excellent performance).
Also the afore-mentioned Roque and the wife who is sought in Miami (Ana de Armas), each couple with their very particular love-political conflicts and was carried with considerable ease in the plot. Gael Garcia Bernal plays Gerardo Hernandez, leader of the group. It would be necessary to see the opinions that the real characters have regarding their characterizations.
The film efficiently reconstructs the terrorist attacks against tourist facilities, shows the maximum faces of the counterrevolutionary exiles and resorts to excerpts from the archives as a reminder that everything that counts comes from reality. This is how President Clinton and Fidel appear separately, towards the end, during an interview with an American journalist. Fidel is conclusive about the right of the most spied country in the world, Cuba, to know what the enemies are doing on U.S. soil to attack the Cuban people.
Translated and edited by Pedro Gellert for CubaNews.
SPEECH DELIVERED BY ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS INAUGURATION
The change we are undertaking is on the horizon. In the neoliberal period, laws were made without considering the public interest. Now, the purpose behind the reforms to the Constitution is to guarantee the country’s development and the population’s well-being. For example, the main reforms and laws approved by the legislators have been those aimed at fighting corruption; the austerity law; asset recovery legislation to reclaim and return to the people what was stolen; the reforms to Article 28 of the Constitution to prohibit tax rebates; the classification of fuel theft, tax evasion, and electoral fraud as serious crimes; the elimination of presidential immunity so that the president can be judged for any crime while still in office; presidential recall referendums; popular consultations; the new labor legislation that guarantees free, secret, and direct voting in the unions; the health law to guarantee all Mexicans free medicines and medical care.
There is also the cancellation of the misnamed educational reform, as well as the constitutional reform that allows members of the Army and Navy to participate in public security tasks and creates the National Guard. In addition, I have sent Congress a reform bill to enshrine in the Constitution the right of senior citizens and people with disabilities to obtain a pension and for poor students at all levels of schooling to receive scholarships. In reality, these modifications represent a new Constitution that reflects the demands and will of the people who decided to undertake the Fourth Transformation of the country’s public life in a legal, democratic, and peaceful manner.
As I have said many times, the main task of the government is to do away with political corruption. We are putting the house in order from the highest levels of power. That is why we are cleansing the government from top to bottom, just as we clean the stairs.
The theft of fuel has been reduced by 94 percent, and tax waivers and write-offs for large business and financial corporations has been prohibited. All government purchases are being made in consolidated fashion and under the coordination of the Chief of Staff of the Finance Ministry. This year, the savings obtained in preventing corruption in the acquisition of goods and services will reach 200 billion pesos.
The budget of the President’s office decreased from 3.6 billion to 800 million pesos, a 75 percent decline. This is, in practice, republican austerity.
The formula of ending corruption and reducing the cost of government allows us to finance the budget without increasing taxes, without boosting fuel prices, and without indebting the country. The resources earmarked to finance social programs come from what is saved with the fight against corruption and with the elimination of luxuries and opulent expenses.
We are implementing a new productive policy to support the popular economy, strengthen the domestic market, promote projects for regional development, encourage the participation of private enterprise, and intensify efforts to attract foreign investment.
In order to strengthen the popular economy, we have prioritized agricultural recovery. Direct economic support for planting crops has been provided to 2 million ejidatarios and comuneros (small-scale, semi-communal peasant farmers-TN) and small landowners; this includes members of indigenous communities and sugar cane and coffee growers. The program of uncollateralized, paperwork and interest-free loans for cattle raising was launched, benefitting 7,734 producers. This year, the Planting Life program is being applied in 575,000 hectares and has generated 230,000 permanent jobs. Next year it will be extended to more than one million hectares and create 430,000 jobs. The planter who cultivates his own plot of land will receive a 5,000 peso-per- month subsidy.
