By Manuel E. Yepe.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The opposition, for its part, called for a plebiscite for the same first Sunday July 1. However it is illegal because it does not have the endorsement of the CNE, the only body legally authorized to carry out any electoral process in the country. It has a subversive character, and was designed to prevent the electoral process for the Constituent Assembly. Neither in the national constitution nor in any other Venezuelan law is the plebiscite a method of popular consultation.
But at what point is the struggle to consolidate the Bolivarian revolutionary process initiated by Hugo Chávez in the interest of the full assumption by the Venezuelan people of sovereignty over the natural wealth, history and future of that Caribbean and South American nation?
The National Directorate of the Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ) of the Socialist Party [the PSUV: Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela] in a communiqué made public on July 3 in progress declares that the conflict in Venezuela is at a new level, not because of the will of the revolution, but because it was imposed by the coup plan in progress after two months of unsuccessful coup attempts.
The strategy is drawn up by the US State Department, the US Defense Department’s Southern Command headquartered in Miami and the Venezuelan economic and political right. To date, it has been observed using the deployment of different putschist weapons: the communicational, the psychological, the international, the economic, the institutional, and violence. They have tried and advanced each of them, as part of the fourth generation war, which combines the different forms of war. His greatest weakness has always been the lack of popular support.
It is in the institutional environment in which more work and beat today, betting on eventual fractures in the Chavista block.
Given its lack of popular support, the right has opted to implement several tactics at a time. One is to push the economy to raise prices, shorten and attack points of food supply and transportation in order to deepen the economic difficulties of humble people to push it to plunder.
Another is based on deploying clashes to siege entire cities for several days, leaving behind a trail of death, destruction, looting, fire, terror and other images that hit the social fabric, reports the CRBZ.
The radical aspect of the right-wing war is explained by the despair and the class character of the conflict. They seek desperately to regain political control and to lapse the historical project that is the Bolivarian revolution.
“Faced with this scenario, it is essential to maintain the unity of Chavismo, to defend the revolution not only from the State, but also from the popular protagonism, involving people in the organized protection of institutions, territories, hospitals, food centers. To ensure that doctors, workers, comuneros and neighbors, take care of their spaces so that the right does not destroy what the people have built in the exercise of participatory democracy and safeguard their conquests for so many years.
The other great purpose of Chavismo is to arrive on July 30, having started a process of participation and debate around the National Constituent Assembly. “We must activate assemblies in the territories, recreate politics from the grassroots, listen to criticism, build spaces for exchange that are not only to applaud leaders and repeat the same. That exercise will allow us to call the vote to the majorities on July 30 and have better conditions to face the next steps. “
Chavismo proposes to provide urgent answers to the material demands of people: gas, price stabilization, supply, drugs. And not from an electoral perspective, but from the imperative need to respond to needs that multiply in the territories and that are breeding ground for discontent, abstention and depoliticization.
“We are in a decisive month,” the Chavistas reckon, “the right, by US design, will do everything possible to attempt its final assault. The revolution has the strength to resist and keep moving forward. It is necessary to use all those forces, in particular that of the protagonism of the people “.
July 17, 2017.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! of Mérida, Mexico.
Political organizations and religious institutions of all kinds, tones, and colors have tried to legislate about what have been (or are) the most appropriate “carnal relations.”
An investigative work on homosexuality in several countries, by University of New Mexico professor emeritus of sociology, Nelson Valdés, states that the Bolsheviks in Russia criminalized homosexuality for a short time in 1922. But it has been a general rule that both communists, socialists and capitalist parties always avoid defining guidelines on sexual orientation.
Valdés points out that in the United States, the change came just on December 6, 2011, when US foreign policy manifested itself in defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender “rights” in some countries of the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then announced a global LGBT policy, although she acknowledged that she was talking about this subject “knowing that my country’s record on human rights for homosexuals is far from adequate.”
Until 2003, it was a crime in the United States to be LGBT. Many homosexuals in the United States suffered violence and harassment. For some – among them many young people – harassment and exclusion continue to be daily realities. “Hence, as in all nations, we have a lot of work to do to protect human rights in our country,” Secretary of State Clinton said in a December 2011 statement.
His new international policy promised to open the borders of the United States to give aid and protection to the LGBT refugees and asylum seekers … as long as they came from those countries of which Washington demands regime change.
Practically, the United States had only added one more pretext for its intrusion into the internal affairs of those countries that defied American power.
Shortly afterward, in the mid-1970s, the media “influenced” by Washington within their own nation and around the world unleashed a great campaign on the alleged discrimination against homosexuals in Cuba.
Simultaneously, a media crusade was initiated to demonstrate that “the roots of homophobia in Cuba were in the revolution of Fidel Castro and the new Cuban communist leadership.” In 2000, the Cuban leader admitted his personal responsibility for not having promptly corrected the phenomenon, derived from the stubborn policies of years before the revolution.
Until 1973 homosexuality was considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and other related professions throughout the hemisphere shared similar attitudes. Homosexuality was considered until very recently a “deviation” and prohibited in the majority of the states of the United States. For its part, Cuba had inherited a macho culture because of long-standing attitudes, both in Spain and in the African cultures that contribute to its national identity.
However, in the last two decades, says Professor Nelson Valdes, the changes on issues of sexual identity and gender have been extraordinary. The Cuban media has played a systematic and concerted role in the education of the general population. Cinematography has been at the forefront in discussing these issues. In the last 13 years, Cuban television has more explicitly explored issues related to alternative sexual behavior.
The openness to openly gay behavior has not been limited to Havana alone. Homophobia is clearly in decline throughout the island as evidenced by the fact that gay and lesbian candidates are being elected to public office. A well-known foreign observer has pointed out that, in this area, “Cuba is much more liberal than the United States and Europe.”
