In the current case of the dispossession of the
of the Wet'suwet'en in northern BC, the elected chiefs and
councils of the five Wet'suwet'en bands have approved the
pipeline. They were established under the racist and colonial Indian Act to
achieve the assimilation and dispossession of the
original peoples of this land. The hereditary chiefs, who are the
ones whose approval must be sought, have not given it. It is a
political matter which must be resolved politically. Instead, the
governments of Canada and BC are self-serving to the extreme.
They are serving private interests and claiming that the law is
neutral and must be permitted to take its course.
On January 16, 2019, the U.S. State Department announced its decision to suspend, for just 45 days, the implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, "in order to conduct a careful review... in light of the national interests of the United States and the efforts to expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba, and include factors such as the Cuban regime's brutal oppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms and its indefensible support for increasingly authoritarian and corrupt regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua."
The threatened new step of President Donald Trump's administration, that would dangerously tighten even further the blockade against Cuba, would be a flagrant violation of International Law and a direct attack on the sovereignty and interests of third countries.
Cuba strongly, firmly and categorically rejects such a threat, which it construes as an extremely arrogant and irresponsible hostile action, and repudiates the disrespectful and slanderous language used in the public announcement made by the State Department.
The Helms Burton Act entered into force in 1996. It was conceived to codify and tighten the economic, commercial and financial blockade policy officially imposed in 1962 for the purpose of subverting and overthrowing the Cuban government and imposing a regime to the liking of the U.S. government.
U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the
The Act consists of four titles and has been implemented since its enactment. It is characterized as having an extreme extraterritorial scope, violating the rules and principles of International Law, contravening the rules of trade and international economic relations and being harmful to the sovereignty of other States, particularly because of the implementation of its provisions against companies and individuals established in its territories.
This Act has been rejected almost unanimously by the international community at the United Nations, specialized international bodies and regional organizations, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the African Union. Several countries have passed their own national laws to cope with the extraterritorial effects of this Act.
One of the main objectives pursued by the Helms-Burton Act has been to hamper Cuba's economic, commercial and financial relations with third countries as well as its capacity to attract direct foreign investments to support its development. Titles III and IV of this Act are expressly devoted to pursuing that.
Title III authorizes U.S. nationals to bring action before U.S. courts against any foreign citizen that is "trafficking" in U.S. properties that were nationalized in Cuba in the 1960s by means of a legitimate process, recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, that was carried out by the Cuban government, in full adherence to its national legislation and International Law.
Among its most notorious aberrations, the aforementioned Title extends that authorization to owners that were not U.S. citizens at the time nationalizations were carried out and whose alleged properties no one has certified.
By virtue of the Helms-Burton Act, all U.S. presidents since 1996, including Trump in 2017 and 2018, have consistently used the executive power to suspend the implementation of Title III every six months, for they have recognized that it is the most gross and unacceptable aspect of the Act, contrary to International Law and the sovereignty of other States. And they have realized that its implementation will create insurmountable obstacles to any prospective solution to claims and compensation for legitimate U.S. owners.
On November 2, 1999, Havana's People's Provincial Court, for its part, upheld the Demand against the U.S. Government for Human Damages and sanctioned it to provide the Cuban people with reparation and compensation worth $181,100 billion; and on May 5, 2000, that same court sentenced the U.S. government also to pay $121 billion for Economic Damages Caused to Cuba.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reiterated Cuba's willingness to find a solution to mutual claims and compensations.
This decision that the U.S. government is threatening to implement would mean that, contrary to what is established by International Law and the praxis of international relations, foreign individuals and entities with legitimate businesses in Cuba could find themselves facing threats of unfounded claims, lacking legitimacy, before the U.S. courts. The politically motivated and corrupt behaviour of some courts in Florida, very often used as a weapon against Cuba, is all too well known.
For our people it means standing up, once again, in a firm, conscientious and categorical way, to U.S. imperialism's efforts to submit the destiny of the Cuban nation to its domination and tutelage.
If Title III were to be applied as established by this law and as threatened by the U.S. State Department, each and every Cuban and community in the country will bear witness to the way in which the lawsuits, filed before U.S. courts, claim ownership of the house they live in, the place where they work, the school their children attend, the clinic where they are provided with medical care, and the land where their neighbourhoods have been built. And they will corroborate this attempt to deprive Cubans of the country's wealth, infrastructure, arable lands, industries, mining resources, and energy potential as well as the foundation on which to develop science and technology and provide services to the population.
We should all remember the aberrant contents of the Bush Plan, which thoroughly describes and organizes the way in which Cuban families and the whole country would be stripped of almost everything.
For more than twenty years, the Helms-Burton Act has guided the interventionist efforts of anti-Cuban sectors in the U.S. to attack the Cuban nation and undermine its sovereignty. By virtue of its implementation, hundreds of millions of dollars have been allocated to subvert Cuba's internal order, and countless measures have been proposed to bring about regime change. Its economic impact has seriously affected the country's development efforts as well as the population's well-being. Its humanitarian impact has not been greater thanks to the social justice system that prevails in Cuba.
The attempt to fully implement Title III has been promoted despite the opinion of important U.S. government agencies and as a consequence of the power and influence achieved within the government by persons whose political careers have been marked by an impotent resentment of Cuba and relied on the use of lies and blackmail.
Most U.S. public opinion has consistently opposed the economic blockade, according to highly qualified polls.
History records with sufficient clarity that neither the economic blockade policy nor the bilateral problems between Cuba and the United States originated from the fair nationalizations that were carried out by the revolutionary government, according to the law and its legitimate right. The U.S. government's military, economic and terrorist aggressions against Cuba started before the fundamental actions of nationalization of U.S. properties started.
It is a well-known fact that the nationalization of all foreign properties, including American properties, had a legal commitment to pay a compensation, which the U.S. government refused even to discuss, but which the governments of claimants from other countries accepted, and all of whom received appropriate compensation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates the postulates contained in the Law to Reaffirm Cuban Dignity and Sovereignty (Law No. 80) and emphasizes that the Helms-Burton Act is illegal, inapplicable and is void of any value or legal effect. Consequently, any claim filed under this law by a natural or juridical person, regardless of their citizenship or nationality, will be rendered null.
