Table 3: 2017 - Canada's Top Ten Destinations for Military Goods and Technology (outside of the U.S.)
[...]For the full report, click here.
(With files from SIPRI, Global Affairs Canada, Zero Hedge)
For Nation-to-Nation Relations and an End to Genocide of Indigenous Peoples
First Nation chiefs from Treaties 6, 7 and 8 are
organizing a national day of action on May 27 to oppose genocidal
attacks against the Indigenous peoples, following regional protests.
One form this takes is the
Trudeau government's Bill C-92, which is legislation to overhaul the
Indigenous child welfare system. The bill is currently before the
Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, which tabled its
report on May 13. The bill is promoted as a
means to tackle the
overrepresentation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children in
foster care ostensibly by handing over control of services to
governments. But First Nation chiefs from British Columbia,
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario say the bill does not respect
First Nations' sovereignty and future generations. One of the problems,
is that funding under the new legislation will still be given to
provinces rather than First Nations.
"Until the provinces are out of the picture, nothing will change," said Chief Craig Makinow of Ermineskin Cree Nation, south of Edmonton. "It should be a bilateral process with the federal government, and the province shouldn't be involved at all in this whole drafting of this legislation," he said.
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC, speaks at UN.
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC, stated, "It is crucial that States, when they move to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, do so meaningfully and as a whole, not selectively based on what is politically convenient. Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, Site C Dam, and the Mount Polley Mine disaster are all examples of how Canada continues to violate the rights of Indigenous peoples, despite warnings from the international arena. It is clear that Canada is maintaining a pattern of distorting facts and claiming that they are engaged in dialogue with First Nations only as a means to cement their foothold in lucrative corporate projects." Reflecting on the theme of Traditional Knowledge, Kukpi7 Wilson drew attention to Indigenous languages and stated, "There is an urgent need for States to support the revitalization of our languages and knowledge systems to the same degree by which they attempted to destroy them, this includes the provision of permanent, on-going, sustainable funding."
Na'Moks, Hereditary Wet'suwet'en Chief, invited UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz to Wet'suwet'en territories, and stated to the Forum, "We Indigenous peoples have the right to protect and defend our homes and territories. We have the right to free, prior, and informed consent for any industrial activities in, and affecting, our lands and territories, through our own representative institutions. We are the government on our land. We should not be threatened or criminalized for the exercise of these established rights."
(Lenape Territory/NYC, NY -- May 1, 2019. Photos UNPFII)
Trump's State Visit to Britain
The organization Together Against Trump is mobilizing for the biggest possible protests against the official state visit of Donald Trump to Britain, June 3-5. Together Against Trump has called a national protest for June 4 from 11:00 am, assembling in Trafalgar Square. There will be music and a rally in the Square starting around noon and then a march to wherever Trump is at the time. Trump's itinerary has not been announced so the plan is flexible. There will also be other protests from the day Trump arrives through to three days of his visit. Trump is also to travel to France on June 6 for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. A visit to Ireland is as yet unconfirmed. What is confirmed is that Trump has not been invited to address the British House of Commons due to the opposition of many MPs as well as members of the House of Lords.
Workers' Weekly and other newspapers report that the opposition to Trump's visit is set to be even greater than in July 2018, when the U.S. President avoided London altogether. "The opposition is directed not only to the warmongering and anti-human behaviour synonymous with Trump's Presidency. It is also directed against the British government and the Queen as head of state, which have issued the invitation. It is this that people are declaring is Not In Our Name!"
"Stand Up to Trump" is the slogan the anti-war movement is organizing around. Workers' Weekly points out: "It is being emphasized that it is the people's forces, the human power, which must and will hold the U.S. imperialists and their cohorts in check. Not only this, but the people have their own agenda. This is to take a stand for those things which make for peace and against aggression. It is to fight for an anti-war government, with a democratic personality consistent with the human factor, and to ensure an end to aggression and for the establishment of relations of peace between peoples."
"As the Trump presidency ramps up its aggressive build-up against Iran, and as it attempts to bring about regime change in Venezuela, as it imposes illegal sanctions against progressive regimes, the imperative to take a stand and build the movement against crimes against the peace becomes ever stronger," Workers' Weekly states. "The stand of the peoples of the world for peace will prevail, as the peoples fight for their own empowerment. This is a focus of priority on the people's agenda."
Another important demand of the people's movement in this context is to remove all U.S./NATO bases from Britain. Workers' Weekly writes: "The peoples of Britain cannot countenance such bases of aggression, imperialist domination and 'hard power' on their soil. They fly in the face of the work for peace and an end to the Anglo-U.S. doctrine of chaos, 'controlled' or otherwise. Furthermore, in pursuance of this 'hard power,' both in Britain and the U.S., Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that stepping up this 'hard power' is one of three pillars in the government's vision of a future Britain. Like Trump, he has urged an increase in military spending, and has pledged to do the same, praising the military might of 'our great ally' the United States and its 'unquestioned dominance.' This, in itself, cannot go unquestioned. It is certain that when the British government hosts in December the NATO 70th anniversary meeting, opposition to this warmongering institution, whose raison d'être cannot be justified, will be manifest. Certainly NATO is opposed, among other reasons, for its attempt to impose U.S. 'hard power' both in Europe and globally."
