February 10, 2018 - No. 5
Murdered and Missing Women
• Korean Nation's Profound Desire for
Reunification Sets Tone
U.S. Bullying and Threats Against DPRK
• Serious U.S. Miscalculation of Korean Desire
• Letter of DPRK Foreign Minister to
UN Secretary General
Genocidal Nature of Sanctions
• UNICEF Highlights Damage to Humanitarian Work
• Genocide Conspiracy Against North Korea --
Open Letter to International Criminal Court
Hegemony Over Latin America
• Engaging in Corruption in the Name
of Fighting It
- Margaret Villamizar -
• Fight for Lula's Right to Be Presidential
• U.S. Establishes Cyber Task Force
to Meddle in Cuba's
Internal Affairs and Target Its Youth
• United States Returns to Failed
- Sergio Alejandro Gómez -
• Demand Immediate Release of
Edwin Espinal and
All Political Prisoners
- Honduras Solidarity
• Global Concentration of Social Wealth
"Their Spirits Live Within Us"
Women's Memorial Marches Honour
Murdered and Missing Women
Vancouver Women's Memorial March, February 14, 2015.
On February 14, important women's memorial marches will
place across Canada. The first women's memorial march was held in
1992 in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman in
Vancouver. The march has taken place every year since in
Vancouver and is now held in other cities as well. The
February 14 Women's Memorial Marches are an opportunity for
participants to come together to grieve, to remember and to
dedicate themselves to the cause of justice.
Indigenous women are almost
three times as likely as
non-Indigenous women to experience violence. The Native Women's
Association of Canada (NWAC) and Walk 4 Justice conclude there
are more than 4,000 murdered and missing Indigenous women and
girls. Meanwhile, the RCMP reports 1,181 cases of missing or
murdered Indigenous women in Canada between 1980 and 2012.
Families report failure by police to investigate reports of
missing women and failure to investigate deaths. Former Status of Women
Minister Patty Hadju acknowledged the history of police
under-reporting of homicides, and failure to investigate
suspicious deaths. The enormity of the failure can be seen in the
gap between the number of murdered and missing women according
to the RCMP and the information gathered by NWAC and Walk 4
Justice amongst others. In not a few cases the police themselves
are implicated in racist violence against Indigenous women and
girls, which they carry out with impunity.
Empty red dresses have come to symbolize the Indigenous women and girls
murdered or gone missing and the peoples' demand for redress. Top:
dresses line the
to the parliament buildings in Ottawa; bottom: alongside the
Highway of Tears in
northern British Columbia.
A report by Canada's Chief Public Health Officer found
half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one
incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. The
Social Survey on Victimization conducted by Statistics Canada
stated that there were 553,000 self-reported sexual assaults in
2014, the vast majority of these reports were from women.
Every six days a woman dies in Canada as a result of
violence. One day a year, the Canadian Network of Women's
Shelters and Transition Houses takes stock of the situation of
women and children seeking shelter. On "snapshot day" 2017, Shelter Voices
reported that 44 per cent of shelters were full.
On that day 356 women with 250 children requested residential
services at 105 transition houses and shelters. The majority, 273
women and 182 children or 75 per cent of those seeking shelter,
were turned away.
The National Housing Strategy announced by the Trudeau
Liberals in 2017 acknowledged this crisis but the government has
not restored the Shelter Enhancement Program eliminated by the
Harper government, nor is it making sure adequate shelter space
is provided. Instead strategy documents state that a
Co-Investment Fund will "help reduce the wait-list for shelter
spaces and lower the number of women who might otherwise return
to violent relationships or turn to the street." It does not
elaborate how this will be achieved. The Trudeau Liberals report funds
they are spending for new locks on the doors of a
shelter but reporting such details does not make the number of shelter
adequate to meet the need.
Recent information also
confirms that even government
agencies and institutions are not safe places for women to work.
Accusations of improper sexual conduct abound within the
Parliament and government ministries and the upper echelons of
establishment political parties with seats in the parliament.
Women in both the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces have launched class
action suits after years of demanding an end to
harassment and assault. The government agreed in 2017 to settle a
class action suit on behalf of female RCMP officers for
discrimination and sexual harassment. To date 2,400 women have
joined the lawsuit. These large class action suits shed light on
the inherent sexist nature of these institutions which facilitate
violence and other injustices against women.
The Department of Justice is now trying to have a
class action suit against the Canadian Armed Forces thrown out of
court, arguing that the government is not responsible to provide
a harassment-free work environment, or to create policies to
prevent sexual harassment or sexual assault. When the Justice
Department's submission was brought to light, both the Minister
of Defence and the Justice Minister remained silent. Trudeau
expressed outrage but commentators described this as an
example of the public relations strategy of "owning the problem"
in order to deflect blame.
Women are in the front ranks of all those who are
for their rights in the context of fighting for the rights of
all. Join the marches on February 14!
The Walking with our Sisters
exhibition, honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women
and girls was created by Métis artist
Christi Belcourt. It includes more than 1,800 pairs of hand-decorated
beaded moccasin vamps donated by family members of the missing and
murdered Indigenous women and girls. It also includes more than 100
vamps representing the children who never came home from residential
schools. The exhibition has travelled to
cities and towns across Canada since it first opened in 2013. Photo is
PyeongChang "Peace Olympics"
Korean Nation's Profound Desire for
Peace and Reunification
Photo shows joint Korean delegation entering PyeongChang Olympic
Stadium at the opening ceremony, February 9, 2018, ending the parade of
nations. The Korean
Unification Flag takes centre stage and flashes across the
stadium seats with the name "Korea."
A great sense of excitement surrounded
the opening ceremonies of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics with a
united north and
south Korean delegation participating under the Unification Flag.
The stage was set a month before the games began, at the
inter-Korean talks on January 9 to promote national reconciliation and
reunification and solve all
problems between themselves through bilateral dialogue and
negotiations, and to dissipate mounting tensions due to U.S. threats to
disrupt the Olympics with fire and fury. Representatives of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea
(ROK) took the decision to "proactively cooperate in ensuring that the
23rd Winter Olympics and Paralympics in the south side area will be
successfully held, providing an occasion for enhancing the prestige of
the [Korean] nation," ultimately resulting in a large DPRK delegation
being sent to the games and the two Koreas marching as one in the
opening ceremony, among other initiatives.
Both sides have gone all out to realize this decision,
contributing greatly to reducing tensions created by the U.S.
Canada and others who are meddling in the relations between the DPRK
The Korean people's own aim for peace
and reunification, free from outside interference, has prevailed and
set the tone and ensured that these Olympics will be
known from now on as the "Peace Olympics."