The Cuban government reserves the right to respond in due time to this new aggression.
Havana, January 17, 2019
(Cubaminrex. Edited slightly by TMLW
style and clarity.)
The new President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took office on December 1, 2018 on his third attempt and after two huge electoral frauds in 2006 and 2012. His central promise has been to end corruption.
Mexico is going through times of change. The population finally decided to end the regime of the so-called PRIAN (the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN)) that dominated national politics in recent decades and promoted neo-liberalism. Since 1976, the IMF and the World Bank have dictated Mexico's economic policy to favour the U.S. In 35 years, foreign investment went from $10 billion to $600 billion and the external debt went from $3.6 billion to $450 billion. The country was mortgaged off.
Oil, electricity and energy in general were privatized: telephones, railways, ports, airports, steel, beaches, banks, television channels, etc., until the state sector almost totally disappeared. The mining plunder by Canadian and other companies is huge. In 300 years of colonialism, the Spanish took 190 tons of gold. Currently, in ten years from 2006 to 2015, corporations took 774 tons of gold and paid only 1.8 per cent in taxes.
"NAFTA is a mortal blow for
NAFTA was signed, which led to the dismantling of the economy, devastation of the countryside, and the skyrocketing migration that drove 10 million Mexicans to the U.S., leading to the vertiginous increase in drug trafficking, with the crime and insecurity which it entails. The currency was devalued tremendously, going from 12.5 pesos for a dollar in 1976 to the equivalent of 20,000 today (after removing three zeros).
The final six-year mandates of each of the PAN and the PRI, making up a 12-year period that ended in 2018, saw 200,000 deaths and 30,000 disappearances in Mexico. Entire regions of the country, such as Tamaulipas and Veracruz, passed into the hands of criminals.
The population could take no more and, in 2018, 53 per
of voters, with 30 million votes, gave an overwhelming victory to
Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his Morena party that now
controls the Congress and five state governments. These factors
plus Morena's majority in numerous state congresses gives AMLO a
power no Mexican president has been able to count on in a long
Foreign policy has taken a new turn with the new government that refused to join the Lima Group in its condemnation of Venezuela, respecting the sovereignty of the Latin American country and upholding the principle of non-intervention.
The new government launched an austerity campaign lowering the salaries of top officials, eliminating superfluous expenses, selling the $7-billion-peso presidential airplane, relinquishing the Los Pinos residence (the president's official residence and office), and cutting government spending. The costly project of the New International Airport was cancelled and the exorbitant pensions received by the former presidents were eliminated.
The theft of gasoline gave officials, union leaders,
and criminal groups a windfall of 100 billion pesos. An aggressive
campaign against this theft has caused shortages, but the population
supports the measures.
With the money saved, pensions for the elderly will be doubled, and scholarships for 10 million young people and one million people with disabilities will be offered. As well 2.6 million young people will receive allocations to be trained in work for large companies, which after a year have the option of hiring them.
For the first time in decades, the minimum wage increased by 16 per cent, lower wages were increased, pensions doubled and there are credit programs for small businesses.
The new President has promised not to modify the macroeconomic model at all, and remains on good terms with the IMF and the World Bank. With the U.S. and Canada, he endorsed the signature of the USMCA (the new NAFTA, despite the prior version causing so much damage to Mexico) and continues to promote foreign investment. For example, he announced a $154-million investment by the transnational Nestlé, provoking protests by Veracruz coffee growers. With regard to the privatization of oil, this has been slowing down and AMLO has talked about reviewing the contracts.
Twenty years ago, the banking fraud that we paid for with the Banking Fund for the Protection of Savings (FOBAPROA) amounted to 600 million pesos. We have now paid more than 2 billion pesos and owe 70 per cent more: 1.8 billion pesos. In 2019, 51 million pesos will be paid to the banks while those who committed fraud will not be punished and the banks will continue to be "rescued."
Mexicans take part in a national consultation on a new international airport, October 2018.
The debt already amounts to 10 billion pesos and this year they will pay 750,000 million pesos to service it -- a stratospheric amount. With the PRI regime, the external debt increased from $40 million in 1940 to $3.6 billion in 1970 and then from $85 billion in 1982 to $445 billion today. AMLO has promised not to increase indebtedness, but has assumed all previous commitments.
The situation in Mexico is complex and the new government advances in the midst of contradictory measures. Great resistance is expected from the oligarchy and the corporations and we will see what the new measures of the government and the Morena Congress with its majority will be. A characteristic of the current government is that in order to take the measures it considers necessary, it implements national consultations, and it seems that it will follow this line. There will be a consultation in March to decide whether or not to act against the ex-presidents Peña, Calderón, Fox, Zedillo and Salinas de Gortari.
AMLO has already announced that he will go down in
Juarez and Cárdenas. Juarez expropriated the land from the
Church, suspended payments on the debt, led the Reformation
revolution and expelled the French invaders. Cárdenas confronted
fascism and the U.S., nationalized the oil industry, distributed 18
million hectares to the peasants and also suspended payments to
service the debt. We will see what happens in Mexico in the
On December 24, 2018, just as many were beginning
holiday celebrations, the Permanent Council of the Organization of
American States (OAS) issued a notice to its members of a special
meeting being held on December 27 at the request of Argentina, Brazil,
Canada, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and the United States "to consider the
situation in Nicaragua.” The meeting was called within days of
the release of a report by the OAS-linked Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights (IACHR) relating to violent events that occurred in the
country between April 18 and May 30, 2018.
