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(This article is the first of seven pieces dedicated to the Cuban revolution and its defeat of the US imperialist invasion 50 years ago, April 17-19, 1961, and embraces my half-century struggle.)
I. Sharing Che’s Activism
Che’s penetrating eyes stare at me seriously as I write about him. It is strange that I have never written about him before, other than to quote him. Perhaps it is because Che has been too large a figure for me to tackle? I don’t know. This writing, though, is a commemoration of Che and of my 50 years in our common struggle.
Ernesto Guevara was my greatest personal inspiration and Cuba’s revolution was my greatest collective inspiration—along with the Vietnamese resistance fighters. Nicknamed Che, an Argentine expression, he lived and died as he preached. Che’s internationalist ideals, his consequent actions, his integrity and charm, have influenced my life all these decades.
Evidence of Quid Pro Quo with Guerrilla, Paramilitary Groups Contradicts 2007 Plea Deal
Colombian Military Officials Encouraged, Facilitated Company's Payments to Death Squads
More than 5,500 Pages of Chiquita Records Published Online by National Security Archive
March 2000 notes of Chiquita Senior Counsel Robert Thomas indicate awareness that payments were for security services.
By John Grant
“And we never really face what is in front of us, never face what is inside our gutless language of cartels and drug lords and homeland security, never face that forces are unleashed on the land with names like poverty, a fix, murder, and despair, and our tools cannot master these forces. …Things happen and no one says much. Then after a while, no one admits the thing even happened.”
--Charles Bowden on life in Ciudad Juarez
US Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual resigned last week after cables he sent were released by WikiLeaks suggesting he thought Mexican police and military forces were crippled by corruption.
Truth was no defense in Pascual’s case.
Warns Any Radiation Exposure Is Unsafe
Washington, DC - March 19, 2011 – Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) today called for a nationwide
moratorium on new nuclear reactors in the United States and a suspension of operations at the nuclear reactors with a similar design as those involved in the disaster in Japan, as well as those on fault lines. PSR cited the medical risks associated with any level of radiation exposure regardless of how small. Lower doses result in less chance of harm than higher doses, but any dose level can put an individual at risk.
By Ron Ridenour
The Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) has set April 2011, the 50th anniversary of the revolution’s victory over the US-Cuban exile mercenary force at the Bay of Pigs, for its 6th Congress. I follow this process with special attention, in part, because I participated in the PCC’s 4th congress preparatory discussion, in 1991.
Like millions of others around the world, I feel the Cuban revolution was (and is) fought for me too. Cubans, including their leader Fidel Castro, help make us feel so. For instance, as recounted in the bookCastro's Cuba, Cuba's Fidel Fidel told Lee Lockwood: “Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies... Our country is really the whole world, and all the revolutionaries of the world are our brothers.”
State Department documents published by Wikileaks evidence Washington's plans to "contain" Venezuela's influence in the region and increase efforts to provoke regime change
By Eva Golinger
A substantial portion of the more than 1600 State Department documents Wikileaks has published during the past two weeks refer to the ongoing efforts of US diplomacy to isolate and counter the Venezuelan government.
Since Hugo Chavez won the presidency for the first time in 1998, Washington has engaged in numerous efforts to overthrow him, including a failed coup d'etat in April 2002, an oil industry strike that same year, worldwide media campaigns and varios electoral interventions. The State Department has also used its funding agencies, USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to channel millions of dollars annually to anti-Chavez NGOs, political parties, journalists and media organizations in Venezuela, who have been working to undermine the Chavez administration and force him from power. When these interventionist policies have been denounced by the Chavez government and others, Washington has repeatedly denied any efforts to isolate or act against the Venezuelan head of state.
Nonetheless, the State Department cables published by Wikileaks clearly evidence that not only has Washington been actively funding anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela, but it also has engaged in serious efforts during the past few years to convince governments worldwide to assume an adversarial position against President Hugo Chavez.
