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November 3, 2014 - No. 90

Developments in Latin America
and the Caribbean

President Dilma Rousseff gives speech following her victory in second round of Brazilian presidential election, October 26, 2014.

Dilma Rousseff Wins Second Term in Second Round of Presidential Election

First Round of Presidential Election

Evo Morales Affirms Re-Election as "Victory of the Anti-Imperialists"

U.S. Criminal Blockade Massively Rejected by UN 

Venezuela Wins Security Council Seat
Thousands of Youth March Against Terrorism 

Mass Protests Continue to Demand Return of Disappeared Students 

Extraordinary ALBA Summit on Ebola
Latin American and Caribbean Nations' Exemplary Stand to Combat Ebola
Key Address by Cuban President Raúl Castro
Declaration of Extraordinary Summit


Dilma Rousseff Wins Second Term in
Second Round of Presidential Election

Supporters of Dilma Rousseff at victory rally, October 26, 2014.

On October 26, in the second round of Brazil's presidential election, incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party (PT) prevailed, with 51.45 per cent over Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) with 48.55 per cent, a difference of 2 million votes. More than 142 million Brazilians voted, electing as well federal deputies and state governors.

TML sends its warmest congratulations to President Rousseff, the PT and the Brazilian people. President Rousseff's election comes despite the efforts of the neo-liberal opposition and their foreign backers to undermine the nation-building project that is making progress in raising the people's standard of living and affirming their rights. This victory also defends the project of regional integration and relations based on mutual benefit and solidarity that are underway throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in opposition to neo-liberal exploitation and U.S. interference and hegemony.

Despite her victory, President Rousseff and the PT have to deal with the political divisions in the country. These are reflected in the PT's narrow margin of victory -- its smallest since it came to power when Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva was elected in 2002 -- and the fact that the PT does not have control in the Congress or the Senate. Voting is mandatory in Brazil; reports indicate a high level of absenteeism and spoilt ballots.

Following her victory on October 26, President Rousseff called for national unity and vowed to reinvigorate her country's economy and advance political reform during her second term.

"I call on all Brazilians without exception to unite for the future of the country," she told supporters in a victory speech, adding that she is "open to dialogue."

"I want to be a much better president than I have been until now," Rousseff said.

"Some words dominated this campaign. The most frequently uttered was change. The most common theme was reform," she said. "I have been reelected president to make the major changes Brazilians are demanding."

Rousseff said her top priority would be political reform, and vowed stricter legislation to crack down on corruption and end impunity.

Rousseff said the government would continue to ensure high levels of employment, increased wages, lower inflation and greater fiscal responsibility. "We will give more impetus to economic activity in all sectors, particularly in the industrial sector," said the President.

Rousseff's second term means another four years in office for the PT which has been in power for the last 12 years, with two terms under "Lula" da Silva. During its tenure, the PT has grown the economy and used this growth to expand social welfare programs, lifting some 40 million people out of poverty.

Adilson Araújo, President of the Workers' Central of Brazil (CTB), characterized the election results as follows:

"There is no doubt that it was one of the most contested and polarized election in Brazilian history, with a desperate last-minute coup initiative led by the magazine Veja and backed by the newspaper Estadao and the Globo television network as well as other media monopolies. Once again the people were not fooled and were able to discern the wheat from the chaff, identifying their real foes and defeating them, opening the way to achieve the most profound changes that the people and the nation are asking for.

"Averting the risk of defeat by the right-wing candidate, indicated by polling firms (as well as the positioning of Marina Silva and the Brazilian Socialist Party), the progressive social movements and political parties joined in the campaign and militantly took to the streets during the second round, vying for each vote. This movement of the activists was essential to reverse the conservative wave that had already been revealed in the new composition of Congress and turned the tide in favour of Dilma Rousseff.

"The victory prevented the country from going backward. Aecio [Neves] would have meant retrogression in every way, starting with the fiscal adjustment announced by Arminio Fraga, accompanied by massive layoffs, economic recession, the end of [proper working conditions and wages], the undermining of labour laws, the persecution and criminalization of social struggles, the privatization of the Bank of Brazil, Caixa Economica and Petrobras; the deflating of Mercosur; and the subordination of Brazil to the U.S. imperialist project.

"The results of the October election battles are not all positive. The social and political composition of Congress, which already was not progressive has suffered a bad setback. It has become even more conservative, hostile to projects coming from the working class and favourable to the retrogressive agenda presented by the spokespersons for the employers. The growth of the right is also reflected in the final outcome of the presidential election.