The sudden outbreak of a "student" protest on April 18 was allegedly in response to social security reforms affecting the pensions of seniors introduced by the government as an alternative to the harsh measures called for by the IMF to address a deficit in the pension fund (which the government then withdrew, in spite of having the support of pensioners, to try to quell the protest). The protests however escalated and spread to different parts of the country, quickly turning to killings and violent acts of all kinds, widespread destruction of property and the setting up of roadblocks, accompanied by demands for President Daniel Ortega to "leave." These events were routinely portrayed by opposition-controlled media inside Nicaragua and the monopoly media internationally as "peaceful" protests that were responded to by students being brutally massacred, leading to a nationwide protest movement supported by most of the population, which the government put down through wholesale human rights abuses. Anything that contradicted this narrative was ignored or dismissed regardless of the facts in the IACHR’s report of its “investigations.”
What took place for almost three months beginning in
fact reminiscent of the way violent foreign-backed opposition
groups rampaged in Venezuela in 2014 and again in 2017 in failed
attempts to bring down President Nicolás Maduro and the
Bolivarian government. And that is no accident, nor is the fact that
the U.S. has put a cabal of governments, institutions, agencies and
organizations that it controls or dominates, including a whole “human
rights” apparatus, into action to wage a coordinated offensive against
Nicaragua's Sandinista government like the one it has been waging
against the Bolivarian government of Venezuela and revolutionary Cuba.
This is the context within which the neutral-sounding Working Group on Nicaragua was put in place at the OAS. It is no coincidence that the governments that came forward to be part of it are the very ones trying to isolate and force regime change in Venezuela via the illegitimate Lima Group.
The Working Group did not take long to show its colours, collaborating with the imperialist agent serving as the Secretary General of the OAS who announced at the December 27 special meeting that he was "forced" to initiate a process to activate Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Nicaragua, alleging that the constitutional order had been broken and the government had committed crimes against humanity.
This activity at the OAS follows a number of hostile moves by the U.S. In September, when the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, was serving as Chair of the Security Council she attempted without success to get a resolution passed against Nicaragua there. Then in November the U.S. put into place increased financial, economic and other sanctions against the government of Nicaragua and Nicaraguan individuals under its Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act (NICA). At the same time President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring the Ortega government "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." To which the Nicaraguan government responded stating, "We categorically reject the historical continuity of the interference and interventionist policy of the U.S. imperial power against Nicaragua," adding that "we declare all accusations that ratify the imperialist perspectives and practices of the United States of America as inadmissible, disrespectful, false and illegitimate."
"Nicaragua is a free, sovereign and independent country. The OAS is neither a judicial organ nor a court of appeal. It is a political body that favours the U.S."
January 11 was the latest special meeting of the OAS
Permanent Council at which Nicaragua was the subject. Canada, as
Co-Chair of the Working Group delivered its report, calling the
situation in Nicaragua "grave" and referring to an alleged erosion of
democracy, the lack of human rights, attacks on "credible NGOs" and
lack of respect for the rule of law -- signalling an intent to
recommend international intervention following steps outlined in the
Democratic Charter. Nicaragua's Foreign Minister, Denis Moncada
strenuously objected to the holding of the meeting and called
initiation of the process to apply the Democratic Charter against
Nicaragua illegal and illegitimate. He denounced the aggression and
machinations of the U.S. to force a de
facto regime change on Nicaragua as well as on Venezuela and
Cuba. Similar positions were taken by representatives of Venezuela and
Bolivia who also spoke. There was no vote held or decision taken at the
meeting but it was the recommendation of the Working Group that the
matter continue to be studied and that another meeting be held to
consider what action to take.
TML Weekly calls on Canadians to take a stand against this brutal U.S. imperialist campaign and to oppose attempts to promote it in Canada. The principle of non-intervention in the affairs of sovereign countries, which even the OAS purports to stand for, requires that the people of each country be able to control the decisions that affect their economy as well as their social, cultural and political affairs free from outside interference. Those who are promoting this campaign in Canada would do better to contribute to making sure Canadians can exercise control over the decisions which affect their lives at home instead of promoting counterrevolution abroad in the name of freedom, democracy and human rights. To support imperialist plans for regime change anywhere, regardless of the pretext, is not an honourable pursuit.
1. The Inter-American Democratic Charter was adopted on September 11, 2001 by a special session of the General Assembly of the OAS in Lima, Peru. It was drafted behind the scenes by the U.S. and Canada without submitting its guiding principles or specific points for discussion or approval by the parliaments of the member countries of the OAS, let alone the citizenry. TML wrote at the time: "The U.S. imperialists, with the support of the Canadian ruling circles, are striving to put in place [...] legal mechanisms to provide for economic sanctions, political isolation, interference and intervention and even outright military invasion of any country which does not submit to the U.S. imperialists' dictate -- all in the name of strengthening 'democracy.'"
Article 20 reads:
In the event of an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state, any member state or the Secretary General may request the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council to undertake a collective assessment of the situation and to take such decisions as it deems appropriate.
The Permanent Council, depending on the situation, may undertake the necessary diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, to foster the restoration of democracy.
If such diplomatic initiatives prove unsuccessful, or if the urgency of the situation so warrants, the Permanent Council shall immediately convene a special session of the General Assembly. The General Assembly will adopt the decisions it deems appropriate, including the undertaking of diplomatic initiatives, in accordance with the Charter of the Organization, international law, and the provisions of this Democratic Charter.
The necessary diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, to foster the restoration of democracy, will continue during the process.
(Photos: OAS, Canal 2, M. Blumenthal)
As early as 2016, talk of war against Nicaragua could again be heard in Miami, at a time when the streets of this nation were a regional example of security, peace, and prosperity, where a hardworking, tranquil people proudly enjoyed the social and economic advances achieved by the Sandinista government, that had established a national consensus, in the wake of one of the worst interventions carried out by the United States in Central America.
With no justification whatsoever -- when the news from Nicaragua around the world was about a proposed inter-oceanic canal that would boost the economy and impact global navigation -- Congress members who make a living off the U.S. war against Cuba and Venezuela were mounting efforts to reverse the prosperity and calm that reigned in the land of Augusto César Sandino.
