THE OTHER WAR CRIME IN THE BALKANS

THE OTHER WAR CRIME IN THE BALKANS
By Manuel E. Yepe

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
https://englishmanuelyepe.wordpress.com/

The Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in The Hague, has exonerated the late President of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, of all guilt for war crimes committed during the Bosnian war of 1992-1995, including the Srebrenica slaughter.

Far from conspiring with convicted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Milosevic condemned the ethnic cleansing advocated by Karadzic and tried to prevent the war that dismembered Yugoslavia.

This finding, in fact, belies the propaganda aimed at justifying the illegal 1999 NATO war against Serbia.

Milosevic died a prisoner in a cell of the advanced technology high security prison of Scheveningen in The Hague. He died of a heart attack in 2006, when he was subjected to a pantomime “international trial” after being denied the heart surgery that could have saved his life. His death prevented him from delivering incriminating evidence against his US and European captors.

Sara Flounders, renowned US writer and anti-war activist Sara Flounders, who participated as a defense witness in the trial against Milosevic, in an article entitled “Milosevic´s Death: A Political Assassination Blamed on the Victim” wrote: “No one who has met with President Milosevic over the past four years would believe he would risk killing himself rather than complete his trial. And no one who visited Scheveningen prison in The Hague would believe the outlandish claims that somehow he was able to smuggle in unprescribed medications on a regular basis. They would instead suspect that the authorities were desperately trying to cover up their own crimes.”

Milosevic was housed in a special unit within a high security prison with advanced technology. These units are specially patrolled by United Nations guards. Cameras are everywhere. Every movement of the prisoners is monitored and controlled.

The prison authorities claim that Milosevic was taking rifampicin, a rare, difficult-to-acquire antibiotic used to treat leprosy or tuberculosis that has the unique ability to counteract the medicine he was taking to control his high blood pressure.

When rifampicin was allegedly found on Jan. 12 in Milosevic’s blood, the ICTY kept the report of the blood tests secret, even from Milosevic and his doctors, who were complaining that something terribly wrong was damaging the defendant’s health. While the prisoner and his defense committee and assisting lawyers were demanding health information, the ICTY officials sat on this report.

Equally outlandish were the claims that Milosevic staged his illness to delay the trial. In fact it was the prosecution that delayed the trial first by adding charges against Milosevec when they realized they had no case on the original war-crime charges, then by bringing hundreds of witnesses to generate 500,000 pages of prosecution testimony from February 2002 to February 2004.

Milosevic was determined to use the trial as a platform to defend not only himself but the people of Yugoslavia, and to indict the U.S., Germany and the NATO powers for their role in the criminal destruction of his country. He welcomed the trial as the only platform where he could make the historical record. In his remarks to the court, he constantly described why, despite his bad health, he was determined to continue.

In a letter addressed to the Russian Embassy two days before he died, Milosevic wrote that he had taken no antibiotics in more than four years. He warned that he was sure he was being poisoned and that his life was in danger.

He said the ICTY is not a real international court, with the ability to try any accused war criminal. It is a political court set up by the UN Security Council at the insistence of the United States in 1993, in violation of the UN Charter. It aims to punish the victims for the crimes committed against them and to absolve the imperialist powers who invaded, bombed, dismembered and forced the privatization of the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia.

Now the world is asked to believe that Milosevic was responsible for his own death. It is a scenario so incredibly complex, an elaborate suicide story that is as improbable as the charges against him. The bought-and-paid-for corporate media are accepting and propagating the story of his death in the same servile fashion they accepted the very existence of this illegal court and the justification for the destruction of Yugoslavia.

August 26, 2016.

THE STRIP TEASE OF IMPERIALIST POLITICS

THE STRIP TEASE OF IMPERIALIST POLITICS
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