Thus, will are rooting young peasant farmers to the land, we are reducing migration, we are producing lumber, fruits, and food, we are rehabilitating the rain forest and woodlands, and are rescuing and protecting the native flora and fauna. In short, life is being planted. We are also preventing the overexploitation of aquifers and promoting population growth in the Southeast, where 70 percent of the country’s water is located. The use of transgenic corn seeds and the exploitation of hydrocarbons through the practice of fracking has been banned. We have supported fishermen by simplifying procedures to obtain permits with sustainability rules and we are granting them direct financial assistance.
This year, the decentralized public agency for food security Seguridad Alimentaria Mexicana (SEGALMEX) was created to administer the policy that we established of guaranteed prices and supplying the population with foodstuffs.
With the Interest-Free Loans for Well-Being program, 356,500 credits have been granted, without interest or complicated paperwork, to small merchants, businessmen, artisans, and those who earn their living as best they can.
The construction of 109 concrete roads is progressing in the municipalities of Oaxaca. We supply the resources to the authorities of local indigenous communities selected through ancestral customs, they manage them honestly and, as a result, employment is provided to women and men in the same villages. With these small but important work projects, migration is reduced and family and community life is strengthened.
It must be recognized that a major factor in strengthening the economy promoted from below, with the people and for the people, has been the contribution of our living heroes, the Mexican migrants, who in the first nine months of this year sent remittances to their families to the tune of 26.98 billion dollars, the highest amount in history.
At the same time, we seek to strengthen the domestic market through a policy of wage recovery and a strategy of massive creation of productive jobs.
Thus far this year, according to data from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), 648,000 new jobs have been created. This is without taking into account those created by the Planting Life, Young People Building the Future, and the road construction with labor power programs and others that, together, surpass one million additional jobs.
The minimum wage increased by 16 percent, something that had not occurred in 36 years of neoliberalism. According to the IMSS, during our administration, the average salary obtained by its 20,727,424 affiliates increased to 11,352 pesos per month.
We have healthy public finances. From January to October, tax collection increased by 139.70 billion pesos compared to last year, that is, 1.6 percent in real terms. In October, annual inflation was 3 percent, the lowest since September 2016.
During our time in office, the peso has strengthened 4 percent against the dollar and the stock market has appreciated 2 percent. The economic growth that we hope for has still not taken place, but there is a better distribution of wealth; the public budget does not remain in the hands of a few, but reaches the majority of the population. We have completed a year in government and unlike other beginnings of the six-year presidential administrations, we have not rebated or condoned taxes to those who financed the election campaigns; we have not privatized public goods or properties nor have we declared war on anyone, just on corruption and impunity.
We have rigorously fulfilled all financial commitments. Salaries, benefits and pensions have been paid to workers and budgetary outlays have been paid to states and municipalities on time. There has been no further delay in paying suppliers. In addition, we have complied with recognizing and dealing with the enormous debt we inherited of 10.8 trillion pesos. So far we have paid 454 billion pesos in interest alone.
We have begun basic engineering studies for the Mayan Train, and they will be completed on December 13 in order to carry out the bidding process on this important work project that will benefit five states in southeast Mexico. I would like to clarify that the project will depend on the outcome of the consultation we are conducting in the municipalities where the new railroad will pass through.
To further the integral development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, work is already proceeding on the expansion of the port of Salina Cruz and the same will be done in Coatzacoalcos. Work has also begun on the modernization of the container freight train line that will connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
A free zone will be established in this stretch of land; that is, taxes and energy prices will be reduced in order to promote the installation of industrial parks that will generate jobs with good salaries.
We are successfully facing the obstinate attitude of the corrupt conservatives who resorted to legal sabotage in the construction of the new Felipe Ángeles airport, for which they filed 103 injunctions with the aim of preventing us from beginning work in Santa Lucía. But reason and the law prevailed and work on the project has begun. The military engineers have assured me that we will inaugurate the new international airport on March 21, 2022.
