Saturday, September 29, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
J.M. Mariscal Cifuentes – Mundo Obrero – Interview with the Cuban Ambassador in Spain.
MUNDO OBRERO: You have been part of important diplomatic delegations and you know well Cuba’s foreign policy. What principles does Cuba’s foreign and diplomatic policy respond to?
GUSTAVO MACHÍN: Since the beginning of the Revolution, Cuba has had a foreign policy based on principles that for us are inviolable and that are the ones that mark Cuba’s actions in the international context. Cuba’s foreign policy is not a policy of ups and downs or of circumstantial or conjunctural interests, but rather a foreign policy based on principles.
Many of them are internationally recognized but not necessarily complied with. I am talking about the principle of respect for independence and sovereignty; the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states; the principle of negotiation as a means of resolving conflicts, disputes and, of course, openly opposing the use of force, the coercion of military aggression as a means of solution; the principle of international solidarity, we never forget our status as a so-called Third World country and therefore we are a country that defends non-alignment, we do not belong to any military bloc and we defend international peace and security.
This, I believe, was called proletarian internationalism at the time. These are principles that we deeply respect and that we not only respect but also assert. They are principles to which all the member countries of the United Nations are committed, and we see how many countries repeatedly fail to respect them and make manipulated use of these principles at their convenience.
M.O.: Of Cuba’s diplomatic delegations, the Spanish delegation is undoubtedly one of the most important because of its cultural, historical and now economic and commercial ties.
G.M.: Cuba and Spain have a very deep historical, family and cultural relationship in each of the two countries, and that, in itself, gives a different content and substance to the relations between Cuba and Spain. I feel very proud and pleased to have been sent as ambassador to Spain. There are strong historical, family and emotional ties that merit that importance.
Cuba and Spain had a paternal-child relationship during the five centuries of Spanish colonial domination, but the son grew up and we are already talking about a relationship of brothers, a relationship of equals that have the advantage of those deep historical ties.
You also mention the economic and commercial sphere and it is true, it is one of the spheres in which we work but they must be mutually beneficial and must respond to the interests of both countries.
We are open to investment and to the economic-trade relationship with Spain, but we have a definite policy on foreign investment that does not constitute subjugation but a factor in the economic growth of the country in which both parties benefit. We have enormous potential for growth in parliamentary relations, in relations of cooperation, energy, judicial or development cooperation, even.
If we want to broaden and deepen relations with Spain, the strong relations that exist between the Cuban people and the Spanish people deserve that at the country level we also have the same relationship and, as ambassador of Cuba, I am here to broaden and consolidate them, not only with the government but with all sectors of Spanish society.
M.O.: You arrived in Spain after having been part of the diplomatic delegation in the United States and you have coincided with a change in the presidency of that country. What did Trump’s arrival mean in the dispute with the United States?
G.M.: During the last two years of the Obama administration, our two countries took the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and move them towards a process of normalization. You have to recognize that there was progress in the bilateral relationship, we opened our embassies, we had a much more fluid political-diplomatic relationship, exchanges and cooperation were a sphere in which we advanced a lot, based on the mutual interest of both countries.
Let me repeat that in our foreign policy we do not allow ourselves to be subjugated and what we do is treat each other equally. What we did in this two-year period with Obama was that we began to treat each other as equals, and we began to talk, cooperate, and advance our bilateral ties.
Nevertheless, it must be said that the economic and financial blockade of Cuba was not lifted by Obama, an image has been created that the blockade is over and not. The blockade is maintained and was not lifted, in fact, during the Obama administration there was a record in the imposition of fines on companies and ships that had commercial relations with Cuba.
But we have to recognize that there were advances, not substantive ones, but at least we worked towards a better relationship. With the Trump administration, we are facing a totally different situation from the one we had with the Obama administration. We are in a clear setback in relations between Cuba and the United States.
Trump has been reversing many of those advances, we are going towards a negative atmosphere in bilateral relations, but I always like to point out that within the United States, within the American public opinion, the opposition to the blockade of Cuba, the opposition to an opposite and offensive policy towards Cuba, is growing every day.
The disagreement with the backtracking measures that President Trump is doing has even reached Florida. Today, the majority of the Cuban community based in the United States and especially in Florida are in favor of lifting the blockade and having normal relations between the two countries.
US policy towards Cuba has been kidnapped by right-wing politicians from that community and they are the ones who are imposing a line of action, but I can assure you that at the level of society in the United States, business sectors, academics, non-governmental or religious sectors are in favor of changing the policy towards Cuba.
Even if the rulers and President Trump want to retreat, he will always have American society against him and to a great extent this retreat does not correspond to the interests and desires of the American people and society.
M.O.: And a few months after your arrival in Spain, there is a change of government here, in this case with an inverse path in which a social-liberal replaces a conservative president. What influence does this change have on bilateral relations between Cuba and Spain and the European Union?
G.M.: I have the satisfaction and I see as ambassador that there is finally a State policy towards Cuba, and for me a State policy is a policy that responds to the interests of the country and to the interests of the Spanish people and not to personal or partisan interests.
I feel satisfied to have been named at a time when that State policy towards Cuba prevails. During my eleven-month stay in Spain, I see the good state of bilateral relations, both countries are working to expand and consolidate.
Spain was one of the countries that, during the previous government and with the parliamentary support of the majority of the political forces, played a very important role in the renegotiation of the sovereign debt, but also and above all in negotiating a new agreement for political dialogue and cooperation with the EU that has been in force since last November.
[It’s] an agreement that has managed to overcome the so-called common position that President Aznar imposed on relations with Cuba, which was an interfering, conditioning relationship that we never accepted. I believe that it is a success for both the European Union and Cuba that a new political dialogue and cooperation agreement has been adopted; we are in a new context in the relationship based on respect for independence, sovereignty and equal treatment.
We hope that on 31 October, the day of the vote on the resolution lifting the blockade in the United Nations General Assembly, the EU will continue to vote in favour of the blockade.
M.O.: Let us go to Cuba. You are immersed in a constituent process with a profound debate on a new constitutional text, but what has reached us here is that Cuba is abandoning communism.
G.M.: (laughs) Yeah, I noticed those headlines. What a superficial interpretation. President Díaz-Canel has said. We are defining ourselves as a socialist country that has not yet reached communism. We cannot define ourselves as a communist country if we are not yet, we are still in socialism, in our socialism.
It is a constitution for the moment, flexible, advanced and easy to use and interpret, a constitution that reflects the real context. As far as I know, the party has not had its name changed. I am still a member of the Cuban Communist Party, whose leading role in Cuban society is recognized by the Constitution.
