April 16, 2016 - No. 16

Looking at the Budget

Infrastructure Spending to Pay the Rich, Consolidate Empire-Building and
Strengthen Class Privilege

140th Anniversary of the Indian Act
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day Calls for the Repeal of
Indian Act and the Forging of True Nation-to-Nation Relations

Supreme Court Ruling on Jurisdiction Over Métis
and "Non-Status Indians"

Unacceptable Continued Government Underfunding of
Social Programs for Indigenous Peoples

Government Action Demanded to Address Crisis in Attawapiskat
and Other First Nations Communities

7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba
Proceedings of the 7th Congress
CPC(M-L) Message of Greetings

Granma Articles on the Significance of the Communist Party
Our Party Was Born During the Historic Days of Girón
A Party of the Masses and for the Masses
The Communist Party of Cuba
Without the Party the Revolution Could Not Exist

Important Events
Visit of Hero of the Republic of Cuba to Canada
April 19 -- World Day of Solidarity with Venezuela
April 13-15 -- International Peoples' Gathering in Honduras to
Celebrate the Life of Berta Cáceres

Looking at the Budget

Infrastructure Spending to Pay the Rich, Consolidate Empire-Building and Strengthen Class Privilege

TML Weekly is providing below Part Two of the series of articles Looking at the Budget that discuss the 2016 federal budget introduced by the Liberal government on March 22. A motion to approve the budget is currently being debated in the House of Commons and debate will continue on Tuesday, April 19. Part One of Looking at the Budget can be found in TML Weekly, March 26, 2016 - No. 13.


The Trudeau Liberals present the federal budget spending on infrastructure as something that exists in an enchanted world without context or connections with anything, at least not with any identifiable social, political or economic relations. The concrete conditions of a Canada dominated by class privilege and the monopoly right of the global oligarchy and their monopolies appear nowhere in Budget 2016. No words appear describing the concrete conditions of the wrecked manufacturing base in Ontario, Quebec and elsewhere or the devastating consequences energy workers face with mass firings.

The contradiction of a socialized economy that is more than capable of producing enough to meet the needs of all but seemingly paralyzed and prevented from doing so is not explained or tackled with a new direction to solve the dilemma posed for nation-building. How can a country with a skilled and educated working class and what appears to be boundless potential from modern forces of production and limitless natural resources be bound up in knots with permanent mass unemployment and people living in insecurity and poverty, and social conditions not improving but deteriorating? Budget 2016 does not dare delve into the apparent contradictions of a Canada in crisis but instead ignores them and presents a fairytale of one nation and one people cheering on state-organized infrastructure schemes to pay the rich and consolidate class privilege and a direction for the economy that has been discredited in practice.

The infrastructure plans are couched in rosy terms promising magically to sprinkle the working class with blessings of jobs and good fortune. The sunny talk is meant to blind the working people to a ruling elite that refuse to face up to the country's problems as they present themselves. Of course some jobs will necessarily appear for that is the only way anything can be built but in reality the magic dust from public social wealth is to be sprinkled not on the working people but on the rich and their monopolies to enhance their monopoly right and domination over all Canadians and block the people from formulating and fighting for a new pro-social direction for the economy free from the clutches of the plutocrats.

Budget 2016 says $120 billion is to appear from the netherworld of the international financial oligarchy to be spent over ten years. Yet almost an identical amount disappears into the coffers of the same moneylenders, as interest payment to service their existing ownership of the national debt. This creates a bizarre flow of money into the federal treasury from private borrowing and almost immediately back out again into the hands of the same financial oligarchs resulting in ever greater amounts of national debt under their control and ever greater interest payments into their accounts.

As for the public infrastructure money itself and its use, the funds will go into the accounts of private global engineering, construction, financial, heavy machinery manufacturing, management and supply companies. The owners and executives in control will rejoice as the public money they receive as payment in exchange for the added-value their workers produce will enlarge their ownership and control of social wealth and consolidate their class privilege and empire-building.

All power and wealth flow to the global private monopolies. The infrastructure contracts will be lucrative for the owners and executive managers who are chosen for the work. The process to dole out the contracts ensures a wild dogfight that will include every manner of lobbying, bribery and corruption. The important point for the winners is to have the social and political contacts in place and under control to guarantee they receive the contracts at a price that greatly enlarges their empires and ownership and control of social wealth. Such is the neoliberal world where powerful private interests manipulate governments and their public institutions in corrupt arrangements of quid pro quo.

Other benefits flowing to the rich arise from the value of the infrastructure itself. No modern economy can function without social and material infrastructure. Those companies engaged in export, which are the majority of the larger ones in Canada, will have their "transportation corridors" and "gateways" built through public funds. This means the public funds invested in transportation infrastructure will not tie up their own private social wealth in projects that generate returns only over long periods and are not particularly liquid.

Budget 2016 says the infrastructure spending will go towards "an economy better positioned to capitalize on the potential of global trade.... It will aim to deliver fast, efficient trade corridors that allow Canadian exporters to benefit fully from international trade."

The ruling elite are obsessed with trade and that is a big problem for the country. Even Canadian manufacturing, such as vehicle production, is geared towards trade and not internal demand. International trade depends on others buying what Canadians produce. This means the economy is dependent on others and not self-reliant and stable. Just look at the mess the energy sector is in because it depends on trade.

The Canadian ruling elite are a section of the global financial oligarchy. They refuse to think of or propose an infrastructure essential to a self-reliant economy based on manufacturing, social programs and public services that guarantees the rights and well-being of the people, which builds on Canada's tremendous bounty of raw materials but does not rely on them to the detriment of nation-building. In a diverse self-reliant economy, international trade for mutual benefit compliments the internal economy, which leads to stability and security for the people within a nation-building project. Also, a truly public social and material infrastructure would be financed, built and managed as public enterprise with as much as possible of the added-value that workers produce flowing back into the public treasury and available to serve the public interest and nation-building to benefit all Canadians not a select few.

With Trudeau's Budget 2016, the direction of the economy remains empire-building, firmly in the hands of the rich and their class privilege. The great actual and potential social wealth of the country is being mobilized through the state to consolidate the iron grip of the rich over the economy and its direction. The value workers produce, reproduce and transfer through their work-time in building the state-financed and organized infrastructure is under the control of the entrenched ruling imperialist elite. Their private companies will benefit and their social, political and economic power will be strengthened. The added social wealth the workers produce in building the infrastructure will serve the narrow private interests of the rich, which in turn will reinforce their monopoly right and power over the public interests and public right.

The enhanced monopoly right and power that comes with privately-built yet publicly-funded social and material infrastructure, which companies then consume without proper exchange and payment of value, is presented without question as good for the economy and jobs. The ruling elite will never admit that such projects, which also existed under the former Prime Minister Harper as Economic Action Plans, are meant to pay the rich and consolidate empire-building and class privilege. The transitional capitalist system is in crisis in part because these state-organized schemes are blocking a new direction to complete the transition of the economy to industrial mass production with corresponding socialized relations of production in conformity with the socialized economy without class privilege.

State-organized programs to pay the rich and consolidate empire-building and class privilege are meant to forestall finding solutions to the problems plaguing the economy and marching forward in a new direction where the actual producers, the working class, have a say and control over the economy, where the aim is no longer the pursuit of private profit for monopolies but to guarantee the well-being of the people.

