September 1, 2018 - No. 29

Labour Day 2018

The Dignity of the Working Class Is Found
in Its Defence of the Rights of All



Political Affairs
Quebec General Election Campaign Underway
- Pauline Easton -
Why Small Parties and Independents Are Demonized
in BC Referendum Campaign

- Peter Ewart -

Canada-U.S. Collaboration in Support of Terrorism
White Helmets Smuggled Out of Syria by Israel for
Resettlement in Canada, Other NATO Countries

- Margaret Villamizar -

Canada's Anti-Communist Crusade
More Official Anti-Communist Glorification of Nazism
- Dougal MacDonald -

Latin America and the Caribbean
Hands Off Venezuela!
24th São Paulo Forum Held in Havana
U.S. Plans for Using Facebook to Disseminate Propaganda in Cuba
Social Media: The Ideological Apparatus in Dispute
- Gilberto Ríos Munguía -
The Legal War Against Democracy
- Enrique Santiago Romero -

Supplement
24th São Paulo Forum

Final Declaration



Labour Day 2018

The Dignity of the Working Class Is Found in
Its Defence of the Rights of All

The Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L) greets the workers on this Labour Day which they mark with much on their minds. The future of the society and its security lie in the workers leading the fight in defence of the rights of all!

This Labour Day more than ever before, it can be seen that the dignity of the working class is at stake. Due to the severe crisis in which the democracy is mired, the workers are systematically deprived of wages commensurate with the work they perform, conditions which guarantee their health and safety at work, and secure pensions. They are also deprived of effective means to affirm their rights.

The ruling class and the governments in its service, along with their transmission belts which form the cartel party system, have never been so desperate to keep themselves afloat by seizing all the human and material resources which belong to the people. Their cut-throat competition for riches and power is such that they spend their lives attacking each other and talking gibberish to the people about how their sell-out is in the national interest and for the good of the people.

No one can ignore that oligopolies possess unbridled global economic and political power. They have seized dominant positions throughout the economy and state, and are using their power to favour their narrow private interests against the working class and all others. Within the economy and society, working people are challenged to develop new methods of struggle to defend their rights.



Working people of BC and Alberta, alongside Indigenous peoples, demand a say and control
over how resources are developed. Top: demonstration against Kinder Morgan buyout in Vancouver, August 24, 2018. Bottom: actions in Alberta against the pipeline and for a new direction for the economy.

The situation workers face has given rise to deep concern over the direction of the economy and future of society. At present, the anti-social offensive appears as the concentration of power in the hands of the global oligopolies of the financial oligarchy. Their supranational arrangements are designed to place at their disposal for use in their private empire-building the natural resources and means of production of the nation and all the social wealth workers produce.

The workers are fighting and the people's striving for empowerment is manifest in demands to reform the political process which the ruling class is manoeuvring to defeat. Subjecting Canada to U.S. Homeland Security and crushing the organized resistance of workers and their unions is in the forefront of the attack of the oligopolies on nation-building and society. The financial oligarchy knows full well that an organized and conscious working class is the greatest defender of the rights and well-being of all and the general interests of nation-building and society, which is why they target the workers and their organizations for attack.


Steelworkers, Hamilton, Labour Day 2017.

This is why the workers are also stepping up their opposition to laws and arrangements which trample their rights in the mud. When the oligopolies want something, they demand the state institutions and political representatives pass laws and regulations in the service of their private interests. Only the struggle of the workers for justice, human dignity and the rights of all stands between the people and intensified impoverishment, enslavement and war, all carried out under alternating banners of prosperity, freedom, human rights and democracy for the few.


Nova Scotia public sector workers oppose legislation attacking their right to negotiate terms of work with the government, September 21, 2017.

Across the country, workers in manufacturing, mining, forestry, transportation, health care, education and throughout the public and private services sectors, including casinos, as well as those representing injured workers and seniors, have shown tremendous determination to defend their rights and honour.



Workers in the transportation sector defend their rights. Top: Pearson International Airport, Mississauga, September 3, 2017. Bottom: Quebec truckers in Rimouski, Quebec, participate
in day of action, May 14, 2018.

Quebec crane operators and other workers in the construction sector have stood up and met with determination the arrogance of the construction oligarchs and their political and media flunkies. Construction workers refuse to have their honour besmirched and dragged in the mud of media slanders and backward legislation that criminalize their right to an organized say over their conditions of work.


Montreal crane operators oppose unsafe changes to training requirements, May 5, 2018.

Salt miners in Goderich, Ontario stood tall along with fellow residents to blockade scab mercenaries from entering their mine during a recent strike. With their action they forced the U.S. oligarchs to negotiate and come to an agreement.


Striking Goderich salt miners prevent scabs from entering plant and force company to return to bargaining table and back off on concessions.  Photo above shows rally July 14, 2018.

Over one thousand aluminum smelter workers in Bécancour, Quebec continue to activate their forces in opposition to a lockout that has lasted more than half a year. The workers have taken their battle throughout North America explaining how the global oligarchs are manipulating the aluminum sector to serve their private interests and destroy what workers have built. The Rio Tinto and Alcoa oligarchs in collusion with governments in power are stealing not only the social wealth workers produce but wrecking any prospects for nation-building.


Locked-out aluminum workers in Bécancour, Quebec receive broad support for their just stands
in defence of their rights. Photo above from solidarity rally, March 23, 2018.

This Labour Day let workers pledge to step up their organized resistance in defence of the rights and dignity of all. Stop the oligarchs from expropriating the country's social wealth to get richer while depriving the working people of any say or control over the economy and the social product they produce.

Stop Paying the Rich!
Increase Investments in Social Programs!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

(Photos: TML, ANCAI, FTQ Construction, UNIFOR, Metallos)

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Political Affairs

Quebec General Election Campaign Underway

On August 23, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard dissolved the National Assembly and asked the Lieutenant-Governor to convoke the 42nd general election of Quebec on October 1. The Quebec electoral law now makes this a fixed election date.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) is fielding at least 25 candidates in the election. When the election was called, there were 21 political parties authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec. The candidates of the officially recognized political parties and independent candidates have until September 15 to be registered as candidates in this election. All others who want to participate in the election and spend money, including citizens, have to register as a "third party."

