The Indigenous nations of Canada have been second to none in the opposition of the Canadian people to the U.S.-led NATO bloc and their war preparations.
Let us salute the heroic resistance of the Innu people of Nitassinan against the U.S. and NATO, which turned Labrador into its private flight training centre.
How many remember the Innu of Labrador? How many? Not many. Well I'm telling you something about them. In 1949 Canada was the first country to ratify the North Atlantic Treaty. Lester B. Pearson said that NATO was the ideal pretext to justify the establishment of U.S. military bases in Canada, 23 of which had already been built in Newfoundland and Labrador during World War II.
The struggle against NATO was waged right here. The Innu nation fought every inch of the way against the appropriation of their traditional lands for U.S. and NATO bases and the damage to their way of life by the low-level training flights of U.S., British and German Luftwaffe jet fighters. Instead of defending their rights, the Government of Canada forcibly relocated, then arrested and criminalized hundreds of Innu [Shame!], who staged massive sit-ins at the military bases. Today Canada is feverishly participating in the militarization of the Arctic.
And I was there standing with them.
And how about the Lubicon in Alberta? I was there as well and was arrested with others and put in jail. And now the Alberta government has given permission for the tar sands in Alberta to take over Lubicon land. They are calling this Tar Sands Number 2.
The disastrous consequences of the attitude of the Canadian colonial settler state to the Indigenous nations of our country can be seen today in the imperialist attitude and wars of occupation towards the Indigenous people of all lands, the people of Afghanistan, the people in Iraq, the people in Palestine, Haiti and other lands. Throughout the Americas and the world, the Indigenous people are rising up in defence of their rights to self-determination, their right-to-be.
This anti-war rally of the people of our city defends the rights of all peoples to self-determination. The rights we demand for the people of Afghanistan must be accorded the Indigenous peoples of Canada!
We ask everyone for a minute's silence to remember the millions who have died as a result of genocide and crimes against humanity.
[Minute of silence and cheers]
A Bibliographical Note
On July 4, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) tested its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile. This was part of continued efforts to boost its self-defence capability in the face of ongoing U.S. aggression including military threats, nuclear blackmail, the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military exercises aimed at regime change in the DPRK and economic and political sanctions. U.S.-led aggression and war preparations are crimes against the peace, the most serious violation of international law. They must be condemned as such.
Immediately following the missile test, the U.S. and the
powers, along with Canada, condemned the ballistic missile test as a
provocation by the DPRK and a violation of UN Security Council
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Korean Federation in Canada call on all peace- and justice-loving people in Canada and abroad to stand firm for peace on the Korean Peninsula and to resolutely oppose the U.S. and Canadian warmongers who are calling for further aggression and sanctions against the DPRK and the Korean people. The Trudeau government -- especially Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan -- seeks a bigger military role for Canada in wars of aggression, occupation and empire-building around the world, including in Korea. We say No! Let us make Canada a zone for peace!
The monopoly media in Canada and elsewhere justify further crimes against the DPRK by depicting it as the threat to peace and stability in the region. The U.S. aggressive military presence in the region, going back more than 70 years, is then misrepresented as the necessary counterpoint to the supposed belligerence of the DPRK.
Far from it, the U.S. is the source of instability on the Korean Peninsula and nothing can justify the terrible crimes it has committed there, especially during the Korean War. These included carpet bombing that razed the DPRK and the documented use of chemical and biological weapons, that altogether killed millions of people, including millions of civilians. This hostility continues with the increasingly large and aggressive annual war games and now the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence systems in south Korea. The THAAD is part of the nuclear arms race and further destabilizes the entire region by threatening the security of China and Russia, as well as that of the Korean people.
The disinformation about the DPRK also covers up that
almost 65 years the U.S. imperialists have refused to sign a
peace treaty with the DPRK to formally end the Korean War as
stipulated by the Korean Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953.
The government of the DPRK has repeatedly pointed out that U.S.
