WASHINGTON SUFFERS A CREDIBILITY CRISIS

WASHINGTON SUFFERS A CREDIBILITY CRISIS
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Objectively, the credibility of the US government, with either party at the forefront, has always been in question because its foreign policy pronouncements on peace, freedom, democracy and human rights systematically contradict or contrast with its actions.
These days, the Associated Press (AP), a U.S. news agency, lamented in a commentary by its journalists that the conflictive and misleading daily statements of its President, Donald Trump, and the most important members of its team of senior advisors fuel new doubts about the credibility of the White House.
“Some Republican congressmen even wonder if they have a partner in the president of the nation with whom to negotiate in good faith and how much the president’s word is worth.
An AP paper says the former assistant Republican leader in Congress has told the agency that negotiating with White House officials has become impossible for Republicans, given the president’s propensity to undermine the public and private guarantees of his own team. White House officials have been seen in the unusual position of urging legislators to downplay some of the President’s statements.
“Recently, in one of his usual morning tweets, Trump threatened to veto a massive budget bill after the White House itself had assured legislators that the president would sign it.
The White House officials privately insisted, according to the AP journalist, that the president was venting his feelings after hearing reports that the agreement presented a defeat of several of his priorities.
Although, after hours of uncertainty, Trump signed the legislation into law, this situation disturbed some Republicans. “The lack of control over Trump’s outbursts is a concern on both sides of the House,” said a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania who has sometimes been critical of the leader. “The disorder, chaos, instability, uncertainty and excessive statements are not the virtues of conservatives,” he said.
Members of both parties have expressed concern that the President seems oblivious to the way in which, by assuming certain positions and then relinquishing them without modesty, he undermines his own influence and agenda.
Trump’s hesitancy with the budget bill was just one in a series of recent incidents that put the credibility of the White House’s words in the spotlight. Earlier this month, during a private fundraising event, Trump boasted of inventing trade data in a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In recent days, Trump and his team have strongly denied the possible dismissal of General Herbert R. McMaster as National Security Advisor, as well as likely changes in the legal team dealing with Trump’s role in the special prosecutor’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election and constitute an
obstruction of justice. Beyond public statements, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had privately assured his staff that there would be no restructuring.
But by the end of the week, McMaster had been separated and the legal team seemed to be looking for his replacement.
Trump’s problems with the truth are not new, the AP commentary says, often altering the facts, from the number of people who came to his inauguration to the scope of the tax reform he signed last year. And just as he did in boasting of his lie to Trudeau, the president rarely seems ashamed to repeat claims that have proven to be false. Polls show that Americans do not believe Trump is truthful, and in a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac, 57% of respondents said the president is dishonest. The leader’s supporters say he was elected despite similar polls during his campaign.
Such a bias often puts his advisors in the uncomfortable position of issuing strong public statements that the President immediately denies. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly denied reports of McMaster’s departure in the days leading up to Trump’s announcement that he had a new National Security Advisor.
Peter Wehner, a conservative think tank who worked in the governments of President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush said, “Trump has no one to blame but himself. He doesn’t even know his own position.
April 2, 2018.

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RAPACIOUS ENTITIES INHABIT THE WHITE HOUSE

RAPACIOUS ENTITIES INHABIT THE WHITE HOUSE
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.