Today increasingly-substantial financial resources are being invested in the creation of new technologies of war and weapons of mass destruction, though there isn’t the least defensive justification for it in the conditions of the post-Cold War world.
Europe, which benefited so much from the conquest and colonization of America, Africa and Asia, has been responsible for dragging the world into two global wars. The so-called old continent should have made a supreme effort to avoid catastrophes like those in the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, as well as the criminal extermination actions which for many years have been perpetrated by the Zionist forces against the martyred Palestinian people, to mention only the bloodiest.
Only 19 years elapsed between the first and second world wars. World War II ended 71 years ago. However, since then there have been conflicts and wars that have employed several times more explosives and chemical weapons than both world wars together.
The policy of allocating more massive budgets for war and lowering taxes for the more powerful contributors means less money for social expenditures. This does not affect the entire US population equally. Neo-liberal practices, together with globalization, ensure that the rich continue to increase their wealth while the poor continue to grow in number and become increasingly poorer.
In the United States, federal programs for education, community development, grants to agencies for environmental protection, financing for development, low-cost alternative energy, disease control, drug abuse treatment, health and occupational security management, as well as public safety are reduced or eliminated; this list includes only the most recently and hardest hit areas.
The United States presents the paradox of being the richest country in the world and at the same time it has one of the highest indices of poverty among developed countries. The US currently has,
proportionally, the largest number of poor people without health insurance, yet with insecurity and food deficiency among the rich countries.
These sad social realities for the people of the United States, caused by imperialist wars in terms of soldier casualties and injuries, cannot compare, however, with the enormous damage that these disproportionate wars have meant for the attacked peoples.
The farcical excuses presented by the United States, first, to justify the occupation and, then, to save face in view of the evidence of a lost war, have been grotesque.
This happens when Washington cannot find a way out of the attacked countries without obtaining substantial economic benefits for the transnational monopolies that were the real reason for the aggression in the first place.
The noble aspiration of mankind to make the twenty-first century the first in history without wars died early. Against the accumulation of hardships, atrocities, cruelties and sacrifices that characterize the reality of war, the struggle of humanity for peace becomes a vital necessity.
Humanity today has sufficient culture and experience to reject the notion that peace must be imposed by war. Peace can and must be a conscious objective of human intelligence and solidarity.
It has been said many times that the people of the United States are the only ones who can carry out the titanic feat of bringing down the most powerful and bloodthirsty empire ever known to humanity. Today, humanity anxiously waiting to see that people react to give it the solidarity it deserves!
These days, people around the world have been able to follow, sometimes with disgust, the process of elections that every four years takes place in the United States.
On this occasion, however, new and striking manifestations of the profound crisis that engulfs the political system of the only superpower of this era have become apparent.
The campaign of the Republican candidate Donald Trump has allowed everyone to see, in all its crudeness, the terrible fascist danger that looms over humanity. By contrast, the Democratic Party candidate, Bernard Sanders, had encouraging messages that had never before been heard from within the highest echelons of imperialist politics. July 28, 2016.

RACIAL GAP DEEPENS IN THE UNITED STATES

RACIAL GAP DEEPENS IN THE UNITED STATES
By Manuel E. Yepe
http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
Exclusive for daily POR ESTO! of Mérida, México.

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

Race relations have worsened in the United States since Donald Trump’s electoral campaign began. With his recent confirmation as the Republican presidential candidate, this deterioration appears to have reached a critical state.

Upon accepting the presidential nomination at the National Republican Convention in Cleveland, Trump described himself as the “law-and-order candidate”, and declared he was ready to restore in the country a security “that is out of control and needs a leader” capable of implementing sharp measures to protect Americans.

“The first task of my new administration will be to relieve our citizens from the crime, terrorism and anarchy that threaten their communities,” he said.” I have a message for every person who threatens peace in our streets and the safety of our police: when I take office next year: I will restore law and order in our country”.

Appealing to the anguish of the voters who feel that the rest of the world no longer respects the United States, Trump pledged to act quickly so that Americans feel better about the sad image their country projects. He promised to warn allies and enemies that Washington would focus exclusively on protecting US’s own interests.

Without softening his tone, or departing from the hardline that has characterized his campaign, Trump described Americans as victims of immigrants, international companies and irresponsible leaders. He presented himself as the defender of the “forgotten men and women in our country”.

By explicitly affirming white identity and voicing the most widespread complaints, Trump has galvanized the marginal world of white nationalists who describe themselves as “racial realists”. They hail him as the man who has helped millions of white Americans to understand that race should matter to them as much as to everyone else.

The pro-Trump activists say he has freed Americans to say what they really think. A survey conducted by CBS News in April showed that half of those surveyed admitted there is a problem and more than 60% considered that race relations had worsened.

More recently, an investigation conducted nationally by the Pew Research Center of Washington, DC (PEW) between June 5 and July 7, involving 4,602 adults, showed that black and white Americans have profoundly different views on racial equality, and they also differ on the extent to which a person’s race can be a burden or a benefit.