This appears in the draft with their full names and surnames, because of their recognized prestige, roots and recognition within society as the party of all of us. But well, we are used to it, decades have gone by talking about Fidel and longing for a biological solution to the Cuban problem, then they went for Raúl, and now that none of the Castro’s is president, they are going for Diaz-Canel and they are already making him look like a “dictator”.
In short, how many examples could I give you that if we were a dictatorship many of the things that happen in Cuba would not happen! Cuban society is contentious by nature, we have an opinion on everything. Anyone who knows us minimally knows it.
What is clear to us is that our majority has opted for a Cuban model of socialism that copies no one, a socialism according to our history, our traditions, our context and our economic and geographical conditions, a socialism that we have never renounced.
We are a country that has a Constitution, that has laws, that has an institutionality. We have our electoral system, there will be those who do not like it, but it is ours, the one that works and of which I am proud. I feel proud of Cuban democracy, a model that the majority of Cubans endorsed when we went to last year’s elections to elect our deputies to the National Assembly with a participation in free and secret vote of 84% of the census.
There are governments that claim to be democratic that do not reach 51% approval. When in 2010 the government launched what we call the process of updating the Cuban economic and social model, it was preceded by a very broad popular debate. I challenge the governments of many countries to bring their economic and social policies to popular discussion, everyone had the opportunity to give opinions to the point that after popular debates all the guidelines, all of them, were modified. We are immersed in a policy of economic and social transformations that enjoys the support and consensus of the majority of Cubans.
M.O.: How do you evaluate the process that led to the election of Diaz-Canel as president, replacing Raúl Castro?
G.M.: Raúl Castro, by his own decision, even against many who wanted him to be re-elected, kept his word, said two terms and so it has been. You are still a deputy member of the Assembly, because you are elected in your district. In Cuba, to be president, you have to be a parliamentarian. The arrival of Diaz-Canel, therefore, is part of the democratic normality of our nation, a continuity endorsed by the people.
M.O.: How is the process for Cuba to have a new Constitution developing?
G.M.: You have used the terms correctly. It is a new Constitution, not a mere reform. We improved our model of government by creating the post of the President of the Republic, as head of state, and that of prime minister, as head of government. A president who cannot be president for more than two terms.
We are proposing an administrative rationalization, reinforcing the role of the municipalities as the fundamental unit of the political, economic and social organization of Cuba, eliminating the provincial assemblies, authentic parliaments that exist today in the 14 provinces that now become simple administrative entities and whose powers pass to the municipalities.
It is an abundant text in reference to the rights of Cubans, I even think that they could put a little more duties on themselves. We are giving constitutional rank to all the rights that emanate from the international agreements on human rights of which Cuba is a member: food, health, housing, social security, assembly, press.
For example, here in the embassy we had our meeting, as Cubans, we discussed the entire Constitution and 57 proposals for modification were made, which have been sent. The popular discussion of the draft constitution will take place until November 30, after which all the opinions expressed will be sent to the parliamentary commission, which also has a broad representation of all sectors of society.
September 21, 2018
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A biography of Julio Lobo has been published in the USA. It is titled The Sugar King of Havana and its author is John Paul Rathbone. We will dedicate today’s space to this character. He was the great figure of the Cuban bourgeoisie.
Lobo was born in Venezuela and brought to Havana when he was barely a year old. His father began to work very young in what would later become the Bank of Venezuela. Thanks to his efforts and intelligence, he gradually rose to management of the company when he was only 22. One day he had the bad idea of denying a loan to Venezuelan dictator Cipriano Castro and ended up in jail. Released at last, after three months of confinement, he was evicted from Caracas.
In New York, where he settled, the North American Trust Company immediately offered him the position of administrator of their Havana branch. A company that soon became the National Bank of Cuba, but was neither national nor Cuban. It was already the year 1900.
His son Julio studied in the United States and graduated as an agricultural engineer. He returned to Cuba and, in 1920, undertook the general management of Galban, Lobo y Compañía –his father’s business—which was the beginning and launching pad of his sugar empire. He became one of the richest men in Cuba.
If as a family group, the Falla Bonet’s surpassed him, Lobo was above them as an individual owner. He came to own 16 sugar mills, 22 warehouses, a sugar brokerage firm, a radio communications agency, a bank, a shipping company, an airline, an insurance company and an oil company. He was the main seller of sugar on the world market.
In his book Los propietarios de Cuba [The Owners of Cuba], Guillermo Jiménez attributes to Lobo a personal fortune of $85 million, with assets estimated at one hundred million. Rathbone, his biographer, assures us in his book that if that fortune were measured in today’s dollars it would amount to no less than $5 billion.
However, in 1960, Lobo left Havana –he would say– with a small suitcase and a toothbrush. He settled in New York and continued in the sugar business, but never repeated his past exploits. When he died in 1983, his capital, Rathbone says, was estimated at $200,000. In fact, according to the biographer, very few of his generation prospered in exile.
Unlike the Falla Bonets who, when the Revolution triumphed, took no less than forty million dollars out of Cuba, Julio Lobo, a furious nationalist, continued to invest in the sugar industry and other companies, while continuing to expand his valuable art collection. After all, he knew he had always been smarter than his rivals… but that trust led him to take no precautions whatsoever.
He never wanted to intervene in politics, but he was a convinced opponent of Batista. He was a supporter of Batista’s removal, without caring who would succeed him.
In 1957 he gave 50,000 pesos to the “Accion Libertadora”, an anti-Batista organization, which in turn gave half of that money to the “26th of July Movement”. This led him to believe that he could make conditions on the Revolution.
Rathbone assures his readers that Ernesto Che Guevara showed him otherwise. He summoned him to his office. The guerrilla commander, who had become president of the National Bank of Cuba, told him that they had reviewed his accounts and that Che congratulated him for the efficiency of his companies, and for not owing a single penny to the Treasury, but he also told him that his assets would be intervened. He made him an offer: He could remain at the head of his sugar mills. In exchange, he would receive a salary from the State. Needless to say, Lobo refused. It was then that he packed his small suitcase.
Lobo’s purchase, in 1958, of the three mills owned by Hershey was very controversial. This was a very expensive transaction, because, already in exile outside Cuba, his creditors demanded payment of the outstanding debt for those mills that were no longer his.
His specialized sugar library was the best and most complete in Cuba and perhaps in the whole world. His art gallery featured works by Da Vinci, Rafael, Miguel Ángel and Goya, among other great painters. His collection of incunabula and unique and rare books was famous.
He was obsessed with the personality of Napoleon and came to possess a large collection of relics and more than 200,000 documents, which he left in deposit to the nation and which are treasured today in the Napoleonic Museum in Havana.
