March 5, 2016 - No. 10

March 8 -- International Women's Day

Victory to the Struggle of Women for
Their Emancipation!

"Struggles of yesterday, struggles of today, women always rise to the occasion.
We will not back down."

Women Workers Must Lead the Struggle for Renewal
Condemn the Assassination of Honduran Leader Berta Cáceres!

Canada's Contribution to Resolving Refugee Crisis
The Working Class Must Take the Lead in
Defending the Rights of All

For Your Information
Canada's Syrian Refugee Settlement Program

Liberal Government's Shameless Hypocrisy
on Matters of War and Peace

The Anniversary of the First Gulf War
Canada's Attempts to Derail UN Peace Process in Syria
Plans to Embroil Canada in More Aggression Against Libya
Why We Say No to the War in Iraq and Syria
- Toronto Coalition to Stop the War -

Cessation of Hostilities in Effect

Third Anniversary of the Passing of
President Hugo Chávez Commemorated

President Maduro Initiates New Socialist Enterprise System and
Calls on Workers to Resist Privatization

U.S. President Renews Executive Order Labeling Venezuela
Threat to National Security

Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech
70th Anniversary of the Cold War
Pravda Interview with J.V. Stalin
- March 14, 1946 -

105th Anniversary of International Women's Day

Victory to the Struggle of Women for
Their Emancipation!

One hundred and five years ago, the first International Women's Day was celebrated to focus on the call for peace issued by women in Europe prior to World War I. Already at that time, working women were becoming conscious of the need to coordinate their struggle and express unity for their cause worldwide. On February 28, 1909 women textile workers issued a call for an international day of action of women workers. A meeting of the Socialist International held in December 1910 reiterated this demand. In a short time, March 8 became the day when women of all countries would express their unity with one another in their struggle for emancipation.

Today, on a world scale women are participating in the van of society in unprecedented numbers. Everywhere, they are in the forefront opening a path for the progress of society. In almost all countries, women's rights have achieved formal recognition and the need to provide women and children with all that they require to flourish is considered to be one of the most important problems of our times. This is because women themselves have always embarked on affirming their rights in a concrete way not as a mere policy objective. It can be said that the fact that women's rights are on the agenda, even in international fora, is the greatest achievement to date of the women's movement for emancipation.

In Canada, as elsewhere, women are in the forefront of the struggle against the anti-social offensive. At the same time they are involved in finding solutions for some of the most important problems facing society, whether of poverty and unemployment, education and health care, escalating social violence or specific women's issues. The demand for justice for the families of Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or are missing is one of the most significant in Canada today to advance the cause of the people against the continuation of colonial relations and the misery this causes. The involvement of women in the vanguard of the struggle is one of the most important positive developments in the effort to open the door for the progress of society. It is also one of the most important steps women have taken towards their own affirmation.

TML Weekly hails the women of Canada and the world on the occasion of International Women's Day which is one of the most important occasions for the entire humanity to remind itself of all that needs to be achieved in the immediate future. Women's rights must be recognized by providing the conditions they require, as well as constitutional guarantees in all countries, just as they must be put foremost in international covenants. Unless this is done, the emancipation of women will not become a fact of life. Only once women achieve their rights will the world be able to celebrate the emancipation of the whole of humanity.

Hail March 8 -- International Women's Day!

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Women Workers Must
Lead the Struggle for Renewal

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) greets March 8, International Women's Day, with full confidence that women workers will continue to take the lead in the work to renew the political process and the society. Communist women have proven in this period, as in the past, that they take up the question of gender discrimination as a question of emancipating the working class. The mobilization of women workers for the renewal of the political process is a step in this direction.

The present period is one of retreat of revolution in which the working class has not lost its leading role. Far from losing its leading role, it is the working class which has to provide an alternative to the retrogression which is being imposed on the society. Women workers have a crucial role to play, first and foremost, by ensuring that they do not get diverted or dissipate their energies on issues which do not put them at the centre-stage of the developments. They must, as is the case with all the workers, be political, work out their program, and take the same to all sections of the society.

This year on International Women's Day we call on all women workers to pledge their adherence to the cause of their class. In the course of the developments since the onset of the anti-social offensive in 1989, no women with positions of power and privilege have advocated for women in a meaningful manner. On the contrary, while women suffer the most in the war zones, the plight of oppressed and exploited women is used to serve the war agenda of the ruling class. In the name of opposing discrimination, religious persecution, rights, womanhood and any other high ideal, successive Canadian governments pick and choose which women and causes to support. The imposition of American-style democracy in the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean has increased their enslavement. So too the working people in the former Soviet Union and eastern European countries are no better off as a result of this "democracy." The so-called democracy movements are mere pretexts to increase the takeover of these countries and bring about regime change. Women workers must not merge with such movements and waste their energies.

Women workers must raise their own demands within the struggle for the emancipation of the entire working class. Only in this way can all women be emancipated. Advanced women workers should join the Party, organize basic organizations for the emancipation of women at the workplace, inclusive of all fellow workers, irrespective of gender, and excel in the taking up of political affairs under the banner of the democratic renewal of the political process.

CPC(M-L) takes this opportunity to express its full support for all women fighting for emancipation across this country and on the world scale and to hail the increasing participation of women in political affairs. The Party condemns the hypocrisy of the government of Canada that picks and chooses which women and causes to support but continues to cover up the treatment it reserves for women and in particular Canada's Indigenous women. CPC(M-L) condemns all acts of oppression and humiliation of women, rape and other forms of brutality and terror which continue thanks to the conditions of capitalist exploitation and wage slavery and the vicious anti-social offensive that seeks to take away all vestiges of the right to redress for crimes committed against women. All those committing crimes against women must be punished. 

Women Workers, Together Let Us Achieve a Society that Defends the Rights of All by Leading the Struggle for Renewal!

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Condemn the Assassination of
Honduran Leader Berta Cáceres!

Berta Cáceres in Intibuca, Honduras, January 2015. (T. Russo)

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the assassination of Honduran Indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres. Cáceres, co-founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) was shot by gunmen who broke into her home in the early morning hours of March 3. A tireless fighter for the rights of the peoples, she was a leader of the Lenca people of the Rio Blanco area of Honduras. Most recently, she was leading the fight against the Honduran government's violation of Indigenous title and in favour of the requirement to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples for any proposed new hydroelectric projects on their territories.

CPC(M-L) sends its condolences to Cáceres' family and comrades in Honduras and to the heroic Honduran people who refuse to submit to the dictate of the private monopolies that have taken over the Honduran government by force. CPC(M-L) places the blame for her murder squarely on the Honduran state and all its backers, including Canada. Following the U.S.-orchestrated coup d'etat in 2009, the Honduran state has operated on behalf of the monopolies, passing laws in their favour and placing its police, military and paramilitary forces at their disposal to repress the people's resistance with impunity. Canadians have not forgotten that the Canadian state led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper was one of the first to recognize the illegitimate coup government installed after the overthrow of the government of Manuel Zelaya.

Cáceres had received repeated death threats as well as constant judicial and administrative harassment ever since the 2009 military coup, attesting to the state of anarchy and violence the U.S. and the Honduran oligarchy have imposed on the country through the coup. According to Global Witness, Honduras is the most deadly country in the world for land and environmental defenders. It reports that at least 109 people were killed between 2010 and 2015 for taking a stand against destructive dam, mining, logging and agriculture projects. Of the eight victims whose cases were publicly reported in 2015, six were from Indigenous groups. Canadian companies are knee deep in such projects and this may be one of the reasons the Trudeau government will avoid any investigation into Canada's role in Honduras.

Cáceres' murder follows the murders of other members of COPINH and community members in areas where COPINH has led the people to affirm their rights. Cáceres in particular was active not only in defence of the rights of Indigenous peoples to say No! to monopolies which have been given a free hand in the exploitation of Honduras' natural resources and land, but also in the political fight of the people to overturn the coup and take the Honduran state out of the hands of the Honduran oligarchy and their foreign backers.

Cáceres is most well known for leading a successful movement against one of Central America's biggest hydropower projects, the Agua Zarca cascade of four giant dams in the Gualcarque River basin. As a result of the people's resistance the project had to be stopped in 2013. However, since that time death threats against Cáceres and others in the Rio Blanco area have been stepped up. The Honduran state intervened directly to have her arrested and imprisoned on bogus charges at a time that members of the community where the dams were to be located were being killed, disappeared or beaten.

