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 […]
LA GUACAMAYA ROJA
by Marta López Fesser
December 17, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
*Free kindergarten for 2 years
*6 months paid maternity leave
*Paid paternity leave
Only 15 countries in the world have these 3 basic policies to facilitate shared parenting. Cuba is the only one in Latin America, it has the happiest babies in the world. reports UNICEF.
HAVANA, Cuba – When Juan Carlos and Maria decided to start a family three years ago, they knew there was only one way to raise children. “For a family to work, you need a team: that means sharing all the tasks and responsibilities,” says Juan Carlos.
Juan Carlos, who would be a first-time father, did not yet know the intricacies of fatherhood, but he knew he had to be present. “There are things we can’t share, like the discomfort or the physical weight of the pregnancy, but I can be there for [Maria], so that we can learn together and share this journey,” he says.
Juan Carlos did his best not to miss any of Maria’s medical exams before delivery. At the consultation, the couple observed that most of the instructions and advice given them was directed directly to her. Juan Carlos had to insist on his interest in being taken seriously. He wanted to know what his role was, how he could help his son reach his full potential, but he didn’t know who to turn to.
Cuba is one of 15 countries with three basic social policies and programs to help mothers and fathers: free public preschool education for the first two years; a minimum of six months of paid maternity leave to facilitate breastfeeding; and 12 months of paid paternity leave after the birth of the baby.
For a family to work, you need a team: that means sharing all the tasks and responsibilities.”
However, despite these programs and policies, social norms and structural barriers in Cuba make it difficult for men to participate equitably in all stages of child-rearing. Only 18 percent of fathers participate in educational activities with their children during early childhood; only 33.2 percent of children under six months of age receive exclusive breastfeeding benefits, and only 125 fathers were able to take paternity leave between 2003 and 2014.
When Maria recently became pregnant with Oliver, her second child, she and her partner did everything possible to take advantage of the resources at their disposal. “You can never be prepared enough,” says Maria. “Being a mother or father means learning that what you do and what you don’t do has lasting repercussions on the development and happiness of your children. It’s a deep, vital reflection that encourages you to want to do things right from the beginning.
On this occasion, they learned that they had access to free childbirth classes. “They were very useful; we met other couples in the same situation,” she says.
They also knew that MarIa had the right to choose a person to accompany her in childbirth, and Juan Carlos wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. “For me, it was a vital and unrepeatable experience that I believe all parents should live. It’s hard to imagine the pain and sacrifice that women have to suffer,” he says. “That arrival commits you for life.
Juan Carlos learned about these rights and services through the communication materials of “Padre desde el principio,” [Father From the Beginning] an initiative led by Cuba’s Ministries of Education and Health with help from UNICEF. The aim is to engage fathers by informing them of their rights, responsibilities and the benefits of shared fatherhood in an equitable manner.
Maria exclusively breastfed her two children for the first six months of their lives. “It would not have been possible without Juan Carlos. It is true that I am the only one who can feed them, but Juan Carlos was the one who got up at night to bring them to me and who took care of the household chores.
Juan Carlos was also the one who stayed at home with his children when Maria’s maternity leave ended, so she was able to return to work. “It’s been a wonderful experience,” he says. “Having a role in [their lives] from the beginning gives you the security to take care of them completely, and enjoy it!”
Maria agrees: “He has not only taken on traditional roles, such as washing and cleaning, preparing food or caring for the baby: they have also spent quality time together, developing a parent-child bond that will be the basis of their relationship in the future.
The “Father From the Beginning” initiative promotes equal parental responsibility from birth, precisely because if parents are involved from the beginning, they are more likely to continue to be involved throughout their children’s lives. Parents who are actively involved from the outset not only demonstrate a greater commitment to protecting their children from violence and prioritizing their education and health: they also challenge deeply rooted beliefs and stereotypes of masculinity.
“At first, our neighbors thought that our way of raising our children was strange, but they no longer see it that way,” says Juan Carlos. “I see a change: younger generations are evolving.
In several Latin American countries, in Iran and elsewhere where governments not in the interests of the U.S. rule, the CIA special forces establish as a mode of interference the creation of violent groups apparently disorganized and spontaneous, which seek to sow chaos, to criminalize social protests and to justify the murderous action of security forces.
Author: Raúl Antonio Capote | email@example.com
December 11, 2019 01:12:56
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
While the repressive forces in Ecuador confronted the people who were demonstrating against the neo-liberal measures of Lenín Moreno’s government, and while the security forces murdered, tortured and kidnapped the participants in the protests, Ecuadorian television broadcasted SpongeBob dolls. Any attempt to present the truth was censored.
Apparently disorganized and spontaneous violent groups acted. Their objective: to sow chaos, to criminalize protests and to justify the homicidal action of the security forces.
In Chile, after the lethargy cultivated with care by the media and fertilized by years of terror, the people woke up. The sons of Lautaro, Caupolicán and Allende defied the security forces. On October 14, 2019, high school and university students organized to massively evade [hiked prices for] the Santiago subway. The reason, a protest to the rise in the value of the ticket. But it was only the beginning, it was just a spark. Faced with the real situation of inequality created by neo-liberalism in that country, the protest became radicalized and generalized.
While the demonstrators, mostly young people, raised their arms to show the peaceful nature of the marches, violent events occurred in several places. Groups with no apparent relationship between them, alien to the demonstrators, were responsible for these events. The denunciation made by several people situates them in scenarios where Carabineros forces acted, to which some videos uploaded to social networks show them, even participating or stimulating the looting.
Here, too, the mass media opt for silence, for the criminalization of protest, while the forces of order murder, rape, and beat as in the “best times” of the dictatorship.
In Bolivia, a set of factors came together to bring about the fall of the government of Evo Morales. They were not only elements of internal dynamics, cyber attacks, espionage and propaganda tasks, destabilization campaigns, they were also criminal groups with no apparent connection between them, allied with military and police forces involved in the plot, external diplomatic action and intervention by destabilizing agents of the U.S. Embassy.
Bands of criminals protected by the narrative of “popular indignation,” for alleged electoral fraud, took control of the cities, carried out roadblocks in the style of the Venezuelan guarimberos, burned institutions, made threats, committed murders, tortured on the streets, and humiliated social and political leaders.
These right-wing criminal groups, armed, invisible to the media, acted with absolute coordination and took strategic points of the capital of the country, an example was the seizure of Bolivia TV, which shows a great advance preparation. They did not act at random: they directed their blows with precision, they knew against whom to proceed, they kidnapped, murdered and destroyed, selectively.
It was not a question of the people dissatisfied with a fraud that never happened, but of well-planned aggression. The people of Venezuela and Nicaragua, who have been victims of these unconventional acts of war, are well aware of this.
Not only in Latin America
The M.O. is not exclusive to our region. Last November, Iran suffered a wave of violence that destroyed 730 banks, 70 service stations, 140 government buildings and more than 50 security force bases.
Thousands of angry protesters took to the streets for days and attacked gas stations, banks and government buildings following the announcement of rationing and a 50% increase in fuel prices.
Here again, the tactic used in Bolivia is repeated: armed groups, perfectly coordinated and trained, act on the ground. Using the “swarm” technique, the groups communicated with each other and concerted actions using text messages to meet at points of attack.
The aggression came to a halt when the government turned off the Internet and wireless networks. Iranian security forces succeeded in capturing several CIA agents acting in these alleged anti-government groups.
Political Action Groups
In a 2003 book, Special Ops: America’s Elite Forces in 21st. Century Combat, the author states:
“Highly confidential, the Special Operations Division is considered the pre-eminent special operations unit in the world. Members are the elite of the elite. This is due to the sources from which the organization recruits its members: Special Mission Units, such as the Delta Force and the United States Special Naval Warfare Development Group…”.
