Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Call now to save Medicaid for our students!

Education Votes

Dear Friend,Our students need your help. Among all the dangerous consequences this new "healthcare" bill will have, one of the most alarming is how it will completely dismantle Medicaid. Republican senators are feeling the pressure from your calls, and have been forced to push the vote from this week until after the July 4th congressional recess. We must keep the pressure on.

Here's what's at stake:

More than a third of all children in America receive their health insurance through Medicaid, but for our students and their families this isn't only about insurance. Medicaid provides $4 billion per year for healthcare services in our nation's schools - that's vision and hearing screenings, physical and occupational therapy for students with disabilities, and other critical services that keep our students healthy and ready to learn.

You don't have to take my word for it. On Monday the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this bill will end Medicaid coverage for at least 15 million people, including millions of our students, over the next 10 years.

If this bill passes with these Medicaid cuts, it will endanger our nation's children and affect millions of students' education. Take two minutes and call.

Lily Eskelsen García
National Education Association

Nuke Base Blocked in Germany

Friday morning, members of the German Communist Party (DKP) blocked the access roads to the Buechel air force base und thus largely paralyzed the activities in the base.
The activity was part of a long-term campaign of the peace movement against the ongoing stockpiling of some ten to twenty nuclear arms ready for deployment.
DKP chairman Patrik Koebele declared in situ: “We demand this hellish stuff be moved off immediately.” The Federal government must finally engage in the United Nations’ negotiations on a global ban of nuclear arms instead of continuously insisting on persistent possession of these weapons of mass destruction, together with the US and other NATO members. Koebele: “During the electoral campaign the social democratic, conservative and green parties will present themselves as parties of peace once more. We judge them by their deeds—nuclear arms in Buechel, deployments of the military all over the world, and increasing arms exports.”
The communists’ activity commenced at 6 a.m. and were maintained for two hours. Police could disband the blockade only after hundreds of vehicles had already formed kilometres of tailbacks on the base’s access roads.

Koebele announced: “Those responsible in Buechel and in other places can be sure: we will be back!” The DKP made another manifestation on Saturday at the main access gate to the base in which members of communist parties from Luxemburg and the Netherlands participated.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Statement by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba

Submitted by editor on Sat, 06/17/2017 - 16:04

On June 16, 2017, US President Donald Trump delivered a speech full of hostile anti-Cuban rhetoric reminiscent of the times of open confrontation with our country in a Miami theater. He announced his government’s Cuba policy, which rolls back the progress achieved over the last two years since December 17, 2014, when Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and engage in a process towards the normalization of bilateral relations.
In what constitutes a setback in the relations between both countries, President Trump, gave a speech and signed a policy directive titled “National Security Presidential Memorandum”, which provides the elimination of private educational “people-to-people” exchanges and greater control over all travelers to Cuba, as well as the prohibition of business, trade and financial transactions between US companies and certain Cuban companies linked to the Armed Revolutionary Forces and the intelligence and security services, under the alleged objective of depriving us from income. The US president  justified this policy with alleged concerns over the human rights situation in Cuba and the need to rigorously enforce the US blockade laws, conditioning its lifting, as well as any improvements in US-Cuba bilateral relations to our country’s making  changes inherent to its constitutional order.
Trump also abrogated Presidential Policy Directive “Normalization of Relations between the United States and Cuba”, issued by President Obama on October 14, 2016.  Although said Directive did not conceal the interventionist character of the US policy nor the fact that its main purpose was to advance US interests in order to bring about changes in the economic, political and social systems of our country, it did recognize Cuba’s independence, sovereignty and self-determination and the Cuban government as a legitimate  and equal interlocutor, as well as the benefits that a civilized coexistence  would have for  both countries and peoples despite the great differences that exist between both governments.  The Directive also conceded that the blockade is an obsolete policy and that it should be lifted.
Once again, the US Government resorts to coercive methods of the past when it adopts measures aimed at stepping up the blockade, effective since February 1962, which not only causes harm and deprivations to the Cuban people and is the main obstacle to our economic development, but also affects the sovereignty and interests of other countries, which arouses international rejection.
The measures announced impose additional obstacles to the already very limited opportunities that the US business sector had in order to trade with and invest in Cuba.
Likewise, those measures restrict even more the right of US citizens to visit our country, which was already limited due to the obligation of using discriminatory licenses, at a moment when the US Congress, echoing the feelings of broad sectors of that society, calls not only for an end to the travel ban, but also for the elimination of the restrictions on the trade with Cuba.
The measures announced by President Trump run counter to the majority support of the US public opinion, including the Cuban emigration in that country, to the total lifting of the blockade and the establishment of normal relations between Cuba and the United States.
Instead, the US President, who has been once again ill-advised, is taking decisions that favor the political interests of an irrational minority of Cuban origin in the state of Florida which, out of petty motivations, does not give up its intent to punish Cuba and its people for exercising the legitimate and sovereign right of being free and having taken the reins of their own destiny.
Later on, we shall make a deeper analysis of the scope and implications of the announcement.
The Government of Cuba condemns the new measures to tighten the blockade, which are doomed to failure, as has been repeatedly evidenced in the past, for they will not succeed in their purpose to weaken the Revolution or bend the Cuban people, whose resistance against aggressions of all sorts and origins has been put to the test throughout almost six decades.
The Government of Cuba rejects political manipulation and double standards in human rights. The Cuban people enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms and can proudly show some achievements that are still a chimera for many countries of the world, including the United States, such as the right to health, education and social security; equal pay for equal work, children’s rights as well as the rights to food, peace and development. Cuba, with its modest resources, has also contributed to the improvement of the human rights situation in many countries of the world, despite the limitations inherent to its condition as a blockaded country.
The United States are not in the position to teach us lessons. We have serious concerns about the respect for and guarantees of human rights in that country, where there are numerous cases of murders, brutality and abuses by the police, particularly against the African-American population; the right to life is violated as a result of the deaths caused by fire arms; child labor is exploited and there are serious manifestations of racial discrimination; there is a threat to impose more restrictions on medical services, which will leave 23 million persons without health insurance; there is unequal pay between men and women; migrants and refugees, particularly those  who come from Islamic countries, are marginalized; there is an attempt to put up walls that discriminate against and denigrate neighbor countries; and international commitments to preserve the environment and address climate change are abandoned.
Also a source of concern are the human rights violations by the United States in other countries, such as the arbitrary detention of tens of prisoners in the territory illegally occupied by the US Naval Base in Guantánamo, Cuba, where even torture has been applied;  extrajudicial executions and the death of civilians caused by drones; as well as the wars unleashed against countries like Iraq, under false pretenses like the possession of weapons of mass destruction, with disastrous consequences for the peace, security and stability in the Middle East.
It should be recalled that Cuba is a State Party to 44 international human rights instruments, while the US is only a State Party to 18.  Therefore, we have much to show, say and defend.
Upon confirming the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations, Cuba and the United States ratified their intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between both peoples and governments, based on the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter.  In its Declaration issued on July 1, 2015, the Revolutionary Government of Cuba reaffirmed that “these relations must be founded on absolute respect for our independence and sovereignty; the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, without interference in any form; and sovereign equality and reciprocity, which constitute inalienable principles of International Law”, as was established in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC), at its second summit  held in Havana.  Cuba has not renounced these principles, nor will it ever do so.
The Government of Cuba reiterates its will to continue a respectful and cooperative dialogue on topics of mutual interest, as well as the negotiation of outstanding issues with the US Government.  During the last two years it has been evidenced that both countries, as was repeatedly expressed by the President of the Councils of State and of Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, can cooperate and coexist in a civilized manner, respecting the differences and promoting everything that benefits both nations and peoples, but it should not be expected that, in order to achieve that, Cuba would make concessions inherent to its sovereignty and independence, or accept preconditions of any sort.
Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, either through pressures and impositions or by using more subtle methods, shall be doomed to failure.
The changes that need to be made in Cuba, as those that have been made since 1959 and the ones that we are introducing now as part of the process to update our economic and social system, will continue to be sovereignly determined by the Cuban people.
Just as we have been doing since the triumph of the Revolution on January 1st, 1959, we will take on every risk and shall continue to advance steadfastly and confidently in the construction of a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation.
Havana, June 16, 2017.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cyprus should be a bridge of peace, not a firing range of foreign armies