He was also interested in Hispanic-American subjects. Lobo was a Renaissance man, says Rathbone, extremely curious, with a deep knowledge of business, the subject of sugar, politics and history, and an impressive general culture.
He never had a yacht of his own and barely a social life. He was a compulsive worker, up to 16 hours a day. His hobby was gardening. He also had a penchant for collecting Hollywood actresses. He had a long relationship with Joan Fontaine and even proposed to Bette Davis. On one occasion he ordered that one of his swimming pools be filled with perfumed water to entertain the movie star and synchronized swimming diva Esther Williams.
He spent his final years caring for his first wife, whom he had divorced many years earlier. By then he could only move his eyes. He asked to be buried in a guayabera. A Cuban flag covered his coffin. That was his wish.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The Canadian government has partnered with its brain injury experts to investigate the causes and effects of alleged health problems that have affected Canadian and U.S. diplomats accredited in Havana.
So says an article in the Ottawa Starr newspaper headlines, signed by Bruce Campion-Smith, its reporter for local political affairs.
Global Affairs, [the Canadian foreign ministry], has arranged for the Brain Repair Center, affiliated with Dalhousie University, as well as the Nova Scotia Health Authority and IWK Health Center, to investigate the potential causes and mysterious symptoms that allegedly affected a dozen diplomats and their accredited family members in Cuba.
A senior federal government official told The Star that an investigation led by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) conducted with the cooperation of Cuban authorities, which has lasted more than a year, does not even appear to have come close to determining what may have happened and whether anything really happened.
Since 2016, when several U.S. diplomats were joined shortly after by some Canadians, they have been involved in a series of mysterious incidents that left them suffering symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headaches and difficulty concentrating, similar to those of a concussion but without cranial trauma to explain the cause, the Canadian newspaper states.
“In spite of all the investigations carried out, the cause or causes of the health incidents experienced by our staff are still unknown. We basically continue to search, investigate and work with our counterparts,” said the official, who spoke on the condition that his testimony remain anonymous, according to The Star.
Investigations have been hampered from the outset by mysterious circumstances. First, because the U.S. side did not allow accredited experts of any nationality clinical access to those affected or to the U.S. military doctors who could see them within a period of time close to their supposedly being affected. They argued that the patients were personnel working in intelligence tasks, obliged to respect strict rules of secrecy because of the profile of their tasks.
In addition, many media outlets have exploded the imagination of their audiences with science fiction versions of ultrasonic weapons that could be microwaves, speculation about the size of such weapons and the capabilities of such presumed devices.
But perhaps the main obstacle has been that the issue has been turned into a vehicle for denunciation of Cuba by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Though he is not Cuban and has never visited the island, Rubio intends to take advantage of his Cuban ancestry to benefit his presidential aspirations, in the context of the tense relations between Washington and Havana.
Rubio managed and obtained support from President Trump to give the issue global resonance. To encourage him, Rubio assured the American President, using false data, that in Florida counties with abundant Cuban population, Trump had obtained the majority of the votes over Hillary Clinton in the 2018 presidential elections, something that was proved to be false and showed Rubio’s scarce political base among Cubans.
Dr. Michael Hoffer, a brain injury specialist at the University of Miami who cared for several Americans with symptoms, confirmed that their cause is unknown.
Like the Americans, Canadians also experienced incidents in their homes or in hotels and at their workplaces. All revealed anomalies in the boody organs that help determine gravity and balance. Americans and Canadians also agree in the experience of having suffered vestibular problems of the ear and in the balance.
It is interesting to note how the course of the investigations always revolves around the search for the perpetrator(s) of the attacks, their motivation and methods. But they overlook the possible responsibility for the harm to American or Canadian personnel is not from countries that are enemies of the United States or Canada. Nor are they caused by mysterious acoustic attacks themseves, but by actions carried out by the authorities of the American intelligence community, carrying out trials of some kind of clandestine program or secret weapon, at the cost of the naïve sacrifice of their own soldiers and allies.
For now, it seems like a comedy with no predictable end.
October 3, 2018.
By Dr.C Juan Triana Cordoví
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The apple is a noble fruit with bad luck. Eve used it with Adam and all humanity paid the price. The wicked queen gave it to Snow White to eat and it put her to sleep (true, then the Prince showed up). On top of that, one fell on the head of someone who was sleeping under a tree, the law of gravity appeared, by virtue of which all of us, although we float for a while, we fall.
It is also true that some people get back on their feet, but others, not even with a carne get back to a vertical position. There are also those who float perennially.
What follows is part of a real fact and a supposition. The real fact is that apples are not a commodity in Cuba or anywhere else. The assumption is that the “massive” purchase of apples in Cuba is not an act aimed at provoking some kind of political instability via hoarding.
As I said, my first reaction to seeing the news was to think like my grandfather, who was a winemaker in Güiro-a town between Quivicán and Gabriel. From that “merchant’s gene” I said to myself: magnificent operation.
If no act of corruption has occurred (lower prices, unbilled quantities, etc.), then those who sold the apples have managed to sell perhaps all their inventory at once. With this, in the first place, the turnover of committed capital increases. This, I believe, should positively influence the mass of profits then, it is good for the company.
Second, I say, La Puntilla has avoided having possible losses due to quality deterioration, which is also good for the company.
Third, the company can quickly and from that same income again buy apples! That non-tropical fruit that you like so much. That way you can quickly sell more in less time!
I recognize, however, that this is a very biased way of thinking that leaves aside the reality of the Cuban “market”. In fact, there is a resolution from CIMEX stores that prohibits selling more than a certain percentage of their inventories to a single buyer. It’s aim is to avoid hoarding, a resolution that is due to the “peculiar” way in which the Cuban “market” works.
From the perspective of the “apple consumer”, there are two situations: those who went to La Puntilla (a shop located in a place not easily accessible in Miramar) and suddenly cannot satisfy their fantasy of eating an apple.
However, there are also other consumers, who are willing to spend relatively more (in time or money, which is sometimes the same thing) to reach that store, but who also like apples and are able to pay a little more, always and when they have it closer.
I do not know which of the two groups of consumers is more important.
There is also another type of consumer of apples: one who has, for example, a bakery or sweetshop and needs apples in large quantities, but there is no wholesale market in which to buy them.
But after that cold reflection of a merchant’s grandson, I returned to my position as professor of Economics. The fact itself seemed fantastic to me for a case study from two different perspectives: that of microeconomics and that of Political Economy.
From the microeconomic perspective, there is nothing to say, except that perhaps the price at which the apples are sold at La Puntilla is not a price determined by market conditions -not just supply and demand, which should not be so simplistic, while there are monopolistic conditions conferred to a state company for the importation of apples.