"A class-oriented reading of the situation indicates that it is essential to move changes forward to consolidate what has been achieved over the past 11 years, to avoid future setbacks and facilitate the agenda of the working class for a new nation-building project with an appreciation of labour, sovereignty and democracy.

"The path of change is achieved by undertaking structural democratic reforms, starting with reforms to the political system and the media, well as looking after the historic demands of our people and the union centrals in the form of a labour agenda: more investments in the public health system as well as in education and public transportation; the end of the 'security factor' (which considerably reduces the pensions of retirees) with which President Dilma has already compromised herself); agrarian reform; reduction of working hours; rejection of Bill PL 4330 (which would facilitate outsourcing) and the ratification of ILO Conventions 151 and 158, among others.

"Achieving all this will not be easy, especially given the balance of forces in Congress and Senate. However, it is entirely possible. The key factor, which is the number one challenge of the CTB, as well as all social movements, the federal government and progressive forces of the country, is to raise the level of awareness and mobilization of the working class and of the Brazilian people. Only with many people in the streets, will we be able to achieve the future transformations Brazil is asking for."

Opposition Sectors Incite Military Coup in Brazil

In related news, the PT reported October 30 that opposition sectors, reluctant to recognize the results of the recent presidential election, are inciting a military coup like the one staged in 1964.

Following President Rousseff's reelection, the Brazilian Army's Facebook account received hundreds of messages demanding military intervention, the PT informs.

Those advocating a coup appear to be supporters of Social Democratic Party of Brazil candidate Aecio Neves, who are reluctant to acknowledge his defeat, says the PT press release.

With no respect for the will of the majority as expressed at the polls, some commenters urged the army to attack Rousseff and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The PT points out that inciting a coup against democracy is a crime, as Law No. 7.170 of 1983 defines any expression against the incumbent representative and democratic regime as a violation of national security and the political and social order.

(Prensa Latina, CTB. Photos: Dilma.br)

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First Round of Presidential Election

In Uruguay, Tabare Vazquez of the ruling Broad Front (FA) won a plurality of about 49.4 per cent of votes in the first round of the country's presidential election on October 26. Since this falls short of a majority, a runoff vote against Luis Lacalle Pou of the right-wing National Party will take place November 30. Lacalle Pou of the National Party, received 32 per cent of the vote and Pedro Bordaberry of the Colorado Party 13.4 per cent.

Vasquez said the campaign for the presidency would start afresh immediately and that his party will continue in the same progressive direction. "Ideas, projects, history and results must be addressed and not covered up or camouflaged. We are what we are, we are what we think and act as we say we are," he said. The Broad Front Party will "advance along the path of social and economic progress" compared to the opposition who will "resort to the old politics that led the country to stagnation," he added.

Vazquez also highlighted improvements made under his presidency (2005-2010) and that of current president José Mujica, which include better wages and incomes as well as reduced poverty.

"[We] will continue to lower poverty indexes, not only because of our sensitivity for the weak, but because there will be no development if we don't incorporate all those fellow country people in the world of work and jobs," said Vasquez."

Meanwhile, the official results of the elections for the Chamber of Deputies and Senate released October 27 confirmed that the Broad Front coalition will maintain a majority in the Parliament, winning 50 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 15 in the Senate.


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President Morales Affirms Re-Election as
"Victory of the Anti-Imperialists"

Bolivian President Evo Morales, accompanied by Vice President Alvaro García Linera, gives victory speech from the balcony of the Presidential Palace in La Paz, October 12, 2014.

On October 12, President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro García Linera emerged victorious in Bolivia's presidential election. This will be President Morales' third term in office. TML salutes this decisive victory by the people's forces, which will enable them to further the successes already achieved to empower the people and exercise control over the economy.

Morales received 61.36 per cent of the votes, exceeding the 50 per cent margin needed to avoid a runoff. Meanwhile, the closest of his four rivals, cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina, received only 24.23 per cent. More than six million voters were registered in the country as well as Bolivians in some 70 cities in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Morales won eight of Bolivia's nine states, including the former opposition stronghold of Santa Cruz.

The elections to the Chamber of Deputies and Senate were held simultaneously with the presidential election. Morales' party, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), retained its 88-seat majority in the 130-seat Chamber of deputies and lost one seat but retained its 25-seat majority in the 36-seat Senate. Having maintained its two-thirds control of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, it will be able pass the pending constitutional reform to lift the two-term limit on presidential mandates.

