By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Shortly after the Venezuelan government denounced the huge blackouts in March that were caused by cyber and electromagnetic attacks, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order paving the way for his country’s critical infrastructure to be investigated and defended against foreign electromagnetic pulse offensives.
The initiative took many by surprise, as electromagnetic pulse weapons (EMPs) look like something from the movies rather than real threats.
Since 2001, the US Congress has been evaluating the possible risks of an EMP attack against the US through a Commission made up of scientists, engineers and corporate operators intimately linked to the structure of the Defense Department and private contractors linked to the military-industrial complex.
The reports produced by the Commission study a high altitude EMP attack (the so-called Rainbow Bomb), capable of producing a blackout with power similar to a lightning discharge (50 thousand volts per meter) and the explosion of an atomic bomb about 700 kilometers above the target.
Also mentioned are small-scale EMP weapons, with the ability to damage specific areas such as the electrical system, telecommunications, banking and finance, the oil and gas industry, transportation, food and water infrastructure, and security and emergency services, as well as those of any country’s government.
The Commission’s first executive report was published in 2004 with fairly general considerations on the possible consequences of the Rainbow Bomb on the US. The in which the EMP attack is described there as a “terrorist activity” that uses a small number of nuclear weapons to produce a catastrophic impact on society.
The electronic and electrical collapse scenarios are neatly described, and related to some natural and man-made disasters that have had similar effects in recent North American history.
With the same vehemence with which the U.S. is concerned about electromagnetic attacks, which it claims is imminent, the Venezuelan government denounces the possibility of an EMP attack against the Simón Bolívar Hydroelectric Plant system in Guri.
The report emphasizes the fact that the U.S. electricity grid is deeply connected to all activities of society and the economy, as in many other parts of the world (including Venezuela). In the US, load distribution is divided into three, with the (oil) state of Texas being the backbone of a network with 300 million dependent users.
This means that a modest alteration to the electrical system can cause a functional collapse, with catastrophic consequences.
As it was denounced with respect to the attack against the Guri Hydroelectric Plant, the United States maintains that the electrical network of its country could be attacked “using information of the operations in the control systems”, that is to say, there must be internal hand that assists the terrorist operation.
Such is the capacity of a small EMP weapon that, without the use of the Rainbow Bomb, an attack on a precise target in the U.S. electrical system could take place that would leave 70% of its territory without light in the blink of an eye.
In fact, the Commission admits that a small EMP attack can wreak electrical and electronic havoc similar to those left by Hurricane Katrina (2005), which left some 4 million people without light in some 233,000 km² (989961.8029 square miles) of the US, an area equivalent to that of the UK.
The anti-chavista media have ridiculed the denunciations of cybernetic and electromagnetic attacks in Venezuela, which shows either ignorance about the new tendencies of the military industry with these technologies in the context of a new “cold war”, or that they operate as bleachers of information and scenario before some consumers of news without any critical reading of the facts.
Neither the Commission formed in 2001 nor Trump’s recent Executive Order had been interested in these weapons, either because of their own vulnerabilities or because of their future offensive prospects.
But the arms race and the technological development between powers is currently going through this arms scheme that sounds like science fiction films. And this armament industry is part of a much more current dimension than those shown by Hollywood.
July 29, 2019
This article can be reproduced citing the newspaper POR ESTO! as source.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
For those who are not very knowledgeable about the reality of the U.S. press, it is surprising to learn that in the leading country of world capitalism, that there is a publication with a history of more than 65 years of uninterrupted publication, with an apparent freedom of content and, most exceptionally, without advertising. characteristics that are not found in any other media of that great center of capitalism.
Last week, the current owners of the humorous magazine MAD, the company DC comics, announced that the magazine was about to suspend publication. MAD, which had started as a comic book in 1952, becoming a magazine in 1955, it will cease publication and, according to informed, it will only continue to circulate in its next numbers with reprinted material to meet existing subscriptions, but not including new material.
Born in the turbulent era of McCarthyism, MAD is about to die in another squalid political era, Trump’s. MAD was possibly the largest and most influential satirical magazine in the United States, a strange statement from a large circulation publication that was read, throughout its existence, mostly by teenagers and children.
Its content was often rude, tasteless and childish, which made it even more powerful as a tributary of youth culture. The children that read MAD learned to distrust authority, whether it was political, advertising or journalistic. It was a model that successive generations took seriously. Without MAD, it is impossible to imagine the underground comics National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert.