For blacks, the answer is clear: 65% say “it is a lot more difficult to be black in this country than it is to be white.”

Fewer than half as many whites (27%) agree. The racial gap in perception of white advantages is even starker: 62% of blacks say “white people benefit a great deal from advantages in society that black people do not have.” Just 13% of whites say whites have benefited a great deal from advantages that blacks lack.

Commenting on the evidence of this study on perception of race advantages or disadvantages, PEW researcher Shiva Maniam wrote on July 18 that among Latinos, 37% say it is lot more difficult to be black than white, which is higher than the share of whites who say this but far lower than the number of blacks who do so.

Most Latinos say white people benefit from advantages in society that blacks do not have; 33% say whites benefit a great deal from these circumstances, compared with 62% of blacks and 13% of whites.

About the perception of how blacks are treated in different areas, another recent survey revealed that most blacks believe they are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with the police, in the courts, when applying for a loan or mortgage, and in the workplace. At least four out of ten interviewed said that blacks receive much worse treatment in stores and restaurants and when voting in elections. July 22, 2016.

Marxists Say Clinton is Not the Lesser Evil.docx

MARXISTS SAY CLINTON IS NOT LESSER EVIL
By Manuel E. Yepe
http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
Exclusive for journal POR ESTO! of Mérida, México.

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

“By rejecting Hillary Clinton as Lesser Evil and, most importantly, by resolving to build political independence, Sanders campaign activists and supporters can make 2016 a year of genuine “political revolution.” This is the conclusion reached in an article published by Marxism Leninism Today (MLT) on July 12.

Under the title “What Should Bernie Sanders Supporters Do Now?” the editors express their view on the decision of Senator Sanders to join the Hillary Clinton campaign –against whom he had sought the nomination of the Democratic Party– and consider that the 2016 elections reflect the deepening crisis of the capitalist economic system in general and the US political party system in particular.

In the 2016 primary season, something new happened: voter response to Trump and Sanders represented a new level of mass disaffection from the existing political system.

“Everyone knew voter anger had to come, sooner or later. Forty years of stagnant or declining wages, the export of jobs and
de-industrialization, growing inequality, police violence against Black youth, mass incarceration, attacks on unions and labor rights, rolling back the social safety net, endless wars, the 2008 Great Recession and the halting recovery, gridlock in Congress, growing poverty and insecurity – all have altered the consciousness of tens of millions,” said MLT.

“At the Democratic Party Platform drafting meeting in Orlando, Florida, Sanders’ positions on issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Palestinian rights, and single-payer healthcare have been rebuffed by the Clintonites,” the US communists journal said.

Worsening social discontent sparked insurgencies in both major parties. With the narrowing differences between the two monopoly parties, the received wisdom, “Vote for Lesser Evil” makes less and less sense to ordinary voters, let alone to Sanders supporters.

Voter anger has finally found political expression at the ballot box, but the way anger has been expressed is not symmetric.

In the case of the Democrats, Bernie Sanders offered a version of Scandinavian social democracy. Political independence was no part of his plan. From the start, he pledged to support the eventual Democratic nominee. To his credit, he moved leftward on a number of important issues. His campaign inspired sections of the Democratic base, especially youth. Sanders wound up with 12 million votes in the primaries, compared to 16 million for Clinton.

According to MLT’s article, progressive/liberal insurgencies in the Democratic Party are not new: Ted Kennedy against Jimmy Carter in 1980; Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988; Howard Dean in 2004; Dennis Kucinich in 2004 and 2008. In all cases, the insurgency petered out. Most Democrats ended up voting for the Democratic nominee, seemingly a “Lesser Evil”, rather than a thoroughly-reactionary Republican candidate. The Democratic Party establishment knows how to corral stray sheep.

The Clinton camp, for example, has done this with talk of Trump’s “fascism” or his “McCarthyism,” or the unspeakable horror of “losing” the US Supreme Court.

The Lesser Evil argument has never been weaker than it is now, says MLT, “The two big parties are equally evil; then it is incumbent on progressives to begin systematic political work for independence from the two-party system. Trump and Clinton are equally evil, but in different ways. On domestic issues (except trade), Trump is obviously worse than Clinton, but on foreign policy Clinton is demonstrably more dangerous than Trump,” affirms MLT.

Trump represents a long US tradition of right-wing populism that mingles racism, xenophobia, nationalism, and isolationism with nostalgia for a golden past. He combines attacks on socially-oppressed groups with distorted forms of anti-elitism based on “scapegoating”.