These PyeongChang Games are the 23rd Winter Olympics and
feature 102 events in 15
sports, with the participation of nearly 3,000 athletes from 92
countries and territories. It is the first Winter Olympics held
in the Republic of Korea and its second Olympics overall, the
first being the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
The Parade of Nations, with Greece leading the way as the historic
founding nation of the Olympics, followed by all the other countries in
alphabetical order according to the Korean language. The parade
the 180 athletes from the DPRK and ROK marching as
one behind the
Unification Flag, to the accompaniment of the Korean folk song Arirang,
anthem of reunification in both north and south. They received a
Korean delegation led by flag bearers Hwang Chung
Guam of the DPRK, a member of the
unified Korean women's hockey
team, and ROK bobsledder Won Yun-jong.
The opening ceremony took place at the PyeongChang
Stadium on the evening of February 9, with 35,000 people in
attendance. The joint presence of the athletes and leadership
from the ROK and DPRK was the highlight of the opening ceremony,
while the performances on stage recounted Korean mythology,
history and culture, and focused on the themes of peace and
harmony, with brilliance and technological prowess. The sincere
aspirations of the
Korean people to unite their divided nation made short shrift of the
views repeated ad nauseam by
the imperialist press that the united presence of the ROK and DPRK
athletes was a short-lived "manipulation" or "charm offensive" by the
President of the ROK Moon Jae-in (front left); First
Jung-sook (front right); Kim
Yong Nam, President of the Presidium
Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK (back left); and Kim Yo Jong,
First Vice Director of the DPRK's Workers' Party Central
the DPRK's delegation to the Olympics (back right). The
visit to the ROK
by such a high-level delegation from the DPRK is the
first since the
armistice that ended
the Korean War in 1953.
The hope of the peoples of the world for peace on the
Peninsula was officially expressed by the head of the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach. After
extending greetings to all those present and calling for good
sportsmanship, he significantly highlighted the unifying role of sports
and the role the Olympics can play to nurture peace:
"A great example of this unifying power [of the
the joint march here tonight of the two teams from the National
Olympic Committees of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea. We thank you.
"All the athletes around me, all the spectators here in
stadium, and all Olympic fans watching around the world, we are
all touched by this wonderful gesture. We all join and support
you in your message of peace.
"United in our diversity, we are stronger than all the
that want to divide us.
"Two years ago in Rio de Janeiro, with
the first ever Refugee Olympic Team, the IOC sent a powerful
message of hope to the world. Now in PyeongChang, the athletes
from the teams of the ROK and DPRK, by marching together, send a
powerful message of peace to the world."
ROK President Moon Jae-in then officially opened the
games. Two members of the united Korean women's hockey team,
Park Jong-ah of the ROK and Jong Su Hyon of the DPRK, had the
honour of jointly carrying the Olympic torch up a majestic flight of
before handing it over to the heroine of Korean sport, Olympic
medalist and world champion figure skater Kim Yuna from the ROK,
who lit the Olympic cauldron.
Unified Korean Women's Hockey Team
The DPRK cheerleaders warm up the crowd before the
women's hockey game, February 10, 2018.
For the first time in 65 years, south and north Korean
athletes are playing in a unified Olympic team, the women's ice
hockey team. The 35-member squad includes 15 players from the DPRK. The
players from the ROK include
players who hold dual Korean-Canadian and Korean-U.S. citizenship. The
unified team is coached by Canadian Sarah
Murray. The players from north and south were brought together
only 10 days before their first scheduled game.
Korean-Canadian player Caroline Park said of the
team, "I think at first you're not sure what to expect. You hear
a lot from the news and you don't know what's going on, but I
think that when [the north Koreans] got here, they kind of
exceeded our expectations. The players are just so, so nice and
they're just so eager to learn."
At a practice match on February 4, in the lead-up to
the games, 1,600 south Koreans
cheered the unified team in a practice
match against Sweden. Waving the
Unification Flags, they chanted, "Our country --
reunification! One Korea!"
Participation of Delegation from the DPRK
The DPRK cheerleaders out in full force at the opening ceremony.
Two hundred and eighty members of the DPRK delegation
in south Korea on February 7. The contingent included Minister of
Physical Culture and Sports Kim Il-guk and three other members of
the DPRK's National Olympic Committee, 229 cheerleaders, 26
members of a taekwondo demonstration team and 21 reporters.
With broad smiles the
cheerleaders greeted reporters and
confidently said of their aim, "We're here to bring about
unification." Asked what kind of routines they would perform, one
of them responded, "You'll have to wait and see. It wouldn't be
any fun to spoil the surprise!" Others assured their cheering
would be "full of energy and spirit."
Minister Kim Il-guk said, "Let's all work together to
good job at the games."
"I'm glad that the Winter Olympics are
being successfully held through the cooperation of north and
south Korea," said Kim Myong-chol, a member of the DPRK's
National Olympic Committee. "I hope that the north and south
Korean athletes will get good results during the games."
The Moranbong Band and Samjiyon Art Troupe perform in Gangneung,
February 8, 2018.
The DPRK's Moranbong Band and Samjiyon Art Troupe
of 140 performers arrived February 6 by ship, under an
exemption from the sanctions regime. On February 8, they held a
performance at the 998-seat Saimdang Hall of the Gangneung Arts
Centre. The south Korean government invited members of families
divided by the Korean War and the socially disadvantaged to
attend, while 560 seats were reserved for ordinary citizens
chosen by lottery. Some 150,000 people are said to have applied
online for those seats.
The Hankyoreh informs that the last time a DPRK
cheerleading team visited south Korea was 12-and-a-half years ago,
at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon. It also
informs that previous such delegations have been very
well-received in the south:
"The first time that a North Korean cheerleading squad
visited South Korea was the 2002 Asian Games in Busan. From the
moment they arrived in Busan's Dadaepo Harbor on the Mangyongbong
92 ship on Sept. 28, before the games' opening ceremony, they
were the talk of the town. More than 2,000 South Korean
well-wishers had gathered at the harbor and welcomed them under
the Unification Flag, while more than 280 North Korean
cheerleaders, wearing variously colored hanbok (traditional
Korean attire), smiled broadly and waved at them.
"As soon as the ship reached the dock, a North Korean
band, complete with drummers and fife players, played the North
Korean song 'Pangapsumnida' ('Nice to Meet You'), while the South
Korean crowd responded by shouting the slogan, 'The unified
fatherland.' During an interview with the Hankyoreh at the
closing ceremony of those Asian Games, one of the cheerleaders
said, 'We appreciate the compliments about our beauty, but we
would rather you see us as envoys to South Korea for unification
than as beautiful women.'"
of Korean Residents in Japan
On February 8, a 100-person delegation from the General
Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) arrived in
south Korea to take part in the PyeongChang Olympics. The Hankyoreh
informs that this is the first time in 16 years that Chongryon
has sent such a delegation to south Korea.
Besides the overseas Koreans arriving from Japan, many
living in the U.S., Canada and Europe arrived February 8
Activists for Peace and Reunification Hold Action at
In Seoul on February 5, activists with Solidarity for
and Reunification of Korea (SPARK), held a picket and press
conference in front of the U.S. Embassy. They specifically
denounced the U.S. plans for a "bloody nose" pre-emptive military
strike on the DPRK, saying that this would only exacerbate the
situation and lead to an all-out war. They reiterated that
dialogue and negotiations are the only means to resolve tensions
and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and urged the U.S.
to engage in dialogue with the DPRK. Later on February 9, the CBC used
a small staged anti-DPRK action outside the opening ceremonies as an
excuse to promote the U.S. imperialists' virulent aim to attack the
DPRK and undermine Korean reunification.