The National Assembly has 125 deputies. At its dissolution, it was comprised of 68 members of the Liberal Party, 28 of the Parti Québécois, 21 of the Coalition Avenir Québec, three of Québec Solidaire and five independents.  There are currently 6,160,000 citizens registered  to vote in the 125 constituencies in Quebec. The list is subject to revisions prior to polling days.

So far, the campaign is tainted by the desperation of the ruling class to form a party government that will carry on implementing its neo-liberal agenda at a time the people are disgusted with the Liberals' performance in paying the rich and dividing the people on an identity basis. Meanwhile, everything is done to make sure the people have no voice. Their rejection of the brutal anti-social offensive which results in the destruction of manufacturing jobs, pillages the natural resources and seriously undermines social programs is manifest. They despise the schemes to privatize social programs and destroy the social fabric so as to pay the rich. Despite the silence imposed on the striving of the workers and people for empowerment by the parties which form a cartel to keep the people in disarray, the need to renew the political process so that people can speak in their own name is glaring.

To make sure this is ignored, already the ruling circles through their polling agencies and media have declared that a party described as "right-wing," the Coalition Avenir Québec, is ahead in the polls with 37.1 per cent of the intended vote and 74 seats. The working people, accused of being "right-wing," are said to "want" this party. The polls also predict that the Liberals will come in second place with 31.4 per cent of the vote and 40 seats. The Parti Québécois has been declared out of contention, the media declaring "thankfully" that the national question is now dead and off the table. The PQ has been assigned 18.4 per cent of the intended vote and seven seats. The fourth party with seats in the National Assembly, Québec Solidaire, is predicted to win four seats and 9.7 per cent of the vote.

What to Make of this State of Affairs?

Any notion that an election is to bring to power representatives of the people is non-existent. The fictional account of what the people want has been reduced to an increasingly hysterical plethora of promises about more day care spaces, more homes for seniors, free dental care and the like. According to this fiction, the youth of Quebec, who are in the forefront of the striving to humanize the natural and social environment, just want to make money, find a niche for themselves in the system and have fun. The concerns the workers have been expressing and fighting on are totally ignored. The dictate of the oligopolies is imposed on a supranational basis making the national question a million times more relevant than ever as not only the rights of workers and their defence organizations and the farmers and small producers are trampled in the mud but even governments can exercise no control over what happens to the country.

Quebec, like the rest of Canada, has been brought under the jurisdiction of U.S. Homeland Security and its youth are dragged off to participate in U.S. wars of occupation and aggression despite the Quebec people's ages long opposition to imperialist wars. Never has the need to vest sovereignty in the people been greater so as to develop an independent economy and exercise control over political, social and cultural affairs and contribute to the cause of peace internationally. Far from the struggle for sovereignty being over, the major concern of the people is to bring it about by fighting for the renewal of the political process so as to empower themselves.

To divert the attention of the people from the actual developments in Quebec and their significance, the Quebec workers are being criminalized and attacked to make them out to be the enemy, a mafia whose demands for wages commensurate with the work they perform, health and safety at work, and security in retirement hold employers hostage and cause damage to the economy. It is ridiculous. Every attempt is also made to divide the people on the basis of so-called identity politics -- an irrational sort of opposition to cultural appropriation that blames the people for discrimination, racism and genocide which are in fact promoted by the rulers not the people.

Depriving the people of their voices so that they can work things out anew and come to terms with the old conscience of society is not going to protect anyone except the rich and their derelict institutions. The promotion of xenophobia is another despicable practice of the rich to blame the people for their own violations of humanitarian laws and the crimes they are themselves committing. Every attempt is made to divide the people and deprive them of an outlook which permits them to fight as one for what belongs to them by right. Those who benefit from the division of the people then promote themselves as the greatest champions of minority rights, Indigenous rights and a good life for the people. The people hold them in utter contempt. They can see that the elections are designed to stop them from expressing what they want.

Under the slogan For a Modern Quebec Which Recognizes the Rights of All!  the PMLQ's platform in this election is as follows:

To humanize the natural and social environment: All out for democratic renewal!

A new direction for the economy:

- Stop paying the rich; increase funding for social programs!
- Manufacturing Yes! Nation-wrecking No!
- Our resources stay here!

For the renewal of the political process:

- Our future lies in the fight for the rights of all!
- Vest decision-making power in the people, not the rich!
- Fund the electoral process, not the parties!

Defend the dignity of labour:

- Negotiation Yes! Dictate No!
- No to the criminalization of workers and their defence of their rights!

Make Quebec a zone for peace:

- No to NATO and NORAD!
- No to integration into U.S. Homeland Security and wars of aggression!
- Not a single youth for imperialist war!

Visit the PMLQ's website at: pmlq.qc.ca.

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Why Small Parties and Independents Are Demonized in BC Referendum Campaign

A lot of fuss is being made about the possibility of small parties and independents being elected to the BC Legislature if British Columbians decide to throw out the existing first-past-the-post voting system and replace it with proportional representation. Indeed, leading up to the provincial referendum this fall, various big party politicians and NGOs opposed to proportional representation have issued dire warnings about this possibility. According to them, the sky will fall, or worse, if proportional representation is adopted.

For example, the "No to proportional representation in BC" group, claims that proportional representation will "allow extremist parties into the BC Legislature with just five per cent of the vote -- and to potentially hold the balance of power." Using this logic, the group argues that it is a good thing under first past the post that what it calls "extremist" small parties have diminished or no representation in legislatures and parliaments, despite even substantial support from voters. How this is in any way democratic the group does not explain.

For his part, Ujjal Dosanjh, former premier of BC and federal cabinet minister, argues that proportional representation will "encourage the election of MLAs from fringe parties of the right or the left in BC."

These views are echoed at the federal level by former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien who claims that proportional representation is a way for "apparatchiks" to "enter Parliament through the back door." There is some irony here in that Chretien won his second majority government with only 38 per cent of the popular vote and, as some described it, acted as "a friendly dictator who governed with few checks on his power."

Current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously chimed in on this issue by arguing, "If we were to make a change or risk a change that would augment individual voices -- that would augment extremist voices and activist voices that don't get to sit within a party that figures out what's best for the whole future of the country, like the three existing parties do."