July 19, 2016.

COLOMBIA IN THE FINAL STAGE BEFORE PEACE

COLOMBIA IN THE FINAL STAGE BEFORE PEACE
By Manuel E. Yepe
http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/

Exclusive for daily Por Esto! Merida, Mexico.

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
http://walterlippmann.com/colombia-in-the-final-stage-before-peace/

In any conflict between two, it is logical that the conclusion should produce a winner and a loser. Only three forms of postwar peace have always existed: the one imposed by the victor, humiliating for the vanquished; Pyrrhic peace in which to reach victory the winner has suffered many or more losses than the defeated; and peace determined by the inability of either party to achieve success after extreme suffering for both sides. The latter is the one that seems closer to become a reality in Colombia.

All humanity has received with joy the promise of peace in Colombia that was sealed with the agreements on ceasefire, deposition of weapons, security guarantees and other aspects signed on June 23 in Havana by the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and Commander Timoleon Jimenez, Chief of Staff of the Colombian FARC-EP.

The senior leader of the guerrilla organization was adamant in his speech at the document signing ceremony saying that “neither the FARC nor the Colombian State are defeated forces and therefore the agreement cannot be understood by anyone as a result of any imposition of one party to the other.

“We have discussed at length and even got to alleys that seemed to be dead-ends. These could only be overcome thanks to the generous and effective intervention of the guarantor countries, Cuba and Norway, and the opportunities and wise formulas suggested by the creativity of the spokespersons of both parties and their diligent advisers,” Jimenez said.

The armed conflict has already surpassed in its duration – more than half a century– than any other of this nature in the world. The FARC, that on 27 May last reached 52 years of existence, constitutes the largest and most representative guerrilla resistance organization in Colombia. Therefore this approach to peace has the virtual
significance of an approach to the end of the war.

“It is true that there subsist other phenomena of violence and crime, as the ELN and criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking. But something we all need to understand is that this agreement reached with the FARC means ending the war with the largest and oldest guerrilla organization. This has a huge importance for the present and the future of Colombia,” said at the signature ceremony Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

This coming November 19 will mark four years since the start of the talks between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP in Havana. These talks had the difficult and ambitious task of bringing together two sides that have been in combat for over half a century.

Hardly anyone of good will doubted then that Cuba was the ideal setting for the meeting, given Havana’s well-earned diplomatic prestige as well as considering its history of courageous respect for the parties in dispute for the sake of solving several serious conflicts. This behavior led Pope Francisco to predict that Cuba could become the capital of world unity.

At the signing ceremony for the agreements, President Santos recalled that there are still important issues to agree on so that the final agreement could be signed in Colombia as soon as possible.

There have been critics of the talks who, among other deceptions, have tried to show that the FARC sought, through this process, to make politics while holding on to weapons.

On this issue, Commander Timoleon Jimenez, the revolutionary leader heading the signing guerrilla delegation, , stressed: “Of course the FARC makes politics, that is our reason for being, but we will make it by legal and peaceful means, with the same rights and guarantees as other parties.”

Meanwhile, the Colombian government will have to guarantee that no Colombian is persecuted for their ideas or political practices, and that once the final agreement is signed, the military war machine and the antiquated security doctrine will disappear.

At the solemn ceremony of signing the agreements, the revolutionary chief called the Colombian armed forces – which massively grew in the course of the war and were trained in counterinsurgency and special operations– to henceforth play an important role in the interest of peace, reconciliation and the country’s actions for development. “They were our opponents, but in the future we will have to be allied forces for the good of Colombia”.

July 2, 2016.

COLOMBIA IN THE FINAL STAGE BEFORE PEACE

COLOMBIA IN THE FINAL STAGE BEFORE PEACE
By Manuel E. Yepe
http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/

Exclusive for daily Por Esto! Merida, Mexico.

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
http://walterlippmann.com/colombia-in-the-final-stage-before-peace/

In any conflict between two, it is logical that the conclusion should produce a winner and a loser. Only three forms of postwar peace have always existed: the one imposed by the victor, humiliating for the vanquished; Pyrrhic peace in which to reach victory the winner has suffered many or more losses than the defeated; and peace determined by the inability of either party to achieve success after extreme suffering for both sides. The latter is the one that seems closer to become a reality in Colombia.