Mobilization of the human factor/social consciousness with socialized relations of production within a pro-social nation-building project would realize the building of a stable self-reliant and diverse socialized economy that engages in international trade for mutual benefit and development outside of and in opposition to the confines and clutches of the imperialist system of states and its free trade under the domination of the private monopolies.

Canada needs a new direction for the economy away from empire-building of the monopolies and their private profit for the few.

Canada needs a new direction towards nation-building under the control of the actual producers generating public profit for the benefit of the many.

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140th Anniversary of the Indian Act

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day Calls for
the Repeal of Indian Act and the Forging of True Nation-to-Nation Relations

April 12 marked the 140th anniversary of the Indian Act. On that occasion, Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day issued a statement on behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario[1] where he called the Indian Act "the root of all social trauma currently affecting all First Nation communities across Canada." TML Weekly is printing the text of Chief Day's statement below.


One hundred and forty years ago today, on April 12, 1876, the federal government attempted to limit and strip our inherent and Treaty rights with the passage of the Indian Act, transferring all power over our daily lives to bureaucrats in Ottawa. The Indian Act has been amended over the years, but it still remains an oppressive, racist piece of legislation that continues to inflict irreparable damage upon our Peoples.

First passed in 1876 and still in force with amendments, the Indian Act is the primary document which governs how the Canadian state interacts with the 614 First Nation bands in Canada and their citizens. Throughout its long history the Indian Act has been an ongoing source of controversy and has been interpreted in many ways by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The legislation has been amended many times, including over twenty major changes made by 2002.

The suicide crisis in Attawapiskat -- and far too many other ongoing crises across the country -- are rooted in the poverty and despair that was created by the Indian Act. Our Peoples signed Treaties with the intent to share the lands and resources equally with the new Canadians. We did not expect to be exiled to reserves. We did not expect to be placed under the power of Indian agents, who controlled when and where we could leave our tiny parcels of land. We did not expect to be subjected to forced assimilation and cultural genocide.

Perhaps most damaging is that our traditional leadership was replaced by Indian Act band governments, where most elections take place every two years. Our traditional livelihoods were destroyed. Far too many of our people became dependent upon welfare systems. The ongoing impacts of the generational dysfunction created by Residential Schools, coupled with today's poverty and despair, has resulted in an endless litany of broken spirits and broken lives.

We now live in a Canada where over half the children in the child welfare system are Indigenous; there are countless missing and murdered women and girls; far too many of our Peoples in prison; far too many of our youth attempting suicide. The list goes on.

How do we end this shameful, oppressive, racist system once and for all? The most comprehensive answers and recommendations have been with us for 20 years. The 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) recommended replacing the authority of the Indian Act with Indigenous self-government and self-determination as recognized by international laws. RCAP recommended that Indian Affairs be replaced with two departments: one to help implement self government and one to provide services until all communities were self-governing and self-sufficient.

The Indian Act should be eliminated so that First Nations can face today and tomorrow's challenges, while reflecting a partnership with every Canadian. We know that history has consistently proven than institutionalized subjugation of Indigenous Peoples is exploitative and reprehensible. It is not only damaging to the Indigenous Peoples themselves but for all of society. The Indian Act and the reserve system should have been respectively repealed and eliminated long ago.

Both RCAP and last year's Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended that this process begin with a new Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation. This would build upon the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the 1764 Treaty of Niagara, reinforce the original Treaty relationship and re-establish a true Nation-to-Nation relationship.

In the late 1940s, South Africa looked for a precedent in order to enact their apartheid laws; they found it in our Indian Act. The Indigenous Peoples were viewed as children or wards of the state, to which the government had a paternalistic duty to protect and civilize. The Indian Act continues to govern the land, the people, the resources and our future: everything that we are as Indigenous Peoples. We know the right approach and we are working slowly towards it. The right approach is firmly grounded in respect for Treaties and the inherent rights of First Nations through tripartite, nation-to-nation relationships.

This new federal government has signalled that no relationship is more important than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Every single Minister has that directive in his and her mandate letters. Now is the time to move beyond the rhetoric and kind words. Now is the time to put the political will into action. Now is the time to end Canada's shameful past and equally deplorable present. We must sit down together right now and begin building a better country for all.


1. Chiefs of Ontario is a political defence organization that advocates for the treaty and political rights of the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario.

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Supreme Court Ruling on Jurisdiction Over Métis
and "Non-Status Indians"

Métis flags at rally on Parliament Hill for opening of Parliament, January 28, 2013.

Métis and other Indigenous people across Canada are celebrating a victory in their nineteen-year legal battle to have their rights as Indigenous peoples recognized. With the Supreme Court decision the Canadian state has been forced to recognize Métis and so-called "non-status" peoples are Indigenous peoples and have the right this entails, including to participate in land settlement negotiations and be consulted on development on their lands. The decision de facto recognizes that it is the Indigenous peoples not the Canadian government who decide who is Indigenous. It squarely puts the responsibility for Métis and "non-status" communities in the hands of the Federal government ending the wrangling with provincial governments over who was to provide much needed services.

The April 14 Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously (9-0) in favour of the plaintiffs in the R v. Daniels case initiated in 1999 by Harry Daniels (now deceased), his son Gabriel Daniels, Leah Gardner, and Terry Joudrey along with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP).[1][2] They applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a declaration that "Indians" in section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 included non-status Indians and Métis. This is an important legal victory affecting almost one million people.

The Plaintiffs asked the Court to declare:

- that Métis and non-status Indians are "Indians" as the term is used in s 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867;
- that the Queen owes a fiduciary duty to them as such;
- and that they have the right to be consulted by the federal government on a collective basis, respecting their rights, interests and needs as Indigenous peoples.

In an earlier ruling on January 8, 2013, Justice Michael Phalen of the Federal Court of Canada ruled that Métis and Non-Status Indians are "Indians" as defined under Section 91 (24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 and, therefore, must have their rights and claims honoured by the Crown and its government. At that time the Federal Court agreed with the first declaration but dismissed the other two. The Harper government then in power appealed the Federal Court ruling to the Supreme Court.[3]

The landmark decision, written by Justice Abella notes: "As the curtain opens wider and wider on the history of Canada's relationship with its Indigenous peoples, inequities are increasingly revealed and remedies urgently sought. Many revelations have resulted in good faith policy and legislative responses, but the list of disadvantages remains robust. This case represents another chapter in the pursuit of reconciliation and redress in that relationship." She further wrote: "Both federal and provincial government have, alternately, denied having legislative authority over non-status Indians and Métis," with "obvious disadvantaging consequence" including depriving them of necessary social programs, services and other state benefits.[4]

Consequently, the Supreme Court not only upheld the lower court's declaration that Métis and non-Status Indians are "Indians" under the Constitution, but that the federal government has a fiduciary duty to them similar to "status Indians" and Inuit as well as the duty to consult with them in matters that concern their rights. The Supreme Court pointed out: "It was already well established in Canadian law that the federal government was in a fiduciary relationship with Canada's Aboriginal Peoples and that the federal government had a duty to consult and negotiate with them when their rights are engaged."

The ruling also contains references to the fact that governments from 1818 onwards and more so after Confederation, considered the Métis as Indians -- that the purposes of s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 were 'to control Native people and communities where necessary to facilitate development of the Dominion; to honour the obligations to Natives that the Dominion inherited from Britain . . . [and] eventually to civilize and assimilate Native people' (para. 353). Since much of the North-Western territory was occupied by Métis, only a definition of 'Indians in s. 91(24) that included 'a broad range of people sharing a Native hereditary base' (para. 566) would give Parliament the necessary authority to pursue its agenda."