Congress members, first in the House of Representatives and later the Senate, introduced a bill to create obstacles to the awarding of international loans to Nicaragua, hamper foreign investment, and put a brake on socio-economic development in the country. This imperialist punishment, cooked up by the worst of the anti-Cuban mafia in 2015, set in motion the fabrication of a pretext regarding the alleged lack of democracy, justified as a way to "guarantee electoral transparency and fight corruption." The result of this initial maneuver was the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 (NICA).
Ileana Ros, Albio Sires, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and others, among the most reactionary legislators in Congress from South Florida, Texas, and New Jersey, are again attempting to reinvent the Contras and get rid of the Sandinista government, which has repeatedly shown at the polls that it enjoys the people's majority support.
The tentacles of this subversive plot go beyond the capital, since these forces are well connected to the United States' coup-manufacturing machinery, and laid the foundation for a media campaign in coordination with agencies specialized in carrying out dirty wars and soft coups, working with U.S. intelligence and the CIA, in particular.
In this specific case, international press media have documented the participation of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the National Endowment for Democracy (NED); and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), as well their sub-contractors, which have been working meticulously, since Daniel Ortega was first elected, to re-invent a "new leadership," selectively infiltrating key sectors of the economy, targeting youth, students, medium and small businesspeople, environmental and feminist groups, among others, to undermine the foundation of support for the Sandinista government.
It is revealing that on April 16, , following the same line espoused by anti-Cuban Congress members, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced that the U.S. government would continue supporting the participation of a "free genuine" civil society in Nicaragua, after stating that the United States is concerned about the closing of democratic spaces in Nicaragua, "systematic" violations of human rights, and government corruption.
In March, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Albio Sires sent a letter to Green, in which they call on the U.S. government to reverse its decision to provide "zero aid" to Nicaragua through USAID for the fiscal year 2018-2019, while at the same time calling on the agency to avoid supporting "members of the private sector linked to corruption, money laundering, or the Daniel Ortega regime."
At the end of 2008, the media reported that USAID had provided at least a million dollars in Nicaragua that year to NGOs, radio broadcasters, and political groups like the Communications Research Center (CINCO), to intervene in municipal elections.
This financing, as was denounced at the time, contributed surreptitiously as "small donations," that were not to exceed $25,000, was part of a large scale U.S. plan to overthrow the government of Daniel Ortega, carried out since then by internal agents from the Nicaraguan right.
The strategy mounted to discredit the Sandinista government in the media was conducted via two financing routes; one directed by USAID and the Casals & Associates firm, and another managed by the so-called Common Fund in Europe, which provided funds to organize campaigns and mobilizations to destabilize the government.
By 2008, media in Nicaragua had identified at least 14 subversive projects run by USAID across the country, under the cover of a wide range of titles and objectives, made possible by this funding.
Another key element of the U.S. machinery linked to the CIA is the National Democratic Institute, an instrument dedicated to promoting "change" that focuses on "empowering" so called "agents of change" in countries with governments not to Washington's liking.
A Swedish journalist reported, this past June 4, that three students from Nicaragua were conducting a tour of Europe to raise support for a plot against the Sandinista government, stating that at least one of the youth represented an organization created and financed by the United States.
Jessica Cisneros, he reported, was active around the issue of the involvement and participation of youth in political processes, and was a member of the Movimiento Cívico de Juventudes (Civic Youth Movement).
Another of these "agents of change" promoting hate for the Sandinista government and support for a coup, was Yerling Aguilera, from the Polytechnic University in Managua (UPOLI) and specializing in research on revolution and the feminist movement, who, according to the reporter, has been an employee and consultant for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policy (IEEPP) in Nicaragua, that works to "strengthen the abilities of political, state, and social actors for a better informed public via creative, innovative services," which has received $224,162 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) between 2014 and 2017.
The NED has distributed some $4.2 million in Nicaragua, over this three-year period.
The USAID, NDI, and NED have been busy in the country, with thousands of activists trained to "change society." Hundreds of NGOs, universities, and political parties have received funds and materials as part of the subversive plan that was not conceived to advance through traditional political organizations, but rather those invented to give the impression that they emerged "spontaneously" from dissatisfaction, hiding the true interest of the North at work.
Although efforts were intensified after Ortega's 2006 electoral victory, since 2015, with the approval of the NICA, U.S. agencies increased and broadened financial support and resources for their "agents of change" in Nicaragua, above all through leadership courses and money for young people in universities, NGOs, and political parties.
In their political, diplomatic, and media advice to the coup-plotters, Washington has insisted on demonizing Daniel Ortega and his government, an effort carried out not only by the White House, and its agencies, allies, satellites, and mercenaries, but also the corporate media monopolies and fabricators of lies, which magnify internal problems and accuse authorities for all types of human rights violations, totally omitting the crimes and destruction committed by individuals who have been "empowered" by the USAID, NDI, NED, and CIA, who have caused the failure of talks and calls for peace. As is the case in Venezuela, Donald Trump and his advisors, architects of a thousand invasions, do not believe in dialogue or pacts, opting for war on all fronts.
Nicaragua has become the epicenter of U.S. warmongering efforts, hand in hand with Anti-Cuban legislators and profiteers, and other veteran hawks. Washington is attempting to re-invent its strategy at the cost of human lives and destruction in the streets of Nicaragua.
- Citizen participation in electoral processes
- Developing a culture of transparency among Nicaraguan youth
- Communications training for students to produce stories that promote self-efficacy
- Multimedia for democratic governability
- Strengthening civil rights of women and youth in Masaya
- Citizen action legal framework for journalists
- Active participation for Nicaraguans exercising their right to vote
- Since 2010 the NDI has been associated with Nicaraguan universities and civic organizations conducting a youth leadership program which has helped prepare more than 2,000 "youth leaders," and worked to increase the political influence of women, LGBT persons, and electoral processes
- The Movimiento Cívico de Juventudes (MCJ) is an organization financed, created, and part of the NDI.
- Several members of the group graduated from the NDI program earning a Certificate in Leadership and Political Management (CLPM).