The Special Activities Center (SAC), a division of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is responsible for conducting undercover operations known as “special activities”. Prior to 2016, the unit was called the Special Activities Division.
Within the SAC there are two separate groups: the Special Operations Group (SOG) for tactical paramilitary operations and the Political Action Group (PAG) for covert political operations.
The Political Action Group (PAG) is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological operations and economic warfare. With the rapid development of technology, cyber-warfare was included in its missions.
The SAC offers its services to the President of the United States as an option when military and diplomatic actions are not politically viable or feasible.
The Political Action Group conducts covert operations to bring about political change. Covert intervention in a foreign election is considered by the sac the most important form of political action. This could include financial support for “appropriate” candidates for the United States, support with specialized media, technical support for public relations, resources to influence the vote, participation in political organization, legal advice, publicity campaigns and what they call “other means of direct action”.
According to SAC specialists, political decisions can be influenced by active values, such as the uprising of U.S. officials, pressure on officials and political leaders to make official decisions aligned with U.S. policy and objectives. In addition, they can develop mechanisms for the formation of public opinion favorable to U.S. interests, actions that involve the covert use of propaganda.
They may employ officials to work as journalists, use influential agents, operate media platforms, plant certain stories or information in places where it is expected to come to light “naturally,” or try to deny and/or discredit information that is in the public domain.
Most U.S. experts consider the SAC the current special operations force, perfect for unconventional warfare.
Some examples of the company’s political action programs were actions to prevent the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from winning elections in 1948; already in late 1960, the 1953 Iranian coup d’état; Chile 1953; Guatemala 1954; Indonesia in 1957, as well as the provision of funds and support to the Solidarity union in Poland 1981, attempted coup d’état in Venezuela 2002; coup in Honduras 2009, Nicaragua 2018, Juan Guaidó’s self-proclamation in Venezuela, attacks on the Venezuelan National Electric System (SEN) 2019, etc.
As clear as water: the presence more than once of officials and agents of the US special services in the field denounced during these actions, plus the recognition in public documents of their interventionist actions against governments that are not related to them, proves the direct interference of the United States in these blows, which only have a soft name, because they have left a mark of blood and suffering in all parts of the world.
To foresee is the word of order, the progressive forces, the leaders of the left must be prepared and prepare their peoples. It is necessary to be willing to give everything, to face with intelligence the Yankee plans and to win.
A Guide to America’s Special Operations Units : the World’s Most Elite Fighting Force. Da Capo Press.Southworth, Samuel A. & Tanner, Stephen. 2002. U.S. Special Forces.
At the Center of the Storm: My Life at the CIA. Harper Collins. Tenet, George. 2007.
December 9, 2019.
by Vicky Peláez
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Evo Morales, who managed to lift his country out of extreme poverty and turn it into an example of economic and social development in the region, must recognize that his sin of naivete was in believing that his code of ethics and his love for Pachamama would be understood by the majority of his countrymen and respected by foreigners who aspired to all his resources.
If one has a good knowledge of the means available to the enemy, the losses could be minor (Victor Serge, 1890-1947).
Evo Morales, the great leader who managed to lift his country out of extreme poverty and turn it into an example of economic and social development in Latin America, must recognize that his sin was in naively believing that his code of ethics and his love for Pachamama would be understood by the majority of his countrymen and respected by foreigners who desired all his resources.
He did not calculate well the destructive capacity of his enemies and did not worry about preparing his people to defend his revolution. [Instead, he focused] all his energy and organizational capacity on the growth of the economy and the well-being of his people. Both he and his second, Alvaro Garcia Linera, underestimated the danger signs and did not prepare for the coup that was being prepared and had been practically announced for years.
Now, North American power – and especially the CIA and the DIA – must be celebrating by finally overthrowing that Indian Evo Morales who dared for 13 years to build a proud and sovereign pluri-national state in defiance of Washington and, in particular, the transnationals, by cutting off almost free access to deposits of gas, uranium and strategic metals such as lithium, indium, gallium.
Since the arrival in power of Evo Morales on January 22, 2006, the United States conspiracy began with its servile OAS, the US intelligence services, the Jubilee Foundation, NGOs such as Standing Rivers, the national and international Evangelical Church, the Bolivian Civic Committees, the US Embassy in La Paz and the high command of the Armed Forces and the Police.
All of the coups require a great deal of preparation and training to set in motion well-organized actions by both the local civil groups and the paramilitaries. In the case of Bolivia, they wanted to hand over their country to the United States in exchange for access to power and business.
Evo Morales’ government was well aware of this process in Bolivia after the Police Crisis Resolution Tactical Unit shot down a paramilitary cell composed of Bolivian-Hungarian Eduardo Rozsa Flores and European mercenaries Michael Dwyer (Irish) and Árpád Magyaros (Romanian-Hungarian) on 16 April 2009. These terrorists were hired by Croatian-Bolivian businessman and landowner Branco Marincovik for the purpose of assassinating Evo Morales and provoking a coup d’état and the secession of the departments of the so-called Media Luna (Santa Cruz, Tarija, Pando and Beni) forming a new country.
In 2008 the intelligence services of Cuba and Venezuela warned Evo Morales that he should not rely on most of the high-ranking officers of the Armed Forces because of their pro-American indoctrination at the School of the Americas (SOA). Precisely that year, Evo Morales made the decision to no longer send the Bolivian military to the SOA. But he did not dare to reform the military institutions by instilling in them pluri-national values.
It was not until 2016 that the General Juan José Torres Gonzales Anti-Imperialist Command School was created, where the geopolitical theme of imperialism was designated as an obligatory course. On August 9, 2019, already informed about certain suspicious movements in the Armed Forces, Evo Morales proposed to create an Anti-imperialist Southern Command along with the participation of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.
However, the coup d’état had already been going on for several months. The Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bruce Williamson, coordinated the final details of the dismissal of Evo Morales with the commander in chief of the Bolivian Armed Forces, General Williams Kaliman. (TV Mundus, Argentina, November 14, 2019). Washington strategists designated the Bolivian army as the central knot of the coup, with the Civic Committees organizing and executing acts of protest, violence, looting and all kinds of actions to destabilize the Morales government, head off the process of change from its officials to the political leaders and not allow their re-election. It was even planned that Bolivia’s first indigenous president would repeat the fate of Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. (CounterPunch, November 2019).
When in August 2018 the Mexican journalist Luis Hernández Navarro asked Evo Morales in Cochabamba about the possibility of a coup d’état, the president replied: “I don’t think there will be a military coup, but they will try a national upheaval… The U.S. embassy is looking for a way to [promote] upheaval the country. But they have failed, failed and failed because we are with the truth. It’s the great advantage we have. (La Jornada, Mexico, 12-11-2019).
Morales was mistaken, because his truth and his code of ethics, based on the principles of equality, of patriotism, of always telling the truth, or of not stealing and protecting Pachamama were drastically opposed to the truth of the opposition. They were desirous of preserving and increasing their economic and social privileges although at the expense of national sovereignty.
Apparently, neither the Bolivian president nor his second, Álvaro García Linera, has read the essay by the Russian revolutionary Víctor Serge What Every Revolutionary Must Know about Repression (1921). Then they would have known that, from the moment a revolution is prepared, the counterrevolution looks for ways not to allow it to begin. Neither Evo nor Alvaro studied well the historical proclivity of the military of his country to betrayal and military coups. The fifteenth president of Bolivia, General Mariano Melgarejo, came to power through a coup, and handed over the Bolivian coastline with all its riches to Chileans and Englishmen, finally escaping to Chile.
