Thursday, 31 March 2011

Honduras repression continues in Garífuna

Honduras: The Coup d'Etat, its Inheritors and the Criminalization of Social Protest
by Miriam Miranda, 29 March 2011
Source: HondurasResists
(Translated by Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle)

Miriam Miranda, intentionally fired at with a tear-gas canister, and then singled out and illegally detained, March 28, 2011, in Triunfo de la Cruz, a Garifuna village, North-coast of Honduras

Miriam Miranda writes:

Yesterday I was captured in a selective way by agents of the Ministry of security in the middle of a protest around the Garífuna community Triunfo de la Cruz. In the process of being arrested they shot several tear-gas bombs at me which hit me in the abdomen, causing burns on my stomach, afterward I was assaulted and as the police beat me they cursed with racial insults.

The operation, directed by Sub-Commissioner Víctor Sánchez Bonilla, the one who in the midst of the crowd pointed me out to his subordinates to be the only own captured amongst all the people, demonstrates the strategy by the repressive forces of focus on social movement leaders as military objectives.

It is worth mentioning that upon being captured they took me directly to the Tela jail cell without completing requirements, without medical attention for the burns and the poisoning that I suffered from the tear gas bombs. It wasn't until two and a half hours later that they read me my rights without telling me what they were accusing me of. Later on the Judge on shift informed me that they were accusing me of sedition.

In Honduras the chaos by which the country was subsumed due to the 2009 coup d'etat perpetrated by the judicial and legislative powers and the armed forces, under the instructions of the U.S. right wing and of course the Pentagon, continues.

Despite the plastic smiles of state functionaries and their eagerness to achieve international recognition, the criminalization of social protest has sharpened with the regime of Porfirio Lobo, who with his sinister ways discredits his administration in the eyes of human rights organization.

Thanks to the solidarity and international pressure, pressure from the Garífuna community and of Hondurans conscious of the current crisis, they conceded me "provisional" freedom. The operators of justice of Honduras under pressure saw themselves obliged to carry out their duty.

Nonetheless in the jails of the country are detained countless political prisoners, as is the case of the 18 teachers who in this moment are held by the prison in the capital of the republic.

The intensification of the violence against the popular resistance is part of the methods of security dictated by the Colombian boss Alvaro Uribe, advisor in repression, who a few weeks ago announced a conference in El Salvador about "democratic decurity," to which Mr. Porfirio Lobo and his dolphin Oscar Álvarez punctually agreed. The colombianization of Central America is reaffirmed by the the Mérida Initiative and the militarization that we suffer.

In the midst of the international year of "Afro-descendants," the Garífuna of Honduras are suffering an accelerated expulsion from our territories that we have inhabited for 214 años. At the same time some Afro-rights organizations have allied with the repressor regime and are trying to celebrate the territorial evictions happening as much in Africa as in Latin America through a supposed world summit of Afro-descendants that serves as an instrument and make-up for the violence of the current government and its neo-liberal policies.

Through the Assembly of the Peoples of the Land and Sea, carried out in February of this year in the community Durugubuti Beibe, the indigenous and black peoples of Honduras reaffirm the defense of our territory, the right to autonomy, the respect for the right to consultation and the immediate suspension of the construction of the hydroelectric dams in the Patuca river: a death sentence for the Tawahka people and the country.

Thank you very much once again to international solidarity and the movement of all of us, what happened yesterday demonstrates that prompt actions achieve positive results.

For a free, pluri-cultural, democratic, participatory, anti-militarist, anti-racist and anti-patriarchal Honduras,

La Ceiba, March 29th, 2011

Miriam Miranda
General Coordinator
National Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)

El Paso Diary: Day 36 of the Posada Carriles Trial

José Pertierra
Posada Tango
By José Pertierra, 31 March 2011.

It’s one thing for an attorney to zealously defend his client’s interests and quite another for him to embrace the defendant’s premises. An attorney is most effective, when he keeps a certain critical distance.

Here in El Paso, Luis Posada Carriles’ attorney has adopted his client’s cause as his own—thus coloring his cross-examination to the point of silliness. His nutty questions about Cuba are pregnant with the false postulates of certain exiles in Little Havana who haven’t set foot on Cuban soil in more than five decades. It’s evident that the Miami defense attorney hasn’t done his research.

El Paso Diary: Day 34 of the Posada Carriles Trial

Bardach in Wonderland
by José Pertierra, 30 March 2011.

Winter said its goodbyes to El Paso last night. Spring is here. But the equinox doesn’t bring flowers to El Paso: only dust, lots of dust. Forty-mile-an-hour winds blew through this border town this afternoon. Leaving the courthouse exhausted from an afternoon of cross-examination by Luis Posada Carriles’ attorney, Ann Louise Bardach confronted the storms from the Chihuahuan Desert that blew sand in her eyes as she leaned into the wind to return to her hotel.

This is her fourth day on the stand. Bardach is now confident and self-assured as a witness. Her husband Bob gave her a kiss on the cheek, and with a brisk step she took her place, ready for battle.

Her testimony today established that Posada Carriles admitted to her 13 years ago that he was the mastermind of the bombing campaign in Havana in 1997. She also testified that Raúl Cruz León, the Salvadoran who was tried and sentenced in Cuba for having placed several of the bombs—one of which killed the Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo—worked for Posada Carriles. Under grueling cross-examination, Bardach defended the articles she had written for the New York Times in July 1998 as faithful to the statements that Posada Carriles had given during the interview in Aruba a month before.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Leonard Weinglass, ¡Presente!

by Gloria La Riva, Coordinator, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, March 23, 2011.

Leonard Weinglass (in 2006): Aug. 27, 1933 - Mar. 23, 2011

'True justice was his passion and his life.'

Leonard Weinglass, preeminent civil rights attorney and fighter for justice whose defense history includes the Chicago 8, Daniel Ellsberg, Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Cuban Five, died on March 23 of cancer.

Known as Len to all, the last picture taken of him was in hospital several days ago as he reviewed his latest appeals documents for Antonio Guerrero of the Cuban Five, for whom he was official appeals attorney. Weinglass was instrumental in the overall case of the Five, especially the latest appeal of Gerardo Hernández, who is serving an unjust double life sentence for defending Cuba-along with his four brothers-from U.S.-backed terrorism. Weinglass joined the Cuban Five's case in the appeals phase in 2002.

Born August 27, 1933, in New York City, Weinglass earned his law degree from Yale University in 1958. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a judge advocate, he entered civilian life as a lawyer in an era framed by the great African American Civil Rights movement and the struggle against the Vietnam war. Many of those activists would come to depend on Weinglass to win justice and freedom.

He earned a well-deserved reputation as a people's defense lawyer, the kind of attorney who does not separate his political and personal life from his legal career.

Weinglass's long history of defending political and death-row cases attests to those principles:

  • radical activist Angela Davis in 1973;
  • eight Vietnamese students who faced deportation in 1974 due to their political activities against the war;
  • the Atmore-Holman Brothers in Alabama prison in 1977;
  • Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers defendant in 1970;
  • Juan Segarra Palmer, Puerto Rican independentista in the Hartford 15 case in 1989; and too many more to mention.

Weinglass was never without a political case, and many times, more than one.

The Chicago 10
His passion for justice brought him and another people's advocate, William Kunstler, into the national spotlight in the conspiracy trial of the Chicago Eight from 1969 to 1970.

Both attorneys became known for their courageous and forthright defense of the anti-war activists they represented against a brutal judge who cited both for contempt many times.

At 10 months, it was the longest trial of its time and was recognized as a Nixon government prosecution, with the arch-reactionary Judge Julius Hoffman as his legal henchman. The Eight faced lengthy prison sentences on "conspiracy" charges from the vicious police attack on a mass anti-war rally at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Black Panther Party chairman Bobby Seale was separated from the trial by Hoffman after being literally shackled and gagged in the courtroom, but progressives always referred to the case as the Eight.

Because of their constant defiance of Hoffman's brutality and outrageous rulings against the Eight, Weinglass and Kunstler were greatly respected in the anti-war movement. Years later, the title of an acclaimed documentary, "The Chicago 10," honored the two lawyers who stood side-by-side with the eight defendants.

The Cuban Five: his final battle for justice
In 2002, Weinglass joined the appeals team of the Cuban Five political prisoners. He brought to their case his decades of experience in previous political cases, which was of great tactical and strategic benefit to their struggle.

Because of the U.S. government's politically- motivated persecution of the Five, Weinglass firmly believed that-even as he worked night and day in their legal case-victory is not possible without political solidarity and public pressure.

Whenever the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five needed advice from him on the next steps to take, when we requested interviews so the Free the Five supporters could receive an orientation on the case, he always took the time, no matter how busy he was.

In addition to full-time legal work for the Five, Weinglass spoke for the Five at many anti-war protests, public forums, press conferences, at home and abroad. He had an outstanding ability to explain the complexities of the Five's case in a popular way, and to inspire others to take up their fight. He was especially loved and was very close to the Cuban Five, their families and the Cuban people.

In one moving incident in March 2003, Weinglass rushed to take the last flight from New York to Denver, before a blinding blizzard shut down the Colorado airport, to see Antonio Guerrero. He then drove almost two hours in that snowstorm to Florence federal prison. Antonio had been cruelly locked up in a punishment cell due to a U.S. government administrative order against the Five. Len's visit to him after two weeks of complete isolation inspired Antonio to write the poem above.

True justice was Len Weinglass's passion and his life.
In the month before he died, a special website was set up for family and friends to write him. Hundreds of solidarity messages poured in, from former political prisoners to colleagues in law to his family.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark wrote: "You have been an inspiration to me since we first met in 1969. Your quiet, selfless, relentless, brilliant and heroic commitment to truth and justice-against all odds-has made a difference worldwide. Having been by your side here at home, in Chicago, Iran, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and for the Cuban Five I can testify to your sole, selfless commitment to a world of peace and principle and good times along the way."

A huge void is left with Len's passing, but his inspiration and example will live on.

Leonard Weinglass, ¡Presente!