intransigence and aggression have forced the DPRK to divert
significant resources towards self-defence to defend its right to
be and maintain equilibrium and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
A prime example of the disinformation about the DPRK are the July 5 remarks by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to the Security Council: "I must say that today is a dark day. It is a dark day because yesterday's action by North Korea made the world a more dangerous place. Their illegal missile launch was not only dangerous, but reckless and irresponsible. It showed that North Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world. They have cast a dark shadow of conflict on all nations that strive for peace." The hope of Haley and others is that the peoples should somehow forget U.S. war crimes around the world that have killed millions, ignore its hundreds of bases, hundreds of warships and thousands of nuclear weapons around the world that are the greatest threat to peace and stability.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said in a
similar vein on July 4 that the DPRK's ballistic missile test was
a "direct threat to regional and international peace and
security, and continues to call for a unified international
response." She further stated that "Canada will continue its
steadfast support of South Korea, Japan and other partners in the
regions -- as well as international efforts to resolve the
proliferation of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile
This irresponsible statement is a thinly veiled threat to the DPRK and to peace on the Korean Peninsula. Why did Freeland not call on the U.S. to sign a peace treaty as it is obligated to do and which would go a long way to ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula? Why did she not condemn the ongoing U.S.-south Korea joint military exercises which are crimes against peace and a violation of the UN Charter? Why has Canada not spoken out against the U.S. deployment of its THAAD system in south Korea? It was bad enough that Canada committed war crimes by illegally participating in the Korean War. Freeland now suggests that Canada should continue to engage in aggression and meddling in the affairs of the Korean people. It must not pass!
The Korean people are already in motion to realize the peaceful, independent reunification of Korea that was divided by the U.S. in 1945. The key part of this nation-building project is the immediate removal of the 28,000 U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, the shut down of all of close to 90 military bases in south Korea and the removal of all of U.S. weapons and military hardware, including nuclear and ballistic missiles, from Korean territory. It requires that the U.S. immediately conclude a peace treaty with the DPRK.
Canada must do its part by immediately bringing home the HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Winnipeg now engaged in military drills in Korean waters. It must normalize relations with the DPRK by realizing in practical terms the diplomatic relations established in 2001, to promote peaceful and mutually beneficial relations between our two countries. The Korean people, who have a 5,000 year history as a united country, have the right to be and to sort out the problems of the Korean Peninsula themselves without the ongoing military threats and nuclear blackmail, the interference of the U.S. and other big powers along with Canada and other countries.
Canada must contribute to international peace and security by upholding the rule of international law and seeking the resolution of conflicts between peoples and nations through diplomatic means. It must reject U.S. aggression, war and lawlessness that are justified in the name of peace and other hollow high ideals. Canada must defend peace on the Korean Peninsula and say No! to another Korean War! We call on you to make your contribution to Canada becoming a zone for peace by joining in the ongoing anti-war pickets and raising these important matters for discussion with your fellow Canadians.
No to Canada's Participation in U.S. War
Against the DPRK!
U.S. Troops Out of Korea!
U.S. Must Sign a Peace Treaty with the DPRK!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Organize for an Anti-War Government!
(July 5, 2017)
A lively public meeting took place in Toronto on June 17 to discuss the Korean people's movement for peace and reunification within the complex and tense situation on the Korean peninsula today. The meeting was organized by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Korean Federation in Canada on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the signing of the historic June 15, 2000 North-South Joint Declaration between the governments of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), which opened up a new chapter in the long struggle for Korean reunification.
The main speakers were Hack Pil Chung speaking on behalf of the Korean Federation in Canada, a pan-Canadian organization that fights for reunification and peace on the Korean peninsula, and Philip Fernandez who spoke on behalf of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist).
Speaking in Korean with translation by Jihong Kim a member of Hope 21, a Toronto-based youth organization supporting democracy and peace in Korea, Hack noted that the people of Korea have waged a long and determined struggle for peace and reunification of their divided country since the Second World War ended. He pointed out that the three main pillars of Korean reunification were enunciated by Premier Kim Il Sung of the DPRK in the early 1970s, namely, that peace and reunification of Korea must be undertaken by the Korean people themselves without outside interference; that it must be done peacefully; and that it must be achieved by a united Korean people putting aside political differences in the interest of the Korean nation. Hack emphasized that these three pillars of achieving Korean reunification come out of the political experience and history of the Korean people themselves which showed that they have to be their own liberators.
Hack pointed out that the signing of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration in Pyongyang, by Kim Jong Il, then-leader of the DPRK, and President Kim Dae-jung of the ROK, was the result of much struggle and came about despite the interference of pro-U.S. governments in the south that persecuted, imprisoned and killed many of those who fought for reunification. He outlined some of the projects that were spawned by the Declaration including the hugely successful joint economic zone at Kaesong where south Korean capitalists built factories where workers from the DPRK manufactured a wide variety of goods.
Hack also stated that the election of new south Korean President Moon Jae-in has created some hope that formal inter-Korean relations will be resumed after a 10-year hiatus imposed by the Park Guen-hye and Lee Myung-bak anti-communist administrations before that. Hack emphasized that it will be important for Koreans to keep raising their demands for peace and reunification to ensure that President Moon's public statements are turned into deeds.