The other military coup plotter, Hilarión Daza Groselle – the 19th president – betrayed his mentor Mariano Melgarejo for 10,000 pesos and offered Chileans a pretext for the Pacific War (1879-1884). He also betrayed the Peruvians and eventually deserted and escaped to Paris. The thirty-sixth president, German Busch Becerra, also military, participated in three coups and finally betrayed the homeland. President General Rene Barrientos immediately called his CIA chiefs when Che Guevara was captured in October 1967 to receive orders regarding what to do with the prisoner.
No wonder, then, that with so many sinister antecedents throughout the history of the Bolivian military, the now former commander in chief of the Bolivian Armed Forces, General Williams Kaliman – a graduate of the School of the Americas in 2003 and ex-military attaché in the U.S. – betrayed Evo Morales. It turns out that by August 7, when Kaliman declared himself anti-imperialist and a supporter of the changes the president was implementing, he was already engaged with the U.S. embassy to carry out a coup d’état. Police general and former president of Latin American police attachés in Washington, Vladimir Yuri Calderón, was also involved in the betrayal.
Analyst Sullkata M. Quilla, of the Latin American Center for Strategic Analysis (CLAE), revealed that Kaliman and other generals participating in the coup received one million dollars each and police chiefs $500,000. The payment was made by Williamson, and was made in Argentina in the province of Jujuy under the auspices of its governor, Geraldo Morales. 72 hours after the coup, Kaliman and other military and police chiefs moved to the U.S. safe from any national or international investigation. (TV Mundus, Argentina, November 14, 2019).
The Bolivian people are paying with their blood for Evo’s sin of innocence by not taking into account the experience of Hugo Chávez, who from the beginning of the process of change managed to form a solid civil-military alliance and also create the Committees for the Defense of the Bolivarian Revolution. He indoctrinated them in Simón Bolívar’s postulates and armed them with 100,000 Kalashnikov machine guns acquired in Russia. His successor, current president Nicolás Maduro, strengthened and trained these committees militarily. They already have more than 2,000,000 militants.
Since Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) was reformed and educated in patriotism as was their intelligence service. In spite of all these measures, in 2019 alone there were 47 attempts by the CIA, the DIA and the Colombian intelligence services to recruit officers of the Armed Forces, as President Maduro recently revealed.
Televen de Venezuela reported that attempts have been made to steal missiles and dismantle the system of mobile and fixed radars. Thanks to the actions of patriotic military, these attempts were discovered and those involved were arrested. According to Nicolás Maduro, his “military institutions are doing permanent intelligence work. (Televen-Tv, November 12, 2019).
This permanent intelligence work was ignored or not supervised by the government of Evo Morales and almost certainly its intelligence services – the SIE and the DIE – were already infiltrated by the U.S. CIA and DIA. The government of Evo Morales also neglected the role played by most NGOs in destabilizing MAS and its government. According to Resumen Latinoamericano (20 November 2019), in 2007 there were 1,800 NGOs in the country, of which only about 640 were registered in 2018. Many of them were financed by the US government through USAID, an organization that has spent more than $97,000,000 dollars since 2002 on promoting separatism in Bolivia and financing the opposition. So much spending by the Americans has now been recovered.
The entire effort of Morales’ pluri-national government was dedicated to the economic growth and social welfare of his people. He neglected the security of his State and forgot that the enemy, both internal and external, never sleeps, waiting for his moment. Finally it came in the form of a coup d’état and with the self-proclamation of Jeanine Áñez as president of Bolivia. This president has already received from the United States what most of the opponents so longed for: a Green Card, sent by the same Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (Aporrea, José Sant Roz, 24-11-2019). It was also discovered that Jeanine is the perfect Bolivian birlocha (someone who hates her race).
From birth until the age of 19, she was called Anahí Ayelén Áñez. She was someone of the purest indigenous origin. In school called her Chola, chula, cholita. With time and thanks to the USAID scholarship and her identification with the evangelical religion, she tried to drive out of her body and mind everything indigenous by coloring her hair and changing the color of her eyes with contact lenses. She earned her law degree by correspondence and by the age of 38 she was director of Total Visión.
To better understand where this president and the opposition around her could take Bolivia, it is worth reproducing the de facto president’s response to a foreign journalist who asked her, after being sworn in, if she was racist. Jeanine said that “I never wanted to be president of anything, much less of this country. On the other hand, as far as I know, since the world is world supremacy has been and will have to be white. I have never seen a Supreme who is black or Indian, not even brown. The same Lord Jesus Christ is white.”
With a government of this type, the only thing that can be expected is Bolivia’s economic, social, political and cultural retreat into the past, where inequality, racism and injustice imposed their rules. The National Legislative Assembly, whose president and two-thirds of whose representatives are members of the MAS, did not dare to follow the constitution and deal with the resignation of Evo Morales. Its president, Monica Eva Copa, achieved consensus for the law enabling new elections.
The Confederación Obrera Boliviana (COB), the Mesa de Unidad and other organizations signed an agreement with the transitional government. According to the president of the Legislative Assembly, Monica Eva Copa, “if I made a decision with my heart, we would still be at war. But we have to use our heads so that this will be pacified and there will be no more death. (Pagina 12, 27-11-2019)
In the meantime, repression continues and the Minister of Government, Arturo Murillo, has published a list of senators and deputies who, in his opinion, promote destabilization of the country. He also announced the creation of a special apparatus of the Attorney General’s Office to arrest deputies and senators. At the same time, Six Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba, the city of El Alto, Yapacaní and the North of Potosí continue with the blockade of highways demanding an end to repression.
Unfortunately, Evo Morales, Álvaro García Linera and the MAS leaders did not do in time what Monica Eva Copa calls “use your head” to prevent this sinister coup d’état and to protect both national security and the excellent economic and social achievements that Bolivia achieved in these 13 years of Evo Morales’ government. They forgot that “the enemy never sleeps” and, especially, the class enemy.
By Ana Álvarez Guerrero,
Student of Journalism of the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana. On Twitter: @aaguerrero97
Irene Pérez, Cubadebate photojournalist. Graduated in Journalism from the University of Havana (2014). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @irenepperezz
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Heroes of the Republic of Cuba, Gerardo Hernandez and René Gonzalez, spoke today with Cubadebate about the Cuban premiere of the film “Red Avispa” at the 41st New Latin American Film Festival.
What did you both think of the film directed by French director Olivier Assayas?
The answer to this question and their impressions of this film – one of the most controversial of this edition of the Festival – were shared by Gerardo and René this afternoon, in an exchange that was transmitted through Cubadebate’s Facebook page.
Some of Gerardo and René’s impressions of the film
The film, as many people have said, is not exactly the story of the Five, it is the story of part of the Five, but it also goes beyond that to the story of the confrontation between Cuba and the United States. It seems important to me that from the point of view of a European, who has no direct relationship with this conflict of so many years, a film has been made on a subject that, during the time in which this story unfolded, was a subject censored by the media of the world. That is the fundamental value of the film. I know that it will generate debate in the Cuban public, because it is the most difficult audience for a film like this. This is because it knows the case, it lived it. If the film gets a rating of 50 points from Cuban viewers, it’s a good film.
What I liked most about the film was the boldness of placing the subject of terrorism in Hollywood. It is known that in Miami they have threatened to burn cinemas that show it. I think it’s brave to make a film that, without being pro-Cuban, embraces the truth and this truth favors us because we’ve been the victims for more than half a century.
The film shows 50 years of aggression, terrorism, crimes against Cuba. They are not so afraid of the film as they are of the story, a story that if they could have told it they would have done it, they have money, connections. This was a trial in which the 12 members of the jury, when they left the courtroom, took an oath of silence, did not dare to speak. In another case, each one of those 12 members would have made his book of when he was a juror in the case of the 5.