(Granma, June 29, 2018)
The murder of Miguel Ramos on July 3, 2018 focuses many aspects of the current crisis in Nicaragua to do with conflicting claims of legitimacy involving fundamental issues of civil and political rights and social and economic rights. In 1978 and 1979, as a teenager in the Carlos Fonseca Northern Front guerrilla column, Miguel fought for Nicaragua's sovereign independence. On July 3 he died for that same cause, gunned down by supporters of the U.S.-backed right-wing coup in progress against the Sandinista government of President Daniel Ortega. Miguel was one of a group of civilians helping the authorities clear an opposition roadblock at La Trinidad on the Panamerican Highway about 20km south of Esteli.
On July 3, Carlos Ascencio, El Salvador's ambassador, published an appeal on behalf of all the Central American ambassadors in Nicaragua to clear similar roadblocks in Jinotepe. His letter provides independent corroboration of the violent intimidation and extortion practised by opposition gangs who have operated these roadblocks for two months, strangling Nicaragua's economy and abusing people's basic rights.
Ascencio denounces the effective detention of 400 truck drivers and their vehicles near the town of Jinotepe for over a month. The drivers, from all over Central America, have been threatened and their vehicles damaged. The political opposition activists operating the roadblocks refuse to liberate the trucks and their drivers because "they are our protective shield and negotiating card to support our demands in the dialogue."
That is just one of the innumerable gross human rights abuses by the right-wing opposition forces promoting the attempted coup in Nicaragua. For two months the road blocks, operated by opposition paramilitaries and paid thugs, have been a focus for murder, torture, kidnapping, intimidation, extortion and criminal delinquency. Supporters of the coup turn that reality upside-down, blaming the resulting violence on the government. In their upside-down world, ordinary citizens organizing to defend their rights against armed and violent opposition gangs metamorphose into 'Sandinista paramilitaries.'
In the case of Miguel Gomez, the opposition have already portrayed the incident in which he died as a government paramilitary attack on peaceful protesters. They will add Miguel's death to the tally of their own casualties, even though he died at their hands. Abundant documentation and audio-visual evidence exists now disproving categorically the constant falsehoods propagated by U.S.-funded opposition human rights organizations and local Nicaraguan opposition media. The original list of 55 deaths, proclaimed with such theatre on the first day of the National Dialogue, has been completely debunked. There was never any 'student massacre.'
Other material exposes media and NGO manipulation of opposition marches, or the deaths of women during the crisis. Numerous videos demonstrate the sadistic violence of opposition activists. Various writers like Alex Anfruns have explained the systematic pattern of media distortion and manipulation of opposition attacks and abuses reported by opposition media and NGOs as government human rights violations. No Western corporate media and only a handful of alternative media publish this material or any version challenging the demonstrable false witness of Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR).
Just as in the case of Venezuela, those organizations have failed to investigate impartially any of the incidents they report, merely recycling the version already prepared for them by U.S.-funded local NGOs and media and ignoring or rejecting documentation from the Nicaraguan authorities out of hand. IACHR Director Paulo Abrao effectively disqualified himself as an independent arbitrator during a visit to Nicaragua last May, when he was recorded publicly declaring his support for the opposition. The investigative process accompanied by a group of IACHR experts had not even begun when, on June 22, the IACHR presented their final report to the OAS Permanent Commission.
Perhaps as the political price of avoiding -- at least for the moment -- the kind of all-out economic and diplomatic assault applied to Cuba and Venezuela, the Nicaraguan government has accepted these gross methodological irregularities and the blatant political bias of the OAS and its IACHR subsidiary. For its part, the Comission for Truth, Justice and Peace appointed by the National Assembly has actively sought an exchange of information with the opposition human rights organizations. As Commission member Cairo Amador has explained, "It's a matter of everyone providing their data and their versions so, in the end, everyone contributes to getting at the truth."
But as Esteli Mayor Francisco Valenzuela has pointed out, the effects of the attempted coup are much broader than the civil rights violations: "The damages can definitely be classified in order of importance. First, the suffering and the victims that we all lament. Secondly, everything to do with the economy and with people's freedoms, the roadblocks that impede freedom of movement and have affected employment. The inability to move goods and products for export has caused enormous financial losses. Tourism has suffered nationally and locally, especially small businesses. Most businesses in Nicaragua are small or medium-sized and have been very badly affected. A lot of business have closed." Economy Minister Ivan Acosta has stated: "Growth projections for the economy were 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent, but now we think the economy is not growing. 200,000 jobs have been lost, which affects social security, trade, domestic demand and real productive activity."
Nicaragua's municipal authorities report losses to vehicles, machinery and equipment of over U.S.$10 million and to buildings and infrastructure of over U.S.$112 million. The country's technical training institute reports losses of U.S.$80 million. The Ministry of Education reports over 60 schools attacked and damaged. A preliminary Ministry of Health report in June reported 55 ambulances destroyed or damaged, as well as other damage to hospitals and health centers, all resulting from opposition attacks. The Infrastructure and Transport Ministry also reports extensive losses, for example damage valued at U.S.$1.5 million from just one incident, when opposition activists attacked a plant in Sebaco and destroyed equipment.
"We Want Peace -- No More Violence!"
None of that extraordinary level of violence and destruction figures anywhere in the reports by Amnesty International or the IACHR, nor the abuse of the basic rights of the government workers and local population involved. Similarly, neither those organizations nor the Western media have reported the role of criminals contracted to operate the opposition roadblocks and carry out attacks. On June 30, Nicaraguan police arrested Salvadoran mara leader Oscar Rivas Carrillo [maras are drug trafficking gangs -- TML Ed. Note], who confirmed he and other criminals were being paid to operate roadblocks, carry out murders, burn public buildings and attack economic targets. Rivas and other criminals worked jointly with opposition activists supported by right-wing business interests, U.S.-funded NGOs, right-wing political parties and the Catholic Church.