In 2014, the Lenca people of Rio Blanco discovered that a new dam project, the Canjel River Hydroelectric Project was being started on their lands without their knowledge or consent. A U.S.-based private equity firm Capital III, together with a Canadian company, Hydrosys Consultants, had begun building the Canjel Dam in violation of International Labour Organization Convention 169, as the Lenca communities in the area were once again never consulted. In September 2014, COPINH filed denunciations with the Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Peoples of Honduras against government officials for failing to consult the Lenca people for a total of 40 dam projects.

Capital III is planning to finance four dams in Honduras, three of which COPINH has denounced. One of the larger ones, the Zompopero Hydroelectric Project, impacts three Honduran states and is a $50-million project. Additionally, Hydrosys Consultants, the Canadian company in charge of the construction, permits, and engineering of the Canjel Dam, was involved in at least five dam projects in Honduras in 2014. TeleSUR reported on March 4 that Cáceres made statements last April claiming that "men close to Blue Energy," or people "close to politicians" and "death squads promoted from government policies" were behind the death threats leveled against her. TeleSUR reported Blue Energy as being "a transnational Canadian company looking to build a dam in the Rio Blanco area in western Honduras."

Cáceres' mother and daughter have both said they hold the companies behind the dam projects in Rio Blanco and the Honduran government responsible for her death.

Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández, whose government was subject to an order issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights requiring it to take special precautions to guarantee the safety of Cáceres, did nothing to inspire confidence that a cover-up would not be the result when he announced that an investigation was currently underway "in coordination with the support of the United States and other countries to find the culprits."

Cáceres' family have called on the Honduran government to protect witnesses to the murder and prevent evidence from being contaminated and have joined COPINH in calling for an independent, international investigation not led by the Honduran government, the Organization of American States, or the newly-launched Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras backed by the OAS.

CPC(M-L) calls on the Canadian working class and people to demand justice for the murder of Beta Cáceres and all those murdered in Honduras for affirming their rights and the rights of all!

(With files from TeleSUR, Upside Down World)

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Canada's Contribution to Resolving Refugee Crisis

The Working Class Must Take the Lead in
Defending the Rights of All

As of February 28 more than 25,000 Syrian refugees have come to Canada. A little over half came as government-assisted refugees with the rest having private or semi-private sponsorship. In this issue TML Weekly is providing information about the conditions of Syrian refugees who have settled in Canada, the settlement process and related concerns.

What is clear is that while the government gives the impression that it is defending the rights of Syrians in Canada and abroad this is not in fact the case. By having refugees sponsored privately or semi-privately, the onus to uphold various standards is put on various individuals, families and non-government organizations while how they are to be cared for is handed over to private interests and police forces. The unfolding events show that now is the time for the working class and its organizations to take concrete measures to make sure the rights of refugees are upheld in the context of defending the rights of all. This is the conclusion the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) thinks is warranted from its assessment of how the new arrivals have been placed in various communities, how their disposal is treated by the ruling circles and the pressure they are under. It is all the more important given that private monopolies and organizations connected with the Syrian opposition are working to make sure that the arrival of Syrians takes place in a way that benefits their vested interests.

The new arrivals have been divided into several categories: government-assisted refugees (GAR), Blended Visa-Office Referred (BVOR) and privately-sponsored refugees (PSR). Once they are categorized they are no longer referred to as human beings, all of whom should be government-assisted but they become defined by their "category." What authority is to advocate for them as human beings with their particular needs? What authority is overseeing these needs as they go from one stage of settlement to the next? The entire matter seems to have become a pragmatic affair of disposing of them as quickly as possible. Phrases are bandied about: "they are lucky to be here," "they should be grateful," "everyone is doing their best," "they have been screened and Canadians have nothing to be afraid of." And that is that.

But what are the different categories all about?

We are told that those individuals who fall into what is called the government-assisted category have come from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and have been settled for the most part in major cities in Canada. These individuals, as well as those in other categories, were already registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and have gone through six levels of screening: identification and referral to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; immigration and security overview by visa officers from Canadian embassies and high commissions; identity and document verification and biometric and biographic data collection (which involves that data being obtained and verified by the RCMP, CSIS, border services and U.S. security agencies); health screening; identity confirmation prior to departure; and identity verification upon arrival. Approximately 290 Canadian Armed Forces personnel (as well as a number of RCMP officers and staff) traveled to Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan to take part in the administrative processing of refugee applications, including the collection of biometric data; provide support for medical screening; and provide an armed forces "command and control element."

More than 1,000 government-assisted refugees are in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver respectively. Forty-eight per cent are said to be without permanent housing at this time and many are in hotels or other temporary housing, some for months. Temporary housing, such as hotels are paid for by the government outside of the standard refugee income assistance. Refugees in temporary housing are given a $10 per day per adult food allowance and a $50 per minor flat fee (not per day). Once permanent housing is found refugees must pay for housing from standard government income support for refugees, which lasts up to one year or less if it is deemed that they can support themselves. It is not clear how this determination is made.

The support is delivered by government-funded private agencies and it can include funds for housing, clothing, food and other basic items and assistance in finding employment. The maximum amount provided is $25,000 per family, including a one-time "start up" payment and monthly support. The amount however is tied to provincially-determined welfare rates and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told media that the one-year average for Ontario, for instance, is closer to $11,281 but varies depending on family size.

The provincial and federal governments have stressed that refugees will not receive more than the existing welfare rates. The BC Ministry of Social Development told the CBC in response to questions that an adult on welfare would receive $610 per month in income assistance, with $375 for shelter and $235 for food and other support. "Government-assisted refugees...," said the BC ministry in an email to CBC News, "do not receive more monthly support than people on income assistance."

The category called "Blended Visa-Office Referred" is comprised of individuals identified for resettlement by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) who have private sponsors in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says the goal of the program is "to engage in a three-way partnership among the Government of Canada, the UNHCR, and private sponsors." Those in the category are entitled to receive government support for six months, rather than a year. After six months private sponsors are to provide "another six months of financial support and up to a year of social and emotional support." Sponsors must be individuals or government-certified "Sponsorship Agreement Holders" most of which are religious organizations.

Individuals in the "privately-sponsored" category do not receive government support but are to be looked after by individuals or by Sponsorship Agreement Holders. Privately-sponsored refugees can also seek help from recognized Service Provider Organizations.

The government currently recognizes 1,248 of these Service Provider Organizations, including school boards, NGOs, libraries and private social service organizations but also employment agencies, economic development corporations and private training schools. Privately-sponsored and blended visa-office refugees from Syria, unlike government-assisted individuals are dispersed throughout Canada, with many outside major cities and others dispersed in small numbers or on a family basis in particular rural locations.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says "Normally, a private sponsor supports a refugee for 12 months, starting from the refugee's arrival in Canada or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first." Private sponsorship of refugees in Canada began only in 1978 in the context of the so-called boat people coming to Canada from Vietnam.

Like other refugees who enter Canada in one of the three above categories, the Syrians became permanent residents upon arrival. To keep this status, they must reside in Canada for two out of every five years and not be convicted of a serious crime or be found to have provided false information on certain paperwork. Refugees who do not receive automatic permanent residence upon arrival are those who enter Canada before claiming refugee status or seeking asylum.

In the opinion of CPC(M-L) all of this is very worrisome. Where will the responsibility lie for all these vulnerable people? All of it seems to be based on an outlook that treats human beings as "a problem" to be dealt with in a manner which causes the least inconvenience and expense to the public treasury. What will happen if these human beings do not perform as "expected" and this "problem" becomes an "inconvenience"?

Immigration Minister John McCallum spoke at a "Welcoming Syrian Refugees" forum held on December 1, 2015 by the Governor General to discuss the disposal of the refugees on their arrival in Canada. He said that there is "a possibility of a social backlash" against Syrian refugees if "Canadians see them as being pampered." "We don't want Canadians to think we are giving refugees everything and not accommodating the needs of our own people," he told the forum. McCallum said one challenge is to keep Canadians "on side." He said "we have to reassure Canadians on the security front, that's an ongoing challenge, but the good news is we have the RCMP, CSIS and Canadian border people saying they are satisfied with our methods."

European Council president Donald Tusk expressed the anti-human outlook which blames the refugees for their own plight on March 3 when he warned them and those he called "potential illegal economic migrants," to "not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing."