"Just as in the United States, where the people's forces are taking a stand against the direction in which the U.S. is headed, so too people in Britain are saying No to crimes against humanity, and in particular are affirming that any 'special relationship' with Trump's United States is not in their name. Rather, they are saying that the struggle for their rights and for the rights of all must prevail against the efforts of the ruling elites within Britain and the U.S. to trample on these rights.
"This is crucial, since all attempts to blame sections of the people for what is the responsibility of those pursuing the global neo-liberal agenda and creating chaos must be rejected. It is precisely this agenda and those responsible for implementing it that are generating such anarchy and violence. In this respect, and in the context of defending the rights of all, the people are rejecting as not in their name the attacks on the rights of immigrant working people, refugees and those seeking asylum. It is clear that it is the global marauding of the ruling elites representing the oligopolies and their exploitation of the peoples and material resources globally, as well as "regime change" and their destructive activities against what they cannot control, that is and has been creating the crisis of displaced persons, human trafficking and an international reserve army of cheap labour.
"As part of the opposition to Trump's state visit, the anti-war and people's movements are opposing unjust wars and big power intervention and interference which goes by the name of nation-wrecking and from which the plight of people seeking a better life, demanding asylum and fleeing conflict cannot be separated. Ultimately, the demand is that these very people, as an integral part of the international working class, be empowered to be able to control their own lives and find stability. The movement is very aware of the stands of working people in the U.S. itself which will not countenance Trump's all-out attack on the rights of all."
Develop the Movement against War and for
All Out to Build the Opposition to Trump's State Visit!
(Photos: Workers' Weekly)
For some 75 years and since World War II, the U.S. continues to maintain five major U.S. Air Force Bases in Britain: at Fairfield, Molesworth, Alconbury, Lakenheath and Mildenhall in spite of the massive opposition of the anti-war movement for decades, which saw many U.S. bases closed, including Greenham Common, which was returned to public parkland in 1997.
In 2015, the United States European Command (EUCOM) had announced plans to close RAF Mildenhall as part of a military review that will see it shut 14 other European bases, including RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth, with thousands of U.S. personnel transferred to other bases in Britain and Germany. However, in 2017, RAF Mildenhall Squadron Leader Rick Fryer said: "The [Ministry of Defence] has been advised that the full divestitures of RAF Mildenhall and RAF Alconbury/Molesworth will now occur no earlier than 2024." In a report by Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, they pointed out that the April 17, 2017 edition of Stars and Stripes (a U.S. Department of Defense newspaper) said that the political and military climate has changed since the decision was taken two years ago under the administration of President Obama; under President Trump, it suggests, the Pentagon is looking at the plans again.
The Five Major U.S. Air Force Bases.
Also in recent years, alongside its air bases, the U.S. has expanded and constructed its openly-known "intelligence" bases at: RAF Croughton; Morwentsow (Bude), a joint base with GCHQ; RAF Digby; RAF Fylingdales; and RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, which is a key link in the U.S. missile "defence" and drone programmes involved in extra-territorial killing worldwide. Britain's own drone command is RAF Waddington in Lincoln. This year, Menwith Hill and the other U.S. "intelligence" bases have become even more significant with the missile defence review, which Trump unveiled in January at the Pentagon, and which announced a major upgrade in land- and sea-based missile interceptor systems, as well as the development of a layer of satellite sensors in low orbit that would help track new types of cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles.
In June 2017, Trump made headlines by withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. At the same time, it was also reported that the U.S. had deployed its full range of strategic bombers to Britain for the first time in history at RAF Fairford. Two B-2 stealth bombers, three B-52H Stratofortress aircraft and three B-1B Lancers were exhibited at the Fairford Air Show that year.
As the largest U.S. Air Force base in Britain, RAF Lakenheath, where in 2003 it was reported it stored some 30 nuclear weapons, today hosts the 48th Fighter Wing and supports three combat-ready squadrons of F-15E Strike Eagle and F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft. Two squadrons of U.S. F-35 jets (48 of them) will be arriving there by 2020 -- the first in Europe. It has played a role since 2001 flying combat missions and providing combat support in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and across the Middle East.
It should also be noted that Britain helps the U.S. maintain some of its 800 military bases abroad -- some jointly such as at Ascension Island -- and it continues to lease to the U.S. strategic military bases that it had previously seized for itself abroad, such as Diego Garcia in the Chagos Islands. The British government carried out this international crime in 1965 when it was forced to decolonize Mauritius but kept the Chagos Islands for itself, expelled the population and handed Diego Garcia over to the U.S. for a military base occupied by them to this day. Now the British government is ignoring the 2019 instruction by the United Nations' highest court to properly finish the process of decolonization, and return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius and to the people who were expelled. It has also been reported that Gibraltar, presently a British Navy base, is to be made a "strategic military base" for the U.S. with the vital role for the U.S. Navy's operations underlined.