For additional tributes to Leonard Weinglass from members of the Cuban Five, Ricardo Alarcón, and others, as well as links to video and audio presentations made by Leonard in support of the Cuban Five, click here.

Contact us: info[at]
Or call: 415-821-6545

Free the Cuban Five Now! Allow the families' visits! Grant entry visas to Adriana Pérez and Olga Salanueva!

Weinglass' death came as a blow to the Cuban Five

By Ricardo Alarcon,
Cuban Parliament President, 24 March 2011.
Translation by The South Journal.

In the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23, Leonard Weinglass´ heart stopped beating, the same day he turned 78 years old.

He suffered from a terrible disease that had become critical and particularly painful since last January; however, his disease did not took him out of his work a single moment. During his last months, while heroically facing his disease and the physical pains, Weinglass put his heart and soul into the preparations and presentation of the Habeas Corpus in favour of Gerardo Hernandez and Antonio Guerrero, without disregarding the cases of the other three Cuban compatriots.Shortly before being hospitalized to be submitted to urgent surgery, he pushed the last details for the appeals to be presented in favor of Gerardo and Antonio and he instructed his colleagues about what they have to do while he was hospitalized. Only then he accepted to take care of his health.

He was always like that. When very young he joined the legal aid office which, under the management of Victor Rabinowitz and Leonard Boudin, waged countless legal battles in favour of unions, civil liberties and justice in the United States. With his brilliant defense in 1968 of the Chicago Eight, Lenny kicked off an admirable and permanent career that included the cases of Jane Fonda, Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon documents, Angela Davis, Mumia Abu Jamal, Amy Carter, Kathy Boudin and many others up to the five Cuban antiterrorists and his most recent cooperation with the defense attorneys of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.

Nobody can write the history of the struggles of the American people without underlining, on each page, the name of Leonard Weinglass.

To him, now and ever, our homage and our gratitude.

The loss of Lenny came as a blow to Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and Rene (the five Cubans imprisoned in US jails since 1998). He was their best and restless defender; he dedicated all his energy and talent to their cause; he fought for them till the end, amidst suffering and agony, until his last breath.

The struggle for the release of our compatriots must continue, now under more difficult conditions without Lenny. Let´s renew our commitment to keep ahead until we achieve their freedom. Let´s do that relentlessly and restlessly. This is least we can promise to a restless fighter, a clear-sighted and sacrificing struggler like our dear comrade Leonard Weinglass always was.

In memoriam: Leonard Weinglass, by Gerardo Hernandez

Source: International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five

Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five Cubans imprisoned in US jails since 1998, wrote some of his impressions about outstanding US lawyer Leonard Weinglass, who passed away March 23 inNew York. Weinglass was active as part of the defense team of the Cuban Five. We bring you the English version of this article as published on the website of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five:

In memory of Leonard Weinglass

Not that long ago Len came to visit me and we worked for several hours preparing for the next step of my appeal. I noticed at the time that he was tired. I was worried with his advanced age that he was driving alone after a long trip from New York. The weather was bad and the roads from the airport up to Victorville wind through the mountains surrounding the high desert. I mentioned my concern to him but he did not pay it any attention. That was the way he was, nothing stopped him.

When we would meet the same thing would always happen. At some point in our conversation, while listening to him talk, my mind would separate from his words and I would focus on the person. I would realize that here is this great man, the tremendous lawyer, the legendary fighter for justice, right here in front of me. I told him that I had seen images of him in documentaries on TV dedicating himself to important legal cases that he had participated in from a very young age. With pride I would tell people watching, “that is the lawyer of the Five”. It did not matter how much I read or heard about Len I knew through his humility and modesty that there was a lot I still had to discover about this man who had dedicated his life to his profession.

Len always insisted that our case, like the others that he had dedicated lots of his time to, was essentially a political one. He cautioned us from the start that this struggle would be long and difficult. His experience with the “system” had taught him that. For our part, beyond the professional relationship we had, we always thought of him as one compañero in the battle for justice. Len leaves us at an important moment, but he leaves us prepared to carry on the path. On more than one occasion he expressed his admiration and respect for the other lawyers on our legal team, and I think that he has left confident that our case is in good hands.

Like other people, who during these years have accompanied us in our struggle to make justice prevail, he will not be with us to see the inevitable triumph. We are confident that day will arrive and to Len, and to all the others, we will pay them a well deserved tribute in our homeland.

On behalf of the Cuban Five, and our families, and from the millions of Cubans, and brothers and sisters from all over the world who trusted and admired him, we send our most sincere condolences to Len’s family and friends.
Leonard Weinglass, Presente!

Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo
USP Victorville, California
March 23, 2011

Also available in: Spanish

Friday, 25 March 2011

Aristide grateful for work of Cuban doctors in Haiti

Source: Granma, 19 March 2011.

by Sinay Cespedes Moreno (in Puerto Principe).

The former Haitian president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, today welcomed the work of Cuban doctors, upon his arrival in Port-au-Prince after seven years of exile in South Africa.

In a press conference from the airport, the ex-president referred, in Spanish, to the work of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Haiti.

"I want to thank the Cuban brothers, especially the doctors who are in the fight against cholera," he said. He wondered, moreover, how many people would have died without their help and declared: "I hope their light will shine on others."

The Cuban medical brigade has been working in Haiti for 12 years, but increased its presence following the outbreak of cholera last October, along with dozens of graduates from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

According to official statements, these doctors have treated about 40% of the patients with that disease, which has claimed more than 4,672 lives. Currently, Cubans and ELAM graduates are working in 156 health centers nationwide, 67 of them as part of a joint program with Venezuela.

Until earlier this month, experts had saved 70,890 Haitian cholera patients, with a fatality rate below 1%. (PL)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Aristide returns to Haiti

Beating back the elite's rabid rage: Against all odds Aristide returns to Haiti
by Ezili Dantò, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN)

Source: Ezili Dantò's blog, March 18, 2011

Aristide returned to Haiti today. I've not seen such genuine happiness on the faces of Haiti's poor in over seven years. Welcome President Jean Bertrand Aristide and family. Today is a good day for the poorest of the poor in the Western Hemisphere. Their struggle and unimaginable sacrifices and sufferings bore fruit and it makes them smile. We thank the universal good for this moment. Blessed be the endless Haiti revolution against the organized tyranny of the "civilized" and "schooled" peoples.

Today, HLLN re-members the blessed Haiti revolution, Janjak Desalin and the indigenous Haiti army of today and yesterday.

On this day of the return, HLLN re-members the sacrifice of the warriors of Site Soley, Bel Air, Solino, Martissant who took up arms in self-defense against the occupation and coup d'etat. We re-MEMBER the most hunter Black man in the Western Hemisphere, who, alone, fought the most powerful armies on earth for two long years before he was assassinated by UN bullets, we remember the lynching and crucifixion of Dred Wilmè.

"On July 6, 2005, Dred Wilmè in his family where assassinated in cold blood by 1,440 heavily armed UN/US troops. With their tanks, helicopters and advanced weapons, 440 UN/US soldiers entered Site Soley in the dead of night (3am) while the community was asleep. One thousand (1000) other UN/US soldiers surrounded Site Soley to make sure no one could leave. Bombs where reported unleashed and dropped on the unarmed civilian community.

According to The Site Soley Massacre Declassification Project the UN fired over 22,000 rounds of ammunition into this thin-shacked, cardboard-house, poverty-stricken Black community of about 450,000 Haitians, most having been forced off their safer rural lands by US/USAID/WB/IMF policies in the 80s and 90s."

All human beings have the right to life and to self-defense, including the poor in Haiti.

Today, we remember and say honor and respect to our fallen and faceless warriors- the beleaguered poor in Site Soley, Solino, Martissant, Bel-Air, Gran Ravine, et al.. ravaged by exclusion and color-coded NGO charitable distribution and allotments that slews human dignity, brings perpetual dependency. We recall the 20,000 slaughtered by the imposed Bush Boca Raton regime from 2004 to 2006, slaughtered with the complicity of UN/US firepower. We pay tribute to Father Gerard Jean Juste, Lovinsky Pierre Antoine and all those who gave their life for this day of return of the people’s voice. We pay tribute to the ten thousands unknown Haitians, in Haiti and in the Diaspora, who never wavered. We lift up Hazel and Randall Robinson for staying true throughout this long road and always, always supporting justice for the people of Haiti against all the odds. We lift up Minister Louis Farrakhan and Danny Glover who stood with the poor majority in Haiti and advocated for the return of Aristide in Haiti when most of the U.S. Black intelligentsia turned away.

We thank all those folks, from all the races and religions, who signed letters and advocated for this return. We pay tribute to all the small Haiti radio programs abroad and in Haiti who stood for justice, Mary at SF Bayview for standing firm and resolute. We remember the unknown fanm vanyans, Haitian women like Alina Sixto who sacrificed so much, for so long without accolades and recognition and who never wavered. We share this day by lifting up the work and life of our beloved John Maxwell. We pay tribute to the Africans, in Jamaica, in South Africa who stood in solidarity with the people of Haiti despite threats of repercussions from powerful international forces, those who this week ignored the frantic calls from Barack Obama and the UN’s Ban-Ki Moon to again delay and destroy the will of the people of Haiti. Thank you.

This historic returns belongs to the poor suffering warriors of Haiti and to bless the spirits of those who perished too soon. Indeed it belongs to Haitian men like father Gerard Jean Juste, to all the women community leaders who where singled out and massacred at the USAID/IOM “Summer for Peace” soccer gathering on August 20 and Aug. 21st where Haitian youths were lured to their slaughter while attending a soccer game sponsored by USAID. Haiti’s young were brutally chopped up by UN/US-sanctioned coup detat police squads, working with their Lame Ti Manchet thugs and mercenaries.

This return belongs to Esterne Bruner, assassinated, Sept. 21, 2006 by members of the coup d’etat enforcers, Lame Timanchèt.