Attorney General Ramiro Guerrero noted what he called the "democratic maturity" of the proceedings, informing that the elections had taken place in an atmosphere of calm and normalcy, without any notable incidents. This was affirmed by the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Dennis Racicot, who referred to the elections as a "democratic celebration."

On the evening of October 12, President Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera along with ministers as well as leaders from the unions and social movements gathered at the presidential palace. From the palace balcony, President Morales addressed the massive crowd outside.

Morales thanked the people for their support, saying, "We continue to grow, we have looked over the preliminary results and we have grown in all states, and in eight states we won the elections."

"There is a deep feeling, not just in Bolivia, but in the Americas, of freedom, of a triumph of the anti-imperialists," he added as the crowd chanted "Homeland yes, colonialism no!"

"In a democratic way, it has been ratified that Bolivia isn't a half moon, but a full moon," Morales said referring to attempts by opposition groups to have the wealthy Santa Cruz region of the country separate in 2008.

"Sixty per cent have voted for nationalization over privatization," said Morales. He added that, "It's important to always debate, to listen, to make new proposals, to always be thinking about the larger perspective, and the smaller ... now we are attacked through the media ... it's important to communicate well." This was a reference to the hacking of the Twitter account of Bolivian state television on October 11 and 12, to spread a false rumour that Morales had been assassinated.

Morales talked about the importance of basic services and guaranteeing that Bolivia be an "energy centre" of Latin America.

Morales also paid tribute to the other progressive governments in the Latin America and the Caribbean, saying, "We're not alone, this triumph is dedicated to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez." He added that, "We are going to keep growing and we are going to continue the process of economic liberation."

"Only by being a people that is organized ... the social sectors, the workers... can we free ourselves, democratically," he concluded.

(TeleSUR, Prensa Latina, Agencia Boliviana de Informacion, BBC. Photo: ABI)

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U.S. Criminal Blockade Massively Rejected by UN

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla addresses
UN General Assembly, October 28, 2014.

The UN General Assembly voted on October 28 on Resolution 68/8, "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba." For the 23rd consecutive time, UN member nations voted to reject the illegal and unjust U.S. blockade against Cuba, which constitutes the principal obstacle to Cuba's social and economic development. This year, out of 193 nations, 188 voted in support of the resolution while only the U.S. and Israel voted against, the same as last year's result. Once again, the three small U.S. protectorates Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia abstained. As Isaac Saney, co-chair and national spokesperson for the Canadian Network on Cuba points out, "Since 1992, the international community has repudiated the ongoing economic aggression of the United States against the people of Cuba in these annual votes in the UN. This rejection of Washington's diktat graphically underscores the isolation of the empire in world public opinion." He adds, "The resounding UN vote represents not only a victory for Cuba but also a victory for all those who struggle to defend the inalienable and inviolable right of all peoples to self-determination and independence."

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, in his address to the assembly prior to the vote, articulated how the vote is of relevance to all UN member nations, "because it has to do with International Law, which protects all States, whether big or small, rich or poor, and is what guarantees their independence and exercise of their national sovereignty, which is the basis of sovereign equality."

Twenty-three years of UN General Assembly votes against the U.S. blockade of Cuba
-- click to enlarge.

Rodriguez pointed out the blockade continues to be intensified: "It is a fact that, in recent times, the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba has been tightened and that its extraterritorial implementation in all regions of the world have also been strengthened, in particular through the application of huge and unprecedented fines amounting to $11 billion against 38 banks, among them the French bank BNP Paribas, for doing transactions with Cuba and other countries."

He highlighted some of the effects of the blockade: "The accumulated economic damages, which are huge for a small economy like ours, amount to $1,112,534,000,000, estimated on the basis of the price of gold, which is being manipulated by those who created the nefarious monetary system currently in force, which is already being harmed by the impact of an insurmountable crisis which affects the poorest countries.

"The human damages caused by the blockade are on the rise. The number of Cubans who have been born under these circumstances already account for 77 per cent. The hardships of our families can not be accounted for. There are many international conventions that proscribe the blockade, including the Geneva Convention of 1948 against genocide. The exercise of human rights by an entire people is being impaired. The economic development of the country is seriously hampered.

"Although our health and social care systems manage to prevent the loss of human rights, no honest person, whether in the United States or the world, could agree with the devastating consequences caused by the blockade.

"Despite everything, our national culture, education and guarantee of equal rights and opportunities make it possible for us to be a cultured and fraternal nation."