In the history of American culture, MAD is the crucial link between the anarchic humor of the Marx Brothers and the counterculture that emerged in the 1960s. A writing in The New York Times Magazine on the 25th Anniversary of MAD in 1977, said that “month after month and edition after edition, in a relentlessly kind manner, MAD tells us that everything was crooked, that there were lies in advertising, that other comic hooks lied, that television and movies lied and that adults, in general, when faced with the unknown, lied. “
An impressive variety of prominent cultural figures witnessed the molding force of MAD. Gloria Steinem has said:
“There was a spirit of satire and irreverence in MAD that was very important, and it was the only place where that could be found in the 50s. ”Singer Patti Smith made a similar observation more succinct: “After MAD, drugs were nothing.”
Kurtzman, the genius who was the source of MAD, sometimes denied any political intentions. He admitted that he made an exception with McCarthy because he was “so evil that it was like making a satire about Hitler.”
The first years of MAD were extremely dangerous times for Gaines. His business manager was arrested for selling disgusting literature in the form of a comic that parodied Mickey Spillane’s violent police novels. (The story was titled “My Gun is the Jury” and Stuart had to serve a year in jail before the judge dismissed the case.
Besieged by the Senate, the legal system, parent groups, other publishers and distributors, Gaines had to give up the comics. Turn MAD into a magazine that constituted its lifeboat. Initially, Gaines and Kurtzman were friends, although they eventually separated when, in 1956, Kurtzman asked for half the ownership of the magazine.
When they got along, Gaines didn’t even care when Kurtzman’s ad skits bothered advertisers. In fact, after the separation from Kurtzman, Gaines decided to do MAD on his own in 1957, a policy that continued until 2001 (almost a decade after Gaines died in 1992).
MAD’s will to tweak the noses of the powerful won him many enemies. In 1961, retired brigadier general Clyde J. Watts claimed that MAD was “the most insidious communist propaganda that existed in the United States.” In 1979, Bill Wilkinson, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, wrote to the magazine saying: “You and the Jewish-communist magazine MAD are obviously trying to wipe out the colors of our flag and promoting radicalism in the youth of this country. ”
Gaines would cite the progressive tabloid PM, which flourished briefly in the 1940s, as a precedent for MAD’s non-advertising policy. “In those days there was no such thing as stopping publishing an anti-cigarette story out of terror about the possibility of losing your cigarette advertising,” Gaines noted.
July 26, 2019.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
On the eve of their July 4 national holiday celebration, the national pride of the people of the United States fell this year to the lowest rate since the beginning of the 20th century.
According to an extensive Gallup survey, only 70 percent of Americans say they are proud of their nationality and less than half (45 percent) say they are extremely proud of it, marking the second consecutive year that the latter proportion is no longer in the majority.
Those who claim to be supporters of Democrats continue to lag far behind those who, being Republicans, claim extreme pride in their nationality. U.S. scientific achievements in military and cultural/artistic fields are among those of which they are the proudest, while the political system and the health and welfare system are those of which they are the least proud.
Citizens’ extreme pride in their U.S. citizenship has steadily weakened in recent years, and the current reading, according to Gallup’s June 3-16 survey, marks the lowest point to date in such indicators. The latest decline of two percentage points from last year’s 47% is not statistically significant.
The highest proportions in this aspect of the measure were 69% and 70%, respectively, between 2002 and 2004, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when the U.S. public expressed the highest patriotic levels and mobilized in support of the U.S. government. However, since the beginning of George W. Bush’s second term in office in 2005, less than 60 percent of Americans have expressed extreme pride in being Americans.
The latest general declines in patriotism have been largely driven by Democrats, whose pride has historically been smaller and has fluctuated more than that of Republicans. The last extreme pride reading of 22% of Democrats is the lowest of the group in Gallup’s 19-year measurement, and is half of what it was several months before Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016.
Interestingly, most Republicans say they remain extremely proud of their country, and the latest reading – which was 76% – is only 10 points below the 2003 high. Even when Barack Obama held the presidency, the Republicans’ extreme pride never fell below 68%.
U.S. patriotism shows itself as another victim of the markedly polarized political climate in the United States today. For the second time in 19 years, less than half of Americans say they are extremely proud of their country. The decline reflects the collapse of pride in the Democrats since Trump took office. This is despite the fact that, among Republicans, it has increased slightly rather than decreased on the basis of nationalist and even chauvinist policies, reflected in the slogan Make America Great Again!
While supporters of both parties agree that they are not proud of the U.S. political system, this can be attributed, in both cases, to President Trump’s low approval rating.