Why are these big party politicians and NGOs hurling such vitriol at small parties and independents? They are doing so from the point of view of a cartel big party system that exists at both the federal and provincial levels of government. The first-past-the-post system enshrines this big party monopoly and is one of the preferred mechanisms by which the cartel strives to control the electoral process and attempts to snuff out the voice of the people.

No matter their endless broken promises, corruption scandals, anti-democratic measures, or other misdeeds, the big parties keep their grip on power using spin doctors, computer analytics, a compliant monopoly media and, most importantly, an electoral process which disempowers the citizenry. Their first commandment is to reduce people to spectators and keep them out of any decision-making or even serious discussion about the problems the society faces. Their second commandment is to demonize or dismiss anyone who questions the status quo.

Because of the activities of the ruling elite and their political representatives, elections and the political process itself have become discredited, something of which the big party operatives and their oligarchic backers are acutely aware. They are also acutely aware that the small parties and independents often push for electoral reform and citizen empowerment and thus pose a challenge to the cartel party system and must be kept marginalized. This is not just the marginalization of small political parties or of independent candidates; it is first and foremost the marginalization of the citizenry. The voice of the growing number of people who hold political views that do not correspond to those of Canada's ruling elite must be silenced at all costs.

By voting Yes to proportional representation with one voice, the citizens of BC can seize some initiative in this matter and insist on having a say on what comes next. This would be a positive move.

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Canada-U.S. Collaboration in Support of Terrorism

White Helmets Smuggled Out of Syria by Israel
for Resettlement in Canada, Other NATO Countries

After four years of financing and promoting the White Helmets, a U.S./NATO front for foreign intervention and regime change in Syria, NATO arranged for the Israeli military to evacuate 98 of its assets and their families from Syria on the weekend of July 21-22. The evacuation took place as Syrian government forces were liberating the last remaining pockets of terrorist-controlled territory in the southwest of the country. This should leave little doubt in anyone's mind as to whose interests the so-called humanitarian rescue group serves.

The 442 people were smuggled under cover of darkness across the border and into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, where they were picked up by UN officials and taken to an Israeli army base. From there they were transported to Jordan to be processed for fast-track resettlement in Canada, Britain and Germany.

The White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defence, claim to be a volunteer humanitarian organization whose members rush to the scene of airstrikes and bombings to rescue civilians, but only in so-called rebel controlled areas. They many times called for foreign military intervention in the form of "no fly zones" to be imposed against the Syrian government in its own national territory. A December 2016 TML Weekly article, which called the group "part of the imperialists' private special forces on the civilian front," stated, "They reinforce the aim of regime change in Syria, including acting as auxiliaries for anti-government armed groups that are financed by the imperialists which Canada supports."[1]

The White Helmets' videos have repeatedly been used to provide "evidence" that the Syrian government and allied forces use chemical weapons. This is repeated over and over again by the imperialists and echoed in the monopoly media with the logic that repeating a lie over and over again will make it true. They do this in spite of adamant denials by the Syrian government that it uses chemical weapons, the absence of any corroborating evidence, the logical impossibility of some of the claims, and even evidence that the attacks were perpetrated by anti-government terrorists as "false flags." The videos, are used without question to justify U.S.-led air strikes on Syrian government targets, which Canada and others jump in to applaud and declare as necessary, as took place in April last year.

The smuggling operation in July was widely reported by Canadian news sources. All the stories are peppered with quotes by "experts" backing up the White Helmets' claims about the dire fate that awaited them as Syrian government forces completed the clearing out of terrorist forces like Al Qaeda's Nusra Front and others from areas where they had been operating. Any challenge to the official U.S.-NATO narrative about the role the White Helmets have been playing is typically dismissed as the product of a Russian "disinformation campaign" against the group.

Canada's Role

A Globe and Mail article quotes James Le Mesurier, the former British military intelligence officer and private security contractor who founded the White Helmets in 2014 as saying, "Three countries took the lead: Canada, the U.K. and Germany. But the drive, the galvanization, came from Canada."

And the Trudeau government did not hesitate to take the credit. In a July 21 statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said:

Canada, working in close partnership with the United Kingdom and Germany, has been leading an international effort to ensure the safety of White Helmets and their families.

Canada has been unequivocal about its support for the White Helmets. At a meeting of Foreign Ministers on the occasion of the NATO leaders' summit in Brussels last week, I called for global leadership to support and help these heroes.

Canada has been a key partner of the White Helmets and is proud to have provided funding to support their emergency training and to increase the number of women White Helmets. We feel a deep moral responsibility towards these brave and selfless people.


Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are said to have used "formal interventions" at the NATO summit on July 11-12 to draw attention to and enlist support from other member countries for the evacuation and resettlement of their assets. Germany and Britain in the end also agreed to accept a limited number of White Helmets and their families.

In an article published in Strategic Culture Foundation, Finian Cunningham notes that Germany's actions in particular appear "odd," given that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer who personally authorized the resettlement of the White Helmets is the same person who has mounted a strong challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel's "open door" policy towards immigrants. He concludes, however, that what Germany, Britain, Canada and possibly others that might follow suit are doing is "taking in their terror assets," perhaps to stop them from revealing the dirty secrets they know, should they be abandoned to their own fate.

Israel's Role

According to unnamed sources cited by CBC, former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, a Zionist warmonger who poses as a "human rights expert" and is knee-deep in conspiring with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States to force regime change in Venezuela, was enlisted by Canada to help broker the smuggling arrangement with Israel.

The Syrian government denounced the "criminal operation," saying "Israel has always lied, claiming it does not have any relation to the war waged on Syria, yet it has smuggled hundreds of members of the 'White Helmets' terrorist organization and of the leaders of other armed terrorist organizations in cooperation with the governments of the U.S., Britain, Jordan, Germany and Canada and this has uncovered the support provided by these states to the terrorist groups in their aggression against the Syrians and in destroying the infrastructure in Syria under false pretexts."

Commenting on Israel's role, Cunningham writes:

In a stunning revelation of the foreign links to the extremists in Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his military forces to evacuate up to 800 militants belonging to the so-called White Helmets. They are the propaganda merchants for Nusra Front and other al-Qaeda-linked terror organizations.

Netanyahu announced that the blatant intervention to rescue the jihadists in southwest Syria was made at the personal request of U.S. President Donald Trump and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, "among others."