The Cuban Foreign Minister outlined the many respectful and reciprocal relations it has with other countries, as well as with U.S. citizens and organizations. He concluded by unequivocally affirming Cuba's conviction to "never renounce its sovereignty or the path freely chosen by its people, to build a more just, efficient, prosperous and sustainable socialism. Neither will it give up its quest for a different international order nor cease in its struggle for 'the equilibrium of the world.'"

(CNC, Cuba Si. Photos: CubaDebate)

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Venezuela Wins Security Council Seat

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez Carreño is warmly congratulated at the
General Assembly on his country's election to the Security Council, October 16, 2014.

Venezuela won a rotating seat at the UN Security Council on October 16, with 181 votes in favour out of a total of 193 votes. Angola, Malaysia and New Zealand were also elected; Spain won the last seat in a separate round of voting. Each country represents a UN Regional Group: Africa; Asia-Pacific; Eastern Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; Western Europe and Others.

These five countries will take their seats at the Council as of January 1, 2015 alongside the five permanent UNSC members -- Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China and the United States -- for the two-year-period 2015-2017. Venezuela replaces Argentina, while Angola replaces Rwanda, Malaysia takes over from south Korea and New Zealand will take Australia's place. Spain will replace Luxembourg.

"This triumph is dedicated to Hugo Chávez," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez Carreño said in announcing the win. "It's also the result of the long and sustained effort of President Nicolás Maduro [who] decided to move forward with the model for the peaceful settlement of conflicts, which has been so successful domestically."

Ramirez Carreño added, "The historic success of Venezuela shows clearly the wide support that our revolution has internationally, as a supporter of peace, social justice, solidarity, and respect of human rights."

President Maduro also thanked the international community via his Twitter account.

While Venezuela, Angola and Malaysia ran unopposed in the vote, Spain, Turkey and New Zealand mounted fierce international lobbying campaigns over the remaining two seats, teleSUR reports.

There are five other rotating seats on the Council, but these do not come up for re-election until next year. Those seats are currently held by Jordan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Chad and Chile.

To win a term on the Council, rotating members must secure votes from two-thirds of the General Assembly in a secret ballot.

Venezuela's victory comes eight years after a previous bid for the rotating seat. At that time it faced stiff competition from Guatemala. It was also opposed by the U.S., which mounted a campaign to pressure other UN states to reject Venezuela's bid, to discredit and undermine the Bolivarian Revolution. Three weeks and 48 rounds of voting later, Guatemala and Venezuela withdrew, and Panama was handed the seat.

(teleSUR. Photo: Xinhua)

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Thousands of Youth March Against Terrorism

President Nicolás Maduro addresses the youth, Caracas, October 18, 2014.
Banner reads, "Against Terrorism -- Venezuela Wants Peace."

On October 18, thousands of Venezuelan youth and government supporters participated in a march against terrorism and for peace. The youth march was organized in response to the assassinations of 27-year old deputy in the National Assembly for the Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Robert Serra and his partner Maria Herrera, who were killed in their home October 1.

Venezuela's reactionary opposition forces, who in the past have undertaken and advocated terrorist acts, claim the killings were common criminal acts. However, the investigation into the crime has revealed the expressly political nature of the killings.

At an October 16 press conference, President Nicolás Maduro showed video footage of six men forcing their way into Serra's home, captured on security cameras attached to the residence and a nearby streetlight. The videotaped confession of Eduwin Camacho Torres, Serra's former bodyguard, was also shown. The names of other individuals were also announced: Antonio Vegas (alias El Toni), Fariñes Palomino (alias El Eme), Carlos Garcia Martinez (alias Tintin), Jhony José Padilla (alias Oreja) and Dani Salinas Quevedo, along with Colombian paramilitary Padilla Leive (El Colombia).

The plan to kill Serra, according to Maduro, was developed over a period of three months and was orchestrated by Padilla Leive, the Colombian sent to Venezuela after the perpetrators contacted a Colombian paramilitary group for the purpose of finding a hitman. The plan was set in motion when Padilla Leive bribed Torres Camacho and convinced him to divulge details about Serra's home and neighbourhood, drawing on this knowledge as Serra's bodyguard.

Caracas, October 18, 2014

Maduro also revealed that shortly before Serra's death, there was an attempt made on the life of Minister of Education Héctor Rodríguez at his home. Several bullets fired by a sniper punctured the walls but failed to kill the target or the target's wife and three-year-old son. Then on October 4, just three days after the murder of Serra, Venezuelan intelligence received information that assassins had attempted to kill President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello, but failed to get close enough.