Democrats’ awareness of Trump’s historically low rate of presidential approval in the international community may also be a contributing factor to the decline of patriotism in this latest poll. Gallup data from earlier this year found that only 31% of Americans (including 2% of Democrats) think foreign leaders have respect for Trump.
Politics is affecting Democrats’ overall pride in their country more than in Republicans. The “independents,” that is, those who are not tied to either of the two parties the system admits, have historically manifested less pride in being Americans than the Republicans. Currently, 41% of them express extreme pride, which is the lowest reading of this trend.
Several subgroups that typically identify with the Democratic Party (women, liberals, and young adults) express lower levels of extreme pride in being U.S. citizens.
American patriotism is the latest victim of the markedly polarized political climate in the United States today. For the second time in 19 years, less than half of American adults say they are extremely proud to be Americans. The decline reflects the plummeting pride of Democrats since Trump took office, contrasted with a slight rise among those who declare themselves Republicans.
July 17, 2019.
This article can be reprinted citing Por Esto! as the source.
by Pedro Martínez Pirez A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Journalist Lionel Martin, correspondent in Cuba for numerous news organizations from the United States and other Western countries, died in Havana on Friday night at the age of eighty-seven. His body was cremated this Saturday. Martin covered the events of the Cuban Revolution in an exemplary way and spread them through telegraphic, radio and television channels of his country and other western nations. Lionel Martin also worked for a period in the Latin American News Agency Prensa Latina, based in Havana. His death caused deep sorrow in the Cuban media and among the foreign press accredited in Cuba. Lionel Martin will always be remembered for his informative honesty and his attachment to the truth of the facts. adp El periodista Lionel Martin, corresponsal en Cuba de numerosas entidades informativas de Estados Unidos y otros paises occidentales, falleciò en La Habana en la noche del viernes a los ochenta y siete años de edad. Su cadàver fue incinerado este sàbado. Martin cubriò ejemplarmente los acontecimientos de la Revoluciòn Cubana y los divulgò a travès de cadenas telegraficas, radiales y televisivas de su paìs y otras naciones occidentales. Lionel Martin tambièn laborò durante un perìodo en la Agencia Informativa Latinoamericana Prensa Latina, con sede en La Habana. Su deceso causò hondo pesar en los medios informativos cubanos y entre la prensa extranjera acreditada en Cuba. Lionel Martin serà recordado siempre por su honestidad informativa y su apego a la verdad de los hechos. adp
Remarkable US Journalist Dies in Havana
June 29. 2019
FALLECE EN LA HABANA NOTABLE PERIODISTA ESTADOUNIDENSE
by Pedro Martínez Pirez
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Journalist Lionel Martin, correspondent in Cuba for numerous news organizations from the United States and other Western countries, died in Havana on Friday night at the age of eighty-seven.
His body was cremated this Saturday.
Martin covered the events of the Cuban Revolution in an exemplary way and spread them through telegraphic, radio and television channels of his country and other western nations.
Lionel Martin also worked for a period in the Latin American News Agency Prensa Latina, based in Havana.
His death caused deep sorrow in the Cuban media and among the foreign press accredited in Cuba.
Lionel Martin will always be remembered for his informative honesty and his attachment to the truth of the facts.
El periodista Lionel Martin, corresponsal en Cuba de numerosas entidades informativas de Estados Unidos y otros paises occidentales, falleciò en La Habana en la noche del viernes a los ochenta y siete años de edad.
Su cadàver fue incinerado este sàbado.
Martin cubriò ejemplarmente los acontecimientos de la Revoluciòn Cubana y los divulgò a travès de cadenas telegraficas, radiales y televisivas de su paìs y otras naciones occidentales.
Lionel Martin tambièn laborò durante un perìodo en la Agencia Informativa Latinoamericana Prensa Latina, con sede en La Habana.
Su deceso causò hondo pesar en los medios informativos cubanos y entre la prensa extranjera acreditada en Cuba.
Lionel Martin serà recordado siempre por su honestidad informativa y su apego a la verdad de los hechos.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The United States is formally committed to dominating the world by 2020. President Trump’s Space Directive-4, on the production of laser-armed combat aircraft as possible precursors to space weapons and the possibility of nuclear warheads being placed in orbit, moves the clock forward.
An interesting and credible paper by T.J. Coles in Counterpunch recently reported that in 1997, the re-established U.S. Space Command announced its commitment to full spectrum dominance by 2020, which means military control over land, sea, air and space to protect U.S. interests and investments.
Protecting means guaranteeing the operational freedom of U.S. investments, which in turn means “corporate profits.”
The journalistic work explains that, in the past, the Army was deployed based on the interests of settlers who stole land from Native Americans in the genocidal birth of the United States as a nation.