Separately, there were reports of four senior jihadist commanders being given safe passage by Israeli forces out of Syria as the Syrian army closed in on the last-remaining militant strongholds around the southwest city of Daraa and Quneitra province.

Nor was it coincidental that the evacuation operations were accompanied by Israeli air strikes on Syrian government facilities in Hama province.

Imperialist Financing and Political Support for White Helmets

In May a State Department official told CNN that the U.S. had provided $33 million to the White Helmets since 2013. Its largest single backer, though, is said to be the British Foreign Office. A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said recently that Canada had given $7.5 million to the group over two years. The money was said to be for training in explosives-removal techniques, and to recruit volunteers, particularly women -- a typical attempt by the Trudeau Liberals to give their interfering, pro-war activities a progressive appearance, as is the case with their special envoy's "affirmative action" work to recruit and train women to be part of the imperialist-backed Syrian Opposition's High Negotiating Committee that has repeatedly foiled attempts to put an end to the war through dialogue.

Canadians should reject with contempt the role Canada is playing in support of the U.S.-led war of terror in Syria, as well as any suggestion that its actions are based on humanitarian considerations, concern for human rights, democracy, women's rights or any other high ideal. The time is now to organize for an anti-war government and to make Canada a zone for peace.

Note

1. "Promotion of 'White Helmets' Serves Nefarious Aims," TML Weekly, December 10, 2016.

(With files from SANA)

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Canada's Anti-Communist Crusade

More Official Anti-Communist
Glorification of Nazism

On August 23, the Trudeau regime once again made a public statement to mark the anniversary of Black Ribbon Day, a memorial day concocted by the ruling circles of Europe in 2009 to promote anti-communism through slanders and lies, and to glorify Nazism. The Canadian Parliament designated the same day "National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe" in December that year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began his 2018 statement by completely falsifying the nature of the August 23, 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The real historical significance of August 23, which is being deliberately covered up by the anti-communist campaign, is that it is the anniversary of the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), which gave the Soviet Union an extra 22 months to build up its defences against the expected Nazi invasion. By this time, Germany had occupied Austria and taken over Czechoslovakia.

The Soviet Union called on Britain and France to sign a collective mutual assistance pact, which might have saved Europe from the Second World War or, at least, ensured that the war was shorter and less destructive. The British and French imperialists rejected the proposals for collective security because they hoped to egg on Hitler to attack and destroy the Soviet Union. Of course, Britain and France had already signed the sellout Munich Agreement with the Nazis in September 1938, which gave Hitler the green light to start invading Europe.

The Soviet Union thwarted the Anglo-French plan to use Germany as their weapon against the Soviet Union by signing the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, which simply stated that Germany and the Soviet Union would not attack each other, even though the Soviet Union had no illusions about Hitler's plans to "Germanize" the East, which he had laid out for all to see in his 1925 book, Mein Kampf.


Left to right: Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano at signing of sellout Munich Agreement in 1938.

When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the pact was immediately voided and, as history shows, the preparations prior to the invasion permitted the Soviet Union to play a major role, at tremendous sacrifice, in ending the twisted Nazi dreams of world conquest.

Standard Anglo-American  imperialist anti-communist propaganda is to equate the Nazis, who are well-known as the biggest war criminals of all time, with the Soviet Union, which played the major role in defeating the Hitlerites and freeing the world of the scourge of Nazism. After falsifying history in his speech, Trudeau added: "Today, I join Canadians and our international partners to pay tribute to the victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe. We stand with the survivors and their descendants as they continue to cope with the trauma caused by these cruel regimes."

Trudeau and his ilk deliberately use the word "totalitarianism" to falsely equate Nazism with communism, while waging their own wars of aggression against sovereign countries in the name of a market economy, "humanitarian intervention" and a multi-party "democracy" where voters are forced to choose which party of the rich will implement the agenda of the monopolies.

Again, falsely equating the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany, Trudeau stated: "Many of those who escaped the Soviet and Nazi regimes found a welcoming home in Canada to start their lives anew. These refugees and their descendants have made remarkable contributions to our country, helping to shape our Canadian identity and build the strong, diverse, and prosperous Canada we know today." Trudeau failed to mention that the government of Canada, like the U.S. government and others, actively worked to bring known Nazi war criminals and collaborators to Canada, including 2,000 members of the Galician Division of the Waffen SS.

Trudeau ended his mention of refugees with the usual platitudes: "It is with their stories in mind that we will continue to promote and protect human rights, freedom, and democracy." This is of course a ludicrous statement from a government that just sold $15 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, one of the world's biggest violators of human rights. Or, from another perspective, what would Canada's Indigenous peoples, Métis and Inuit people have to say about the Liberals' claim of their commitment to "human rights, freedom and democracy"?

Each August 23 since 2009, Trudeau and his predecessor Harper have attended meetings and made official statements and speeches to mark Black Ribbon Day on behalf of the most reactionary dregs of society who link human rights to the rehabilitation of Hitlerite crimes against humanity, all in the name of high ideals. They deliberately promote the view that the Hitlerite Nazis and their collaborators who slaughtered the peoples of Europe, Britain, and the Soviet Union were heroes and the anti-fascist forces who fought them to the death, especially the communists, should be erased from the historical record.

Trudeau's August 23, 2018 speech demonstrated once again how the ruling circles of Canada and other countries define human rights and humanitarianism on a Cold War anti-communist basis to cover up their crisis of governance today and their inability to resolve a single problem facing their societies at this time. They are spending millions of dollars to launch campaigns to instill anti-communism in the minds of the people in order to sabotage the workers' movement, the movement in defence of immigrants and refugees, the movement in defence of the hereditary rights of Indigenous peoples and the anti-war movement, and lead them into an abyss.

Trudeau has also taken up Harper's pet project, a publicly funded monument officially called "A Memorial to Victims of Totalitarian Communism -- Canada, a Land of Refuge." The project is based on and linked to the U.S. Victims of Communism Memorial, dedicated in 2007, whose honourary chairman is war criminal George W. Bush and whose benefactors include monopolies such as defence contractor Lockheed Martin and the Amway Corporation owned by the dominionist DeVos family. In Canada, the project was given the go-ahead in 2009 behind closed doors by the federal government's National Capital Commission (NCC), which oversees the use and development of National Capital Region land.