TML condemns the campaign of terrorism being undertaken by the reactionary opposition forces in Venezuela, supported in their aims to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution by countries like the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian government raises a hue and cry about mentally ill youth that it spuriously claims are involved in terrorist plots. However, its lack of principle and shameless silence about this terrorist attack on the people-centred nation-building project in Venezuela reveal it desire to see reactionary regime change in Venezuela. It must not pass!

(With files from Venezuelanalaysis.com, inserbia.info. Photos: MinCI.)

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Mass Protests Continue to Demand Return of Disappeared Students

Mass demonstration at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City demands return of the missing students, October 15, 2014.

Last week, university students, teacher unions and others across Mexico joined in 72-hour strikes, blocking highways and taking over toll booths, government buildings, bus stations and radio stations to demand the safe return of 43 teaching students from Ayotzinapa, missing since September 26 after being attacked by police in Iguala in the state of Guerrero. These mass actions came in defiance of an October 28 decree from federal and state officials that only "lawful" protests would be permitted. The missing students had travelled to the city of Iguala to protest the mass killings of students in 1968. Demonstrations calling for the return of the students have also taken place in Canada and around the world.

In Chilpancingo, Guerrero's capital, on October 29, members of the Guerrero State Coordinating Committee of Education Workers (CETEG) rammed a truck into the door of Guerrero's "White House" and then set fire to the truck.

Also that day, a contingent of teachers marched from their encampment in the main plaza to the governor's official residence, where they banged on the door and hung a banner bearing a likeness of the young student and father Julio César Mondragón, who was killed the night of the police attack and found the next day with his face mutilated.

On October 30 in the state of Oaxaca, approximately 74,000 teachers began a 72-hour strike in 14,000 schools demanding the safe return of the students. At the state's Benito Juárez Autonomous University, members of the University Student General Council took over the campus in support of the Ayotzinapa students.

Teacher training students in Oaxaca also commandeered buses to visit media outlets including Radio México, La Z 97.7, Planeta 100.9, and the Oaxaca Radio and Television Corporation to press them to highlight the case of the missing students and demand their return.

In the state of Michoacan also on October 30, students at the San Nicolás de Hidalgo University froze all activities for 72 hours. Student teachers took over the La Huerta Shopping Center and commandeered a truck and three passenger buses which they used to block traffic in Patzcuaro.

Dozens of students marched through the Bacalar tourist zone in the state of Quintana Roo and unfurled large banners demanding the safe return of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa.

Students also marched to Radio UNAM in Mexico City to deliver a message of support for the Ayotzinapa students, later passing out leaflets at highway toll booths.

Protest at Mexican Embassy in Ottawa, October 15, 2014.

An October 30 item in the Toronto Star indicates the profound corruption of the Mayor of Iguala, his wife and the police force in conjunction with the local drug cartel:

"Wife of the local mayor and head of a municipal family welfare organization, [Maria de los Angeles] Pineda Villa was evidently concerned that a group of students from a neighbouring teachers' college might disrupt a celebration she had organized for the evening of Sept. 26 -- the occasion of her second annual address concerning her charitable accomplishments.

"She had been interrupted by a similar ruckus at a public event in June 2013, and so she reportedly decided to take pre-emptive action this time.

"'Teach them a lesson,' she ordered, according to one account.

"Her underlings complied.

"Now, more than four weeks later, the search for the bodies of the missing men continues. Meanwhile, 56 individuals have been arrested in the case, including 22 police agents from either Iguala or the neighbouring town of Cocutla.

"Pineda Villa has fled for parts unknown, along with her husband, Jose Luis Abarca -- the now deposed mayor of Iguala -- and the town's police chief, Felipe Flores. All three are presumed to be in hiding.

"On [October 30], Abarca's replacement as mayor -- Luis Manzon -- quit the post after just seven hours in office, saying he wished to live his life "calmly and in peace."

"[Last week], Mexican investigators located a new set of graves in an area called Pueblo Viejo. That is where the students were reportedly taken -- in a pickup truck and another vehicle -- in order to be executed."

While the students have not been found, many other mass graves have been found in the area where they disappeared, indicating a longstanding practice of mass killings by gangs, corrupt politicians and police.

(Telesur, Toronto Star. Photos: F. Ribery, TML)

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Extraordinary ALBA Summit on Ebola

Latin American and Caribbean Nations'
Exemplary Stand to Combat Ebola

On October 20, member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas-Peoples' Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) met in Havana for an Extraordinary Summit to coordinate efforts to confront the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. These countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Santa Lucia and Venezuela.