Since January of this year, the free zone program began along the 3,180 kilometer border with the United States. There, the Income Tax was reduced to 20 percent; the VAT was cut from 16 to 8 percent; fuel was made cheaper and the minimum wage was doubled.
The company Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos, a subsidiary of the Federal Electricity Commission, was created and the concession was obtained to offer nonprofit Internet service for all throughout the country.
We are proud to report that for the first time in 14 years, we halted the progressive decline in oil production. In 2018 oil production had decreased by 200,000 barrels per day and thus far during this current administration, not only have we not seen a fall in output, but by the end of the month we will be extracting an additional 50,000 barrels per day.
The country’s six refineries are being refurbished. Their production rose from 32 to 40 percent of their capacity. Construction has already begun on the new refinery in Dos Bocas, Paraíso, Tabasco.
The investment for the construction and maintenance of highways and rural roads is 42.5 billion pesos, of which 20 billion pesos are earmarked for the conservation of the country’s road network, something that had never occurred before.
The construction of the Emisor Oriente Tunnel has been completed. With this project, floods will be prevented in a good part of the Valley of Mexico. The Guadalajara Light Train will also be completed this year and the Toluca-Mexico City train is still under construction.
The participation of private enterprise in the development of Mexico is a positive and necessary reality. A few days ago we agreed on a joint plan for the construction of infrastructure with 134 projects and an investment of 709 billion pesos. I would also mention that an agreement was reached with national and foreign companies that installed gas pipelines. It was agreed to recognize the contracts signed by the previous administration but rates were reduced and a savings of 4.5 billion dollars obtained for the CFE. This arrangement also guarantees the supply of gas, a key raw material for the generation of electricity and for the development of Mexico, for the next 20 years.
In the first 9 months of this year, 26 billion dollars entered the country in foreign investment, the highest figure in history. From January to October 2019 our exports totaled more than 384 billion dollars, a 3 percent increase over the same period last year.
This year, tourism has grown compared to 2018. From January to September, 32.8 million international tourists arrived, 7.6 percent more than in the same period last year, injecting more than 18.56 billion dollars in the economy, 11.3 percent more than last year. I would like to emphasize the effective and timely intervention of the Ministry of the Navy to keep our beaches in the Caribbean free of sargassum seaweed. I would like to add that we are already the main trade partner of the United States and I feel that the new trade treaty will be approved, sooner rather than later, in the congresses of that country and Canada.
We are committed, above all, to achieving a higher goal, namely, the general well-being of the population, material well-being and well-being of the soul, spiritual well-being.
At least half of Mexican households receive benefits from at least one social welfare program. Among the indigenous peoples, 95 percent of households already have access to at least one of the support programs and the figure will soon reach 100 percent.
I am pleased to report that eight million senior citizens have received their pensions of 2,550 pesos bimonthly, double what they obtained previously. This support will increase in accordance with inflation and includes both those who receive a contributory pension and those who had no income; in other words, it became a universal right.
Assistance is also provided to 790,000 people with disabilities, especially poor children, with a subsidy of 2,550 pesos every two months. Soon we will reach one million beneficiaries.
Scholarships of 1,600 pesos bimonthly are also being granted to poor preschool, primary, and secondary school students. In the case of high school students, the support is universal; that is, it is granted to all adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18 on average; and at the higher education or university level, 300,000 young people are being assisted with scholarships of 2,400 pesos per month. In total, more than 10 million students are receiving a scholarship, which means an annual investment of 60 billion pesos.
The Young People Building the Future program has provided work as apprentices to 930,000 youth who were previously discriminated against and characterized as ninis (those without work and who are not studying-TN). The federal government grants them a monthly scholarship of 3,600 pesos to train for a year in companies, workshops, public institutions, and social organizations, which facilitates their successful insertion into the labor market and prevents them from falling prey to crime.