Philip Fernandez gave an overview of how the U.S. unilaterally divided Korea at the end of the Second World War with a view of turning Korea into an anti-communist bulwark against the Soviet Union and the nascent People's Republic of China. He gave examples of how the U.S. military government in Korea unleashed a campaign of terror to break up the People's Republic of Korea that had been declared by the victorious Korean people on September 6, 1945 and since that time the U.S. has worked to keep Korea divided, even unleashing the Korean War on June 25, 1950 when it looked liked the Korean patriotic forces would succeed in driving the U.S. and the hated anti-Communist government of Syngman Rhee out of Korea.
Philip also pointed out that the U.S., since being forced to sign the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953 in the Korean War, has not only refused to abide by its terms but has consistently refused to replace it with a peace treaty to immediately ease tensions and promote peace that would favour the Korean people and the world's people. Instead the U.S. imperialists continue a never-ending campaign to demonize the DPRK on an anti-communist basis as a threat to peace and on this pretext, attempt to justify the militarization of south Korea and war preparations against the DPRK, and are joined in this warmongering endeavour by Canada, Britain and others.
Philip concluded by noting that the Korean people have some breathing space now with the new Moon government and that by keeping the political initiative in their hands, being true to their convictions and fighting traditions, they will drive out the U.S. occupying force and achieve reunification.
Many important points emerged in the discussion. One participant noted how the U.S. took advantage of the transition to the new government in south Korea to impose its Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence system. Another person noted that the opposition to the THAAD system is massive, but that none of this information is transmitted to the Canadian public because of the nefarious role played by the monopoly media in justifying U.S. imperialist aggression and vilifying the DPRK. A couple of speakers also noted that China considers the THAAD deployment -- a part of the nuclear arms race -- a threat to its security and is taking measures to oppose it through trade and tourism channels with south Korea.
Several participants in the meeting, who had also taken part in the series of weekly pickets in Toronto opposing U.S. aggression against the DPRK, spoke to the significance of this work in breaking through the disinformation about the DPRK. It was pointed out that over a series of 10 weeks, some 1,500 statements in Korean and English were given out at several locations throughout the city, and that doing so gave the general public an opportunity to stop and give expression to their concerns about international developments and their rejection of aggression towards the DPRK from the U.S. and other countries. This anti-war work is crucial and must be developed further, it was noted.
Another significant point raised was the central role played by the DPRK in defending reunification under all conditions and elaborating in practical terms how it can be achieved. Unlike the south, where the people have not always had the conditions to carry out this work, the people of the DPRK control their own destiny and have used this to defend and develop the cause of national reunification at every turn.
The participants included a reporter covering the event for south Korean media. He said that people in south Korea would be very encouraged to see that a meeting on peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula had taken place in Toronto.
It was also brought out that the DPRK, through its leadership and principled defence of peace on the Korean peninsula, has maintained the equilibrium on the peninsula in the face of U.S. aggression and war preparations. While no one wants any country to have nuclear weapons and it is not a good thing that the DPRK has had to resort to their development to keep the U.S. imperialists at bay, it has not violated any international law by doing so. The U.S. nuclear war threats and blackmail and the long-standing economic and political sanctions against it are patently unjust and must be opposed by all who stand for justice and peace, it was emphasized.
The meeting affirmed the just cause of the Korean
the participants pledged to step up their work to defend peace on
the Korean peninsula by demanding U.S. Troops out of Korea and
all-out support for the Korean people's nation-building project by
asserting their right to a peaceful, reunified Korea. Canadians
must stand with the Korean people in their struggle for peace and
reunification by fighting for an anti-war government especially
in light of the Trudeau Liberal government's warmongering against
the DPRK and joining with the U.S. and NATO to embroil Canadians in
wars of aggression and occupation opposed by the vast majority of
the Canadian people.
1. Gregory Elich, who is on the Board of Directors of
the Jasenovac Research Institute and the
Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute, wrote:
"As the North Korean foreign ministry observed, 'Not a single article or provision in the UN Charter and other international laws stipulates that nuclear test or ballistic rocket launch poses a threat to international peace and security.' The political and economic might of the United States gave it the means to prod other members of the UN Security Council to agree to its demand to impose sanctions on North Korea. As a result, North Korea is the only nation singled out by UN sanctions that forbid it from testing the same types of missiles as other countries are free to do. There is no legal basis for this double standard, which is primarily a product of U.S. influence.