In his remarks to open the Summit, Cuban President Raúl Castro stated that the epidemic constitutes a threat to humanity and must be confronted with extreme urgency. He emphasized that Latin America and the Caribbean owe a great debt to the peoples of Africa, "since in our countries' veins flows the blood of Africans who contributed to creating our nations' wealth."

Castro said that although a growing awareness exists of the need to take immediate action to avoid a humanitarian crisis of greater proportions, coordination of efforts is needed.

Raúl emphasized that the Extraordinary Summit provides the opportunity to coordinate the training of medical personnel, offering priority support to Haiti and other Caribbean nations, an effort which Cuban collaborators currently working in the region can support. This includes 45,952 individuals in 25 countries, 23,158 of whom are doctors -- 50.4 per cent.

The Summit was also attended by Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon. Nabarro read out a message sent by Ban to the Summit, which stated in part:

"I urge countries in the region and around the world to follow the lead of ALBA, particularly that of Cuba and Venezuela, who have set a commendable example with their rapid response in support of efforts to contain Ebola."

Dr. Nabarro stressed that Ebola is no longer a localized public health emergency and that cooperation and solidarity are essential, which Cuba and Venezuela have already demonstrated. He noted in particular "Cuba's proud tradition of training doctors from developing countries has also helped improve medical care around the world."

Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Margaret Chan participated in the Summit by video and told participants, "You are absolutely doing the right thing. You want to step up your level of preparedness."

"Last month, the Ebola virus moved to your region, to the United States. Any country with an international airport is theoretically at risk of an imported case of Ebola," she said.

Dr. Chan also thanked Cuba for contributing much-needed nurses and doctors to affected countries. Despite the difficult situation, a well-prepared country can defeat Ebola, she added. The ALBA countries need to train their staff, use drills to test performance, get protocols written quickly, get the public and media behind them and engage the community early to fight fear with facts. On its own, protective gear is not foolproof, she said.

At the end of the Summit, a 23-point joint declaration was issued, which emphasized preventive actions such as the activation of an epidemiological monitoring network, strengthening control measures on the borders of member nations, designing public education campaigns and urging training of specialized health personnel.

ALBA held another conference October 29 and 30 in Havana to formulate the action plan, which ALBA's health ministers are to have ready by November 5.

TML salutes the important example set by the ALBA countries, who have taken this important and practical stand to assist the peoples of the West African countries stricken by Ebola.

Cuban Health Workers Depart for West Africa the Day After Summit

An October 21 item in Granma International reported that a profoundly moving moment followed the conclusion of the ALBA-TCP Ebola Summit. Regional leaders attending the event met with members of the Cuban medical brigades departing that day for Liberia and Guinea Conakry, to battle the epidemic impacting these West African nations.

"At the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK), Cuban Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales Ojeda announced that the new brigades are composed of 91 health professionals, 53 headed to Liberia, and 38 to Guinea Conakry. As a group, they average 15 years of experience, he reported, adding that 39 are doctors, 48 are nurses, and 67% are under 50 years of age," Granma reports.

Jorge Pérez, IPK director, summarized the history of the renowned institution and its current objectives, including the role it is playing in confronting Ebola.

He explained that the Institute has set up a vigilance ward for travellers coming from areas impacted by Ebola, and provided training on treatment for brigade members. He presented a series of photos depicting the strict protection measures brigade members will take, and some of the safety precautions they will use while working with Ebola patients.

Following this gathering, ALBA leaders visited the Medical Cooperation Central Unit (UCCM), located in the Havana municipality of Boyeros, where all medical personnel participating in international missions are trained -- a total of more than 50,000 who have served in 66 countries. Health Minister Morales said, "The presence of all of you here encourages us to continue upholding the legacy of Fidel and Raúl, to reaffirm that what we are doing is for humanity, for the real possibility that a better world is possible."

(Granma International, Radio Havana Cuba. Photos: Xinhua, Granma)

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Key Address by Cuban President Raúl Castro

Esteemed heads of State and Government, and chiefs of delegations;

His Excellency Mr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General;

Her Excellency Mrs. Clarisse Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization; His Excellency Mr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organization of East Caribbean States, we welcome you to our country on the occasion of this Special ALBA Summit on Ebola, convened on the initiative of President Maduro.

Ladies and gentlemen, comrades,

A dreadful epidemic is advancing today on our sister peoples of Africa, and threatening us all. A high number of cases have been diagnosed with Ebola and many people have perished from the disease in several countries, including two outside the African continent.