Today, the fight of the anti-war movement against the
bases is inspired by the heroic fight against the U.S. Cruise
Missiles at Greenham Common in the 1980s, and those who fight now
against nuclear weapons, against U.S. spy bases at
Fylingdales and Menwith Hill and the whole anti-war movement that
stands up to say that this is not in their name. The working
class and people alongside the peoples of the world will continue
this fight to realize their aspiration for peace. The people have
always opposed turning Britain into a launchpad for U.S.
interventions and wars abroad, just as they have opposed the
warmongering and military interventions of successive British
governments abroad. Making Britain a zone for peace means the
dismantling of all U.S. Air Force and spy bases at home and also
those under Britain's control abroad. This is central to the
fight to bring about an anti-war government in Britain.
1. "U.S. Military Bases in the UK," Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, October 24, 2018; militarybases.com; "UK RAF Stations Map," Royal Air Force Website, 2019; A Guide to Military Airshows in the UK; www.aeroresource.co.uk.
6. "Why Gibraltar Matters To The
British Military," Forces Network, October 31, 2018; "Gibraltar wins
with Brexit: London to make the Rock a strategic military base," Simon
Osborne, Express, February 18, 2018; "Gibraltar's vital role
for the U.S. Navy's operations is underlined," MercoPress, February 26,
In 2014 on the 70th anniversary since U.S. bases were
established in Britain, Seumas Milne wrote in the Guardian an article,
reproduced by the Stop the War Coalition when Jeremy Corbyn was its
President, entitled "After 70 years of U.S. troops in Britain, time to
send them home and close the bases." He pointed out that "Successive
governments have mortgaged Britain's security and independence to a
foreign power -- and placed its armed forces, territory and weaponry at
the disposal of a system of global domination."
(Photos: Workers' Weekly)
Hands Off Iran!
Given the unilateral U.S. abrogation of the deal last
its intensification of sanctions against Iran, Iran said it has
to take practical measures toward ensuring Iran's interests. One
of the measures taken by the U.S. is to revoke waivers that had
permitted some countries to continue buying Iranian oil, a
measure rejected by the five remaining members who signed the
nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of
In reaction, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini released a joint statement rejecting the deadline given by Iran, while reiterating their commitment to the implementation of the nuclear deal.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later criticized the EU statement, saying that it is unjust to demand that Iran unilaterally abide by a multilateral accord which has already been abrogated by the United States. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in an interview on May 8, "We have not left the JCPOA so far, but we have put such a move on our agenda and that would happen step-by-step."
"No country can accuse Iran of breaching or leaving the nuclear deal," the minister pointed out. He added that all the measures his country has adopted so far, including this one, have been within the deal's framework.
On May 10, the U.S. Air Force acknowledged that B-52H Stratofortress bombers the White House ordered to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran had arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar the previous night. Images were released by the U.S. Air Force's Central Command to confirm this. Trump said Iran had been "very threatening."
"We have information that you don't want to know about. They were very threatening, and we just want to have -- we have to have great security for this country," Trump said.
On May 12, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the deployment of an American carrier strike group to the Middle East, citing a "credible threat" from Iran.
"The United States is moving dangerously forward in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to provoke a war with Iran, apparently based on threat intelligence provided by Israel," former U.S. counter-terrorism specialist and CIA military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi wrote in an article published May 9.
"The claims made by National Security Advisor John Bolton and by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that there is solid evidence of Iran's intention to attack U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region is almost certainly a fabrication, possibly deliberately contrived by Bolton and company in collaboration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," he stated.
"It will be used to justify sending bombers and additional naval air resources to confront any possible moves by Tehran to maintain its oil exports, which were blocked by Washington last week. If the U.S. Navy tries to board ships carrying Iranian oil it will undoubtedly, and justifiably, provoke a violent response from Iran, which is precisely what Bolton, Pompeo and Netanyahu are seeking," he noted.
Scott Bennett, a former U.S. military psychological warfare officer and political commentator, also said the CIA and Israel's Mossad are conflating and distorting intelligence to push the United States into a military conflict with Iran.
On May 13, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the UK met in the EU headquarters in Brussels to discuss Iran's announcement. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini was also present. Before the meeting, Mogherini told reporters, "We continue to support [the JCPOA] as much as we can with all our instruments and all our political will."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled his visit to Moscow going to Brussels instead where he held bilateral meetings to share purported intelligence about Iran with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Pompeo also met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Mogherini. The U.S. position is to put "maximum pressure" on Iran, with the threat of force made clear by the military deployments to the region.
