Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Troops out of Haiti! Cancel the debt! - statement by the Revolutionary Communist Group

As the magnitude of the disaster in Haiti becomes apparent – perhaps 200,000 dead, the whole of the capital Port-au-Prince devastated as a consequence of the 12 January earthquake, so anti-imperialists have to hold those responsible for this calamity to account. No-one can prevent earthquakes, but states can create conditions where the scale of destruction that follows is limited, and where there is an infrastructure which can support effective relief operations. It is obvious that neither existed in Haiti so that the consequences of the earthquake were all the more horrific. But the primary responsibility for this lies not with the desperately impoverished Haitian state, but with those who caused this impoverishment: imperialism in general, and US imperialism in particular. Haiti is the epitome of a dependent state, its development deliberately obstructed by the US to keep it and its people in subjection.

Haiti was the first independent state in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the only state to be created from a slave rebellion. Yet 21 years after its establishment the ruling elite agreed to pay its French former masters an indemnity equivalent to $21 billion in today’s money to compensate the former tenants. From then on Haiti was held under economic domination first by France and then by the US. In 1914 US Marines seized the Haitian government’s gold deposits at gun point and deposited them in New York’s National City Bank. Following a series of coups the US occupied Haiti in July 1915, using the pretext of preventing disorder. Haiti’s police force was disbanded and replaced by a police force under US officers. The economy and political system were tied to the US. US Marines bloodily repressed peasant resistance. They departed in 1934 but the Banque Nationale remained a subsidiary of the US Export-Import Bank until 1947, the year when the final debt repayment for overthrowing slavery was made to France.

Click to read more

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Reflections of Fidel - The lesson of Haiti

'I have to express the opinion that it is now time to look for real and lasting solutions for that sister nation.' - Fidel Castro

Read his full reflections here.

We Stand with Cuba! and In Solidarity with the Real Anti-Racist Movement in Cuba.

A useful article which shows the importance of Cuba as an acid test within the anti-racist movement in the US.
See also

To: U.S. Citizens



(For endorsement and inquiries: blackeducator@africamail.com)

We, the undersigned, express our continuing solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.

Cuban expatriate Carlos Moore and the other signers of the December 1, 2009 ACTING ON OUR CONSCIENCE: DECLARATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SUPPORT FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE IN CUBA do not speak for or represent the vast majority of Black radicals/progressives, nor the sentiment of the masses of African Americans in the United States. This December 1st Declaration ironically makes no mention of the 50 year US blockade against Cuba, and how it seeks to derail the progress made by Cuba thus far toward eradicating the racism created by its former colonizers - Spain and the United States.

We are disappointed that the signers of the Declaration, many whom have made important contributions to the African American struggles against racism and for democracy, connect their charge of racism to the claims of Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez and Carlos Moore, two known opponents of Cuba's revolutionary system. Apparently, like many opportunists both Carlos Moore and Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez who resides in Cuba saw the opportunity to solicit support for their position from this select group of high profile and credible sectors of the African American community. This action is divisive and misguided.

We, the undersigned, believe that the Carlos Moore originated petition is designed to create a wedge in the African American support base for Cuba. Moore's petition is also an attempt to dismiss Cuba as a modern example of how socialism is a practical system that ensures an equitable distribution of its resources for ALL Cubans.

For more than forty years, Carlos Moore has opportunistically roamed the globe spreading lies and slander about Cuba. Like Moore, Dr. Darsi Ferrer, who ran into trouble when he attempted to set up a medical clinic outside the state run medical system, has also sought to use race to undermine the gains, institutions and anti-racist direction brought about by the Cuban Revolution. In 2006, Dr. Ferrer went to the US interest-section and was given a US monitored email account (i.e. access to a CIA manipulated portal). Dr. Ferrer's reactionary blog along with links to reactionary websites such as Capital Hill Cubans, Blog for Cuba and killcastro.com can be found at http://blogacionpordarsiferrer.blogspot.com.

Moore, and the signers of the Declaration, ignores the decades long struggle waged by the Cuban government against all forms of racism. This includes ignoring/denying its internationalist support of African, Caribbean and African American liberation struggles. Moreover, Moore and his followers ignore the historical and present-day fact that Afro Cubans have not been a mere passive force, but have been and are central in the struggles to make and advance the Cuban Revolution.

This attack on Cuba is an attack on a country that stood fast to its democratic, socialist, anti-racist and internationalist principles despite the great pressures from US and world imperialism, which has forced other countries to abandon these positions.

It is clearly no coincidence that this attack on Cuba, comes at a time when so many throughout the US and internationally are being victimized by the policies and crises of capitalism; and are seeing responses in Cuba and other countries throughout Latin America that seek to address the needs of the masses of people and not the banks and ruling classes as is being done in the US.

Read more

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Cuba tops the class in UN development report

The United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report 2009 was released on October 5. It again highlighted some of Cuba’s extraordinary achievements.
The report is the most commonly referenced source on development statistics and measures. It compares the development status and progress in every country.

Among this year’s wide-ranging statistics, the report provides a summary indicator of people’s well-being using the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI combines measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita for 182 countries and territories.

The results for Cuba, an impoverished small island subjected to a crippling economic blockade from the United States, stand out, primarily in the areas of the health and education of its people.

Cuba’s education index is equal highest in the world, along with Australia, Finland, Denmark and New Zealand. Cuba’s education index is 0.993 of a possible score of 1.

Its adult literacy rate is 99.8% and school enrolments are 100%. Public expenditure on education in Cuba is 14.2% of total government expenditure. This is higher than Australia (13.3%) and the US (13.7%).