"From the North Korean perspective, the large-scale military exercises that the United States regularly conducts in tandem with South Korea are threatening. These drills rehearse the invasion of North Korea, including decapitation operations to kill North Korean leaders. Recently, American B-1B bomber planes executed a series of flights over South Korea, practicing the carpet bombing of North Korea. Originally designed to deliver nuclear weapons, the B-1B underwent conversion to a conventional weapons only role ten years ago. The plane is still a formidable weapon, however, and can carry three times the payload of a B-52.
"In the Western mindset, none of these actions can be construed as being 'provocative' or a 'threat' to North Korea. But it is easy enough to imagine the hysterical reaction if Russia were to conduct joint military exercises in Cuba, practicing the bombing and invasion of the United States, along with the assassination of U.S. political leaders." (gregoryelich.org)
On July 7, supporters of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution held their 20th consecutive monthly picket outside the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver to demand that the United States keep its hands off Venezuela and to uphold Venezuela's right to self-determination. The Canadian state was also denounced for its support for regime change in Venezuela.
Following the picket more than 100 people representing a wide cross-section of the Canadian people gathered on Robson Street across from the Vancouver Art Gallery to express their support for the Venezuelan people's nation-building project and oppose the terrorism and sabotage being carried out by U.S.-backed counterrevolutionaries. Participants defied threats of reactionaries to bring a large force to disrupt the rally.
On a prior occasion, reactionaries -- including undercover police and lumpen thugs -- used verbal and physical provocations but were unable to shut down the June 2 rally in support of the revolutionary Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro. The counterrevolutionaries gave up after a loud five-hour standoff lasting until 10 pm. Uniformed Vancouver Police were nowhere to be seen, proving that this was a state-organized provocation.
Participants in the July 7 action arrived early to set up an information booth, sound system, banners and flags so that the reactionaries dared not show their faces. During the two-hour rally several speakers addressed participants and passers by, Latin American music was played over the sound system, a singer performed several songs, slogans were shouted, including "Hands Off Venezuela!," literature was distributed and lively discussions carried out.
The actions were a blow against the slanders and disinformation spread by media and politicians against the government of Venezuela and an expression of the Canadian people's support for all those fighting for and building the new world of freedom and progress.
Toronto, June 2, 2017
In the face of the savage onslaught of the United States militarist regime and its president Donald Trump, the international right and its Venezuelan lackeys against the Bolivarian Revolution and its President Nicolás Maduro:
The Hugo Chávez People's Defence Front in Toronto, Canada, denounces the economic war and economic blockade against the Venezuelan people that seeks to destroy the legacy of Commander Hugo Chávez and to reinstate the old power groups and international corporations that historically plundered Venezuela.
We condemn the wave of violence and assassinations perpetrated by fascist groups in different Venezuelan cities, the same groups that are today [July 15] pretending to carry out an illegal "plebiscite" against the revolutionary institutions and the rule of law in Venezuela.
We equally denounce the permanent siege led by Luis
Almagro, a servant of the United States, who represents the
moribund and corrupt Organization of American States.
We salute and support the installation of the Constituent Assembly, which translates into the strengthening of participatory democracy, a tool for deepening dialogue and consolidating peace and social justice.
Long Live the Bolivarian Revolution!
Long Live the Legacy of Commander Hugo Chávez!
The current situation of institutional instability that the Venezuelan society is experiencing, are a consequence of actions lacking political rationality by radical sectors of the opposition adverse to the Administration of President Nicolás Maduro Moros.
With the arrival of president Hugo Chávez, an internal process of delegitimization and smear began with recurring attacks against a legally constituted government through aggressions that were supported by powerful foreign actors, actions which have been committed by the same opposition players today who wish to displace the current government.
A ruthless economic attack targeting the stability of the Venezuelan currency has been added to this contumacious behaviour of the Venezuelan opposition, causing a crisis in the national economy without historical precedent that has been aggravated by the fall of hydrocarbons' international prices, affecting government efforts to ensure the supply of medicines and basic food products, especially to the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
In this regard, it is worth remembering that on December 6, 2015, parliamentary elections were held, in which the Venezuelan opposition obtained most of the votes, a triumph recognized by the Bolivarian Government. However, the results in three constituencies were questioned as being the product of fraudulent electoral practices, and the affected political actors filed a complaint with the Supreme Court of Justice, which ordered the removal of the three deputies of the State of Amazonas in question.
On January 6, 2016, the National Assembly swore in the
had been ordered to be removed by the Supreme Court of Justice, in open
noncompliance with its decision. That
same day, the then president of the National Assembly declared that the
objective was to remove President Nicolás Maduro from his
position in a
period not exceeding six months from that
time, in total violation of what is established in our National
Constitution. From that moment, the National Assembly began to ignore
the decisions of the Judiciary, as well as the
constitutional mandate assigned to the Executive Branch. In a year that
the opposition has controlled the National Assembly, it has not made
any contribution towards seeking solutions to
the country's challenges.