Koreans in U.S. Welcome PyeongChang Games as "Peace
The U.S. June 15 Committee for Reunification of Korea
organized a day of coordinated peace marches in New York, Los
Angeles and Chicago on February 4 to show support for the joint
initiatives by the DPRK and ROK at the PyeongChang Olympics.
Participants reiterated the demand that peace on the Korean
Peninsula requires the U.S. sign a peace treaty with the DPRK and
remove its troops from Korea. A statement issued by the committee
decried attempts by the U.S. government and conservative media in
south Korea to present the inter-Korean efforts for peace and
reunification at the Olympics as "north Korean manipulation,"
adding, "We in the U.S. cannot sit idly by and look on with hope
and anxiousness. We have to do what we can to ensure that the
PyeongChang Olympics successfully embodies a 'Peace Olympics.'
And so even though we are Koreans living overseas, we aim to show
our support of the PyeongChang Peace Olympics through peace
marches. This is our symbolic gesture of support for our fellow
Koreans of the North and South actively working to cooperate with
New York City
In New York, the peace march began in front of the
Permanent Mission of the ROK to the UN, where the committee
delivered a bouquet of flowers to a representative of the
mission. The crowd then proceeded to the Permanent Mission of the
DPRK to the UN, where they were received by Ja Song-nam, the
DPRK's Ambassador to the UN. He expressed his gratitude and hope
that the PyeongChang Olympics will contribute to "improving
relations between north and south Korea towards reunification."
Ja joined the peace marchers in singing Arirang.
Marchers gather at a war memorial in Gallery Park.
In Los Angeles, the march brought together Korean
American and peace/anti-war organizations. Korean drummers led
the march while more than 100 participants chanted, "Korea is
Plans to Continue Historic Inter-Korean Summits
President Moon, Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong head to a luncheon
meeting at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, February 10, 2018.
A luncheon meeting between
ROK President Moon; Kim Yo Jong, head of the DPRK's delegation to the
Olympics and First Vice Director of the DPRK's Workers' Party Central
Committee; Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme
People's Assembly of the DPRK; and others was held February 10, where
the focus was inter-Korean relations. Kim Yo Jong delivered to
President Moon a handwritten letter from DPRK leader Kim Jong Un
formally inviting him to Pyongyang at the "earliest date possible," to
which Moon responded positively, saying, "Let us make it happen by
creating the necessary conditions in the future."
The last such summit took place October 2, 2007,
then-ROK President Roh Moo-hyun and the late DPRK leader Kim Jong
"An early resumption of
dialogue between the United States
and the north is needed also for the development of the
south-north Korean relationship," President Moon added, a
A spontaneous joint practice of north and south Korean speedskaters
takes place at Gangneung Ice Arena, February 8, 2018.
Meanwhile, the U.S. appears nonplussed by the dialogue
between the DPRK and ROK. News media have commented that U.S. Vice
President Mike Pence,
head of his country's Olympic delegation, has been assiduously avoiding
contact with members of the
DPRK delegation. In that vein, he left an Olympic dinner hosted by
President Moon on February 8 shortly after arriving, where he was to
have shared a table with Kim Yong Nam. On February 9, he refused to
acknowledge the presence of Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong at the opening
ceremonies, though seated
practically in front of them. While the entire stadium was seen
to give a standing ovation to the joint Korean delegation as it marched
through the stadium behind the Unification Flag, Pence pointedly
Bullying and Threats Against DPRK
Serious U.S. Miscalculation of Korean
Desire for Reunification
Kim Yong Nam (left, in black), President of the Presidium of the
Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, and Kim Yo Jong, First Vice
Director of the DPRK's Workers' Party Central Committee, are warmly
the opening ceremony
of the 2018 Winter Olympics, February 9, 2018, by South Korean
President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook.
Korea is striving for reunification, peace and to block
regime change but the U.S. calculates that sanctions will ensure
that Korea cannot last. The U.S. thinks that starving the people
and creating ever more difficult conditions will bring the regime
down. The calculations of the U.S. and countries such as Canada
are based on their psychology of bullying people. But their
arrogance makes them blind to a quality of the people that they
cannot fathom, which is their profound motivation to reunify their
country. Just as U.S. policy toward Cuba, and Vietnam before
that, failed to predict the readiness of the people to persist in
their national and social liberation struggles, so too in Korea,
the U.S. and its allies' attempts to blackmail the Koreans do not
reap the results they desire.
Since inter-Korean talks took place on January 9 and
Canada co-hosted with the U.S. the so-called Ministerial Meeting
on Stability and Security in Vancouver on January 16, the U.S.
has stepped up its aggressive actions towards the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK) which
threaten peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. On January
24, the U.S. announced that it would independently impose additional
sanctions beyond those imposed by the UN Security Council. The
following day, the U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury flew to
south Korea to urge it to maintain thorough-going cooperation in
imposing sanctions against the DPRK.
The U.S. then sponsored meetings with south Korean
and military officials to stress the need for them to lead the
north-south dialogue discussing denuclearization. The U.S.
invited high-ranking security and military officials to the U.S.
to discuss the issue of intensifying "military cooperation"
against the DPRK.
The U.S. has brought the nuclear aircraft carrier Carl
Vinson strike groups and nuclear strategic bombers to the Korean
peninsula and vicinity. Now it is asserting that, after pausing
its military exercises around the Korean Peninsula for the Winter
Olympics, it will resume the U.S.-south Korea joint military
drills right after the games end, the Korean Central
News Agency (KCNA) points out, adding that it has also staged a flying
drill targeting the DPRK with the Japan Air "Self-Defense Force."
"It is the sinister design of the U.S. to make the
the south stand in confrontation eternally and create constant
tensions on the Korean peninsula from the calculation that the
better peace environment on the peninsula makes the U.S. lose its
justification for igniting a nuclear war against the DPRK and
puts the brakes on its drive for carrying out the strategy for
KCNA says that "peace and
stability on the Korean Peninsula are gravely threatened as long
as the U.S. persists in carrying out its sinister purpose and
"All Koreans should heighten their vigilance against
aggression and interference to bring the disaster of a
fratricidal war and a nuclear war to this land, contrary to the
trend of the times. They should foil the U.S. moves by building
national unity," KCNA adds.
In related news, the Canadian submarine Chicoutimi
reportedly marauding the Asia-Pacific region collecting
information on possible breaches of UN Security Council sanctions,
the CBC reports.
The sub is said to be
tracking "suspicious vessels" and activity, and training with naval
vessels from "partner nations" working to monitor and enforce the
The Chicoutimi is capable of "discreetly recording events on
land, such as airport take-offs and landings. Its primary role revolves
around tracking merchant and military vessels while submerged, and
observing suspicious activity on the sea, including ship-to-ship cargo
transfers far from any harbour."