Garden of the Territories and Provinces approved by NCC as site for proposed anti-communist monument.

The monument began as a private project initiated by Tribute to Liberty, an anti-communist organization led by various individuals with very shady pasts. Tribute to Liberty's private anti-communist monument project was made a public project by Harper and a number of his cabinet ministers and MPs, including Jason Kenney. NDP MP Alex Atamanenko and Green Party leader Elizabeth May have also shown their true colours by signing the list of project supporters and promoting the monument.

Tribute to Liberty at first crowed that the anti-communist monument would raise money from the "public." When this failed miserably due to lack of public support, the Harper dictatorship stepped in to save the doomed project by donating $1.5 million in public funds. A Tribute to Liberty spokesperson suggested at the time that the anti-communist monument project was unable to raise funds from the people of Canada because, "It's a difficult project for a lot of the public to understand."

An alternative explanation is that the working class and people of Canada understand the project very well and strongly oppose its virulent anti-communist, pro-Nazi content. Many people still remember the major role played by the Soviet Union in defeating the Hitlerite Nazis. Many workers are aware of the key role played by the communists in helping build Canada's trade unions to defend the interests of the workers. Further, the people of Canada include the freedom-loving peoples who have fought U.S. crimes in Korea, Vietnam, the Congo, Indonesia, Greece, Iran, Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Grenada, Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Yugoslavia and, most recently, Libya and Syria, to name only a few.

The people of Canada support real freedom and democracy and not the phony abstractions of Trudeau and Harper. They are much more likely to support a monument commemorating the real victims of the world, that is, the countless millions of victims of imperialism who have been slaughtered in the false name of opposing communism and "terrorism," including all of those who were killed opposing the very Nazis whom Harper and now Trudeau continue to glorify.

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page


Latin America and the Caribbean

Hands Off Venezuela!


Venezuelan people fill the streets of Caracas, August 6, 2018, in support of President Maduro and the Bolivarian Republic, two days after the assassination attempt against him.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the continuing campaign of violence and terror perpetrated by the U.S. imperialists and their proxies within Venezuela to overthrow the democratically-elected government in that country. For the last 20 years the government, first under the legendary Commander Hugo Chávez and now under the guidance of President Nicolás Maduro, has defended the sovereignty and independence of Venezuela and implemented many pro-social initiatives by ensuring that the country's resources are directed to meeting the basic needs of the people. This has been achieved against all odds, including the August 4 assassination attempt against President Maduro and other officials of the Venezuelan government and armed forces during the 81st anniversary celebrations of the Bolivarian National Guard.

President Maduro, who was delivering a speech,  and other leaders as well as members of the country's diplomatic corps were on a reviewing stand overlooking a large military parade when the attack occurred. Seven soldiers were injured in the failed assassination attempt.

Two drones -- more commonly used to carry cinematic cameras -- loaded with C-4 plastic explosives, were used in the attack. One of the drones, reported to have been thrown off course by electronic signal blocking put in place by the military as a security measure during the event, exploded in mid-air just in front of the reviewing stand. The second crashed into an apartment building two blocks away, not far from where it was being controlled, and caused a fire.

Shortly after the attack Venezuelan security forces were able to capture six individuals found in possession of incriminating evidence. Those arrests led to some confessions and the uncovering of other material evidence about those allegedly involved in the planning and financing of the terrorist act. Among those subsequently arrested were two high-ranking military officers and an opposition member with a seat in the National Assembly. Venezuelan authorities have announced that a total of 34 people are implicated. Many of those still being sought are reported to be either in Colombia or the U.S. and Venezuela has asked for their extradition. There are reports that organizers of the assassination attempt were promised U.S.$50 million and asylum in the U.S.

After the assassination attempt, Venezuelans filled the streets of their towns and cities in a show of solidarity with President Maduro. Governments, political parties and personalities from around the world issued statements denouncing the assassination attempt. The Canadian government brought shame on itself by remaining silent.

The Canadian government has played a criminal role in attempting to undermine the Venezuelan people and their Bolivarian Revolution by supporting the counter-revolutionaries and playing a leading role in the so-called Lima Group of countries organized by the U.S. to isolate Venezuela and destroy its economy. This cabal's stated aim is to achieve regime change in Venezuela under the pretext of defending human rights and democracy, but in fact it is to impose a neo-liberal regime that would destroy the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution, allowing imperialism to once again seize control of the country's vast resources and enslave the Venezuelan people.

CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to stand firm in defending the Venezuelan people and their Bolivarian government at this critical time and to resolutely oppose the Government of Canada's support of the U.S.-instigated campaign of terror and violence against the Venezuelan people.

Hands Off Venezuela!
Dismantle the Lima Group!
Strengthen Fraternal Unity Between the Venezuelan and Canadian Peoples!

August 6, 2018


August 9, 2018

August 13, 2018

(Photos: C. Melendez, P. Infanti, VTV Canal 8, T. Maniglia)


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24th São Paulo Forum Held in Havana

The 24th meeting of the São Paulo Forum was held July 15-17 at the National Convention Centre in Havana, Cuba. The Forum was created in 1990 when left and progressive parties from Latin America and the Caribbean came together in Brazil to discuss the new international scenario after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequences of the neo-liberal policies that a majority of the region's governments had been pushed to adopt. Fidel Castro and former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva played a decisive role in its development. It is currently composed of more than a hundred Latin American and Caribbean political parties and organizations.

This year's meeting, which had as its theme Latin American and Caribbean Unity and Integration, was dedicated to Fidel and Lula. There was a record 625 delegates and guests from 51 countries, representing 168 organizations, including more than 60 parliamentarians and over 120 representatives of social movements. The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) has attended most meetings of the Forum since its inception and sent a delegation to this year's proceedings as well.

Several current and former heads of state and government and political leaders from different parts of the world spoke at plenary sessions during the three-day gathering, showing that the Havana meeting represented an important converging point for progressive forces in the region. These included Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of Cuba; Raúl Castro, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba as well as other leading members of the Communist Party of Cuba which was the host organization; Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Salvador Sánchez Cerén, President of El Salvador.


Former presidents and prime minister: (left to right) Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Joaquim Chissano
of Mozambique, and Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia.