Due to this controversy between the National Assembly and the President of the Republic, which threatened to halt the public administration, the Supreme Court of Justice in response to an appeal for annulment and one for interpretation filed against the actions of the highest body of the Legislative Branch, issued two decisions on March 27 and 29, 2017 (decision number 155 and 156), having as a main objective to preserve the rule of law in the face of the contumacious conduct of the National Assembly.
In order to overcome these institutional discrepancies,
Nicolás Maduro activated Article 323 of the Constitution,
provides for the meeting of the Defense Council of the
Nation, as the highest consultation body for advice of the Government
in Venezuela, with the objective of finding a solution to the
differences of interpretation between the Moral Power
and the Supreme Court of Justice, two of the five powers established in
our constitutional text. This guarantees the necessary collaboration
within the classic separation of powers.
It is worth mentioning that it was also agreed to insist on the dialogue efforts and to urge the Venezuelan opposition to join the national dialogue promoted by the Head of State without delay, a process that has been endorsed by the Vatican. It is also worth noting that the President of the National Assembly was invited to participate in this session of the Defense Council of the Nation; however, he did not attend. Likewise, it was agreed to repudiate any intervention that would undermine independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-determination, since, according to the principle of self-determination of peoples, the affairs of Venezuelans must be resolved exclusively by Venezuelans, without interference or intervention and with strict respect for the internal jurisdiction of the Venezuelan State.
The decision of the National Defense Council and the statement of the Supreme Court reiterate the existence of a vigorous democracy with full liberties in Venezuela, where the separation of powers exists, where differences of opinion exist, and are accepted as part of the diversity of a plural society, and processed according to the proper mechanisms of protection of our Constitution. Our country is so democratic that every day there are expressions in different media outlets against the governmental administration, in exercise of freedom of speech, manifested without the required authorization, exhibiting an alleged civil disobedience, a situation that is not allowed in other countries.
Regretfully, in 2017, the same sectors of the
have maintained their agenda of street demonstrations, many of which
have resulted in violent acts with fatalities,
injuries and material damages. These situations have been augmented by
actions from external players -- such as the OAS and its Secretary
General -- resulting in Venezuela's withdrawal from
this international body.
Given the situation of violence generated by the
opposition and the
need to guarantee peace in the country, on May 1, 2017, the President
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,
Nicolás Maduro Moros, in a sovereign manner and in
National Constitution, convened the National Power to activate a
National Constituent Assembly, in accordance
with the powers conferred by the National Constitution in Articles 347,
348 and 349. It is a sovereign action, adjusted to the full exercise of
a participatory and protagonist democracy that
has been established in Venezuela since 1999, and for which we demand
respect from all the nations of the international community as it
The continuous incidents of violence as evidenced by the attacks carried out against institutions of the Venezuelan State, such as the episode that took place on June 27, 2017, are part of a coup-mongering escalation against the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its institutions. For the Bolivarian Government, these are attacks of a terrorist nature, within the framework of an insurrectional offensive put forward by extremist factors within the Venezuelan right-wing, supported by foreign centres of power.
These attacks will not hinder the popular constituent process, nor will they impede the people's exercise of their right to vote on July 30, 2017, in order to elect the members of the National Constituent Assembly, called by the Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros. Said Constituent Assembly will draft a new constitution adapted to current times and challenges, as a text that will be subject to the approval of Venezuela's electoral population.
(Slightly edited for grammar by TML.)
United States Senator Marco Rubio threatened the Venezuela government with "severe sanctions" if the National Constituent Assembly is held, eliciting a response from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro declaring that Venezuela will not be intimidated, TeleSur reported on July 12. The report continues:
Rubio issued a list of three stringent demands to Venezuela on his Twitter account.
"1. Release and grand amnesty to all political prisoners. 2. Cancel 'constituent assembly.' 3. Schedule and hold international supervised elections," the Senator said.
"Reconciliation possible in Venezuela if Maduro follows this path. But expect severe U.S. sanctions if 'constituent assembly' happens," he said.
President Maduro tweeted shortly after that "Venezuela is a free, sovereign country and does not allow itself to be threatened by any global empire."
"No government can come to tell us what can be done... Venezuela will overcome with the Constituent Assembly process, and imperialism will swallow its words," he said.
The Constituent Assembly aims to arrive at a peaceful solution to Venezuela's current political crisis through dialogue. The final vote is scheduled for July 30, when nearly 20 million Venezuelans will vote for 6,120 candidates representing diverse sectors and regions.
