Thursday, 31 December 2009

Report from Cuba: ALBA Summit in Havana

The summit in Havana on 13-14 December marked 5 years of the existence of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) which was set up between Venezuela and Cuba. In these first 5 years ALBA has committed to a political, economic and social alliance to defend the sovereignty, self-determination, identity and unity of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean. Practicing the principles of political and economic solidarity, there are already over 100 ALBA projects involving healthcare, media, food and fuel distribution, scientific projects and environmental protection.

The Alliance now includes Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, St Vincent and Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and, until the recent coup, Honduras. Paraphrasing the well-known phrase of Karl Marx, Granma, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, quips that “a spectre is haunting America. the spectre of ALBA” yet ALBA is more than a spectre, it is real, developing in the face of the global capitalist crisis.

ALBA initiated to counter the US imperialism's Free Trade Area of the Americas, a failed project now buried under the triumphs of ALBA in many of the member states. The mutually beneficial trade of oil and other materials between ALBA countries, below world prices is of particular concern to the imperialists, as is the birth of the new SUCRE currency this January 2010, which will allow trade between ALBA countries without reliance on the US dollar.

It is in this context that recent US military manoeuvres must be understood. The Democrat government treading water in the turbulent time of the global economic crisis, is launching a new offensive in Latin America. Not content with sending another 30,000 soldiers to Afghanistan, and shortly after winning the Nobel Peace prize, Obama has signed a pact to establish 7 new military bases in Columbia, mainly along the Venezuelan border. Tacit US support for the current coup in Honduras and the re-establishment of the US’s Fourth Fleet to patrol the Caribbean and South American waters, signifies US intentions in the region.

An attack on Venezuela could seriously damage the development of ALBA as many initiatives are funded through the Bank of ALBA, 85% of which is funded by oil rich Venezuela. However, such aggression will be met with fierce resistance. In response to these actions, Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, called for a referendum to discuss action against the development of US military bases in the region. The “Mandatario Boliviano” emphasizes the need to be “prepared along with our people for any imperial aggression or invasion” and Morales declared that “If the US invades any of our countries they will face a second Vietnam!”

Almost all of the speeches made throughout the 2 day summit condemned the coup in Honduras, demanding the acknowledgement of US support for the illegal actions and blatant disregard for constitutional rights. The 8th Summit of ALBA declared solidarity with the National Resistance Front and others bravely resisting the coup in Honduras in spite of the daily disappearances and massacres of protestors. This statement came alongside declarations for the right of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to defend itself from US military aggression, condemnation of the economic blockade of Cuba and solidarity for the Cuban 5 who remain incarcerated in the US for over 10 years after foiling a terrorist plot against their country.

Sam Magill

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Monday, 14 December 2009

CIA agent arrested in Cuba

December 13th 2009, by Eva Golinger - Postcards from the Revolution

An article published in the December 12th edition of the New York Times revealed the detention of a US government contract employee in Havana this past December 5th. The employee, whose name has not yet been disclosed, works for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), one of the largest US government contractors providing services to the State Department, the Pentagon and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The employee was detained while distributing cellular telephones, computers and other communications equipment to Cuban dissident and counterrevolutionary groups that work to promote US agenda on the Caribbean island.

Last year, the US Congress approved $40 million to “promote transition to democracy” in Cuba. DAI was awarded the main contract, “The Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program”, with oversight by State and USAID. The use of a chain of entities and agencies is a mechanism employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to channel and filter funding and strategic political support to groups and individuals that support US agenda abroad. The pretext of “promoting democracy” is a modern form of CIA subversion tactics, seeking to infiltrate and penetrate civil society groups and provide funding to encourage “regime change” in strategically important nations, such as Venezuela, with governments unwilling to subcomb to US dominance.
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Source: Postcards from the Revolution
Why Cuba?
Socialist Cuba - a beacon of hope
For over 40 years Cuba has defied imperialism. The Cuban people have withstood invasion, sabotage, terrorism, biological warfare and a sustained economic blockade at the hands of the world's most powerful economic and military power, the United States. They have given unyielding support to other poor countries. They have built socialist Cuba, a beacon of hope for poor and oppressed people throughout the world. From the poverty and destitution that characterised pre-revolutionary Cuba, the socialist revolution can boast today:
  • Infant mortality rate of 4.8 per thousand and life expectancy 78 years - better than in many parts of Britain
  • A health service second to none with a doctor : patient ratio of 1:195, the best in the world! In Britain it is 1:518
  • Free education available to all - within ten years the average educational standard for Cubans will be graduate level
  • Institutionalised racism and other forms of discrimination have been eradicated
  • Women are supported by a national system of day centres for children - divorce, abortion and contraception are available as rights
  • Every Cuban can be sure of support from their community - despite the hardships of the 'Special Period', not a single school, hospital or old people's home has been closed since 1990
Throughout Latin America and Africa, thousands of Cuban doctors and nurses are helping to save lives and provide medical services. A school of medicine has been opened in Havana to provide free training to students from these countries and poor students from the United States. Cuba has offered the personnel and expertise to control the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Revolutionary Cuba shows us that it is possible to solve the problems created by capitalism; that it is possible to provide everyone in the world with the essentials for a dignified life even with limited material resources.
Global Capitalism - dead end for humanity
We live in a world of unprecedented wealth and technological progress and a world of unprecedented poverty and oppression. Twenty million people every year die of malnutrition amid mountains of surplus food. A third of the world's population doesn't have access to safe drinking water. A trillion dollars a year is spent on arms when just a quarter of that would ensure food, shelter, health and education for everyone in the world. The consumerism that suffocates us is portrayed as a triumph of civilisation by the capitalist media, while the very survival of humanity is threatened by the environmental destruction it generates. These contradictions are not the result of poor decision making, corruption, bad luck or divine intervention. They are consequences of the economic system that dominates the world - imperialism - the super-exploitation of the world by a handful of rich capitalist countries. If the world is to change for the better, imperialism must be defeated and replaced by the only alternative - socialism.
Britain needs socialism!
In Britain one third of our children live in poverty. Workers are forced into low-paid, insecure jobs. Thousands of pensioners without heating die every winter. The working class gets third rate health care and education, or none at all. Immigrants escaping economic and political persecution are criminalised. Racists and police attack black and Asian people every day.
In the last 40 years Cuba has revolutionised the lives and prospects of the Cuban people. Imagine the sort of society we could build in Britain with the technical advantages available now, if only we organised society on a socialist basis like the Cubans.