Talk of monitoring "suspicious activity" is ridiculous. Canada's coasts
are thousands of miles away, so it is the activities of the sub which
are suspicious, not those of the DPRK.
Rather than presenting the action of Canada placing
submarine in the service of a U.S. naval blockade of the DPRK as a
dangerous act of war against a sovereign nation, the CBC states
that this "kind of capability is key in the region right now. The
U.S. has accused China and Russia of breaching UN sanctions on
North Korea by transferring oil from their ships to North Korean
tankers out at sea to avoid detection."
The CBC report goes on to state that the deployment
comes at a "sensitive
when "international tensions have risen to the point where the
U.S. is considering options that could include a military strike
on the Korean Peninsula."
The specifics of the missions are secret, according to
report, indicating that in fact it is the Canadian submarine which
is the suspicious vessel. The CBC ominously reports, "Chicoutimi's
now go anywhere they're needed."
Letter of DPRK Foreign Minister
to UN Secretary General
Pyongyang, January 31, Juche 107 (2018)
His Excellency Mr. Secretary-General,
I address this letter to you with respect to emerging
dangerous military moves antithetical to the positive changes
leading to the improvement of interKorean relations and easing of
tension now being manifested on the Korean peninsula.
The fact that a dramatic turning point has been made
peace and stability, national reconciliation and cooperation, and
reunification on the Korean peninsula where a touch-and-go war
danger was prevailing is entirely thanks to the noble love for
the nation by the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, chairman of the
State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, his will for reunification
based on devotion to the country and people and his great and
courageous determination for safeguarding peace.
Owing to our magnanimous initiative, good results are
in the inter-Korean dialogue, thus giving joy to all fellow
countrymen, and a positive atmosphere in favor of improving
inter-Korean relations is created, and the international society
warmly welcomes and supports this development and looks forward
to seeing continued easing of tension on the Korean
However, the U.S. authorities are misleading public
as if the inter-Korean dialogue is an outcome of their harshest
sanctions and pressure imposed upon our country, and seeking to
intentionally aggravate the situation by introducing the
strategic assets including nuclear powered aircraft carrier
strike groups into the vicinity of the Korean peninsula at a time
when the north and south of Korea are charting a course of peace
In view of its nature and contents, and scope of troop
equipment being introduced, the U.S. current moves of military
reinforcements are designed to make a preemptive strike against the
DPRK, and this is a primary factor which would block the
inter-Korean reconciliation process and drive the situation of
the Korean peninsula into an unpredictable dangerous phase.
On the other hand, the United States is openly stating
it will conduct a large-scale aggressive joint military exercise
against the DPRK immediately after the Winter Olympic Games.
It is a fact acknowledged by the whole world that
joint military exercises took place, the peace and security of
the Korean peninsula were gravely threatened and the inter-Korean
mistrust and confrontation reached a peak, thus creating great
difficulties and obstacles ahead of hard-won dialogues.
We will make every effort to improve inter-Korean
in the future, too, but never sit idle with regard to a sinister act of
throwing a wet blanket over our efforts.
In case the hard-won atmosphere in favour of improving
inter-Korean relations and easing the tensions is undermined due
to the U.S. manoeuvres aggravating the situation by introducing
nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean peninsula, the
U.S. would never escape from that responsibility.
As a matter of course, the United Nations should not
silence as to the U.S. dangerous game of aggravating the situation in
and around the Korean peninsula and driving the whole world into the
possible disaster of nuclear war.
I express my expectation that you pay serious
the U.S. deployment of nuclear war equipment and its manoeuvres to
provoke a nuclear war which will undermine the improvement of
inter-Korean relations and the easing of tensions, and to exert
all your efforts to completely terminate these manoeuvres, in line
with your mission stipulated in the UN Charter.
And as an immediate step forward, I would like to
take up at the UN Security Council, in line with Rule 6
Chapter 2 of the UNSC Rules of Procedure, the issue of welcoming
the process of improved inter-Korean relations and discouraging
neighboring countries from disturbing the process.
Please accept, Mr. Secretary General, the assurances of
Ri Yong Ho
Minister for Foreign
Republic of Korea
Nature of Sanctions
UNICEF Highlights Damage to Humanitarian Work
On January 12, seventeen countries, including Canada
the United States, signed on to a U.S.-led naval blockade of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to allegedly enforce UN
Security Council sanctions against
the DPRK. The sanctions target the entirety of the DPRK with
measures aimed at strangling the country and not permitting it to
engage in normal trade with other countries.
The United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) indicates
that among other genocidal results, the
sanctions are adversely impacting the survival of children in the
DPRK. It indicates that one of
the "unintended consequences" of the sanctions is that aid groups
like themselves are having difficulties fulfilling their
development aid role in the DPRK.
Appealing for donations to try to overcome the
difficulties, UNICEF indicates that "due to the tense
political context and the unintended consequences of United
Nations Security Council sanctions, United Nations agencies and
partners are facing increasing operational challenges." It states
"disruptions to banking channels, delays in clearing relief items
at entry ports, difficulty securing suppliers and a 160 per cent
increase in fuel prices are further constraining agencies'
budgets and their ability to implement interventions. This is
adversely impacting the survival of children who are already
suffering from acute malnutrition." It does not explain
how these are unintended consequences when, for example, one of
the explicit targets of the sanctions is to cut off the import of
fuels. UNICEF reports that the price for a fuel coupon
(15 kg of gas) increased from "U.S.$14.57 to U.S.$24.66" on April 1,
2017 and "is still rising."
UNICEF indicates that the implementation of nutrition
interventions and the provision of essential medicines and oral
rehydration salts is "challenged by the current political
situation and sanctions, as well as the availability of funds and
in-country cash." Funding constraints also led to significant
underachievement against severe acute malnutrition
treatment targets, UNICEF reports. It estimates that in 2018, 60,000
children under five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition and will
need to be treated
through inpatient and outpatient therapeutic feeding programmes, which
are the type of programs being hampered by
sanctions. It indicates that it expects another 140,000
children will face acute malnourishment and require assistance.
It indicated that in 2017, despite a goal to provide
700,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers with multi-micronutrient
supplementation, it only reached 280,000. It expects that in 2018 there
will be the same need for
the stricter enforcement of sanctions.
It is immoral and inhuman that UN aid bodies such as
UNICEF are having their humanitarian work hampered, with resulting harm
to the people of the DPRK, while the UN Security Council continues to
impose genocidal sanctions at the behest of the U.S. In truth,
the U.S., Canada and the other countries that participated in the
genocidal aggression against Korea in the past owe a historic debt to
the Korean people for the horrific damage they caused under the UN flag.