What remains to be addressed is how it has been possible for a country characterized by such macho tendencies so entrenched in institutions, politicians, and national culture to have changed so much in the relatively short period of half a century and now that homophobia has become the enemy.
Indeed, the mainstream media and political and social leaders in the country have openly attempted to positively influence the population, in which some of the older people have tried to cling to the sexual and gender roles learned before the triumph Of the Cuban revolution.
Valdes highlights as a great achievement that Cubans have overcome the idea that machismo, manhood, and masculinity are the expressions of what defines a revolutionary. But, in my opinion, it is the awareness of the necessity of national unity for the defense of the revolution that has played an essential role in such a transcendental task for the progress of the human condition.
July 6, 2017.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
By Manuel E. Yepe
The psychological warfare being waged by the oligarchic opposition in Venezuela –following the strategic and tactical objectives of US imperialism– has strong support in a well-organized Twitter operation that promotes protests from the Miami-based DolarToday platform. This is described in a research article published by the well-known specialist Erin Gallagher.
DolarToday is a US website based in Miami that, according to Wikipedia, “is more known for being an exchange rate reference to the Venezuelan bolivar” and “monitoring the Venezuelan economy.”
Currently, with no other reliable source other than the black market exchange rates, these rates are used by Reuters, CNBC, and several media news agencies and networks.
The Economist states in its defense that the rates calculated by DolarToday are “erratic”, but that they are “more realistic than the three official rates” released by the Venezuelan government. It maintains that it is not true that the rates published by DolarToday are manipulated in order to undercut the Venezuelan government.
The DolarToday website has been denounced by the Venezuelan State for setting a parallel dollar artificial price marker (black market). It has also been the target of a lawsuit by the Central Bank of Venezuela for falsifying the country’s exchange rates.
In 2013, President Maduro accused the website of “fueling an economic war against his government, and manipulating the exchange rate.”
“DolarToday is also promoting opposition protests in Venezuela. Its tweets are being boosted by automated accounts that exhibit repetitive, bot-like characteristics and are using a social media management tool called IFTTT (If This Then That) to automate their tweets”, says Erin Gallagher.
“What immediately caught my attention in the #TeamHDP hashtag data were the shared networks between the influencers (real persons of high credibility),” explained the specialist.
Trolls and bots carry out coordinated attacks to create false trends, congest or disrupt networks, and disseminate misinformation. Sometimes they succeed having a respected media –by neglect or mistake– disseminate their fake information and misleading headlines.
“Bots” are automated systems or programs –that can be run on home computers or on sophisticated servers—which use non-existent Twitter accounts to repeat a certain phrase hundreds or thousands of times. Thus they can turn those phrases into “trends”; that is to make them appear among the 10 or 20 topics that Twitter considers the subjects most discussed in recent hours.
Bot experts disguise themselves as “digital marketing companies”,create dozens or hundreds of fake Twitter accounts, and then use “bots” so that these accounts simultaneously tweet certain content, including headlines from news sites.
Because many journalists in the print media, radio and television use Twitter trends to determine what topics to deal with in their media, whoever dominates Twitter trends can get to determine the topics most talked about in the country’s media.
Gallagher says it is relatively easy to discover the use of these systems: when you enter a tag on Twitter and then click “Most Recent”, you will notice that there are hundreds or thousands of accounts tweeting exactly the same phrase.
This is not the first time robotic cyber actions have been observed in Venezuelan networks. Mexican researchers from the platform “LoQueSigue” used, in 2014, bots with the hashtag #PrayForVenezuela, which denounced “the violence, the repression and the supposed “censorship” of the protests in Venezuela,” which became a worldwide trend.
In addition, NoBotsPolitico of Spain documented fake accounts that supported the protests in Venezuela until June 2014, then remained silent for eight months, but went back to tweeting propaganda against Podemos in hashtags related to the 2015 elections in Spain.
Bloomberg published a feature on an investigation of March 2016 titled “How to Hack an Election” about the Colombian hacker Andrés Sepulveda, who worked with a team of hackers to manipulate information about the elections in Latin America. Sepulveda is currently serving 10 years in prison for crimes such as abusive access to computer networks, violation of personal data, espionage, and the use of malicious software during the 2014 election in Colombia.
It is not difficult to guess who controls the automated accounts that support #TeamHDP. The counterrevolution will someday have to answer for so much crime against the Venezuelan people.
June 26, 2017.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for daily POR ESTO! of Mérida, México.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Is Israel on the verge of civil war, as a growing number of Middle East commentators suggest, with its Jewish population deeply divided over the future of the occupation of Palestinian soil?
Such is the question asked by Jonathan Cook, British writer and journalist based in Nazareth, a specialist on Middle East issues who writes for The Guardian, Al Jazeera and other media, who attempted to answer it in a recent article.
Cook wrote that on one side is a new peace movement, Decision at 50, stuffed with former political and security leaders. Ehud Barak, a previous prime minister who appears to be seeking a political comeback, may yet emerge as its figurehead.
The group has demanded the government hold a referendum next year – the half-centenary of Israel’s occupation, which began in 1967 – on whether it is time to leave the occupied territories. Its own polling shows a narrow majority ready to concede a Palestinian state.
On the other is Benjamin Netanyahu, in power for seven years with the most right-wing government in Israel’s history. Recently he posted a video on social networks criticizing those who want to end the occupation.
Cook wrote that whatever its proponents imply, the Decision at 50 referendum is about neither peace nor the Palestinians’ best interests. Its assumption is that yet again the Israeli public should determine unilaterally the Palestinians’ fate.
An Israeli consensus believes Gaza has been free of occupation since the settlers were pulled out in 2005, despite the fact that Israel still surrounds most of the coastal strip with soldiers, patrols its air space with drones and denies access to the sea.
The same unyielding, deluded Israeli consensus has declared East Jerusalem, the expected capital of a Palestinian state, as instead part of Israel’s “eternal capital”.