Before his death, the courageous Esterne Bruner provide Ezili’s HLLN with the names of the members who committed the Gran Ravine/USAID-soccer -for-peace massacres, the names of the death squad of Lame Ti Manchet. None of these pro-coup detat enforcers have been brought to justice in UN occupied Haiti because they helped demobilize the pro-democracy Lavalas movement. This return that eases the insult of the bicentennial coup d’etat belongs to the hundreds of Haitians, sealed in containers and dumped off the Coast of Cap Haitian to drown, as US-supported thugs, still roaming Haiti free behind UN protection today, took over the North. It belongs to those forced onto mysterious U.S. ships, off the shores of Haiti, held and tortured in secrecy, some for two years, because they voted Lavalas or held positions in the popular government of President Aristide. It belongs to Haitian men like Emmanuel Dred Wilmè who never left his people, never even left his neighborhood, he never attacked anyone, he simply defended his community from attack from the coup detat overseers, from UN and US guns and sycophants who hired thugs, like Labanye, to kill innocent civilians simply because they voted for Jean Bertrand Aristide and advocated for their country's own domestic interests as opposed to the interests of the internationals, their Haiti billionaire oligarchy and poverty pimping USAID-NGO subcontractors.

There will always be more Dred Wilmés, more Father Jean Juste, more Lovinsky Pierre Antoines, more Esterne Bruners in Haiti as long as there is misery and exclusion imposed on Haiti by the powerful nations.

Most of all today, we say honor and respect to the Ezili HLLNetwork members, of all the races and nationalities, a 10 thousand strong network against the profit-over-people folks, reaching three million per post, and on our blogs, who stood with the voiceless and disenfranchised in Haiti for these last seven years against all the odds, against all the naysayers.

This historic moment belongs to all of you who stood with the indigenous Haitians at HLLN who work to make a space for Haiti’s authentic voices without Officialdom’s approval. It’s a harsh journey. It could have been a six-hour trip to Brazil and then just a few hours to Haiti. But it took 18 hours because the “benevolent internationals” interested in our “democracy and stability” wouldn’t allow former president Aristide, the symbol of the poor's empowerment in Black Haiti, to travel through their territories. It took 18 hours for Aristide to reach Haiti. Going from South Africa to Northern Africa in Senegal took 10 hours while from Senegal to Haiti took another 8 hours down to Haiti. I hear England wouldn’t allow a landing either. That long, long road is symbolic of the Haitian struggle. That long road Ezili’s HLLN has shared with you and with your support and forbearance. Unlike colonial celebritism with Sean Penn, no one will give us accolades at a mere six months journey in Haiti. Ours is a centuries old long journey. We overstand. The struggle continues. A new era begins for us here at HLLN. We ask you help us define it. For we know the empire will strike back. We expect it and thus avoid the surprise blow. As usual, we shall take the road less traveled towards healing Haiti’s poor majority with dignity, human rights, self-sufficiency, justice and inclusion. We won’t sell out. Haiti and indigenous Haitians want justice not charity, not Clinton/Farmer UN/US paternalism. It’s a desperately humiliating, bumpy, wholly disemboweling, wholly healing and fulfilling ride. Against all odds, Ginen poze. Kenbe la – hold on. (See, Don't be distracted by Aristide in Haiti by Ezili Dantò).

Pierre Labossierre, Jafrikayiti, Guy Antoine, Harry Fouche, Fritz Pean, Yves Point Du Jour, Jean Ristil Jean Baptise and too many others to name, congratulations on this day. Only we know what we’ve withstood in helping to overcome not one but two Bush coup d’etats on the poor majority in Haiti. Sometimes the fierce guilt of surviving, the endless stretch ahead, the soul and psychic wounds wrought on by the shame and humiliation of powerlessness and lack of material resources to do more, are too heavy a load. It’s too ugly and desperate to articulate the bullying and blows metered out by the most educated, most wealthy and most powerful on the most defenseless and non-violent people on earth. Their collective suffering and deaths shall not be in vain. Justice will prevail, beauty will win, eventually. If not in our lifetime, then in the next. We are the Haitians, the indigenous Haitians. From generation to generation, from the womb to the tomb, our lives are about struggle. Today, for a moment, we’ll smile because in this shining and eternal moment that must see us through what will come at us next, we anti-Duvalierist-Haitians managed to survive whole with dignity and to witness that against all odds, we beat back the elite’s rabid rage.

Ayibobo! The Haitian resistance against the Western bicentennial re-colonization of Haiti lives on.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cuba denounces U.S. seizure of health funds

Source: Prensa Latina, 12 March 2011.

As part of its blockade of Cuba, the United States seized 4.207 million USD in funds allocated to Cuba by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the first quarter of 2011, Cuba charged.

This action adds to a long list of examples of extraterritorial application of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for more than 50 years, said Orlando Hernandez, deputy minister of foreign trade and investment, on Friday.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control froze the funds for Cuban health care in January, according to a report by the United Nations Development Program in January, Hernandez said. This annual financing had been allocated for projects in Cuba of the World Fund against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The seizure of funds is an illegal action that seriously obstructs the international cooperation provided by the UN system through its funds and programs, Hernandez said.

Worse still, the seized funds are for combating and preventing pandemics that the Cuban government and international community are devoting their greatest efforts to eradicate, he said.

The official statement emphasized that this unilateral measure on the part of Washington would affect the implementation and continuation of social projects focused on vulnerable groups of the Cuban population, as well as the universal character of UN agencies, funds and programs

Shadowy networks of repression and violence

Reflecting on January 10, 2011 - Just another day in the tangled web that connects mercenaries, bombers, the CIA, drug traffickers & NGOs across the Americas.

By Annie Bird, 08 March 2011.
Source: Rights Action.

From the Aguan region, in northern Honduras, to Santa Cruz in Bolivia, mercenaries and paramilitaries violently undermine democracy.

On January 10, 2011, a land rights activist, part of the Honduran Resistance movement, spent his first day in hiding, after being detained and tortured in Honduras. The same day, lawyers from the Union Civica Democratica (UCD) of Honduras traveled to Washington to meet with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States to discuss the case of Alejandro Pena Esculsa, an opponent of the Venezuelan government accused of possessing bomb making materials in Caracas.

And, in Texas, the trial began of former CIA agent, Luis Posada Carriles, a CIA trained bomber, charged with immigration fraud.

Why were Honduran coup-supporting lawyers advocating for a Venezuelan accused of making bombs in Venezuela, and what does this have to do with a kidnapping and torture in Honduras or an immigration fraud trial of a former CIA agent?

Though unrelated in most senses, these events illustrate the international interests at play in the Honduran coup, and bring to light some of the actors, though much remains in the shadows.

Statement by Cuba on Libya

Source: Granma International, 2 March 2011.

Cuba categorically rejects any attempt whatsoever to take advantage of the tragic situation created in order to occupy Libya and control its oil.

• Statement by Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, March 1, 2011.

Mr. President:

Humanity’s conscience is repulsed by the deaths of innocent people under any circumstances, anyplace. Cuba fully shares the worldwide concern for the loss of civilian lives in Libya and hopes that its people are able to reach a peaceful and sovereign solution to the civil war occurring there, with no foreign interference, and guarantee the integrity of that nation.

Most certainly the Libyan people oppose any foreign military intervention, which would delay an agreement even further and cause thousands of deaths, displacement and enormous injury to the population.

Cuba categorically rejects any attempt whatsoever to take advantage of the tragic situation created in order to occupy Libya and control its oil.

It is noteworthy that the voracity for oil, not peace or the protection of Libyan lives, is the motivation inciting the political forces, primarily conservative, which today, in the United States and some European countries, are calling for a NATO military intervention in Libyan territory. Nor does it appear that objectivity, accuracy or a commitment to the truth are prevailing in part of the press reports being used by media giants to fan the flames.

Given the magnitude of what is taking place in Libya and the Arab world, in the context of a global economic crisis, responsibility and a long-term vision should prevail on the part of governments in the developed countries. Although the goodwill of some could be exploited, it is clear that a military intervention would lead to a war with serious consequences for human lives, especially the millions of poor who comprise four fifths of humanity.

Despite the paucity of some facts and information, the reality is that the origins of the situation in North Africa and the Middle East are to be found within the crisis of the rapacious policy imposed by the United States and its NATO allies in the region. The price of food has tripled, water is scarce, the desert is growing, poverty is on the rise and with it, repugnant social inequality and exclusion in the distribution of the opulent wealth garnered from oil in the region.

The fundamental human right is the right to life, which is not worth living without human dignity.

The way in which the right to life is being violated should arouse concern. According to various sources, more than 111 million people have perished in armed conflicts during modern wars. It cannot be forgotten in this room that, if in World War I civilian deaths amounted to 5% of total casualties, in the subsequent wars of conquest after 1990, basically in Iraq, with more than one million, and Afghanistan with more than 70,000, the deaths of innocents stand at 90%. The proportion of children in these figures is horrific and unprecedented.

The concept of "collateral damage," an offense to human nature, has been accepted in the military doctrine of NATO and the very powerful nations.

In the last decade, humanitarian international law has been trampled, as is occurring on the U.S. Guantánamo Naval Base, which usurps Cuban territory.

As a consequence of those wars, global refugee figures have increased by 34%, to more than 26 million people.

Military spending increased by 49% in the decade, to reach $1.5 trillion, more than half of that figure in the United States alone. The industrial-military complex continues producing wars.

Every year, 740,000 human beings die, not only on account of conflicts, but as victims of violent acts associated with organized crime.

In one European country, a woman dies every five days as a result of domestic violence. In the countries of the South, half a million mothers die in childbirth every year.

Every day, 29,000 children die of hunger and preventable diseases. In the minutes that I have been speaking, no less than 120 children have died. Four million perish in their first month of life. In total, 11 million children die every year.

There are 100,000 deaths a day from causes related to malnutrition, adding up to 35 million a year.

In Hurricane Katrina alone, in the most developed country in the world, 1,836 people died, almost all of them African Americans with limited resources. In the last two years, 470,000 people died throughout the world as a result of natural disasters, 97% of them of low income.