Genocide Conspiracy Against North Korea --
Open Letter to International Criminal Court
"The American threats against North Korea continue to
and with them the threat of the genocide of the people of North
Korea by the United States of America and its allies," writes
Canadian international criminal lawyer Christopher Black in a January
opinion piece posted on New Eastern Outlook. He says the
January 16 meeting in Vancouver of the U.S., Canada and other nations
attacked the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1950,
"took on the character of a meeting of criminals who by their
presence, agreement and actions made them parties to a conspiracy
to commit genocide, a crime under the statute of the
International Criminal Court and the Genocide Convention of
"The threats made against North Korea are due to one
fact: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea refuses to accept
the world hegemony of the American Empire. It has nothing to do
with nuclear weapons. It has become a ritual now to state that
all the permanent members of the Security Council are armed with
nuclear weapons, that the United States has used them on the
cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that they have continuously
threatened to use them to intimidate other nations since 1945,
that Pakistan, India, and Israel have them, that NATO members in
Europe have them at their disposal under U.S. direction, that North
Korea is in violation of no international law in developing them
to defend themselves, to ensure their security just as all those
other nations have done, that North Korea threatens no one and
seeks only to have a full and final peace with the United
"The nuclear weapon issue is simply the pretext that
United States is using to try to solidify its tyranny over Korea,
over the world.
"The threat to world peace comes not from North
comes from the United States and its allies: the nations who have
degraded themselves into subjugated vassal states ready to obey
any criminal order of their masters of war in Washington."
Black also felt it necessary to jointly send the
following open letter with Dr. Graeme MacQueen, founder and
former Director of the Centre For Peace Studies at McMaster
University, to the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court on January 23.
Dear Madame Prosecutor:
Re: Threats of Genocide Made Against the Democratic
Republic of Korea
We, the undersigned, share the desire of the Canadian
to establish and preserve peace in the world. It is therefore
necessary for us to ask you to open an investigative file on the
action of governments allied to the United States, including
Canada, its government ministers and officials active in the
on-going crisis with the DPRK.
Embarrassment and shock at President Trump's threats
North Korea have been widespread and have led to a serious
discussion in the U.S. as to whether Mr. Trump is mentally fit to
govern. However, the threats of Mr. Trump and his secretary of
defense go well beyond the US domestic sphere and have direct
implications for other countries, including Canada.
Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International
Court states that genocide means any of the following acts
committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
national, ethnical, racial or religious group:
(a) killing members of the group,
(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of
(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of
calculated to bring about the physical destruction, in whole or
in part, of the group.
Conspiracy to commit genocide is understood in
law as a concerted agreement to commit genocide which may be
inferred from the conduct of the conspirators. The evidence to
support the charge of genocide can be based on circumstantial
evidence as well as direct evidence. Further, the concerted or
coordinated action of a group of individuals can constitute
evidence of an agreement.
On August 8, 2017 Mr. Trump said that North Korean
"will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
His secretary of defense, James Mattis, followed up on August 9
with the statement that, "The DPRK should cease any consideration
of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the
destruction of its people."
Mr. Mattis added a further comment on September 3: "We
not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North
Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so."
During his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly on
September 19, Mr. Trump said: "The United States has great
strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or
its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North
Finally, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during
interview on January 17, 2018 at Stanford University with
Condoleeza Rice, stated approvingly in reference to deaths aboard
Korean fishing boats going out to sea in winter without necessary
fuel: "they [the North Koreans] are feeling the effect of our
sanctions." This is direct evidence that the United States is
intentionally creating conditions that will cause the death of
Korean civilians on a large scale in order to achieve U.S.
Rhetorical excess ("fire and fury") is one thing, but
connected series of statements, including a threat of total
destruction, constitutes a threat of genocide. Threatening
genocide is, arguably, not a crime, but "public incitement to
genocide" is explicitly included as a crime in the Genocide
Convention to which the U.S. is party. Already, therefore, by
publicly and passionately promoting genocide as a policy option,
Mr. Trump and Mr. Mattis have entered dangerous territory
legally. Since the U.S. is party to the Genocide Convention the
provisions of the Convention have the status of U.S. law.
To successfully convict someone of genocide, proof of
intention is required. The prosecution needs to show "intent to
destroy." This is usually a challenge for the prosecution since
perpetrators seldom telegraph their destructive intentions to the
world in advance. But, as two genocide scholars have already
argued in the Washington Post,
genocide would take a straightforward path.
The country of the undersigned, Canada, is a member of
ICC and under its jurisdiction, and Canadian leaders and
officials have individual responsibility for any crimes committed
under the Statute. Since there is clear evidence that the crime
of genocide is being discussed openly and that plans are being
made to carry it out against the people of the DPRK by U.S. leaders
and since, in these circumstances and with full knowledge of
these threats and plans, U.S. allies, including Canada, are
cooperating with the U.S. government and meeting to discuss actions
to be taken against North Korea, and since these allies of the U.S.
appear to be ignoring international law, the Charter of the
United Nations and the Rome Statute, it is necessary that an
investigation be conducted by your office to consider the
evidence and to prosecute if there is evidence of a crime.
The United States of America is no longer a member of
ICC. However, it is bound by the Charter of the United Nations to
keep the world peace, is party to the Genocide Convention, and
was a sponsor of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, the
ICC has not only an investigative and prosecutorial role, but
also the role of informing the world what criminal conduct is
when it is happening; and it has a duty to make a public
statement condemning it when it happens. It chose to do so with
regard to Kenya for example. It should do so in the current
We ask that the Office of the Prosecutor open an
investigative file in this matter and, in addition, use your
voice as Prosecutor and the moral imperative your office claims
to represent to avoid genocide and to condemn as grave violations
of international criminal law the announced intentions and
actions of the nations mentioned above.
Asserting U.S. Hegemony Over Latin America
Engaging in Corruption in the Name of Fighting It
Just as in past decades the U.S. waged its "War on
Drugs" in Latin America to defend its position as protector of the
biggest drug cartels and eliminate their opponents and rivals, so too
today it is posturing as the greatest anti-corruption crusader to
achieve its aim of keeping corrupt pro-U.S. governments in charge.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson spent a week in Latin America and the Caribbean on official
visits to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Jamaica from February
1 to 8. A speech he gave at the University of Texas at Austin before
setting out, set the tone for his visit. His priorities revolved around
asserting U.S. hegemony in its "backyard," confirmed by his comment
that the infamous 19th century Monroe Doctrine was "as relevant today
as it was the day it was written." In the speech he warned against what
he called the growing presence of China and Russia in the region and
pushed for more "market-based economic reforms" and "the opening up of
more market economies."
A central aim was to get as many countries as possible
onside with U.S. efforts to strangle Venezuela economically and impede
the ability of Venezuelans themselves to resolve the crisis in their
country, instigated from abroad, through peaceful political means.
Tillerson made a point of emphasizing that his government considers the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be "a corrupt regime that steals
from its own people." This attack served as a segue for him to demand
that all countries in the western hemisphere make 2018 a year to "take
serious action against corruption." Corruption must be "rooted out in
all its forms," he said.
In recent years a preferred method of the U.S.
imperialists for ousting, if not outright destroying those who refuse
come under their dictate, involves the use of manipulated legal,
parliamentary and constitutional processes to accomplish their aim.