But the problem runs deeper still. When the new campaign proudly cites new figures showing that 58 per cent support “two States for two nations”, it glosses over what most Israelis think such statehood would entail for the Palestinians.
So what do Israelis think a Palestinian state should look like? Previous surveys have been clear. It would not include Jerusalem or control its borders. It would be territorially carved up to preserve the “settlement blocs”, which would be annexed to Israel. And most certainly it would be “demilitarized” – without an army or air force. In other words, Palestinians would lack sovereignty.
Such a state exists only in the imagination of the Israeli public. A Palestinian state on these terms would simply be an extension of the Gaza model to the West Bank.
Nonetheless, the idea of a civil war is gaining ground. Tamir Pardo, the recently departed head of Israel’s spy agency MOSSAD, warned before his death that Israel was on the brink of tearing itself apart through “internal divisions”. He rated this a bigger danger than any of the existential threats posited by Mr. Netanyahu, such as Iran’s supposed nuclear bomb.
But the truth is that there is very little ideologically separating most Israeli Jews. All but a tiny minority wish to see the Palestinians continue as a subjugated people. For the great majority, a Palestinian state means nothing more than a makeover of the occupation, penning up the Palestinians in slightly more humane conditions.
According to Cook, Israeli moderates have had to confront the painful reality that their country is not the enlightened outpost in the Middle East they had imagined. Those who cannot stomach such a view will have to stop equivocating and take sides.
They can leave, as some are already doing, or stay and fight – not for a bogus referendum that solves nothing, but to demand dignity and freedom for the Palestinian people, advises Jonathan Cook.
September 22, 2016.
Por Manuel E. Yepe
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Not every sector of the U.S. society, nor all U.S. citizens, is frustrated at President Barack Obama’s performance so far or his failure to keep his promises of change.
Small wonder, taking into account that the election of the young and charismatic senator raised hopes on both ends of the U.S. society’s spectrum over something he could not possibly accomplish.
To the elites holding the real power, Barack Obama was a necessary risk to save capitalism and U.S. dominance at home and abroad, as they had realized even before George W. Bush’s first mandate ended that Obama looked as promising as Franklin D. Roosevelt once was to a newly-formed imperialism following the Great Depression.
We must bear in mind that despite widespread hopes worldwide and many experts’ predictions, the conservative right has seen more victories than setbacks under Obama in matters of war policy while still treating him as an adversary. They have managed to considerably neutralize an antiwar movement whose members remain hopeful nonetheless, albeit not without certain reservations, that Obama will keep the promises he made during the presidential race, however long it may take him to.
The number of rallies and protest campaigns has decreased, never mind that Iraq remains an occupied country, the death toll in Afghanistan keeps rising and the war, far from decreasing, is now threatening Pakistan. Likewise, the torture center in Guantanamo is still operating under an assortment of pretexts, and the practices of “preemptive detention” and relocation of suspects in other countries are anything but over while every effort is made to hinder any investigation launched into cases of crimes against humanitarian law.
The number of military bases around the world “to fight drug trafficking” is growing rather than decreasing, and troops are withdrawn only when they can be replaced with “security contractors” –mercenaries– in the interests of privatizing all wars of occupation.
A sort of impasse in favor of the new U.S. president is also noticeable in Africa and the Caribbean, as many leaders and citizens from those regions feel committed to their support of Obama’s campaign, by virtue of a very conveniently manipulated racial identity which has made it possible for the superpower to revive its ties with them, regardless of the Third World’s repeated demands that the president be as good as his word.
At domestic level, the wealthy have profited more from Obama’s achievements than the middle class and the poor: his huge bailouts for the benefit of banks and insurance companies have put Wall Street’s mind at rest; the acquisition of the car industry with the Government’s backing to protect Corporate America from the labor union has been praised by the owners of that sector; and the $800 billion value pack for big business, as well as the mortgage loans to appease discontent among the workers, have definitely paid off.
Obama’s trips to other nations in order to restore old alliances and friendly links destroyed by the 8-year-long Bush administration are to the big companies’ liking, since they mean more investment and a bigger share of those alternative markets.
His promises to make reforms in the health system look fine to the right-wingers as long as they’re nothing more than a few cosmetic changes properly screened by the powerful giants of the pharmaceutical, biotechnological and health insurance companies.
For all the obvious steps Obama has taken to save capitalism and U.S. hegemony, the conservative elements who really call the shots offstage stick by their strategy of keeping the president always on the defensive by allowing, if not promoting, that he is branded as communist and criticized for his slightest criticism of racism.
When he came to the rescue of the banks, many likened him to Lenin and Stalin and warned him they would accuse him of trying to come up with a Union of Socialist American Republics. The governor of Texas threatened to set up a secessionist movement to fight against the U.S. president’s “socialist” economic plan.
Obama puts himself across as a leader committed to the promises that earned him a vote of confidence by most U.S. citizens and the Third World’s hopes of a change of direction in the superpower’s peace efforts, but one whose initiative invariably gives in to the pressures of a conservative right intent on keeping him more worried about defending himself than about making any progress.
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
As a source of foreign currency, international tourism is thirty times bigger than it was 60 years ago, with more than 700 million tourists hopping from one country to another every year.
Several rich and highly industrialized nations among the destinations most favored by foreign visitors, and some of them also happen to be top issuers of tourists not only to other no less developed countries but also, and increasingly so, to poor countries where they can enjoy a better climate, a cleaner environment and a richer cultural diversity.
International tourism should be used by the richest countries as a vehicle to repay the poorest ones for the plundering of resources they suffered for centuries as a result of colonialism, neocolonialism, unequal exchange and other forms of sacking and exploitation leading to the dramatic disparity facing mankind today.