This case filled the judicial system, the judge, the jury, the prosecutors with shame, that’s why it’s a story that they can’t tell and that they’re afraid of, and that for so long they hid and tried to let nobody know. They are afraid that the history of U.S. aggression against Cuba, for so many years, will be known.
Expect an expanded summary of Gerardo and René’s statements to Cubadebate.
Posted: Saturday 07 December 2019 | 08:17:44 pm.
by Marina Menéndez Quintero
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A decision announced a priori brings about the purposes Alberto Fernandez has in his portfolio for when he is sworn in as president. Within two days: Argentina is not going to accept the last pull of the scandalous $56 billion that Mauricio Macri sought from the IMF, It has been the largest loan granted by that institution in all its history. Nor will it negotiate more loans.
His will be a term that will be born under that Sword of Damocles, because the strong indebtedness agreed by Macri will still continue to hover over the country for some time. But Fernández will not allow the overruns with which the Fund manages the Governments to overfly it. No more recipes.
That is what would happen if the new president accepted the possibility – outlined recently by officials of the IMF – of signing another agreement for the country to receive more money lent to “help” – say the IMF officials – to pay what is owed …
Fernandez won’t do it. In the weeks since his election, he has reiterated the same idea: the country will not pay until the economy reactivates and grows.
With this conviction, he faced his first dialogue with the new head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva. She asked him, a few days ago, to apply policies of “fiscal viability” that allow the nation to pay off the debts contracted by the outgoing president.
The president-elect remained at “his 13” [stuck to his guns]. His administration, Fernández replied, will propose “a sustainable economic plan” and there will be no more fiscal “adjustments.”
However, Argentina has no choice but to pay, probably through renegotiation.
The new government – he has also reiterated this – will not declare Argentina in default (cessation of payments). This would mean that all credit and investor doors would be closed and, in addition, there are commitments made with private debt holders. But the incoming executive also refuses to tighten people’s belts just to favor, as Mauricio Macri has done until today, the eternal circle of indebtedness.
The situation seems unusual in its difficulty, although it is not new. It resembles too much that of Argentina in 2003, when the late former president Néstor Kirchner took over the helm of an equally indebted country. Perhaps then with more factories closed and more hunger, and the nation was the prey of a boiling up that brought the beaten middle class to the streets, put pot-banking in vogue, and pushed a president, Fernando de la Rúa, out of the Casa Rosada. Then, at the climax of the impossibility of maneuvering, the government was forced to freeze the money of savers in the banks and decreed the so-called “corralito financiero” (financial corral).
Those spontaneous mobilizations were the result of several administrations as rabidly and ruthlessly neo-liberal as the one Macri is now concluding. He has also been repudiated in the streets by those who come back from the same evils, and even by those who did not experience them before but suffer them now.
Somehow, Macri has also been taken out of the house of government by the people, only “for the better”. The electoral outcome that gave victory to the Front for All is due, in good measure, to its ability to unite its main protagonists to the strength of Peronism but also -and a lot!- to that popular rejection that gave its punishment vote to the outgoing administration.
If you look at the numbers, these four years may outweigh the critical times of the 1990s and early 2000s in depredation. If, when Nestor Kirchner arrived, Argentina’s debt was around $170 billion dollars, last June external debts were at $283.567 billion: $7.819 billion more than a quarter ago, according to data from the National Statistics Institute cited in Argentine reports. That figure represents 80 percent of GDP! Almost the same as the country produces, because it has been in recession for three years.
The times for the cabinet of Alberto Fernandez are shortened if you take into account that for 2021 they will face payment deadlines of $38 billion of capital, and $16 billion in interest.
Kirchner, at the time, paid the Fund once and for all. He renegotiated with private bondholders, in transactions that meant important “removals” of Argentina’s debt.
Now is Alberto Fernandez time to act. How will he do it? How will he be allowed to do it? Because one observer has pointed out that the gendarmes of the Monetary Fund will react to the sovereign attitude of Alberto Fernandez, as dictated by the United States.
Deputies of the Popular Unity Party denounced the outgoing president in court for having indebted the country for more than $100 billion dollars, and the fact that $86 billion of them have fled.
Upon filing the complaint, Claudio Lozano and Jonatan Baldiviezo accused him of the crimes of non-compliance with his duties as a public official and abuse of authority,. They estimated that “if we do not suspend payments, the debt could choke Argentina’s recovery.”
The weight of Macri’s external debt and the IMF’s persecution are not the only evils that the new government will have to fight economically.
An interesting article published in Página 12 by Alfredo Zaiat also points out the strong fiscal restrictions that have had to be implemented and will be against them. These include the exchange control implemented in the face of hit international reserves, weakened by the flight of foreign exchange; the weakened productive and labor scenario, the fall of the Argentine peso against the dollar (still at 63 to one) and the demands of trade and social sectors that have been hit hard by the crisis, such as teachers, scientists and state employees.
Fernandez knows where the core is to move the country forward. He hasn’t stopped working with a team of the Front for All since the good percentages obtained by his candidacy. With Cristina as vice-president, he announced that he would be the new head of state.
He has met with the provincial governors to ask for their support and also to demonstrate that he will govern by listening and counting on them. He has also spoken slowly with businessmen and industrialists, who have equally been hit by the macro crisis, to whom he gave guarantees of reactivation and asked for support.
The new government wants to return the workers’ salaries which had beenand fatten a little the slim pensions of the retirees; that there is no more need for soup kitchens, to improve access to education and health… And it has announced emerging social plans to alleviate that other macro debt: the one contracted with society.
The decision to incorporate two new ministries into the cabinet: Gender and Equity, and Habitat and Housing, illustrates where their paths go. This can also be seen in the announced Argentina program against hunger, and other social plans that will seek to provide a basic food basket to vulnerable households, and to guarantee potable water…
Those aspirations are a sign of how much citizenship needs. And the performance in the economic sphere on which many will depend; there everything is decided for Argentina today… or almost everything.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Deputies and Senators
Dear Argentinean People,
The 10th of December each year is no ordinary day in our collective memory.
Today we celebrate the moment when Argentina buried the cruelest of the dictatorships we have had to endure. That day, thirty-six years ago, Raúl Alfonsín assumed the Presidency. He opened a door for us to respect the plurality of ideas and gave us back the institutionality that we had lost.
Since then, our country has gone through different moments. Some more placid and happy and others more sad and tumultuous. But in any case, we always persevered in the institutionality and any crisis that presented itself to us we knew how to bear it while preserving the functioning of the republic.
We Argentines have learned that the weaknesses and inadequacies of democracy can only be resolved with more democracy. That is why today I would like to begin by indicating my democratic commitment that guarantees among all Argentines, beyond their ideologies, coexistence in respect for dissent.
I wish to address very personally each and every one of those Argentines who inhabit this homeland.
I do so before the representatives of this Legislative Assembly, the authorities of the entire international community who are visiting us today and the various expressions of our life in society.
I do not want to use worn-out or artificial phrases.
I would like my words to express, as faithfully as possible, the echo of millions of voices that still resonate throughout Argentina.
From the humility of those listening, and from the hope that millions of compatriots expressed in the ballot boxes last October 27, I come to call for the unity of all of Argentina in pursuit of the construction of a New Contract of Social Citizenship.
A social contract that is Fraternal and Solidary.
Fraternal, because the time has come to embrace the different.
Solidary, because in this social emergency, it is time to start with the last ones, and then to be able to reach everyone.
This is the spirit of the time that we inaugurate today.
With sobriety in words and expressiveness in deeds.
I come to summon you, without distinction, to put Argentina on its feet. So that it may begin to walk. Step by step. With dignity. Towards development with social justice.