Métis and non-status Indian organizations and their supporters celebrated the positive outcome of their determined fight. Randy Hardy, President of the Métis Settlements General Council noted: "Today is a very exciting day for the Métis Settlements and we are pleased with the Supreme Court's decision. Our primary goal has always been to create strong partnerships that protect our lands, create opportunity for our people and lead to the long-term sustainability [of] our settlements. Today's decision is a huge step forward in that cause."

Ron Quintal, the president of the Fort McKay Métis Community which is "completely surrounded" by oilsands development in Alberta pointed out: "The oilsands and government have always walked over top of us and it's hard for us to get any kind of consultation or any type of mediation for that matter with the oil companies. This is going to allow us to have an actual voice where industry and government have no choice but to work with our people."

"There is no way that the federal government can avoid or hide from this issue any longer. It's got to be positive negotiations with Métis just as much as there is with First Nations," said Jason Madden, lawyer for the Métis National Council.

TML Weekly congratulates the Indigenous peoples of Canada for this historic victory which is a victory for all Canadians who see the need for a modern constitution that gets rid of all the colonial references and relations. This legal victory underscores the need for collective action to ensure that the Trudeau Liberals honour their fiduciary and other legal obligations to all Indigenous peoples in Canada -- including those contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


1. Daniels v Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development), 2013.

2. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is a group that offers representation to non-status Indians and Métis across Canada. CAP's main goal is to advance Aboriginal people by promoting their common interests through collective action.

3. For the reference to 2013 ruling, click here.

4. See the full ruling here

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Unacceptable Continued Government Underfunding
of Social Programs for Indigenous Peoples

Members of NAN from Webequie in Northern Ontario walk, February 2016, to raise awareness
of lack of health services in northern Indigenous communities.

The suicide crisis continues to escalate in Indigenous communities, which is a matter of great concern not only to the Indigenous peoples but to all Canadians. On the weekend of April 9, eleven people in the northern Ontario Cree community of Attawapiskat attempted suicide leading the Chief and Council to declare a State of Emergency. Twenty-eight people in the community had attempted suicide in March.

Numerous studies and reports including the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report and the 2015 final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) clearly make the link between the brutal social conditions in most First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities -- the result of the historic and ongoing racist relations imposed by the Canadian state and its institutions -- and the high rate of suicide among Indigenous peoples.

Suicide rates among First Nations youth are up to six times the rate for all youth in Canada, while for Inuit youth is it up to 10 times the rate for all youth. It is well documented that the despair and hopelessness that results from living in conditions of extreme poverty, unemployment, substandard housing, infectious diseases, inadequate sanitation and unsafe drinking water, the ongoing trauma from the abuses of the residential school system and other government abuses, all worsened by the chronic cuts to social programs to Indigenous communities in violation of their rights, are major contributors to youth being driven to suicide or suicide attempts.

Indigenous peoples are humiliated by being treated as welfare cases. They are submitted to the most despicable racist condescension. In fact, the occupation and exploitation of their lands, some with treaties and many without, bring the obligation of the state to pay rents in perpetuity and make sure all services are provided at the highest possible level.

When he spoke at the Assembly of First Nations Gathering on December 8, 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about the importance of building a new nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations based on respect. Among other promises, he reiterated his election promise of lifting the two per cent cap on federal funding to First Nations communities imposed by the Chrétien Liberals in 1996, which was continued under the Paul Martin Liberals and the Harper Conservatives. This two-decade long cap was imposed on First Nations communities unilaterally in violation of constitutional and treaty rights and agreements. By 2010, according to the Assembly of First Nations, the Liberal and Conservative federal governments had "saved" close to $5 billion dollars by depriving Indigenous peoples of much needed funds.

The Trudeau Liberal budget presented on March 22 contains $8.4 billion dollars in spending related to First Nations. While at first glance this seems like a lot of money, it is more hype than substance and will do little to immediately alleviate the damage caused by previous governments and the long-term dispossession produced by ongoing colonial arrangements. This point was underscored by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Dr. Blackstock noted that while the Liberals are allocating some $634.8 million for child welfare, this money is spread out over five years, $126 million to be spent in 2018-19 and $162 million in 2019-20, the last years of this government's four-year mandate. She pointed out that the largest amount $177 million is earmarked for 2020-21, which is beyond the current Liberal mandate. This means "We will have to wait for the uncertainly of the next elections for major investments to be made," Dr. Blackstock said.

Dr. Blackstock denounced the Liberal budget allocation for First Nations child welfare programs as woefully inadequate to meet the growing needs of First Nations children and their families. She noted that the first year allocation of $71 million in new money for 2016-17, was far less than the over $109 million identified in the Harper government's own documents in 2012 as needed at that time to address the gaps in funding to First Nations social programs. She threatened to take legal action against the Liberal government if it does not address the severe under funding of child welfare programs for First Nations children.

Similarly, Dr. Pamela Palmater, academic director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University and a member of the Mi'kmaq nation says that with the 2016 federal budget the Liberals' promises to "renew the nation-to-nation relationship" between Canada and Indigenous peoples among other things have "evaporate[d] into thin air only to be replaced by an under-funded program and service agenda." Writing for her Indigenous Nationhood website, Dr. Palmater notes two challenges for understanding the claims the government is putting forward in the budget: "(1) trying to figure out which numbers are accurate and (2) assessing those numbers in their proper context." Dr. Palmater says that in this regard it is important to note that "Trudeau's budget plays a shell game" on the funding as it refers to five-year commitments while there are only 3.5 years remaining in government's mandate.

Dr. Palmater looks at the funding commitments for the period of the Liberals' mandate versus the actual needs in Indigenous communities. While $550 million is pledged for on-reserve housing for First Nations, Dr. Palmater points to an estimated $20 billion in housing needs, based on the $2 billion from an Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada report on reserve housing in Manitoba. While independent studies have pointed to a $6 billion requirement to address serious water and sewer issues in Indigenous communities, plus more for maintenance, the budget pledges $618 million. With the additional water and sewer needs which would come with providing needed housing the number would be much higher.

Only $270 million is pledged over five years to "expand and enhance health facilities in First Nations communities," which the government says means "the construction, renovation and repair of nursing stations, residences for health care workers, and health offices that provide health information on reserve."

While the Trudeau Liberals came to power in no small part on a wave of promises to Indigenous peoples in Canada to undo the damage done by the previous Harper government, it is clear that now in office they are big on words and small on actions. Following the declaration of the State of Emergency in Attawapiskat, Trudeau tweeted: "The news from Attawapiskat is heartbreaking. We'll continue to work to improve living conditions for all Indigenous peoples." This is irresponsible as well as condescending. It feigns concern rather than ensuring the concrete measures are taken which are required to overcome this problem. Meanwhile these communities lurch from crisis to crisis and their situation become ever more desperate.

Far from acting as if the government is being magnanimous towards the Indigenous peoples it must recognize as a starting point that these monies belong to the Indigenous peoples because Canadians have made their home on native land. It is not charity. It cannot be reduced to discretionary spending or emergency spending or inadequate spending.

The Canadian people must hold the Trudeau government to account and demand that the long years of criminal underfunding of social programs to Indigenous people be ended and that the Liberals immediately allocate the funds necessary to address the needs in Indigenous communities.