However, capitalism has its own set of rules, imposed by big business even to the practice of North-South tourism. Given that the conditions to be met by international tourism are more and more sophisticated, the poor nations find it harder and harder to fulfill them by themselves. Placing the building and management of your hotels and the rest of the tourism infrastructure in the hands of foreign investors is no longer enough to be as competitive as the industry demands nowadays.
For instance, the cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts give the target markets very little chance to make a profit, as the foreign visitors have already paid to the tour operators back home all their travel expenses, including meals, drinks, local transport and leisure activities. In the case of the former, the tourists sleep, eat and enjoy various amenities on board. “All they do when they put into port is damage the environment and get rid of the waste generated during the trip”, grumble those who naysay of this major part of the tourism industry in poor countries. On the other hand, travelers who choose all-inclusive results pay for almost everything in advance: accommodation, meals, soft and alcoholic drinks, sports, entertainment, even the tips. Critics in the recipient countries argue this form of tourism barely helps the local economy and damages the environment to boot. Indeed, most of these resorts are in relatively distant locations far from any major urban center, which prevents tourists from shopping around or enjoying local attractions, mainly because they have paid beforehand for everything their lodgings have to offer. These resorts are owned and/or managed by big corporations that leave the local small or medium-sized enterprises hardly any room to breathe.
At first they offered three daily meals and the clientele would pay for the drinks, but the common practice in the Caribbean made it more comprehensive as a function of developing tourism and making it more social.
In the late 1970s Canada saw the birth of a new mass tourism industry generally aimed at skilled workers who were not as well paid as the traditional tourists from rich countries –which suited the all-inclusive system down to the ground– that provided charter flights, more economic hotel operations and affordable prices that made demand hit the roof.
These all-inclusive resorts promise a vacation without surprises, as the tourists who buy a value pack know that at checkout time they won’t be handed a bill in excess of their calculations.
By the mid-1990s the all-inclusive resorts had become popular throughout the Caribbean and thus forced the big beach hotel chains to jump on the bandwagon.
Nonetheless, the mass tourist operations run by the top corporations in recipient countries have also brought with them serious social damages that the clientele’s few collateral and almost accidental expenses can hardly compensate for. There’s over-exploitation of the local workforce, whose employment insecurity virtually turns them into the foreign company’s slave labor. Consequently, poor areas spring up rapidly around the tourist parks where there are no hospitals or health care centers and corruption and tax evasion, among other scourges, are rampant.
Cuba, on the contrary, has managed to make the most of this economy of scale and stay clear of the social effects that countries like, for example, the Dominican Republic and Mexico have suffered, thanks to the high level of social organization in the Island, the scope of its socialist project, and the fact that the State and its public bodies have full control over foreign investment issues.
Our tourist industry workers are protected and their rights and social benefits guaranteed –an utopian goal everywhere else across the region– and our mass tourism revenues are reinvested in the development and welfare of the Cuban population.
Por Manuel E. Yepe
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico. Http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
In recent days, a book written by a Cuban who has been a mercenary in the service of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been published in the United States and has played dissimilar roles in that criminal organization’s actions not only in the Washington battle against his Home country, but also to other infamous plans of the agency in other parts of the world and in the United States, including the latter, to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The American magazine Newsweek, in its May 28, 2017 issue, publishes a review by journalist Jefferson Morley on the book “Trained to Kill: The CIA Secrets about His Plans Against Castro, Kennedy and Che,” written by his ex Operative agent Antonio Veciana.
The terrorist “exploits” of this mercenary were widely known in Cuba and recognized by the American press, but the value of the infamies confessed by Veciana is that he adds elements to the multiple versions of the CIA’s leading role in the assassination of Kennedy .
According to Veciana, in 1960, he worked as an official of the Cuban government when, having already tried to subvert it from within, he stole official funds and used the money to finance attacks against government offices, factories and warehouses.
Two years later, he used his position in the government to distribute propaganda falsely announcing that the government planned to take custody of school-age children with the purpose of provoking panic in Cuban families and having some send their children to the United States , Where they would be welcomed by the Catholic Church in South Florida. The operation was called Peter Pan, separated 14,000 Cuban children from their families and was described in the press as “a disinterested effort to rescue the victims of communist oppression.”
Controller of Veciana for the operation was “Maurice Bishop” whose real name was David Atlee Phillips, who would become Head of the Division of the CIA for the Western Hemisphere until his retirement in 1975.
After the failure of Bay of Pigs, at Playa Girón, Phillips expressed his contempt for Kennedy, explains Veciana. After JFK’s peaceful conclusion to the missile crisis, Phillips created Alpha-66, a terrorist organization to attack Cuban targets that became a CIA instrument to pressure Kennedy with his actions.
In March 1963, Veciana and his group attacked a Russian merchant ship headed for Cuba, generating headlines around the world. Phillips sought to humiliate the Russians and embarrass JFK to take more aggressive action against Cuba. But Kennedy downplayed the issue and “Castro’s enemies, including Phillips, became even more furious,” Veciana says.
Veciana confirms how she met Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in the lobby of the Southland Center, the tallest building in Dallas, where he was introduced by Bishop.
“That was full of people, but Bishop, standing in a corner, was talking to a young man, pale, insubstantial. When he introduced me, I do not remember if he did it by his name (he might have said, ‘Tony, this is Lee. Lee, this is Tony.) But what I’m sure of is that Lee did not say anything. “
Following the assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Oswald was arrested, and his face was broadcast on television. “I recognized him immediately,” writes Veciana. “He was, without a doubt, the same pale, insignificant young man he had seen eleven weeks before” in the company of Maurice Bishop. “
Veciana recalls that early in 1964 the agency man asked if a cousin of his who was a Cuban intelligence officer would be willing to state that he had conspired with Oswald before JFK was killed. Phillips offered to pay for such testimony, but Veciana replied that his cousin was communist and could not be bought.