A National Defense University report recognizes that, by the 19th century, the Navy had evolved to protect the newly formulated “grand strategy” of the United States. In addition to the supposed protection of citizens and the constitution, the guiding principle was, and continues to be, “the protection of American territory … and our economic well-being.
According to the Air Force’s Strategic Study Guide, by the 20th century, the Air Force had been established, ensuring energy supply and freedom of action to protect vital interests, such as trade. In the 21st century, these pillars of power were reinforced by the Cyber Command and the future Space Force.
The use of the Army, Navy and Air Force – the three dimensions of power – means that the United States is already close to achieving “full spectrum dominance”. Brown University’s Cost of War project documents current U.S. military involvement in 80 countries, or 40 percent of the world’s nations.
This includes 65 so-called counterterrorism training operations and 40 military bases. According to this measure, “full spectrum dominance” is almost halfway there, although it leaves out U.S. and NATO bases, training programs and operations in Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine.
As the United States expands its space operations – the fourth dimension of the war – the race for “full spectrum dominance” accelerates. Space has long been militarized in the sense that the United States uses satellites to guide missiles and aircraft. But the new doctrine tries to turn space into a weapon, for example by blurring the boundaries between high-altitude military aircraft and space itself.
Today’s space energy will be harnessed by the United States to ensure mastery of the satellite infrastructure allowed by the modern world of the Internet, e-commerce, GPS, telecommunications, surveillance and the fight against war. Since the 1950s, the United Nations has introduced several treaties to prohibit militarization and the placement of weapons in space. The most famous of these is the Outer Space Treaty (1967). These treaties aim to preserve space as a common good for all humanity. The creation of the United States Space Force is a flagrant violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of these treaties.
In more recent decades, successive U.S. governments have unilaterally rejected treaties to strengthen and expand existing agreements for peace in Space. In 2002, the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972), allowing it to expand its long-range missile systems. In 2008, China and Russia submitted to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament the proposed Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects. “Full Spectrum Dominance” is not only a danger to the world, but also to American citizens, who would suffer the consequences if something goes wrong with the complicated space weapons of their leaders.
Coles concludes his work by pointing out that “the catastrophic scenarios that arise in relation to these and other areas of development present the possibility of other, no less calamitous impacts, including ultimately the end of the world, or at least of humanity. June 21, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by citing PORESTO newspaper as the source.
**As an author, Marta Harnecker published more than 80 books, including “Elementary Concepts of Historical Materialism”, written in 1969 and now in its 70th edition.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
June 15, 16:25 pm
Chilean writer, psychologist and journalist Marta Harnecker passed away this Saturday.
This activist was born in Chile in 1937 and is recognized as one of the main figures of the Latin American left. She lived in the first person the socialist government of Salvador Allende and managed to survive the violence of Augusto Pinochet’s military coup.
Many were politically formed by her works. Her book “Elementary Concepts of Historical Materialism”, written in 1969 and now in its 70th edition, has been part of the formation of militants of leftist parties.
Of Austrian roots, Harnecker studied Psychology at the Catholic University of Chile in 1962. She did postgraduate studies in Paris with Paul Ricoeur and Louis Althusser. Upon her return to Chile in 1968, she taught Historical Materialism and Political Economy in Sociology at the University of Chile and was director of the political weekly Chile Hoy.
After the 1973 coup, she went into exile in Cuba, where she married Commander Manuel Piñeiro with whom she had a daughter.
There she lived through that country’s heartbreaking “special period” and described as “admirable” the way Cuba confronted the fall of socialism in Eastern Europe and the USSR.
After being widowed in 1998, Harnecker continued her research career and drew on the testimonies and experiences of Latin American political leaders that are part of the articles and texts that are now study material in multiple universities around the world.
Among these experiences is that of Venezuela, where she was an advisor to former president Hugo Chávez and the Ministry of People’s Power, where she was part of the management team of the Miranda International Center [CIM] in Caracas.
During her stay in the South American country, she was able to analyze the flourishing of popular struggles in Latin America.
Marta Harnecker, an authentic Marxist
Marta Harnecker demonstrated that socialism is not a “project” thinkable without struggle and that it cannot be done “from above”, since it must be the product of the struggles of the movement of the peoples and dominated classes.
“In this sense, she is an authentic Marxist, continuing the work initiated by Marx, without fear of enriching it – and permanently taking into account of what is new in the reality of the world, of capitalism, of imperialism, of struggles. Thus renewing the conceptualizations, the theoretical proposals and those relative to the strategies of action”, she was pointed out the journalist Samir Amin in an article published by La Haine.