Former presidents and prime ministers who participated included Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia, Denzil Douglas of St. Christopher and Neves, Martín Torrijos of Panama, and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.

In addition to daily plenary sessions, delegates and guests were able to participate in meetings of women, youth and parliamentarians and a dialogue with social movements, as well as workshops on topics such as art and culture, political communication and the media.

Central themes addressed in most parts of the program included:

- the need to defend and give life to the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace signed in 2014 by the governments of all the countries in the region organized in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC);

- that the U.S. must not be permitted to succeed in dividing and destabilizing the region, whether through the provocations of the Organization of American States and its Lima Group, parliamentary, judicial and media coups and organized violence aimed at destabilizing and overthrowing governments that refuse to come under its baton, or by destroying regional integration projects such as CELAC;

- the rejection of the notion pushed by the U.S. imperialists and their local allies that the progressive cycle in the region has come to an end, in the same way that the "end of history" thesis was rejected when it was put forward after the fall of the Soviet Union; and

- the need for the people's forces to respond to this counter-revolutionary plan with a plan of their own based on building the broadest possible unity in action against imperialism -- inside the region and beyond.

The final day featured a special plenary dedicated to The Thought of Fidel Castro, at which Cuban political leaders and other invited dignitaries spoke about what Fidel represented to them and the peoples of their countries as well as his immense contribution to the cause of humanity.


Special plenary July 17, 2018 was dedicated to the Thought of Fidel Castro.


Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel

In addressing himself to Fidel's legacy and its importance for dealing with the challenges the São Paulo Forum and others are facing today, President Miguel Díaz-Canel reminded participants that Fidel warned us that a true revolution has to be capable of confronting, with its own forces, the powerful dominating forces both within and outside of its social and national domains. For Fidel, he said, this would be impossible without the active, organized and conscious participation of the people, given his firm conviction that a project would only endure if the people defended it and appreciated it as their own. "We firmly believe this to be the case," he said, "otherwise, we would not be here."

In practical terms, Díaz-Canel said that redirecting the fight to concretize a plan of action put together by all and achievable, based on the unity and integration of the political forces and social movements of the region, would be the best homage to Fidel.

São Paulo Forum Action Plan for 2018-19

Activities the São Paulo Forum plans to undertake this year include:

- launching campaigns for the immediate release of Lula and against the political persecution of popular leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean;

- actions to defend Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, including participating, with the Party of the European Left, in the São Paulo Forum's second Political Observation Mission to Colombia to follow up on the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the building of peace in Colombia;

- strengthening and expanding the Forum's training schools and foundations;

- encouraging unions and peasants and farmers' organizations to hold events in their countries to denounce the increase in the precariousness of working conditions and the lowering of living conditions through outsourcing and other means;

- strengthening communications among member parties;

- paying attention to elections being held around the region;

- engaging in joint actions with the Party of the European Left involving:

- deepening the study of free trade agreements between the European Union (EU) and MERCOSUR and with different Latin American countries for the conditions they seek to impose on our peoples;

- campaigning to oppose the EU's sanctions against Venezuela, the blockade of Cuba, and EU interference in the internal affairs of Latin American and Caribbean countries to destabilize them;

- combating big media's information war that distorts and manipulates reality;

- sending joint teams of observers to countries in the region where electoral fraud could occur;

- strictly monitoring the peace processes in Colombia for full compliance; and

- waging a common campaign in defence of peace and solidarity among peoples, starting with putting into practice the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

(Photo: TML, S. Sanchez, Trabajadores, Cubadebate)

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U.S. Plans for Using Facebook to Disseminate Propaganda in Cuba

Prensa Latina reports on a recent article published in the Miami New Times that reveals U.S. plans to use Facebook to spread propaganda and foment dissent clandestinely in Cuba.

Citing existing documents on the subject, the August 22 digital version of the Miami weekly pointed out that at the centre of the plans is the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), a government agency currently headed by the former mayor of Miami, Tomás Regalado, which operates Radio Martí, TV Martí and Martí Noticias.

According to the Miami New Times, the aims are detailed in budget documents for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Prensa Latina notes that at a time when there is a big stir in the U.S. over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, the documents indicate that the agency has plans to use Cuban "native" and "non-branded" Facebook accounts to disseminate content created by the U.S. government without informing Cuban Facebook users.

The Miami New Times article indicates that the U.S. government's shift to social media was based on metrics that place YouTube, Google and Facebook among the most visited sites in Cuba, and that with the use of audio and video for radio (AVRA) technology, Radio Martí programs began to be transmitted through Facebook Live along with the TV Martí programming.

Prensa Latina links the OCB's focus on a social media offensive with the effectiveness of Cuban authorities in blocking the signals of Radio and TV Martí, which Cuba has denounced for violating international norms pertaining to the use of the airwaves.

According to the Miami New Times, in fiscal 2018 the OCB planned to establish teams of people inside Cuba to create native and non-branded Facebook accounts to spread propaganda as domestic pages would increase the chance of appearing in the newsfeed of Cuban Facebook users. The same strategy was to be replicated in other preferred social networks.

It reported, "The documents don't explain what the feds mean by 'non-branded' or 'native' Facebook pages. But it's clear they would be meant to look like the pages of regular social media users in order to evade censors and persuade Cubans to read Martí propaganda," emphasizing that the idea was to deceive Cubans into believing the information came from fellow Cubans and not Regalado's office.

If Facebook's propaganda plan really took off, "it would fit into a long history of trying to use modern technology to shoehorn propaganda into Cuba," University of Pennsylvania professor John S. Nichols told the Miami New Times.

"There are certainly red flags here," said Nichols, co-author of the 1987 book Clandestine Radio Broadcasting. "It's the most recent of a very long line of efforts by Radio and TV Martí and its predecessors to try to overcome the laws of physics... Every time they fail in getting their message into Cuba, they say there has got to be a technological solution," he said.

Instead, he said, Congress "just can't seem to recognize that the stations are a colossal failure. It's sad because they're spending taxpayer money. But what it really wastes is our credibility as a great nation by doing these silly, stupid things."

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Social Media: The Ideological Apparatus in Dispute

TML Weekly is publishing below an article regarding the role of mass media in Honduras that assisted the 2009 coup against democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya and similar phenomena throughout the region now taking place via social media. The author, Gilberto Ríos Munguía, is a director of the Liberty and Refoundation (Libre) Party and social media activist in Honduras. The article was originally published in El Pulso, August 25, 2018.