The National Reconstruction Program serves the population affected by the earthquakes of September 2017 and February 2018, and has provided financial support for housing to 13,805 families. Schools and clinics and hospitals are under reconstruction and progress is being made in the restoration of temples and other structures or spaces catalogued as historical heritage sites.
We have begun the Urban Improvement and Housing Program, both in cities on the northern border and in tourist development poles, to reduce the contrast between luxury hotels and marginalized neighborhoods.
This program is bearing fruit in Tijuana, Mexicali, San Luis Río Colorado, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Acuña, Piedras Negras, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros, as well as in marginalized neighborhoods in four tourist centers: Los Cabos, Bahía de Banderas, Acapulco, and Playa del Carmen. To date, 18,455 housing units have been built or refurbished, and the introduction of water, sewage, and pavement has begun, as well as providing the property deeds for homes in low-income neighborhoods in 14 cities. The INFONAVIT government housing agency has restructured 147,523 housing loans for the benefit of workers who paid debts that grew instead of decreased. Those who have covered 90 percent of their credit will have the remainder forgiven and will be able to receive their property deed. This modality has benefited 31,000 families. In addition, no one has been evicted from their apartment or housing, as was the case when the so-called overdue loan portfolios were sold to “coyotes”, collection offices or influence traffickers.
The vast majority of the poor cannot use the banking system. To remedy this situation, the federal government has created the Banco del Bienestar social welfare bank, whose main purpose is to allocate resources via cards to beneficiaries of the social programs. Next year, the Banco de Bienestar will increase the number of its branches from 433 to 13,000 throughout the country.
These offices will operate in integration centers located in areas with large populations in order to then serve more than 180,000 communities in the country with less than 2,500 inhabitants.
In the last six-year presidential administration, the so-called “educational reform” was imposed, which generated a bitter social conflict and led to unjustifiable repressive measures. Our government is committed to improving the quality of teaching and the material conditions of the country’s schools, to guaranteeing access to education for all young people, and to reversing legislative adulteration. Following an intense process of dialogue and reflection, the schools, the Federal Executive branch, Congress, and the national teachers’ movement reached a broad agreement that led to the approval of a new legal framework for public education.
With the new 2019-2020 school year, the School is Ours program began, which provides resources for the construction, repair, and maintenance of public schools to the Participatory Management School Committees, made up of students, teachers, and parents from each school. With this program, each school will receive its annual budget.
Resources are beginning to arrive directly from the federal treasury to the school, without intermediaries or cumbersome paperwork procedures. In the first stage, 103,000 of the 173,000 existing schools will be served. The amount of resources per school was defined as follows: for schools with from five to 50 students, 150,000 pesos per school year; from 51 to 150 pupils, 200,000 pesos; more than 150 students, 500,000 pesos. The initial budget is 21 billion pesos and we are reaching agreements with the state governments for the latter to contribute half the amount. Most have responded well and the first to accept was the governor of Puebla, Miguel Barbosa. The delivery of financial resources to 14,000 school committees has already begun.
The strategy for rescuing historical memory and promoting reading is functioning. The Fondo de Cultura Económica publishing house has issued 29 books by great writers in the Vientos del Pueblo collection with press runs of 40,000 copies, reaching a total of 1,160,000 copies. These books are sold at affordable prices ranging from 9 to 20 pesos. In addition, 8.5 million copies of the Castilla Moral (Moral Primer) of Alfonso Reyes were reprinted.
We made progress in supporting universities and public research centers with financial resources. This year, the National Council for Science and Technology, the CONACYT, has allocated more than 2.25 billion pesos to basic or frontier science. In addition, 24,453 new scholarships were granted to graduate students.
The Benito Juarez Garcia Universities for Social Wellbeing began their activities in March 2019 with one hundred campuses. Altogether, they serve 39,600 students from marginalized areas who receive scholarships of 2,400 pesos per month. These universities are staffed by 815 academics and administrative employees.
This coming January, the University of Health will start operating. It is designed for the training and education of doctors and nurses and is promoted by the Mexico City government.