Despite this price, there is a “market” for apples, to the extent that some people take the risk of buying 15,000 at a time. Therefore, there are no problems.
Now, look at an interesting thing: whoever buys apples at a price that is usually multiplied by a coefficient greater than 1.80, has enough money to import them! at a lower price or to buy them in a market that practices the wholesale modality.
If so, then perhaps the apples would be sold in those distribution points probably at a lower price than La Puntilla, with benefits for consumers and also for the country. This is because there would be no risk of money from the country (that is, from the people) in a perishable product, not at all decisive in the structure of the basic consumer goods of the average Cuban.
If there was such a possibility, as much as for the consumers, the salesman, and for the State itself (which does not have to spend on that which is not decisive) would be maximizing the utility of its resources. This is also a cold, calculating reasoning, made from microeconomics, which is too impersonal and far from the social relations of production.
Then let’s look at it from the viewpoint of Political Economy. This act of exchange is nothing more than a way in which diverse actors of society are related in certain conditions at a given moment. The state company, as representative of the owner -which is the people-, and the wholesale buyer of apples, who then sells them to the same owner (not to the State but to the people who consume them) at a higher price. Yes , it seems strange but it is like that. It watches over the interests of the owner and makes his stores work under And part of the utility produced by apples reverts to the owner in some kind of subsidized product or service, or development program from that income produced by apples.
On the other hand, the buyer of apples, who has discovered an opportunity in the retail and territorial distribution of the fruit, has an interest in selling it and making a profit to appropriate it privately. However, by buying all the apples at once from the state-owned company, it has made it easier for the company to buy apples again and continue fulfilling its social purpose, producing more profits for the owner, who is the people. It is true that this buyer appropriates a profit, but if and only if he manages to sell the apples, which allows the realization of the product in which a state company invested money (of the people).
The seller, as already mentioned, makes a profit, a part of which is used to pay its retailers, which generates some type of employment and provides a salary to people who are generally elderly and/or women, or other private businesses. This, although it is true that the “consumers of La Puntilla” are left without their apples, it is also true that the purpose for which apples are imported and sold is fulfilled!
If the company that provides the apples for La Puntilla could immediately replenish the inventory, it would be a great virtuous circle. But this is not the case and, in this case, it is not because of the blockade (you can buy apples not only in the United States, but also in Mexico or Canada).
It is also true that the apple does not care if it is sold in a mass lot or if it is sold individually. It, as long as it does not rot, will fulfill its role of becoming a direct natural food, juice, part of some kind of dessert. Keep in mind that famous passage of the Yogi Bear apple cake, BooBoo! – or in a good and refreshing drink, like cider. It is, in short, an apple, and it is aware of its role – and if not, then worse for the apple.
The way to solve the problem –MINCIN’s proposal to ration the sale of forty-eight “sensitive” products in stores that sell at differentiated and high prices– is another matter.
(Those stores, formerly known as TRD, since they do not sell in dollars directly, only collect CUC, which despite everything we think is not a currency and in fact, today is overvalued in its relationship with the dollar.)
We must resort to the economic history of Cuba and other countries that at some point practiced rationing –in the case of Cuba because we have been faithful and we have not abandoned it– to understand it.
In Cuba, the history of rationing is associated with three factors: the blockade and, before it, the trade reduction measures taken by the US government since the beginning of the Revolution. The decision of the revolutionary government sought to “guarantee” certain goods to the entire population during that hard period. In addition, it aimed to defeat the plans of the North American governments to force us to surrender through hunger. When we already had enough “brotherly and solidary help from the USSR”, then that measure of war became an instrument of equality, where the ration book is its iconic expression.
Then, our productive failures, as much or more than the blockade, made the supply of products in Cuba, in spite of having cheap energy, credit at very low cost and markets and safe prices for our export products, could ever be sufficiently flexible and respond quickly to variations in demand.
Today that expression of equality becomes the sustenance of distributive injustice. This is because, despite the differences in income, all Cuban citizens receive subsidized products and services, from the richest (the buyer of apples, for example) to the poorest, such as retirees with their pension as their only source of income. Note that the buyer of apples is not guilty of this, nor that Puntilla cannot buy apples quickly.
In general, the experiences of physical rationing of products only fulfill a very temporary and short role as a way to regulate the market. Its permanence over time generates distortions that, in the long run, affect the system as a whole and make it unproductive and inefficient, as well as having an intrinsic problem of poor allocation of resources.
(Of the Plan, our old and dear Plan, which was never fulfilled, not even in those days of “fat cows”, what can we say now?).
Resorting to these measures again is like eating the yuca plant and throwing out the root or, as Marxist economists say, it is to settle for momentarily solving the effect and not the cause.
I remember that in the Constitutional Reform Project that we discussed, everyone says in article 20:
“In the Republic of Cuba, the system of economy based on the socialist property of the whole people is governed by the fundamental means of production as the main form of management, and the planned direction of the economy, which considers and regulates the market in function of the interests of society.”
OK, this “solution” that has been proposed as a sui generis way of considering the market. It’s very similar to those of the sixties, which was later recognized in the Programmatic Platform of the Communist Party of Cuba as an error.
The latest recent history –that is, of the last fifty years– of our internal trade is a great book from which to learn what is not to be done. I won’t go on further here, because that gives one enough material for a couple of volumes.
If the decision to ration products at the end is taken again, what will happen? The first thing is that it will create more uncertainty towards the current project of modernization/updating of our economy, and that is a bad political effect.
The second is that it will also generate uncertainty for consumers, who will protect themselves by purchasing those products even when they do not need them (“just in case”) and will force additional expenses even when they are not necessary. In other words, there will be a non-efficient allocation of scarce resources.
Third – and this may not be so bad for some people – it will create a new type of employment, that of the PERMANENT BUYER, who will be out in the stores ready to “help” those who need/want to buy a little more of the normed product. This would be another unproductive form of employment that probably has as a correlate some “special relationship” within the stores.
And that is not science fiction. It has already happened and it still happens. It will happen again as long as the causes remain unresolved. I think we should first ask ourselves how apples can be imported when other, much more important products suffer from the disease of intermittency. Has anyone asked that question?
From the perspective of economic policy, it is evident that today there is a lack of market modality. That is, wholesale sales, something that has been recognized by all as a necessity in these times but which has been delayed for a long time. This happens sometimes for reasons that are not sustained either from the economy or from the Political Economy, much less from economic policy.
Selling wholesale does not even require a building, it is a decision. To make it work you can use state warehouses. It would only take a customer account for those who need or are legally authorized (because of their status as self-employed workers or cooperative members) to carry out that kind of operation.