Donald Trump seems to have completed his team of “all-star” hawks that reaffirms the harshness of his power at the head of the only great power on the planet.
John Bolton, a United Nations critic, and advocate of the war against Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, will be, as of April 9, National Security Advisor. As Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, Bolton was the spokesperson for Bush’s justification for invading Iraq, citing the falsely-alleged possession by its President, Saddam Hussein, of chemical and biological weapons that never appeared, nor did they exist.
Mike Pompeo, whom Trump presented as the most loyal member of his cabinet, has been appointed head of diplomacy in Washington, is a follower of the Tea Party’s ultraconservative philosophy. His political career has been financed by the reactionary brothers Charles and David Koch, one of the most influential extreme right-wing power groups in the United States.
With the backing of the Koch brothers, Pompeo was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 until Trump appointed him CIA director. In that capacity, he raised fears of a return to the practice of assassinating foreign leaders when he invoked the possible
assassination of North Korean communist leader Kim Jong-un.
Pompeo has been in favor of “regime change” in North Korea and of sabotaging the nuclear agreements with Iran.
The Bolton-Pompeo duo will be joined by UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, always remembered for her despotic threat of retaliation against countries whose diplomatic representatives voted against Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Common to all of Trump’s newly-appointed diplomatic leaders is his interventionist and “Monroeist” stance on Latin America and his affinity with Republican Senator Marco Rubio. The latter is a controversial figure who stands out for his aggressive stance toward Cuba, a country he has never visited, and who is described by the media as an opportunistic Cuban-American.
In recent days, Ambassador Nikki Halley convened a meeting at Florida International University with anti-Cuban members of Congress Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Marco Rubio, Carlos Curbelo and Mario Díaz-Balart to discuss “how democracy can be strengthened in Latin America and especially in Venezuela and Cuba,” although, according to Senator Marco Rubio, the current state of U.S. business was also discussed. Rubio has rejoiced in the appointment of the new White House counselor: “I know John Bolton well, he is an excellent choice and he is going to do a great job as a national security adviser,” Rubio wrote on his Twitter account.
In return for the favors that Trump apparently owes him, Senator Rubio has increased his ascendancy in current U.S. foreign policy by appointing former U.S. Ambassador to the OAS Carlos Trujillo, a budding political figure in the Florida State House, akin to the senator.
Keep in mind that the new Secretary of State, Pompeo, has been one of the main supporters Marco Rubio has had in putting together the sinister story of the sonic attacks on accredited officials at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The design and development of this plan are attributed, by some observers, to CIA plans aimed at hindering and eventually interrupting the process of rapprochement with Cuba initiated by the Barack Obama administration. At the same time, this would place the ambitious Senator Rubio under presidential luminaries who would point to him as a likely Republican party candidate to succeed Donald Trump in the 2020 elections.
Mike Pompeo, now named head of the State Department to replace Rex Tillerson, was considered a hard-line Republican congressman before Trump named him director of the CIA. He is credited with playing an important role as a mediator between the agency and its commander in chief, who has not hesitated to compare the US intelligence services with those of the Nazis.
Hours before Trump announced that he would meet with the North Korean leader, Pompeo was seen in the Oval Office with the President during a White House meeting with a South Korean delegation.
Pompeo had previously played an important role in the investigation into Russia’s alleged attempts to influence last year’s US elections. March 29, 2018.

DEMOCRACY IN CUBA AND IN THE UNITED STATES

DEMOCRACY IN CUBA AND IN THE UNITED STATES
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Democracy and freedom are two categories very much manipulated by the elite that governs the United States. It has installed them in the minds of most of its citizens as qualifiers of the model of the capitalist system that governs that North American nation, allegedly assigned by a manifest destiny to be spread throughout the world. The “merit” of its ideologues for having managed to control the psyche of its inhabitants is even greater if one notices that they are two categories – democracy and freedom – that in today’s U. S. society have acquired diametrically opposed characteristics to those that semantically correspond to them.
There are other concepts commonly manipulated by the ruling elite in the world superpower. These include human rights and governance, which they systematically use, relying on their immense resources and the possibilities given to them by the control of the media they exercise on a global scale.
It is, for example, insultingly ironic and misleading that the United States uses the economic blockade as a coercive measure against many nations. In the case of Cuba, it has seen all the rights of its people violated for more than half a century. Nevertheless, the US boasts to world public opinion that they are the main defenders of the human rights of peoples. To pretend to act, at the same time, as prosecutor and judge, in cases of violations that it only detects in governments that do not bend l./to Washington’s will and convenience is the height of cynicism.
The practice of presenting itself as a model for the world is intended to challenge and control the management of the internal affairs of the countries that are subject to them. They always link the
characteristics of such submission to their responses to requests for financial assistance, technology transfer or support in political conflicts with third countries. It should be noted that, when the Cuban revolution came to power in 1959, the struggle that unified the Cuban people for self-determination was, first and foremost, the struggle for human rights and justice, aspirations that had the Washington authorities as their main opponent.
Cuba is probably the only country in the world where no single prisoner has ever been tortured since 1959, where no extrajudicial executions have ever taken place in this period and where no police forces have ever used jets of water, battering or other humiliating forms of repression against demonstrators. Cuba is currently the only country in Latin America where, in the last 58 years, there have been no paramilitary forces or death squads, no killings, no disappearances or torture of prisoners, and no violence against the people. In Cuba, since 1959, (with the exception of the U. S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay), no prisoner has ever been killed, tortured, sexually raped, taken abroad to be remotely tortured, locked up without trial or simply “disappeared”, in the style of the brutal Latin American dictatorships sponsored by Washington during the shameful Plan Condor. In Cuba, since 1959, only in the naval base that Washington has illegally maintained next to Guantánamo Bay, could one find civilian and military leaders who promote or permit physical torture or other equivalent forms of humiliation against detainees.
Such shameful practices were introduced in Latin America by the U. S. Defense Department’s School of the Americas. Officers are trained there for the armed forces of the countries controlled by the superpower.
Methods of breaking prisoners include: sensory deprivation, isolation, sleep denial, forced nudism, fear inspired by trained animals, acts of sexual or cultural humiliation, simulated execution and threats of violence or death against detainees or their loved ones, among other inhumane practices. These were spread through the barracks and military and police stations of the continent on the advice of counselors and instructors from the United States.
In Cuba, there are no political prisoners, if by that we mean people imprisoned for propagating or professing political ideas against the government.
Anyone who doubts about where democracy works and where it is pure fiction should compare, objectively and comprehensively, Cuba’s electoral system – where the people are the ones who postulate, elect and control their leaders without intermediaries – with the one that led Mr. Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States. Or, without going any further, with the recent elections in Colombia applauded by Washington.
March 13, 2018.