Chavez Given Enabling Law Power - by Stephen Lendman
On December 17, parliament gave Chavez enabling law power in response to torrential rains and severe floods that ravaged Venezuelan communities, killed at least 35, destroyed over 5,000 homes, and displaced about 120,000 or more people in 11 of the country's 23 states. He asked for one year. Parliament gave him 18 months to deal with the crisis.
National Assembly President Cilia Flores said it was needed to help "people who are relying" on him to help. "So that they can have their street, their highways, public services, electricity, everything to live in dignity, we are going to hear (their) proposals and concerns," then respond accordingly.
More on how it works below. Despite opposition and media criticism (in Venezuela and America), it's not about seizing dictatorial powers, nor has Chavez done it since taking office in February 1999.
By John Grant
It was the fifteenth time I’d trekked to Columbus, Georgia, to the gate of Fort Benning, for the annual November demonstration to close the School of the Americas.
Since 1989, following the murder of six Jesuit priests in San Salvador by graduates of the SOA, the effort to close it down has been led by Mary Knoll priest Father Roy Bourgeois, a Vietnam veteran and a priest who served in Bolivia during a very violent period hostile to priests sympathetic to the plight of the poor. The school is used to train foreign soldiers.
Bourgeois is a legend for a famous and clever act of civil disobedience. Dressed as an Army colonel, he went on post, climbed a tree and chained himself and a large boom box to the tree outside the barracks where Salvadoran soldiers were sleeping.
New CIA Report Says Fatal Shootdown of Missionary Plane Could Have Been Prevented
5 November 2010 - CIA officials caused the deaths of an American mother and child in a tragic plane shootdown above Peru, according to a blistering new report, by operating a counter-drug program outside the rules for six years and then lying about it to their superiors.
More on Washington's Failed Ecuadorean Coup Attempt - by Stephen Lendman
For nearly two centuries, America dismissively called Latin America its "backyard," the 1823 Monroe Doctrine asserting a declaration of regional dominance, stating:
"....as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any
European powers....we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.... (impossible to) behold....with indifference."
Thereafter, it was all downhill against Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Panama, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Grenada, Venezuela, and at one time or another, practically all other parts of the Americas, directly or indirectly.
Failed Washington-Sponsored Ecuadorean Coup Attempt - by Stephen Lendman
Post-9/11, Washington sponsored four coup d'etats. Two succeeded - mostly recently in Honduras in 2009 against Manuel Zelaya, and in Haiti in 2004 deposing Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Two others failed - in Venezuela in 2002 against Hugo Chavez, and on September 30 in Ecuador against Rafael Correa - so far. Two by Bush, two by Obama with plenty of time for more mischief before November 2012.
From his record so far, expect it. He continues imperial Iraq and Afghanistan wars and occupations. In addition, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon, North Korea, and other countries are targeted, besides deploying CIA and Special Forces armies into at least 75 countries worldwide for targeted assassinations, drone attacks, and other disruptive missions.
Washington D.C. (September 30, 2010) – After the President of Ecuador was injured in what he called an attempted Coup D’état, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to President Obama, urging him to make it clear that the United States will only recognize the democratically elected government of Ecuador led by President Rafael Correa.
The full text of the letter follows:
September 30, 2010
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
I write to express my deep concern over reports of violence and a possible attempted coup in Ecuador.
Reports indicate that violence in the country is at such a level that Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has been hospitalized and that police seem to have also shut down the main airport. It appears as though the government is attempting to stabilize the country without resorting to violence.
Washington, D.C. - There are currently reports of a possible attempted coup d'etat underway in Ecuador. There have been violent protests by police and some elements of the military, reports that President Correa has been injured, and reports that the air force has closed down a number of airports.
The Organization of American States will convene an emergency meeting at 2:30 Eastern Standard Time in Washington D.C., to consider the situation.
Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center For Economic and Policy Research, called upon President Obama to state unequivocally that the United States will not recognize any government other than the democratically elected government of President Rafael Correa.
U.S. Training of Latin American soldiers undermines democracy and U.S. government response to military coup in Honduras emboldened right-wing in Latin America.