While we are discussing this apple pastry, very sensitive and decisive issues for our well-being, for the perception of prosperity, for social justice and for equity, as well as for development, remain unresolved, despite the effort made and the hours that many people have dedicated to it.
Issues that have been publicly addressed by our deputies more than once or that have also appeared more than once in the neighborhood accountability assemblies.
Some examples: the weak dynamics of foreign investment, the low participation of investment in science and technology in the total volume of investments, the exodus of professionals, salaries so depressed that they are already almost psychiatric, the use of public services for personal benefit, the deficient system of care for the elderly, the lack of basic supplies in hospitals – such as sheets, towels, syringes and needles (which, by the way, are sold in pharmacies in CUC), medicines on the left, the lack of doctors, the almost eternal deficiencies of public transport, garbage on the corners and the lack of hygiene in the city, the housing deficit.
They are all there, they have been treated again and again. Some have objective causes, others depend to a high degree on subjectivities of one kind or another. However, several of them are unable to reach the hype that has been made because of this poorly understood fruit. And I don’t know why, being such hot and decisive issues, and being all in public view, they haven’t had the good fortune to be treated in the same way as Snow White’s apple.
* This text was originally published in the blog of the troubadour Silvio Rodríguez. OnCuba reproduces this text with the express authorization of its author.
19 September 2018 | 39 Comments
By: Marco Velázquez Cristo.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Some say that corruption should be denounced, demanding that impunity be avoided. However, when these demands are met but affect their personal interests or those of their class, they then try to minimize and ridicule what has been exposed. They also vilify those who have had the courage and moral integrity that they lack and who go beyond the ethereal blah, blah, blah, and denounce an offense like the one committed in La Puntilla.
In this specific case, in the conduct assumed by those who defend the unjustifiable, passion and wounded vanity also play a part. It is unbearable for them that a humble revolutionary blogger –whom they have tried to discredit by all means– with a simple but courageous article of denunciation, succeeded in capturing the attention of the country’s main media and that of an important part of society. So they resorted to making trouble on the Internet.
These characters are so contradictory that while they criticize double standards, they apply them on a daily basis. Their criticism is selective, they only approve of those that go against their main objective: [being] against the State. They are experts in distorting reality and try to describe a situation of corruption in our country like that of other places where it is difficult to differentiate between criminals and corrupt politicians. They are so hypocritical that they claim to defend the Revolution, when in reality they defend their own class interests and –in not a few cases– those of the enemy.
Due to this absence of principles, lack of objectivity and masked perfidy they must resign themselves to holler their heads off on the world wide web..
They themselves provide the arguments that lay then bare: When CIMEX reported on the investigation it would carry it out to clarify what had happened, these people said it would only go so far. When the results came out then they speculated that these would only lead to administrative measures. When it became known that the corresponding charges had been filed, they are now trying to justify a punishable act by the non-existence of a wholesale market and the insufficient availability of some products. Is it licit to corrupt others by taking advantage of their needs and lack of integrity in the name of still unresolved issues? Where are their moral values?
It is true that many things are needed and many problems must be solved, but these issues cannot be used as a justification for hoarding, speculation and exploiting those who have the least. To do so is immoral.
A wholesale market and the availability of more products cannot guarantee on their own the eradication of acts such as the one that has caused these cyber-vigilantes to come out in defense of the crooks who committed it. It is also necessary for defendants and defenders to show decorum, ethical principles and a sense of solidarity. They must leave hypocrisy behind, set aside individualism and honor their human condition. In the rest of the people courage and sense of citizen duty must not remain impervious while crimes are perpetrated.
“To witness a crime passively is equal to committing it”.
— José Martí.
Applying the philosophy of these false apostles of justice, we could charge them and those of their class. Maybe charge them for their children’s education and medical care?, take away their subsidized supplies?, tax their income with high taxes? and… why not?: take away their ADSL paid by the State because no few of them use it to access the Internet and attack the State.
If we were to do that, we could be in a better position to raise salaries and therefore the purchasing powers of those who receive the least and who, as a whole, contribute the most to the public coffers. We could buy more products, lower prices and maybe even create a wholesale market. What do you think, gentlemen?
I believe that it is a fair formula, because I remind these “avengers” that, fundamentally out of the sweat and the sacrifice of millions of humble people. From them come not only the apples but also many other items that some insensitive self-serving persons later hoard and resell at exorbitant prices. These humble people also create the resources and the money to guarantee the services that I mentioned above and the possibility of offering them free of charge, to subsidize the products of the basic basket, etc. It is their work that supports the economy and their dignified and disinterested attitude of commitment to the Revolution that constitutes its greatest strength and the indispensable factor to ensure its continuity.
They make it possible for us to enjoy the advantages of a social system that puts men and women at the center, that fights for equality and social justice, shows high public safety and low crime rates — features that are a luxury in a world shaken by violence. These features allow those who have a lot of money to live in peace and tranquility, and the Internet buffoons to play their pranks on the networks trying to win over supporters and smiles from their class without risk.
We must be consistent: corruption, as well as any other illegal act, have to be denounced regardless of who commits them. Their perpetrators must be prosecuted accordingly.
In Cuba there is not a protective hand that inhibits the action of justice. Double standards are not practiced at the government level as they are in other countries. But double standards are applied in the Cuban blogosphere by some who are shocked only by what does not suit them.
Don’t forget you pink tie clowns that in Cuba money will never guarantee impunity. Those who are in power are the humble –who in the face of scarcities and needs, will not tolerate being robbed, exploited and outraged– aware that as Martí said, “Poverty passes, what does not pass is dishonor”.
Paraphrasing the apostle, “this is a republic for all and for the good of all, not just for a few.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
CIMEX reports the results of the investigation into the events in La Puntilla Shopping Center
Following the publication of the article “Assault in La Puntilla: 15 Thousand Apples for a Single Client”, last Sunday, September 9, the CIMEX Business Group reports that:
The West Havana Branch (which includes La Puntilla), and the Supervision Directorate of the CIMEX Business Group proceeded to denounce the incident before the judicial authorities and to impose the disciplinary measure of Permanent Separation from the company to the following cadres and civilian workers:
The Carlos III Store applied disciplinary measure of Permanent Separation from the company to
Joel Muñiz Lorenzo, civilian worker, Driver D.
The CIMEX Business Group considers it necessary to inform our people that the clear majority of its more than 35,000 workers are committed to combating lack of discipline and illegalities. There is no room for impunity in this task. It also reiterates its determination to address and deal with the questions and complaints raised by customers in order to constantly improve the quality of services in our commercial units.