Often the targeted person is accused of corruption or some other
activity deemed as criminal while the regimes of the most corrupt
thieves in the service of the U.S. are supported. In Brazil, former
Dilma Rousseff was forced out of office on totally spurious grounds in
a parliamentary coup that was upheld by the country's Supreme Court.
Today, these same usurpers, themselves covered in corruption, are
attempting to get former President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva
for corruption in another mockery of justice. Under no circumstances do
they want him to be a presidential candidate in the upcoming election,
which he has a good chance of winning so long as he is allowed to run.
Their fear is that another Workers' Party government will reverse the
neo-liberal direction they have taken Brazil of privatizing and selling
out the country's resources to foreign interests, cutting the people's
social programs and attacking workers' rights.
Similar methods were used in an attempt to criminalize
Argentina's former President Cristina Kirchner to ensure that a
billionaire businessman could be installed to implement a similar
Washington-dictated agenda of paying the rich and austerity for
Protest in El Carmen, February 8, 2018. Photo by Sofía
Espín Reyes, a deputy in Guayas province, who writes that the
government, "while looking to defend
its unconstitutional consultation to international authorities, has
left the country waiting for attention to really urgent issues."
Now in Ecuador we see something similar taking shape
former President Rafael Correa and the Citizen's Revolution he led
during his ten years in office, which lifted more than one million
people out of poverty, greatly expanded public health care and
education and took important stands in defence of the sovereignty
of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Shortly after current President Lenin Moreno
assumed office in May 2017 he dismissed his vice president and in
record time had him charged, jailed and convicted of corruption in
connection with what has become known as the Odebrecht Scandal. He has also accused
President Rafael Correa -- in whose government he served as vice
president until being elected president himself -- of leading a
"corrupt" government and trying to hide it. Correa says that is
demonstrably false and accuses Moreno of betraying their Citizen's
Revolution and those who elected
him, by taking up the neo-liberal program of the opposition and the old
ruling elite. There are those who expect changes to the country's
constitution, that will be made based on the results of a national
referendum held on February 4, will be used as tools to remove Correa
and possibly others from the scene in line with the way Lula is being
persecuted in Brazil.
An opinion piece on the website Mision Verdad
"The charge [against Vice President Jorge Glas] was
files delivered by Odebrecht to the United States about its
bribery network in the region, with the intention now being to
move against Correa and his allies to bury them as a political
force after an aggressive communications campaign of hatred
against him for allegedly representing the 'most corrupt
government in Ecuador'.
"Thus the political banishment of Correa and his almost
certain judicial persecution is very similar to what was done to
the leaders Lula and Cristina to whom they applied a campaign of
demonization based on alleged acts of corruption, followed by a
series of biased investigations that have put their future as
leaders at risk, leaving them on the edge of an almost certain
"Paradoxically, the three [former presidents] are
additionally being used by those attacking them as the reason for
re-ordering the rules of the "democratic" game of their
countries. A new form of political exceptionalism where public
institutions, such as justice and parliament, are
instrumentalized against those who oppose free market reforms,
is being fully developed in Argentina, Brazil and now Ecuador."
It is the ultimate act of corruption for champions of a
system based on paying the rich by fleecing the working people
and violating their fundamental rights, to persecute and destroy
political rivals because they implement even modest reforms that
clash with this inherently corrupt agenda. No matter how much the
U.S. imperialists and those in their service try to excuse such
treachery as "legal" and "constitutional" it only shows that the
people continue to lack the power they need to defend their
interests. Despite the belief of the forces of retrogression that
they can control everything using the police powers of the state,
the No! of the organized people in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela
and now Ecuador as well as Honduras are the decisive factor in
setting a course for the future for these countries.
1. Based in Brazil, Odebrecht is Latin America's
largest engineering and construction company. It became an
international giant using bribery to secure lucrative infrastructure
and other contracts. The corruption is alleged to have reached the
highest levels of government in some countries. In Brazil, Operation
Car Wash (Lava Jato) was opened to investigate accusations of
corruption and money laundering at the state oil company Petrobras --
much of it involving Odebrecht. Company CEO Marcelo Odebrecht is
currently serving house arrest for his part in the scheme. He was first
sentenced to 19 years in prison for paying out $30 million in one of
the many cases related to Operation Car Wash. That sentence was reduced
to 10 years after he signed a leniency deal in exchange for paying a
fine of nearly $2 billion, admitting guilt and providing testimony to
authorities. Similar plea deals were struck by other company executives.
2. Bruno Sgarzini, "Victoria
Verdad, February 8, 2018.
Fight for Lula's Right to Be
Presidential Candidate Intensifies
Mass support rally for the candidacy of former Brazilian President Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva,
Sao Paulo, January 24, 2018,
the cross-country "Lula for Brazil" caravan
underway since last year.
On January 24, as tens of thousands of Brazilians
demonstrated in the streets against what they say is a judicial
farce being played out against him, declaring "An Election
Without Lula is a Fraud!" and demanding "Show us the Evidence!" the
Fourth Regional Federal Appellate Court (TRF4) in the city of
Porto Alegre upheld the conviction of former Brazilian President
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on charges of passive
corruption and money laundering.
The three-judge panel denied Lula's appeal by
unanimous decision shortly after hearing the arguments presented
by his defence lawyer. They then took the additional measure of
increasing the nine-and-a-half-year jail sentence imposed by the
judge who first convicted him to 12 years and one month.
The court stated it would not order Lula's imprisonment
until all appeals had been exhausted, up to and including the level of
the country's Supreme Court. However the day after his appeal was
denied, a judge in another court barred Lula from leaving the country
and ordered him to hand over his passport, forcing him to cancel a
weekend trip to Ethiopia where he had been invited to participate in a
panel discussion at the African Union Summit on combating hunger based
on successful programs implemented in Brazil during his presidency. The
order was supposedly unrelated to the appeal court decision but based
on other charges of a similar nature that have yet to be heard. On
February 2 a judge in a higher court overturned the lower court order
saying there was no evidence Lula intended to flee Brazil.
In response to this barrage of attacks through the
system the Workers' Party has confirmed Lula as its candidate for
the presidency in the October election and has vowed to continue
and intensify the fight against the violation of his rights and
for the rights of the Brazilian people. In a communique the PT
"Lula has committed no crime. His accusers know that.
conviction is a judicial farce that embarrasses Brazil before the
"In order to convict Lula, without any evidence and any
crime, the 4th Federal Regional Court decreed that [Operation] Car Wash
[the investigation headed by the judge who convicted Lula -- TML
Note ] judges and prosecutors did not
have to comply with the rules set forth for 'ordinary cases.'
Once the state of exception was decreed, Lula's and his family's
rights were violated throughout the entire process. Now, the
indecent arrangement ... by the three, 8th-panel, appellate court
judges of the TRF-4 to plan their votes on the defense's appeal
exposed the trial's political nature.