This poses a huge challenge to humanity, one that should be met with utmost urgency. The action of the international community as a whole, under the leadership of the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, is much needed.

As part of the forging of Latin American and Caribbean cultures, African blood flows through the veins of 'Our America,' contributed by those who fought for independence and helped to create wealth in many of our countries and others, the United States included.

Africa and Cuba are bound together by deep affection. Over 76,000 Cuban collaborators have provided health services in 39 countries, while 45 nations have had 3,392 physicians trained in Cuba absolutely free of charge.

At the moment, more than 4,000 Cuban health care collaborators are working in 32 African countries and, as our Public Health Minister will explain, they are all joining in the preventive effort against Ebola.

On October 1, in response to a request from the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, and UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, a specialized Cuban medical brigade travelled to Sierra Leone to take part in the struggle against the epidemic; and tomorrow, Tuesday, October 21, two other Cuban brigades, whose leaders are already in the field, will be leaving for Liberia and Guinea.

The numerous warnings and concerns recently expressed regarding insufficient resources contributed, and the pace of actions, are a reflection of the growing universal awareness on the necessity to move ahead promptly in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis of unpredictable consequences.

I am convinced that if this threat is not detained and resolved in West Africa, through an immediate and effective international response, with sufficient resources and coordinated by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, it may evolve into one of the most serious pandemics in the history of humanity.

Currently, such a noble and urgent endeavour demands the indispensable commitment and dedication of every nation in the world, to the extent of everyone's possibilities.

We are of the view that this grave problem should not be politicized to avoid the risk of losing track of the main objective, which is helping to confront the epidemic in Africa and to prevent its expansion to other regions.

Following my conversation with the UN Secretary General last September 5, instructions were given to our representatives in events convened by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, to reaffirm that Cuba is willing work side by side with every country, including the United States.

The modest experience accumulated by the Cuban health care system indicates that a comprehensive view is required, along with the proper organization, planning and coordination, not only of the clinical and curative work but also of preventive measures. An inescapable complement to this would be the systemic and ongoing work of specialists who can exercise great discipline and seriousness in the observation of the medical protocols established. In the course of this meeting, we shall discuss the practical characteristics of this issue.

In order to avoid being affected by the virus, we should prepare ourselves intensively, work together throughout the Americas on preventive measures, and be ready to deal with the disease and prevent its dissemination.

We wish to submit to the consideration of the member countries of ALBA and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) some collective proposals for cooperation which may help in training health care personnel and designing and implementing comprehensive and effective preventive measures, giving a priority to Haiti and the Caribbean countries. We should all assist the most vulnerable states. At the same time, we invite the countries of North America to also cooperate in this endeavour.

If the respective governments should agree, our health care collaborators currently working in Latin America and the Caribbean, could support, to the extent of their capabilities, preventive actions and the training of local personnel, as well as offer advice.

In summary, we have 45,952 Cuban health care collaborators working in 25 countries of Our America, 23,158 of them, that is, 50.4% are doctors, who along with their colleagues from the continent make up a powerful force capable of meeting such a challenge.

It's worthwhile recalling that countries in our region have available 23,944 doctors who have graduated from Cuban universities to date, basically over the past fifteen years.

Finally, on December 14, we will host another Summit in Havana to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Alliance, the fruit of the will of our peoples in the region and of the actions of Hugo Chávez Frías and Fidel Castro Ruz. We look forward to that opportunity when we shall examine the implementation of what we agree upon here today.

Without further delay, we declare this Special Summit open. Thank you, very much.

(Granma International)

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Declaration of Extraordinary Summit

The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples' Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP in its Spanish acronym), meeting in Havana on October 20th, 2014, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Summit to deal with the Ebola epidemic.

Profoundly concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe in West Africa caused by the Ebola epidemic, which is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a "public health emergency" of international concern, with the threat of spreading to other countries and regions of the world;

Aware of the urgency with which the international community as a whole, in full cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) is undertaking actions to deal with this scourge using all necessary resources;

Clearly understanding with concern that the international resources required in order to undertake rapid and efficacious actions to deal with the Ebola epidemic are continuing to be insufficient to confront what could become one of the most serious pandemics in the history of humanity;

Reaffirming that ALBA-TCP is sustained on principles of solidarity, true cooperation and complementarity among our countries, and commitment to the most vulnerable peoples and the preservation of life on this planet;

Convinced that it is vital to adopt efficacious and urgent cooperation measures that, through coordinated actions of the health sector and other sectors, can contribute to prevent the Ebola epidemic from spreading to the countries of our hemisphere;