In the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti alone, more than 250,000 people died, almost all of them resident in very poor homes. The same thing occurred with homes swept away by excessive rainfall in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

If the developing countries had infant and maternal mortality rates like those of Cuba, 8.4 million children and 500,000 mothers would be saved annually. In the cholera epidemic in Haiti, Cuban doctors are treating almost half of the patients, with a mortality rate five times lower than those being treated by physicians from other countries. Cuban international medical cooperation has made it possible to save more than 4.4 million lives in dozens of countries in four continents.

Human dignity is a human right. Today, 1.4 billion people are living in extreme poverty. There are 1.2 billion hungry people, and a further two billion are suffering from malnutrition. There are 759 million illiterate adults.

Mr. President:

The Council has demonstrated its capacity for approaching human rights situations in the world, including those of an urgent nature which require attention and action on the part of the international community. The usefulness of the Universal Periodic Review, as a means of sustaining international cooperation, of evaluating the undertakings of all countries without distinction in this context has been confirmed.

The spirit which animated our actions during the review process of this body was to preserve, improve and strengthen this Council in its function of effectively promoting and protecting all human rights for everyone.

The results of this exercise express a recognition of the Council’s important achievements in its short existence. While it is true that the agreements reached are insufficient in the light of the demands of developing countries, the body has been preserved from those whose aim was to reform it to their convenience in order to satisfy hegemonic appetites and to resuscitate the past of confrontation, double standards, selectivity and imposition.

It is to be hoped from the debates of the last few days that this Human Rights Council will continue constructing and advancing its development as an institution toward the full exercise of its mandate.

It would be very negative if, on the pretext of reviewing the Council’s institutional construction and in abuse of the dramatic juncture which is being discussed, it should be manipulated and pressured in an opportunist way in order to establish precedents and modify agreements.

If the essential human right is the right to life, will the Council be ready to suspend the membership of states that unleash a war?

Is the Council proposing to make some substantial contribution to eliminating the principal threat to the life of the human species which is the existence of enormous arsenals of nuclear weapons, an infinitesimal part of which, or the explosion of 100 warheads, would provoke a nuclear winter, according to irrefutable scientific evidence?

Will it establish a comprehensive protocol on the impact of climate change in the exercise of human rights and proclaim the right to a healthy atmosphere?

Will it suspend states which finance and supply military aid utilized by recipient states for mass, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights and for attacks on the civilian population, like those taking place in Palestine?

Will it apply that measure against powerful countries which are perpetrating extra-judicial executions in the territory of other states with the use of high technology, such as smart bombs and drone aircraft?

What will happen to states which accept secret illegal prisons in their territories, facilitate the transit of secret flights with kidnapped persons aboard, or participate in acts of torture?

Can the Council adopt a declaration on the right of peoples to peace?

Will it adopt an action program that includes concrete commitments guaranteeing the right to nutrition in a moment of food crisis, spiraling food prices and the utilization of grain crops to produce biofuels?

Mr. President:

Distinguished Ministers and Delegates:

What measures will this Council adopt against a member state which is committing acts that are causing grave suffering and seriously endangering physical or mental integrity, such as the blockade of Cuba, typified as genocide in Article 2, Paragraphs B and C, of the 1948 Geneva Convention?

Thank you very much.

Operation Surf

by Deisy Francis Mexidor, Marina Menéndez and Jean Guy Allard.
Source: Granma International, 10 March 2011.

• Clandestine networks and illegal Internet connections, part of a subversive plot against the island that the CIA has already implemented in other countries • This story recounts the work of men and women in Cuban State Security who, together with other citizens like Cuban Dalexi González Madruga, have confirmed that the intentions of the enemies of the Revolution remain the same: to destroy it.

Mission Milagro

The miracle of sight
by Edward Ellis, 30 July 2010.
Source: Correo del Orinoco International.

The Venezuelan and Cuban health care program, which performs free eye surgery for people around Latin America has treated over 1 million patients since 2004, according to data released by the Venezuelan government earlier this month.

The social program, known as Mission Miracle, is one of the many agreements signed between Cuba and Venezuela in the area of health care. Completely free of charge, the program provides vision related surgery to low-income individuals who would otherwise not have the fi nancial resources for these operations. “Providing medical attention is a very important act”, said Noris Villalonga, Coordinator of Mission Miracle in the Venezuelan states of Lara, Yaracuy, and Portuguesa. “I think the value of providing the people with excellent care where there is quality and humanity is immeasurable”.

According to offi cial statistics, the exact number of patients treated by the mission has reached 1,139,798 with an average of 5,000 operations occuring on a weekly basis in 74 medical centers around Venezuela. “We travel all over our assigned regions to make diagnoses, so that underserved populations receive this attention becuase the costs of eye surgery are very high and there are people that don’t have the resources”, explained Villalonga.

In the first four months of 2010, the Mission has helped 101,112 people recover or repair their vision. The majority of problems treated by the program include pterygium, cataracts, strabismus, retinopathies, glaucoma, myopia, ptosis, and diffi culties in the cornea.

Although the vast majority of surgeries are performed on Venezuelans, residents from other Latin American nations have also benefi ted from the program.

This year, 3,398 operations have been performed on non-Venezuelans. Lida Segura is one of the 5,733 Ecuadorans who has been attended by the mission since 2005. Segura recently received an operation in the state of Lara and spoke about the difference that it will make in her life. “I’m 82 years old and I haven’t been seeing well for some 4 years now in either of my eyes. When I can see well, I will go out again and for this I am really happy. Now I can already see clearer thanks to the operation”, she said. “This has never happened… None of the earlier presidents cared about us, they only denied us assistance”, indicated Segura, thanking Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for the chance to receive the free medical assistance.

Another Ecuadoran patient, Frenda Villasilva, commented on the quality of care and the significance that improved eyesight will have for her. “I have been treated better than in my own home. I’m 65 years old and you can imagine what it means to be able to see well at this age. To have 20-20 vision is to be practically reborn”, she exclaimed. Residents of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay have all benefited from the free operations.

Last week, the Venezuelan National Assembly approved a law laying the groundwork for the program to reach the residents of El Salvador. Salvadoran doctors will evaluate eye-related illnesses and select patients who will then receive treatment in Venezuela.

During its initial phase, Mission Milagro was based in Cuba where 204,000 Venezuelans in need of care were sent for surguries. Venezuela is now the site of the operations where Cuban and Venezuelan doctors work side by side. Of the over 900,000 operations that have been carried out in Venezuela, 570,902 have been performed by Cubans and another 368,643 has been performed by Venezuelans.

“I am a doctor and a health promoter”, declared Coordinator Villalonga. “For me it’s a great responsibility that I must assume with dignity. Health cannot be played with. And to be able to receive such a great number of our Latin American brothers and sisters is the most amazing thing because it integrates us more as a region”.

ALBA rejects imperialist intervention in Libya

Latin American Nations Pledge for Peace in Libya
By Edward Ellis, 11 March 2011.
Source: Correo del Orinoco International

Member states of the Latin American and Caribbean alliance, ALBA, pledged their support last Friday for a peace delegation to intercede in the insurrection currently playing out in the North African country of Libya.

The announcement was made during a meeting of the regional trade alliance’s political council held in Caracas.

In an official statement released last Friday, the integrationist block expressed its commitment to a peaceful solution in Libya and its support for a multilateral delegation to mediate between the warring factions.

“The Political Council of the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America – People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP), shares the global concern for the situation of conflict in Libya with its resulting loss of life and expresses its interest in the achievement of a peaceful and sovereign solution…without foreign interference, guaranteeing the territorial integrity of the country”, the declaration states.

Earlier last week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who visited Libya last October and signed various agreements with the government of Colonel Muamar Gaddafi, offered Venezuela to head up an international delegation in efforts to avoid further bloodshed in the country.

“A big effort needs to be made and we can’t lose a day in forming a commission that goes as soon as possible to Libya”, Chavez said suggesting that former US President, Jimmy Carter, head up the peace delegation.

“Carter could help. I believe he’s a man of goodwill”, the Venezuelan head of state said.

In a letter to Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, the Libyan government has stated its acceptance of Chavez’s proposal, giving Venezuela the green light “to take the necessary measures to select the members [of the delegation] and coordinate their participation in the dialogue”.

Maduro explained on Friday that the South American nation’s intentions are strictly meant to avoid the loss of life and foster a dialogue between belligerent factions.

“This peace initiative has as its central objective the support of the Libyan people, their search for peace, and the overcoming of the armed conflict that the world is unfortunately observing”, he informed.

For its part, ALBA member states also articulated their unanimous opposition to intervention on the part of the United States in the Libyan conflict.

According to its published statement, the regional alliance, “categorically rejects any intervention from NATO or any foreign power in Libya as well as any attempt to take advantage…of the tragic situation in order to justify a war of conquest of the energy and water resources which are the patrimony of the Libyan people”.

ALBA was formed as a Venezuelan initiative in 2004 as a counterbalance to US economic and social hegemony in the Americas.

Its member states include Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The organization’s 11th Presidential Summit is slated to take place in Caracas on April 3.

Alberto Granado dies in Havana

Farewell to the real Poderoso: Alberto Granado dies in Havana aged 88.

by Helen Yaffe, 12 March 2011.

On Saturday 5 March 2011, Alberto Granado, friend of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and the Cuban Revolution, died in Havana, aged 88 years. He was born in Cordoba, Argentina in 1922. At university Granado studied biochemistry and joined student protests against the pro-fascist military regime and subsequent President, General Juan Domingo Peron. In 1943 he was imprisoned for one year. In 1945, Granado and Guevara first met when Guevara, still a teenager, began accompanying Granado’s younger brother to visit him in police detention. The two became friends.

Helen Yaffe with Alberto Granado, 2005.

Granado recalled: ‘Che impressed me from the first time we spoke. He was this young asthmatic, skinny kid. I saw that he had an important capacity to change seemingly negative things into positives, though his personality and intelligence…He had other positive traits which in my twenties I thought were negative and that was being unable to lie.’[1] The friends were united by their appreciation of literature and their desire to travel. ‘We didn’t have political direction, just the spirit of adventure and yearning for knowledge.’