It is already clear that the security aspect gives priority to dealing with refugees on a law and order basis. The work of preparing them for their arrival in Canada seems to have been left in the hands of police forces which screened them prior to their being accepted. News reports quote RCMP officers who traveled to Jordan to interview the refugees as having told them that in Canada, unlike Syria or the countries they had been residing in, their rights will be defended by the police. "If you come to Canada and you feel vulnerable, or being taken advantage of, do not fear contacting the police," one RCMP officer said. "There isn't corruption as there are in other places in the world," she said, "the police don't get any of those special privileges and there isn't that corruption..." In other words, the responsibilities of government towards the settlement of refugees are not a matter of public discourse, but imbuing them with what are called "Canadian values" and prejudices is considered newsworthy.

Meanwhile, right from the beginning the government has appealed to private monopoly interests to get involved in the settlement of the new arrivals. Certain industries have expressed particular interest, such as the meat packing industry centred around Brooks, Alberta and those who need farm labour in places like Leamington, Ontario. There seems to be a concerted push by private monopoly interests to place people in rural areas where it is claimed there is "a labour shortage." In this regard, private monopoly interests have expressed an interest to have refugee labour as a more permanent pool of cheap labour in lieu of the guest foreign workers whose visas expire.

A representative of the Canadian Meat Council took part in the Governor General's December 1 forum and stated that the industry has a chronic labour shortage. "Not enough Canadians are willing to accept job offers for vacancies situated often in smaller, more distant and rural locations," he said. He called on governments to encourage settlement in places where his industry needs more labour at a standard below that which is acceptable. At the same meeting Susan Scotti of the Canadian Business Council spoke about how many of its member companies are involved in settling Syrians in Canada at every stage.

This is portrayed as charity and humanitarianism although the motives are clear given the complaints from these monopoly interests about the difficulties they have with the temporary foreign worker program and the need for workers who will do "jobs that Canadians are not willing to do." This is presented as a "win-win" for private interests, Canadians and Syrians who need jobs. This alone should put the working people on alert. The working class and its organizations must play their role to make sure the thousands of Syrians who have come from hardship and strife are not made targets of attack now and when they fight to defend their rights. Foreign "guest workers" who fight for their rights are often repatriated. What will Canada do with Syrian refugees who refuse to compromise their conscience?

Just as private monopoly interests came forward to "welcome" the refugees to Canada, so too, private organizations with vested interests are working with the government to "welcome" the Syrians. Some claim to represent democratic Syrians in Canada but in fact represent only those who have been pushing for “regime change” in that country and are connected to international efforts to interfere in Syria's sovereignty. Such groups have been given preferential status such that in some cities they are playing a large and leading role in looking after the new arrivals. Will the refugees have to adhere to the beliefs of these organizations to get satisfactory housing, medical attention, education and jobs? If they speak their mind in a manner which does not adhere to what are called "Canadian values" will they be subjected to "deradicalization" and behaviour modification?

In Windsor, Ontario a local group affiliated to the Syrian Canadian Council has been given a prominent place in coordinating settlement efforts with refugee and immigrant service providers and other local organizations who want to assist refugees upon their arrival. An event sponsored by this group and the business World Water Operator Training Company to welcome refugees was attended by local MPs and MPPs and other officials. The event prominently displayed not the flag of Syria but one with a green stripe used by certain opposition groups who have been pushing for regime change with the support of the U.S., Canada and other countries.

The "Syrian Canadian Council" has been ceaselessly agitating for U.S.-NATO regime change in Syria while agitating against the Syrian government and army as well as Iran, Russia and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. They show no concern for the involvement of the U.S. and its allies and their sponsorship of atrocities including ISIS.

There are a number of reasons why Syrians have had to leave their country since 2011 but high on the minds of many are the consequences of efforts by the U.S. and its allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel to funnel money and arms to groups in Syria trying to repeat the crime that devastated Libya. One does not need to look further than the great fleets of Toyota Trucks driven by ISIS which a U.S. Congressional study found to have been originally purchased by none other than the U.S. government.

But these are not the issue when it comes to the settlement of new arrivals. The issue is that settlement should be in the hands of a public authority that is not involved in sectarian activities of any kind, whether political, religious or any other.

Governor General David Johnston said the settlement of Syrian refugees in Canada is "an opportunity to reimagine how we take care of the most marginalized and vulnerable among us." It is now revealed that this "reimagining" means turning over the settlement to private interests which does not bode well for either the new arrivals or Canadians as a whole. It shows the urgent need to step up the fight for a public authority which takes up its social responsibility to defend the rights of all and implement all the measures required by those who are the most vulnerable at any given time.

CPC(M-L) wishes the Syrian refugees all the best as they strive to make a new life for themselves and their families in Canada and calls on all the working people to be vigilant and make sure their rights are defended in the context of defending the rights of all.

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For Your Information

Canada's Syrian Refugee Settlement Program

On February 28 the government of Canada announced that as of that date 25,323 Syrians have been brought to Canada as refugees and been given permanent resident status, meeting the Liberals' own February 29 deadline. Of those 14,418 were government-assisted refugees (GARs). Meanwhile, 2,179 were Blended Visa-Office Referred (BVOR), meaning the government will provide support for the first six months, following which private sponsors will provide support for another six months. The remaining 8,726 were completely privately sponsored.[1]

Initially, the Liberals had said they would bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada by the end of 2015 under the GAR program that sees the government take on the full cost of a person or family's resettlement for twelve months. The Liberal campaign platform said they would work with private sponsors to do even more. The original total of privately sponsored refugees was to be 10,000. Following the election the Liberals changed the deadline to resettle that many GARs by the end of 2016. They then set a new target of resettling 25,000 people in total from all three refugee categories by the end of February 2016. While the government has said it intends to achieve its initial target of bringing 25,000 government-assisted refugees to Canada, it has not yet announced a cap on how many private sponsorship applications it will approve.

In addition to Syrian refugees who had arrived in Canada as of the end of February the government announced that there were also 12,098 refugee resettlement applications in progress and another 3,123 that had been finalized, with none of these having yet come to Canada. This could make for roughly 15,000 more Syrian refugees potentially coming to Canada. The government did not indicate what portion of these were government-assisted and which were partially or completely privately sponsored.

Canada's program for selecting GARs has focused on refugees currently living in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In Jordan and Lebanon, Syrians living in refugee camps have been registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and referred for possible resettlement in Canada. In Turkey it is the government of Turkey that is responsible for registering and communicating with Syrian refugees referred to Canada's program. One of the requirements for refugees who eventually come to Canada as government-assisted refugees is that in addition to being unable to return to their country of origin, they must also be without a reasonable prospect, within a reasonable period, of a durable solution in a country other than Canada.

Concerns Over Housing

At the February 28 announcement, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum indicated that one of the big issues that led to (so far) four new communities being designated as Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) centres and therefore eligible to receive GARs is that finding housing, especially for large families, is a problem.

Forty-eight per cent of Syrian refugees in Canada are said to still be without permanent housing. Some have been staying in hotels for months in what appears to be a permanent holding pattern while they wait for housing. "[In] some parts of Canada, 80 per cent or more [Syrian refugees] have received permanent housing, but the lowest number are Toronto and Vancouver, the two biggest cities, and that is why we are enlisting other cities and towns to be more active in British Columbia, in Ontario, to reduce the pressure on those two cities," McCallum said.

While affordable housing is already an issue in most Canadian cities, it is much worse for families with more than two to three people. It is unclear how the government plans to resolve the problem. One issue with the increased number of privately-sponsored and BVOR refugees is that the sponsors are responsible for almost all aspects of settlement such as housing and food.

McCallum announced that settlement service provider organizations in Leamington and Peterborough, Ontario and Brooks, Alberta have been selected as new Resettlement Assistance Program providers, enabling those three communities to start receiving GARs. This brings the total number of communities serving as destinations for GARs to 37 across the country.[2]

Situation in Quebec

In Quebec the total number of Syrian refugees of all categories that had arrived by February 28 was 5,199. Of these only 848 were government-assisted while 4,351 were privately sponsored. Asked specifically why so few GARs had arrived in Montreal, a spokesperson for the Quebec Immigration Department told the Montreal Gazette that since Montreal was already receiving so many privately sponsored refugees -- many of whom were being sponsored well before Trudeau took over the Prime Minister's Office -- the GARs were mostly sent elsewhere. He also said Quebec's plan was to spread the GARs it did receive among 13 destination cities in the province. Montreal is reported to have the largest Syrian community in Canada -- some 17,000 people, representing 40 per cent of all Syrian Canadians.