(Photos: NAN, J. Clarke, J. McNeil)

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Government Action Demanded to Address Crisis in Attawapiskat and Other First Nations Communities

Toronto, April 14, 2016.

Actions have been ongoing across Canada since April 13 in response to the declaration of a State of Emergency in Attawapiskat as a result of a suicide crisis among youth. Beginning on April 13, Indigenous youth as well as Canadians have been occupying the offices of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in Toronto. Indigenous youth began protests at the INAC office in Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 14. A vigil was held in Ottawa on the evening of April 14 and on April 15 protests took place at INAC offices in Gatineau, Quebec and Regina, Saskatchewan. INAC offices in all four cities remained closed to the public through April 15.

The protests, led by Indigenous youth are demanding immediate action from the government to stop denying adequate health care, housing and education to Indigenous communities as well as genuine recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

An emergency rally was held in Toronto on April 14 outside the INAC offices. More than 200 people demanded that the federal government intervene immediately to end the suffering of the people of Attawapiskat. A young woman from Attawapiskat stated that the problem of suicide in Attawapiskat is related to the decades-long abuse of the local Cree people at the hands of the Canadian colonial state that has refused to honour its treaty obligations to the community. She pointed out that governments and the media have spread a lot of falsehoods about the community to criminalize the people who are demanding their rights, when it is the state and the governments that are at the root of the problems facing the people. The speakers rejected the Trudeau government's platitudes about the crisis in Attawapiskat and demanded immediate action. "It is not enough for Trudeau to go up for a photo-op, real solutions are needed," said one youth.

Speakers in Toronto described the social conditions of Attawapisat, from substandard housing, the lack of drinking water, the lack of proper education facilities and standards for the youth and children, the lack of timely medical help that cause unnecessary deaths. The high unemployment was also mentioned in the context of the fabulous profits that the DeBeers diamond mine is making nearby on the backs of the community.

One of those protesting inside the Toronto INAC office addressed the crowd and stated that the broad unity and support of the people of Canada for the issues that are facing the people of Attawapiskat and other Indigenous communities across Canada is extremely important. She stated that it is this broad unity that is feared by the government and the state which is the most important thing because it is through political solidarity that solutions can be found.

A vigil organized by Indigenous students the evening of April 14 in Ottawa brought together more than 100 people at Carleton University. One woman from Attawapiskat spoke about the injustices she saw and experienced in her youth and pointed out the consequences of trauma inflicted in the residential school system on the people's well-being. Another speaker noted that government MPs have begun discussing abolishing the Indian Act, but that the most important thing is what will replace it, and that this is the issue which Indigenous peoples and Canadians need to unite and fight on.

Ottawa vigil, April 14, 2016.

On April 15 in Ottawa a march was held from Parliament Hill to the INAC office in Gatineau, Quebec. Upon arrival the demonstrators found a heavy police presence and no one was permitted to enter the building without proof of government employee status.

Winnipeg, April 15, 2016

In Winnipeg, youth continued to occupy INAC offices through April 15. They issued an official statement noting, "Suicide has long plagued our communities due to centuries of colonization and its effects: crushing poverty, substandard housing, imprisonment, child apprehension, and lack of access to health care, nutrition and clean water. The resulting destruction of identity, lack of self worth and cognitive imperialism are the roots of suicide in our people."

"This issue is inseparable from the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; the legacy of residential schools; the 11,000 and counting children in care in Manitoba; and the theft, pollution, and exploitation of the land, water, and air. The violence perpetrated against nature reflects the violence perpetrated against our women, our men, and our youth.

"These conditions have existed in our territories for centuries and the so-called government of Canada administers and benefits from it. These are acts of war, oppression, and treason against our ancient treaties. Immediate response is called for."

They issued five demands:

"1) The abolition of the Indian Act, the reserve system and the numbered Treaties, which are systematic violations of the sovereignty of our people -- the sovereignty we have always retained and always lived, but which has never been honoured by the colonial state, from the beginning of their invasion under the lie of terra nullius.

"2) An end to the denial of adequate healthcare, housing and education in our communities, and undenied access to our own unpolluted traditional foods and clean water.

"3) For the so-called Chiefs and Councils and everyone in our communities to restore the culture and spirituality we have lost: to allow and encourage our traditions, ceremonies, teachings, songs, languages, and ways of knowing.

"4) For the people of the colonial state to respect these lands and water, starting with the discontinuation of the destruction and pollution caused by the colonial corporations which exploit and deplete the resources of Mother Earth that we all need to survive.

"5) An end to the Two-Spirit discrimination causing much of the suicidal crisis our youth are facing, which exists in our communities as a result of colonial ideology and cognitive imperialism, in addition to the damage of everything previously mentioned."

Regina, April 15, 2016.

CPC(M-L) calls on everyone to demand immediate action to assist Indigenous youth and the people of Attawapiskat, and for Canadians to unite with Indigenous peoples in working out new arrangements that uphold what is theirs by right.

(Photos: OccupyINAC, TML, G. Dootem, M. Joehnck)

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7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba

Proceedings of the 7th Congress

Opening session of the 7th Congress, April 16, 2016.

TML Weekly is printing below information provided by Granma on the proceedings of the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba held at Havana's Convention Centre, which began at 10:00 am on April 16 and continues to April 19. A gala celebrating the 7th Congress and the 55th anniversary of the defeat of the invasion launched from the U.S. at Playa Girón on April 19, 1961 was held the evening of April 15 at the National Theatre in Havana. During the inaugural session of the Congress, participants commemorated the 55th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist character of the revolution on April 16, 1961, an event which was fundamental to the Cuban people's irrevocable decision to build their own future.


The 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba opened at 10 am on Saturday, April 16 with the presentation of the Congress' Central Report by First Secretary Raul Castro in a plenary session. One thousand delegates are taking part in the Congress. Following the Central Report delegates went to work in commissions which continue on April 17. The plenary will again meet on the April 18 to discuss reports from the commissions. That afternoon will be devoted to the introduction, analysis and vote on the proposed Party Central Committee candidature. On April 19, also in plenary session, the Central Committee elected will be announced, along with Political Bureau members, as well as the First and Second Party Secretaries. The closing session of the Congress will be held that afternoon.

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and Ministers delivers the Central Report to the 7th Congress of the Party, April 16, 2016.

There are four commissions. The first is discussing the conceptualization of Cuba's socio-economic model. The second addresses the development plan for the upcoming period through 2030, the nation's vision, priorities and strategic sectors. The third is evaluating the implementation of the Guidelines approved by the 6th Congress and their updating for the next five years. The fourth commission will analyze progress made toward meeting the objectives agreed upon by the First Party Conference.

Besides delegates, there are 280 invitees. The basic criteria for their selection, beyond the personal recognition which the invitation implies, was the contribution they can make given their knowledge and experience in different areas which are being addressed by the Congress, both in the economic arena, as well as the social and ideological.

Among the invitees are Party cadres, deputies to the National Assembly, representatives from Central State Administration bodies, Cuban civil society, combatants, researchers from scientific centers, university professors, intellectuals, and press editors, among others.

The eldest delegate is José Ramón Fernández, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, a founder of the Party and combatant, with an outstanding, lifelong record. He is 92 years of age. The youngest delegate is Idaliena Díaz Casamayor, from Guantánamo, president of a People's Council, and a deputy to the National Assembly. She is 27.