Today more than ever, it is necessary to put Argentina on its feet as a necessary condition for it to walk again. This means, first of all, recovering a set of social, economic and productive balances that we do not have today.
It’s time to give up the shock.
Be aware that the deep wounds that we suffer today need, to begin to heal, of time, peace, and, above all, of humanity.
I would like to call upon this United Argentina to unfold a new vision of humanity that reconstructs the essential links between each one of us.
That is why I need to share with you the conviction that I feel at this moment about the great walls that we have to overcome in order to put Argentina on its feet.
We must overcome the wall of resentment and hatred among Argentines.
We have to overcome the wall of hunger that leaves millions of men and women outside the table that is common to us.
And, finally, we have to overcome the wall of the waste of our productive energies.
These walls, and not our different ideas, are what divide us in this historical time.
That is why I would like these words not to be a monologue, but an invitation to a profound and sincere reflection on this transcendental moment.
Overcoming emotional walls means that we are all capable of living together in difference and that we recognize that there is no one left in our Nation, neither in their opinion, nor in their ideas, nor in their manifestations.
We have to suture too many open wounds in our homeland. Betting on the fracture and the crack means betting that those wounds will continue to bleed. To act in this way would be the same as pushing us into the abyss.
I express it from the heart, both to those who voted for me and to those who did not. Do not count on me to continue on the path of disagreement.
I want to be the President capable of discovering the best side of those who think differently from me. And I want to be the first to live with him without piercing his failings.
I want to be able to correct my mistakes, instead of placing myself on the pedestal of an enlightened one.
I come to invite you to build that democratic society.
The dream of a united Argentina does not need unanimity. Much less uniformity. In order to achieve the dream of a positive coexistence among Argentines, we start from the premise that all truth is relative. “Perhaps the sum or the confrontation of these truths will enable us to achieve a surpassing truth,” Néstor Kirchner wisely said.
In saying this, I am not unaware that the conflicts we face express distributive interests and bids.
But I am also aware that, if we act in good faith, we may be able to identify very urgent and shared priorities and then agree on mechanisms to overcome those contradictions.
Beyond the differences, I am sure that all of us agree that to begin to overcome the wall of fractures in Argentina implies creating an ethic of priorities and emergencies.
Beginning with the last ones, to reach everyone.
More than 15 million people suffer from food insecurity in a country that is one of the largest food producers in the world.
We need all of United Argentina to put a stop to this social catastrophe. One out of every two children is poor in our country.
Without bread there is no present and no future. Without bread, life suffers only. Without bread there is no democracy or freedom.
That is why the first official meeting of our Government will consist of a working meeting on this priority, the Integral Plan Argentina Contra el Hambre (Argentina Against Hunger). There, all our cabinet and the personalities of the civil society that have generously joined our call, will begin the action that will put an end to this painful present.
But I would not be sincere before you if I did not share another conviction: the marginalized and excluded of our homeland, those affected by the culture of discard, not only need us to rush a piece of bread to the foot of our table. You need to be part of it and to be diners at the same table. From the big table of a Nation that has to be our “common house”.
This requires us to reorient priorities in our economy and in our productive structure.
Solidarity in the emergency has many faces.
Family economies are suffocated by high levels of indebtedness, at usurious rates and in some cases with daily repayment schemes.
Today, our compatriots have taken out loans to buy food and medicines or to pay utility bills. Grandmothers and grandfathers went into debt to buy medicines and began to eat less and worse.
The SME situation also has dramatic proportions, requiring fiscal relief and appropriate stimuli.
The idle capacity of our factories, industries and businesses is also a waste of productive energy.
We want a present state, a builder of social justice, that gives air to family economies: that’s why we’re going to implement a massive system of non-bank loans that provide loans at low rates.
The popular economy and its organized movements, cooperativism and family agriculture will also be central actors in these public policies.
The culture of work is guaranteed by creating formal jobs with all the benefits of social security. That is why we will put in place actions that will make it easier for all the holders of the complementary social wage to insert themselves in the world of work and to receive payment for their work.
Today, unemployment affects almost 30% of young people and, even at higher rates, young women. There are more than 1,200,000 young people who neither study nor work. We must guarantee the right to first employment, through scholarships provided by the State for young people to train and work in companies, SMEs, social organizations and the popular economy and family farming.
The idea of a New Contract of Social Citizenship supposes to unite wills and to articulate the State with the political forces, the productive sectors, the confederations of workers, the social movements, that include feminism, youth, environmentalism. We are going to add to this the scientific-technological framework and the academic sectors.
I am sure we will all agree that we have reached this situation because very bad economic policies have been implemented. This series of economic decisions were decisive for the Argentine people, for the most part, to disqualify them in the last elections.
From the fidelity to this popular mandate, we are going to promote a set of economic and social measures of a different nature, which will begin to reverse the structural course of social and productive backwardness.
In the next few days we will be calling on workers, employers and various social expressions to implement a set of Basic Emergency Solidarity Agreements, which will constitute the solid foundation from which to restart the engines of our economy.
In this call, we will be proposing a series of measures to re-establish the indispensable macro-economic, social and productive balances so that Argentina can turn itself on and walk again.
We know that we will be walking a narrow, complex, challenging path, where there is no room for either magical dogmas or sectarian bids.
I would be lacking in truth and responsibility if I did not share with you the exact scenario in which we are assuming today. It has conclusive figures and data, emanating from the outgoing administration. And it is the indispensable information to understand the challenges that we will have to take on as a society.
If I didn’t do this, I couldn’t explain why it’s going to take some time to achieve what we all want.
Our current inflation is the highest in 28 years. Since 1991, Argentina did not have an inflation rate of more than 50%.
The unemployment rate is the highest since 2006.
The value of the dollar went from $9 to $63 in just four years.
Argentina continues to shrink its economy. The 2019 GDP is the lowest in the last decade.
Current poverty is at its highest level since 2008. We went back more than ten years in the fight to reduce poverty.
GDP per capita is the lowest since 2009.
External debt in relation to GDP is at its worst since 2004.
The current indigence [poverty] is at its highest level since 2008.
The level of industrial production today is equivalent to that of 2006: we went backwards 13 years.
Registered industrial employment is at the 2009 level.
The number of companies is equivalent to the level registered in 2007: we went backward 12 years. We closed 20,000 companies in 4 years. Of these, 4,229 were industrial companies.
The industrial GDP fell by 12.9%, comparing the first semester of 2019 against the same period of 2015. 23 of the 24 branches of industry lowered their level of activity in 2018 compared to 2015.
In these 4 years, more than 141,000 registered private sector jobs were lost in industry.
In inter-annual terms, the registered industrial employment has been destroyed for 42 consecutive months.
Behind these terrifying numbers, there are human beings with decimated expectations.
We have to say it with all the letters: the economy and the social fabric are today in a state of extreme fragility, as a product of this adventure that led to the flight of capital, destroyed industry and overwhelmed Argentine families.
Instead of generating dynamism, we have moved from stagnation to free fall.
In this context, I have decided that we will not give parliamentary treatment to the National Budget projected by the outgoing government for 2020. Their numbers reflect neither the macroeconomic reality, nor the social realities, nor the debt commitments that have actually been assumed.
An adequate budget can only be projected once the instance of negotiation of our debts has been completed and, at the same time, we have been able to put into practice a set of measures to compensate for the effect of the crisis on the real economy.
The Nation is indebted, with a mantle of instability that rejects any possibility of development and leaves the country hostage to the international financial markets.
We have to avoid that scenario. In order to put Argentina on its feet, the project must be our own and implemented by us, not dictated by anyone from outside with the same old recipes that have always failed.