Their friendship made history as their travels through South America from late December 1951 to summer 1952 have been immortalised in print and on screen as ‘the motorcycle dairies’, recounting their journey of discovery in ‘our America’ on Granado’s 500cc motorbike which they named La Poderosa (the powerful one). By exposing them to the poverty, exploitation and domination of imperialist corporations, the trip woke Guevara’s political consciousness and helped shape his future as a revolutionary internationalist. Granado explained: ‘After seeing that life was harder that in the movies, that exploitation was worse than in the books, that discrimination was Machiavellian, we began to feel differently about life.’

Following that trip, Granado stayed in Venezuela working in a leprosarium and before studying in Italy on a scholarship. Meanwhile, on this second journey though Latin America, Guevara met the Cuban Revolutionaries who nicknamed him ‘Che’ and with whom he set sail from Mexico to spark the revolution against the Batista dictatorship, arriving in Cuba in December 1956. According to Granado, ‘Ernesto always held the position that reactionary violence had to be combated with revolutionary violence.’[1]

The Cuban Revolution seized power in January 1959, following which Che took up key positions in the new revolutionary government and was pivotal in radicalising the revolutionary process and adopting socialism. In 1961, having visited Che the previous year, Granado moved to Cuba to live with his family and took up a biochemistry post at the university of Havana’s School of Medicine. Che was then serving as President of the Cuban National Bank. Granado recalls ‘The Che who we saw in the Bank was not the same one who rode on and fell off that motorbike…Ernesto had taken a great leap in his philosophy.’[1] Granado continued to be Che’s close friend and confidant, although he regretted not visiting Che more often in his office once he became the Minister of Industries in February 1962. ‘He told me to visit him at 2am or 4am, but because I knew he went to bed so late I didn’t want to bother him. I just rang him to say “hello”.’[1].

For fifty years Granado remained in Cuba, contributing to the development of science and biochemistry teaching and research. In 1962 he helped found the Faculty of Medicine in Santiago de Cuba in the east of the island. In the late 1980s, he contributed to the establishment of the Cuban Genetics Society. He retired in 1994, but continued his research and to represent the Cuban Revolution at home and abroad. In 2002 to 2003 he assisted filmmaker Walter Salles in the production of The Motorcyle Diaries, based on Che’s diaries and his own account of their journey which was published in 1978.

On 24 February 2005, I had the privilege of interviewing Alberto Granado in Havana during the research for my doctorate and subsequent book publication Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Then aged 82, Granado was full of energy and enthusiasm and for over an hour gave robust and entertaining replies in peculiar Spanish which, reflecting his own internationalist past, combined Argentinian, Venezuelan and Cuban accents. It is in these three countries that, according to his wishes, Granado’s ashes will be spread.

Part of the interview focussed on Che’s economic work and his contribution to socialist political economy. As Minister of Industries, Che had established a unique system of economic management for transition to socialism in an underdeveloped, trade-dependent and blockaded country. Che claimed that his ‘Budgetary Finance System’ was an alternative to the policies operating in the Soviet bloc. According to Granado, on return from a visit to the USSR as early as 1962 Che told him, ‘the Russians are heading for capitalism. They only think about money.’ Granado goes on to affirm: ‘Many people say Che was anti-Soviet, but I say that’s not true. He was anti-lying.’ [1]

I asked Granado what he considered to have been Che’s most important contribution to the Cuban Revolution. He replied, ‘I believe it is the image of the new man. Che was a good lad, intelligent, a medic, poet, guerrilla, studious, brave, hard worker. Many people say, “you have to be like Che”, but I tell young people the most important thing is that Che never told, nor accepted lies. He never allowed someone else to do what was his responsibility. This is what makes the new man.’

Che left Cuba in 1965 and when news of his death in Bolivia reached Alberto, he said: ‘my world collapsed. But what consoles me is to know that every day there are more people who believe in Che.’ Alberto’s death marks the end of a key character in the shaping of Che and consequently, in that course charted by the Cuban Revolution. His humour, generosity and commitment to humanity will be deeply missed.

[1] Interview by Helen Yaffe with Alberto Granado, 24 February 2005, in Havana, Cuba.

Cubans Save More Haitians Infected with Cholera

Source: Cuban News Agency, 7 March 2011.

The work carried out in Haiti by the Cuban Henry Reeve Medical Brigade has represented saving the lives of over 1,100 citizens of that small and impoverished nation, now affected by cholera. The health facilities where the Cuban physicians are working have not reported deaths as a consequence of this disease over the last 43 days, the National Television Newscast (TVC) reported on Friday [4 March 2011].

Over the last six days, the members of the Henry Reeve Brigade have had reports of less than 150 cases of cholera a day, the TVC special correspondent pointed out. He added that cholera cases have decreased in Haiti, although the most recent reports ofthat country’s Health Ministry show that 245,183 persons have suffered from the disease, added the source.

For Cubans, this change of situation implied the return home of the first 150 members of the Brigade, out of the 477 that will gradually return, explained the television report.

In Haiti, the cholera epidemic has caused the death of some 4,620 people and over 245,000 have caught the disease. Over the last two weeks, the number of cases has decreased considerably and a 0.39 mortality rate has been maintained, the lowest since the outbreak of cholera.

Cuba has been offering medical services in Haiti for 11 years now, and it’s presently one of the nations that has helped Haiti the most with health equipment and staff, which has earned it the respect and admiration of both the Haitian authorities and the population.

See also: Haiti: Cholera Death Toll Stands at 4,672 - 10 March 2011.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Privatisation accelerates in Honduras

The Privatization of Natural Resources
Source:, 02 March 2011.
by Ana Rivera, Militant of Los Necios.

The approval by the National Congress of 47 contracts for renewable energy production shows that Honduras has for some time begun the process of privatization.

This process was accelerated by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which proposed the establishment of a Framework Law on Potable Water Service which provides for the possibility of resource concessions to third parties.

The privatization of water resources is for energy or human use introduces a new set of financial requirements that tend to increase water tariffs, leaving out an increasingly large share of the population, which is always the poorest.

The main trend of the world powers and the industrialized countries is the control and monopolization of water sources. The justification is based upon the claim that public services have been unable to meet the basic needs of water for its citizens and therefore have to be passed, concessioned, municipalized, donated or sold to private enterprise.

However, the reality is very different. The cost of water from private companies is L. 160.00 ($8) cubic meter, compared with the cost established by the National Autonomous Service of Aqueducts and Sewerage Service (SANAA), which is L. 5.20. Even with such elevated prices the service is sub-standard.

As Hondurans and citizens of this world we have the right to water and a necessity for live. We also have the right to know of the practices that can help us make better use of the water resource. The government has the responsibility to ensure that this resourced is used for the benefit of the people.

Organizations in the region northwest of the country, who see their natural resources under threat of privatization have stated "It is ethically unacceptable to use the guise of approving concessions of rivers, water sources and other natural resources to promote hydropower when it is done behind the backs of communities and almost all decisions by concealing the true impacts. It is not possible to carry out decisions without consultation of the people. Honduras is a country rich in natural resources, but as Mahatma Gandhi said: "There is enough in the world to meet the needs of all men, but not to satisfy his greed."

Water cannot remain in the hands of the few people who already own many of the lands of our country.

Honduras: FNRP's first National Assembly

Honduras FNRP stronger after first National Assembly
Source:, 28 February 2011.

During two days the first general assembly of the National Front of Popular Resistance of Honduras was celebrated with representation of more than 1500 delegates from all municipalities and more than 300 organizations.

Felix Molina opened his Sunday Resistance radio program saying "...those who used the usual techniques of intimidation lost because they were victims of their own weapons."

The assembly decided almost unanimously not to participate in the next electoral process, to remain as a broad-base political and social front and to ratify José Manuel Zelaya and Juan Barahona as coordinator and deputy coordinator, respectively. The FNRP has consolidated its identity as a national front in political struggle and as a broad-base front in its diversity, removing any doubt of its conversion to a political party or electoral front.

During an interview, Carlos H. Reyes said that "this was an unprecedented meeting in Honduras, an example of debate and addressing the problems fully while understanding that the discussion will continue, this Assembly was neither the beginning nor the end." As for the slogan of unity that was used for the event Reyes said "after this meeting we are more united in diversity ... (...) ... we were concerned about what could happen, but it's been a great success and the FNRP comes out stronger "

Likewise, one of the most important issues was the decision to begin a process of self convening or “autoconvocatoria” for a National Constituent Assembly from June 28th of this year. In this sense, Felix Molina mentioned a number of organizations that have been working on constitutional proposals. "We must work on the contents of the new constitution" said Molina, ensuring that the Broad Base -Movement for Dignity and Justice, The Red COMAL, the Diocese of Western Honduras and the indigenous and black peoples of Honduras have all drafted actual proposals.

The political event was attended by former first lady Xiomara Castro as delegate, who in her speech asked the U.S. government not to interfere in the self determination of the Honduran people to decide about their present, their future and their way of life.

Subsequently, on Sunday, groups of delegates met by “departamento” of origin to choose their representatives for the Mid-term Assembly on March 11 where delegates will begin to work on the major tasks set in this assembly and for which they have to meet every two or three months. Similarly, the delegates for the Mid-term Assembly will elect the new executive committee. Also, many departments decided a line of gender parity such as Santa Barbara which chose 4 women and 4 men for that Assembly.

Several people noted that an issue of identity has been solved, besides the existence of unanimity that only together the resistance will achieve a National Constituent Assembly, the return of people who are in exile and the dismantling of the regime.

The event was certainly historic and full of meaning. It was also a space for political debate of representation that in turn portrays a departure point towards the emancipation of the people in resistance.

The Special Period

Cuba: From The Special Period in Peacetime to Raul
by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, International Institute for the Study of Cuba, London Metropolitan University, 15 May 2008.