It is natural that comrades with considerable experience and long careers in the Party's ranks are elected to attend an event of this nature. The fact that there are 55 young delegates is a demonstration of how much each one of them has been able to contribute personally, despite their youth, but, above all their presence represents recognition of a generation which is giving continuity to the work of their grandparents and parents.

There are many other youth who could have been elected as delegates, just as there are many other comrades who founded the Party; participated in the literacy campaign; fought in the underground, the Sierra, Girón, the Escambray, and Angola; who cut sugar cane in critical people's harvests; built communities, hospitals, schools, factories. They are all represented at the Congress, along with the youngest.

Also participating are 14 members of Party units in Cuba's international solidarity missions, from five countries: Venezuela, Brazil, Haiti, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Women constitute 43 per cent of the delegates, while 36 per cent are Black or of mixed race.

In both cases, these figures match their composition within the Party membership. The percentages are 2.5 and 4.5 per cent greater, respectively, than those from the 6th Congress.

The Congress is a reflection of the membership and Cuban society as a whole. There are a significant number of Party cadre, from the national, municipal and district levels, as well as leaders of grassroots organizations (Party units and committees). There are workers, farmers, technicians, state and enterprise leaders, researchers, economists, professors and teachers, healthcare workers, combatants from the FAR and Minit, intellectuals and artists, jurists, journalists. As evidence of the transformations advanced by the 6th Congress, some delegates work in the non-state sector of the economy. This is the Party of the Cuban nation, not a part of it.

Havana, 7th Congress Gala, April 15, 2016.

(Photos: CubaDebate)

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CPC(M-L) Message of Greetings

Dear Comrades,

Please receive our warmest revolutionary greetings on the occasion of your 7th Congress. You have put your experience of establishing a new Cuban model for the economy and safeguarding the revolution and its institutions firmly in the hands of the Cuban people. Your deliberations are sure to further strengthen this glorious revolutionary project.

On this important occasion, which is also the 55th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist character of the Revolution, permit us to applaud your victories and historic achievements which are also a great inspiration to the peoples everywhere in these very difficult times of retreat of revolution. Cuba shows that there is an alternative to the neo-liberal liquidationist and warmongering path imposed by the international financial oligarchy. It shows that armed with the conviction imparted by adherence to revolutionary principles, the peoples can provide the problems their societies face with solutions.

On this occasion, we hail the work of the Communist Party of Cuba and its revolutionary leadership and send a militant Red Salute to Comrades Fidel and Raúl. We pay deepest respects to all the martyrs of the Cuban revolution at home and abroad and our gratitude to all its heroes.

We consider the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States as a resounding victory of the unwavering support of the Cuban people for the cause of the revolution and their commitment to anti-imperialist ideals. We pledge to step up the work to end the cruel U.S. imperialist blockade of Cuba, demand the return of Guantánamo and the peaceful resolution of all problems.

We are confident the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba will be very successful.

Hail the Consciousness, Commitment and the Indestructible Unity of the Cuban People!
Hail the Further Development of the Work of the Revolution!
Hail the Leadership of Fidel and Raúl and the Communist Party of Cuba!
May the Relations between Our Two Parties and Two Peoples Continue to Flourish!

With revolutionary communist greetings,

Central Committee
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
April 3, 2016

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Granma Articles on the Significance of the Communist Party

Our Party Was Born During the
Historic Days of Girón

Declaration of the socialist character of the Cuban revolution, April 16, 1961

No other date is more symbolic than April 16, that of our Party's founding.

On the eve of the mercenary invasion at Playa Girón, after honoring the victims of the previous day's aerial attacks on our airports, combatants of the Rebel Army, the National Police, and militias swore to defend at any cost the socialist character of the Revolution, proclaimed on this unforgettable day.

The historic roots of Cuba's political vanguard lie in the Cuban Revolutionary Party founded by José Martí to organize and conduct the Necessary War; in the profusion of Marxist-Leninist ideas expressed in the first Communist Party of Cuba created by Carlos Baliño and Julio Antonio Mella in 1925; in the development of mass anti-imperialist consciousness in the first half of the 20th century; and, as the culmination, in the shock wave produced across the nation by the heroic actions of July 26, 1953, and the initiation of the war for the country's definitive independence, won January 1, 1959. At that time, for the first time, the people achieved their legitimate aspirations, and took their rightful place as protagonists following the triumph of the Revolution.

The destruction of the old bourgeois apparatus, and the formation of the nascent state, the radical steps taken by the Revolution, and the creation of genuine, fighting organizations of the masses, confirmed the Revolution's unmistakable trajectory. On October 15, 1960, during a television appearance, Comandante en Jefe Fidel stated that the democratic, popular, agrarian, anti-imperialist stage of the Cuban Revolution had been completed, and with it, the essence of the Moncada Program, outlined in Fidel's History Will Absolve Me. The economic and political power of the privileged in Cuba had been eliminated, he said, and announced the beginning of a new stage, one in which methods directed toward economic and social transformation would be different. It would be the beginning of the socialist period in Cuban conditions, although its essence had already been expressed in action, and in the content of the Declaration of Havana on September 2.

The big changes in all aspects of the country's life, the need to face relentless imperialist aggression, and the strategic goals of the Revolution made the creation of a political vanguard imperative, to forge and consolidate the necessary unity -- a party which would be a faithful representation of Cuban society and the people's deepest desires.

At that moment, the principal forces participating in the armed struggle and in the period immediately following the Rebel victory (the July 26th Movement, the March 13 Revolutionary Directorate, and the Popular Socialist Party) all had their own areas of influence, tactics and leadership bodies.

The evolution of the process, and the Revolution's objectives, contributed to the creation of conditions for more frequent discussion and interaction between the principal organizations carrying out the Revolution, and steps were taken by their leaders to work jointly at the grassroots and leadership levels.

Thus, when the socialist character of the Revolution was declared, that historic April 16, unification of these three organizations was already underway, even though a single Party did not yet exist.

Referring to this important process, Fidel stated in the main report to the First Party Congress, "The conditions were present for the convergence of all revolutionaries in a single Party. A process of integration at the grassroots and leadership levels had already begun earlier, but after the conclusions of April 16, and the glorious victory of Girón, our Party was in fact born in the firm unity of all revolutionaries and working people, cemented by the heroism of our working class, which fought and shed its blood generously in the defense of the homeland and of socialism. From now on, we act as a single organization and under a cohesive leadership."

Unlike the party founded by Martí to win independence, or that created by Lenin to lead Russia to the victory of October, 1917, and other examples within the revolutionary movement, our Party emerged in the heat of battles to defend the Revolution.

In the days following the resounding defeat of the mercenary invasion, the definitive steps were taken to create a new political organization, under a collective leadership. Interests and barriers, which divided, distanced, impeded and weakened the necessary unity, were left behind. From this moment forward, the Party followed an unprecedented path of creation and authenticity, closely tied to the people.

This is how our Party was born, under the unquestionable leadership of Fidel.

(Granma, April 12, 2016)

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A Party of the Masses and for the Masses

Fidel was the unquestionable driving force and constructor of unity among revolutionary forces. Since the liberation war's earliest days, the chief leader of the Revolution facilitated contact, and reached compromises and accords with organizations participating in the struggle. After the January 1, 1959, victory, the Comandante en Jefe promoted meetings of the principal leaders of these forces, including some which required absolute discretion, and little by little made these encounters more regular and significant, in an effort to create a context for unity.