All humanity has received with joy the promise of peace in Colombia that was sealed with the agreements on ceasefire, deposition of weapons, security guarantees and other aspects signed on June 23 in Havana by the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and Commander Timoleon Jimenez, Chief of Staff of the Colombian FARC-EP.

The senior leader of the guerrilla organization was adamant in his speech at the document signing ceremony saying that “neither the FARC nor the Colombian State are defeated forces and therefore the agreement cannot be understood by anyone as a result of any imposition of one party to the other.

“We have discussed at length and even got to alleys that seemed to be dead-ends. These could only be overcome thanks to the generous and effective intervention of the guarantor countries, Cuba and Norway, and the opportunities and wise formulas suggested by the creativity of the spokespersons of both parties and their diligent advisers,” Jimenez said.

The armed conflict has already surpassed in its duration – more than half a century– than any other of this nature in the world. The FARC, that on 27 May last reached 52 years of existence, constitutes the largest and most representative guerrilla resistance organization in Colombia. Therefore this approach to peace has the virtual
significance of an approach to the end of the war.

“It is true that there subsist other phenomena of violence and crime, as the ELN and criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking. But something we all need to understand is that this agreement reached with the FARC means ending the war with the largest and oldest guerrilla organization. This has a huge importance for the present and the future of Colombia,” said at the signature ceremony Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

This coming November 19 will mark four years since the start of the talks between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP in Havana. These talks had the difficult and ambitious task of bringing together two sides that have been in combat for over half a century.

Hardly anyone of good will doubted then that Cuba was the ideal setting for the meeting, given Havana’s well-earned diplomatic prestige as well as considering its history of courageous respect for the parties in dispute for the sake of solving several serious conflicts. This behavior led Pope Francisco to predict that Cuba could become the capital of world unity.

At the signing ceremony for the agreements, President Santos recalled that there are still important issues to agree on so that the final agreement could be signed in Colombia as soon as possible.

There have been critics of the talks who, among other deceptions, have tried to show that the FARC sought, through this process, to make politics while holding on to weapons.

On this issue, Commander Timoleon Jimenez, the revolutionary leader heading the signing guerrilla delegation, , stressed: “Of course the FARC makes politics, that is our reason for being, but we will make it by legal and peaceful means, with the same rights and guarantees as other parties.”

Meanwhile, the Colombian government will have to guarantee that no Colombian is persecuted for their ideas or political practices, and that once the final agreement is signed, the military war machine and the antiquated security doctrine will disappear.

At the solemn ceremony of signing the agreements, the revolutionary chief called the Colombian armed forces – which massively grew in the course of the war and were trained in counterinsurgency and special operations– to henceforth play an important role in the interest of peace, reconciliation and the country’s actions for development. “They were our opponents, but in the future we will have to be allied forces for the good of Colombia”.

July 2, 2016.

Manuel E. Yepe. BREXIT COMES TO THE CARIBBEAN By Manuel E. Yepe http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/ A CubaNews tran slation. Edited by Walter Lippmann. “Brexit” has been defined by many as “a real political earthquake with nationa l and international implications”. It seemed a difficult fight for the separatists, because higher English leaders – headed by their Prime Minister David Cameron– led the opposition to this demand promoted by the most conservative poli ticians. The British political leadership was defeated and, with them, all of Europe, their allies and even the presiden t of the United States, Barack Obama, who saw his position of maintaining within the European Union (EU) his most loyal and powerful ally in all main issues for the US power defeated. The result of Brexit referendum, which has affected all the world in various ways, has the countries of the Caribbean region in anxious expectation, torn between forecasts and preparations, because of the ties –both hist

BREXIT COMES TO THE CARIBBEAN
By Manuel E. Yepe
http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

“Brexit” has been defined by many as “a real political earthquake with national and international implications”.

It seemed a difficult fight for the separatists, because higher English leaders –headed by their Prime Minister David Cameron– led the opposition to this demand promoted by the most conservative
politicians.

The British political leadership was defeated and, with them, all of Europe, their allies and even the president of the United States, Barack Obama, who saw his position of maintaining within the European Union (EU) his most loyal and powerful ally in all main issues for the US power defeated.

The result of Brexit referendum, which has affected all the world in various ways, has the countries of the Caribbean region in anxious expectation, torn between forecasts and preparations, because of the ties –both historical and current– that link them to the United Kingdom.