Introduction: What was the ‘Special Period’
The term ‘Special Period in Peacetime’ has a curious etymology that explains much about its nature. It is derived from the phrase ‘Special Period in time of war’ which was the name given to the survival plan that Cuba had prepared during the Cold War in case of a conflict breaking out between the Soviet Union and the United States. In such a scenario, Cuba would have been bereft of its supplies and possibly completely blockaded, so there was a contingency plan that would ensure that there would be an orderly response to the scarcities of food and fuel that would ensue. When the Soviet bloc collapsed in 1989-91, Cuba was left without its main trading partners and economic patron, to all intents a situation exactly similar to that which would have happened in a war - hence the adoption of the war contingency plan and it being called by the same name save for the circumstance of ‘peacetime.’

Thus the ‘Special Period’ was initially the putting into action of a planned response to the economic crisis that began in 1991 as a consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the COMECON countries of Eastern Europe. The ‘Special Period’ became institutionalised later to signify the extended period of deprivation that ensued and the long haul out of recession. By being called ‘special’ and a ‘period’ it always conveyed a sense of the ephemeral. Implicit in the name is the notion that the situation is temporary, the bad times would eventually pass.
The economic depression of the Special Period was at its most severe in the early-to-mid 1990s before slightly declining in severity towards the end of the decade. Since the beginning of the present century, and especially since 2003 onwards, Cuba has been experiencing an accelerated economic growth so that while officially the ‘Special Period’ has not been formally ended, it is now increasingly perceived as a thing of the past. Recent economic reforms instituted since Raúl Castro took over the Presidency in February 2008 are indicators that the restraints imposed on the Cuban population to combat the crisis are now no longer necessary. Thus it is increasingly possible to talk of the Special Period in the past tense.

The Special Period was defined primarily by severe shortages of hydrocarbon energy resources in the form of petrol, diesel, and other oil derivatives that occurred when the economic agreements between the oil-rich Soviet Union and Cuba suddenly ceased. Internally, the period was characterised by a reform process that transformed of the Cuban revolutionary programme, bringing changes in the economy, the introduction of sustainable agriculture techniques, a decreased use of energy, the overhaul of industry and a diversification of the economic base. The period also required political changes that introduced some elements of greater democracy and involvement by the Cuban population in decision-making (though not liberal democracy as understood in the West) as well as a relaxation in some aspects of cultural expression. The pursuit or construction of ‘communism’ as a project was officially abandoned and replaced by the goal of “preserving the social gains of socialism” meaning the preservation as much as possible of the welfare state, while making some concessions to private capital in terms of allowing foreign investment and some local private enterprise to operate.

Externally, the Period ushered in a new era of Cuban Foreign relations as the country was forced to seek new markets for its products, develop new export and foreign currency earning industries and attract foreign investment. At the same time, the government found itself having to combat intensified attempts by the United States to isolate the island and extend its embargo.
The Special Period had a number of negative social effects not least the rise in the informal market and an increase in the division between those who had income in hard currency and those who did not. There has been an increase in prostitution and of petty corruption, though how far these phenomena are threatening to the system is debateable as it is possible to argue that these pernicious trends have been exaggerated by the Western media.

What is more certain is to observe that the response of the Cuban population to the crisis can be encapsulated in the phrase ‘flight and fight’. Over the last decade and a half out migration became a survival strategy for many as significant numbers of Cubans have left the island to seek employment. In 1994 there was the famous ‘rafters crisis’ in which some 100,000 Cubans left in makeshift boats. This crisis produced a migration agreement in 1995 with the US in which the US has undertaken to accept 20,000 legal migrants per year. In addition, an illegal traffic in migrants estimated of between 10,000 and 20,000 Cubans per year, adds significantly to the drain on the population. It could be that as many as 500,000 Cubans have left Cuba since 1995, and for the first time in 2006 and 2007 the population of the island has shown a negative growth trend.

On the other hand, it is clear that of the 11.2 million Cubans that have remained on the island, a significant majority have opted to ‘fight’ the privations of the Special Period. There has been a stoical resistance in order to preserve what are perceived to be the gains of the revolution. Radical engagement with the Cuban government has been remarkably evident within broad sections of the working and professional classes. The government has assiduously worked to engage with and incorporate the population, especially the youth. It has been the unity of the population that has remained and the support it has shown for the government that has been the major factor in the survival of the revolutionary process to date.

As the economy continues to grow and the passing of Fidel Castro from power has been taking place, it is becoming evident that the Cuban revolution is entering a new and unprecedented stage. Another reform process, not unlike that which occurred at the start of the ‘Special Period’ has been undertaken under the guidance of Raúl Castro that could have far reaching consequences. At the same time, new challenges are facing the country- in particular the ecological and world food crises that require urgent government attention. This paper will end with a brief summary of the changes being introduced and make some suggestions as to where they might be leading, although a certain prediction is not at this stage either possible or advisable to make.

Cuba holds historic Communist Party (PCC) Congress

written for RATB by Louis Brehony, 4 March 2011.
A true Revolution renews itself continually; is self-critical; learns from it mistakes; never ceases to promote ethical values; has confidence in its youth, which have never let it down’ – Alberto Nunez Betancourt, Granma, 4 February 2011.
National meetings of political parties are nothing new. Every year in Britain the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties hold pompous, self-congratulatory conferences aimed at rallying their wealthy supporters and upholding their unequal imperialist system. When we are told that this is what ‘politics’ is about, many working class people just switch off.

But in Cuba, a socialist country, things are different. April 2011 sees a meeting that millions of ordinary Cubans have been discussing for months, the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). The congress will make important decisions affecting the daily lives of people in Cuba, building on the successes of the Cuban revolution and discussing the problems of building socialism in a world dominated by capitalism.

Challenges of building socialism
Since the revolution in 1959 Cuba has faced invasion, occupation, assassination attempts against its leaders, imprisonment of its supporters, terrorist attacks, political hostility, massive funding of a right wing ‘opposition’, the downfall of important allies and a campaign of economic warfare carried on by 10 successive US presidents. But the Cuban revolution is fighting on.

Despite the massive crisis gripping world capitalism and badly affecting the oppressed, so-called ‘Third world’ countries, Cuba’s economy and work productivity grew by 4.2% in 2010 and average earnings rose by 4.4%. Cubans continue to feel the benefits of socialism in social welfare, most famously through free, top quality healthcare and education. The state built 32,748 new houses last year – compare this to Britain where Labour and Con-Dem governments have virtually abolished council housing for the working class.

Nevertheless Cuba faces massive challenges as an underdeveloped, socialist country surviving in a sea of decaying capitalism. At a meeting of the National Assembly in December 2010 Cuba's Minister for Planning and the Economy, Marino Murillo spoke about external factors having a severe impact on the Cuban economy, particularly the brutal and unrelenting US blockade. Cuba has also lost nearly $2.2 billion since 1998 due to natural disasters – in 10 years 16 hurricanes hit Cuba, and there have been severe droughts in recent years.

However, Cubans are determined to build an efficient economy in the face of all these challenges, by becoming more productive and becoming less reliant on imports. Murillo referred to inadequacies in the national economy, mainly deficiencies in food production, investments and the replacement of imports, among others. In the food industry, he said, ‘there is a knock-on effect, that if we are not capable of making it more efficient and producing what is anticipated in the plan, then we will have to import $1.6 billion in foodstuffs in the coming year.’ He also pointed out that although exports increased by 41.5% (below what had been planned), Cuba missed out on $120 million from nickel and $65 million from sugar because of inadequate investment and production. These are important social and economic issues that affect all Cubans and will be discussed by the PCC Congress in April 2011.

The Communist Party in Cuba
The PCC was founded in 1965 following an intense period of debate, and involved organisations which had played crucial roles in the revolutionary struggle, including Fidel Castro’s 26 July Movement, the Revolutionary Directorate and the Popular Socialist Party. By 1969 it had 55,000 members. Today it has around 800,000 members out of a population of 11.5 million. The PCC provides important social and political leadership alongside its youth organisation, the Union of Young Communists (UJC). It does not stand in elections. In fact around a third of those elected to the National Assembly of People’s Power are not in the PCC.

In 1975, more than 6 million people took part in debates to create a new Cuban constitution, making changes to 60 of the proposed articles in the original draft. On 15 February 1976 the new constitution was approved in a free, direct and secret ballot in which 98% of the electorate voted. 97.7% voted in favour of the new, socialist constitution which gave a leading role to the Communist Party. Article 5 states:
‘The Communist Party of Cuba, a follower of Marti’s ideas and of Marxism-Leninism, and the organised vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the highest leading force of society and of the state, which organises and guides the common effort towards the goals of the construction of socialism and the progress toward a communist society.’
In June 2002, following threats from the US government, which called on Cubans to abandon socialism in favour of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, over nine million people demonstrated across Cuba to defend their revolution. It culminated in 8,128,237 Cubans voluntarily signing a document to once again approve the socialist character of the Cuban constitution. The statement said, defiantly,
‘Cuba will never again return to capitalism’.
The Party has been in the vanguard of this fight to build socialism in the face of increased threats from imperialism. In 1991, the 4th Congress of the PCC had to make difficult decisions. The imminent collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe led to Cuba losing 85% of its foreign trade; the Cuban economy shrank by a third in three years, accompanied by a tightening of the US blockade. Three million people took part in debates before the Congress, where in a rousing and dramatic speech, Fidel Castro said:
‘We must stick to the facts, and, simply, the socialist camp has collapsed, entire countries have been swallowed up by other countries, the working class has lost power and countries have begun returning to capitalism…Can we suppose that those facts don’t influence our country?...Has the revolution taken place inside a glass case, isolated from the rest of the world and its problems? Can we possibly think that way?’
To survive the ‘Special Period’ of economic crisis, the Party Congress called for special measures to be taken, including allowing food markets with some autonomy from the state. The 5th Congress in 1997 agreed to extend tourism and some limited foreign investment. But Cuba’s health and education systems would not be threatened. Not a single school or hospital, or any other public services were closed in these harsh years.

By 2004 Cuba was able to announce a new law taking the US dollar out of circulation and the economy was on the rise, with Cubans feeling the benefits of higher wages, better transport, cheaper and more efficient appliances such as fridges, and some improvements in housing. Despite the massive shortages that Cuba faces, and with the blockade still in place, socialism is still providing for the Cuban people.