Just two months after the historic victory at Playa Girón, June 24, 1961, an important leadership plenum of the Popular Socialist Party (PSP) took place, with the main leaders of the July 26th Movement and the March 13 Revolutionary Directorate in attendance. At this meeting, a unanimous decision was made to unite the three forces, to undertake the most imperative tasks of the transition to and construction of socialism.

During the memorable meeting, Fidel was recognized as the nation's principal leader. Once the unity resolution was approved, the PSP was dissolved, and, immediately thereafter, the July 26th Movement and the March 13 Revolutionary Directorate proceeded to do the same. These decisions led to the establishment of the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (ORI), to coordinate joint-work prior to the formation of a new single party.

Following the event, the intense process of creating provincial and grassroots structures began. Thus, on March 8, 1962, the new party's National Directorate was constituted, and on the 22nd, this body designated Fidel and Raúl as first and second Party secretaries, respectively, while Blas Roca was chosen as editor of the newspaper Hoy.

The birth of a single political organization, with a single leadership, meant an extraordinary strengthening of the Revolution. A few days earlier, March 13, Fidel had warned of and publicly denounced the emergence of certain sectarian attitudes, a lack of confidence in those who had not previously been members of the PSP, and discrimination regarding membership in the new party. Sectarianism in the process of constituting the new organization was cut short in time.

In virtue of this criticism, work was done to ensure that grassroots units of the ORI undertaking the formation of new party structures were strictly complying with the requirement that the population be consulted regarding members to be chosen.

Fidel made an extraordinary contribution, in theory and practice, to the construction of the Party. He was the architect of its constitution, based on the creative application of the ideas of Martí and Lenin, given the specific conditions of the Cuban Revolution, which were practically expressed in norms, procedures, leadership methods, principles, discipline, mass consultation, internal democracy and collective leadership.

Under these precepts, a political vanguard has been forged with the careful selection of members, closely tied to the masses, which has gained the prestige and authority so necessary to effective political work.

Referring to this conception, in April of 1962, Fidel commented, "The Revolution is made by the masses and for the masses. This is the Party's reason for being, and all its prestige and all of its authority will be based on the real ties it has with the masses."

(Granma, April 13, 2016)

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The Communist Party of Cuba

The result of the process undertaken in the previous two years, in May 1963 the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (ORI) came to be called the United Party of the Socialist Revolution of Cuba (PURSC). This was not a simple name change, but the establishment of a rigorous democratic system for entry into its ranks, on the basis of consultation with workers about who could be considered and elected as model workers, and the selection by relevant bodies, from among these workers, of those who should be selected for entry into its ranks.

Based on these principles, intense activity unfolded in workplaces and in other collectives. Based on the first experiences, this task extended to other sectors of Cuban society.

Under the guidance and direction of Raúl, for example, in the eastern mountains, the work of building the Party began following socio-political studies, taking advantage of the structure of the mountain companies, which due to their composition had become effective political-military organizations in these territories.

This first experience in the military structures served as the model to initiate this process in the rest of the armed institutions. Thus, on December 2, 1963, the process began in the Eastern Army. It was demonstrated that the existence of the Party, far from clashing with the principle of unity of command, increased the authority of commanders, raised the combat effectiveness of troops, improved technique, strengthened military discipline, and significantly developed the knowledge and the level of political training of officers and soldiers.

Three years later, the political vanguard had essentially been constituted in all sectors of the country.

Between September 30 and October 1, 1965, the first important meetings of the Party's top leadership took place, attended by members of the provincial bureaus of the Party, the general secretaries of regional committees and leaders of provincial state administrations.

On the conclusion of these meetings, October 3, Fidel reported the decisions of the national leadership of the PURSC, ratified on October 2 at the first meeting of its Central Committee, on the election of the Political Bureau, the Secretariat and the Work Commissions; the union of the newspapers Hoy and Revolución into one: Granma, which henceforth would be the official voice of the Party; and the agreement to rename the PURSC as the Communist Party of Cuba was ratified, an unequivocal expression of a new stage, and the highest goals and aspirations of the Cuban people.

With these steps, the formation was essentially concluded of the Communist Party of Cuba, whose principles and methods have proven effective through today.

(Granma, April 14, 2016)

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Without the Party the Revolution Could Not Exist

Banner at the 7th Congress reads: "The Party is today the soul of the Revolution."

For more than five decades, the Party has continued along a path of constant learning and experience, seeking and perfecting its own, more effective methods and work style, invariably alongside the masses in the most difficult and complex moments of the economic, political and social battle; leading the development of the consciousness of the people, of their general and political education; at the forefront of the defense of the Revolution.

With its vigilant action, the Party overcame the ambitious and opportunistic trends of the "microfracción" (sectarianism) of the years 1967 and 1968; actively participated in the institutionalization process of the country in the seventies, and created its central support structure in May 1973, as part of measures aimed at its strengthening and development.

An expression of the maturity achieved and the growing role of the Party was its First Congress held in December 1975, and those held subsequently. Each has been at the center of the main tasks and challenges of their time.

The Party has led all the battles of the country throughout its existence. Its ceaseless activity and authority have allowed it to forge ahead in the face of the difficult challenge of the special period, and in the resolute struggle today to confront weaknesses, overcome difficulties and continue perfecting our socialism, always connected with the people. The Party has never been indifferent, and its political action has been fitting at every moment.

With its own rules and procedures, the Party has been consistent with its responsibility for the destiny of the country; aware that without it, the Revolution could not exist, because as Fidel noted on March 14, 1974: "(...) The vanguard organization is fundamental. Do you know what gives security to the Revolution? The Party. Do you know what provides continuity to the Revolution? The Party. Do you know what ensures the future of the Revolution, what provides the Revolution with life, what provides for the future of the Revolution? The Party. Without the Party the Revolution could not exist (...)."

In Cuba, we know the recipe of the multi-party system that divided and weakened Cuban society before the triumph of January 1959. And its actions in other countries demonstrate that it is a fallacy, because in essence the majority of countries where this "multi-party democracy" is exercised, particularly in electoral processes, it aims to maintain the status quo, with the uncompromising defense of capitalism.

We also witnessed what happened in the former European socialist countries. Today the diversity of parties within these [countries] has not freed them from the unfortunate political, economic and social consequences of the collapse.

Our history confirms and persuades regarding the appropriateness of the existence of a single party, which has made us stronger in the face of aggression and the genocidal blockade, as well as in the battle for the economic and social development of the nation, the formation of revolutionary consciousness, the preservation of independence, sovereignty and socialism.

The campaigns, programs and activities of political-ideological subversion of the enemy are not random events; their purpose is to undermine the authority of the Party, earned through its connection with the masses, and the unity which has been built, essential pillars of the continuity of the Revolution.

The new stage and the challenges we face reconfirm the Party's role in Cuban society, and in the preservation of the Revolution's accomplishments. In these new circumstances, the Party continues at the forefront of the people.

In the same way the Party cemented the unity of the entire people and led the resistance against aggressions of all kinds by successive U.S. administrations, now it does so in a new setting.

The current government of the United States acknowledged (reluctantly) the failure of the policy of open hostility toward the Revolution. This administration has proclaimed that it aims to achieve the same result it was pursuing, but by other methods; it offers peaceful relations, of friendship, but rigorously maintains and enforces the blockade; it ignores that it must return the territory illegally occupied in Guantánamo to Cuba; it continues the illegal broadcasts that violate our airwaves; it persists with its counterrevolutionary interventionist and subversive programs; and maintains differentiated and politically manipulated immigration policies for Cubans. The struggle for truly normal relations between Cuba and the United States will be long and this normalization unavoidably involves the rectification of these aggressive policies and measures, harmful to our sovereignty.