“No need to panic. Every effort will be made to ensure the UK market,” Jamaican Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, told the media; but acknowledged that the decision of the British electorate “is of importance to us in Caribbean tourism for a number of reasons, perhaps most importantly the fact that it will have an impact on arrivals of travelers and tourism throughout the region.”

As reported by the Italian digital magazine Travel Trade Caribbean (TTC) which specializes in Caribbean region tourism, “Bartlett recalled that the Caribbean is highly dependent on British visitors”. Therefore “it is important to consider the decision’s implications.”

“Brexit creates a trade nightmare for the Caribbean,” said a headline in the Bahama Tribune newspaper. It estimated that independent English-speaking countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will have, at most, two years to formulate a plan to address the serious consequences of the British departure from the EU”.

“Once Britain finally leaves the European Union, the twelve Caribbean countries will lose the commercial relationship structured through trade with the British market.”

“When Britain joined the then European Economic Community in 1973, control of trade agreements were transferred to the Community. Since then, formal trade, aid and investment among the twelve Caribbean countries has gone through the EU. These relations were formalized successively at the Lomé Convention, the Cotonou Agreement and the Economic Agreement Partnership (EPA),” the newspaper added.

According to TTC, experts in the region believe that Brexit could push more Caribbean states toward Washington in search of more security in sensitive financial and economic areas which might be safer than those offered by their traditional British links.

The Caribbean region certainly has strong historical and cultural ties with Britain. Considering this, the rector of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Sir Hilary Beckles, warned the region in a message that “they must prepare for the impact of the UK’s break with the European Union” because “all aspects of life in the Caribbean will be negatively affected.”

Sir Hilary, in his statement, released by the official website of CARICOM said that the fragile economic recovery in the region is “threatened with death”, and that the exit of Britain could lead to immediate regional strategic reactions, even before the heads of government meet in Guyana this July.

“Brexit is a long-term threat to the performance of CARICOM
economies,” he said. He also predicted that “the commercial relations, immigration, tourism, financial relations, cultural commitments and foreign policy of the Caribbean will have a major redefinition, due to the reorganization of the CARICOM-United Kingdom commitments,” the expert added.

He urged the region to strengthen its internal policies and relations with the rest of the world.

Brexit has also had a strong impact on Puerto Rico –a Caribbean island which, like Cuba and the Philippines, was booty of the opportunistic war launched by the US against Spain at the end of the nineteenth century. Puerto Rico remains under Washington’s domination, despite the power of strong national feelings –often conflicting– on their shared situation. Most maintain a passionate love for their country, an obvious resentment against Washington, and a hurtful appreciation of the benefits that US citizenship can bring.

There, angry shouts have been heard clamoring for a “Prexit” for their country; that is, the exit of Puerto Rico from the United States.

July 5, 2016.

Stubborn Capitalism Won’t Leave Cuba Alone

Stubborn Capitalism Won’t Leave Cuba Alone

By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

When someone talks to Cubans today about the benefits of capitalism and plans are drawn to aid them in the transition to that
socio-economic order, they are assuming Cuban citizens suffer from a historical amnesia against which they are vaccinated.

At the birth of the twentieth century, Cuba began a direct transition from its colonial condition to a neo-colonial situation in which all consciousness-forming factors –including education, the media and entertainment– pointed to the model of a capitalist nation with the US consumer society as a paradigm.

Deeply divided internally –on the basis of race, gender, income, political parties and other factors– everything took shape according to the dominating interests of the powerful neighbor.

Governments were elected following nominations by political parties representing different sectors of the bourgeoisie, almost all depending on their ties with the United States.

Cuba’s elections were tragi-comic spectacles, initiated with promises and advertisements escalating to blackmail, bribery, scams, fraud and embezzlement. These were occasionally interrupted by cycles of violence that could include US interventions, coups d’état and repression with torture and murders. There would be the corresponding responses of rebellion; until the start of a new cycle… similar to the one before.

The recent restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba ended a fierce asymmetric war between two neighboring countries, with a clear victory by resistance of the Caribbean nation. Cuba had endured the violent hostility of the only global superpower for over half a century: the richest and technologically most developed country of the present. The US was determined to reverse the course of Cuba’s history of revolutionary struggles for national independence which had begun in 1868 and peaked in 1959.