AKEL C.C. Press Office, 14th June 2017, Nicosia
Image result for AKEL
The Ministry of Defense issued a statement yesterday to reply to AKEL on the Cyprus-Israel military exercise conducted in the Troodos mountain range, but without answering the questions raised about the purpose of this specific exercise.
Dangers for the country can’t be created by the questions posed by the opposition, but by the policies chosen and implemented by the Anastasiades government on foreign policy, as well as the messages it is conveying with its decision to invite the Israeli army to conduct exercises on Cypriot territory. “Rhetoric that involves Cyprus in regional conflicts” (Note: referring to the government’s reaction to AKEL’s statement issued yesterday) is what the state channel is broadcasting, namely that this exercise “has nothing to do with the protection of the Republic of Cyprus and the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone” and that the territory of Troodos is being used because it has similarities to the topography and climate of southern Lebanon and southern Syria, which the Ministry’s statement does not comment on. This decision follows the erroneous messages that were sent previously when the Anastasiades government abstained from initiatives undertaken even the EU itself on the Palestinian issue. Or when the governing DISY party was projecting Cyprus as a “shield of Israel” and an “outpost of the West” – against whom?
It would be preferable if instead of inviting the Israeli commandos for exercises to Troodos, the Anastasiades government were to focus on changing the positions expressed by high-ranking Israeli officials who have welcomed Turkish actions within the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and who are planning together with Turkey the passage a natural gas pipeline, bypassing Cyprus and the Cyprus problem.
For AKEL, the government’s decision to carry out this exercise does not serve neither positions of principle, nor our country’s interests. AKEL stresses that Cyprus’ role is upgraded and enhanced when it operates as a bridge of peace and cooperation among the peoples of the region, and not when it becomes a firing range for foreign armies.
Last but not least, we point out that the House of Representative’s Defense Committee had no briefing whatsoever from the Ministry of Defense about this exercise, even though the Ministry’s statement claims that it informs the Committee of all exercises. AKEL once again calls on the relevant Minister to brief the Defense Committee about this specific exercise.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fidel Castro’s Enduring Environmental Legacy

Fidel Castro was one of the first world leaders to talk about the importance of the environment
Fidel Castro was one of the first world leaders to talk about the importance of the environment | Photo: Reuters

"Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago,” said Fidel.
Fidel’s commitment to education and health care stand out as monumental achievements for Cuba under his decades of rule. While he emerged as a stalwart of anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism, his commitment to environmentalism and Cuba's achievements in the area gets less attention.

Cuba is one of the few developing countries that has shown a strong commitment to the environment and sustainability, despite a number of obstacles such as the ongoing U.S. blockade.

Before the dangers of climate change were well established within scientific and indeed popular knowledge, Fidel spoke of the need to radically change the way societies interact with their environments.

“Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago,” Fidel said in a typically roaring speech while at the 1992 U.N. Rio Earth Summit. “Let human life become more rational. Let us implement a just international economic order. Let us use all the science necessary for pollution-free, sustained development. Let us pay the ecological debt, and not the foreign debt. Let hunger disappear, and not mankind.”

In the famous address, Fidel highlighted that consumer societies, which “arose from the old colonial powers and from imperialist policies ... are fundamentally responsible for the destruction of the environment.”

In a 2003 address to U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, he expanded on the destructive impact of capitalism:

“Such an economic order and such models of consumption are incompatible with the planet’s limited and non-renewable essential resources and with the laws that rule nature and life. They are also in conflict with the most basic ethical principles, with culture and with the moral values created by humankind,”


Because of a reforestation program which started in 1998, forests make up 30.6 percent of the island nation’s land area, and the country has been able to maintain sustained forest growth, according to Cuba’s National Officer of Statistics and Information.

Cuba has the highest proportion of its forest designated for protective functions in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The province of Pinar del Rio is covered by 47 percent forests, and Guantanamo with 46.7 percent. When Fidel claimed victory in the Cuban Revolution in 1959, only 14 percent of Cuba was thought to be covered in forest.

Spanish colonization and foreign-owned timber and sugarcane industries played significant roles destroying significant amount of forest, which was estimated at around 90 percent before the Spanish landed on the island.

Solar Technology 

In a country blessed with year-long sunshine, Cuba has begun to invest more in solar technology and has planned to expand its program across the island which not only helps reduce pollution but save money.

The Pinar 220 A1 solar park near Pinar del Rio in western Cuba uses 12,080 solar panels to generate an average of 13 megawatts per day to national electricity grid. In its first year of operation, it produced almost 6 gigawatts of electricity, which would have otherwise cost over half a million dollars to produce in a thermoelectric plant.

Solar plants are planned for another 28 areas within Pinar del Rio to generate 105.9 megawatts of power. Another close park in Tronsco is currently in construction and will provide 2.7 megawatts to the electricity grid.

Agricultural Revolution

Already under the pressure of import restriction from the U.S. embargo, the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, was a blow to Cuba’s economy and agriculture industry. Cuba then took the initiative to radically transform the way food was produced and distributed. In the years that followed, Cuba was able to shift to an organic or semi-organic type of agriculture.