MUCH MORE THAN A STRUGGLE OVER A BRAND OF RUM

MUCH MORE THAN A STRUGGLE OVER A BRAND OF RUM
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.

The arguments that have been taking place for years between the French corporation Pernod Ricard and the U.S.-based Bacardi Company since shortly after the triumph of the revolution in Cuba are rooted in political realities that far outstrip the apparent battle for the Bacardi and Havana Club rum brands that have lasted for more than half a century.
The controversy derives from the fact that the Cuban popular victory of 1959, which led to the revolution in power on the island, was followed by, among other popular demands, the inescapable commitments made by the rebels to the people. These included agrarian reform, the literacy campaign, the urban reform, the nationalization of public energy, water, and communications services, and the large industries. The government of the revolution set out to agree mutually
satisfactory compensatory solutions with those affected and succeeded in almost all cases.
The then-owners of the Bacardi rum company skillfully managed to register the firm in Bermuda and prepared to resist nationalization. They took the documents and individuals of some of the company’s directors from Cuba. But they were unable to extract the talent and the century-old expertise and inventiveness of the humble teachers and other workers who have made the product of their efforts famous. Neither do the characteristics of water, climate, and other
irreplaceable elements.
Then there followed an extensive period of legal disputes in which shipments of the original Bacardi rum from Cuba were systematically confiscated for claims that the counterfeiters were making progress, often through bribes and always supported by pressure from Washington. Finally, the Court in The Hague ruled that the Bacardi firm should retain the right to the Bacardi brand and the bat symbol, but did not admit that the origin of the product was identified as having been made in Cuba since the previous trade name was ‘Bacardi de Cuba’. Faced with this situation, the real Cuban producers invited the prestigious French liquor company, Pernod Ricard, to form an association to produce in Cuba and distribute its proven rum throughout the world under the name Havana Club. It’s trademark was registered until 1964 in the United States Patent Office by its previous owner, José Arrechabala, who, following the nationalization of its factory, had renounced the trademark and declined to renew it. The Arechabala family had founded the distillery in the city of Cárdenas in 1878, and in 1934 sold rum under the name Havana Club in the United States, apparently in contravention of the “prohibition” or “dry law” laws then in force there.
With the acquisition of the “Havana Club” brand by the Pernod Ricard/Cuba Ron consortium and the support of an intensive advertising campaign, sales grew significantly in more than 100 countries. Due to the laws of the imperialist blockade of Cuba, the United States remained the only country in the world where Cuban rum could not be sold.
Alarmed by this situation, the Bacardi organization, which in its relationship with Cuba has always been more oriented towards political reprisals than business, opted to prolong the legal battle by focusing on the use of the Havana Club trademark. To that end, Bacardi tried to present itself as a legitimate purchaser of the rights to the Arechabala family’s trademark. “After the Cuban regime confiscated the Arechabala brand without mercy and by force, Ramón Arechabala personally transcribed the recipe and gave it to Bacardi as an agreement between the two families, both exiled from their homeland,” was his desperate and foolish argument.
In 1999, using its political ties in Washington, Bacardi managed to get Congress to approve the so-called Section 211, which allowed it to market under the brand name “Havana Club” in the USA. This ad hoc legislation was condemned by the World Trade Organisation but has allowed Bacardi to sell a fake ‘Havana Club’ made in Puerto Rico in the United States.
The book “Ron Bacardi: The Hidden War” and the documentary “The Secret of the Bat” show the relationship of the Bacardi company with the ultra-right-wing and Cuban-American mafia in Miami. They also reveal the participation of its team of lawyers in the drafting of the Helms-Burton Act. This law, in 1996, codified all the provisions that had formed the economic blockade of Cuba since 1959 into a single legal instrument so that not even a new US President could abrogate the genocidal siege without the approval of Congress (as happened to Barack Obama).
March 23, 2018.