Overall Immigration Targets to be Released March 9

The high number of Syrian refugees could displace other classes of immigrants attempting to come to Canada, news reports say. In its 2015-2016 immigration plan, the previous Conservative government planned to take in up to 285,000 immigrants. Targets included up to as many as 186,700 economic immigrants, up to 68,000 family class and 30,200 in humanitarian streams that include refugees. Asked how the possible increase in those coming from the humanitarian stream would affect the total number of immigrants Canada will admit in the coming year, McCallum said there were limits to how much "the pie" could be expanded and so there would be tradeoffs. The Liberals' immigration targets for 2016-17 are expected to be tabled March 9.

The Globe and Mail reported that McCallum's commitment to increase the total number of immigrants in order to account for Syrian refugees this year "could make the Trudeau government the first to admit more than 300,000 new immigrants in one year since 1913." In 1912 and 1913 Canada accepted 375,756 and 400,870 immigrants respectively. However, the total population of Canada during those years is estimated at 7,389,000 and 7,632,000 respectively. The Canadian population as of October 2015 was 35,985,751.

Locations of Settlement

Those brought to Canada as GARs and BVORs have been initially placed in 37 designated cities where there is an existing Resettlement Assistance Program Service Provider Organization (or Quebec equivalent). These organizations provide immediate and essential specialized services for refugees. When communities that have received privately-sponsored refugees since November 4 are added, the total number of communities that have received Syrian refugees increases to roughly 270.

For a chart showing the locations of settlement as of February 28 for Syrian refugees in Canada where more than five people have settled, click here.


1. For background on the Canadian refugee system and the selection and screening process established for Syrian refugees see TML Weekly, November 28, 2015 - No. 37.

2. Of note is that besides having government funded settlement services, Leamington is a centre for the greenhouse and vegetable packing industry while Brooks is a centre for beef processing which also has employed temporary foreign workers as well as many new immigrants. Both have used many temporary foreign workers in the past and the lack of long-term workers has been a concern raised by companies in both industries as after four years permits for what are called low-skilled temporary foreign workers expire and workers status is in limbo. Thousands of these workers status expired in April 2015, the deadline for expiration set by the Harper Conservatives.

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Liberal Government's Shameless Hypocrisy
on Matters of War and Peace

The Anniversary of the First Gulf War

Toronto, March 30, 2003. One of many actions across Canada opposing
the Second Gulf War and demanding Canada not intervene.

The government of Canada is once again praising the intervention of Canada on the side of the U.S. imperialists in the first Gulf War in 1991.

The Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, claimed that the "contributions of the CAF during the First Gulf War are an important reflection of the values of freedom and democracy we carry with us today." General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West said that while "two World Wars and more recent operations such as those in Afghanistan may take prominence when we look back at past conflicts involving the CAF, the First Gulf War dominated our thoughts from the summer of 1990... Canada's contribution to this quick and successful outcome was remarkable." Vance and West point out the mission led to Canadian armed forces being based in Kuwait to this day, where they are deployed as part of the U.S.-led mission in Iraq. Veterans Affairs said that more than 4,000 Canadians were involved in the first U.S. Gulf War in roles including transport, the air campaign, ground assault and naval operations.

Despite attempts to praise the war and Canada's role today, the opposition of the Canadian people to that war and the crimes committed as a result of it were such[1] that when the Second Gulf War was launched on March 19, 2003, the Chrétien Liberal Government wisely decided to not intervene -- at least not openly because it did in fact intervene as part of integrated U.S. forces and in other ways behind the backs of the people. Has this Liberal government forgotten what happened at that time or does it believe that the people have a short memory? Perhaps it thinks this is a good opportunity to ingratiate itself with veterans of the First Gulf War or present itself as a peace-loving government to justify its interference in the affairs of sovereign nations in West Asia and North Africa?

Whatever the case may be, the fact is that this government is emerging as even more dangerous than the Harper government. More than half of Canadians voted to remove the latter because it was despised, not least of all for being a war government.

In 1991, the president of Iraq at that time, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait which he claimed was in fact Iraqi territory. He did so at the instigation of the United States. However, it was a set-up and he was to pay dearly for committing aggression against a sovereign country. George Bush Sr. who was the president of the U.S. at that time claimed that Saddam Hussein was a new Adolf Hitler and hysterical calls were given that no one should appease him. He said that those who did not oppose Iraq's annexation of Kuwait were appeasers and that he did not want to be an appeaser. This was the argument given to justify intervention in the region.

The fundamental question arose: How is it possible to oppose appeasement unless we know who is the aggressor at a particular time? It became evident once again in history that unless there is a grasp of the cause of the problems, there cannot be a proper attitude to finding a solution for them.

The leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) Hardial Bains wrote at the time: "It is very true that people do not want war. But if there is no appreciation of the causes of war, there can't be a solution. In the context of the present world system in which aggression and appeasement go hand in hand, the cause of unjust wars, aggression and intervention can only be the striving for domination. The U.S. has declared it has 'vital interests' all over the world. Canada and others have done the same and so does the Soviet Union.[2] It is the world system of economic enslavement and domination which is the basis for both political domination and war which are the means employed to bring it about. War, it is generally acknowledged, is the continuation of politics by other means.

"The bipolar division of the world ended last year but does it follow from this that all strivings for world domination have ended? No, it does not follow. What will happen is that the redivision of the world into new spheres of influence will begin once again in all earnestness. The crisis in the Gulf region is the first example of this since the bipolar division of the world -- the division between the Soviet and American blocs -- was ended. The U.S. wants to not only preserve its influence in the Gulf region but also to extend it. It has strategic interests in the region. Iraq wants this region to be its own zone of influence and Iran wants to establish itself as the dominant power in the region with whom others negotiate its fate. Germany, France, Japan and others also have interests in the region and so has the Soviet Union. In other words, there is a clash of interests and the ending of the bipolar division of the world has not put an end to such clashes.

"Another important aspect to consider is that we must not look at the U.S. and the Soviet Union from the perspective of short-term policy as some do. We should also look at their long-term aims. Are we to suggest that the long-term aim of the U.S. and the Soviet Union is freedom and not domination? To think that freedom is their aim would be to make a fatal error. Their aim remains world domination and this striving continues under the new conditions. This is why they commit aggression against others while they are appeasers towards one another. If the U.S. and the Soviet Union were to go to war against each other, this would not mean that they would no longer be appeasers. On the contrary, it would mean that they could no longer serve their interests without settling the matter of which one of them is going to dominate the world and that war would be the means used in order to decide this.

"People must not underestimate the possibility of war between the big powers. If it does not take place between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, it could take place between others with the U.S. and the Soviet Union taking the same or opposite sides. As long as the striving for world domination exists, the danger of war will exist. This danger can only be averted by people opposing both aggression and appeasement. Not to oppose the U.S. intervention in the Gulf region is to encourage the U.S. to carry on along its aggressive war-mongering path. It would amount to the same thing if Iraq were not opposed or the Soviet Union's enslavement of nations within its political set-up were not opposed. Aggressors and appeasers go hand in hand. The Canadian government, because of its membership in NATO and NORAD can be called both an aggressor and an appeaser. Workers and all justice- and peace-loving people should demand that the Canadian government oppose both aggression and appeasement. In other words, one of the key ingredients in the creation of a new world order is the opposition to all aggressors and appeasers without any hesitation whatsoever. This is the requirement of lasting peace and international democracy as well."[3]


1. Demographer Osborne Daponte estimated that 13,000 civilians were killed directly by American and allied forces during the war on Iraq that lasted from August 1990 to February 1991, and about 70,000 civilians died subsequently from war-related damage to medical facilities and supplies, the electric power grid, and the water system, she calculated. In all, 40,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the conflict, she concluded, putting total Iraqi losses from the war and its aftermath at 158,000, including 86,194 men, 39,612 women, and 32,195 children.

More than 1.7 million died as a direct result of the genocidal sanctions imposed by the U.S. The U.S./ UN sanctions on Iraq of the 1990s, which interdicted chlorine for much of that decade and so made water purification impossible, are estimated to have killed another 500,000 Iraqis, mainly children. (Infants and toddlers die easily from diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis, which causes fatal dehydration). U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright was interviewed on CBS-TV on May 12, 1996, on the fact that half a million children were killed and she replied "we (the U.S. government) think the price is worth it."