In these circumstances, the Party's role is indispensable to continue on the socialist path, consolidating our essence, promoting revolutionary ideas, patriotism, solidarity and anti-imperialism, the sense of social justice, equal rights and opportunities, human values, a democratic spirit, participation and confidence in the socialist future.

As the editorial of the official voice of the Central Committee, published last March 9 noted: "the Cuban people will continue to move forward. With our own efforts and proven capacity and creativity, we will continue to work for the country's development and the well-being of Cubans (...).We will persevere in the process of updating the socio-economic model we have chosen, and the construction of a prosperous, sustainable socialism to consolidate the gains to the Revolution. A path sovereignly chosen, which will surely be reaffirmed by the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, with Fidel and Raúl victorious."

(Granma, April 15, 2016)

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Important Events

Visit of Hero of the Republic of Cuba to Canada

Toronto, April 3, 2016

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, a Hero of the Republic of Cuba was enthusiastically welcomed at each stop of his first tour across Canada and Quebec, which began in Toronto on April 3 and concluded in Nanaimo on April 13.

Gerardo is the leader of the Cuban Five Heroes, who risked their lives to monitor the activities of anti-Cuba organizations in south Florida who have been carrying out terrorist attacks against the Cuban people for decades. For this, the Five -- Gerardo, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González -- were falsely accused and convicted of espionage against the United States and were jailed as political prisoners. Gerardo in particular was falsely accused of conspiracy to commit murder and received the most severe punishment -- a double life sentence plus 15 years. Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio remained imprisoned until their freedom was won on December 17, 2014 as a result of the concerted diplomatic efforts of the Cuban government, and efforts of the Cuban people and solidarity movements around the world. Gerardo is the second member of the Cuban Five to visit Canada and Quebec, following Fernando González who came almost a year ago.

Gerardo's visit began at the Steelworkers' Hall in Toronto, the venue for many gatherings during the campaign to free the Cuban Five. As was the case throughout Gerardo's visit, the hall was filled to capacity and the guest of honour was met with a standing ovation. The event was opened by representatives of the movement to free the Cuban Five in Canada, who thanked Gerardo for this visit and recounted some of the work to free the Five that began in 1998. Cuban Consul General Javier Dómokos brought greetings to the gathering on behalf of Cuban Ambassador H.E. Julio Garmendía Peña. Dómokos remarked on the presence of people from all walks of life, not only long-time solidarity activists but also youth, Cubans resident in Canada, supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and others from throughout Latin America. Dómokos conveyed the feelings of all present when he said what an honour it was to receive Gerardo and that it is "a rare moment in life that you get to have a real hero in front of you."

Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc welcomed Gerardo on behalf of the City and presented an official certificate from the City recognizing him as "an outstanding fighter against terrorism and injustice."

Left to right: Cuban Consul General Javier Dómokos, Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevic and Gerardo Hernández.

At each event on the tour, Gerardo expressed profound appreciation to all those who assisted in the campaign for the release of the Cuban Five, saying that this worldwide campaign was integral to their freedom. He pointed out that the U.S. courts gave him two life sentences plus 15 years so that he would never be released, but "they didn't count on friends like you" and didn't realize "how powerful unity in struggle is." Gerardo recalled that the U.S. authorities tried many times to no avail to divide the five Cubans.

Regarding U.S. President Obama's recent visit to Cuba, Gerardo talked about Obama's attempt to cement his legacy. He stressed that Cubans are aware that the diplomatic successes do not mean "that imperialism has stopped being imperialism." He pointed out that, in the process of normalizing relations with the U.S., "Cuba has not renounced one single principle, so whose victory is it? It is ours," he affirmed.

Gerardo also spoke to the Cuban people's support for the oppressed peoples of the world. With respect to Palestine in particular, the Cuban Five have decided that one of them will always wear a bracelet bearing the words "Free Palestine." Gerardo recounted his experience as part of the Cuban forces that provided assistance to Angola in its fight against apartheid rule and how this earned the respect of black fellow inmates in prison, and how other prisoners came to know the Five through their own work for liberation. Of his experience in prison, he spoke with great empathy about his fellow prisoners, many of whom were black, Indigenous or minority youth, reduced to being criminals and subjected to inhuman prison conditions as a result of the anachronistic economic, social, political and cultural conditions of U.S. society.

Gerardo's trip included a visit to Fort Erie and Niagara Falls, Ontario on April 4. At the Falls, Gerardo noted the plaque commemorating Cuban poet José Maria Heredia (1803-1839), who was exiled for his revolutionary patriotic activities and whose epic poem Niagara was written at the top of the Falls in 1825. In Fort Erie he visited the town hall and met with Mayor Wayne Redekop and members of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association of Niagara. Gerardo thanked Mayor Redekop for the support he has given over the years to Cuba solidarity work in the area.

Gerardo's visit to Niagara Falls, including a meeting with Mayor of Fort Erie Wayne Redekop.

On April 6 in Montreal, Gerardo spoke to a meeting organized by the Quebec-Cuba Solidarity Roundtable. He met a warm reception from the various Cuba solidarity organizations, Cubans living in Montreal and Cuba's many friends, to all of whom he conveyed the warmest greetings from all of the Five. The participants all affirmed their solidarity with Cuba and their ongoing commitment to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba.

Montreal, April 6, 2016

Also in Montreal, on April 7, Gerardo gave a keynote speech to 600 steelworkers at the United Steelworkers 53rd National Policy Conference, and held other meetings with workers at the conference. The conference passed a resolution against the U.S. blockade. Gerardo visited Kahnawake in Mohawk territory on April 8 and participated in exchanges with community representatives from Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Akwesasne and Six Nations.

In Ottawa on April 9, Gerardo spoke to a full house at the Embassy of Cuba where he was introduced by the Ambassador of Cuba to Canada, H.E. Julio Garmendía Peña and members of Ottawa-Cuba Connections who organized the event. A presentation was shown before Gerardo spoke that highlighted the release of the Cuban Five and the solidarity actions which took place in Ottawa over the years and continue today with the demand for an end to the U.S. blockade against Cuba, its occupation of Guantánamo Bay and other hostile acts. Gerardo reiterated that his work and the work of the Five is ongoing in their efforts with Cubans and the world's peoples to end the blockade and all U.S. interference in Cuba's sovereign affairs. He was also greeted at the event by Bill Ryan, who corresponded with and befriended Gerardo when he was in prison and with whom Gerardo is now working to help Cuba produce its own bats for baseball leagues.

Ottawa, April 9, 2016

From Ottawa Gerardo travelled to British Columbia, where he met with activists from the Cuba solidarity movements in Vancouver, Nanaimo and Victoria. In Vancouver on April 11, separate meetings were held with trade union leaders of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators and the Hospital Employees' Union. He expressed his eternal gratitude to Canadian unions for their participation in the international campaign for the release of the Five and launched an appeal to continue supporting the causes of the Cuban Revolution, especially the demand for the U.S. government to lift the criminal blockade. On April 12 Gerardo addressed another capacity crowd at the Vancouver Public Library. This event also featured an exhibition of Gerardo's artwork created during his imprisonment to express the Cubans Five's defiance of U.S. imperialism and the justness of defending Cuba's right to be. Gerardo's final event was in Nanaimo BC, on Vancouver Island on April 13. 