A decade later, in 1975, when the JFK investigation was reopened, a congressional investigator, knowing that Veciana had worked for the CIA, approached him to learn more about how the agency collaborated with Cuban exiles. Veciana told her the story of her work with Bishop, including meeting with Oswald. Arrangements were made for an artist to draw a picture of Bishop based on Veciana’s description and the result was a portrait that closely resembled Phillips. Veciana was then taken to Washington for a meeting with Phillips, but he pretended not to know Veciana who, out of fear of reprisals from the CIA denied that Bishop and Phillips were the same person. “A lie that I have maintained until today”, emphasizes Veciana.
Certainly, in the confessions of this bloodthirsty terrorist there are elements that contribute data to the clarification of some half truths and manipulations in the criminal history of the USA.
June 5, 2017.
Por Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusivo para el diario POR ESTO! de Mérida, México. http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
En días recientes se publicó en Estados Unidos un libro escrito por un cubano que hizo carrera como mercenario al servicio de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) y desempeñó disímiles papeles en acciones de esa organización criminal vinculadas, no solo a la batalla Washington contra su país natal, sino también a otros planes infamantes de la agencia en otras partes del mundo y en los propios Estados Unidos, incluyendo entre estos últimos, al magnicidio de John F. Kennedy.
La revista norteamericana Newsweek, en su número de 28 de mayo de 2017, publica una reseña del periodista Jefferson Morley sobre el libro “Entrenado para matar: Los Secretos de la CIA sobre sus planes contra Castro, Kennedy y Che”, escrito por su ex agente operativo Antonio Veciana.
Las “hazañas” terroristas de este mercenario eran ampliamente conocidas en Cuba y reconocidas por la prensa estadounidense, pero el valor de las infamias que confiesa Veciana radica en que agrega elementos a las múltiples versiones acerca del papel rector de la CIA en el asesinato de Kennedy.
Según Veciana, en 1960, él trabajaba como funcionario del gobierno cubano cuando, teniendo ya como proyecto subvertirlo desde dentro, robó fondos oficiales y utilizó el dinero para financiar ataques contra oficinas, fábricas y almacenes del gobierno.
Dos años más tarde, utilizó su posición en el gobierno para distribuir propaganda anunciando falsamente que el gobierno planeó tomar la custodia de niños en edad escolar, con el propósito de provocar pánico en las familias cubanas y hacer que algunas enviaran a sus hijos a Estados Unidos, donde serían acogidos por la Iglesia Católica en el sur de la Florida. La operación fue llamada Peter Pan, separó a 14 mil niños cubanos de sus familias y fue descrita en la prensa como “esfuerzo desinteresado para rescatar a las víctimas de la opresión comunista”.
Controlador de Veciana para la operación era “Maurice Bishop” cuyo verdadero nombre era David Atlee Phillips, quien llegaría a ser Jefe de la División de la CIA para el Hemisferio Occidental hasta su retiro en 1975.
Tras el fracaso de Bahía de Cochinos, en Playa Girón, Phillips manifestó su desprecio por Kennedy, explica Veciana. Luego de la conclusión pacífica abogada por JFK para la crisis de los misiles, Phillips le creó Alpha-66, organización terrorista para atacar objetivos cubanos que se convirtió en instrumento de la CIA para presionar a Kennedy con sus acciones.
En marzo de 1963, Veciana y su grupo atacaron un buque mercante ruso que se dirigía a Cuba, generando titulares en todo el mundo. Phillips buscaba con ello humillar a los rusos y avergonzar a JFK para que tomara acciones más agresivas contra Cuba. Pero Kennedy restó importancia al tema y “los enemigos de Castro, incluyendo a Phillips, se pusieron más furiosos aún”, dice Veciana.
Veciana confirma cómo conoció al supuesto asesino de Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, en el vestíbulo del Centro Southland, el edificio más alto de Dallas, donde le fue presentado por Bishop.
“Aquello estaba lleno de gente, pero Bishop, de pie en un rincón, hablaba con un hombre joven, pálido, insustancial. Cuando me lo presentó no recuerdo si lo hizo por su nombre (podría haber dicho: ‘Tony, este es Lee. Lee, este es Tony’). Pero de lo que estoy seguro es de que Lee no dijo nada.”
Tras el asesinato en Dallas el 22 de noviembre de 1963, Oswald fue arrestado, y su rostro transmitido en la televisión. “Lo reconocí inmediatamente,” escribe Veciana. “Era, sin lugar a dudas el mismo hombre joven, pálido e insignificante que había visto once semanas antes” en compañía de Maurice Bishop”.
Veciana recuerda que, temprano en 1964, el hombre de la agencia le preguntó si un primo suyo que era oficial de inteligencia cubano, estaría dispuesto a declarar que él había conspirado con Oswald antes de que JFK fuera asesinado. Phillips le ofreció pagar por tal testimonio, pero Veciana le respondió que su primo era comunista y no podía ser comprado.
Una década más tarde, en 1975, cuando la investigación JFK se reabrió, un investigador del Congreso, sabiendo que Veciana había trabajado para la CIA, se acercó a él para conocer más sobre cómo la agencia colaboraba con los exiliados cubanos. Veciana le contó la historia de su trabajo con Bishop, incluida la reunión con Oswald. Se hicieron arreglos para que un artista hiciera un dibujo de Bishop basado en descripción de Veciana y el resultado fue un retrato que se parecía mucho a Phillips. Veciana fue entonces llevado a Washington para una reunión con Phillips, pero éste fingió no conocer a Veciana quien, por miedo a represalias de la CIA negó que Bishop y Phillips fueran la misma persona. “Una mentira que hasta hoy mantuve”, subraya Veciana.
Ciertamente, en las confesiones de este sanguinario terrorista hay elementos que aportan datos al esclarecimiento de algunas medias verdades y manipulaciones en la historia criminal de EEUU.