SUPPORTERS AND OPPONENTS OF PEACE IN KOREA

SUPPORTERS AND OPPONENTS OF PEACE IN KOREA
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.

According to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the surprise announcement of a summit in May between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to address the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula marks a “historic milestone” on the road to peace in the region.
Through a presidential spokesperson, Moon declared this through the South Korean delegation that traveled to Washington after the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang and after the U.S. president agreed to hold the meeting proposed by Kim.
The German and Japanese governments described the event as “a success story of international pressure,” but were cautious in describing the likely consequences of such a meeting.
For their part, China and Russia, both powers with veto power in the UN Security Council, reasoned that this is “a step in the right direction”, after advocating a diplomatic solution to the conflict throughout last year. This was in open contradiction to Washington’s position, which led to the imposing of sanctions against North Korea and even to agitation for the military option.
Beijing, Pyongyang’s main ally in the region, said through a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry that the proposed major meeting is a way out of the conflict by means of a “double
suspension”, in which Seoul and Washington would have to stop their military maneuvers in exchange for North Korea stopping its nuclear tests.
It is no secret to anyone that South Korea is full of people, including leaders, who object to their country’s neocolonial relationship with the United States. Many people even admire, although they do not applaud, the North Korea’s extreme defense of national sovereignty in the context of its tense relations with the US superpower. They deplore the contrasting situation of the virtual occupation of South Korea.
The invitation extended by the President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to a dialogue would be the first meeting in history between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. It includes the offer to suspend the testing of weapons and the discussion of issues related to the North Korean nuclear program.
With Trump’s acceptance, the inter-Korean thaw of the Winter Olympics, the announcement of the summit in April, and now the dialogue at the highest level is now closed. This is in stark contrast with the climax of the escalation that until last year confronted Kim and Trump. It raised tensions in the region and the world following Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests that led to heavy UN Security Council sanctions on Washington’s initiative.
It is clear that if Kim’s meeting with Trump is held in May after the inter-Korean summit, humanity will have taken a significant step towards a serious and complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Many factors and people who have contributed to this goal must be recognized, including the role played by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who will be in power for a year in May. He has made efforts to bring the country closer to its northern neighbor ever since he took office. South Korea is practically a gigantic US military base. Washington has no less than 30,000 troops of its own in an extremely tense relationship with North Korea. Using its status as the world’s only superpower, the United States systematically threatens the DPRK with all kinds of international sanctions.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the South Korean leader, perhaps the main driving force behind the rapprochement between Washington and Pyongyang, invited Trump to support the effort. He predicted that “he [Trump] will receive praise from the people, not only from the two Koreas but also from those who want peace throughout the world for accepting Kim Jong-un’s invitation,” according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap
What did not fit in well with the peace-friendly environment on the Korean peninsula was the announcement by the South Korean Ministry of Defense that the United States and South Korea will conduct new military exercises on April 1.
However, anyone who objectively analyzes developments on the Korean peninsula in the light of history’s lessons will have to recognize that the unshakable firmness of its principles with which the Korean communists have defended the independence of this Asian nation as the only way to curb the unbridled appetites of U.S. imperialism today. March 26, 2018.