State Department special representative for Iran Brian Hook said that Pompeo "shared information and intelligence with allies and discussed the multiple plot vectors emerging from Iran." While Iran was the principle topic of the bilateral meetings, Pompeo was also reported to have discussed Venezuela, Ukraine, Syria, Libya and "issues relating to NATO."
However, reports on the May 13 meetings indicate that the U.S. was not able to sway EU countries to back its threat of military force, or even its stepped up sanctions regime. Following her meeting with Pompeo, Mogherini remarked, "The most responsible attitude to take should be that of maximum restraint and avoiding any escalation on the military side."
"We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side," British Foreign Secretary Hunt stated. "What we need is a period of calm to make sure that everyone understands what the other side is thinking. Most of all, we need to make sure we don't end up putting Iran back on the path to renuclearization."
German Foreign Minister Maas said of his meeting with Pompeo, "I once again made it clear that we are concerned about developments and tensions in the region." He also stated that "We are concerned about the developments and the tensions in the region," and that "We do not want it to rise to a military escalation." Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Le Drian stated that the U.S. move to step up sanctions against Iran "does not suit us."
(Strategic Culture Foundation, CNN, Washington Post, Radio Free Europe. Photo: M. Benjamin.)
The escalation of the conflict over Iran hampers the German government's efforts to pursue an independent global policy, even contrary to U.S. interests. Following U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement [that] he would impose punitive measures on all countries planning to purchase Iranian oil, Teheran responded by declaring it may begin to enrich uranium again, if the partners of the nuclear agreement continue to breach their commitments and refuse to allow Iran to sell its goods freely. This is actually the case, due to U.S. threats to impose punitive measures. Berlin's efforts to salvage trade with Iran by means of a barter-based financial vehicle does not bear fruit. Washington is now preparing new threats against this vehicle ("INSTEX" [Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges]). Despite the de facto trade blockade in violation of the nuclear agreement, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is demanding that Teheran must "fully" comply with the nuclear agreement. In the meantime, U.S. President Trump is increasing pressure with new sanctions.
Over the past few days, the Trump administration has intensified its aggression against Iran in two ways. On the one hand, it has insisted, since the beginning of the month, that all countries, without exception, comply with the sanctions against Teheran and cease the purchase of Iranian oil. Recently, oil sales have comprised nearly 40 per cent of Iran's revenue. With a total loss of its oil revenue, the country is threatened with economic ruin. This is precisely Washington's aim, to incite hunger revolts within the population, the overthrow of the government and the installation of pro-U.S. forces. Whether the Trump administration can achieve Iran's economic strangulation is uncertain. Particularly China and Turkey have protested the U.S. threats to punish those purchasing Iranian oil in the future. India has clearly shown its resentment, however, has notably begun to reduce its oil imports from Iran. In April it imported nearly a third less than it had in March and more than half less than its imports in March 2018. TÜPRAS, Turkey's largest refinery operator, announced yesterday that it will reduce imports from Iran to zero. The EU countries have already completely halted their oil imports. How much oil Iran will be able to sell on the "grey market" remains unclear.
It is also not clear whether Germany, France, Great Britain, and the EU will succeed in their plans to sustain their trade with Iran by way of the financial vehicle, "INSTEX." Until now, INSTEX was seen as inoperable. Brussels has announced it would significantly increase the financial volume of this instrument and otherwise intensify its efforts to trade with Iran. Washington, however, is already planning to apply measures against INSTEX. A senior official of the U.S. Department of Finance pointed out that Iranian authorities, who cooperate with EU countries within the INSTEX framework, do not comply with the rules of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Paris-based body founded in 1989 to prevent money laundering and -- since 2001 -- also terror financing. The latter is particularly relevant, because the Trump administration has recently classified the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC a "terror organization." Because the IRGC maintains a huge economic empire, its "terrorist" classification offers new options for sabotaging trade with Iran. Every opportunity will be seized upon to halt business with Iran, the senior official of the U.S. Department of Finance announced.
Teheran has now reacted, not so much because Washington is placing it under heightened military pressure, but primarily because the nuclear agreement has de facto become obsolete. The United States has officially broken it; the European countries have, under pressure of U.S. sanctions, dramatically reduced their trade with Iran, promised in return for the termination of the nuclear program, and completely ceased buying Iranian oil. Even in the cases of Russia and China, it remains unclear whether the Trump administration's threats of sanctions can also force sharp declines in trade. With this in mind, the Iranian government has issued the nuclear agreement signatories a 60-day time limit to uphold their part of the trade bargain. Now, the government is preparing to halt its sale of excess enriched uranium, and, in 60 days, will again begin enriching uranium, announced Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani. "We have not withdrawn from the nuclear agreement. We are merely exercising our legitimate right, to respond to the breach of contract." As soon as the parties to the agreement uphold their side of the bargain, Iran will uphold its, announced Rouhani.