“She helped to give living Marxism a Latin American dimension, as others have given it an Asian or African dimension. Marta Harnecker helped to give Marxism the universal dimension that should be her own; she helped it to be heard by the great majority of the peoples of the world, which are those of the three continents. She managed to escape Marxism from a deadly Eurocentric imprisonment. The experience of advances in the struggles of the peoples of Latin America has paved the way in recent decades, through the theoretical thought of Marta Harnecker, which has been decisive in this sense,” Amin stressed.
Most recognized works
As an author, Harnecker published more than 80 books: El capital: conceptos fundamentales (1971), Cuba: ¿dictadura o democracia? (1975), Pueblos en armas (1983), La revolución social (Lenin y América Latina) (1985), ¿Qué es la sociedad? (1986); Indígenas, cristianos y estudiantes en la revolución (1987); América Latina: Izquierda y crisis actual (1990); Haciendo camino al andar (1995); Haciendo lo imposible: La izquierda en el umbral del siglo XXI (1999); Reconstruyendo la izquierda (2006) and Un mundo a construir (nuevos caminos) (2013), for which he won the Premio Libertador al Pensamiento Crítico .
Harnecker, who suffered from cancer, spent his last years between Cuba, where his daughter resides, and Canada, together with her husband, the outstanding intellectual, Michael Lebowitz.
IGNACIO RAMONET: It’s been said that Che even had some Trotskyite sympathies. Did you see that in him at that point?
FIDEL CASTRO: No, no. Let me tell you, really, what Che was like. Che already had, as I’ve said, a political education. He had come naturally to read a number of books on the theories of Marx, Engels and Lenin . . . He was a Marxist. I never heard him talk about Trotsky. He defended Marx, he defended Lenin, and be attacked Stalin — or rather, he criticized the cult of personality, Stalin’s errors … But I never heard him speak, really, about Trotsky. He was a Leninist and, to a degree, he even recognized some merits in Stalin — you know, industrialization, some of those things.
I, deep inside, was more critical of Stalin [than Che was], because of some of his mistakes. He was to blame, in my view, for the invasion of the USSR in 1941 by Hitler’s powerful war machine, without the Soviet forces ever hearing a call to arms. Stalin also committed serious errors — everyone knows about his abuse of force, the repression, and his personal characteristics, the cult of personality. But yet he also showed tremendous merit in industrializing the country, in moving the military industry to Siberia — those were decisive factors in the world’s fight against Nazism.
So, when I analyze it, I weigh his merits and also his great errors, and one of those was when he purged the Red Army due to Nazi misinformation — that weakened the USSR militarily on the very eve of the Fascist attack.
FIDEL CASTRO, My Life. By Fidel Castro and Ignacio Ramonet, p. 181.
On another occasion you said to me that there was no longer any ‘model’ in the sphere of politics and that today no one knew very well what the concept ‘Socialism’ meant. You were telling me that at a meeting of the São Paulo Forum that was held in Havana, which all the Latin American Lefts attended, you, the participants, had to reach an agreement not to speak the word ‘Socialism’ because it’s a word that ‘divides’.
Look — what is Marxism? What is Socialism? They’re not well defined. In the first place, the only political economy that exists is the capitalist one, but the capitalist one of Adam Smith.’ So here we are making Socialism sometimes with those categories adopted from capitalism, which is one of the greatest concerns we have. Because if you use the categories of capitalism as an instrument in the construction of Socialism, you force all the corporations to compete with each other, and criminal, thieving corporations spring up, pirates that buy here and buy there. There needs to be a very profound study [of this].
Che once got involved in a tremendous controversy about the consequences of using budget financing versus self-financing. We talked about that.’ As a government minister, he had studied the organization of several great monopolies, and they used budget financing. The USSR used another method: self-financing. And he had strong opinions about that.’
Marx made just one slight attempt, in the Critique of the Gotha Programme,’ to try to define what Socialism would be like, because he was a man of too much wisdom, too much intelligence, too great a sense of realism to think that one could write a utopia of what Socialism would be like. The problem was the interpretation of the doctrines, and there have been ‘a lot of interpretations. That was why the progressives were divided for so long, and that’s the reason behind the controversies between anarchists and socialists, the problems after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 between the Trotskyites and the Stalinists, or, we might say, [in deference to] the people on one or another side of those great controversies, the ideological schism between the two great leaders. The more intellectual of the two was, without a doubt, Trotsky.