Cuba tops the world in the ratio of female to male enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education, at 121%.

Cuba’s life expectancy is 78.5 years, the highest along with Chile in Latin America and the Caribbean. It compares favourably with Australia (81.4 years) and the US (79.1 years).

While Cuba ranks at or near the top in health and education measures, its low GDP per capita, the third element of the HDI, reduces its HDI score. With GDP included, the report ranks Cuba 51st overall in the overall HDR ranking.

Cuba is ranked 95th in the world in GDP per capita. The gap between its low GDP ranking and much higher overall HDI ranking reveals its human development is significantly higher than its GDP per capita might indicate.

The difference between these two rankings can be seen as a measure of the efficiency of converting a nation’s income into the health and education of its people. Cuba heads the world in this category, by a wide margin.

For example, Mexico has more than double Cuba’s GDP, but has a lower HDI. The US is ranked nine in GDP per capita but falls to 13 in HDI ranking, demonstrating a relatively poor conversion of its wealth into health and education for its people.

“Gender empowerment measure” is another indicator listed in the report. One element of this indicator is the percentage of seats held by women in parliament.

In Cuba, 43% of parliamentary seats are held by women, the third-highest level in the world after Rwanda (51%) and Sweden (47%).

In Australia, some 30% of seats in parliament are held by women and the US figure is only 17%.

Since 2005, Azerbaijan, Cuba and Venezuela have improved their HDI more than any other countries. Venezuela was one of the few countries that significantly bettered its HDI ranking since last year, jumping four places from 62 to 58.

Venezuela has achieved a relatively rapid rise of 5.2% in its HDI between 2000 to 2007, compared to a 4.8% increase in its HDI over the previous 20 years.

Inequality is another key development indicator. Australia, which ranked second in human development, is one of the most unequal countries in the so called developed world.

The report said the income of the richest 10% of the Australian population is 12.5 times the income of the poorest 10%. Japan, by contrast, has a ratio of 4.5, Norway 6.1 and Sweden 6.2.

Of the 20 top-ranking countries in this year’s HDI list, only the US, with an inequality ratio of 15.9, has greater inequality than Australia.

Insufficient data was available to measure Cuba’s equality for the report. However, the only such figures that have been recorded for Cuba indicate a ratio between the top 10% and the bottom 10% at around four. Again, this would be close to the best in the world.

The report does not attempt to analyse why some countries do better than others in improving the lives of their people. However, its statistics paint a clear picture.

A government, like in the US and Australia, that makes quality health care and education a privilege for a few will create and exacerbate inequalities.

A government like Cuba’s, which provides free education and health care for everyone, will make gains for all.

Over the 50 years of Cuba’s socialist revolution, in spite of the ongoing economic blockade and with meagre resources, Cuba has achieved health and education standards for its people that are the envy of the world.

By Jenny Francis

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Cubans Mobilise Against Imperialist Mercenaries

For half a century US imperialism has gone to staggering lengths to try and destroy the Cuban Revolution and damage the example it sets for the oppressed people of the world. This aim is embedded in the US Constitution itself. The US blockade (1961), invasion (1961), the threat of nuclear war (1962) and attempts to isolate Cuba on the international stage, have failed to destroy the Revolution.

The Obama administration is stepping up efforts to create an internal opposition among the Cuban people, ‘investing’ $55 million in 2009 alone in this endeavour. These attempts are failing miserably. Imperialist powers and their allies continue to underestimate the revolutionary strength of the Cuban people, demonstrated in December 2009 when just one neighbourhood in Havana took to the streets in response to a group of imperialist-paid mercenaries known as the Women in White.

The Women in White are the families of 75 counter-revolutionaries who were imprisoned in April 2003 for being paid agents of the US government involved in sabotaging the Cuban Revolution. For years their monthly demonstrations have been ignored by the Cuban people, who realise they represent nothing more than a photo opportunity for the international bourgeois press. However, last month a crowd of Cubans responded, surrounding the women and banging on the car of a British diplomat who was present. Diplomats from the US and German embassies were also accompanying the Women in White, in violation of international diplomacy laws. The words of the Cuban people in the video demonstrate their refusal to tolerate the Women in White’s false claims to be fighting for freedom. They are losing their patience with the self-aggrandizement of a tiny group of mercenaries who would return Cuba to imperialist domination in exchange for a few material privileges.

In the video, one of the women in white admits receiving money from the allies of the US government, linked to terrorist organisations based in Miami. Among them is Santiago Alvarez who left Cuba soon after the Revolution and has since been involved in many terrorist actions killing Cuban people as a leader of the Miami Mafia. He was arrested in the US in 2005 when found in possession of numerous weapons, including fully automatic machine guns along with ammunition. Alvarez is a key ally of Luis Posada Carriles, a terrorist who has boasted his involvement in blowing up a Cuban civilian aeroplane, killing 73 people in 1976.

Throughout their history of financing right-wing terrorist groups to overthrow progressive governments and attack revolutionary movements, the US government has often acted covertly through non-governmental organisations. Also in December 2009, an employee of a CIA front organisation was detained for illegally distributing sophisticated satellite communication technology to mercenary groups in Havana and giving free mobile phones to citizens in an effort create inequalities and destabilise Cuban socialism.

Following these events, Raul Castro said to the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power: “The United States won’t quit trying to destroy the revolution…They are giving new breath to open and undercover subversion against Cuba…The enemy is as active as ever.” Nonetheless, as the video shows, the Cuban revolutionaries are also active and they will defend their Revolution.

Long live the Cuban revolution!
Imperialism OUT of Latin America!