By Iroel Sanchez
Cuban engineer and journalist. He works in the Office for the Informatization of Cuban Society. He was President of the Cuban Institute of the Book. On twitter @iroelsanchez
September 9, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Some time ago, in an article titled “Against the third blockade,” [published 2014]I spoke of the fledgling oligarchs who already control food distribution networks in Cuba, this Friday, I had the opportunity to see them act. It was as a result of the sale of apples in the La Puntilla de Primera y “O” store, in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar.
Organized almost militarily and faced with the complicit indifference of the employees, a platoon of strong young men appeared – a good part of them “in uniform” with clothes bearing the U.S. flag – who, in a few minutes, bought 15,000 apples (150 boxes of 100). Using the pallets and wheelbarrows of the store, they arranged to take them out, using transportation from the CIMEX corporation itself, which the head of the group, [acting] with total authority, insistently demanded from a cell phone and a luxurious and modern black car with a private-car’s license plate.
When asked how this was possible, a store employee replied: “We can’t do anything”. An empty “information desk”, but [only] with a sign with the telephone numbers of “Customer Service” of the Panamerican chain of stores. When calling, at first they do not answer and after insisting several times they say that they already knew about the situation were taking care of it.
But in one hour, despite the promise of the only employee who tried to give an explanation: that the manager of the complex was on his way, he never arrived. Remember, the central office of the Corporation is a few meters from the store in a building named Sierra Maestra (!!!!). The calm with which the “platoon” acted suggested their conviction of their impunity.
I know that before this publication the company will try some answer, maybe there will be explanations and some disciplinary measure but let’s transcend the anecdote that surely told daily and get to the bottom. Let’s not collect more water with baskets:
A store that not long ago caught fire, was completely rebuilt, with cameras, guards, brand new cash registers and expensive security devices, for whose benefit? Imports with scarce foreign currency, for whose benefit? It is impossible not to remember what our colleague Javier Gómez Sánchez told us about how the same “uniform” prevails in the wardrobe of nationals who vacation in hotels in Varadero.
It is all very well for the press and prosecutors to go to the construction material stores, but they must follow the trail to the mansions that have been built with them, such as those on the road to Marbella, sorry, I meant Belllamar, in Matanzas. Marbella, in Spain, is where the oligarchs who ransacked post-Soviet Russia erected their residences.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
It is good that many on the U.S. left are beginning to see that the clashes between Trump and his supporters against the so-called “resistance,” reflect a “split in the ruling class.”
This is the view of Greg Godels, the prominent American communist journalist who used to use the pen name Zoltan Zigedy. “It is a very healthy advance because it rules out confusion fomented by the Democratic Party leadership, childish sensationalism, and the meaningless simplicity of the capitalist media.
According to Godels, this is a real and fierce battle between different groups among the richest and most powerful. It’s a conflict that gives deeper meaning to the strange mischief of the Trump era. Behind the harsh and illusory images of a corrupt vulgar person like Trump, to whom only by the “heroic” protectors of freedom and security (FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.) object, hides a real struggle for ideas, interests and the future. It is good that more people are seeing it as a struggle between the rich and the powerful fighting over their different visions of the future of capitalism: “a split in the ruling class.”
Many times in the last two years, Greg Godels has written about the emergence of alternatives to market fundamentalism such as neoliberalism and globalization in the conventional wisdom of the ruling class. He has argued that the rise of economic nationalism in advanced economies is an expression of that alternative. Intensified competition in energy policy is offered as a material symptom of economic nationalism, as is disinterest in maintaining a relatively peaceful backdrop for securing and promoting trade.
The United States is more interested in selling arms than in resolving its many wars (it is known that Secretary of State Pompeo convinced members of the Trump administration, publicly embarrassed by the massacre in Yemen, not to cut off support for Saudi Arabia because of such misdeed due to the possible loss of $2 billion in arms sales).
A recent reflection by Joshua Green, Bloomberg Businessweek national correspondent, entitled The Dividends of Anger, accounts for how the recognition of the changing political terrain provoked by the crisis. Trump’s slogan of economic nationalism “Make America Great Again” explains how it was the anger over the financial bailout that gave Trump the presidency. Green recalls Obama’s infamous meeting at the White House with the CEOs of the major banks, where he frankly told them, “My administration is the only thing between you and the gallows.
Reflecting on Obama’s words, Green warns: “Millions of people lost their jobs, their homes, their retirement accounts and fell out of the middle class. Many more live with an anxiety that gnaws at them. Wages were static when the crisis broke out and have remained static throughout the recovery. Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the share of U.S. workers in non-agricultural income has fallen almost to its lowest level since World War II.
This harsh indictment of post-apocalyptic capitalism captures well the conditions that have fuelled the fear of such pitchforks. Make no mistake, those who rule the major capitalist centers pay attention to anger, not to respond to it, but to divert it.
The history of American politics in the last decade is the story of how the forces that Obama and the Democratic Party failed to contain, restructured the world by unleashing energies on the left (Occupy Wall Street) and on the right (the Tea Party). The critical mass of conditions that led to Donald Trump had its genesis in these reactions?
Trump was able to prepare a campaign based on responding to anger with measures of economic nationalism, patriotism and, paradoxically, partisanship for the working class.
Of course, the idea that Trump was planning to build a workers party or intended to transform the Republican Party into a “workers party” is ridiculous, but it is remembered that his campaign was driven by anti-immigrant animosity with the argument that jobs were being taken away from them. When Trump declared his candidacy, Americans of all stripes were bitter with the ruling elites of both parties, and on that rests Trump’s opportunistic position of attacking them, including the Republicans.
Greg Godels concludes that only a concerted effort to create or nurture a truly independent, anti-capitalist movement that addresses the real needs of workers makes sense today, when bourgeois parties voluntarily sacrifice workers’ interests for the sake of capitalism.
October 1, 2018.
This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By Claudia González Corrales
ACN Special Service.
Sep 27, 2018 6:32 AM
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Have you ever felt rejected? Have you ever thought that, because of your curls and thick lips outlined in red, you are not welcome? Has the idea crossed your mind that you must behave this way or another if you want to be socially accepted?
Have you considered that you deserve more than someone just because you are heterosexual? Have you thought yourself more capable than a girl tied to a wheelchair? Have you labeled love, friendship, solidarity, with a lot of absurd superstitions?
As human beings at last, almost unconsciously, we spend it deciding what is right, what is wrong, what we like, what we don’t. We believe ourselves to be omnipotent magistrates with the capacity to judge the lives of others, and to act accordingly, as if it didn’t matter, as if it didn’t injure their dignity.