Manuel E. Yepe. SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY IN PRACTICE

SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY IN PRACTICE
By Manuel E. Yepe
https://englishmanuelyepe.wordpress.com/

Cubans are going to the polls on Sunday, March 11th to elect members of the Provincial Assemblies of People’s Power and deputies to the National Assembly of Cuba.
From this democratic exercise will emerge the new Cuban parliament and its superior body, the new Council of State, which in turn will elect the new president of the Republic of Cuba, the successor to General Raúl Castro Ruz who has been in charge of the government of the nation since 2008.
Raúl initially occupied the position by a statutory substitution, as President Fidel Castro Ruz became ill and it was incumbent upon him to replace him in accordance with his duties as First Vice-President. During the two consecutive presidential terms that followed, he was elected by the will of the citizens expressed at the ballot box, President of the State Councils and Ministers.
But this time Raul has announced his decision not to run for re-election. Raúl Castro has been, since the beginning of the armed struggle against Batista’s tyranny, the second figure in the leadership of the revolution. His performance at the head of the government has earned him an increase in the prestige he already had for his performance at the head of the country’s Defense Ministry.
No one questions his authority and the enormous popularity among the people that would enable him to continue in the presidential office in a new period. But Raul Castro himself has advocated the need to work for the renewal of the leaders of the revolution and the government, which, in the eyes of the people, has made it necessary to abide by his decision not to continue in office in the payment of a debt of gratitude to his President.
For more than six decades, Cuba has been engaged in a permanent war of resistance with the American superpower, in which an extraordinary trust of the island’s population in its historical leaders has been forged.
Neither Raul nor any other figure of great revolutionary authority in the population has indicated his preference for any individual for the highest state office, abiding by principles that the historical leadership of the revolution has defended and practiced of preferring the progressive renewal of leaders and cadres from the roots. The design of the Cuban electoral system was based on contributions from constitutional lawyers and other specialists committed to the independence and respect for the will of the Cuban people. It is not a copy of other systems, although it is based on the results of the analysis of texts prepared by the founding independentistas of the Cuban nation. It’s also based on a study by Cuban experts of electoral systems of many countries in Latin America and other nations of the world. All this was systematically enriched by the practice of a population with an incomparably higher level of education and culture than before the revolutionary triumph of 1959.
In Cuba there exists, by constitutional requirement, a single party that, however, is not an electoral party nor does it participate at all in the electoral processes. Rather, it acts as the binding authority of all the people in order to defend the independence of the nation and prevent its absorption by the neighboring imperialist superpower. This is a latent danger since Cuba ceased to be a Spanish colony after bloody liberating wars from 1868 to the ending of the 19th century, based on many heroes and great sacrifices.
Election advertising is prohibited on the island today. Neighbors of the communities elect their delegates from among themselves, who are members of the municipal assemblies, an exercise that is the essential basis of the system’s total democracy.
In the municipal assemblies made up of delegates from the base, candidates are elected to be members of the provincial assemblies and deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power.
The latter elects the Council of State, composed of some twenty members who elect its President, the Head of State, who is also the head of the Government.
All elected representatives, from the base delegates to the President of the Republic, are required to report on their performance several times during the year to those who elected them.
The initial inspiration has been Greek democratic assemblies. However, unlike those, from which slaves were excluded, the voters are men and women; white, black and of mixed race; civil and military: the whole range of Cuban society. There are no limits other than those that restrict the rights of some whose legal sanction by the corresponding judicial authorities determines so.
The system is still perfectible. But its statutes require that any modification must always be aimed at bringing the country’s political leadership closer to the people, bearing in mind the essential fact that the hegemonic power in Cuba is always and only in the hands of the Cuban people.
March 8, 2018

THE ARMS RACE IS AT ITS PEAK

THE ARMS RACE IS AT ITS PEAK
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.