Junio 5 de 2017.
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Proof that neoliberal capitalist domination is universal lies in the real estate speculation that underlies the neoliberal dream that “wealth is easy in the capitalist world”.
The most common evidence is finding a sumptuous building being built where previously there had been many modest homes and/or small businesses. If there is not a billboard to inform you, investigate and you will find that the new construction will house or serve a small number of families in very sumptuous conditions.
This phenomenon of capitalism is called “gentrification.” Sometimes it affects whole neighborhoods of humble population and leaves beautiful spaces that certainly can make wide sectors of the citizenship proud –even popular sectors– despite the fact that they hurt the sensitivity of those who worry about the worsening situation of those who previously inhabited those areas.
I remember that, shortly after the triumph of the revolution in Cuba, more than half a century ago, for the first time, I heard of this from a young dreamer named Eusebio Leal.
If I am not mistaken, he, being a history lover, began working as an assistant to the elder historian of the city of Havana, Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring (1889-1964). Eusebio devoted himself so thoroughly to his work that he became, first, a faithful and indispensable assistant to this erudite figure and, after his death, his replacement.
The process of restoration of the historical center of Havana City has gone through several stages after the Office of the Historian was founded –with managerial and operational autonomy– in 1938, on Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring’s initiative Its purpose was the promotion of the culture of Havana and the conservation of the valuable monumental legacy that the capital of the country treasures.
Eusebio added to his mentor’s teachings his own considerations and theories about the course to be applied to the conservation, reconstruction, and development projects of the capital city of all Cubans. He did it with such brilliance that it soon became clear that no one but he could undertake the complex task of conducting the work.
He was officially appointed Historian of the City when he had already demonstrated, in daily practice, that he was the ideal person to carry out the ambitious projects that were only in his mind but which he described as fait accompli.
So many people had to be convinced that the need to save Havana was so pressing that it would have to be taken on as a priority together with the education, public health and defense of the country.
This implied such tasks of convincing and promoting that made Eusebio Leal excel as a tribune and diplomat as well as administrator and builder.
Of course, the works and projects of the Office of the Historian of Havana earned enthusiastic patronage from the highest political leadership of the Cuban state, including that of the top leader Fidel Castro, who gave them their full support whenever necessary.
With Eusebio’s personal participation in every promotional detail, the historic center of the Cuban capital was declared a World Heritage SIOPite by UNESCO in 1982. This fueled a process of restoration that has transcended the patrimonial conservation framework and became an example of sustainable local development.
The restoration process had, as a central aim, the concept that the historic center would be not only an act of high architectural and urban value, but also the creation of a site with great cultural, economic and social potential. Eusebio was convinced that a successful rehabilitation should be self-financing and socially participatory.
The restoration process of the Historic Center of Old Havana –based on a model of self-management with a participatory and community approach– has been successful in the Cuban patrimonial context. It has contributed to the objective of guaranteeing the social achievements of the Cuban people within the socialist revolution.
One undoubted social impact of the restoration process is that it created a new awareness about the value of the city, its potential and the feasibility of its recovery.
The restoration of old hotels, the creation of hostels and extra-hotel services of various kinds has created the most visible side of the economy of the historic center. These, together with the commercial activity and handicraft production, have formed a profile that describes the historic center of the city.
Havana will not be gentrified. The population that has given it worldwide fame for its joy, traditions, hospitality, generosity and solidarity will continue to be the absolute owner of the increasingly beautiful and welcoming city.
May 4, 2017
Por Manuel E. Yepe
Una prueba de que el capitalismo neoliberal es universal en su dominación, está en la especulación inmobiliaria que fundamenta el sueño neoliberal de que la riqueza es fácil en el mundo capitalista. Lo más común es encontrar un suntuoso edificio construido donde antes hubo muchas viviendas modestas y/o pequeños comercios. Si no hubiera una valla que se lo informe, investigue y generalmente conocerá que la nueva construcción alojará o dará servicio a un reducido número de familias pero en condiciones muy suntuosas.
Este fenómeno propio del capitalismo se llama “gentrificación”. A veces afecta a barrios enteros de población humilde y deja bellos espacios que ciertamente pueden constituir orgullo de amplios sectores de la ciudadanía –incluso sectores populares- aunque hieran la sensibilidad de quienes se preocupan por la peor situación en que quedaron quienes habitaban esas áreas.
Recuerdo que poco después del triunfo de la revolución en Cuba, hace más de medio siglo, oí hablar por vez primera de este fenómeno a un joven soñador nombrado Eusebio Leal, quien -si no me equivoco- por ser aficionado a la historia, comenzó a trabajar como asistente del anciano historiador de la ciudad de La Habana, Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring (1889 – 1964). Se entregaba con tanto esmero a su labor que se convirtió, primero, en fiel e imprescindible ayudante de este sabio y, luego de su muerte, en su sustituto.
El proceso de restauración del centro histórico de Ciudad de La Habana ha pasado por varias etapas desde que, en 1938, se fundó con carácter autónomo la Oficina del Historiador por iniciativa del Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, con el propósito de fomentar la cultura habanera y promover la conservación del valioso legado monumental que la capital del país atesora.
Eusebio incorporó a las enseñanzas de su mentor sus propias
consideraciones y teorías acerca del curso que debía aplicarse a los proyectos de conservación, reconstrucción y desarrollo de la ciudad capital de todos los cubanos con tal brillantez que bien pronto se hizo evidente que nadie más que él podría asumir la compleja tarea de conducir esos trabajos. Fue designado oficialmente Historiador de la Ciudad cuando ya había demostrado, en la práctica cotidiana, que era la persona idónea para impulsar los ambiciosos proyectos que apenas bullían en su mente pero que ya describía como hechos consumados. Había que convencer a tanta gente de que la necesidad de salvar a La Habana era tan presionante que tendría que ser asumida de manera prioritaria y simultánea con las de educación, salud pública y defensa del país.