Clearly, Amnesty International and the IACHR have deliberately covered up that reality and misled international opinion, faithlessly exploiting their image as defenders of human rights, just as they do on Venezuela and Cuba. Even so, despite the extreme violence and the egregious dishonesty of its apologists, the U.S.-backed right-wing opposition coup to oust President Daniel Ortega has failed. People in Nicaragua overwhelmingly support efforts to return to normality and a political solution to the crisis. The Nicaraguan authorities will tolerate the IACHR's theatrics for another few months before the OAS circus eventually moves on. Defeated opposition leaders hoped to impose their coup, failed because they lacked popular support, and now have to accept what the Sandinista government is prepared to agree as the sovereign power in Nicaragua. Miguel Ramos did not die in vain.
(Tortilla con Sal, July 4, 2018. Photos: J. Caijino, M. Blumenthal.)
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the antics of the counter-revolutionary forces in Venezuela backed by the U.S. imperialists and their allies -- calling themselves the Lima Group, in which Canada is included -- to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. President Maduro was re-elected to a second term by the people of Venezuela who are waging a tenacious fight to defend their Bolivarian revolution and the sovereignty of the nation. Because of this they have been forced to face the brunt of the regime change arsenal of U.S. imperialism, its accomplices and appeasers -- the government of Canada among them.
President Maduro greets his counterparts from
Cuba, Bolivia, El Salvador and other countries at the swearing-in
On January 10, as Nicolás Maduro was being sworn in before the country's Supreme Court, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) meeting in Washington passed a resolution saying it did not recognize President Maduro's second term because it was the result of an "illegitimate electoral process." The resolution was approved by 19 member states and opposed by six, with eight abstentions and one absence. A declaration by 13 of 14 member states of the Lima Group which operates outside of the OAS, went further. They called on President Maduro not to assume the office for which he was elected but to hand over power until new elections could be organized to the Opposition-controlled National Assembly, a body that for the last three years has been in a state of judicial contempt for refusing to recognize the authority of the country's Supreme Court.
Speaking on behalf of the Trudeau government, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tried to justify Canada's role in this sordid affair by repeating the falsehood that the National Assembly is Venezuela's "only remaining democratically-elected institution."
All this spurious activity is part of an escalating U.S. campaign, with Canada playing a key supporting role, to foment a coup d'état and incite civil war in Venezuela. Part of the plan involves setting up a puppet "parallel" government and declaring it to be the only competent body for carrying out the affairs of state. This year's president of the National Assembly and his party have already made it clear that their allegiance is to their U.S. benefactors and what they call "the international community."
As the coup-plotters conspired against Venezuela in Washington in the name of "the international community," President Maduro took his oath of office in Caracas accompanied by delegations -- several of them led by heads of state -- from over 90 countries and international organizations, validating what he said in his inaugural speech -- that there is a world out there "much bigger than the U.S. empire and its satellite governments."
One of the first marching orders its foreign sponsors gave to the puppet Opposition "transition" government was that it adopt a roadmap for regime change bearing the grandiose title, Law Governing the Transition to Democracy and Re-establishment of the Validity of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. On January 16, the neutered National Assembly adopted its main pillars, starting with a declaration that the Presidency of the Republic had been "usurped" by Nicolás Maduro and as a result all "alleged acts" emanating from the Executive branch would be repudiated as null and void.
Some other provisions that were adopted include:
- Amnesty for "political prisoners," a revival of the first piece of legislation the Opposition coalition known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) passed in the newly-formed National Assembly of 2016. The law was never enacted because it was disallowed by the Supreme Court. If passed, it would have led to the freeing of criminals convicted of serious offences of all kinds, involving violence, incitement to violence, destruction of property, sedition, etc., on the basis that these were "political acts" for which jailed opposition figures are being subjected to unjust "persecution." The same thing is no doubt contemplated in this law.
- Creation of "legal incentives" for civilians and members of the military going forward to participate in the process "of restoration of constitutional order." This obviously amounts to incentivizing the taking up of arms to overthrow the Bolivarian government and any number of related illicit activities, such as inviting a foreign military intervention.
- The takeover by the illegal and illegitimate parallel government of Venezuela's international relations and dealings of all kinds, "recuperating" for its own use the assets stolen by the U.S. and other governments party to the economic war aimed at suffocating Venezuela's economy in the hope this will lead the people to turn against their government and abandon socialism.
- Opening up the country to foreign intervention in the name of accepting "humanitarian aid" and loans from governments and entities linked to the U.S. project for regime change in Venezuela.
Other measures contemplated in the roadmap include the privatization of public assets and scrapping of certain popular social problems in favour of "promoting economic development" by "civil society acting autonomously to satisfy their own needs."
The actions of the U.S. imperialists and their accomplices and appeasers to split a nation, foment violence, starve a people and spread lies and acrimony are heinous crimes. Nicaragua is now in the cross-hairs of the same gang for similar treatment. It brings nothing but dishonour on the government of Canada to support such things. Canadians have never given their consent for coups, blockades and civil wars to be organized in their name against the people of Venezuela, Nicaragua or anywhere else.
The Venezuelan people's fight to defend their sovereignty and the right to solve their problems in peace, among themselves, free from the dictate of false prophets of "democracy," "human rights" and "the rule of law" is entirely just and deserves everyone's support. For its part CPC(M-L) will continue to stand firmly with the Venezuelan people and their Bolivarian president and government in the fight to defeat the efforts of those who, in the name of restoring democracy and human rights in Venezuela, are conspiring to impose by force a regime favourable to their own interests, not those of the Venezuelan people. It must not pass.
The Fight of the Venezuelan People Is
(With files from Prodavinci. Photos: Government of Venezuela, Xinhua)
No to a U.S. Imperialist-Inspired
Demand that Canada Stop Its Interference in Venezuela's Internal Affairs!
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) sends congratulations to the Venezuelan people and their President Nicolás Maduro Moros on the occasion of his assuming office as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for a second term on January 10.
It also condemns in the strongest of terms the criminal campaign of U.S. imperialism and its appeasers -- the government of Canada figuring prominently among them -- aimed at forcing regime change in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and removing its democratically elected president.