The opening of what had been the former official residence of Los Pinos to the population has allowed 2.8 million people to visit the old presidential mansion and a project is already being developed, in coordination with the City Government, to convert the Chapultepec Forest and the land where the Army Weapons Factory was located into an artistic and ecological space of 800 hectares. Soon, very soon, it will be one of the most important cultural sites in the world.
We have created the National Institute of Health for Well-Being, which has begun to resolve four basic demands: supply of all medicines in hospitals and clinics located in the most remote communities of the country; the assignment of doctors, nurses, and paramedics in all population centers; the refurbishing and expansion of the health infrastructure, including the improvement of medical equipment, and the basification of more than 80,000 employees who have been working for a long time as casual workers and paid by fees rather than fixed salaries. The health budget will be increased by 40 billion pesos to guarantee quality level and free medicines, clinical analysis, and medical and hospital care, to all the inhabitants of Mexico as soon as possible. A national information campaign on addictions has already been launched, basically focused on young people, to provide orientation on the tremendous harm caused by drugs.
All types of sports are being promoted. The athletic delegation that represented Mexico at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in July and August, won the largest number of medals in competitions outside the country. The 546 athletes and their coaches were given financial support for one year.
We did the same with the Paralympic athletes, who won 55 gold medals (a historic record), 58 silver medals, and 45 bronze medals.
The financial resources provided to athletes and the poorest villages in Mexico come from the sale of movable and immovable property seized from common and white-collar crime, and are delivered by the newly created Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People.
The federal executive branch has undertaken a change in the public security policy model. Between 2006 and 2018, the government sought to resolve public insecurity and criminal violence through the deployment of the military and police forces, without addressing the root causes of the problem. The result was catastrophic and that strategy left in its wake a frightening toll of dead, disappeared, and injured; a human rights crisis; an unprecedented institutional decomposition; and very serious damage to the social fabric. The country still suffers the consequences of that erroneous policy.
It should not be forgotten that on January 2, 2007 in Apatzingán, Michoacán, Felipe Calderón, in an attempt to legitimize himself after the electoral fraud, ordered the participation of the Armed Forces in what he called the “War against Drug Trafficking”. This irresponsible decision led soldiers and sailors into a head-on battle against organized crime, under the slogan “cleaning up” no matter what, with executions, massacres, or extermination. In the military high command, the officers were told: you finish them off and we’ll take care of human rights. The best proof of this authoritarian approach is that this six-year period has the highest fatal casualty rate in combat since the Mexican Revolution. This indicator is obtained from the average number of alleged criminals killed or taken down in confrontations, compared to the number of those wounded and detained presented by the military forces to the authorities. In just two years of Calderón’s government (2011-2012), there were 1,898 confrontations in which 2,459 people died, 231 were wounded, and 1,519 were arrested; that is, the number of deaths was 709 higher than the number of wounded and arrested.
By the same token, in the last three years of the Felipe Calderón administration (2010-2012), the number of military and navy personnel killed in confrontations reached 154, an average of 51 per year, while in 12 months of our government, we can only regret that 15 members of the Armed Forces have lost their lives. Although the data speak for themselves, it is obvious that this absurd and deranged strategy will not be repeated and that the life and prestige of the members of the Armed Forces will never again be irresponsibly put at risk, much less used to commit excesses and execute illegal and inhumane orders.
The validity of the new security policy was clearly demonstrated in the response to the terror crisis experienced on Thursday evening, October 17, in Culiacán, Sinaloa, on the occasion of the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán, son of Joaquín Guzmán Loera. In that true test of fire in which criminals took to the streets with high-caliber weapons and a high risk was posed, we preferred to halt the operation and release the suspect to avoid a massacre in which hundreds of individuals, mostly civilians, innocent people, would have lost their lives, according to the calculation of the Armed Forces. Our adversaries may say that we displayed weakness, but nothing is worth more than people’s lives.