Remembering stipulations established in the International Health Regulation (2005) and in the WHO Roadmap for Response to Ebola on August 28th of 2014, whose aim is to stop transmission of Ebola on a global scale and to confront the consequences of any new international spread;

Taking note of WHO protocols for the prevention of transmission of Ebola among persons, organizations and population groups;

Emphasizing that it is possible to contain the Ebola outbreak, especially by applying the established interventions in matters of health and safety and other preventative measures that have demonstrated their efficacy;

We hereby agree:

1. To coordinate our efforts to prevent and deal with the Ebola epidemic, including rapidly providing and sharing assistance among our countries, with healthcare workers and relevant supplies and materials.

2. To meet, as a priority, the special needs of our sister countries in the Caribbean, allowing them to benefit from cooperation for preventing and confronting Ebola that are agreed upon by ALBA-TCP countries.

3. To immediately activate ALBA-TCP's Epidemiological Surveillance Network, the creation of which was agreed to at the First Meeting of Health Ministers of the Alliance held on this past February 25th, 2014 in Caracas.

4. To decisively support the voluntary medical brigades specialized in dealing with disasters and major epidemics, the Henry Reeve Contingent of the Republic of Cuba, working in the countries of Africa. In this regard, we express our willingness, as the Bolivarian Alliance, to contribute with highly qualified health personnel to join the efforts of this contingent on tasks that are required in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

5. To establish national mechanisms to rapidly diagnose and isolate suspected cases of Ebola, taking into account the initial clinical manifestations of the disease, the travel and/or exposure history reported by the patient or obtained by epidemiological investigation.

6. To share and generate capacity for the diagnosis of diseases which require laboratories of appropriate bio-safety levels.

7. To design and carry out public education campaigns about the prevention of and response to Ebola, directed toward increasing the preparedness of the population and to promote their trust.

8. To provide and reinforce preventive measures for the detection and mitigation of exposure to Ebola infection and to provide treatment and effective medical services for response team personnel.

9. To reinforce measures of epidemiological surveillance at borders, particularly at ports and airports.

10. To contribute to the training of health care workers specialized in the prevention and control of Ebola in the ALBA-TCP countries and the Caribbean, on the basis of accumulated experience.

11. To create a cadre of professionals from different specialties to train healthcare workers in the areas of bio-safety, including the use of personal protective equipment to be used for suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, care of hemorrhagic diseases and critical patients, who may serve as facilitators and advisors in their respective countries.

12. To ensure the deployment of all possible health services, reserve medical teams and the vital consumables to confront the disease.

13. To encourage scientific, epidemiological and biological research on Ebola within the ALBA-TCP framework, and promote cooperation in this field with other countries, as a contribution to international efforts directed towards confronting the epidemic and with the objective of consolidating the scientific, medical and health independence of the countries of the Alliance.

14. To improve information mechanisms among our countries so that we may remain up to date on the epidemiological situation of ALBA-TCP countries, and so that acquired experiences may be disseminated with greater ease.

15. To decisively support initiatives of the United Nations, particularly WHO/PAHO and UNMEER, for implementation of the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee.

16. To promote cooperation with other countries of the hemisphere in order to face and prevent Ebola, and undertake joint programmes that would contribute to that end.

17. To urgently convene a technical meeting of specialists and directors of ALBA-TCP countries, in Havana, on 29 and 30 October, to exchange experiences and knowledge, as well as to draft prevention and control strategies for the threat of the Ebola epidemic.

18. To charge the Ministers of Health of the ALBA-TCP countries to draft an Action Plan in the light of the proposals of the technical meeting of specialists and directors, and its immediate application, in coordination with PAHO/WHO. This Plan must be presented for consideration by the heads of state and government of the ALBA-TCP, at the latest on 5 November, 2014.

19. To use all the resources available to the ALBA-TCP Executive Secretariat to support the agreed initiatives.

20. To congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the donation of five million dollars to combat Ebola, and which was delivered to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on 16 October, 2014.

21. To congratulate the Republic of Cuba and its people for the demonstration of solidarity with the sister countries of West Africa by sending Cuban medical personnel.

22. To propose that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) promotes regional efforts for prevention and control of the threat of the Ebola epidemic.

23. To continue collaborating with the countries of Africa affected by the epidemic, to maintain existing cooperation with those who are not affected and to incorporate the experiences of the brigades specialized in confronting disasters and major epidemics who are at work there.

Havana, 20 October, 2014

(Granma International)

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