Stalin was more a practical leader — he was a conspirator, not a theorist, even though once in a while, later, he would try to turn theorist … I remember some booklets that were passed around in which Stalin tried to explain the essence of ‘dialectical ‘materialism’, and he used the example of water. They tried to make Stalin into a theorist. He was an organizer of great ability, I think he was a revolutionary — I don’t think he was ever at the service of the tsar, ever. But then he committed those errors that we all know about — the repression, the purges, all that.
Lenin was the genius; he died relatively young, but he would have been able to do so much had he lived. Theory doesn’t always help. In the period during which the Socialist state was being built, Lenin desperately applied-beginning in 1921 — the NEP,” the new economic policy . . . We’ve talked about that, and I told you that Che himself didn’t like the NEP.
Lenin had a truly ingenious idea: build capitalism under a dictatorship of the proletariat. Remember that what the great powers wanted to do was destroy the Bolshevik Revolution; everybody attacked it. One mustn’t forget the history of the destruction they caused in that underdeveloped country; Russia was the least-developed country in Europe, and of course Lenin, following Marx’s formulation, thought that the revolution couldn’t occur in a single country, that it had to occur simultaneously in the most highly industrialized countries, on the basis of a great awakening of the forces of production.
So the great dilemma, after that first revolution took place in Russia, was what path to follow. When the revolutionary movement failed in the rest of Europe, Lenin had no alternative: he had to build Socialism in a single country: Russia. Imagine the construction of Socialism in that country with an 80 per cent illiteracy rate and a situation in which they had to defend themselves against everybody that was attacking them, and in which the main intellectuals, the men and women with the most knowledge, had fled or were executed. You see?
It was a pretty terrible time, with intense debates.
There were many, many controversies. Lenin had died by then. In my opinion, during the ten years of the NEP the Soviet Union wasted time setting up agricultural cooperatives. Since individual production yielded the maximum of what could be produced under those conditions, collectivization was precipitate. In Cuba there were always, out in the country, over 100,000 individual landowners. The first thing we did in 1959 was give everyone who was leasing land or working as sharecroppers the property they were working on.
FIDEL CASTRO, My Life. By Fidel Castro and Ignacio Ramonet, p. 387-389.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
In clear violation of the Vienna Convention, the United States police entered by force, after 37 days of resistance, the premises that housed the Venezuelan Embassy and arrested the four activists protecting the diplomatic headquarters from the terrorist vandalism of the so-called “Venezuelan opposition.
“The Venezuelan government will respond to the invasion of its embassy in Washington within the framework of international law,” declared Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. “Once again, Donald Trump’s administration has shown how much the truth hurts and has reacted with arrogance, in violation of international law.
The Bolivarian Minister of Foreign Affairs reported on Thursday, May 16, that his country is evaluating its response to the illegal invasion of its Embassy in the United States, although he advanced that this will be within the framework of international law and protected by the principles of reciprocity.
From his Twitter account, Arreaza had repudiated the illegal seizure of the diplomatic headquarters by the U.S. police on Thursday. He emphasized then that with this action Washington was not fulfilling its obligations under the Vienna Convention, to which the United States and Caracas are signatories.
The foreign minister said that by forcibly evicting the four activists who were inside the embassy with the authorization of the Venezuelan government, the U.S. security forces additionally violated their human rights. “The morale of these activists proved to be more powerful than the force of repression carried out by the dozens of armed police officers deployed by Washington,” Arreaza said.
Carlos Ron, Bolivarian vice-minister for North America, recalled in an improvised press conference that the only legitimate government of Venezuela did not authorize the entry of U.S. police forces into the building of what was its embassy in Washington, so the police irruption constitutes, according to the Vienna Convention, a flagrant violation of international law.
The Washington Metropolitan Police illegally entered the facilities of the Venezuelan embassy in that U.S. capital city, violating the immunity from jurisdiction of the diplomatic headquarters and the documents and archives that rest there.
This action by the United States sets a dangerous precedent, because it sends a message to the world about possible aggressions of this nature that threaten other diplomatic offices in the future.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the Code Pink movement for peace, on Thursday had denounced the entry into the facilities of the Venezuelan Embassy of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington (MPD) to forcibly evict the activists stationed there. The activist and public health specialist warned that the police illegally broke into the diplomatic headquarters in an act that she described as a violation of international law.
“By breaking into the Venezuelan Embassy to illegally arrest the Embassy Protection Collective, the police violated the Vienna Convention and international law,” Medea Benjamin said through his Twitter account.
CodePink had assumed the defense of the Venezuelan diplomatic headquarters in the United States in support of democracy in the South American country violated by Donald Trump’s administration.