Fortunately, when such a behavior results in an offense, it can be condemned by law. This this is one of the guarantees put forward by the draft Constitution that is currently being discussed in every space of our Cuba.
The irrevocable principle of equality of all before the law is not something exclusive of the new bill. Since the 1976 constitution, the categories of equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of race, skin color, sex, national origin, religious beliefs and any other harmful to human dignity were included, and which were punishable by law.
The Magna Carta under debate transcends the previous one, since it widens the margin of aspects that can mark one different. It will now include such conditioning factors as gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and any other distinction injurious to human dignity (Article 40).
Such a decision is far from being made at random, and is one of the many aspects that adapt the Cuban project to the realities of the new times. Law graduate Liset Mailén Imbert Milán, legal advisor of the National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex), explained to the Cuban News Agency that we are at a qualitatively superior moment, since the constitutional text has been perfected and enriched.
According to the specialist, it is important to stop at the meanings of equality and discrimination. For her, equality is a principle that recognizes that all people must be treated equally and that they are subject to the same laws of justice. It equates all citizens in civil and political rights; therefore, the law must guarantee that no individual or group of individuals is privileged or discriminated against.
On the other hand, to discriminate is to divide, to select, to mark someone different. It is the act of separating or forming groups of people on the basis of certain criteria. H hence it explicitly refers to the violation of the equality of human rights.
Imbert Milan insists that any feature of the human personality that is used to discriminate should not be well-regarded and deserves legal treatment in order to repair damage to the victim and take the required measures with the person who commits the act.
At first glance, it might seem that the article is redundant, because one can intuitively imagine that sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity … mean the same thing because they are closely-related.
The specialist stops to explain that sex is that set of qualities that characterize the individuals of a species dividing them into females and males; it is the anatomophysiological expression, that is to say, the external aspect of the genitals.
Meanwhile, gender is that socio-cultural construction that responds to a specific historical moment and space. Hence the notions of masculinities, femininities, what is required of us, what roles are assigned and assumed for women and men.
Sexual orientation, in turn, is the capacity of each person to feel emotional, affective and sexual attraction to people of a different gender, of the same gender, or of more than one gender. Can be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.
The concept of gender identity refers to the internal and individual experience of gender, as each person feels it deeply. It may or may not correspond to the established sex at the time of birth, or appears very attached to the notions referred to. It is belonging to one gender or another: I was born female and I feel like a woman, I agree psychologically with my biological sex.
More explicit are the categories of ethnic origin, skin color, freedom of religious belief, national origin… which are also endorsed in the constitution by the vestiges that exist of discrimination and it is a political will to work to eliminate such episodes, said Imbert Milán.
Cenesex’s legal adviser also insists that when people discriminate, they can be the object of analysis, from a legal perspective or any other required one, based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination defended in the Magna Carta, as well as the rest of the complementary laws that obey and execute the stipulations of the same.
In cases of discrimination, individuals may contact the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic, at all levels, at Department for the Protection of Citizens’ Rights. There are also the offices of attention to the population in the National Assembly of People’s Power, and Cenesex has legal orientation services that are provided Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., where advice is given to people on each fact.
The Oscar Arnulfo Romero Center provides assistance to victims of violence. The Oscar Arnulfo Romero center also provides assistance to victims of violence.
In general, the specialist considers the broader issue of equality and the principle of non-discrimination to be very positive. “I believe that we are in function of an improvement, and that the constitution has included the different forms of discrimination is a contribution, a great advance, and is a sign of political will. We jurists are also committed to studying it and to apprehending these theoretical questions of diversity, so as not to judge or label. It is necessary to be more given to read, study, listen, learn from experiences, to then take a legal solution thinking of the welfare of all,” he said. (By Claudia González Corrales, ACN)
Por Claudia González Corrales
Servicio Especial de la ACN
Sep 27, 2018 6:32 AM
¿Alguna vez te has sentido rechazada? ¿Has pensado que, por tus rizos y gruesos labios delineados en rojo, no eres bienvenida? ¿Ha pasado por tu mente la idea de que debes comportarte de esta u otra manera si quieres ser socialmente aceptada?
¿Has considerado que mereces más que alguien solo por ser heterosexual? ¿Te has creído más capaz que una chica atada a un sillón de ruedas? ¿Has etiquetado al amor, a la amistad, solidaridad, con un montón de supersticiones absurdas?
Como seres humanos al fin, de manera casi inconsciente, nos la pasamos jerarquizando lo que está bien, lo que está mal, lo que nos agrada, lo que no. Nos creemos jueces omnipotentes con capacidad para juzgar la vida de los otros, y actuar en consecuencia, como si no les importara, como si no lacerara su dignidad.
Por suerte, cuando tal práctica redunda en la ofensa, puede llegar a ser condenada por la Ley, y ello es una de las garantías defendidas por el proyecto de Constitución que en hoy se discute en cada espacio de la Cuba nuestra.
El irrevocable principio de igualdad de todos ante la ley no es algo exclusivo del nuevo proyecto, sino que desde la norma de 1976 se defendían las categorías de igualdad y no discriminación por motivo de raza, color de la piel, sexo, origen nacional, creencias religiosas y cualquier otra lesiva a la dignidad humana, lo cual era sancionado por la ley.
La Carta Magna en debate trasciende a la anterior, pues amplía el margen de aspectos que pueden marcar lo diferente al incluir las condicionantes de género, orientación sexual, identidad de género y cualquier otra distinción lesiva a la dignidad humana (Artículo 40).
Tal decisión dista de ser tomada al azar, y es uno de los muchos aspectos que atemperan el proyecto cubano a las realidades de los nuevos tiempos. La licenciada en Derecho Liset Mailén Imbert Milán, asesora jurídica del Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (Cenesex), explicó a la Agencia Cubana de Noticias que estamos en un momento cualitativamente superior, pues el texto constitucional se ha perfeccionado y enriquecido.
De acuerdo con la especialista, es importarse detenerse en los significados de igualdad y discriminación. Para ella, la igualdad es un principio que reconoce que todas las personas deben ser tratadas de igual manera y que están sujetas a las mismas leyes de justicia; equipara a todos los ciudadanos en derechos civiles y políticos; por lo tanto, la ley debe garantizar que ningún individuo o grupo de individuos sea privilegiado o discriminado.
Por otro lado, discriminar es dividir, seleccionar, marcar lo diferente; es el acto de separar o formar grupos de personas a partir de criterios determinados; de ahí que se refiere de manera explícita a la violación de la igualdad de los derechos humanos.
Imbert Milán insiste en que cualquier rasgo de la personalidad humana que se utilice para discriminar no debe ser bien visto y merece un tratamiento legal en función de reparar el daño a la víctima y tomar las medidas requeridas con la persona que comete el hecho.