A key part of Cuba’s agriculture introduced under Fidel has been agroecology: a model whereby ecological principles are applied to farming to help sustainability and lessen the reliance on chemicals. The model can not only help to produce a wide range of crops compared to industrial models built for exporting to other countries but helps to increase food sovereignty and self-dependency and reduce Cuba’s carbon footprint

“Scientists are directly accountable to farmers, where farmers are treated—not as idiots—but as partners in the field who experiment and innovate, and the real genius of the Cuban experiment has been the democratization of expertise, knowledge and power,” Professor Raj Patel, a food security expert, said while speaking to teleSUR in October.

Fidel helped implement a number of measures that helped to create jobs in the industry as well as increase local production and have more power to Campesinos to collectively manage farmland. Cuba’s agricultural revolution has been cited as an example for other countries, particularly developing countries to follow.

Under Fidel, Cuba has also become a world leader in urban farming. In Havana alone, more than 87,000 acres have been dedicated to urban agriculture, including food production, animal husbandry and forestry. In 2005, Havana’s urban gardens produced 272 metric tons of vegetables.

Environmental Protection

Kicked off by the 1992 Rio speech, the Cuban government has aimed to protect its natural environments -- some of the most pristine in the world, through tight environmental management.

The Cuban government has set the goal of protecting 104 marine protected areas and so far as been able to protect 25 percent of its marine habitats from being developed, according to Daniel Whittle from the Cuba program at the Environmental Defense Fund. New developments must undergo a stringent environmental review process.

Cuba has also signed a number of important international conservation treaties and under Fidel went about changing the country’s laws for the better of the environment. Cuba’s constitution was amended to include protections for the environment and its resources and a number of institutions were created under Fidel to monitor, research and preserve the environment.

"I think the Cuban government can take a substantial amount of credit for landscape, flora, and fauna preservation," Jennifer Gebelein from Florida International University told National Geographic.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Golden State Warriors refuse to visit White House after winning NBA title: reports

The NBA champion Golden State Warriors unanimously agreed to skip the customary White House visit, according to reports, although the team says they have not yet been invited.
The Warriors claimed their second title in three seasons Monday night with a 129-120 Game 5 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, their opponent in three straight NBA Finals appearances.
But the team, led by superstars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, has reportedly decided by a unanimous vote not to accept congratulations from President Donald Trump.

The team issued an official statement later on Tuesday morning.
“Today is all about celebrating our championship,” the team said. “We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has ripped Trump as a “blowhard” and “ill-suited” for the office, and player David West said the president was a poor role model.

“All the tactics that he used to get elected are the very things that someone like me, who works with youth on a consistent basis, are the things that we try to talk our young folks out of being,” West said. “We try to talk our young people out of being bullies. We try to talk our young men out of disrespecting women. We try to talk our young people into being accepting of other people’s opinions and other people’s walks of life.”
“He is the complete opposite of all of that,” West added.
Curry has also criticized Trump, who was described as “a great asset” by the CEO of Under Armour, which the player endorses.
“I agree with that description,” Curry said, “if you remove the ‘et’” from asset.”

Monday, June 12, 2017

United International Anti-imperialist Anti-Fascist Front now established

On May 25, 2017 in Moscow, the founding conference took place on the creation of a single international anti-imperialist anti-fascist front (hereinafter - EMAAF). Representatives of a number of communist parties, anti-imperialist and anti-fascist organizations of Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Poland, the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (LDPR) took part in the conference.

In connection with the intensification of the general crisis of the world system of imperialism, which is characterized by the aggravation of the economic and political situation, the emergence of a mass flow of refugees and migrants, the emergence of reactionary nationalist and fascist anti-communist forces, the unleashing of local and regional wars by imperialist countries, the world is increasingly slipping towards a disastrous III World war. In order to prevent the development of a military threat to peace and prevent the spread of fascism, the participants of the conference declared the necessity of unity of action of all anti-imperialist and anti-fascist organizations of the whole human community and decided to create a single international anti-imperialist anti-fascist front.

The conference participants adopted the Charter of the United International Anti-imperialist Anti-Fascist Front, an appeal of the constituent conference of the United International Anti-imperialist Anti-Fascist Front, and several resolutions and orders. The statute of the EMAAF provides for the procedure for the admission into the international association of new organizations that share the basic political principles of the EMAAF.

To guide the work of the Unified International Anti-imperialist Anti-Fascist Front, the Executive Committee of the EMAAF and the Political Council of the EMAAF were elected at the conference.

See for full Declaration by the EMAAF