The rationale for this new strategy is contained in the Development Plan, but I would like to reiterate that among the main actions to achieve peace is the creation of better living and working conditions, in order to address the root causes of violence: unemployment, poverty, marginalization, and the lack of jobs and educational opportunities for young people.
The new public security strategy also includes zero tolerance of torture and any other human rights violations. We are devoting time and resources to the search for those who were disappeared as a result of political violence. We will not rest until we know the whereabouts of the young people of Ayotzinapa. Protection is being provided to 365 journalists and 721 human rights defenders. Forty-seven political prisoners have been released and we will continue to free those still unjustly imprisoned, in accordance with applicable legal dispositions. Rescue operations have already begun for the remains of the 63 miners whose bodies have not been recovered since 2006 in the Pasta de Conchos Mine, Coahuila.
The Army and the Navy have not been used and will not be used to repress the people. The state is no longer the main human rights violator. I would like to thank the soldiers and sailors who have accepted the challenge of guaranteeing public security with full respect for human rights and with the regulated use of force for their support. The loyalty of the Armed Forces of Mexico is not in doubt; as a uniformed people they are participating fully, one hundred percent, in the transformation of the homeland.
I wish to reiterate that the decrease in crime in the country is our main challenge, but we are sure that we will bring calm to Mexico with the support of the people and with the coordinated work of the entire government, with perseverance, professionalism, honesty, and, above all, with actions guided by the principle that peace is the fruit of justice.
The government of Mexico offers cooperation, friendship, and respect to all the nations of the world and particularly to the brother countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
In keeping with our exemplary tradition of offering safe haven to those politically persecuted from around the world, we decided to grant humanitarian and political asylum to the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, and his Vice President, Álvaro García Linera. Evo is not only our brother who with dignity represents the majority indigenous people of Bolivia. Evo was the victim of a coup d’état. And from Mexico to the world, we declare: democracy yes, militarism no.
Mexico’s membership in the North American region, together with the United States and Canada, is an unavoidable historical, cultural, political, and economic reality. The relationship with the first of these countries, with which we share more than three thousand kilometers of border, is marked by a history of invasions, territorial dispossession, and interventions, but also by an intense economic, cultural, and demographic exchange.
The Executive Branch strives for the bilateral relationship with the northern neighbor to be developed with adherence to mutual respect, cooperation for development, and negotiated solutions to common problems, among which the most significant are undoubtedly, the migratory phenomena from south to north and the expressions of transnational crime, namely, trafficking in persons and the transfer of arms, illicit drugs, and foreign currency.
Our government now defends Mexicans in the United States with full respect for the sovereignty of that country and with all the legal instruments at its disposal. The main such instrument is the network of consulates, which will operate as ombudsmen for migrants, within the framework of international conventions and U.S. laws, to prevent or remedy violations of the rights of Mexicans.
Here we once again express our condolences to the families of the victims of the collective murder in El Paso, Texas, and reiterate our condemnation of this hate crime motivated by racism and xenophobia, as well as the demand that the person responsible for this abominable aggression be punished in accordance with the law.
We also thank President Donald Trump for his solidarity expressed in the crisis of violence in Culiacán and after the sad and painful events in which three women and six children from the Mexican-American families LeBarón and Langford lost their lives. We recognize that in both cases he offered us help and respected our sovereign right to decide independently and freely. The government of Mexico will fulfill its responsibility to ensure justice.
In terms of immigration policy, we have formulated a radical change with respect to what was done in the recent past. Our purpose now is to ensure that no Mexican citizen is forced to leave his or her place of residence due to poverty, marginalization or public insecurity.
The Executive Branch has sought to involve the United States and the sister countries of Central America in this solution in order to participate together in the elaboration of mechanisms for economic reactivation, well-being, and development with the final purpose of ensuring that all people can work, study, have access to health care and well-being where they were born; that migration be optional, and not forced by hunger or violence.