Last Friday, President Nicolás Maduro publicly acknowledged the group of activists defending the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, “who have faced the aggressions of a “sick right” and imperialist interference.
“I send a solidarity greeting, full of deep gratitude and admiration to the Protection Collective of our Embassy in Washington, who have bravely faced the aggressions of a sick rightist and a criminal empire,” the Bolivarian President declared in a message posted on his Twitter account.
Outside the Venezuelan embassy in Washington D.C., activists were present to support the collective in defense of the building, who were guarding it to demand that food be allowed in. The activists denounced that supporters of the opposition to the Venezuelan government maintained the siege of the building, preventing the entry of food and medicines, cutting off the electricity and water supply, all in collusion with the government of Donald Trump.
About 15 activists remained inside the compound since mid-April to prevent Carlos Vecchio, the “representative” of the self-proclaimed opposition deputy interim president, Juan Guaidó, from taking over the embassy.
May 17, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
I have taken some time to reflect on the regrettable events that occurred during the 12th edition of the Day Against Homophobia. I pause at this moment with the conviction that this is not a finished debate.
I am the founder of the Cuban Days Against Homophobia, at a time when the idea that all activism in relation to sexual rights is political had already matured in me; therefore, it will always be permeated by specific political values and ideologies. Whoever does not situate himself from this angle sins out of naivety or tries to manipulate the complex reality.
No ideological struggle is free of contradictions and the complex process of building political consensus (if that is possible between Cubans) always has advances and setbacks.
The march not authorized by the government last May 11 was not produced only by the suspension by the State/Party of the traditional conga included in the programs of the Cuban Days against homophobia. The antecedents and the conjunctures that I perceive are:
Unique vertical dialogue and legitimacy of the CENESEX leadership by the State/Party in the fight against homophobia.
The State/Party’s obsessive and pernicious fear of horizontal leadership and the emergence of LGBT groups within civil society collides with a gradual public awareness of sexual rights as human rights. The formation of activists by CENESEX and the Cuban Days against Homophobia have generated a critical mass of activists that overflows institutional spaces and challenges the doctrines of control of thought and action that are generated from there. There are also many good people who are activists without having been linked to any institution.
Since a group of activists introduced the Yogyakarta Principles in 2007, their use has expanded to advocate non-discriminatory policies on sexual orientation and gender identity in accordance with international human rights law. The heterogeneity of these groups includes many ideological positions that fluctuate between radical Marxists, bourgeois social democrats, anarchists and neo-liberals and neo-annexionists. There are also the usual mercenaries who serve any ideology. For the monochrome vision of the State/Party and its institutions, these people are nothing more than counterrevolutionaries and any initiative arising from them is criminalized, in the name of national unity. It does not take into account that except for the neoliberals, annexionists and mercenaries, there are many progressive people who would put forth, from organized civil society, anti-discriminatory public policies.
Arbitrary arrests, violent repression, censorship and discrediting are neither revolutionary nor do they adhere to the Martian principles of a Republic, as endorsed in the recent Constitution.
2. The Cuban Days against Homophobia and Transphobia have lost their political character and their capacity for interlocution with people with non-homoregulatory sexualities and genders.
From the first editions, tensions arose in conceiving this space as a political and revolutionary celebration or commemoration. The result has been the celebration and the dangerous approach to banality and to what we wanted to avoid: to turn it into a march of Cuban gay pride with strong classist and neoliberal inspiration. While recognizing that pride in our identity is a political attitude, the conga itself has distorted that meaning and the parade of its leaders in pink convertible cars, the floats, the carnival atmosphere and the strange participation of transnational emporiums such as Google (in edition 11) are just some of the most notorious elements of this point.
The suspension of the conga last May 11 and the change of the party at the same time that the unauthorized march would take place, was a very counterrevolutionary and irresponsible maneuver. The high participation in the march and the follow-up in the social networks by the participants in the celebration of what was happening in the Padro speak for themselves of the fragmentation and violence that could have been avoided.
The parade of more than 100 people, peacefully chanting slogans in favor of sexual rights and recognizing rights for all citizens, without counterrevolutionary expressions along the Prado promenade, moves away unfounded statements (such as those accompanying the conga suspension) that the march was organized from Miami. What happened in the end, with the crude police repression and the detention of four people, was a provocation far removed from the meaning of the march. The presence of the media was taken advantage of and the unfortunate events that are now circulating in the news were unleashed.