Ello implicaba un trabajo de convencimiento y promoción que hizo que Eusebio Leal sobresaliera como tribuno y diplomático tanto como administrador y constructor. Por supuesto, las obras y proyectos de la Oficina del Historiador de La Habana obtuvieron patrocinio entusiasta de la máxima dirección política del Estado cubano, incluyendo el del máximo líder Fidel Castro quien les dio todo su apoyo cuando ello fue necesario.
Con su participación personal en cada detalle promocional, el centro histórico de la capital cubana fue declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO en 1982, algo que impulsó un proceso de restauración que ha trascendido los marcos de la conservación patrimonial y se convirtió en ejemplo de desarrollo local sostenible. El proceso restaurador apuntaba a que el centro histórico no sería solamente un acto de alto valor arquitectónico y urbanístico, sino además un sitio de gran potencial cultural, económico y social, con la convicción de que una rehabilitación exitosa debía ser autofinanciable y socialmente participativa.
El proceso de restauración del Centro Histórico de La Habana Vieja basado en un modelo de autogestión con enfoque participativo y comunitario ha sido exitoso en el contexto patrimonial cubano y ha aportado al objetivo de garantizar las conquistas sociales logradas por el pueblo cubano con la revolución socialista.
Un indudable impacto social del proceso de restauración, es que a partir de su propia labor, se ha creado una nueva conciencia sobre los valores de la ciudad, sus potencialidades y la factibilidad de su recuperación.
A partir de la restauración de antiguos hoteles, la creación de hostales y de servicios extrahoteleros de diverso orden, se ha constituido en la cara más visible de la economía del centro histórico, junto con la actividad comercial, y ha conformado un perfil que al igual que la actividad artesanal, califica al centro histórico de la ciudad.
La Habana no será gentrificada. La población que le ha dado fama mundial por su alegría, sus tradiciones, su hospitalidad, su generosidad y su solidaridad seguirá siendo dueña absoluta de la cada vez más bella y acogedora ciudad.
Mayo 4 de 2017
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Who is this monster, the United States’ worst enemy in South America, who is worse than Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden? The who supports all terrorists and drug traffickers in the world, from Al Qaeda to Hamas, who promotes hate against the wealthy, and who can also count on enough popular support to win all the elections?
With questions such as these begins the documentary “South of the Border” by the prominent American filmmaker Oliver Stone. The film is about the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chávez, to be presented on Sunday September 6, to the press at the Venice Film Festival. According to reports, the film includes testimony about the personality and career of the charismatic Venezuelan leader by Latin American presidents, Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, and Raúl Castro of Cuba.
The announcement of the completion of this film project coincided with the failure of a campaign funded by the Colombian oligarchy, supported by groups of the wealthy Venezuelan opposition, and the U.S. It was orchestrated under the slogan “No more Chavez.” The campaign sought to organize simultaneous marches on 4 September 2009 in ninety cities worldwide, “to protest the insults against Colombia which were made by the Venezuelan leader.”
According to press reports, the event was convened, by “a group of young Colombian entrepreneurs” who had predicted the event would be attended by great numbers of people, in major cities worldwide however, it only managed to attract small crowds using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter on the Internet.
The movement, considered, by Venezuelan-American lawyer, writer and journalist Eva Golinger, to be “a call for assassination, hatred and destabilization” failed when it only brought together groups of a few hundred people in a number of cities – much smaller numbers than the projected. “They failed and were made to appear ridiculous with the demonstrations they called against Chavez for Friday and Saturday,” said the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Cilia Flores.
Organizers affirmed, without giving specific numbers, that they were successful in carrying out rallies in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Sydney, Brussels, Hamburg, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Tegucigalpa, several cities in Venezuela, as well as thirty locations in Colombia.
The most popular of these was, without a doubt, the rally that was “called” in Tegucigalpa, by the military government that took power by military coup on July 1 and which, removed the constitutional President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya. The insurgents reported that about two thousand people participated in an event led by Roberto Micheletti, the de facto head of state.
In Bogota, several groups marched from the northern suburbs of the city, areas that have high concentrations of the upper class, to the historic center. In the downtown area of Bogotá, and in other areas, the anti-Venezuela protests were rejected by grassroots groups with whom they exchanged shouts and at times, even blows.
Popular Protesters came out against President Álvaro Uribe’s proposal to make changes in current law in order to run for re-election again, and also, in opposition to Uribe’s military pact with the U.S. government. Which, according to the official version, has as its aim to put Colombian military facilities at the service of U.S. operations against drug trafficking in the region. For all the other South American leaders – primarily Chavez, this action represents the surrender of Columbia to U.S. military occupation and poses a threat to the independence of Latin America nations.
In Caracas, popular and opposition groups gathered at a safe distance from each other in order to avoid confrontation, and to express, respectively, rejection and support for President Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian revolution. The demonstrations were preceded by appeals to keep the marches peaceful.
In the demonstration against Chavez, where a few hundred opponents chanted “No more Chavez,” the counterrevolutionary slogan launched from Bogota, the metropolitan mayor Antonio Ledezma, of the opposition, demanded freedom of expression in an act that, paradoxically, was being protected by authorities and broadcast by several radio stations and local television stations. There was also criticism of a law passed by parliament that expands educational options to low-income sectors.
On the side of Chavez supporters, thousands of citizens dressed in red, the color of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and marched in support of the Bolivarian leader, while at the same time other hundreds of marches in support of Chavez were taking place in inland towns. Diosdado Cabello, a leader of PSUV reported in Caracas that the Venezuelan opposition maintains its plan of assassination because of the inability to defeat Chavez at the polls in democratic processes.