***

It is important to begin by clarifying that the concept of an "Ideological Apparatus" refers to all the mechanisms used to control the thinking of the masses and dates back hundreds of years. The following reflection is merely an adaptation of these ideas to the new information and communication technologies from an amateur perspective, but emphasizing the need for a more effective "militancy" in the use of these alternative media.

My participation in an event in São Paulo, Brazil in the months following the coup d'état comes to mind. A national congress of a left-wing political party was being held and they had invited us specifically to denounce what was taking place in Honduras. At one point during my intervention I mentioned the mainstream media's concentration in a few hands -- a few families -- in my country, when someone came up behind me to whisper in my ear: "It's the same here."

In reviewing what we call the Oligarchic Model, that is, the new stage of the concentration of capital in a few hands -- which is a sharpened form of the capital/labour contradiction -- we find that throughout our continent not only are the means of production in a few hands, the mass media are in those same hands and obviously reproduce the ideas that are necessary for them to maintain the regime of exploitation, corruption and violence that generates so much profit for them.

Another important detail of this oligopolistic model of communication is its synchronization with the agendas of the international media that are, in turn, representatives of big transnational capital. We see it in the television news, written press, radio programs and social media in the hands of the corporate media, which repeat editorial positions on the international situation, obviously always favouring the interests of those same sectors.

The Microphone, the Classroom and the Pulpit

The same thing occurs in formal education and in the churches, an important part of the Apparatus in question dedicated to numbing the consciousness of the students and their worshippers, respectively, with honourable exceptions of course. The discourse is repeated until a consensus of right ideas is achieved on the concrete reality the population is experiencing. Incidentally, Marx called this the "metamorphosed consciousness" of reality, that is, the incredible phenomenon of living a reality but interpreting it from a point of view that suits the enemy. For example, in the case at hand it is to see the crisis positively and to blame the opposition for its negative effects.

It is precisely the duty of the political opposition then to dismantle the conservative thinking pattern useful to the oligarchy by interpreting reality with a different, eminently liberating, consciousness and managing to spread those ideas by all possible means. This new awareness of reality can be generated by specialists on specific topics who manage to unravel that fictitious web, but it is also discovered, created or recreated through discussion and collective thought, for which popular organization is essential.

This is where "militancy" also becomes necessary in the alternative media, undoubtedly a very sensitive subject in Honduras, a country in which from 2009 -- right after the military coup -- to date, more than 70 journalists, social communicators and media workers have been murdered, showing the oligarchy's need to maintain tight control over ideas.

Fortunately, in our country there have been truly heroic efforts to maintain alternative and independent voices that have fought against their marginalization by the ruling party and corporate advertising guidelines, as well as against death threats, shutting down of the media and various other forms of persecution and intimidation. This type of journalism has maintained a captive market of readers seeking truth, a critical perspective and an unofficial interpretation of political and social phenomena.

The same thing is happening now in social media, also called the Fifth Power, because of its closeness to the thinking of the huge majorities that have managed to win important battles against the media hegemony of the elites. This participation takes on vital importance because of the crisis of governability the regime is going through in Honduras, and the evident deterioration of the capitalist system and its neo-liberal model.

Constant denunciation by social media users, on top of what the systematic denunciation and organized participation of the "militancy" could signify in these networks, would contribute to a great advance being made in the people's consciousness of their true executioners and enemies. That was the motivation for this reflection, in the sense of taking another look at our phones, personal computers, online connections and social media accounts, to see them as powerful weapons of a new Popular Ideological Apparatus that must be used as one more tool for our liberation. The intent is not to assign credentials to social media that are unwarranted. I wish to make clear: in social media we inform ourselves and we complain; in neighbourhoods, study centres and workplaces we organize ourselves; and in the streets, we protest.

(Translated from the original Spanish by TML.)

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The Legal War Against Democracy


Lula da Silva, former Brazilian President and candidate in the 2018 election, currently
imprisoned on spurious corruption charges, speaks to a rally in Sao Paulo, January 24, 2018.

On September 1, 2016 the Brazilian Senate removed Dilma Rousseff from the presidency of the country in a "political trial" in which she was convicted of allegedly manipulating the public budget.

Between November 2, 2017 and March 6, the Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner received three indictments, two for alleged crimes of corruption and one for allegedly interfering in the investigation of the bombing of the AMIA [Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association] in Buenos Aires in 1994.

On January 24, the Supreme Court of Brazil upheld the sentence against the former president of the country and current best placed candidate in the polls for the upcoming presidential election, Lula da Silva, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption. In April he ended up in prison and disqualified from being re-elected president. [Both are being appealed by Lula -- TML Ed. Note]

On April 9, the Colombian Prosecutor's Office executed an arrest warrant for extradition to the U.S. against the elected deputy of the FARC [People's Alternative Revolutionary Force] party, who is also one of those responsible for the implementation of the Peace Agreement, Jesús Santrich, purportedly for conspiring to export cocaine to the U.S.A. Since that time he has been in prison, banished from implementing the peace agreement and unable to assume his seat in the Legislative Chamber despite there being no charges against him in Colombia.

On July 3, an Ecuadorian court ordered the detention of former President Rafael Correa and put out an international warrant for his arrest. Previously, on December 14, 2017, Vice President Jorge Glas was sentenced to six years in prison, accused of corruption. And on June 17, Pablo Romero, who was a member of Rafael Correa's government, was arrested in Madrid at Ecuador's request.

"The legitimacy conferred on the judicialization of politics arises from the consensus that 'corruption' is the main problem in Latin America." This premise, replete with formal reasoning, was put forward by international financial institutions and agencies of the U.S. government that promoted the Structural Adjustment of the State in the 1990s. It has been used to attack governments, political forces and left-wing leaders in Latin America that oppose the neo-liberal adjustments dictated by the IMF, with claims of "left populism" giving rise to a structural problem of corruption, leaving out that corruption is inherent to neo-liberalism and its adjustment and austerity policies.

"Lawfare," the "asymmetric legal warfare" that has replaced the National Security doctrine -- counterinsurgency war -- taught at the Schools of the Americas, has been used against all those who have successfully implemented alternatives to neo-liberal policies. Now it is from law schools that the North is spreading its strategy to get rid of left governments by politically disabling those leaders who seek to rescue the national sovereignty of their peoples.