As predicted by human rights groups, the U.S. support for the military coup government in Honduras has emboldened right-wing forces and caused more instability throughout the Americas.
President Rafael Correa is currently in the military hospital being treated for tear gas inhalation, about 45 minutes ago, he spoke live on the radio. He has made a statement that the integrity of the democratic revolution needs to be defended peacefully. He also said if he is assassinated, that he blames the opposition. He said that there are police trying to get to him through the windows and the roof of the hospital.
Once a favorite son of our very own Terrorist Training School, still in business, only the names change even of the training camp:
a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, is lauded as a U.S. military training "success story.
Ambassador Cited Accused Colombian General's Reliance on Death Squads
"Systematic" Support of Paramilitaries "Pivotal to his Military Success"
Infamous General a "Not-So-Success" Story of U.S. Military Training
Posted - September 29, 2010
Honduran Repression Continues Unabated - by Stephen Lendman
Earlier articles explained the June 28, 2009 coup and aftermath, the latest accessed through the following link:
For Hondurans, the event marked a new beginning, not an end to their dark history. Widespread killings and human rights abuses followed and a sham November election, installing Porfirio (Pepe) Lobo Sosa president, a US-friendly stooge heading a fascist regime. The nation's military is firmly in control against popular resistance, street violence and death squad terror its repressive tools. The Obama administrative stands firmly supportive. It blessed the coup, the new government and provides aid, all for hardline rule, none for popular needs.
Political Killings in Colombia - by Stephen Lendman
Colombia, America's closest South American ally, is a corrupted narco-state, a repressive death squad faux democracy, threatening regional neighbors, and reigning terror against trade unionists, human rights workers, campesinos, pro-democracy organizations, independent journalists, and legitimate resistance groups like the FARC-EP. Established in 1964, James Petras calls it the "longest standing, largest peasant-based guerrilla movement in the world," persisting valiantly for decades.
Thanks to Plan Colombia and other support, the state is heavily militarized, more than ever now serving as Washington's land-based aircraft carrier against regional targets, including neighboring Venezuela.
Posted – August 11, 2010 - In Response Uruguayan Security Forces Launched Death Squads to Hunt and Kill Insurgents
Washington, D.C., August 11, 2010 - Documents posted by the National Security Archive on the 40th anniversary of the death of U.S. advisor Dan Mitrione in Uruguay show the Nixon administration recommended a “threat to kill [detained insurgent] Sendic and other key [leftist insurgent] MLN prisoners if Mitrione is killed.” The secret cable from U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers, made public here for the first time, instructed U.S. Ambassador Charles Adair: “If this has not been considered, you should raise it with the Government of Uruguay at once.”
Chavez has threatened to cut off oil sales to US if US and Colombia attack Venezuela.
And US and South Korea seem intent on provoking North Korea into a casus belli.
United for Peace & Justice
The outrageous announcement that 46 US warships and
7000 Marines are heading for Costa Rica to "fight
drugs" should alert all peace and justice organizations
to the real significance of this action. Such a move
will raise legitimate alarm in the Caribbean, Central
and Latin America of the real intent of the United
States and react accordingly.
Regardless whether this was done with the connivance of
the Costa Rica government or not, as peace and justice
activists, we are opposed to the extension of US
military force, especially, at these times, when our
Brothers and Sisters in the South are moving forward in
their struggle for national sovereignty and
independence from US influence.
Endorse the "Declaration Against US Military Forces in
Costa Rica, the Declaration against Invasion and
- We the undersigned and organizations of our support
On June 28, 2009, while he slept, dozens of Honduran soldiers stormed President Manuel Zelaya's residence, arrested him at gunpoint, and exiled him to Costa Rica, in violation of the 1982 Constitution, stating:
"No Honduran may be expatriated nor delivered by the authorities to a foreign state," nor may a democratically elected leader be deposed, evidence showing Washington's involvement and support, coordination handled by US Ambassador Hugo Llorens and Thomas Shannon, Jr., current US Ambassador to Brazil, then Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
In advance and thereafter, Washington choreographed the entire process, blamed Zelaya for his illegal removal, opposed his return, backed the coup d'etat regime and sham November 2009 election under martial law, elevating fascist Porfirio (Pepe) Lobo Sosa to the presidency on January 27, 2010, now the Obama administration's man in Honduras, succeeding interim leader, Roberto Micheletti.