This month a new offensive has been launched by the Organization of American States (OAS) and its illegitimate offspring known as the Lima Group, with the U.S. pulling the strings behind the scenes while not figuring as a member. The offensive is timed to coincide with the January 10 swearing in of President Nicolás Maduro to his second term in office that will extend to January 2025. He was the candidate for a coalition of parties and was re-elected democratically on May 20, 2018.
On January 10, the day President Maduro assumed office, a special meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS was called at the behest of the United States and eight members of the Lima Group, including Canada, "to consider the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela." No other details were publicly available.
On January 4, a minority of 14 member states of the OAS, acting as the Lima Group, met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo participating by video link, after which 13 of them declared that they will not recognize President Maduro's re-election, asserting without any credible evidence, like they did even before the May 20 election took place, that it was "illegitimate." In their statement they expose their intention to provoke a crisis, even a civil war, by provocatively "urging" President Maduro not to assume office on January 10 but to "provisionally transfer executive power" to the National Assembly, controlled by opposition parties, until new democratic elections are held.
The National Assembly, which these regime change forces want to vest with the power normally held by the President of the Republic, was declared to be in a situation of contempt in 2016 for refusing to submit to the authority of the Supreme Court or comply with its orders -- violating the country's constitution, a state it remains in today.
In its statement, the Lima Group also calls on its members to increase punitive measures and sanctions of different kinds against Venezuela, such as refusing entry to their countries to "high level" officials. It asks them to consider pressuring international and regional institutions they are members of to block loans to the government of Venezuela, and urges countries everywhere to adopt coercive measures including economic, financial and trade sanctions like those supported by the Lima Group.
Mexico's new government, to its honour, broke ranks with the coup forces and refused to sign the Lima Group statement. In his own statement to the meeting, Mexico's representative said his country followed a policy of non-intervention and respect for the self-determination of peoples. He said Mexico would not comment on the legitimacy of the Venezuelan government and did not support any route that did not prioritize the promotion of peace and dialogue as opposed to isolating Venezuela and interfering in its internal affairs. In taking this stand, Mexico joined the majority of states belonging to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) who have also held firm to the policy of non-intervention despite big pressure from the likes of the U.S. and Canada to fall in line.
On January 5, a new session of Venezuela's dysfunctional National Assembly was inaugurated and an election held for its new president and Executive Board, under the eye of a contingent of foreign ambassadors and other diplomats. Revealing who is pulling the strings, the new president pledged the National Assembly's full legal and institutional support to "the international community" and the country's armed forces so they can "act in defence of the people and the constitution." His party, Voluntad Popular, provided another insight when it thanked its benefactor, the U.S. government, for "all its support" in the installation of the new National Assembly and the election of its president for this session.
It is clear that in the name of "restoring democracy and respect for human rights" the U.S. imperialists, their accomplices and appeasers want to impose by force a regime favourable to their interests, not those of the Venezuelan people. The reference to the armed forces "defending the people and the constitution" is a veiled attempt to incite the Bolivarian armed forces to engage in armed insurrection and stage a coup justified as a rebellion against tyranny.
CPC(M-L) joins with the patriotic forces of Venezuela and all over Our America and the world in standing as one with the Venezuelan people and their Bolivarian government in the fight to defend their sovereignty and the people's very right to be, in the face of the criminal interference and aggression being committed against them by the U.S. imperialists and those like the Trudeau government appeasing them by joining this nefarious activity. These forces are violating the rights of Venezuelans, subjecting them to privation of all kinds and health risks -- as the cruel and illegal economic, financial and commercial blockade is tightened and expanded, and inciting a fratricidal war.
We call on all Canadians and Quebeckers to show support for the fight of Venezuela's people and government to defend their nation-building project and to be the masters of their own destiny without interference from foreign interests and condescending saviours, themselves the biggest violators of human rights, freedom and democracy. Their claim that the crimes they are committing are to help restore democracy and human rights in Venezuela are outrageous and must not be allowed to prevail.
Stand with the Venezuelan People and Their Bolivarian President and Government!
1. Countries which form the Lima Group:
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint
(January 10, 2019)
The Lima Group met in the capital of Peru on Friday, January 4, and issued a statement declaring that the "electoral process carried out in Venezuela in May 2018, is not legitimate" and demanded that democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro should not be allowed to be inaugurated as President on January 10, 2019.
They tried to justify these latest attacks on the constitutional order in Venezuela by claiming that the election "failed to meet international standards of a democratic, free, just and transparent process." This is just a repetition of the same baseless accusation made in May 2018 by the U.S., Canada and some others, who have been attacking Venezuela with illegal economic sanctions in an effort to destabilize the economy and who have inspired acts of hooliganism to inflict suffering on the Venezuelan people and blame the Bolivarian government for crimes the imperialists and their allies commit.
The Canadian Government, represented in Lima by Andrew Leslie, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, has been instrumental right from the start in supporting this belligerent and destructive U.S. foreign policy. Canada has taken a leading role in the formation and functioning of the Lima Group, which was formed in August 2017. It was assembled by the U.S. to carry out its dirty work after it failed to get enough votes inside the Organization of American States (OAS) to isolate Venezuela and impose its will for regime change. The U.S. is not part of the group but Canada is shamelessly acting as a mouthpiece for the U.S. imperialist campaign to undermine peace and the democratic process in Venezuela.
Mexico was the only country of the 14-member group who refused to sign the declaration. In fact, Mexico called on the Lima Group to stop interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs.
The continued actions of the Canadian Government to attack the constitutional order and undermine the democratic process in Venezuela clearly shows that it does not act in the name of Canadians. We stand with the right of Venezuela to conduct its own affairs according to its own constitution without any foreign interference and demand that the Canadian government respect the democratic decision of the Venezuelan people.
Hands Off Venezuela!
(January 9, 2019)
The new coup President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, assumed office on January 1 in Brazil's capital, Brasília. This was an event in which some of the highest number of security forces were deployed since the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2014 World Cup, news agencies report. The inauguration brought together ultra-reactionary leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban.