Many opposition groups have refused to participate in the constituent processes and dialogue to jointly solve the problems facing the country.
President Maduro has said previously that Presidential elections will be held in 2018 as already scheduled and constitutionally required.
Senator Rubio has pressured for increased intervention in Venezuela previously, most recently at a Permanent Council of the Organization of American States on March 28, when he threatened various member organizations with diplomatic action if they voted in favour of non-interference and respect of Venezuela's sovereignty.
Rubio is also a prominent voice in favour of a harder stance against Cuba within the United States, advocating for a continuation of the blockade in spite of widespread popular opinion to the contrary.
At the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) held in Cancun, Mexico, June 19-21, the U.S. and its allies, including Canada, once again failed to pass a declaration that would give them a mandate to intervene against the government of Venezuela. As a result of their failure to pressure, bribe and blackmail enough OAS member states to submit, and following previous failed attempts, the Assembly fizzled.
An earlier consultation of OAS Foreign Ministers on May 31 was suspended with no vote taken or consensus reached after all 14 members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and countries in Central and South America belonging to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) upheld the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other member states and refused to go along with the hostile, interventionist declaration on Venezuela that the U.S., Canada, Mexico and others put forward.
The consultation reconvened on the eve of the General Assembly. This time the U.S. and its group were convinced they had the cat in the bag with a new draft declaration arrived at through "negotiations" with CARICOM. The U.S. entered the meeting confident it would receive the two-thirds majority support (23 votes) needed to pass. However, that did not happen. A number of countries broke ranks with the U.S. and others, exposing all the back-room deals by objecting to the fact the new "consensus" document had been "negotiated" behind their backs and without their consent. When the vote was held it was three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for it to pass with 20 countries voting in favour, five opposed and eight abstentions. Venezuela did not participate in the vote.
The next move made by the U.S. and 10 other countries was to issue a communiqué to the General Assembly lamenting the lack of a regional consensus on taking action against Venezuela and putting forward a whole shopping list of demands the Venezuelan government should be made to accept. These included cancelling the National Constituent Assembly called by President Nicolás Maduro to empower the Venezuelan people to address the country's problems through peaceful, constitutional means. It also called for the OAS to create a "group of friends" -- a "balanced group of countries" as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan put it -- "that would be interested in helping to effect a resolution of the crisis in Venezuela on behalf of the Venezuelan people." It was reported in the Canadian media that Canada was being considered to head such a group. Venezuela rejected the OAS assigning itself any such role given its sordid history as an instrument of U.S. intervention. Instead, the government of Venezuela invited members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) -- the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Uruguay -- to assist it in renewing dialogue with opposition parties. Earlier talks that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Vatican had tried to facilitate were derailed after elements of the reactionary forces in Venezuela sought to destabilize the entire country through violent protests and acts of terror.
The dilemma faced by the U.S., Canada, Mexico and others was that the door was quickly closing on their ability to get anything passed at the General Assembly that could be used as a "mandate" for open foreign intervention in Venezuela to bolster the internal forces they direct, who are pushing violence. Unlike the prominent role Canada had played up to this point calling for intervention, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland maintained an uncharacteristically low profile at both the Foreign Ministers' meeting and the General Assembly. This is likely linked to the rumour that Canada was being tapped by the U.S. to head up the "group of friends" the interventionists hoped to impose on Venezuela but so far have been unable to.
In the end however no resolution on Venezuela made it to the floor of the General Assembly. It would have taken the backing of 24 member states to table a late resolution, something the interventionist group could not count on, as they could only muster 20 votes the day before.
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Freeland were reduced to tweeting photos of themselves hob-nobbing with Venezuelan opposition figures who showed up in Cancun, somehow registered as guests, to harass the Venezuelan delegation and lobby others to intervene in their country.
The conviction of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva [on July 12 on charges of corruption during his presidency] represents an attack on democracy and the country's Constitution. Although it is a first instance decision, it is a wrong, arbitrary and absolutely illegal measure, conducted by a biased judge, who reports to the media and those who do not accept Lula's successful trajectory to the Presidency.
The verdict is based exclusively on plea bargain agreements negotiated over several months with confessed criminals, and simply validates the convictions under the charges of prosecutors from the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, with no evidence to justify them under the terms of Brazilian law.
Lula is not above the law, but neither is he beneath it. What is taking place is a process of persecution that constitutes a constitutional aberration; a typical case of lawfare, in which undue legal resources are used as a means of political persecution. In his case, they sought to impute to him crimes based on theories backed only by the word of convicted criminals, incapable of proving their claims by means of documents or bank transfers.