Under him and Sosa, Hondurans have endured death squad terror at the hands of the military whose officers from captain on up have been trained for decades at the infamous School of the Americas (SOA), renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISEC), where they're taught the latest ways to kill, main, torture, oppress, exterminate poor and indigenous people, overthrow democratically elected governments, assassinate targeted leaders, suppress popular resistance, and work cooperatively with Washington to solidify fascist rule, intolerant of democratic freedoms or leaders not backing ruling class interests, using deep repression to enforce them.
Venezuela has nationalised a fleet of oil rigs owned by a US-based company which had been shut down in a dispute over payments.
In a statement the Venezuelan government said that seizing control of the 11 rigs was the only way to get them restarted after a year of idleness.
The move comes as Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's socialist president, pushes ahead with a policy of energy nationalisation as he seeks to expand the state's role in the economy.
He has also taken over assets in telecommunications, power, steel and banking.
The fleet of oil rigs belonging to Oklahoma-based energy firm Helmerich and
Payne have been idled for months following a dispute over payments by the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA.
Announcing the takeover of the rigs Rafael Ramirez, the Venezuelan oil minister, said companies that refused to put their rigs into production were part of a plan to weaken Chavez's government,
"There is a group of drill owners that has refused to discuss tariffs and services with PDVSA and have preferred to keep this equipment stored for a year," Ramirez told reporters in the oil producing state of Zulia.
"That is the specific case with US multinational Helmerich and Payne." Read more.
On April 13, 2002, an event occurred in Venezuela which was as world-historical for South America as the fall of the Berlin Wall was for Eastern Europe: a U.S.-backed coup against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela collapsed. The Bush Administration's efforts to promote the coup failed, in the face of popular resistance in Venezuela, and diplomatic resistance in the region.
Until quite recently, it seemed that Turkey had a clearly defined role in the Middle East, from the standpoint of U.S. policy. They were the "good Muslims," who were part of NATO, who contributed troops to U.S. wars, and who had good relations with Israel.
By John Grant
In Spanish, the word Honduras means depth. The example often used is meterse en Honduras – to go beyond one’s depth. It comes from the adjective hondo – deep or low.
I’ve often wondered what the Spanish conquistador or priest was thinking when he decided circa 1500 to call the place The Depths– or with some liberties, The Gulch.
When I was in Honduras, I recall the capital Tegucigalpa as a series of hills and deep gulches, with the hillsides noted for poor communities of thousands of slapped-together shanties. The Tegucigalpa airport is considered one of the most dangerous in the world; it’s a bit like dropping down and circling inside a teacup before landing.
So maybe that old Spaniard was onto something. If Afghanistan is the “graveyard of empires,” maybe Honduras is the gulch where they just get mired in muck.
Protesting Elliott Abrams in Baltimore
On Sunday, April 25, 2010, Human Rights activists, in Baltimore, MD, protested Elliott Abrams. He was a speaker at a Zionist-sponsored symposium on the Middle East, held at the plush Suburban Country Club. Abrams was involved, as an official with the Ronald Reagan Administration, in the Iran-Contra scandal. He was convicted of “withholding information” from the Congress. While Abrams was also working for Reagan, a Far Right regime was in charge in El Salvador. When a massacre occurred in and around the village of El Mozote, in El Salvador, in Dec., 1981, Abrams insisted the claims of a massacre were “propaganda.” Later, events established that “more than 500” people were slaughtered by an army battalion. Mr. Abrams has consistently denied any wrongdoing on his part during his public career. Many others sharply disagree with that view. For some background, check out: The Truth of El Mozote and Elliot Abrams. It's Back! and Elliott Abrams: The Neocon’s Neocon.