Berlin has a dilemma. The German government had backed the nuclear agreement, not least of all, because it held the promise of reopening Iranian -- alongside Arab -- markets to German industry. The Iranian markets are considered potentially one of the most lucrative throughout the region. Recently, in the dispute over the Trump administration's breach of the agreement, the German government had taken an offensive stance in relationship to Washington, thereby elevating the conflict to a touchstone of its claim to global policy making "at eye-level" with Washington. Since Berlin is in no position to protect its trade with Iran, including its oil trade, against U.S. sanctions -- German business interests in the USA are overwhelming -- this policy is doomed to failure. Yesterday, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas flamboyantly proclaimed, "we want to salvage the agreement." However, Berlin is not even living up to its own commitments to expand its economic cooperation with Iran. All the same, Maas declares that Berlin "expects" ... "that Iran will fully implement the agreement -- to the letter." Maas did not explain why Teheran should abide by the agreement's stipulations, when the western powers do not.
At the same time, the situation is getting worse. Yesterday [May 8], U.S. President Donald Trump announced new sanctions, under which Iran is not supposed to export its second most important export item -- various metals. These sanctions are supposed to apply to all nations. Washington is seeking to speed up Iran's strangulation. Teheran must eventually react to the economic aggression. The nuclear agreement's complete collapse is therefore drawing nearer. If Berlin cannot prevent this, it would mean that its first attempt to oppose the USA on the world stage and making its mark as a global player would have been a failure.
Attention to Developing Anti-Imperialist Solidarity
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Heads of Delegations of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America -- Peoples' Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), meeting in Havana on the occasion of their XVIII Political Council;
Inspired by the independence ideals of Simón Bolívar and José Martí, by the legacy of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, and the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, whose thinking and works confirm the full validity of the struggle for the emancipation of the peoples, the necessity of preserving the peace, of civilized coexistence and of unity within diversity in the region;
1. We express our concern about the aggressive escalation against Our America, the actions against peace and regional security, especially the threats of the use of force against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which constitute dangers for regional peace in opposition to the precepts contained in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace signed by the Heads of State and/or Government at the Second CELAC Summit held in Havana on January 28 and 29, 2014.
2. We emphasize the resistance of the Venezuelan Government and people against external interference and the unilateral coercive measures against their country.
3. We renew our support for the Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution and the civilian-military union of its people.
4. We reject the violation of the premises of diplomatic missions, in total violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
5. We call for support for the Montevideo Mechanism initiative made up of Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and CARICOM which seeks to preserve the peace in Venezuela, based on the principles of non-intervention in domestic affairs, the sovereign equality of States and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
6. We demand strict observance of the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter and International Law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition of the use of force and the threat of use of force, respect for self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the non-interference in the domestic affairs of States.
7. We insist that the implementation of unilateral coercive measures, rejected by numerous resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, is contrary to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of that organization and in International Law, violate the freedom of trade and navigation, threaten international peace and security and restrict the enjoyment of the human rights of the peoples of the States against whom they are implemented.
8. We ratify our support for the process of dialogue and negotiation of the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua in its decision to continue defending its sovereignty, the peace, the notable social and economic advances, and the security and national unity attained.
9. We reject the interventionist conduct of the Government of the United States which is once more using the [Organization of American States] and its Secretary General in its interventionist policy against the sovereignty, self-determination and constitutional order of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Republic of Nicaragua and the Republic of Cuba.
10. We repudiate the Monroe Doctrine, the old reflection of the hegemonic and imperialist ambitions of the United States upon the lands and peoples of the Americas, which has been revived today and which poses the most serious and urgent threat to the peace of the hemisphere.
11. We reiterate the claims of the international community to lift, unconditionally, the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba, which constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people and whose extraterritorial nature affects all States.
12. We reject the recent decision of the Government of the United States to activate Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, legislation that reinforces the extraterritorial nature of the blockade against Cuba and harms the international economic and trade relations of Cuba and the trade relations of the international community with Cuba.
13. We welcome the approval of the new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba which expresses its revolutionary commitment, its solidarity and its integrationist conviction.
14. We reaffirm the need of strengthening the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for regional political coordination based on the strict observance and defence of the principles of International Law, including the peaceful settlement of disputes, prohibition of the use and the threat of the use of force, respect for self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the domestic affairs of States.
15. We support the pro tempore presidency of the Plurinational State of Bolivia of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
16. We reaffirm our committed support for the people and Government of Bolivia in their historic and just right to a seaport with sovereignty.
17. We strongly reject the measures adopted against our sister countries in the Caribbean, considering them as non-cooperative jurisdictions, at the same time as we urge a review of the graduation criteria as "middle income countries," a condition that makes it difficult for them to access loans and international cooperation.
18. We reaffirm our ongoing support for the Caribbean countries in their claims for compensation and reparatory justice for the genocide of the native population and the horrors of the slave trade and chattel slavery.
19. We reject the selective and politically motivated utilization of the human rights issue for the purpose of creating conditions to destabilize legitimate governments, justify interference in internal affairs and impose regime changing policies.