The Argentina we seek to build is an Argentina that grows and is inclusive. An Argentina where there are incentives to produce and not to speculate.
An Argentina with a vision of a National Development Project, in which agro-industry, manufacturing industry, knowledge-based services, SMEs, regional economies and the set of productive activities are capable of adding value to our raw materials for export and to strengthen a robust domestic market.
Therefore, the Basic Emergency Solidarity Agreements will be the starting point to stop the free fall of the situation we are receiving. We will come out of this situation with consensus and in a gradual and sustained manner.
It is fundamental to recover the economy. An orderly macro-economy is a necessary condition to allow room for the creativity of development policies. There can be no progress without economic order.
To reorder the economy we need to get out of the logic of more adjustment, more recession and more debt that has been imposed in the four years that end today. In this reordering action, we are going to protect the most vulnerable sectors.
In the present that we face, the only privileged will be those who have been trapped in the pit of poverty and marginalization.
We need to relieve the burden of debt in order to change reality. We must redevelop a productive economy that allows us to export and thus generate capacity to pay.
I want all of us to understand that the government that has just finished its term has left the country in a situation of virtual default. At times I feel like I am going through the same labyrinth that trapped us in 2003 and from which we were able to emerge with the effort of the whole society.
Our plan of Basic Agreements of Solidarity in the Emergency, seeks to resolve this situation of disorder, to give economic and social consistency to our recovery.
The integral consistency of what we propose in terms of all the variables of the plan -prices, salaries, tariffs, exchange rates, monetary, fiscal and social aspects- will be made explicit in the coming days, calling on all the sectors involved.
I appeal to the responsibility and patriotism of all.
We are receiving a country that is fragile, prostrate and hurting.
It is time for a shared vocation that seeks a country that offers a better destiny to all.
The macro-economic plan that we pursue is a central but not isolated piece of a National Development Project that includes multiple interrelated areas. We are going to work simultaneously on new axes to transform our productive structure, with active policies that take into account the vertiginous [dizzying] technological change we are facing, the inter-relationship between industries, natural resources and services.
We are going to face the problem of external debt. There are no debt payments that can be sustained if the country does not grow. It’s ass simple as that: in order to be able to pay, you have to grow.
We will seek a constructive and cooperative relationship with the International Monetary Fund and with our creditors. Solving the problem of an unsustainable debt that Argentina has today is not a question of winning a dispute against anyone. The country has the will to pay, but lacks the capacity to do so.
The outgoing government took on an immense debt without generating more production with which to obtain the essential dollars to pay it. Creditors took a risk by investing in a model that has failed around the world time and time again. We want to solve the problem and for that, we need all parties to work responsibly.
We are not going to repeat the sad story of reckless technical missions that promise plans they cannot fulfill and make decisions that end up compromising the destiny of millions of Argentines.
Seriousness in the analysis and responsibility in the commitments that are assumed so that the weakest stop suffering. Under these premises, we will take over all negotiations of our debt.
There is another basic balance that we have to build: the federal and territorial balance.
Argentina needs to put an end to a structure that shows a rich and thriving “central” country and a “peripheral” country. One that seeks to develop from the minimum concessions that the “central” country gives. There can be no first-tier Argentines and second-tier Argentines. Argentina is only one, and together it must tend to the development of each and every one of its regions. That is the challenge we face and we must overcome.
We are going to implement these Basic Emergency Solidarity Agreements with the participation of Governors from all over the country, with an innovative federal criterion, in a productive and social key, beyond what is merely fiscal.
We will take a substantial part of the political and administrative activity of the National State to the provinces, creating alternative capitals. In this way, the reality of those places in our homeland can become alive to the policymakers, in the media and to acquire, in turn, the visibility that they did not have for decades.
We will also carry out an exhaustive analysis in order to decentralize and/or relocate Federal State agencies in the different provinces.
Just as the National Institute of Viticulture now operates in the Province of Mendoza and the National Institute of Fishing Research and Development operates in the City of Mar del Plata, we must think of diverse alternatives that guarantee a new federalism.
We are going to put Argentina on its feet, with a quality, sustainable and sustainable federal infrastructure, promoting regional development and together creating thousands of jobs in service cooperatives, small and large enterprises.
We are going to deploy throughout the country a Public Works Reactivation Plan, which are associated with the ecological challenge and allow us to improve an eco-system of environmental, social and productive relations.
They will be projects for fast execution and with great use of local people, destined to improve road safety and the accessibility, urban and territorial ordering, construction and maintenance of public buildings and the hydraulic infrastructure, among others.
Our commitment is to ensure absolute transparency in the administration of resources allocated to public works. The citizens will be able to access all the information about the project of the work, the costs of the same, process of bidding and selection of the executing company, to monitor the advances and to denounce irregularities.
We will develop an ambitious plan to regularize habitat and housing construction. It is inadmissible to think that in the 21st century millions of Argentines do not have a roof under which to shelter. The new Ministry of Habitat and Housing has been instituted with the purpose of addressing these shortcomings.
We are going to take care of the health of Argentines through the Ministry that they once degraded. The inattention that health in Argentina has suffered in recent years is evident. Diseases that we thought had been banished have reappeared among us. From now on, we will settle the pertinent measures so that our children are vaccinated in time and form. In that way, in the hospitals there is no lack of supplies and the remedies reach our grandparents with less income free of charge.
All these challenges must be met in a convulsed international context. Argentina must not isolate itself and must integrate itself into globalization. But it must do so intelligently, preserving national production and labor.
We want a dynamic commercial diplomacy that is politically innovative. That is why, in the area of international relations, we will set in motion a plural and global integration.
Plural, because Argentina is a land of friendship and mature relations with all countries.
Global, because that integration is with the world and with the local at the same time. An Argentina inserted in globalization, but with roots in our national interests. No more and no less than all the developed countries that promote the well-being of their inhabitants.
Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be focused on conquering new markets, motorizing exports, generating an active productive promotion of foreign direct investments, which contribute to modify technological processes and generate employment.
In this globalization, we also feel that Latin America is our “common home”.
We are going to strengthen MERCOSUR and regional integration, in continuity with the process initiated in 1983 and enhanced since 2003.
With the Federative Republic of Brazil, in particular, we have to build an ambitious, innovative and creative agenda, technologically, productively and strategically, one that is supported by the historical brotherhood of our Peoples and that goes beyond any personal difference of those who govern the situation.
We are going to honor it, we are going to advance together in the construction of a future of shared progress.
We continue betting on a united Latin America, to insert ourselves successfully and with dignity in the world. In 1974, General Juan Domingo Perón pointed out that “at the national level, no one can be fulfilled in a country that is not fulfilled. In the same way, at the continental level, no country can be realized in a continent that is not realized.
We know that this is a highly complex world. With serious economic problems and imbalances. Authoritarian movements have grown in several countries, there have been coups d’état and at the same time in several countries, there are growing citizen demands against neo-liberalism and social inequality.
In any scenario, Argentina will raise high its principles of peace, of defense of democracy, of full validity of human rights. We will defend the freedom and autonomy of peoples to decide their own destinies.
We reaffirm our firm commitment to the fulfillment of the 1st Transitory Clause of the National Constitution and we will work tirelessly to promote “…the legitimate and imprescriptible demandd for sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the corresponding maritime and insular spaces…”.
We will do so knowing that we are accompanied by the peoples of Latin America and the world and convinced that the only possible path is that of peace and diplomacy. We will honor the memory of those who fell in the struggle for sovereignty. We will do so by working for the peaceful resolution of the dispute and on the basis of the dialogue proposed in United Nations Resolution 2065.
There is no more room for colonialism in the 21st century.