Cuban historian and sociologist Fernando Martinez Heredia, in a recent work on the 55th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution, explained:

“At the onset of the second great revolutionary wave of the twentieth century –whose center was in the Third World but which included a cycle of large protests in many countries of the so-called developed world– Capitalism, to go on the offensive and reverse the situation, appealed to such manipulations as weakening the institutions and coordination initiatives that could serve the Third World. It waged “low intensity wars”; increasing conservative practices and political rhetoric, waving flags such as that of human rights, and launching campaigns such as the supposed struggle against drug trafficking and corruption … “.

The powerful US media machine has tried to hijack such words as “democracy” and “freedom“, which expressed the objectives of their struggles, from the peoples fighting for their second and true independence in Latin America. The US media put these words precisely into service to interests more in conflict with the semantic and true value of these terms.

“Cuba is entering a stage in which the great dilemma is to develop socialism or return to capitalism,” says Martinez Heredia. “What is being waged is not a cultural struggle between neo-liberalism and state economy. It is between a socialism, that will have to transform itself and become even more socialist or perish, and a capitalism that has opted to accumulate more and more social force by conquering society through make-believe and by getting Cubans get used to capitalist deeds, relationships and social consciousness.”

“Capitalism continues to exist, and not passively. It is always attacking –sharply or chronically. It will attack mainly by entering, returning, reliving, soaking, infecting the institutions, groups and individuals who want the new and socialist.”

In the battle between these two ways of living, that of capitalism has been receiving many reinforcements in recent times. Its main battlefield is in everyday life: social relationships, the growth and expansion of private businesses and their constellations of economic and social relations, ideas and feelings.

“The current US strategy toward Cuba will deploy a good number of soft and intelligent resources as modern “fool-catchers” in the 21st Century war. They will attempt to erase all of Cuba’s greatness and reduce the country to the nostalgia for “the good old days” before the rule of rabble and the Castros.”‘

“This is the enemy that Cubans now have to fight. An enemy that is trying to seduce Cuba to regain the control it had on the island. It will attempt to do this by means of a cultural war after the resounding failure of the genocidal blockade it still clings to,” says Fernando Martinez Heredia.

June 3, 2016.

CONTRADICTORY VISIONS OF SMALL BUSINESS IN CUBA

CONTRADICTORY VISIONS OF SMALL BUSINESS IN CUBA
by Manuel E. Yepe

A cubanews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

The US economy is characterized by the absolute rule of corporations and the relatively low importance of small and medium-sized
enterprises in its economic system. Large companies systematically absorb those small and medium-sized ones that are most successful. Those who don’t resist the overwhelming competition from
mega-corporations are driven into bankruptcy. These are development laws of monopoly capitalism.

It would seem that large corporations and small firms are the two poles of an inevitable contradiction of capitalist development.

That’s why it is so puzzling that, after the agreements between the Cuban and US governments to work together for the “normalization” of relations based on mutual respect of the sovereignty of each partiy, that the United States devotes so many efforts to presenting itself as a benevolent promoter of small private companies on the island.

This is easily seen in a number of actions, among them “spontaneous” offers of business management training that new small business owners in Cuba are receiving. Presumably, all the new small and medium-sized enterprises that have arisen comply with recent Cuban legislation. Its purpose is expand self-employment as a way to avoid over-employment in state-owned economic entities. These naturally comply with the requirements of Cuban laws for domestic investment. Cuban citizens are often surprised when they learn the identity of the owners of these companies.

According to Susan Crabtree of The Washington Examiner, in recent days, the White House convened a secret meeting organized by the Business Forward NGO group. It includes some of the most powerful US corporations, to discuss links with Cuba.

“As part of the ongoing engagement with the business community about the president’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, on Wednesday May 25, the White House will host a meeting of small- and medium-sized business leaders from around the country for a briefing on the administration’s Cuba policy,” the official told the Examiner.

It would seem strange that, departing from the classic neo-liberal principles of capitalism, the US central power intervened in issues so commonplace, typical of early capitalism.

Currently, most US citizens entering Cuba are not identified with a rejection of the policies of isolation and hostility towards the island, as had been the case previously. The latest are people who have been subjected to the process of global indoctrination promoted by the large corporations. Among other things, they strive to control the mass media, the means of communication, education, entertainment and others that serve to mold the thinking promoted by the elite of US imperial power.

They are, therefore, imbued with prejudices embedded in their consciousness for over half a century by the hostile regime-change policy and which conflates capitalism with democracy, which is almost its polar opposite.

Consciously or unconsciously, they pass along the goal of dividing Cuban civil society from the socialist state, with expectations –more or less obvious– that the United States might exert its control and influence on Cuba.