20. We welcome the XXV Forum of Sao Paulo to be held July 25 to 28, 2019, as an event that will contribute to the constant dialogue among the progressive political forces and the social movements of the region.
21. We also welcome the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordination Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, to be held in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, from July 20 to 21 2019, under the theme "Promotion and consolidation of peace through respect of International Law."
22. We renew the commitment for political coordination, cooperation and integration, and for the defence of unity to confront political and economic interference and domination.
Havana, 21 May 2019
1. Ten countries are members of ALBA-TCP: Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela. El Salvador and Suriname, both observers, participated in the meeting as guests. Haiti has the status of a permanent guest of the Alliance.
(MINREX, Cubadebate. Slightly edited for grammar and style by TML. Photo: Communist Party of Cuba)
Brazilian People's Fight to Defend Rights
Three years after the coup against former president Dilma Rousseff, Brazil is facing a serious financial and economic crisis and a devastating horizon for the future of the country. With democracy at risk and attacks against freedom of expression and opinion under Jair Bolsonaro's government of destruction, it has been proven that removing Dilma did nothing to improve the country. Passage of Constitutional Amendment 95, the cruel public spending cap, and the labour reforms were the supposed solutions for a return to growth. What we can see, however, is Brazil going downhill, with hunger making a comeback, a paralyzed economy on the verge of a new recession, and the rule of law mutilated.
Gleisi Hoffmann, a Federal Representative
Dilma was removed in a fraudulent impeachment process orchestrated by the Brazilian elite upset with the social changes that had taken place in recent years. In her last speech, as she was leaving the presidency on May 12, 2016 after the Senate initiated the impeachment process and removed her, Dilma predicted that the accomplishments of the past 13 years were at stake. In Lula and Dilma's [Workers' Party] PT administrations there were breakthroughs: poverty alleviation, expansion of the middle class, a child protection network, young people in college and technical schools, an increase in the minimum wage, doctors taking care of the population, the dream of having one's own house [realized] for 6 million people, discovery of the pre-salt [oil] reserves. "What is at stake is the future of the country, the opportunity and the hope to keep moving forward," she said.
The dismantling project -- with the attacks on fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, and Lula being prevented from taking part in the 2018 elections with his conviction and incarceration without evidence -- was put into practice.
The illegitimate government of Michel Temer froze public spending for 20 years and brought Getulio Vargas's CLT [Consolidated Labour Laws] to an end. Then came the spurious sale of Brazilians' strategic patrimony and attempts to fully privatize the oil and electricity sectors, natural riches of the country, essential for any nation, in an unprecedented affront to national sovereignty.
Bolsonaro supported Temer's labour reform, which had promised the modernization of labour relations and the generation of 2 million new jobs, with the outcome today being 13 million unemployed and half the country's workforce engaged in informal work or looking for jobs. This disastrous fiasco, in addition to slashing workers' rights, led to an increase in informality and "pejotización" (forcing workers to become service providers that bill companies as self-employed contractors), which caused Social Security contributions to fall on account of an informalized labour market.
After an election based on lies and without any debate of ideas by the candidates, Bolsonaro is continuing the coup and destroying the democratic achievements of the Brazilian people. His government acts in favour of a minimalist State, under a retrograde and backward ideological cloak to conceal wrongdoings, revealing its inability to return to the road of economic growth and reduced inequality. The incitement to hatred and violence, compounded by the political persecution of those who think differently, also shows Bolsonaro's sick behaviour and what his priorities are.
Moreover, he promoted the criminal cutting of Bolsa Família [financial aid program to poor families so their children attend school and are vaccinated -- TML Ed. Note] ended Mais Médicos [More Doctors] by firing the Cuban professionals who are a worldwide reference when it comes to health care, stifled Minha Casa Minha Vida [My House My Life], and is promoting the dismantling of public health care. As well, Bolsonaro extinguished the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (Consea), the main body in charge of designing policies to fight hunger.
Bolsonaro is now preconditioning the economy's growth on sharp blows to the workers' retirement pensions. It is not just the opposition that is criticizing the pension reform. Experts show that the constitutional amendment bill will hurt the poorest seniors, rural workers and women. More than that, the proposal ends Social Security as provided for in the Constitution, which made it possible to set up the social welfare safety network. As if that were not enough, the Minister of the Economy, Paulo Guedes, also wants to exempt the government from investing in health and education.
Investments in education increased for 12 consecutive years during the Presidencies of Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.
Brazil's unemployment rate is at 12.7 per cent; 13.4
million Brazilians are looking for a job, 28.5 million people are
underemployed and 4.8 million are discouraged, that is, have given up
looking for work. With the economy at a standstill and lack of
confidence in a president who has no national project and a government
of nation-wrecking, Brazilian industry has put the brakes on its
activities. The wheels of the economy have stopped and all forecasts
signal, just five months into the new government, that this will be
another lost year for Brazilians.