2. The Soviet Union was dismantled in December 1991.

3. "Appeasers" by Hardial Bains, TML Daily, Vol. 21, No. 6, January 15, 1991

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Canada's Attempts to Derail
UN Peace Process in Syria

Right in the midst of UN-led peace talks to try and bring Syrian forces together to establish a political resolution to the conflict, Canada announced it was providing technical and advisory support to certain groups in the negotiations instead of supporting the peace process itself.

Then on February 24 Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion met with one of the main foreign backed self-proclaimed opposition groups in Syria, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, also known as the Syrian National Coalition.[1] In the meeting the group advocated to Canada to ensure that regime change would be the outcome of any political transition process in Syria.

A release from the Coalition about its meeting with Dion stated that the "cessation of hostilities" agreement reached between the United States and Russia "would be meaningless unless it led to a real political transition in Syria." The Coalition said, "the agreement must set the stage for a political transition that ensures ending the rule of the Assad family and achieving the Syrian people's aspirations for freedom and dignity," and called on the Canadian government to "support the efforts aimed at bringing about a real political transition in Syria without Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle."

Clearly, the aim of regime change from outside is being imposed on a process which is supposed to lead to a transition decided by Syrians themselves.


1. On December 11, 2012 U.S. President Barack Obama recognized the coalition as the "sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people," and 100 countries followed on the day after at the Friends of Syria Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. The Coalition claims that it is recognized as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people by 120 countries. In a fact sheet from its website it has also established itself as the interim government which will take power following what they call political transition in Syria by which they mean the overthrow of the Syrian government. It also operates closely with, if not as part of, the Free Syrian Army.

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Plans to Embroil Canada in More Aggression
Against Libya

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the 2011 NATO aggression against Libya which destroyed that country the government of Canada is looking at how to join a new U.S.-led intervention.[1] Five years later, far from sorting out any problems Libya is still suffering from the anarchy and violence of the NATO assault and its people, if they remain in the country, are living under the rule of warlords, including ISIL affiliates, whom the intervention put in power.

The U.S. began bombing Libya again in 2015 with strikes in June and November and the most recent taking place February 19. The U.S. Department of Defence said in January that special forces are also present in the country. The U.S. says it is attacking "ISIL camps." ISIL's headquarters in Libya is said to be in Sirte, a coastal city in the middle of the country and the city most brutally devastated by the NATO intervention. Its basis is those who fought on behalf of the U.S. and NATO against the Libyan government in 2011, many of whom then travelled to Syria in hopes of repeating the same there.

The U.S. is also flying combat drones to Libya based at the Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily. An Italian Defence Ministry official told media that the drones should only be used for "defensive purposes" to protect U.S. special forces on the ground.

Discussions among military and political figures in NATO countries indicate that there are plans to stage a larger operation soon, possibly in March. The CBC reported on February 13 that according to Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan "Canada could soon join a military coalition to take on ISIS in Libya."

"I had a good meeting with my counterpart, the minister of defence from Italy, [on military intervention in Libya]," Sajjan said. He said "Italy is willing to take the lead on this; once we have a good understanding of the political situation, that will allow us to figure out what we need to do." The CBC says that according to Sajjan "any military action in Libya would be based on lessons learned from Canada's experience in Afghanistan."

UK foreign office minister Tobias Ellwood said in early February that RAF warplanes have also returned to Libya. The UK Sunday Telegraph reported on February 27 that British special forces have been deployed and are "working alongside their US counterparts in the city of Misrata." Le Monde in France similarly reported that French special forces and members of the Directorate-General for External Security intelligence agency are also on the ground in Libya again.


1. On March 2, 2011 Canada deployed the frigate HMCS Charlottetown to the coast of Libya. Then-Minister of National Defence Peter McKay said, "[w]e are there for all inevitabilities. And NATO is looking at this as well ... This is taken as a precautionary and staged measure." Fifteen days later on March 17 the UN Security Council approved a "no-fly zone" over Libya which marked the official start of the military intervention led by NATO.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein stated on February 25 that "complete impunity" prevails in Libya today. There is no national government and armed groups control various parts of the country. The High Commissioner's Office notes "unlawful killings, including executions of people taken captive, detained, abducted or perceived to be voicing dissent; indiscriminate attacks on highly populated residential areas; torture and ill-treatment; arbitrary detention; abductions and disappearances; and gender-based violence and discrimination against women."

Al Hussein notes that today Libya "only sporadically makes the headlines." In 2011, after U.S.-sponsored forces staged an uprising to overthrow the Libyan government, the monopoly-owned media and NATO governments went into overdrive to promote the wildest claims to justify intervention which later turned out to have no basis in fact. Crimes of epic proportions were then committed by the U.S., Canada and other NATO members and their forces on the ground. What had been described as a "no-fly zone" to protect Libyans turned out to be a ruthless bombing campaign against the Libyan army, whole cities and patriotic Libyan civilians who took up arms to defend themselves.

For more information, see articles on the fourth anniversary of the NATO war against Libya in TML Weekly, March 21, 2015 - No. 12.

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Why We Say No to the War in Iraq and Syria

Join in Anti-War Actions to Mark
the 13th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq and to
Oppose Canada's Involvement in Wars of Aggression!

Rally and Picket
Saturday, March 19 -- 2:00 pm
1888 Brunswick Street
(outside of Liberal MP Andy Fillmore’s office)


Rally and Picket
Saturday, March 19 -- 1:00 pm

Complexe Guy-Favreau
200 René-Lévesque Blv O.
Place d’Armes or Place des Arts metro stations

Rally and Picket

Sunday, March 19 -- 1:00 pm

U.S. Embassy
York and Sussex St.

Rally and Picket at the Office of Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland

Saturday, March 19 -- 1:00 pm

344 Bloor St. W. (near Spadina station)

The Trudeau government has decided to recall Canadian CF-18s from Iraq and Syria. This is a good step but the plan to triple the number of troop trainers on the ground is a dangerous example of mission creep and must be opposed.

Troop trainers are combat troops. Canadian soldiers have been in many firefights while on training missions including one fight which killed Canadian soldier Andrew Dorion. Canadians were also in combat just last December while on a training mission.

The West has spent 15 years and more than $25 billion to train troops in Iraq and all of these attempts have been a failure. This is not because they haven't tried hard enough. It is because the Iraqi people have a deep anger and distrust of western military interventions. More training missions won't solve that underlying problem.

This war is a product of the illegal and immoral US invasion of Iraq in 2003 that killed over a million people and created the conditions for ISIS and other militias to rise up in the first place.

Each western military intervention in the region has bred more terror -- not less. Our political leaders are simply doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results each time.

In Libya NATO bombing led to the complete collapse of the state and the rise of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Now the west is looking at further bombing missions in Libya to clean up the mess they made with the previous bombing campaign.

It is an open secret that our "allies" in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, have been supporting ISIS. It is shameful that Canada has decided to arm those same people.

This war has created a refugee crisis with millions trying to flee the war zones. The refugees are the victims of this perpetual war -- not the perpetrators of the conflict yet they are paying the price again with racist border controls and inadequate supports when they do arrive in Canada.

This perpetual war also creates a backlash against Muslims in Canada and justifies the suppression of civil rights in the name of the fight against terror. Bill C-51 is only the most recent example of that curtailing of our rights.

Expanding the mission will only fuel the cycle of endless war and racism. It has to stop.

We call on the government of Canada to:

- Immediately remove all Canadian troops and planes from Iraq and Syria.

- Cancel the $15 billion arms shipment to Saudi Arabia and to all other dictatorships around the world.

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Cessation of Hostilities in Effect

As of February 27 a cessation of hostilities began in Syria. The agreement applies to the parties to the Syrian conflict that indicate their commitment to and acceptance of its terms. It does not however apply to "Daesh," "Jabhat al-Nusra," or "other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council," which is part of the reason it is referred to as a cessation of hostilities rather than a ceasefire. The terms were submitted to the UN Security Council for approval by Russia and the U.S. in their capacity as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG).

Who is and who isn't a terrorist continues to be an issue which is causing problems for the imperialists. As an example, while Canada's new mission fighting ISIS includes training, assisting and equipping the Kurdish Peshmerga militias in Northern Iraq, Canada's NATO ally Turkey had been demanding that Kurdish forces in Syria should be excluded from the cessation of hostilities agreement on the basis that they are terrorists. Responding to the announced agreement prior to its implementation, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would not comply. He compared the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), with ISIS, claiming that if Daesh and the al-Nusra Front are kept outside the truce, "then the PYD-YPG must similarly be excluded from the ceasefire for it is a terrorist group just as they are." Prior to the cessation of hostilities, the Turkish military had been openly shelling positions of the Kurdish forces in Syria. On March 2, despite the cessation of hostilities being in place, Turkey continued to shell inside Syria claiming that it was only attacking ISIS positions. Meanwhile Turkey is also being accused of smuggling weapons into Syria in humanitarian aid shipments.