When it comes to good leaders, as José Martí said, “years go by maturing, not aging”. This applies to our special guest, Pepe Mújica, former president of Uruguay.
A year ago, in this same place, I presented one hundred commitments to the people of Mexico. Today we have fulfilled 89 and only 11 are pending.
There is no doubt that in these first 12 months we have come a long way, but we are still in a process of transition. The old has not yet died and the new has not yet been born. However, we are not simulating, a new way of doing politics is underway, it is no longer more of the same, now we are guided by honesty, democracy, and humanism.
How much time will we need to consolidate the transformation? I think one more year, that is, in December 2020, the foundations for the construction of a new homeland will already be established. By then, it will be practically impossible, under any circumstances, to return to the era of infamy that the neoliberal or neoporfirista period (referring to the period of President Porfirio Diaz’s rule, broadly considered to be repressive and violent-TN).
I am sure that when we complete two years in government, the conservatives will no longer be able to reverse the changes or, to not be so categorical, they would have to make a tremendous effort and be very shamefaced to return to the dark days of corruption, of boilerplate contracts, of tax condonations, of electoral frauds, of abandonment of young people, of racism, of contempt for the poor, and of cold-blooded killings. But what I most desire with all my heart is that by then we live in a better society: freer, fairer, prosperous, democratic, peaceful, and fraternal.
During my long public life and, above all, in the most difficult moments, I have always had a guardian angel called the people. You have always supported me and sustained me. To the people I owe everything that I am, so I will continue to listen and serve them, and I will never, ever betray them.
Thank you for the protection and support I receive from you and many people. I am a mere leader; the people are the great lord, the master, the sovereign, the ruler, the one who truly rules and transforms.
I do not forget and I always remember what President Benito Juárez said with such depth and simplicity: “with the people everything, without the people nothing”.
Long live the Fourth Transformation!
Long live Mexico!
Long live Mexico!
Long live Mexico!
Zócalo – Mexico City, December 1, 2019
By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
December 7, 2019
Doctor in Philosophy and Letters, Cuban writer and politician. He was Ambassador to the UN and Chancellor of Cuba. For 20 years he presided over the National Assembly of the People’s Power of Cuba (Parliament).
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Although it could happen at any time, the news of his departure causes pain and sadness. I feel the need to let those feelings flow now without dwelling on how much should be written about Faure Chomón and his decisive participation in the revolutionary cause of our people.
I met him shortly after beginning my studies at the University of Havana. He introduced us to Fructuoso Rodríguez, the inseparable companion of José Antonio Echeverría. Both engaged in an incessant struggle to transform academic life by stripping it of mediocrity and routine. At the same time, they fought to eliminate the consequences of the vices of the old politicking that hampered the revolutionary role that FEU had to play in the face of Batista’s dictatorship.
Faure led a small group that fought for these ideals, disseminating short mimeographed texts that they distributed from hand to hand.
They were uncertain times. We had to face the apoliticism and the demagogy, the frustration and the disbelief that the Republican bankruptcy had bequeathed us as a cursed inheritance. A new generation had to become its own teacher and undertake hard learning in very difficult and risky circumstances.
José Antonio and Fructuoso managed to rescue the FEU, created and directed the Revolutionary Directorate and, with their blood, they fertilized the route of freedom. Faure always accompanied them.
We fought together for half a century. In the final stage, he was advisor to the President of the National Assembly. He occupied a very modest space in the building that then housed the Parliament. We talked about the human and the divine on a daily basis. I always sought his advice, but more than as an advisor. He was always a loyal and sincere friend, a compañero of the old times. The hours went by reminding us of a glorious past that always went with us.
Others will wish him rest in peace. I know that he will continue to fight and we will continue together.
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.”
This may interest you: Parties ask their militants to march peacefully on the day of unemployment
“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 | email@example.com
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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.