If we could return in time, Vladimir Putin would try to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. That is what the President of Russia said at a forum in Kaliningrad last week, in response to a question from the public about what historic event in that country he would have wanted to prevent. In 2005, Putin had said in his annual speech on the country’s situation that the Soviet collapse had been “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
At the Kaliningrad forum Putin announced that Russian scientists had developed novel weapon systems thanks to the achievement of new materials that no other country possesses. “Others have tried, but as far as we know, they haven’t succeeded.”
The Russian leader explained that the unmanned submarine armed with nuclear missiles achieved by his country reaches a combat power 200 times greater than that of other current submarines and is faster than many surface ships.
He also described as “science fiction” the carrier system of intercontinental Avangard missiles that, according to the Russian leader, “flies like a meteorite while the temperature at its surface reaches 2,000 degrees, deviates up and down, right-left and everything works properly.
Putin reported that Russia has several systems capable of
circumventing the U. S. missile shield and can cope with any attack from outside. It brought to light weapons that had hitherto been kept secret, such as a heavy intercontinental missile and a hypersonic cruise missile, submarine drones armed with nuclear rockets and laser weapons.
“Before we had the new weapons systems, no one would listen to us. Listen to us now!”, exclaimed Putin during his fiery speech on the state of the nation before both houses of the Russian Parliament. The leader of the Kremlin said that “for now no one in the world has anything like it” and warned that, by the time they have it, the Russians “will invent something else”.
The rivalry between great powers to develop their armed forces and make them more effective as a strategic interaction mechanism for the elevation of their own military’s morale and the weakening of the adversary’s, began to develop in recent times since Washington, foreseeing the end of the Second World War with the defeat of Germany and the triumph of several allies extremely battered by the effects of the war, designed a policy in that direction with the objective Russia, which had carried the main burden of the struggle against Nazi Germany, was in a vast minority among the allied powers. Not only because of the material and economic destruction it suffered after its enormous military effort, but also because of the political and ideological affinity that linked the United States with the rest of the allies.
With the winner practically determined in World War II, and with only a few details to be agreed upon for the unconditional surrender of Japan, the United States exploded atomic bombs on two densely populated cities of the Asian nation with the obvious purpose of showing the world, with that monstrosity, its unique possession of the terrifying nuclear weapon.
From then on, Russia made every effort to achieve parity and the world became bipolar, marked by two major centers of power in Washington and Moscow. The arms race known as the Cold War was born.
Bipolarity changed into a U.S. monopoly with the dissolution of the USSR. Nevertheless, as a single great power, the United States has not been able to evade the paradoxes inherent in capitalism because of its essential ambitions of domination which require wars, inequalities, exploitation and misery to stay ahead of the imperialist pack. Putin has repeated many times that Russia will not be pushed into an arms race that will deplete its resources as was done to the Soviet Union when U. S. President Ronald Reagan launched the so-called “Star Wars”. But in recent years, Washington’s increased aggressiveness has caused the Kremlin to invest enormous resources in modernizing its nuclear triad: intercontinental missiles, atomic submarines and strategic aviation.
In Syria, by curbing the impunity with which the United States had been acting for a number of years, the Russian Army not only saved Bashar al-Assad´s rule, but demonstrated that “Russia has returned as a military superpower”.
Let’s hope it will be an arms race in which sensible minds are able to counter the serious threat that comes from one of the contenders being led by a maniac.
March 5, 2018.

THE ARMS RACE IS AT ITS PEAK

THE ARMS RACE IS AT ITS PEAK
By Manuel E. Yepe

Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.

If we could return in time, Vladimir Putin would try to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. That is what the President of Russia said at a forum in Kaliningrad last week, in response to a question from the public about what historic event in that country he would have wanted to prevent. In 2005, Putin had said in his annual speech on the country’s situation that the Soviet collapse had been “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
At the Kaliningrad forum Putin announced that Russian scientists had developed novel weapon systems thanks to the achievement of new materials that no other country possesses. “Others have tried, but as far as we know, they haven’t succeeded.”
The Russian leader explained that the unmanned submarine armed with nuclear missiles achieved by his country reaches a combat power 200 times greater than that of other current submarines and is faster than many surface ships.
He also described as “science fiction” the carrier system of intercontinental Avangard missiles that, according to the Russian leader, “flies like a meteorite while the temperature at its surface reaches 2,000 degrees, deviates up and down, right-left and everything works properly.
Putin reported that Russia has several systems capable of
circumventing the U. S. missile shield and can cope with any attack from outside. It brought to light weapons that had hitherto been kept secret, such as a heavy intercontinental missile and a hypersonic cruise missile, submarine drones armed with nuclear rockets and laser weapons.
“Before we had the new weapons systems, no one would listen to us. Listen to us now!”, exclaimed Putin during his fiery speech on the state of the nation before both houses of the Russian Parliament. The leader of the Kremlin said that “for now no one in the world has anything like it” and warned that, by the time they have it, the Russians “will invent something else”.
The rivalry between great powers to develop their armed forces and make them more effective as a strategic interaction mechanism for the elevation of their own military’s morale and the weakening of the adversary’s, began to develop in recent times since Washington, foreseeing the end of the Second World War with the defeat of Germany and the triumph of several allies extremely battered by the effects of the war, designed a policy in that direction with the objective Russia, which had carried the main burden of the struggle against Nazi Germany, was in a vast minority among the allied powers. Not only because of the material and economic destruction it suffered after its enormous military effort, but also because of the political and ideological affinity that linked the United States with the rest of the allies.
With the winner practically determined in World War II, and with only a few details to be agreed upon for the unconditional surrender of Japan, the United States exploded atomic bombs on two densely populated cities of the Asian nation with the obvious purpose of showing the world, with that monstrosity, its unique possession of the terrifying nuclear weapon.
From then on, Russia made every effort to achieve parity and the world became bipolar, marked by two major centers of power in Washington and Moscow. The arms race known as the Cold War was born.
Bipolarity changed into a U.S. monopoly with the dissolution of the USSR. Nevertheless, as a single great power, the United States has not been able to evade the paradoxes inherent in capitalism because of its essential ambitions of domination which require wars, inequalities, exploitation and misery to stay ahead of the imperialist pack. Putin has repeated many times that Russia will not be pushed into an arms race that will deplete its resources as was done to the Soviet Union when U. S. President Ronald Reagan launched the so-called “Star Wars”. But in recent years, Washington’s increased aggressiveness has caused the Kremlin to invest enormous resources in modernizing its nuclear triad: intercontinental missiles, atomic submarines and strategic aviation.
In Syria, by curbing the impunity with which the United States had been acting for a number of years, the Russian Army not only saved Bashar al-Assad´s rule, but demonstrated that “Russia has returned as a military superpower”.
Let’s hope it will be an arms race in which sensible minds are able to counter the serious threat that comes from one of the contenders being led by a maniac.
March 5, 2018.