We know that for this task it is not enough to have the mandate of a President, or of a Government. It requires a medium- and long-term state policy. That is why I will convene a Council in the presidential orbit where all the political forces, the Province of Tierra del Fuego, representatives of the academic world and the ex-combatants will participate. Its objective will be to forge a national consensus to design and carry out the strategies that will allow the claim to be successfully carried out beyond the electoral calendars.
We will defend our sovereign rights over the Malvinas Islands, the continental shelf, Argentine Antarctica and the natural resources that these extensions possess because they belong to all Argentines.
Argentina needs an active environmental policy that promotes a transition towards a model of sustainable development, responsible consumption and valuation of natural goods.
In this search we are inspired by the Encyclical “Laudato Si” of our beloved Pope Francisco, a universal ethical and ecological Magna Carta. That is why we have taken the first decision to prioritize the environmental area as a Ministry.
We reaffirm our commitment to the Paris Agreement, promoting integral and sustainable development through a just transition that ensures that no one is left behind. These measures are essential to address the country’s vulnerabilities, particularly those of the most vulnerable sectors, which suffer most from the effects of Climate Change. We need to order the conditions for the conservation and rational use of environmental resources, forests and biodiversity, wetlands and soils, the sea and its resources.
Dear Argentines, dear Argentines:
Simultaneously with solidarity in the emergency, in the coming days, we will be sending Parliament the legislative bases to institutionalize an Economic and Social Council for Development, which will be the permanent body to design, agree and enshrine a set of State policies for the next decade.
We will give it legislative status and we will propose that its highest authorities be elected by parliamentary agreement, for a period of management that goes beyond our mandate.
We intend that in this plural scope the great institutional and productive pillars of medium and long term are designed -without circumstantial discussions-, towards an integral and inclusive human development.
We hope that this Council will open informed debates, with scientific evidence, with creative participation, with the help of technicians and professionals from all over Argentina who can inspire the construction of different directions.
We know that our country does not stand out for having had state policies. Since 1983 there have been only two constants. The irrevocable decision to live in a democratic society and the will to integrate regionally.
We have the responsibility to assume as State policies other irrevocable moral imperatives of Argentine society. Since 1983, society has worked for the Never Again for State Terrorism, to achieve Memory, Truth and Justice. The first advances were achieved since 1983 and then many others were resumed since 2003. And any regression in this matter was collectively prevented. We are proud as a society to have today Armed Forces committed to democracy.
Today is International Human Rights Day. And today, once again, Argentina commits itself to the respect of human rights and to raise that commitment as an unyielding flag in any country in the world.
Improving the quality of human and civic rights also implies overcoming this poor institutional quality in which we live.
It is time to citizenize democracy. We have a democracy with pending accounts and I feel that I express to a generation that arrives at this hour to the power to take the decision to settle them.
A democracy without truly independent justice is not democracy.
A classic criminalist knew how to say that when politics enters the Courts, justice escapes through the window.
Without a justice independent of political power, there is no republic or democracy. There is only one corporation of judges attentive to satisfy the desire of the powerful and to punish without reason those who confront them.
We have seen the judicial deterioration in recent years. We have seen undue persecution and arbitrary detentions induced by the rulers and silenced by a certain media complacency.
That is why today I come to demonstrate before this Assembly and before all the Argentine People, a resounding Never Again.
Never Again to a justice contaminated by intelligence services, “judicial operators”, obscure procedures and media lynchings.
Never again to a justice that decides and pursues according to the political winds of the power in turn.
Never again a justice that is used to settle political discussions, nor a policy that judicializes dissents to eliminate the adversary in turn.
I say this with the firmness of a profound decision: Never again is never again.
Because a delayed and manipulated justice means a harassed and denied democracy.
We want an Argentina where the Constitution and the laws are strictly respected. We want there to be no impunity, neither for a corrupt official, nor for those who corrupt him, nor for anyone who violates the laws. No citizen, no matter how powerful, is exempt from equality before the law. And no citizen, no matter how powerful, can establish that another is guilty if there is no due process and no final judicial conviction.
When the guilt of a person without a judicial conviction is assumed, not only the Constitution but also the most elementary principles of the rule of law are being violated.
In order to overcome this wall, the only thing that has been guaranteed in Argentina is structural impunity, in the coming days we are going to send to Parliament a set of laws that enshrine a comprehensive reform of the federal justice system.
At the same time, we will be reorganizing and concentrating the efforts of the justice system so that the investigation of organized crime, complex crime, drug trafficking and drugs, which are scourges that we must tackle in a systemic manner, can be emphasized effectively and transparently.
It is a question of taking advantage of the valuable and majority resources that exist today in our justice system, in order to put an end to the ominous stain that a minority sector causes to the credibility of the institutions.
In the same sense of profound transformation, I have decided that the Federal Intelligence Agency will be intervened in order to promote a restructuring of the entire intelligence and strategic information system of the State.
As an immediate step, I will revoke Decree 656 of 2016, which was one of the first and painful measures promoted by the previous administration and which meant consecrating the secrecy for the use of funds reserved by State intelligence agents.
Within the framework of the repeal of that measure, which was a regrettable institutional setback, I have also taken another decision: these reserved funds will not only cease to be secret, but will also be reallocated to finance the budget of the Hunger Plan in Argentina.
We will do the same with the rest of the reserved funds that the current national budget foresees today for the other armed and security forces, which will be maintained as such to the indispensable extent, only when very strict defense and security needs demand it, and always with a maximum level of parliamentary control.
I say this and I reiterate with the firmness of a deep conviction.
Never again to the secret state.
Never again to the darkness that shatters confidence.
Never again to the basements of democracy.
Never again is never again.
In this context, I would also like to announce that in the coming weeks we will be sending to Parliament and submitting to the informed debate of civil society and experts throughout the country a proposal for the transformation and structural coordination of the entire policy on citizen security and the prevention of violence.
We hope that it will be not only a state policy but also a societal policy. Concerted, plural, integral and co-managed, beyond the term of our mandate, among all the actors of the political system. To avoid dangerous pendulums that only call into question the credibility of institutions.
We want to put Argentina on its feet. Our armed forces must also be included in this objective.
For that they have to be qualified and equipped, enlisted and trained, for the fulfillment of the main mission and the secondary missions.
We want an autonomous, defensive and cooperative defense policy, articulating mainly with the countries of the region, with whom we no longer have a conflict hypothesis.
We are convinced that science, technology, defense production and cyber-defense can become fundamental vectors of national development.
We want the Defense System to continue supporting the national Antarctic policy, being our country the one with the greatest uninterrupted presence in the white continent and the one with the most bases. There, the logistical contribution of the armed forces makes it possible for hundreds of scientists and researchers to carry out their tasks, even in extreme situations.
We will continue with peacekeeping missions within the framework of our membership in the United Nations.
As Commander-in-Chief, I want to say clearly to our armed forces: we have an enormous opportunity to look to the future and make defense policy a true State policy, with a broad consensus of the political forces and a strong commitment to our National Constitution.
Citizenizing democracy also means respecting freedom of expression and all opinions expressed through the mass media.
In times of intoxication operations with false news through social networks, we need more than ever a vibrant media, committed to quality information.
The media are today immersed in an exponential technological change that, by challenging them, also challenges our democracy. Our Government assumes the commitment to accompany them independently in this transition. And to consolidate them as a great knowledge industry.
In this dimension of full respect, we are going to call for a better institutional quality in our relationship with the journalistic media, through the reformulation of what has been until now the handling of the State’s advertising guidelines.
The administration that ended today, spent a total of $9 billion pesos in official propaganda.
AState propaganda nonsense, in a country with a hunger for bread and a hunger for knowledge.
We want a press that is independent of power and independent of the resources that bind it to power.