Brazil, Russia, India, and China—otherwise known as the BRIC nations—are enjoying a new and, in ways, unprecedented role on the international stage. The four emerging markets maintained an average growth rate of 10.7 percent from 2006 to 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund. With this outstanding performance, they are creating a new economic miracle.
In an article recently published in the Beijing-based newspaper Guangming Daily, experts in a research team of the Hunan Provincial Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science pointed to a trend known as the "big country effect" as a determining factor in their rapid, sustainable growth.
Excerpts from this article follow:
Some scholars say the rapid economic growth of the BRIC countries stemmed from their wise choices in comparative advantage strategies—which have allowed them considerable room to maneuver with regards to their resources.
Others say their brilliant performance emanated from their advantages in terms of being latecomers. In other words, having been so economically dormant for so long, the BRIC countries have enjoyed advances in development via technological improvements, human resource development, as well as economic restructuring.
None of these arguments are fully convincing. Read more.
Transcript of Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Interview with President Hugo Chavez
Transcribed by Regina Freitag; Original Translation by Eva Golinger; Interviewer: Cindy Sheehan. Listen to the audio here.
Cindy Sheehan: Welcome to this video and audio audition of Cindy Sheehan’s SoapBox.
Presidente Chavez, thank you for being on the show, thank you for this interview and thank you for allowing me to bring the truth about Venezuela and about you and about your revolution to the people of the United States.
Before the revolution, Venezuela was a nation that was ruled and used up by the oligarchy, the elite. How did your revolution begin, how did it manage to remain relatively peaceful?
Hugo Chavez: Thank you Cindy, for this interview, for your efforts, that are so honorable and notable, to try to find out our truth and to contribute to its diffusion. And we wish you much luck in your struggles, which are ours as well, against war, for peace, for freedom and equality and against imperialism. We accompany you in your struggles. You and the people of the United States. We love them the same. The bourgeoisie of Venezuela has always dominated the country, for more than a hundred years. And they dominated it with force, using violence, persecution, assassination and disappearances. Unfortunately, the Venezuelan history is a history full of a lot of violence, violence from the strong against the weak. In the 20th century, Venezuela, which was dominated by the oligarchy and the bourgeois state, the rich, the wealthy, produced a reversed type of miracle, we could say. Venezuela was the first exporter of oil from the beginning of the 1920s until the 1970s. One of the largest producers of petroleum in the world throughout all the 20th century. And when the 20th century ended, with the domination of the bourgeoisie, despite all the wealth, Venezuela had more than 70% poverty and 40% extreme poverty, misery, misery, misery. So that generated an explosion, a violent one. All explosions are violent. An explosion of the poor, to liberate themselves. We were remembering just 2 days ago in Caracas. You were there with us, with our people. 21 years ago, the people woke, arose in a big explosion. And as military we were used by the bourgeoisie to massacre the people, children, women, and older people. And then that awoke something in the young military folks, a consciousness of pain and then we joined with the people. We had two rebellions, military rebellions, popular (inaudible ). A revolution isn’t exactly peaceful. As you said it was relatively peaceful. Read more.
Washington fears Hugo Chavez for good reason. His "good example" threat raises concerns that other regional leaders may follow. As a result, throughout his tenure, he's been targeted and vilified - to discredit, weaken and undermine his government to destroy Bolivarian benefits millions of Venezuelans now enjoy, won't easily give up, nor should they.
Several failed coup attempts included:
- April 2002 for two days, an effort aborted by mass street protests and support from many in Venezuela's military, especially from the middle-ranking officer corp;
- the 2002 - 2003 general strike and oil management lockout, causing severe economic disruption and billions of dollars in losses; and
- the August 2004 national recall referendum that Chavez won overwhelmingly with a 59% majority.
Thereafter, disruptions regularly followed to help domestic and US oligarchs regain what they lost, so far without success, but they persist, with supportive editorial, op-ed, and on-the-ground reporting. Also from an Organization of American States (OAS) report, the Vision of Humanity's annual Global Peace Index (GPI), US State Department, and Pentagon.