"Lawfare" or legal warfare is an English word corresponding to a grammatical contraction of the words "law" and "warfare," to describe a form of asymmetric warfare. A "legal war" that is deployed through the illegitimate use of domestic or international law with the intention of damaging the opponent, thus achieving victory on a battlefield of public political relations, paralyzing the opponents politically and financially, or immobilizing them judicially so they are unable to pursue their objectives or present as candidates for public office. This is how "lawfare" is described in the 2010 "Report of the meeting in Cleveland of experts on September 11 and its consequences."

"Lawfare" is now on display in full force. Planning for it began years ago as the left in Latin America with majority support set in motion more participatory and egalitarian democratic systems. While this was occurring, neo-liberal forces led by the U.S. "establishment" were designing the new strategy of fighting and discrediting those political movements that were garnering victories for the left.

Let us go back to October 16, 1998. The former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, accused of crimes against humanity, was arrested in London by an order issued by Judge Garzón at the request of groups of victims' defenders. The end of the "cold war" led to the strategic disorientation of its victor, the U.S.A. It was imperative to define a new enemy that would allow it to maintain the military-industrial conglomerate base of the capitalist system that had brought down the socialist countries. That period of disorientation permitted the carrying out of criminal proceedings in third countries. The "universal jurisdiction" contemplated for years in national laws, but impossible to apply during the "cold war," became a powerful tool against authoritarian regimes responsible for crimes against humanity, illicit conduct engaged in to suppress the peoples' yearning for change.

There were years of expansion of "universal jurisdiction." The arrest of Pinochet was followed by judicial proceedings initiated by groups of victims against members of the Argentinian, Uruguayan, Colombian, Congolese, American and Israeli militaries and politicians... responsible for massive human rights violations.

The response of Western democracies was not to extend universal jurisdiction, but to combat the open opportunity to enforce international law and end impunity for international crimes. The legal counter-reforms to "universal jurisdiction" in Belgium in 2003 and Spain in the years 2009 (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) and 2014 (Partido Popular) are examples of this retrogression, justified thusly:

"[...] Universal jurisdiction may be used for political reasons or for humiliating purposes, and may adversely affect the world order by causing unnecessary friction between States, potential abuses of legal procedures and deprivation of individual human rights" (IBC Revue internationale de droit Penal, 2008/1, Vol. 79).

Those who support the current world order learned lessons about the potential of "universal jurisdiction" -- easy accessibility, low cost and high efficiency -- to use in their own interest. They began to devise new strategies that would allow them to maintain their power and ability to intervene when necessary. Due to the counterproductive political effects of the National Security doctrine -- torture, forced disappearances, dictatorships, social protests ... -- since the end of the "cold war" the United States has not used the installation of authoritarian regimes as a first option if it is possible for them to maintain control over a country by means more democratic in appearance.

Legal intervention becomes an effective option where there is a plan to achieve the desired end. The plan requires a tactic -- legal-political intervention to co-opt the judiciary and legal practitioners; some resources -- schools and training programs for judges and lawyers; and objectives -- to overthrow governments that seek to rescue the national sovereignty of their peoples. The strategy is to discredit the political forces leading those governments and to disqualify electorally and destroy politically their top leadership.

The precedents for this legal-political strategy are found in the so-called war against terrorism launched in 2001 after 9/11. The U.S. tried to create a new interpretation of the law governing armed conflicts, attempting to make the huge difference between domestic criminal law and international humanitarian law gradually disappear. They tried to impose new legal categories not provided for in domestic or international law, such as "illegal enemy combatant" or their unilateral right to "monitor and execute," which they use to justify the use of killer drones.

Another step has been the massive judicialization of politics based on the consensus concerning "corruption" applied in a generalized way to the leaders of the Latin American alternative left who have sought to guarantee national sovereignty against interference.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, they have begun investing resources in co-optation programs of the judicial institutions of many countries, especially in Latin America. The "Schools of the Americas" for the military have been replaced by law schools and judicial training programs, both in the United States -- where judges and legal practitioners go to receive indoctrination -- and in the countries of South America -- where through generous funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), judicial training schools have been created and controlled politically.

In Colombia, since the creation of the "Rodrigo Lara Bonilla" training school for the judiciary, funded by USAID, the legal system of a "continental" nature -- the rule of written law -- provided for in the Constitution, has been transitioned to a system based on legal precedents -- U.S. "common law" -- which lacks constitutional support. Now it is the justices of the Constitutional Court who draft the laws through the constitutional review process. In cases where they determine that a law is not in conformity with the Constitution, they proceed to re-write it, acting as a second and final legislative chamber.

In Latin America we are witnessing the gradual substitution of inquisitorial or mixed criminal systems by the accusatory criminal system modelled on that of the United States, leading to the disproportionate empowerment of the national prosecutor's offices, that in practice operate on instructions, information and "indictments" from the U.S. justice system.

The plan devised for the expansion of "lawfare" has begun to achieve its objectives. Dilma Rousseff, Fernando Lugo, Cristina Kirchner, Lula, Jesús Santrich, Rafael Correa ... all of them have been the object of this political-legal strategy that is immobilizing them politically in this new legal war. The objective is to discredit them and their political forces by equating them with common criminals and to disqualify them electorally.

The judiciary that permitted Latin America to be one of the continents with the most institutional corruption -- in many cases benefiting from it -- and that was never capable of combatting it, has now become a weapon of direct intervention in internal political affairs, in the service of the interests of foreign and local oligarchies and conservative forces.

Legal warfare represents a big setback in the processes of institutional strengthening of Latin American countries. The judiciary should stay out of political fights to avoid repeating the institutional breakdowns of other times that caused it to experience serious crises of legitimacy and popular disaffection. This interference in political affairs implies the nullification of the judiciary's independence due to its conscious politicization, and it results irremediably in the disappearance of the separation of powers that sustains the Rule of Law. Lawfare has become one of the greatest dangers to democracy throughout the world and especially in Latin America.

(Originally published in El Diario, August 21, 2018. Translated from the original Spanish by TML.)

Supplement
24th São Paulo Forum 

Final Declaration

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