A simple vista podría parecer que el artículo es redundante, pues uno puede, de manera intuitiva, imaginar que sexo, género, orientación sexual, identidad de género…significan lo mismo por estar estrechamente relacionados.
La especialista se detiene a explicar que el sexo es ese conjunto de cualidades que caracterizan a los individuos de una especie dividiéndolos en hembras y machos; es la expresión anatomofisiológica, o sea, el aspecto externo de los genitales.
Mientras, el género es esa construcción sociocultural que responde a un momento histórico concreto y a un espacio. De ahí vienen las nociones de masculinidades, feminidades, qué se nos exige, cuáles son los roles asignados y asumidos para mujeres y hombres.
La orientación sexual a su vez es la capacidad de cada persona de sentir atracción emocional, afectiva y sexual por personas de un género diferente al suyo, de su mismo género, o de más de un género. Puede ser heterosexual, homosexual o bisexual.
Muy apegado a las nociones referidas aparece el concepto de identidad de género, el cual se refiere a la vivencia interna e individual del género, tal como cada persona lo siente profundamente, que puede corresponderse o no con el sexo establecido al momento del nacimiento. Es la pertenencia a un género u otro: yo nací hembra y me siento mujer, estoy de acuerdo psicológicamente con mi sexo biológico.
Más explícitas son las categorías de origen étnico, el color de la piel, libertad de creencia religiosa, origen nacional… que también aparecen refrendadas en la constitución por los vestigios que existen de discriminación y constituye una voluntad política trabajar para eliminar tales episodios, señaló Imbert Milán.
La asesora jurídica del Cenesex insiste además en que las personas cuando discriminan pueden ser objeto de análisis, desde una perspectiva legal o de las que se requieran, basado en los Principios de igualdad y no discriminación defendidos en la Carta Magna, así como el resto de las leyes complementarias que obedecen y ejecutan lo estipulado en la misma.
En caso de discriminación, las personas pueden dirigirse a la Fiscalía General de la República, en todos sus niveles, al departamento de protección de los derechos ciudadanos. También están las oficinas de atención a la población en la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular, y en el Cenesex se cuenta con servicios de orientación jurídica que se prestan miércoles y viernes de 9 de la mañana a 3 de la tarde, donde se dan asesorías a las personas en cada hecho concreto, indicándoles adónde debe dirigirse, si precisan de un abogado, cómo actuar. Asimismo, el centro Oscar Arnulfo Romero brinda servicios de asistencia a las víctimas de violencia.
De manera general, la especialista valora de muy positivo el que haya sido más amplia la cuestión de la igualdad y el principio de no discriminación. “Creo que estamos en función de un perfeccionamiento, y que la constitución haya incluido las distintas formas de discriminación es un aporte, un avance grandísimo, y es una muestra de la voluntad política. Los juristas también estamos abocados a estudiarla y a aprehender de estas cuestiones teóricas de la diversidad, para no juzgar ni etiquetar. Hay que ser más dados a leer, estudiar, escuchar, a aprender de las vivencias, para entonces tomar una solución jurídica pensando en el bienestar de todos y todas”, sentenció. (Por Claudia González Corrales, ACN)
cgc meb jgm 18
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The United States is a “democracy” only in the sense that citizens have a theoretical right to vote for a number of nominated officials. It is a freedom that almost half of Americans consider meaningless. This is why only 56% of Americans voted for president in 2016, and for Congress two years ago less than 40% voted.
Like most “democratic” socialists in the United States, Bernie Sanders, the surprising favorite of large numbers of Americans in the 2016 election campaign, conflates bourgeois electoral freedom with real democracy, one which empowers people to put the political economy at the service of the common good.
In doing so, Sanders seeks to create a chaste foundation for siding with U.S. imperialism, says Glen Ford, executive director of the Black Agenda Report. His in-depth article was reproduced September 20 by the Marxist-Leninist website MLToday.
The U.S. is an oligarchy in which big businessmen almost always get away with it while average citizens and mass organizations have little or no influence in politics.
There is a dictatorship of the wealthy classes, says Glen Ford, recalling that the superpower is governed by oligarchs. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967, they are also the biggest promotors of violence in today’s world.
Washington’s closest allies in this global mission are the former colonial powers of Western Europe and the former colonies of white settlers of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The foreign policy of the superpower ruled by white multi-millionaires aims to preserve the global order of white supremacy that served for more than 500 years to keep most of the world under its exterminating and enslaving rule.
According to Ford, “it’s no wonder that Bernie Sanders, and so many other politicians who consider themselves progressive in the United States, avoid articulating clear foreign policy positions. That’s how two-thirds of progressive Democratic candidates for Congress act.”
An example of this is that Sanders’ supporters in the campaign team of Bronx Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez left out of their program platform mention of a “Peace Economy,” or which denounced U.S. military interventions in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.
A true U.S. foreign policy needs a list of enemies. Sanders found them in an authoritarian axis whose members “share attributes of hostility toward democratic norms, antagonism toward a free press, intolerance toward ethnic and religious minorities, and the belief that the government should benefit its own selfish financial interests. These leaders are also deeply connected to an oligarchic network of billionaires who see the world as their economic toy.”
The U.S. government, as the toy of 12 of the world’s 15 richest people, should be at the top of Bernie Sanders’ list. But no, according to his worldview, only Trump classifies as a world-class villain, even though he is, by himself, a minor oligarch compared with others of his ilk.
But it is significant that the geopolitical center of this new oligarchic authoritarian axis of evil is not located on Wall Street or in London, but in Russia and China. They are seen as the enemies whom the warmongers of the Pentagon and the CIA pretend to fear and hate, mainly the Americans.
Sanders does not clearly oppose U.S. imperialism. On the contrary, he offers a supposedly “progressive” justification for preserving it. The new oligarchic authoritarian axis of evil seeks to give “progressives” a reason to accept, and even love, U.S. militarism and imperialism.
Sanders wants the United States to improve relations with “our old democratic allies” in Western Europe because he believes that China and Russia are more dangerous malefactors and function as a single satanic unit.
Glen Ford’s essay concludes by expressing his hope that Sanders will achieve good results in the 2020 primaries, and that he will defeat all other corporate Democratic hopefuls for the nomination. But Ford thinks it will force the top authorities of the Democratic Party to sabotage Sanders’ own campaign once again.
“Sanders will never leave the Democratic Party, but perhaps a critical mass of his followers will come out of that capitalist pigsty in search of real, and truly democratic socialist solutions,” predicts Glen Ford.
September 24, 2018.
This article can be reproduced by citing the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.