What's more, the government has decided to cut critical resources, jeopardizing the functioning of public services, chiefly in the areas of human rights, culture, education and the environment. The 30 per cent cut to the budget and investments in Brazilian universities, reducing public education to bare bones and compromising research and science, represents the end times.
We are facing a dismantling of the State as never before seen in the country. The strength of students and teachers is a landmark in the resistance and struggle against this destructive government. The opposition is solidary. We shall be together on this May 15 to fight against retrogression in Brazilian education and the abuses committed by Bolsonaro.
Gleisi Hoffmann, a Federal Representative and National President of the Workers' Party (PT).
(May 13, 2019. Translated by TML. Photos: PT)
On Wednesday, May 15 massive demonstrations took place all over Brazil against the funding cuts to higher as well as basic education announced by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro on April 30. News reports indicate that demonstrations -- part of what was billed as the Education Tsunami (#TsunamiDaEducação) -- were held in 27 states of the Republic and in almost 200 cities. Attendance nationwide is estimated to have totaled anywhere from one to two million. In São Paulo and Belo Horizante at least 250,000 people are said to have marched, along with 200,000 in Rio de Janeiro and 100,000 in Fortaleza. Classes were suspended at federal universities and colleges around the country for the day.
The demonstrations were organized by the National Union of Students (UNE) and the Brazilian Union of Secondary Students (Ubes), along with teachers, education workers, the association of deans, trade unions, and other movements. Marianna Dias, president of the UNE, said May 15 was a "historic day" and a "victory" that will be remembered as "one of the biggest demonstrations" in Brazil's recent history, Brasil de Fato reported.
On April 30, Brazil's Education Minister announced budget cuts to all levels of public education, saying 30 per cent of federally-funded universities' budgets for so-called discretionary spending would be cut, which covers such things as cleaning and security services, construction and equipment, as well as water, electricity, phone and internet. Spending considered mandatory is protected from cuts by legislation.
A survey done by Brazil's National Association of Directors of Federal Higher Education Institutions shows that half of the country's federal universities will actually suffer cuts higher than 30 per cent. At least two are slated for cuts of over 50 per cent and others almost 50 per cent the survey showed.
Responding to the widespread opposition the cuts gave rise to, the Education Minister tried to backtrack, saying they were not cuts, just "contingencies" as part of the government's austerity plan. All the funding could be reinstated, he said, if the economy registered any growth. Many have denounced this as attempted blackmail to gain support for the government's regressive agenda.
In addition to denouncing the education cuts, those who marched on May 15 protested the theft of workers' pensions that will result if Bolsonaro's neo-liberal pension reform is passed. He and his U.S.-trained economy minister Paulo Guedes are desperate to get it approved in the Congress, something they have so far not accomplished, prompting Guedes to threaten that he will pack up and leave the country should the reforms be watered down. Another demand of the demonstrators was that former President Lula, who continues to be held as a political prisoner, be freed.
Showing his contempt for the masses of Brazilian youth who were in the streets all over the country defending their right to education, Bolsonaro said: "The majority are militants. If you ask them what's the formula for water, they don't know. They are a bunch of useful idiots, a bunch of morons who are being used as pawns by a minority of smartasses who constitute the core of many federal universities in Brazil."
The same day, in another act of retaliation, Bolsonaro issued a decree giving his administration new powers to control the selection of senior administrators at public universities -- who are currently appointed or elected by their academic communities -- doing away with a longstanding tradition of autonomy enjoyed by universities. The decree, which takes effect July 25, establishes that the university president, or their delegates, have the authority to appoint the deans and presidents at these institutions. It also provides for the Brazilian Intelligence Agency to participate in investigating the background of candidates. Since anyone who has been involved in illegal activities is already prohibited under existing legislation from serving in an academic post, concern is being expressed that such things as candidates' political involvement and their membership in social movements and unions will now be probed. Bolsonaro is already on the record as considering such things as sociology and philosophy "communist" and fair game for defunding.
Based on the massive response to their call for the May 15 demonstrations, the same student unions, joined by the National Association of Graduate Students (ANPG) have called for a Second National Day in Defence of Education on May 30. The central demand will once again be to reject the cuts to funding for public education. The president of UNE said the students' struggle has just begun and will continue until they get the cuts reversed.
Brasil de Fato
reports that Matias Cardomingo, a
student in economics and the coordinator of the Association of
Graduate Students of the University of São Paulo explained that
researchers will hold a number of activities in the coming weeks
to invigorate "the relationship between the academy and society,"
by means other than just demonstrations. He said building links
in defence of public education and making people aware of
contributions made by the country's public universities is
important in view of their being targeted both financially and
politically by the government.