History in the making
"Unity is forged and reaped in the broadest socialist democracy and in open discussion with the people of all issues, no matter how sensitive they may be." Raul Castro
In meetings in communities across Cuba in the past few months, more than six million people have been taking part in analysing the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution. The text contains plans for important policies which all Cubans have a right to debate and affect or change. These include topics ranging from ‘economic management’ and ‘pricing policy’ to ‘quality and rigour of teacher training process’ and ‘transport policy’. Unlike capitalist society, politics in Cuba is not something reserved for an elite of highly paid professional politicians but is seen as the right and responsibility of all. As Alberto Nunez Betancourt wrote in the PCC newspaper Granma on 4 February,
‘The economic battle is essential because our quality of life depends on it… The analysis of the Draft Guidelines will be the sole theme of the Party Congress in April.’
These are hard times for any underdeveloped country, let alone a socialist one striving for a newer, fairer kind of society. But Cuba continues to inspire millions in Venezuela, Bolivia and across Latin America. There are now millions fighting the injustices of capitalism in North Africa and the Middle East. The Cuban revolution, led by a Communist Party that involves millions in shaping their own future, shows that there is an alternative.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Peones del Imperio/Pawns of imperialism

Broadcast in Cuba on Saturday, 26 February 2011, on Cubavision and Cubavision International TV channels (the latter in English), this important documentary Razones de Cuba (Cuba’s Reasons) third episode, under the title Peones del Imperio (Empire’s Pawns), discloses information about counter-revolutionary terrorist groups sponsored by the United States.

Interview with Carlos Serpa Maceira

There will always be an Emilio.
Source: RealCuba's blog
by Deisy Francis Mexidor, 27 February 2011.

Shortly before this interview was published he was considered the “spokesman of Ladies in White” as well as the “independent journalist” who had issued the highest number of reports for the anti-Cuban media. His statements reveal that the US subversive policy against Cuba is still in place.

“Greetings to the audience of Radio República. Broadcasting from Havana, this is Carlos Serpa Maceira, director of the Union of Free Journalists of Cuba…”

The surprise has been huge: Carlos Serpa Maceira, the “independent journalist who issued the highest number of reports for the anti-Cuban media in 2009 is simply ‘Emilio’, an agent of Cuba’s State Security.

The organs of the Ministry of the Interior decided to reveal his identity, which is an irrefutable evidence of the work carried out by the counterrevolutionary groupings in the country, disclosing their mentors and the sick pursuit by successive US administrations to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. To this end, they direct, finance, support, protect and encourage a kind of dissidence that has no legitimacy in the Island.

Where were you born?

I was born in Matanzas, in Cárdenas, the hometown of the students’ leader José Antonio Echeverría. I was born one October 10th, the same day when, back in 1868, the Father of our Homeland launched the cry “independence or death” at the ‘La Demajagua’ sugar mill. That is why I was named after him, Carlos Manuel.

But you are specially attached to the Isle Youth, aren’t you?

I live there and my daughter was born there. She is already 18 years old. The Isle of Youth is part of my history and is in my heart.

In what context ‘Emilio’ was born?

‘Emilio’ is my nom de guerre inside the State Security. That was the name of my uncle, who raised me. I thought that by taking his name I could best honor his memory and all what he always fought for. He fought during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Emilio, the agent, started to accomplish missions since the year 2001.

Whom did you contact back then?

I contacted the so called Comité Pinero Pro Derechos Humanos, which was then presided over by Hubert Rodríguez Tudela, who is currently in the United States. Afterwards I joined the Fundación Isla de Pinos de Derechos Humanos y Fomento Territorial, another counterrevolutionary grouping that was based there, of which I became a sort of “spokesman”. It was then when I started to write my first reports for Radio Marti.

Afterwards I contacted the Unión de Periodistas y Escritores Cubanos Independientes, an alleged press agency whose profile was similar to that of the aforementioned groupings. This was headed by Fara Armenteros, who is currently residing in the United States too.

How did that contact take place?

I used to work as a state inspector. I was first approached by some counterrevolutionary individuals, which I immediately reported to the State Security. From that moment on a decision was made for me to engage in this mission.

How did you make it to Havana?

Given the very complexity of the missions I was carrying out, I was instructed to move to the capital of the country. Thus I was able to expand my contacts with the counterrevolution’s world.

Based on your experience, what is your opinion about this so called internal ‘opposition’ or dissidence?

The counterrevolution has sold its soul to the devil. They are mercenaries. They are no patriots, nor do they have any principles. Their minds are pinned on the dollars and on campaigning for profits. I will give you one example: Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez), is a man who has become extremely famous abroad.

If he says he will convene a counterrevolutionary march anywhere in Cuba, he will automatically receive money for that.

From here they report that the “demonstration” was attended by 150 or 200 persons –which is not true, because whenever he has done things like that, the only ones in attendance have been himself plus two other provocateurs. But then, what does Antúnez do with that money? Well, he devotes himself to having an easy life.

You have such cases as Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, who receives bundles of money –and we know who is Martha Beatriz-; Elizardo Sánchez, Juan Carlos González Leyva –the latter is the executive secretary of the self-proclaimed Consejo de Relatores de los Derechos Humanos en Cuba.

González Leyva has taken advantage of his hireling condition to obtain personal benefits. For example, by means of the Refugees Program of the US Interest Section, he has facilitated the departure from the country for some women with whom he had an affair. Likewise, under the pretense of recharging the phone cards of some inmates, he has asked the counterrevolutionary organizations based in Miami for money, which he then steals for himself.

It is obvious that none of these so called dissidents have any moral. They are only moved by the lust for money. Besides, many of those linked to these groups have even asked for the tightening of the blockade against our homeland.

They came to me once saying that they could run a blog for me and that they will name it ‘El Guayacán Cubano’. They said to me in very clear terms that they wanted this blog to be similar to the one ran by counterrevolutionary Yoani Sánchez, so that I could gain some money and make a living out of it.

And, how was this supposed to work?

I was explained that, through the blog, supporters will be requested to contribute some money, and they further emphasized this: “we are going to run the blog El Guayacán Cubano, and you ask supporters to contribute some money so that you could make a living out of it.”

The person who really runs this blog is Enrique Blanco, a counterrevolutionary based in Puerto Rico, who belongs to Operación Liborio, a project aimed at financing the so called opposition from abroad.

He has uploaded several reports in the blog as if he were me. If for any reason I was unable to attend any given activity, which would be usually associated with the Ladies in White, he would establish direct contact with them and draft the report.

Since you made reference to the information issue, how difficult it is to organize a media campaign against Cuba?

It is not difficult. In my case I only have to get in touch with Radio Marti and they immediately call me back. I could right now invent some piece of news and without further confirmation or verification they will air it.

Recently I fabricated a whole atmosphere around the trial against a counterrevolutionary lady. I said that on my way out from home, I had passed by the headquarters of Havana’s People’s Provincial Court and that I had seen a huge display of State Security agents. I added that I was also able to see some foreign journalists there, although they were not able to catch sight of me…

I also ‘embellished’ the report a little bit by adding the story that the Security agents had managed to recognize me and that I had been pushed into a car and that, under severy threats, I had been driven to a nearby police station.

When I called Radio Marti the person who answered the phone wanted to get the ideas straight: “When you say you have been threatened you must be specific as to the types of threats”. I told the person not to worry, that I would do it that way. Thus I fabricated my piece of news.

Radio Marti does not confirm anything. The point is to denigrate Cuba for whatever reason. After I conveyed that information, I was asked to broadcast the report in the news shows.

In all media campaigns against Cuba, the scripts always come from abroad. It is broadly built on lies, stories of false arrests, incidents that have never existed but are fabricated.

Which are the organizations that lend themselves to magnifying those campaigns abroad?

With absolute certainty the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and Reporters sans frontières (RSF). These are two organizations that round the clock, seven days a week, are ready to promote any disparagement campaign against our country.

How does the Refugee Program of the US Interest Section work?

The Refugee Program of the US Interest Section is aimed at providing evidence that there is an alleged group of persons that are leaving Cuba due to politically motivated persecutions. Most of the “internal work” carried out by the counterrevolutionary elements here is based on that.

When coming to the Refugee Section, these persons are required to provide evidence of the harassment they are subject to by the Cuban government; they invent “arguments” to be able to get a visa.

The manipulation of the refugee category is clearly evidenced by the number of visas granted for this concept every year. However, when many of those individuals get a resident status in the United States, they come back to Cuba as visitors without being bothered or arrested by the Police or the State Security, something that does not happen to those who are truly refugees in other countries.

In order to have a clear idea of this manipulation, intended to offer the world a distorted image of the Cuban reality, you may consider that only in the year 2009, the number of visas granted amounted to 4 646, and that in the year 2008, a total of 5 093 persons traveled to the United States.

During the provocations orchestrated by the Ladies in White in March 2010, one of those women who belonged to the Ladies in Support group told me the very first day: “Serpa, I need you to help me with some evidence, because I am scheduled for an interview at the Refugee Section next week”. She was looking for a political “recommendation”. They are very much after the pictures showing them in the marches, because the Refugee Program demands, among other things, that they are part of the news published by the Internet, so their work is based on that. Believe me, any of these women go there, carry some pictures…and that is considered a solid evidence by the US Interest Section.

The US Interest Section is not the only one that supports the internal counterrevolution. What about other embassies?

Here in Havana there is a select group of embassies of the European Union member countries that are openly supporting subversion, and I can mention some.

The diplomat Jacek Padee was attached to the embassy of Poland. He was in charge of Political Affairs and he was frequently present in these activities.

Before concluding his mission here, Mr. Padee was given the task of picking up the videos I had taken in several locations of Cuba to produce a documentary film about counterrevolutionary Orlando Zapata Tamayo. He sent those videos from his computer to Pedro Corso, a ringleader of the Institute of the Historical Memory against Totalitarianism based in Miami.

The Netherlands embassy usually supplies resources to the counterrevolution, particularly stationery. It also provides them with access to the Internet.