IMAGE OF ISRAEL IN THE US PUBLIC IS CHANGING

IMAGE OF ISRAEL IN THE US PUBLIC IS CHANGING
By Manuel E. Yepe

Translated and edited by Walter Lippman

Everyone knows about Israel’s close relationship with the United States. It is enough to observe that in all the votes in the UN General Assembly, no matter how committed it is to Washington, Israel seconds the superpower no matter how far removed they both may be from the general consensus.
That’s what makes so interesting the phenomenon reflected in a report by Ramzy Baroud, a writer and journalist specializing in Middle Eastern issues, in a work published in the Palestine Chronicle entitled “The Boomerang Effect”.
Baroud points out that, despite the massive sums invested by Israel to maintain public opinion in its favor in the U. S., there are currently unmistakable trends in the polls that show a change. The dynamics of support for Israel by the average American citizen is changing, even among those who are Jewish, which is of great concern to the Israeli government.
Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, Israel’s affinity with the U.S. grew to unprecedented levels. The attacks, media discourse and subsequent wars evoked the support of many evangelical Protestant Christians. They see the widening of the conflict in the Middle East as part of the long-awaited biblical prophecy that, according to them, was fulfilled with the establishment of the State of Israel.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government exploited every opportunity it had to maximize its support for the goals deemed important by the right, the ultra-right and the religious parties in Israel, Netanyahu’s vain and confrontational style has alienated the support of many Democrats. Netanyahu’s policies of strengthening the occupation, blocking any peace efforts and expanding illegal Jewish settlements also began to undermine the support that Israel has always taken for granted from American Jews.
But in January 2018, statistics among American Jews have plummeted even further. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a recent study by the Brand Israel Group “support for Israel among Jewish students in the US fell by 32% between 2010 and 2016.
The perception that Jewish Americans constitute an isolated group that supports Israel regardless of their political tendencies is no longer sustained. Jewish communities in the United States are changing, as is the entire nation.
The number of those who identified themselves as “liberal” in the US has risen from 27% to 41% between 2000 and 2015.
This change has been accompanied by growing sympathy for the Palestinians, as indicated by a May 2016 Pew survey. More liberal Democrats said they were more sympathetic to the Palestinians (40%) than to Israel (33%). Analysts then concluded that disenchantment with Israel stemmed from differences between Netanyahu and Barack Obama over issues such as Israel’s illegal settlement expansion and the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The trend continued, because, when an issue becomes part of partisan politics, it becomes polarized, Baraud explains. For decades, Israel had been considered the only issue on which all Americans agreed, but this is no longer the case and Netanyahu has played an important role in this change.
The tendency among liberal Democrats was counterbalanced by another tendency among Republicans who adopted the cause of Israel as their own. While Christian evangelicals were able to make unconditional support for Israel an indispensable requirement for any candidate seeking their support, the Israeli cause has ceased to be an issue demanded by Democrats.
A Pew survey indicates that “the Democratic liberals who support Palestinians more than Israel have almost doubled since 2014 (from 21% to 40%) and are higher than at any other time since 2001. Of all Democrats, only 33% sympathized with Israel, according to the 2017 Pew poll.
This was the “first time in history” that American´s support has divided, “almost half the number support Israel and the other half support the Palestinians.”
And, just as support for the Palestinians grew among Democrats, so did the gap between the two major parties. According to the most recent Pew 2018 poll, while Republican support for Israel remains high, a troubled 79% of Democrats’ who support Israel sank to just 27%. Certainly, Netanyahu has embedded Israel in the heart of polarized US policy. Although he has achieved short-term successes (such as US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city) he has damaged the American consensus on Israel “and this raises hopes,” Baraud concludes.