Lula's condemnation is yet another chapter of the farce led by the coup consortium that took over the country to suppress social and labour rights, raise the retirement age, cut essential spending on health and education and, above all, sell off important state-owned enterprises such as Petrobras, Infraero, Caixa Económica and Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil).
Curiously, the verdict was given a day after the vote on measures that suppressed workers' rights.
The Workers' Party will maintain its unconditional defense of Lula, as we believe in his absolute innocence. Lula is a recognized leader worldwide for the advancements he achieved when President of Brazil. Today, more than ever, we stand in solidarity with Lula and all his family. In addition, we reaffirm our grief over the death of his wife Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva.
We assure there will be justice in other instances of judgment and that the whole truth will surface. History will be the main witness of the verdict of his acquittal and greatness.
1. The reactionary elites in Brazil that carried out the baseless impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 have also had Lula in their sights for some time, given that Lula is expected to stand for Brazil's presidency in 2018 and remains very popular amongst the people. For more information, see "Spurious Case Against Former President Da Silva," TML Weekly, October 22, 2016.
(July 12, 2017. Slightly edited for grammar by TML.)
On the 17th of every month, Cuba solidarity organizations around the world including in Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver hold pickets to reaffirm our commitment to strengthen and deepen the bonds of friendship and solidarity with the Cuban people by helping to overcome the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, oppose the U.S. program to subvert Cuba's political system and call for the return of the territory at Guantanamo Bay illegally occupied by the U.S. Navy. Join in!
For some time, the idea of "political centrism" in today's Cuba has been brewing, essentially within digital media, as part of one of the United States' strategies to subvert the Cuban socialist model, given the resounding failures and disrepute of the so-called "Cuban counterrevolution." One of the cables revealed by Wikileaks in 2010 showed how Jonathan Farrar, at that time head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, informed the State Department on April 15, 2009, that this "opposition" was actually out of touch with the Cuban reality, had no power or influence among youth, and was more concerned with money than promoting its platform among broader sectors of society.
From its beginnings, political centrism has been a geometric concept: representing the equidistant point between all extremes.
Supposedly it would be a political position between left and right, between socialism and capitalism, a third way that would "find a balance between the best ideas" of the extremes that define it, and where moderation is posited in opposition to any form of radicalism. Lenin referred to this position as treacherous utopianism, a product of bourgeois reformism. Indeed, so-called third ways, or centrisms, have never been a revolutionary option, but rather strategies to install, save, rebuild, modernize, or restore capitalism.
When moderation is weighed against Cuban revolutionary radicalism -- which is to go to the roots, in no way associated with extremism, which is something else entirely -- it is inevitable that we should find certain analogies between the current attempts at articulating centrism in Cuba, and nineteenth-century autonomism.
Autonomism as a political trend which arose in the first half of the nineteenth century, but was formed as a political party in 1878, as one of the results of the revolution of 1868. It was a current that existed at the same historical moment as the independence movement, fundamentalism, and annexationism. It was the tendency par excellence of moderation, of evolution, an enemy of the radical supporters of Cuban independence.
The centrists assumed an "equidistant" position between fundamentalism -- the defense of the status quo -- and independence, but at defining moments they closed ranks along with the fundamentalists to curb and attack the revolution, which they considered the worst of evils. Some celebrated figures of autonomism ended up sharing annexationist ideas when the U.S. intervention-occupation of Cuba occurred. The main leaders of this movement stood out for their intellectual qualities, they were great public speakers, but their thought was elitist, essentially bourgeois, hence they could never win over the Cuban masses. The last thing the Cuban people needed at the time were experimental ideas, so when the new independence move erupted in 1895, the Autonomist Party would be completely displaced given the new national reality. Autonomism defended a moderate nationalism that excluded the great majority; its fundamental aspiration was to avoid breaking the link with the "mother country" of Spain, to modernize its domination of the island. It was no wonder that the Cuban patriotic vanguard, led by José Martí, fought so hard against these ideas.
On January 31, 1893, during one of his extraordinary speeches, Martí expressed: "... it was the singular case that those who proclaimed the political dogma of evolution were merely retrogrades, who maintained for a people formed in the revolution, the imagined solutions that preceded it..."