"Lula was persecuted, accused, tried, and convicted in
process of exception that is the continuity of the 2016
impeachment coup against President Dilma Rousseff.
"The strings that moved Operation Car Wash and the
Alegre appellate court in a biased process to convict Lula,
without evidence of a crime, are manipulated by the same sectors
that have torn up the Constitution and the votes of 54 million
voters in order to place a gang in the presidential
Palácio do Planalto."
The communique concluded by sharing the resolution
"at this decisive time for the future of our country" at a public
assembly by the PT National Executive, to:
1. Reaffirm the decision by the PT National Directorate
our brother Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will run for the
Presidency of the Republic in the October 2018 elections;
2. Denounce to the country and the world the judicial
against Lula: the illegal actions of [Operation] Car Wash police
prosecutors, the unfair and illegal sentence by Sérgio
Moro, the indecent arrangement of the TRF-4 appellate judges and
the connivance of [television network] Rede Globo with this
3. Greet and thank the political parties, social
organizations, and personalities who, in Brazil and abroad, have
condemned the persecution and proclaimed the democratic
meaningfulness of Lula's participation in the political and
4. Deepen dialogue and uphold unity with political
and social forces, seeking to establish a broad and solid
alliance with all those who may agree on the government platform
we are building and will submit to the country;
5. Establish increasingly more People's Committees in
of Democracy and of Lula's Right to be a Candidate, gathering
brothers and sisters with diverse political visions to dialogue
with the people about the persecution against Lula.
With Lula and the people until victory in October!
São Paulo, 25
January 2018. National Executive
of the Workers' Party (PT)
Support rally for Lula, Porto Alegre, January 24, 2018.
1. See "Lula
be a Candidate for President," TML Weekly January
U.S. Establishes Cyber Task Force to Meddle in
Affairs and Target Its Youth
On January 23 the U.S. Department of State announced the
creation of the Cuba Internet Task Force to "promote the free and
unregulated flow of information in Cuba. The task force will
examine the technological challenges and opportunities for
expanding internet access and independent media in Cuba," a news
release said. It also announced its first meeting will be held
This new initiative comes in response to President
June 16, 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum
"Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba."
In response, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs
diplomatic note that "expresses its strong protest against the
pretension of the U.S. government to violate flagrantly Cuban
sovereignty, with respect to national competence to regulate the
flow of information and the use of mass media, while rejecting
the attempt to manipulate the Internet to carry out illegal
programs for political purposes and subversion, as part of their
actions aimed at altering or changing the constitutional order of
the Republic of Cuba."
The note demands that the
Government of the United
"cease its subversive, interfering and illegal actions against
Cuba, which undermine Cuban constitutional stability and order,
and urges it to respect Cuban sovereignty, International Law and
the purposes of and principles of the Charter of the United
In its message, the Cuban Foreign Ministry reiterates
determination of the Government of Cuba not to tolerate any type
of subversive activity or interference in its internal affairs
and, as a sovereign country, to continue defending itself and
denouncing the interfering nature of this type of action.
"Cuba will continue to regulate the flow of information
its sovereign right and as is practice in all countries,
including the United States. Cuba will also continue advancing in
the computerization of its society, as part of the development of
the country and in terms of the social justice objectives that
characterize its Revolution," it says.
Other programs to try and use the internet to foment
change in Cuba have failed miserably and exposed what the U.S.
means by "free flow of information." Under the administration of
Obama there was the ZunZuneo, a U.S. created messaging platform
similar to Twitter aimed at trying to attack the consciousness of
Cuban youth who defend their sovereignty and right to
Cuba's Expansion of Internet
Meanwhile, Cuba is steadily expanding access to the
for its citizens according to its economic possibilities under
the conditions of a brutal U.S. blockade which blocks its ability
to trade freely with other countries.
A report from Rosa Miriam Elizalde indicates that "2017
be remembered as the boom year for the expansion of internet
access in our country -- with 40 per cent of Cubans now online, 37 per
than in 2010 -- and the establishment of internet hot spots in
urban areas across the island."
Official statistics from the Cuban Telecommunication
Enterprise (ETECSA) indicate that 600,000 new cell phone lines
were activated last year, bringing the total number to 4.5
million. Around 250,000 connections at 500 public wi-fi hotspots
were registered daily across the country. The
highest growth rates were seen in two categories linked to digital
connectivity, according to the report Digital in 2017: Global
Overview, with over 2.7 million new users, a 365 per cent increase as
compared to 2016; and an increase in the use of cell phones to
access social networks, with 2.6 million new users, up 385 per cent.
United States Returns to Failed Cuba Policies
If the Trump administration presumes to use new
technologies to impose changes on Cuba's internal order, it has
chosen a very timeworn route, one that has been inoperative and
ineffective in the past -- not to mention that it violates the
laws of the country involved, and even those of the United
The creation of an Internet
Task Force focused on Cuba,
announced by the State Department January 23, opens the doors for
the continuation of a failed Cold War policy, which the two
countries had stated their intention to change on December 17,
This move comes in the wake of the mistaken,
speech given by the President in Miami, this past June 16, when
he met with a group from the far-right of Cuban origin, to
announce with much pomp and circumstance his changes to the
country's policy toward Cuba, which can be summarized, in a few
words, as more blockade and less travel between the two
The battlefield chosen for this latest aggression, the
internet, shows clearly Washington's true objectives when
references are made to "free access" in countries it opposes,
while in U.S. territory a mega-system is maintained to scan and
gather data about what citizens are doing on the net.
Likewise, at the beginning of January, the U.S.
advanced a bill to remove the few restrictions that exist on
international cyber-espionage, the extent of which was made
evident by the leaks of former National Security Agency employee,
From the so-called Arab Spring -- already lost in
to more recent plans like the promoting of protests in Iran and
support to the violent opposition in Venezuela, Washington has
shown a clear pattern of how it uses social networks and the
internet for its hegemonic geopolitical purposes.
This is all part of the non-conventional war strategy
developed to destabilize nations without the direct use of
military force, increasingly deployed since the fiascos in Iraq
The activation of this new "task force" also
that, despite facing a government shutdown, there is no lack of
liquidity when it comes to financing subversive projects in Cuba.
There are plenty of places to find money, even though the Trump
administration's budget presented to Congress for 2018 eliminates
the customary 20 million dollars allocated for decades, to carry
out such aggression.
The facility with which new bodies are staffed, with
"government and non-government" personnel, contrasts sharply with
the dramatic reduction of U.S. diplomats assigned to the embassy
in Havana, which has practically paralyzed the issuing of visas
and impacted services provided Cubans and their families in the
Trump's new plans did not
take Cuba by surprise, since
country has more than 50 years of experience in confronting all
kinds of U.S. aggression.
Recent projects like ZunZuneo, Piramideo, Commotion and
others run up against both the capacity of Cuban authorities to
detect them and the Cuban population's unity in the face of such
They come at a time, moreover, when steps are being
advance in the digitalization of society, with a vision that
prioritizes public access to the internet and protection of the
country's sovereignty, despite economic limitations.