On the other hand, the rich public exchanges with LGBT people have not taken place in Havana for more than six editions. Written speeches, the introduction of other just causes but without the conviction of those present, have hampered citizen participation. It would seem that music, half-naked bodies, transformationism [cross-dressing] and dancing in the conga are the fundamental objective. The essentially political has been enclosed to academic spaces where we cook in the same sauce.
3. The State/Party has negotiated with the rights for sexual orientation and gender identity like a pendulum.
This point is also complex. Without a doubt, CENESEX, the leadership of its director Mariela Castro and the voice of numerous activists have contributed to placing the rights of LGBT people on political agendas and in human rights discourses in Cuba. However, in the international context, pendulum positions have been shown. In 2010 our State/Party had to rectify its vote at the United Nations when it aligned itself with third world countries that condemned homosexuality with the death penalty and did not consider it to be the cause of extrajudicial executions. Since then, our representatives have been absent from several votes on LGBT rights, especially at ECOSOC.
From 2011 to date, the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is recognized in documents issued by the State/Party that include the Statutes of the Communist Party of Cuba and the Labor Code Law. However, from 2012 to 2013 serious tensions were generated by the public speeches of numerous activists associated with CENESEX on pending policies, including marriage equality.
On this issue, the director of CENESEX herself has expressed opinions that vary according to the circumstances. Her speech was finally profiled in favor of marriage equality during the debate on the constitutional project. Later we learned that in the same period the Catholic Church had been the mediator in the restoration of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States. At this point I paraphrase the Apostle [: in politics what is most important is what is not seen.
More recently, the elimination of article 68, which opened up the possibility in the Constitutional Bill of recognizing marriage equality, was a complicit wink from the State/Party to the fundamentalist religious groups, which have gained strength in Cuba and enjoyed complete freedom to demonstrate against the aforementioned article. In the meantime, they maintained tight control over the activists associated with the institution and no street actions were allowed against religious and fundamentalist hate speeches.
The first three months have passed since the proclamation of the Constitution and there is no debate or concrete action to comply with the complementary laws that define the adoption of the Family Code within two years. The approval of this Law will be taken to a referendum, thanks to the decisions of our representatives, experts in dictating policies through decree-laws in agendas that are peremptory to them.
I note that the Christian churches have been too quiet during the present day, although we know in good faith that many of their proselytes were in the vicinity of the feast organized by CENESEX doing their fundamentalist ideological work.
4. The 11/5 march marks a historic milestone in the construction of a Cuban LGBT movement.
Depends. Not thefirst unauthorized gear. It is preceded by some actions in the late 1990s, the wedding between a transgender person and a gay man, and other unpopular attempts that were marked by interests to subvert order. Most of these unconvinced activists are in the United States because of the gratifications of their political masters. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we have many more here who will do the impossible to torpedo any attempt at civil organization that dialogues with the State/Party.
We also have former activists who now live abroad, who are patriots and want to continue participating in the construction of a sovereign nation and have every right to do so.
Some have said that what happened on Saturday compared to May 1968 in Paris. Others have evoked the Stonewall Rebellion*, whose legacy has been taken as a global reference but which has been distorted by the generation of a universally classist, elitist LGBTI movement that reproduces the essences of the market and patriarchal domination of heteronormative oppression. In fact, in many countries, an attempt has been made to found anti-system movements and praxis that move away from the ideological right-wing and the political and commercial banalization of the international LGBTI movement.
What happens from now on will depend on concerted action and the lessons learned from these experiences. The permanence in force of a Law of Associations that limits and subsumes the rhetoric of a besieged square plus the fragile mechanisms of citizen participation hinder these actions.
Some view the march as a matter of winners and losers and focus their activism on opposition to CENESEX and Mariela Castro. With such a narrow vision it is not possible to make much progress either. Having a government institution to deal with these issues is necessary, but it does not limit the recognition of the right of LGBT people to self-organize as part of civil society, with the capacity to participate and challenge policies.
The march of May 11 also reflects that Cuba is not Paris 68 nor New York 69. A good part of political participation and the exercise of civil rights are done in social networks. The call became viral and despite the final outcome, people came to express their positions on this issue. To say that everyone was deceived or confused is contempt for people’s intelligence and at the same time, we must be very careful about who (or whom) benefits from results alien to our struggles.
On the other hand, to those who believe themselves to be owners of the Revolution and of thought, I inform you that a change of era has occurred in Cuban society. Comply with the Constitution and return the Revolution. [Santos Suarez, May 13, 2019]
*The Stonewall Inn bar was the epicenter of a rebellion of gay men and transgender people against police harassment in New York City in 1969. June will be 50 years old.