However, the idea of supporting a third force in Cuba -- moderate, center, or third way -- gained more force in U.S. foreign policy in the late 1950s, with the aim of preventing the July 26 Movement from reaching power; something that became an obsession for the Eisenhower administration in the final months of 1958. This idea was to take an equidistant position between Batista and Fidel Castro, and its development was stimulated both militarily and politically. The local CIA station in Havana was the first to manipulate this strategy and would later be its main executor. This was confirmed by CIA officer David Atlee Phillips in his autobiography The Night Watch, when he noted that James Noel -- then head of the local CIA station in the Cuban capital -- had informed him at one of their infrequent meetings of his recommendation to the United States government to discreetly sponsor the action of a third political force in Cuba, "a moderate group between Castro on the left and Batista on the right."
In February 1958, William Morgan, a U.S. intelligence agent, had joined the Second National Front of the Escambray, led by Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo. His mission was to become the second chief of that guerrilla force, something that he achieved in a brief time, as well as reaching the rank of Commander. Morgan would not be the only U.S. agent to infiltrate the area with the intention of stimulating a third guerrilla force that, at a given moment, could impose itself and fight against the forces led by Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra.
The United States was also involved in other plots where the names of various figures that could provide a political option that would snatch the revolutionary triumph from Fidel Castro's grasp were considered, among them: Colonel Ramón Barquín; Justo Carrillo, head of the Montecristi Group; and former prime minister Manuel Antonio "Tony" de Varona.
Even as late as December 23, 1958, at a meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower expressed his hope for the growth, strength, and influence of a "third force" on the island.
The creation of a "third force" was not only promoted by the United States, but also by certain politicians who advocated it internally. "The Third Force," notes Jorge Ibarra Guitart, "was a movement of private civic institutions that, representing the feeling of important sectors of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie, promoted peace efforts and reconciliation with the regime. The promoter, under wraps, of all these efforts was José Miró Cardona, who from the Society of Friends of the Republic had already planned the tactic of mobilizing bourgeois institutions to force the regime to reach an agreement. This was the moment to implement this tactic, as the circumstances favored it: the bourgeoisie, noting that more revolutionary organizations were gaining ground daily, was alarmed by the threat posed to its political and economic interests by the development of a civil war with active popular participation."
As it was impossible for the United States to avoid the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and the coming to power of the July 26 forces, the fundamental objective of Washington during the first months of 1959 consisted of supporting and assisting those figures within the revolutionary government who were considered "moderates," of the center, against those they described as "extremists," in order to prevent the Revolution from deepening its social scope through their predominance..
When Fernando Martínez Heredia points out that in Cuba today there exists a right-wing nationalism with pretensions of being a center force, that has "a cultural accumulation to refer to," he is referring to the long history of this form of nationalism which, on the political level, has its background in autonomism; the same tendency that during the years of the bourgeois neocolonial republic admitted and defended domination, and that on many occasions was used by the government of the United States itself, with the purpose of curbing, preventing, or detaining post revolutionary situations that kept safe the structures of capitalist domination in Cuba, under some kind of consensus.
Today we can see that this right wing nationalism, which is encouraged by those who oppose us under the deceptive guise of centrism, has no other purpose than the desperate attempt to restore capitalism in Cuba. Once again, it will be a frustrated attempt, since the main obstacle that this current has always faced is that it has never managed to anchor its ideas among the people. This people who for the most part have embraced throughout history the independent, patriotic, national-revolutionary and anti-imperialist tradition; never that of autonomism, annexationism, or right wing nationalism.
1. See: Esteban Morales, "La contrarrevolución cubana nunca ha existido," in: Esteban Morales & Elier Ramírez, Aproximaciones al conflicto Cuba-Estados Unidos, (Havana: Editora Política, 2015). Morales questions whether this counterrevolution can be considered Cuban, since from its birth it has assumed an agenda imposed by the United States government.
2. In a speech on September 3, 1979, during the
inaugural session of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit held in Havana,
Fidel expressed: "What can Cuba be challenged with? That it is a
socialist country? Yes, we are a socialist country (Applause), but we
do not intend to impose our ideology and our system on anyone inside or
outside the Movement. [...] That we made a radical revolution in Cuba?
Yes, we are radical revolutionaries, but we do not pretend to impose
our radicalism on anyone, let alone on the Non-Aligned Movement."
3. Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez & Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez, in: Una fascinante historia. La conspiración Trujillista, (Havana: Editorial Capitán San Luis, 2009).
4. Francisca López Civeira, El Gobierno de Eisenhower ante la Revolución Cubana: Un nuevo escenario, available at: http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/articulos/2527
5. Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez & Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez, Op.cit., p.51.
6. Much information on this can be found in the work of Luis M. Buch & Reinaldo Suárez, Gobierno Revolucionario Cubano. Primeros Pasos, (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2004).
(Granma, June 13, 2017.
Originally published by Cubahora)
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