Since the opening of more than 500 wi-fi hotspots
island to provide internet access, without restrictions beyond
those created by the blockade and the needs of national security,
the country is moving forward with internet service on cell
phones -- with more than four million in use -- and expansion of
If the Trump administration is only interested in
guaranteeing Cubans access to the internet, they could eliminate
the blockade restrictions that hamper purchases of advanced
telecommunications technologies and provide credit for their
acquisition. This would perhaps be less expensive than a "task
force" that is, from the start, condemned to failure.
Subversive Projects Based on New Technologies
Financed by the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) with the objective of launching
a messaging system that could reach hundreds of thousands of
Cubans using "non-controversial" content, like sports news,
music, weather reports, and announcements. When they had won over
a following, the plan was to begin sending political messages
inciting Cubans to make appeals on the network for massive
demonstrations to destabilize the country.
Piramideo: Similar to
ZunZuneo, this program was
undertaken by the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), responsible
for the infamous Radio and TV Martí. The plan was to
create a network of "friends" that would offer the possibility of
sending a massive message to members of a "pyramid" at the cost
of a single SMS. The objective was to prepare a platform for
tool to create independent
networks, developed by the New America Foundation's Open
Technology Institute (OTI), with headquarters in Washington,
originally intended for military use. Although no information on
its functioning in Cuba is known, government sources told the New
York Times that millions of dollars had been dedicated to an
effort toward that end.
to install illegal antennas to access the internet.
Demand Immediate Release of Edwin Espinal
Long-time Honduran activist Edwin Robelo Espinal was
arrested by police on January 19, on the eve of a week-long
nationwide strike. Edwin faces a laundry list of trumped up
charges: arson, property damage, and use of homemade explosive
material. Edwin is also under State investigation for terrorism
and criminal association related to damages to the Marriott
Hotel, a multi-billion dollar U.S. chain, during a January 12
protest in Tegucigalpa.
Edwin Robelo Espinal
Thousands of Hondurans from all walks of life attended
January 12 action to protest the election fraud that robbed
Opposition Alliance presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla of
his victory in the November 26, 2017 general elections; the
killings of more than 30 anti-fraud protesters and bystanders by
state security forces; and the arrests of dozens of political
prisoners during the ongoing post-electoral crisis. Edwin's
arbitrary arrest occurred in the context of the election fraud
endorsed by the U.S. and Canada, and designed to keep current
President Juan Orlando Hernández in power.
Edwin is currently in pretrial detention. At the end of
initial hearing inside military facilities on January 22, the
judge ordered pre-trial detention and sent Edwin to La Tolva, a
high-security prison. The prison has extremely restricted visitor
access, is run by a military colonel, and prisoners are only
allowed one-hour of sunlight every two weeks amongst other
horrific conditions. Although the case has been appealed by local
Honduran human rights organization COFADEH, Edwin could remain in
detention for two or more years waiting trial.
Edwin Espinal Has Been a Target of State Harassment for
Edwin is an easy-going, kind man who draws young people
all ages to him. Edwin fiercely believes in organizing,
supporting all forms of resistance, and solidarity with Honduran
social movements and groups. He has never lost hope for change in
Edwin's strong and relentless
conviction is what the
government fears. Because of this, since the U.S.- and
Canadian-backed military coup in 2009, Edwin has been a constant
target of State repression and harassment.
In 2009, Edwin's partner, Wendy Elizabeth Avila, was
after excessive exposure to tear gas when State forces violently
evicted thousands of protesters gathered at the Brazilian Embassy
to welcome ousted President Manuel Zelaya back into the
In 2010, Edwin was abducted and tortured by Honduran
who were later acquitted -- in the corrupted legal system -- on all
charges for their abuses.
One month before the fraudulent, violent 2013
Honduran Military Police and canine units brought in by the
Public Prosecutor's Office illegally raided Edwin's family's
home, claiming that he possessed drugs, money, and weapons. At
the time, Edwin was involved in a community movement to stop the
privatization of public soccer fields in his neighborhood used by
impoverished youth with limited recreational spaces and
In 2015, Edwin's mom died in the social security
a result of the $350 million dollar looting of the Honduran
Social Security Institute (IHSS) orchestrated by the National
Party, in power since 2010.
Edwin has been detained more than a dozen times since
and has been beaten by security forces. The most recent beating
was in December 2017 when he participated in a protest against
election fraud in Tegucigalpa.
As a result of this constant persecution, the
Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted Edwin protective
measures in 2010. The measures were renewed in 2013, shortly
after the illegal raid on his family's home.
Edwin has been interviewed by Democracy Now!, Al
Jazeera's Fault Lines and in
the documentary Resistencia.
His story has
also been featured in articles published by Truthout and POLITICO
Edwin's current detention on trumped up charges is one
example of systematic political persecution and targeting of
anti-fraud protesters and political opponents of the government.
The illegitimate and corrupt government of Juan Orlando
is targeting its own citizens -- people like Edwin -- while doing
nothing to investigate the hundreds of killings and arbitrary
arrests by State forces of social movement activists, protesters,
journalists, lawyers, and others.
The legal proceedings against Edwin have completely
Honduran law and due process. The case is being heard in
"national jurisdiction" courts that, according to the charges
against Edwin, have no jurisdiction over the case. The judge
presiding over the case is the same judge that ordered the raid
on Edwin's house in 2013, which, according to Honduran law, is
illegal. Edwin's legal representatives were given one day (a
Sunday) to prepare his defence and he was later sent to prison to
await trial, which could take years. For these reasons, the
trumped up charges against Edwin are a clear example of political
persecution against a political opponent the Honduran government
has targeted for years.
Immediate Action Is Needed for Edwin's Safety and
- We demand Edwin's immediate release, as well as that
more than 40 political prisoners throughout the country, and that
all the trumped up charges be dropped.
To ensure Edwin's immediate safety and access to
demand that Honduran authorities immediately release Edwin. But
in the meantime, we demand:
- That Edwin be transferred to a detention centre as
by COFADEH (the Committee of Relatives of the
Detained-Disappeared in Honduras), which has provided long-term
legal and human rights support for him since 2009. Edwin is
currently being held in a jail run by a military officer, and the
facility has extremely restricted access for visits by family,
friends, and human rights groups. These visits are crucial to
help guarantee his safety and well-being while detained. To date,
his family and his lawyers have not been able to visit him.
- That Edwin's case be transferred out of the "national
jurisdiction" courts and into the regular court system.
- That U.S. Congress members sign onto the Berta
demanding suspension of U.S. military aid to Honduras.
Contact U.S., Canadian and Honduran representatives. Click here
for contacts and for more information about Edwin's case and the human
rights situation in the country.
Ongoing Solidarity and Action Is Also Needed
We urge human rights delegations, journalists, and
investigators to visit Edwin and other arbitrarily detained
political prisoners experiencing repression in the context of the
post-electoral crisis and the imposition of the Juan Orlando
Financial support for Edwin's family is needed as they
justice and work to ensure his safety and demand his release.
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