March 1 st, 2018.

ALL OUT TO DEFEND THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION

ALL OUT TO DEFEND THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
It is evident that U. S. military intervention in Venezuela is already something determined and underway. It’s the prow of an imperialist strategic plan aimed at politically liquidating the Bolivarian integrationist example and appropriating the great energy, aquiferous and jungle mineral wealth of this nation.
The vitality of the Bolivarian liberating process, in spite of how much the oligarchy spends, and especially Washington, to regain control of that nation, has driven the empire to despair.
The recent tour of Latin American countries by U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, had the unhidden purpose of increasing tension in the region, arousing support for coup action in Venezuela, tightening political and financial isolation against Caracas and proclaiming that the United States has brought back the Monroe doctrine, whose motto “America for the Americans” reflects its true imperialist meaning. In Latin America, the harassment of the Venezuelan government, orchestrated by the extreme right-wing warrior which follows Washington, has formed a bloc led by the presidents of the countries of the Pacific Alliance. Collectively and individually, they cynically declare Venezuela must “recovers freedoms, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and must overcome the serious economic and humanitarian crisis that is causing suffering to the Venezuelan people”.
Central American journalist, lawyer, writer and anthropologist Ollantay Itzamná has pointed out how, after discrediting and politically punishing several of the honest precursors of Latin American dignity promoted by MERCOSUR, CELAC and ALBA, the U. S. government has turned to its very helpful and grotesque tactics of using the OAS and the fourteen subservient and corrupt governments of the Lima Group (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, child, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and St. Lucia). to support Washington in its infamous plan to invade and loot Venezuela.
And what is the democratic and moral quality of these anti-Venezuelan governments? The leading analyst asks himself and describes some of them:
Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina, who is still in power thanks to pacts with corrupt politicians. As soon as he took office, evidence emerged of his tax evasion in the Panama Papers cases. Then, he was involved in the great Odebrecht scandal, with the corrupt Brazilian businessman who bought Latin American presidents and legislators at prices lower than those of the beasts of burden during the colonial era.
Juan Orlando Hernández, president of Honduras through fraudulent and unconstitutional elections. During his first administration, he turned his impoverished country into the most violent and hungry in Latin America. To the massive protest over the manipulation of the results of the unconstitutional re-election, he responded by killing almost fifty political activists and imprisoning many others.
Jimmy Morales, current president of Guatemala, was denounced and investigated by the International Commission against Corruption and Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) for having used drug money for his election campaign.
Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia who negotiated the pacification of the country but, in this “Colombia at Peace”, a massacre is carried out of human rights defenders, indigenous people and peasants who demand the restitution of their lands.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, host and mainstay of the so-called Lima Group, serves as president of Peru thanks to the purchase of deputies from Alberto Fujimori, who with his votes, prevented the removal and punishment of this American citizen who, in order to govern the Andean country, had to renounce his U. S. citizenship.
Michel Temer, president of Brazil without having won any election at the polls. He is one of the corrupt politicians of that country who led the coup d’ état against Dilma Rousseff and stopped investigations against corruption.
And Donald Trump is counting on this team to impose his will on Venezuela. This is the same logic with which he proposed to arm teachers to ward off the increasingly frequent shootings in U. S. educational centers.
Determined to consolidate their revolution, the Venezuelan patriots are ready to defend it with the weapons of democracy, while this is possible!
Latin America – and Humanity as a whole – hopes that the Venezuelan will to silence arms using democratic measures will stop imperialist barbarism without the peoples having to resort to revolutionary violence to defend it, and thereby set the prairie on fire.
18.2.18