With the cessation of hostilities in place, the U.S. and its allies' attempts to use proxies in Syria to bring about regime change through the use of force have been curtailed. This is likely why the U.S. is now talking about a "Plan B" for Syria. To be a party to the agreement armed groups must commit to the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and "readiness to participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiation process." They have to cease attacks against the Syrian Armed Forces and "any associated forces;" in return, they will not be subject to attacks by the armed forces of the Syrian government "or other forces supporting them," Russian armed forces or those of the U.S.-led Counter-ISIL Coalition. The agreement is overseen by a Ceasefire Task Force co-chaired by Russia and the U.S. and its secretariat is the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Syria.[1]

After six days UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said the cessation of hostilities is holding but remains fragile. "The situation therefore could be summarized as fragile, success is not guaranteed but progress has been visible," de Mistura told reporters. The Russians report that there have been breaches of the agreement 52 times by some "terrorist organizations."

"The important thing is to start the momentum reaching the point when the political aspect will be addressed because that is what will make the endgame a stable one in Syria," the UN Syria envoy added.

De Mistura announced that he plans to hold a meeting of Syrian groups on March 9 aimed at paving the way for formal peace talks to restart.

Canadian Journalist Shelled

It is reported that Radio-Canada correspondent Raymond Saint-Pierre was injured in Syria on March 1 when the group of journalists he was travelling with came under bombardment near the Turkish border in the Syrian village of Latakia. Saint-Pierre told CBC News that the bombardment might have come from Turkish forces or al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters that are active in the area. The group had been flown from Moscow to Syria for a tour organized by Russia's defence ministry. No comment has been released on the matter by Canadian officials.

Syrian Government to Hold Elections

On February 22, the same day the terms for the cessation of hostilities agreement was announced, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued decree No. 63 which set Wednesday, April 13, 2016 as the date for elections for members of the People's Assembly. The total number of the members is 250 and those elected sit for a four year term. By the close of nominations on March 2 the total number of candidates who submitted their applications reached 11,341 according to the Higher Judicial Committee for Elections.

In the last election the National Progressive Front, headed by the ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party and made up of six other political parties, gained the most seats with 168, while the Popular Front for Change and Liberation made up of two political parties won five seats and 77 independents were elected.

U.S. Muses About "Plan B" If No Regime Change

Speaking to a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 23 following the release of terms for the cessation of hostilities, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated: "We are going to know in a month or two whether or not this transition process is really serious. Assad himself is going to have to make some real decisions about the formation of a transitional governance process that's real. If there is not... there are certainly Plan B options being considered."

Kerry stressed that the partitioning of Syria was part of Plan B if the cessation of hostilities fails to hold. Clearly the U.S. does not consider that the requirement for committing to a political resolution of the conflict in Syria applies to itself. Kerry stated at the Committee, "This can get a lot uglier and Russia has to be sitting there evaluating that too. It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if it is much longer."


1. In a joint statement on February 22, the U.S. and Russia as co-chairs of the ISSG state: "The primary functions of the Task Force are, as provided in the ISSG Statement of February 11, to: a) delineate the territory held by 'Daesh,' 'Jabhat-al-Nusra' and other terrorist organizations designated by the United Nations Security Council; b) ensure communications among all parties to promote compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions; c) resolve allegations of non-compliance; and d) refer persistent non-compliant behavior by any of the parties to the ISSG Ministers or those designated by the Ministers to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements of the cessation of hostilities, and the protection it affords them."

The joint statement goes on to say that the ISSG Ceasefire Task Force was established under UN auspices and that the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Syria, the entity charged with facilitating the UN-sponsored intra-Syrian talks that remain suspended, serves as its secretariat. The agreement calls for the U.S. and Russia along with other members of the Ceasefire Task Force to "develop effective mechanisms to promote and monitor compliance with the ceasefire both by the governmental forces of the Syrian Arab Republic and other forces supporting them, and the armed opposition groups."

Strikes will continue against organizations designated by the UN Security Council as terrorist as they are excluded from the cessation of hostilities.

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Third Anniversary of the Passing of President Hugo Chávez Commemorated

International forum on "Chávez: A Leader of the 21st Century and Latin American and Caribbean Unity" at the Teresa Carreño Theatre in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5, 2016

The third anniversary of the untimely death of Venezuelan President and leader of the Bolivarian Revolution Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013 was marked with ceremonies and gatherings in Venezuela and around the world.

In Venezuela, events will take place from March 5 to 15 and began at 10:00 am with the lighting of a torch in honour of President Chávez. Brigadier General Carlos Rodriguez Vencomo said the torch will remain lit for the 365 days and tour "neighborhoods, streets and towns." The torch began its journey in the 23 de Enero neighbourhood in the Libertador Bolivarian municipality west of Caracas, the capital.

Regional leaders also travelled to Venezuela March 5 to pay tribute alongside Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. These included Bolivian President Evo Morales, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbadu Gaston Brown, Prime Minister of the Dominican Republic Roosevelt Skerrit and Cuban Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

They joined prominent Venezuelan personalities and political leaders, as well as representatives of the military and other sectors of the Venezuelan people to visit the Cuartel de la Montaña (Mountain Barracks), a military museum which is now a mausoleum for Chávez's remains.

President Maduro and his counterparts then participated in an international forum at the Teresa Carreno Theatre in Caracas entitled "Chávez: A Leader of the 21st Century and Latin American and Caribbean Unity."

In Ecuador, a ceremony was held on March 4 before the statue of Simon Bolivar in the capital Quito, followed by a religious ceremony at the Basílica del Voto Nacional. A concert was held in Chávez's honour on March 5 at the Chapel of Man in Quito.

Argentinians gathered on March 4 in Rivadavia Park in the capital, Buenos Aires, in front of the statue of Simon Bolivar.

In Bolivia, the Venezuelan embassy began activities on February 29 including a photo exhibition, concert and exhibition of commemorative coins marking Hugo Chávez's 59 years of life.

Cuba marked the anniversary on March 4 with floral tributes organized by the embassy of Venezuela and the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) at the Avenue of the Presidents in Havana.

In Cuba, Venzuelan medical students and members of the Bolivarian Armed Forces commemorate Hugo Chávez at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, March 5, 2016.

Nicaraguan youth rally in Managua in memory of Hugo Chávez, March 5, 2016.

Third Anniversary of Chávez's Death Commemorated in Canada

His Excellency Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández, Ambassador of Venezuela in Canada, addresses the commemoration in Gatineau, March 4, 2016.

In Canada the legacy of President Hugo Chávez was marked by an official ceremony held by the Embassy of Venezuela in Gatineau, Quebec as well as events in other cities.

The interreligious ceremony in Gatineau brought together people from all walks of life, including religious and political leaders, friends of Venezuela and members of the diplomatic corps of various countries. It also featured musical performances from a local children's choir and Venezuelan artists. Christian and Islamic leaders made special note of President Chávez's fidelity towards the plight of the poor and oppressed and how he worked selflessly to improve their conditions. Speeches from the ambassadors of Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia to Canada paid tribute to Chávez's role in uniting the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean and opposing neo-liberal free trade pushed by the U.S. in favour of trade and relations on the basis of mutual benefit and respect.

Ambassadors to Canada of the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance
for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

Finally, His Excellency Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández, Ambassador of Venezuela in Canada spoke on the significance of Chávez. Barrientos remarked that he first met Hugo Chávez when he was 17 years old and both served in Venezuela's armed forces. He said the themes taken up by Chávez continue to be of utmost significance: dignity, sovereignty, peace, homeland and love.

"Our Commander is remembered by millions because he was a humble man striving for justice and the good of the people, and for new relations among human beings," Ambassador Barrientos said. He also drew particular attention to the anti-imperialist character of the Bolivarian Revolution and President Chávez's undying support for the cause of the Palestinian people, for the self-determination of the Puerto Rican people and for peaceful resolution of international disputes. President Chávez's legacy carries on in the work of President Maduro and in the important institutions he helped build, such as ALBA, UNASUR, CELAC, BancoSUR, TeleSUR and Petrocaribe, Ambassador Barrientos said.

(With files from TeleSUR. Photos: AVN, Venezuelan Presidency, CubaDebate, Venezuelan Embassy in Canada, TML.)