The tour once again brought to mind the significance of the work of solidarity with Cuba, which is not that of being a cheerleader for someone else, but of sharing the weal, woe and victories of all humanity, including the Cuban people and their principled striving to affirm their sovereignty and well-being, and to uphold the same for all countries. This is also what the peace- and justice-loving peoples of Quebec and Canada strive to do at home.

Vancouver, April 12, 2016

Nanaimo, April 13, 2016

(Photos: TML, USW, Chief Bob Chamberlin, Cuban Consulate)

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April 19 -- World Day of Solidarity with Venezuela

Tuesday, April 19

Protest Action -- 4:00-5:00 pm
U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, 1070 West Pender St.
Information Tabling and Petition -- 5:30-7:00 pm
Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson St. at Howe St.
Organized by Fire This Time

The Communist, Revolutionary and Workers' Parties of the world, express our strong support and firm solidarity to the Venezuelan people, the Government of the Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Communist Party of Venezuela, and the Committee of International Solidarity (COSI), a member of the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council (WPC), all victims of an abominable new interventionist escalation by U.S. imperialism which means the prelude to a declaration of war.

The "Executive Order" was renewed on March 3, 2016 by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and extends and expands the possible actions of the major state aggressor on the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples, against the political and social process in Venezuela. It declares a "national emergency" against an alleged "unusual and extraordinary threat to national security and foreign policy" of the U.S.

This action represents a provocation and interference that violates international law and the human rights and peace of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the entire Latin American and Caribbean region.

We denounce such actions that are aimed at destabilizing popular developments, especially in Venezuela, and directed against the process of changes affecting the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean, attempting to reconstruct the imperialist hegemony and U.S. geostrategic control.

In a new international escalation of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie supported by the interests of imperialism, along with its allies in the international extreme right, three days after Obama's actions, one Spanish and 26 Latin American former presidents appeared requesting the perverse application of a mechanism by the Organization of American States (OAS) to punish Venezuela despite no violations of the constitutional order.

While our people yearn for sovereign and independent development, social justice and peace, imperialism is the promoter and implementer of coups d'états, bloody military occupations, and is the greatest violator of Human Rights.

In 2015, Venezuela promoted along with the peoples of the region the declaration of all Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, rejecting the use of nuclear weapons and demanding the withdrawal of U.S. military bases.

Currently, the United States has 74 military bases throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and its weapons of mass destruction are aimed against the processes of sovereignty and self-determination of our peoples.

Thirteen of these bases surround Venezuela. Billions of dollars from drug trafficking and U.S. finances are diverted to fund organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which promote and organize the neo-fascist groups, destabilizing democratic and popular governments such as the constitutional government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Ottawa, March 26, 2015 action opposes U.S. President Obama's issuing of "Executive Order."

The Liberator Simón Bolivar already warned, on August 5, 1829, when he stated in a letter to the Minister Chargé d'Affaires of Her Britannic Majesty in the United States, Patrick Campbell: "The United States seems destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of Freedom."

The Obama administration and its NATO allies favour deregulation of employment, massive layoffs and undermining of fundamental rights, leading its citizens to the brink of misery and death in response to the crisis of the world capitalist system. In Venezuela the claims of the working class and historically-excluded groups to their political, social and economic rights have been achieved.

For these reasons, the Communist, Workers' and Revolutionary Parties, social movements and personalities:

- Express our full and active solidarity to the Venezuelan People, the Government of the Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Communist Party of Venezuela, and the Committee of Solidarity International (COSI), member of the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council (WPC), victims of a new and more dangerous aggression by the government of the United States.

- Demand the repeal of the renewed infamous and interventionist decree signed by President Barack Obama against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

- Join as we did last year, the joint call and declare April 19 as "World Day of Solidarity with the People of Venezuela."

- Convene social movements and organizations that bring together and represent the working class and working people, so that they show their militant solidarity with Venezuela during the activities to celebrate the International Workers' Day on May 1.

- Promote in all parliaments of the world, motions and actions aimed at the forceful rejection of interventionist actions against Venezuela and its legitimate right to self-determination and sovereignty.

- Denounce and reject the concerted terrorist action by a group of one Spanish and 26 Latin American extreme right former presidents, who requested the Organization of American States (OAS) apply the impermissible Inter-American Charter against the will of the people of Venezuela.

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April 13-15 -- International Peoples' Gathering in Honduras to Celebrate the Life of Berta Cáceres

On April 12 the Canada Honduras Delegation for Justice, Land and Life travelled to Tegucigalpa for the International Peoples Gathering "Berta Cáceres Lives" taking place April 13-15. First Nations women leaders, lawyers, filmmakers and solidarity activists made up the delegation to the gathering that was organized in the wake of Berta Cáceres' murder on March 3, followed closely by that of her colleague Nelson Garcia on March 15.

Berta Cáceres was an Indigenous, feminist and environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize whose murder has sparked an unprecedented outcry around the world for justice, truth and reparation in Honduras. Berta and the organization that she helped found, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), have been fighting powerful economic and political interests to keep hydroelectric dams and mining concessions off of Indigenous Lenca territory.

More than 1,300 people gathered for the event commemorating her life, which concluded on April 15 with a walk and gathering at the Gualcarque River. The river is a sacred place in Lenca spirituality and site of the Agua Zarca dam project, which Cáceres tirelessly resisted and that was located near her home in La Esperanza where she was murdered.

"From the get go, the investigation into Berta's murder and the attempted murder against Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who was with her at the time, has been fraught with irregularities. Yet, the Canadian government's response has been insufficient, failing to question this process. We will be documenting what we hear to bring that back to Ottawa next week," remarked Catherine Morris from Lawyers Rights Watch Canada.

Berta's family and COPINH have denounced Honduran officials as incapable of undertaking a full and impartial investigation, outing one official for close ties to the hydroelectric company that Berta was protesting and citing bias against her, given prior attempts to legally prosecute her on baseless charges. They insist that the Honduran government needs to reach an agreement with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to involve a group of independent, international experts in the investigation.

"We know that Berta's murder is just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to Honduras to hear firsthand about the deadly environment that community activists face and how the Canadian government and business have been taking advantage of the repressive context to facilitate economic interests. We need this to change," remarked Mary Hannaburg, Mohawk Nation Director for Quebec Native Women.

Since a military-backed coup in 2009, hundreds of Indigenous activists, campesinos, trade unionists, journalists, judges, opposition political candidates, human rights activists and others have been murdered with impunity. Despite the prevailing climate of fear and violence for many campesino, Indigenous and Indigenous-Garífuna communities, the Canadian government in October 2014 entered into a free trade agreement with Honduras and provided technical assistance to draft a new mining code that provides few protections for people and the environment, while it favours companies.

During their visit, the Canadian delegation participated in the international gathering and met with lawyers, activists and communities. The delegation will return to Ottawa on April 20 for meetings with government and Members of Parliament. They will participate in a press conference on April 21 on Parliament Hill.

The delegation is being supported by roughly twenty organizations and networks in Canada and Quebec, including unions, human rights organizations and academic and solidarity groups. These, and dozens more, signed a joint statement to the Canadian government after Berta's murder in March.

(MiningWatch Canada, TeleSUR)

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