By telephone, from Tehran, Iran, where he was on an official visit, Hugo Chávez, the evil defender of the humble, the enemy of the rich and of American hegemony on the continent, ratified the Venezuelan peoples commitment demonstrated in their mass rally against the foreign ministry in Caracas, by stating, “homeland, freedom and socialism.”
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Over the last few years, groups of baseball history aficionados from the U.S. and Canada have been flying to Cuba to visit historic sites related to this sport and various ballparks to watch Cuba’s provincial teams at play.
Because of the measures implemented by the George W. Bush administration to strengthen the U.S. economic blockade, especially the travel ban imposed on American citizens, these groups are made up exclusively of Canadians, all of them Major League Baseball fans.
While here they meet with some of the country’s great sporting figures who used to play in a number of professional baseball leagues in the U.S. or elsewhere in our continent and whose careers and records are known to them, and share memories and news with the ex-players about others who live here or there or have passed away.
These groups also visit the graves of outstanding Cuban athletes, as well as commemorative plaques and monuments put up either to Cuban ballplayers or Canadian nationals in honor of their achievements in domestic or international matches.
Likewise, they get to greet, always with great admiration and respect, many of the current first-class players of Cuban baseball whose performance in Olympic or Pan American Games, world baseball championships or friendly games with MLB or other professional teams have brought them stardom.
Some of these Canadians even keep up with our National Tournament through the Internet.
Particularly emotional is their usual visit to the cemetery of Cruces, a town in the province of Cienfuegos, where Martín Dihigo (1912-1971) lies buried, and to the Municipal Museum, where there’s a hall dedicated to the famous Cuban player deemed by many the most complete the world has ever seen.
Martín Dihigo filled in every position in the field and is the only one included in four Halls of Fame in three countries: Cuba, Mexico and the U.S. (for his record in both the Big Leagues and the Negro League). He was a fantastic pitcher and a great hitter who set plenty of records, some of which are yet to be broken.
Another significant event is their meeting with Cuban veterans who played in the Majors and gladly share highlights of their life as ballplayers.
I attended one of such meetings where the fantastic African American hitter and Negro League Hall of Famer Monte Irving was present. Now in his eighties, Irving held a friendly argument with the Cuban former MLB pitcher Conrado Marrero, currently a nonagenarian, about a game they played 60 years ago in which the Cuban first struck him out with runners on base and then, in his next at-bat, Irving hit a huge homerun. They both remembered every detail of that game and had a great time exchanging other unforgettable moments of their long-lived friendship on baseball diamonds.
Striking, the way these visitors are delighted at the noncommercial character of Cuban baseball, something they put on a level with the original spirit of the game that North America has lost or is on its way to losing as a result of the growingly suffocating profit-oriented schemes imposed on sports.
If any of them grumbles about a defensive error caused by a flaw of the infield surface or complains that a quality game should not be marred by the use of worn-out balls, there’s always someone who remarks that the authenticity of this sport justifies everything.
It’s incredible to see, when they visit any of the many baseball fans’ discussion circles spread across the country, how well they communicate with the Cubans despite the language barrier, shatter by gestures that all baseball buffs master and use at will, not only in the hurly-burly of a stadium but also in their raucous give-and-take with foreign fans.
Batting averages, ball exit speed ratios, base-running skills, a coach’s strategy and tactics… they’re all described with baseball-like mime and lots of shouting on the side, enough to turn Havana’s Parque Central or any other venue into a genuine, if noisy, friendship forum.
I must point out that some local fans are somewhat distrustful of the visitors, as they don’t rule out the chance that the Canadians might be talent scouts with their eyes on Cuban ballplayers, motivated by political or simply profit-making purposes. They banish all suspicions from their mind, however, as soon as they hear Professor Kit Kriger, a longtime leader of teachers’ labor unions in the city of Vancouver and organizer of these trips, exhort baseball players and fans alike to maintain the purity of the game and keep it beyond the reach of merchants and state with certainty that Cuban baseball outranks American baseball both in terms of competitiveness –as evidenced by the final standings in the 2006 World Baseball Classic– and sportsmanship.
He urged our athletes to devote themselves totally to community sports, turn a deaf ear to siren songs, and always stand by their people, whose support is worth more than any amount of money or consumer goods.
Many of these Canadians interested in the history of baseball have strongly condemned the action taken by the U.S. government to prevent Cuba from being in the abovementioned Classic, as they came within an inch of frustrating one of the most significant events in baseball’s recent history. On the other hand, they highly praised the decision taken by the Cuban government and players to donate any money received at the tournament to the victims of hurricane Katrina, which had destroyed New Orleans only days before, mainly for lack of official involvement. It was Cuba’s attitude what saved the Classic, they assured.
The fact that Cuba finished second –ahead of every other team of the American continent– and even knocked the superpower’s super-team out of the Classic was described by some of them as proof that, far from contributing to the quality of the game, the exorbitant mercantilism ruling over baseball in today’s world detracts from it.
The damage caused by the four-decade-long U.S. blockade on Cuba amounts to more than $80 billion, that is, some $2 billion a year on average. And every year the world votes almost unanimously in the General Assembly of the United Nations against such a flagrant violation of international law.
Something that hardly any U.S. citizen knows is that every time a Cuban player succumbs to a financial offer –made for political reasons rather than for the athlete’s intrinsic qualities– and accepts a contract to play professional baseball in another country, the news travels fast as part as the smear campaign against the Island and its social and political achievements.
How sad that a game otherwise helpful to bring together the peoples of Cuba and the U.S. who love it so much –as shown by these group visits of North American baseball historians– should be used to distort the facts of the Cuban Revolution and encourage defection by promising resources completely alien to the humanism and solidarity values inherent to Cuban sports players.
“Socialism is voluntary”, goes a motto that Cubans proudly voice whenever any high-performance athlete makes such an unfortunate choice and decides to relinquish his or her compatriots’ admiration and affection.
Por Manuel E. Yepe