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President Maduro Initiates New Socialist Enterprise System and Calls on Workers to Resist Privatization

At a meeting with workers at the Ana Maria Campo Petrochemical Complex in Zulia state on February 22, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced the creation of a National Productive Corporation as part of a new socialist enterprise system aimed at coordinating efforts among state, communal and mixed enterprises.

The Corporation will be headed by National Telephone Company (CANTV) President Manuel Fernandez and will coordinate between key public firms. President Maduro also said the new body will fight against "the corruption that has entered all levels of the distributive process like a cancer."

Maduro also announced the establishment of a new socialist management school for public employees to provide technical education and a workplace culture guided by "a vision towards production."

At the same time that the government is taking measures against the economic war of the oligarchy and to strengthen the national economy, the oligarchic parties in the National Assembly are attempting to privatize public assets and attack the rights of workers.

Legislation was introduced in the National Assembly on March 2 which has the stated purpose of "strengthening national production." United Socialist Party of Venezuela legislator Hector Rodriguez pointed out, "when you start to read the law, what the law sets out is the privatization of land, basic industries, recovered (expropriated) state corporations and the flexibilization of labour laws."

President Maduro said the law is "attempting to take away land from the campesinos, from the Indigenous. It's absolutely illegal, immoral and unconstitutional." Maduro denounced the new legislation and urged workers to mobilize in defence of the public sector.

"It's a law to privatize and plunder the country like they did when they used to govern, when they privatized SIDOR, CANT, VIASA and put an end to the economic structure of the country, [National Assembly President] Ramos Allup and company."

"The working class must take to the streets to confront and defeat [the law], you can count on my support to defeat it," he affirmed.


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U.S. President Renews Executive Order Labeling Venezuela Threat to National Security

An executive order imposing sanctions against Venezuela first issued by U.S. President Barack Obama in March 2015 has been renewed for another year. The decree states that Venezuela is "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." In an April 2015 interview Obama admitted that Venezuela did not pose a threat to U.S. security but stated that labelling it as such was necessary to impose sanctions.

The executive order was condemned by all 33 members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

A unanimous statement issued by CELAC called on the U.S. government to reverse the decree and, with the government of Venezuela, "launch a dialogue, under the principles of respect for sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of the states, the self-determination of the peoples and the democratic and institutional order in line with international law."

In statements posted online on March 4, UNASUR stated, "The renewal of U.S. unilateral measures against Venezuela is a disappointment for the 12 UNASUR member states because it violates the principle of non-intervention, as agreed upon at the Ministerial Meeting held on March 9, 2015."

Venezuela's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Delcy Rodriguez pointed out that the U.S. order "incites anti-democratic and violent factors of Venezuelan opposition, to undermine the country's institutions and its legitimate and constitutional authorities." Rodriguez added that the decree seeks to create the conditions for the restoration of neo-liberalism throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Rodriguez announced that as a result of the extension of the executive order, Venezuela will undertake a review of its relations with the U.S. "When we review what has happened in the last year we know that a disproportionate offensive has been deployed against the progressive and revolutionary governments of the region," she said. Rodriguez pointed out that this now involves so-called soft coups such as the economic war against Venezuela.

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Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech

70th Anniversary of the Cold War

On March 5, 1946, the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was invited to Fulton, Missouri by U.S. President Harry S. Truman where he delivered his "Sinews of Peace" speech, in which he claimed that the Soviet Union had imposed an "iron curtain" on Europe. Churchill prepared his speech in Washington, DC and discussed it at length with U.S. president Truman who accompanied him on stage in Fulton. The Churchill Centre in Downers’ Grove, Illinois, U.S. also indicates that Churchill sought input from Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. King sent the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, future Prime Minister Lester Pearson, who recommended that Churchill not refer to the Second World War as "The Unnecessary War" as he was accustomed to doing for fear of providing fuel for U.S. isolationists.

Churchill delivers his infamous "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri. At right, U.S. President Harry Truman.

The first recorded use of the "iron curtain" metaphor used by Churchill was by the Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels during the war. In his speech, Churchill condemned the communist system of states and called for an alliance of the "English-speaking nations" to save the world from Soviet domination and communism. All of it was to accuse communism of violating the right to conscience so as to present it as an ideology of enslavement. In fact communism is the condition for the complete emancipation of the working class and, as such, a condition for the emancipation of all humanity. It cannot be communism unless it establishes the condition for the complete emancipation of the working class.

Because of the great prestige communism enjoyed after World War II, the Anglo-American imperialists needed a justification to smash the anti-fascist alliance. Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech was an important rationalization of the Anglo-American imperialists for attacking the anti-fascist united front, claiming that there now existed two worlds, one called "free" and centred around the U.S., the other called "enslaved," centred around the Soviet Union. Churchill, along with others, called for a grand Anglo-American strategy (including geo-political considerations and war aims) linked to notions of laws and values to combat this development. The Soviet Union subsequently conciliated with the notion of two worlds and on this basis a bipolar world order was created.

Winston Churchill's formal declaration of the Cold War in his "Iron Curtain" speech put the right to conscience in utter disrepute in the post-war period. In this way, in the years which followed World War II, first the U.S. and then the Soviet Union raised their hand against the right to conscience. This right was held in such contempt that it was "granted" only on the basis of which camp an individual or a country belonged to.

U.S. President Truman proceeded to demonstrate the meaning of this when he convinced the U.S. Congress to send more than $400 million to support the fascist forces in Greece. The aim was to restore the monarchy linked to Queen Victoria's dynasty so as to ensure the defeat of the democratic struggle which was underway in Greece and thereby guarantee the geo-political interests of the U.S. over western Europe as well as position it to take over eastern Europe. By this act, not only was Greece deprived of the right to self-determination but the Greek people who refused to renounce the anti-fascist resistance were accused of being communists and kept in concentration camps established by the British for forty years. All over Asia and Latin America communists were slaughtered in the name of this high ideal.

In the late fifties and thereafter, the world was to witness the Soviet Union also defining what was progressive on the basis of whether the country, organization or individual in question was its friend or enemy. No sooner had the Cold War officially ended in the 1989-91 period with the demise of the Soviet Union than it became quite clear that under the U.S. striving to become the sole superpower, the right to conscience was again to be made the target of attack. Today, the U.S. imperialists and their allies continue to trample it underfoot in the name of defending the national interests of the big powers, as they once more attempt to redivide the world between their own spheres of influence.

In this issue, TML Weekly reprints the Pravda interview with Soviet leader J.V. Stalin in which he gives his assessment of Winston Churchill's "Sinews of Peace" speech delivered in Fulton, Missouri.

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Pravda Interview with J.V. Stalin

On March 16, 1946, a Pravda correspondent requested that J.V. Stalin clarify a number of questions connected with Mr. Churchill's speech at Fulton, U.S.A. Below are J.V. Stalin's replies to the correspondent's questions.

Question: How do you appraise Mr. Churchill's latest speech in the United States of America?

Answer: I appraise it as a dangerous act, calculated to sow the seeds of dissension among the Allied States and impede their collaboration.

Question: Can it be considered that Mr. Churchill's speech is prejudicial to the cause of peace and security?

Answer: Yes, unquestionably. As a matter of fact, Mr. Churchill now takes the stand of the warmongers, and in this Mr. Churchill is not alone. He has friends not only in Britain but in the United States of America as well.

A point to be noted is that in this respect Mr. Churchill and his friends bear a striking resemblance to Hitler and his friends. Hitler began his work of unleashing war by proclaiming a race theory, declaring that only German-speaking people constituted a superior nation. Mr. Churchill sets out to unleash war with a race theory, asserting that only English-speaking nations are superior nations, who are called upon to decide the destinies of the entire world. The German race theory led Hitler and his friends to the conclusion that the Germans, as the only superior nation, should rule over other nations. The English race theory leads Mr. Churchill and his friends to the conclusion that the English-speaking nations, as the only superior nations, should rule over the rest of the nations of the world.

Actually, Mr. Churchill, and his friends in Britain and the United States, present to the non-English speaking nations something in the nature of an ultimatum: "Accept our rule voluntarily, and then all will be well; otherwise war is inevitable."

But the nations shed their blood in the course of five years' fierce war for the sake of the liberty and independence of their countries, and not in order to exchange the domination of the Hitlers for the domination of the Churchills. It is quite probable, accordingly, that the non-English-speaking nations, which constitute the vast majority of the population of the world, will not agree to submit to a new slavery.