In Bolsonaro's address, he reaffirmed campaign promises such as his support for civilian gun possession, the agribusiness sector, and privatization of public companies. He stated that Brazil was now "liberated from socialism" and that he would rescue the family, restore Judeo-Christian values, and combat gender ideology. Besides pledging "to boost investment," he also said he would stop "Marxist trash" from being taught in schools and universities.
No sooner had Bolsonaro assumed office, than he issued decrees and passed laws implementing these policies. "Just hours after his inauguration, Bolsonaro announced a series of decrees through the Provisional Measure n.870, as well as three other decrees that make changes to the institutional structure of the Brazilian republic. He eliminated seven ministries: Transportation, Ports and Civil Aviation, Industry, External Trade and Services, Sports, Cities, Culture, Work, and Public Safety," Peoples Dispatch informs.
"The measure also announced that the regulation and creation of new Indigenous reservations and quilombos [ancestral Afro-descendent territories] is now controlled by the agriculture ministry -- which is heavily influenced by the powerful agribusiness lobby. The demarcation of Indigenous land was carried out by the National Indian Foundation (Funai) for the last 30 years and the change puts Indigenous and Afro-descendent territories at great risk for greater exploitation and appropriation by national and transnational companies."
Bolsonaro revealed the plan on Twitter where he wrote: "More than 15 per cent of our national territory is demarcated for Indigenous groups and quilombolas. Less than 1 million people live in these isolated territories, which are, in fact, exploited and manipulated by NGOs. We will assimilate these citizens and value all Brazilians."
Bolsonaro also authorized the dismissal of some 300 civil servants on temporary contracts who were considered "leftists," news agencies report. In his inaugural speech, Bolsonaro said now that he has taken power, his country has been "liberated from socialism and political correctness."
The government "will clean house," Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni told a news conference after the first Cabinet meeting. "It's the only way to govern with our ideas, our concepts and to carry out what Brazil's society decided, in its majority," Lorenzoni added. The ideological purge of contractors aimed "to do away with the Socialist and Communist ideas that during 30 years have led us to the chaos in which we live," Lorenzoni said.
"It doesn't make sense to have a government with a profile like ours to keep on people who support another way of thinking, another political system," Lorenzoni said, adding that some of those dismissed might be rehired if they passed an "evaluation" of their ideological leanings as well as "a competitive exam and they are protected from partisan politics by the constitution."
Peoples Dispatch reports that that the measures also stipulate that the Secretary of the Interior will "supervise, coordinate, monitor, and accompany the activities and actions of international organizations and non-governmental organizations in the national territory." Many national and international organizations have denounced this measure as it could pave the way for restrictions on freedoms of these organizations. This, plus Bolsonaro's statement on Twitter that NGOs are "manipulating" Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, shows that there will likely be growing tension.
The report from Peoples Dispatch continues: "Minimum wage also fell 5.4 per cent which at R$998 is less than the amount passed by the Congress and by the previous Michel Temer government, which was R$1,006.
"Minister of Justice Sergio Moro, the judge who led the legal crusade against former president and current political prisoner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and effectively eliminated him as a presidential candidate, has acquired a super ministry under the new measure and his powers have multiplied. As the Ministry of Work was eliminated, Moro's ministry will be in charge of the legalization of trade unions. The Ministry of Public Safety was also incorporated into his super ministry, as well as the Council of Control of Financial Activities, a body which analyzes suspicious financial transactions.
"The expected attack on LGBTQ people in Brazil also came swiftly. The Ministry of Human Rights, Family and Women, which is led by Damares Alves, an Evangelical preacher, will no longer consider issues of the LGBTQ population and no other ministry has been given the task. In a video of Alves on January 3 she proclaimed 'Attention, attention! A new era begins. The boys dress in blue, the girls in pink.'
"This provisional measure is likely a sign of stronger measures that are yet to come. It is also an affirmation that, despite claiming to be an anti-system politician fighting for the people of Brazil, Bolsonaro represents the interests of the powerful sectors.
"Many organizations fear that the worst is yet to come. During his campaign, Bolsonaro stated that groups like the Landless Workers' Movement of Brazil (MST) and the Homeless Workers' Movement (MTST) should be classified as terrorist organizations. If this comes to pass, the implications will be dire. In this moment of attacks and fear, Brazilian organizations have bolstered their commitment to the struggle and will not back down."
João Pedro Stedile from the national board of
the MST stated in an interview with Brasil
Fato: "All of the
activists of the MST are aware that we have to be careful, to not
expose ourselves to this hatred. But those who take on the struggle
should not be afraid, because we are fighting for justice, so that our
people improve their living conditions.... I think these threats should
be a warning sign for us, while also instigating us to do more
grassroots and political education work." In this regard he said the
People's Brazil Front plans to hold an assembly in late January or
early February to better design its tactics. "What we do have to do
right now is to encourage the broad sector of people's movements and
organizations to join the front and organize people's committees in all
cities to hold people's assemblies and discuss what to do in the actual
fight for better living conditions."
In Brazil, the people are taking all necessary measures
to protect themselves against the ultra reactionary assault. The
experience of the suffering and crimes during the military dictatorship
which they overthrew in 1985 is still fresh in the minds of the people
and serves them well at this time. In cities across Canada as well, the
Brazilian diaspora is joined by Canadians from all walks of life to
support the resistance struggle which is forming in Brazil.
1. Gender ideology is a made-up term with no academic basis. It was used in a big way by the 'No' campaign in the October 2016 referendum on the original peace agreement reached between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The 'No' campaign, which had support from large sectors of the Evangelical church, big landowners, and extreme-right political parties, spread mass misinformation that the peace agreement sought to promote homosexuality, contained a "gender ideology," and would destroy children and families. The reality was that the agreements had an official recognition that the armed conflict disproportionately affected women and people from the LGBTQI community. This campaign of hatred, fear, and misinformation was largely successful in influencing a section of the people. The 'No' vote won the referendum. Today, reference to the “imposition of a gender ideology” is a discourse used by conservatives across Latin America to express their rejection of movements, programs, and policies that advance the rights of women and LGBTQI people, Peoples Dispatch reports.
(Peoples Dispatch, AFP, EFE)
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