(Brasil de Fato, teleSUR, Brasil Wire, Vermelho, Eyes on Latin America. Photos: Brasil de Fato, UBES, Latuff, R. Lima, G. Prates, M. Cabral, Amorin, C. Garcia)
Filipino People's Fight for Peace, Justice and Human Rights
"The National Democratic Front and the Struggle for Peace in the Philippines" was the topic of discussion at a public event held in downtown Toronto at the OPSEU Membership Centre on May 14. The meeting was part of a national tour of prominent spokespersons in the movement for peace, progress and respect for human rights in the Philippines.
The first speaker, Attorney Edre Olalia, President of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers of the Philippines, pointed out the dark significance of the results of the election held the previous day in the Philippines. Olalia noted that President Duterte's ruling party had probably gained control of the Senate, which would strengthen the hand of the government in its "war on drugs." This campaign, he said, is actually a war on the poor, on human rights defenders and especially on the New People's Army, led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has made substantial gains in the struggle for national liberation in recent years.
Olalia explained that it has been a favoured tactic of the Duterte dictatorship to malign various groups in the society, including lawyers, journalists and activists, by publishing for each group a matrix showing the connections among members of the group and then accusing each group falsely of being conspirators, coup plotters and a Communist front. He revealed that 37 lawyers have been killed in the 35 months since Duterte came to power, including prosecutors and even some judges.
In the Philippines, Olalia said, the government serves foreign capital and the domestic oligarchy, and its neo-liberal policies have distorted the economy. He noted that 1.1 million people are unemployed or underemployed, resulting in 5,750 people leaving the country each day to find work. He vowed that the Filipino people will stand together and not let these things pass.
The second speaker, Coni Ledesma, is a member of the peace negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which has reached several agreements with the government of the Philippines in the past to ensure respect for human rights in the country. In 1992, for example, a declaration was made that had four points: observance of human rights and international humanitarian law; socio-economic reforms; political reform and, an end to hostilities. The promised reforms were both agricultural reform -- involving free distribution of land to tenants -- and industrial development, which is still badly needed to achieve independence from imperialist domination of the economy.
Today, Ledesma said, there has been intensive militarization all over the country. Duterte terminated the peace talks in November 2017, disbanded the government negotiating panel and appointed an army general as the representative of the government side. The Duterte regime has favoured local negotiations, instead of peace talks on a national level, and has refused to recognize previous agreements. Some peace consultants have been killed, she revealed, and others arrested. The military prefers to concentrate on winning the war against the insurgency but, she said, this will never bring peace. What we need, she said, is to address the roots of the armed conflict, such as poverty and the lack of industry to provide employment.
Ledesma stated that the democratic forces will continue the struggle for human rights, for a just and lasting peace, for jobs and for land. She affirmed that "We'll win liberation from foreign and domestic exploitation."
The main presentations were followed by a lively discussion as the speakers responded to questions from participants about the current situation in the Philippines and how, in Canada, supporters can best show solidarity with the Filipino people's struggle for peace and human rights. Ledesma pointed out that military aid from Canada and other countries contributes to the attacks on the people, as does so-called development aid. She called on Canadians to challenge their candidates on these issues in the upcoming federal election and ask them where they stand.
Rhea Gamana, secretary-general of Bayan Canada, the organizing group for the meeting, announced that a new alliance is being formed in the name of a Malaya Movement (meaning "free"), uniting Filipinos in Canada to support the struggle of the people in the Philippines. Gamana called on all members of the Filipino community to join.
On May 11 and 12, activists from Canadian organizations working in the Philippines, along with human rights activists and social justice advocates gathered in Ottawa to launch the Canadian chapter of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP).
On the first day, the conference was addressed by several guest speakers from front-line human rights organizations, as well as religious leaders and human rights lawyers active in the Philippines. The speakers addressed the main theme of the Conference, "Supporting Voices at Risk: Defending Human Rights in the Philippines."
In their presentations, the speakers shared their own
experiences of the situation in the Philippines and the
dangerous circumstances faced by the people. Human rights
defenders and government critics and all those working to improve
the lives of Filipinos are more and more in grave danger. Every
day the situation is worsened with new measures by the Duterte
regime to oppress, harass and murder social and human rights
In the afternoon, the Conference broke into five workshops to involve all the participants in discussing the issues raised in the morning session. The workshop themes were:
1) War on Drugs;
2) War on Human Rights Defenders, Martial Law and the Rise of Tyranny;
3) Political Prisoners;
4) Mining, Environment and Resource Development; and
5) Peace Talks.
The second day of the conference received reports from the thematic workshops and deliberated on a Draft General Program of Action, as well as a proposed Constitution and Structures.
Following this a successful Conference to establish the Canadian Chapter of ICHRP it was announced the Third General Assembly of ICHRP is to be held in Hong Kong, June 27-29, 2019.
1. The ICHRP was
founded in 2013 as a global alliance of human rights advocates
raising international visibility of the ongoing violation of
peoples' rights in the Philippines and generating political
pressure on the governments of the Philippines, the U.S., Canada,
Europe and other parties with interests in the Philippines.
Subsequently, national and regional chapters have been organized
in the U.S., Europe and Canada.
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