It is Mr. Churchill's tragedy that, inveterate Tory that he is, he does not understand this simple and obvious truth.

There can be no doubt that Mr. Churchill's position is a war position, a call for war on the U.S.S.R. It is also clear that this position of Mr. Churchill's is incompatible with the Treaty of Alliance existing between Britain and the U.S.S.R. True, Mr. Churchill does say, in passing, in order to confuse his readers, that the term of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance and Collaboration might quite well be extended to 50 years. But how is such a statement on Mr. Churchill's part to be reconciled with his position of war on the U.S.S.R., with his preaching of War against the U.S.S.R.? Obviously, these things cannot be reconciled by any means whatever. And if Mr. Churchill, who calls for war on the Soviet Union, at the same time considers it possible to extend the term of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty to 50 years, that means that he regards this Treaty as a mere scrap of paper, which he only needs in order to disguise and camouflage his anti-Soviet position. For this reason, the false statements of Mr. Churchill's friends in Britain, regarding the extension of the term of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty to 50 years or more, cannot be taken seriously. Extension of the Treaty term has no point if one of the parties violates the Treaty and converts it into a mere scrap of paper.

Question: How do you appraise the part of Mr. Churchill's speech in which he attacks the democratic systems in the European States bordering upon us, and criticises the good-neighbourly relations established between these States and the Soviet Union.

Answer: This part of Mr. Churchill's speech is compounded of elements of slander and elements of discourtesy and tactlessness. Mr. Churchill asserts that "Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia -- all these famous cities and the populations around them lie within the Soviet sphere and are all subject in one form or another not only to Soviet influence, but to a very high and increasing measure of control from Moscow." Mr. Churchill describes all this as "unlimited expansionist tendencies" on the part of the Soviet Union.

It needs no particular effort to show that in this Mr. Churchill grossly and unceremoniously slanders both Moscow, and the above-named States bordering on the U.S.S.R.

In the first place it is quite absurd to speak of exclusive control by the U.S.S.R. in Vienna and Berlin, where there are Allied Control Councils made up of the representatives of four States and where the U.S.S.R. has only one-quarter of the votes. It does happen that some people cannot help in engaging in slander. But still, there is a limit to everything.

Secondly, the following circumstance should not be forgotten. The Germans made their invasion of the U.S.S.R. through Finland, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Germans were able to make their invasion through these countries because, at the time, governments hostile to the Soviet Union existed in these countries. As a result of the German invasion the Soviet Union has lost irretrievably in the fighting against the Germans, and also through the German occupation and the deportation of Soviet citizens to German servitude, a total of about seven million people. In other words, the Soviet Union's loss of life has been several times greater than that of Britain and the United States of America put together. Possibly in some quarters an inclination is felt to forget about these colossal sacrifices of the Soviet people which secured the liberation of Europe from the Hitlerite yoke. But the Soviet Union cannot forget about them. And so what can there be surprising about the fact that the Soviet Union, anxious for its future safety, is trying to see to it that governments loyal in their attitude to the Soviet Union should exist in these countries? How can anyone, who has not taken leave of his wits, describe these peaceful aspirations of the Soviet Union as expansionist tendencies on the part of our State?

Mr. Churchill claims further that the "Russian-dominated Polish Government has been encouraged to make enormous, wrongful inroads on Germany."

Every word of this is a gross and insulting calumny. Outstanding men are at the helm in present democratic Poland. They have proved by their deeds that they are capable of upholding the interests and dignity of their country as their predecessors were not. What grounds has Mr. Churchill to assert that the leaders of present-day Poland can countenance in their country the domination of representatives of any foreign State whatever? Is it not because Mr. Churchill means to sow the seeds of dissension in the relations between Poland and the Soviet Union that he slanders "the Russians" here?

Mr. Churchill is displeased that Poland has faced about in her policy in the direction of friendship and alliance with the U.S.S.R. There was a time when elements of conflict and antagonism predominated in the relations between Poland and the U.S.S.R. This circumstance enabled statesmen like Mr. Churchill to play on these antagonisms, to get control over Poland on the pretext of protecting her from the Russians, to try to scare Russia with the spectre of war between her and Poland, and retain the position of arbiter for themselves. But that time is past and gone, for the enmity between Poland and Russia has given place to friendship between them, and Poland -- present-day democratic Poland -- does not choose to be a play-ball in foreign hands any longer. It seems to me that it is this fact that irritates Mr. Churchill and makes him indulge in discourteous, tactless sallies against Poland. Just imagine -- he is not being allowed to play his game at the expense of others!

As to Mr. Churchill's attack upon the Soviet Union in connection with the extension of Poland's Western frontier to include Polish territories which the Germans had seized in the past -- here it seems to me he is plainly cheating. As is known, the decision on the Western frontier of Poland was adopted at the Berlin Three-Power Conference on the basis of Poland's demands. The Soviet Union has repeatedly stated that it considers Poland's demands to be proper and just. It is quite probable that Mr. Churchill is displeased with this decision. But why does Mr. Churchill, while sparing no shots against the Russian position in this matter, conceal from his readers the fact that this decision was passed at the Berlin Conference by unanimous vote -- that it was not only the Russians, but the British and Americans as well, that voted for the decision? Why did Mr. Churchill think it necessary to mislead the public?

Further, Mr. Churchill asserts that the Communist Parties, which were previously very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to prominence and power far beyond their numbers and seek everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments prevail in nearly every case, and "thus far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy."

As is known, the Government of the State in Britain at the present time is in the hands of one party, the Labour Party, and the opposition parties are deprived of the right to participate in the Government of Britain. That Mr. Churchill calls true democracy. Poland, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Hungary are administered by blocs of several parties -- from four to six parties -- and the opposition, if it is more or less loyal, is secured the right of participation in the Government. That Mr. Churchill describes as totalitarianism, tyranny and police rule. Why? On what grounds? Don't expect a reply from Mr. Churchill. Mr. Churchill does not understand in what a ridiculous position he puts himself by his outcry about "totalitarianism, tyranny and police rule."

Mr. Churchill would like Poland to be administered by Sosnkowski and Anders, Yugoslavia by Mikhailovich and Pavelich, Rumania by Prince Stirbey and Radescu, Hungary and Austria by some King of the House of Hapsburg, and so on. Mr. Churchill wants to assure us that these gentlemen from the Fascist backyard can ensure true democracy.

Such is the "democracy" of Mr. Churchill.

Mr. Churchill comes somewhere near the truth when he speaks of the increasing influence of the Communist Parties in Eastern Europe. It must be remarked, however, that he is not quite accurate. The influence of the Communist Parties has grown not only in Eastern Europe, but in nearly all the countries of Europe which were previously under Fascist rule -- Italy, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Finland -- or which experienced German, Italian or Hungarian occupation -- France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, the Soviet Union and so on.

The increased influence of the Communists cannot be considered fortuitous. It is a perfectly logical thing. The influence of the Communists has grown because, in the years of the rule of Fascism in Europe, the Communists showed themselves trusty, fearless, self-sacrificing fighters against the Fascist regime for the liberty of the peoples. Mr. Churchill in his speeches sometimes recalls the plain people from little homes, slapping them patronisingly on the back and parading as their friend. But these people are not so simple as may at first sight appear. These plain people have views of their own, a policy of their own, and they know how to stand up for themselves. It was they, the millions of these plain people, that defeated Mr. Churchill and his party in Britain by casting their votes for the Labourites. It was they, the millions of these "plain people," who isolated the reactionaries and advocates of collaboration with Fascism in Europe, and gave their preference to the Left democratic parties. It was they, the millions of these "plain people," who after testing the Communists in the fires of struggle and resistance to Fascism, came to the conclusion that the Communists were fully deserving of the people's confidence. That was how the influence of the Communists grew in Europe.

Of course Mr. Churchill does not like this course of development and he sounds the alarm and appeals to force. But neither did he like the birth of the Soviet regime in Russia after the First World War. At that time, too, he sounded the alarm and organised an armed campaign of 14 States against Russia setting himself the goal of turning back the wheel of history. But history proved stronger than the Churchill intervention, and Mr. Churchill's quixotry led to his unmitigated defeat at that time. I don't know whether Mr. Churchill and his friends will succeed in organising a new armed campaign against Eastern Europe after the Second World War; but if they do succeed -- which is not very probable because millions of plain people stand guard over the cause of peace -- it may confidently be said that they will be thrashed, just as they were thrashed once before, 26 years ago.

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