The embassy of the Czech Republic supplies medicines to these groupings; they summon the “dissidents” to its headquarters in order to document the human rights “violations”. Mr. Pete Brandel, an official of the Czech embassy, had an outstanding role in these activities. The Swedish embassy is also involved in these actions.

The Counselor of the German embassy, Volker Pellet, adopted a flagrant conspiratorial attitude in all these actions. He took to the streets to support the Ladies in White, as part of his provocative activity.

That is to say, in all these ill-intended plans against our people and its Revolution, some European embassies in Havana have lent themselves to this dirty game.

Regarding the way in which the US Interest Section works, I can refer to the behavior of two of their officials: Kathleen Duffy and Lowell Dale Lawton.

In one of the so called literary tea gatherings that were usually sponsored by the Ladies in White, Laura Pollán, the ringleader of the group, asked me to take a video of the moment when she is thanking the Cuban American National Foundation for the support given to the group.

I shot the video and talked to Mrs. Duffy, who told me: “I have already asked my superiors for permission”, and using her personal computer she saved the videos I shot in a thumb drive. She opened up a Youtube account on my behalf and uploaded the video.

During the events occurred in March, Laura Pollán instructed me to convey some messages to that official, because she was the one who monitored the alleged human rights violations.

So has been the case with Lowell Dale Lawton. He asked me to make an evaluation of the actions carried out by Ladies in White, especially after the rejection and criticisms he received from the media after his participation in those provocative actions.

Lawton has received through e-mails the photos and reports he himself has requested from me. Exactly the day after the counterrevolutionary march organized in Miami by Gloria Estefan I visited the US Interest Section, and Lawton came up to see me at one of the Internet centers they have, saying that he wanted to speak to me alone to ask me some information about what had occurred on March 25 during the provocation orchestrated that day. The issue of those women has been no doubt very much manipulated. They have a green light at the US Interest Section.

Furthermore, those women have so far orchestrated all of their provocations because they have felt the protection granted by the Cuban police force and the members of the Ministry of the Interior. They know these forces would never allow the occurrence of any tragic incident, which is what these people have been looking for.

The US Interest Section follows all these actions very closely. They not only support the subversive activities of the Ladies in White but those of all other groupings.

Right now, after the decision adopted by the Cuban government to release the counterrevolutionary inmates, I think they are lacking the proper grounds to carry out their provocative actions. Therefore, I have realized they are very much focused on exerting pressures on some Ladies in White, among them Laura, so that they abandon the idea of leaving the country. They are putting up a media campaign whereby they are telling the world that Cuba is resorting to forceful deportation.

Here you can see how contradictory their policy against the Island is. They first encourage people to emigrate in an attempt to show that the Revolution lacks support, and now they do not want the counterrevolutionaries they themselves fabricated and encouraged to leave the country because then they will be left without any actors to carry out their subversive plans.

Who is really Laura Pollán?

Laura Pollán was a teacher by profession. After she got involved with the Ladies in White she has given herself airs of prominence and lust for money. There have been some clashes between her and the other ladies of the group for that reason.

She is a close friend of Eulalia San Pedro, known as Laly, a member of the Cuban American National Foundation. Eulalia is the one who sends funds, on behalf of the CANF, for all the provocative actions.

By the way, when I started to work as the “journalist” of the Ladies in White, in my reports for Radio Marti and other media and Internet websites, I usually mentioned the very frequent calls made by Eulalia to Laura during every literary tea gathering, until one day, when Laura Pollán herself and Miriam Leyva, another lady who used to belong to the group, asked me (HE SMILES) not to mention any more Eulalia’s name or CANF in my reports, because that was a terrorist organization and they were afraid that any given day they could appear in the Round Table TV program.

Laura is a manipulative, very cunning person. She has been involved in illicit businesses. Her name appears in the VIP list of the US Interest Section, which is a guarantee that she will be received either in the morning or in the afternoon, no matter at what time she may arrive at that place.

Who provides the channel for the reception of the supplies sent to the counterrevolution?

The main channel is the US Interest Section, which has no qualms about violating the Vienna Convention. I would dare to assert that about 80 per cent of those supplies are conveyed through the diplomats of the US Interest Section.

A lot of boxes have been sent for the Ladies in White from Miami by counterrevolutionary Frank Hernández Trujillo, who belongs to the group in support to the “dissidence”.

The US Interest Section has distributed laptop computers and other stuff. Curiously enough, whenever they hand over something, they require the signature of the persons who receive it, as if it were an asset borrowed from any state-owned company. As far as I know they do that because in case these persons leave the country, they are required to give back what is not theirs.

Who are the terrorists with whom they keep the strongest links?

In addition to the CANF, they keep links with Horacio Salvador García Cordero, who belongs to the so called Consejo por la Libertad de Cuba. He works with Luis Zúñiga Rey.

They also keep links with Ángel Pablo Polanco Torrejón, who has been promoting here a counterrevolutionary project called Iniciativa Pro-Cambio, precisely under the instructions given by Horacio and Zúñiga.

Can you describe some of the facilities received by the members of the “opposition” who have access to the US Interest Section?

In my opinion, one of the most striking things is to see all what they do so that this counterrevolution has access to the Internet. They have put up three Internet navigation centers inside the US Interest Section. There is one upstairs in the Consulate, called Eleonor Centre, and there is also the Lincoln Centre and the Benjamin Franklin Centre. They call them Centros de Recursos Informativos (Information Resource Centres) of the US Interest Section, which are directed by the Press and Culture Bureau of the USIS.

There they distribute counterrevolutionary literature and, for example, they reproduce as many as 100 copies of The Miami Herald newspaper, so that it could be distributed among the counterrevolutionaries. They also make these materials available to any person who may go there for any migration procedure.

I continue to see the US Interest Section as the “General Headquarters” from which the tactics and the strategy of the counterrevolution are designed. The members of the counterrevolution are trained and instructed there. They are allowed to print leaflets, statements on any issue, reproduce the materials they afterwards distribute in that same place to their own officials.

What about you? How do you access the US Interest Section?

As they did with many others, I was allowed to go every Wednesday, but when they recognized me as the “journalist” of Ladies in White, they also authorized me to go there every Monday. Sometimes I have been allowed to enter the US Interest Section and work there.

Do you currently hold any special category given by the US Interest Section?

I got a US visa. The US government welcomed me through the Refugee Program, given my “counterrevolutionary” background. They decided I was being “persecuted” for my work as an “independent journalist”.

In what year was that?

On November 16, 2009. By the way, the visa was arranged by some European Union embassies here in Havana, specifically by Ingemar Cederberg, ex Minister Counselor of the Swedish embassy.

How is a “dissident” fabricated?

I am a fabricated dissident. My case is an example of the way in which it is possible to make people abroad believe there is a “huge” opposition and proliferation of “anti-Castro” groups, as they are usually called.

In this little world, you may find me as a member, executive, spokesman…of virtually phantom groups, which exist only in papers. However, internally, the people do not even know these groups exist because they are not rooted in society; much less do they have followers.

I’ll be more explicit: I am the national coordinator of the cultural and civic project Julio Tang Texier, financed from Miami by the terrorist Ángel de Fana Serrano, who belongs to the organization Plantados por la Democracia, who has already served a 20 years imprisonment sentence in Cuba for organizing terrorist activities. But right now, he likes to make out he is a pacifist, an alleged “human rights” advocate.

I am the director of the independent library Ernest Hemingway; the director of the Union of Free Journalists of Cuba –an “organization” that is made up by another five persons, all of them strongly interested in leaving the country. That “Union of Free Journalists” is also financed from Miami, in this case by the Directorio Democrático Cubano (DDC).

I was the representative of Brigada 2506 , through which I received a mobile phone and funds for the organization of provocative actions in our homeland and…well…I am the correspondent of the magazine Misceláneas de Cuba, which is printed in Sweden and is directed by counterrevolutionary Alexis Gaínza.

I have been appointed spokesman and member of the board of the so called Frente Nacional de Resistencia y Desobediencia Cívica in Cuba, whose economic support comes from the DDC, Mujeres Anti Represión (MAR) por Cuba and other groups based in Miami which are part of the self-proclaimed Asamblea de la Resistencia.

As if this were not enough, I was given the task of serving as the national liaison of presumptive Opposition Governments which are directed by Enrique Blanco from Puerto Rico, the one that runs my blog.

That is how a “dissident” or a member of an alleged opposition is fabricated. Today they hide under the guise of independent librarians, independent journalists, “human rights” advocates”…

What do you think is the main strength of the Cuban Revolution?

It is that unity that has existed between the people and its Revolution; that unity around our invincible Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and Raúl; the soundness of the ideas that we have historically defended.

At some point I thought that while it is true I could not be a combatant of the Rebel Army, or a member of the clandestine struggle against Batista, and I did not take up a weapon to fight the mercenaries who landed through Bay of Pigs, or was not a militia detached to his trench during the Missiles Crisis, nor I had the opportunity to fight in Angola of Ethiopia, life had given me the opportunity to accomplish this mission and being in the line of fire for the defense of our people.

No doubt, there are still those who continue underestimating us, but one thing is very clear: The Cuban State Security organs have been, are, and will continue to be present at the right time and place. The enemies of the Revolution, inside and outside our country, have not just learned the lesson, because always, when least expected, there will be an Emilio.

Recuadro: Tita, your father is not a traitor.
Since I started to do this work, I have lost many friends. Therefore, when I was told that my identity would be revealed I first felt very happy, because that was a gift for my daughter Tita. She would know that her father is not a traitor.

I remember once, when she was younger, Rolando Jiménez Posada, a counterrevolutionary who is in prison right now, came to see me at my home. My daughter came across the idea of taking a piece of chalk and writing on the floor of the car porch a phrase that read: “Freedom for the Five Heroes”; and Jiménez Posada told me: “Tell me something: Is that what you are teaching your daughter?”

My friends will know now that I never changed sides. But at the same time I am sorry that my identity is revealed because thanks to my work I was able to promote to important positions inside the counterrevolution and I could have continued to be of some use.