For this reason, we are going to reorient the advertising budget of the State under other criteria.
We want them to stop serving the propaganda of the State so that they serve to improve the quality of education.
We are not going to cut this immense figure in its entirety, because it would affect the business movement of our journalistic media. But we are going to reorient it.
We want the ads paid for by our government, instead of advertising, to contribute to improving the learning process of our young people.
So that the mathematics, history, literature, physics and sciences of our school curricula can be taught in a more effective and creative way, through contents that are developed and disseminated by the advertising campaign that is set in motion with the resources of the State.
We do not want paid advertisements with everyone’s money to praise the kindness of the government in office.
We will invest the official advertising budget to publish advertisements in the media that will be pedagogical tools, which will help us improve the educational performance of our young people throughout the country.
We have to put these resources at the service of dictation of content more accessible and more adapted to modern demands.
In the coming weeks, we will be convening journalistic institutions throughout the country, to join with their talent to this proposal and commit together with teachers, scientists, pedagogues and experts in education, under the slogan of improving the quality of education.
The State media system -radio, television, news agencies, cultural spaces- will also contribute to this priority purpose. More and better education for all.
And we are also going to promote that all the jurisdictions and the other Powers of the State of the country, with a federal criterion, join in this purpose.
There will be no state guidelines for funding individual journalist programs. It will only be destined to journalistic institutions. In the relationship with journalists, the phrase that “clear accounts preserve friendship and respect” makes more sense than ever.
In the same context of innovation, we are going to propose a Great School of Government, with the highest academic excellence, as the axis of a process of professionalization, merit and administrative career within the framework of the National State.
We promote all these decisions because we understand that a New Contract of Social Citizenship implies to set in motion an educational, scientific and technological feat. As Arturo Frondizi once said, we must launch ourselves “with determination and courage to conquer the future”.
We will make every effort to universalize early childhood education, so that all our girls and boys, from 45 days to 5 years old, learn, play and live together in this fundamental space for their future as people and for our future as a nation, which is the school.
We will not rest until a child in a rural area has the same access to a transformative education as a girl in an urban center, living in the point of the country she lives in. Today there are regions where 3 out of every 10 boys do not start school before the age of 5 and others where half do not before the age of 4.
We will also make it a priority to make progress in extending the school day, a fundamental initiative to break down inequalities of origin. We will start with schools attended by girls, boys and young people from sectors that need the State most, who can no longer wait.
None of this will be possible if we do not value the most important part of this dream we have in our hands: we want every teacher to want to be the educators of the future, the engine of change and transformation of our society. Improving working conditions and ensuring initial and ongoing training must be a priority.
During my government we will lay the foundations for a great National Education Pact, with all the actors of the educational community and society.
And this is not the dead letter of a speech.
Argentina became valuable when Alberdi and Sarmiento worked to make education public. It became rich with the University Reform. It became more powerful when Justicialism [Peronism] declared free university education.
We demand scientific and technological research because no country will be able to develop without generating knowledge and without facilitating the access of knowledge by the whole society. I have decided that in our Government the respective area will recover its Ministerial hierarchy that it should never have lost.
Together with the organized workers’ movement, the backbone of the social agreement, we are also going to promote an essential strengthening of permanent training for present and future jobs. We want technological change to have a soul, to be at the service of living well, to multiply productivity, inclusion and equity.
I do not want to end without mentioning emphatically that in the next four years I will make every effort to ensure that women’s rights are at the forefront. We will seek, through various instruments, to reduce gender, economic, political and cultural inequalities. We will place special emphasis on all issues related to care, the source of many inequalities, since most domestic work falls on women in Argentina as well as in other countries.
Not one Less must be a flag of all society and of all the powers of the republic. The State must drastically reduce violence against women until it is completely eradicated.
In Argentina, too, there is much suffering due to stereotypes, stigmas, the way of dressing, skin color, ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation. We will embrace all those who are discriminated against. Because any human being, any one of us, can be discriminated against for what we are, for what we do, for what we think. And that discrimination must become unforgivable.
Our political ethics affirms the values of solidarity and justice. All Argentines are affected by the crisis. I would also like to address a moment to those who are in a better economic situation. To the Argentines who, because of their effort or for whatever reason, have a more pleasant situation.
In a context of extreme gravity, of emergency, we must understand that there is no possibility of asking sacrifices to those who are hungry, you can not ask sacrifices to those who can not make ends meet. We must address this situation with solidarity, so that when the economy is turned on, all sectors, without exception, can benefit. But until hunger is eliminated, we will ask for greater solidarity from those who have the greatest capacity to give it.
Begin with the last ones, to reach everyone.
And so, we propose an Argentina where the embrace grows, multiplies, because we need to unite. If we can stop the hatred, we can stop the fall of Argentina.
The first and foremost liberation as a country is to ensure that hatred has no power over our spirits. Let hatred not colonize us. Let hatred not mean a waste of our people living in community.
I would like to end by expressing my deep gratitude for the generosity and highlighting the strategic vision that our vice-president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has expressed at this time in Argentina.
Allow me also to remember three people who signed me in life.
I would like to remind my mother that she marked me with her example.
I would like to remember Esteban Righi, who instilled in me like nobody else the best values of the Rule of Law.
And I want to remember Néstor Kirchner, who in 2003 allowed me to participate in the wonderful adventure of bringing Argentina out of its prostration.
I also want to thank all my comrades in the political space that has led us to victory, for their permanent dedication and militancy.
Many times in these days I have asked myself why I would like our government to be remembered in the future.
I would like us to be remembered for having been able to help bring the family table back together. May the logical and healthy political differences that can exist in a family be dialogued in peace and respect, without divisions or quarrels.
I would like us to be remembered for having been able to overcome the wound of hunger in Argentina, which is an insult to our collective project of living together.
I would like us to be remembered for having been able to overcome the perverse logic of an economy that revolves around productive disorganization, greed, speculation and infertility for the majority.
I would like us to leave a mark of having rebuilt the common house with a great national project, a Strategic Agreement for Development, of which we are proud.
That is why I hope that the final words of my first message as President of the whole of Argentina will not be an answer but a question.
Answers without questions are like trees without roots. And it is only in the encounter between questions and answers that our words take on real life.
Will we, like United Argentina, be able to dare to build this serene and possible utopia to which history calls us today?
Will we be capable as a society?
Will we be capable as leaders?
I want to be the President of listening, of dialogue, of agreement to build the country of all.
A few days ago, a friend of mine pointed out to me the importance of all of this in the coming future. He was right to say that we have to learn to listen to each other even though we do not think the same. Too long we tried the method of anger and rancor. We must all rid ourselves of the bitterness that we carry. Let’s regain each other’s trust. Let’s trust each other again.
The time has come. That is why I am here.
When my term ends, Argentina’s democracy will be in its 40th year of uninterrupted operation.
That day I wish I will be able to prove Raúl Alfonsín right.
I hope that together we can show that democracy cures, educates and eats.
Let us stand up and start our march again.
Thank you very much.
Author: Rolando Pérez Betancourt | email@example.com
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.”
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“What is the novelty? What is the fear? We are acting as in the story of Gabriel García Márquez: – Something very serious will happen in this town! (…) Those same demands that were seen at the polls are the ones that are going to take to the streets. They are the ones that we have to accept, listen to and honor because citizens are asking us to listen with respect, not to instill unnecessary fear, unnecessary tension and to act. “
The mayor, who participated this Wednesday in the Congress of the Colombian Chamber of Infrastructure held in Cartagena, revealed that on Thursday (November 21), “I will be in Bogotá; I am not on strike, but at some point in the mobilizations I will go through the programmed citizen organization points,” she said.