These efforts have been present in the “Programs for Transition to Democracy in Cuba” which were formulated since 2003 during the administrations of George W. Bush from 2004 to 2006, based on similar proposals from such US academic bodies as the Brookings Institution.

Spreading delusions and fantasies of the “American Dream”, these activities try to foster the desire to become rich at all costs among newly self-employed Cubans, disregarding the new economic model of their country and its socialist authorities. If successful, they would eventually be totally defenseless against the appetites of
international capitalism.

Just as Cuba respects the capitalist structure that governs the United States with the pre-eminence of corporations and their methods to relate, the superpower should recognize the validity of the Cuban socialist system and the central role of the state which uses the market only as a tool to fulfill its eminently social role.

May 27, 2016.

REVOLUTION IS THE MOTHER OF CHANGE

REVOLUTION IS THE MOTHER OF CHANGE

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

Louis A. Pérez Jr., historian and professor from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the United States, is the author of a number of important books about Cuban national identity. He has published an interesting essay that delves into the meaning of the present links between Cuba and the United States. The title may confuse many about its content: Visit Cuba before it changes!

“There has been something of an implacable tenacity with which the United States has pursued change in Cuba, a single-minded resolve over the course of 55 years: one armed invasion, scores of assassination plots, years of covert operations, and decades of punitive economic sanctions. An embargo –“harsher than toward any other country in the world,” as Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson acknowledged in 2015– designed with malice aforethought: to inflict adversity upon the Cuban people, to deepen Cuban discontent through economic privation, in the hope that such hardship would act to bestir the Cuban people to rise up and, in one fell swoop, bring about the overthrow of the Cuban government.”

This is how Professor Perez summarizes the tragic history of aggression and humiliation endured by the Cuban people because of their firm decision to carry out their project of independence and socialist change.

When the Cuban revolution had barely begun (although it had already produced impressive and universally-applauded popular benefits such as land reform and literacy throughout its people), Washington declared that tourism to Cuba was contrary to the foreign policy and national interests of the United States. Travel to Cuba was thus forbidden by law for all US citizens as part of a cruel policy of hostility.

It is known –because surveys indicate is– that most US citizens wanted and still want friendly relations with Cuba despite the poison that the US mass media has been injecting for more than half a century.

Regrettably, not all Americans base their thinking on the fact that these policies violate basic principles of international law and basic norms of human coexistence. There are many people who only see the issue from the point of view of what befits the corporations that, as a result of many years of media manipulation, are considered the reason and symbol of the US nation.

The merit of the Obama administration has been in recognizing the failure of the policy pursued by their country for more than half a century. The United States had insisted on political change in Cuba as a precondition for the establishment of normal diplomatic relations.

Near the end of his term, Obama turned this policy on its head, proposed normal diplomatic relations as an initial step; revitalized the system of selective authorization for “people-to-people” travel; modified regulations; softened controls and relaxed restrictions in order to expand the categories of authorized travel to Cuba. He declared himself powerless against the blockade, but urged Congress to lift it.

“Through engagement we have a better chance of bringing about change than we would have otherwise,” said President Obama to justify the modification of his policy towards Cuba. “US presence in Cuba would serve to spread among the Cuban people the values of the United States.”

Cuba accepted the challenge posed by Washington’s “people-to-people” policy because, despite its stated intention that the visitors would promote “democracy” (the term Washington uses to mean the capitalist system) among Cubans, the Cubans took that purpose as an opportunity to show visitors that the defamatory campaign, that US corporate media have been waging at global scale against Cuba for more than half a century, was false.

The distance between the manipulations of the campaign and the truth is so great that from the first minute of contact with Cuban reality, US visitors –as a rule– are open to understanding the reasons that led to the historic popular achievement that is the Cuban revolution. At the same time, they see the senselessness of U.S. government’s policy of hostility against the small island nation.

Lies crashing against evidence eventually awakened a strong current of attraction to the Cuban revolution’s process of independence and social justice.

It seems that the new US policy against Cuba is to increase contacts with the Cuban people, support what Washington means by civil society in Cuba, and so to disrupt the interaction between Cubans and their local authorities. All this is based on obvious neo-liberal goals of dividing the people from the state and encouraging the development of a capitalist class on the island.

Cuba, meanwhile, will continue in its revolutionary determination to change what needs to be changed, seizing opportunities, but avoiding traps. Revolution is the mother of change!

May 14, 2016.