February 10, 2018 - No. 5

"Their Spirits Live Within Us"

Women's Memorial Marches Honour Murdered and Missing Women



Women's Memorial March, Vancouver, February 14, 2017. (M. Bush)


PyeongChang "Peace Olympics"
Korean Nation's Profound Desire for
Peace and Reunification Sets Tone

U.S. Bullying and Threats Against DPRK
Serious U.S. Miscalculation of Korean Desire for Reunification
Letter of DPRK Foreign Minister to UN Secretary General

Genocidal Nature of Sanctions
UNICEF Highlights Damage to Humanitarian Work
Genocide Conspiracy Against North Korea --
Open Letter to International Criminal Court

Asserting U.S. Hegemony Over Latin America
Engaging in Corruption in the Name of Fighting It
- Margaret Villamizar -

Fight for Lula's Right to Be Presidential Candidate Intensifies

U.S. Establishes Cyber Task Force to Meddle in Cuba's
Internal Affairs and Target Its Youth

United States Returns to Failed Cuba Policies
- Sergio Alejandro Gómez -

Demand Immediate Release of Edwin Espinal and
All Political Prisoners

- Honduras Solidarity Network -

Global Concentration of Social Wealth

"Their Spirits Live Within Us"

Women's Memorial Marches Honour
Murdered and Missing Women

Vancouver Women's Memorial March, February 14, 2015.

On February 14, important women's memorial marches will take place across Canada. The first women's memorial march was held in 1992 in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman in Vancouver. The march has taken place every year since in Vancouver and is now held in other cities as well. The February 14 Women's Memorial Marches are an opportunity for participants to come together to grieve, to remember and to dedicate themselves to the cause of justice.

Indigenous women are almost three times as likely as non-Indigenous women to experience violence. The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and Walk 4 Justice conclude there are more than 4,000 murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Meanwhile, the RCMP reports 1,181 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada between 1980 and 2012. Families report failure by police to investigate reports of missing women and failure to investigate deaths. Former Status of Women Minister Patty Hadju acknowledged the history of police under-reporting of homicides, and failure to investigate suspicious deaths. The enormity of the failure can be seen in the gap between the number of murdered and missing women according to the RCMP and the information gathered by NWAC and Walk 4 Justice amongst others. In not a few cases the police themselves are implicated in racist violence against Indigenous women and girls, which they carry out with impunity.

Empty red dresses have come to symbolize the Indigenous women and girls who have been
murdered or gone missing and the peoples' demand for redress. Top: dresses line the steps
to the parliament buildings in Ottawa; bottom: alongside the Highway of Tears in
northern British Columbia.

A report by Canada's Chief Public Health Officer found that half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. The Social Survey on Victimization conducted by Statistics Canada stated that there were 553,000 self-reported sexual assaults in 2014, the vast majority of these reports were from women.

Every six days a woman dies in Canada as a result of domestic violence. One day a year, the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses takes stock of the situation of women and children seeking shelter. On "snapshot day" 2017, Shelter Voices reported that 44 per cent of shelters were full. On that day 356 women with 250 children requested residential services at 105 transition houses and shelters. The majority, 273 women and 182 children or 75 per cent of those seeking shelter, were turned away.

The National Housing Strategy announced by the Trudeau Liberals in 2017 acknowledged this crisis but the government has not restored the Shelter Enhancement Program eliminated by the Harper government, nor is it making sure adequate shelter space is provided. Instead strategy documents state that a Co-Investment Fund will "help reduce the wait-list for shelter spaces and lower the number of women who might otherwise return to violent relationships or turn to the street." It does not elaborate how this will be achieved. The Trudeau Liberals report funds they are spending for new locks on the doors of a shelter but reporting such details does not make the number of shelter spaces adequate to meet the need.

Recent information also confirms that even government agencies and institutions are not safe places for women to work. Accusations of improper sexual conduct abound within the Parliament and government ministries and the upper echelons of establishment political parties with seats in the parliament. Women in both the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces have launched class action suits after years of demanding an end to harassment and assault. The government agreed in 2017 to settle a class action suit on behalf of female RCMP officers for discrimination and sexual harassment. To date 2,400 women have joined the lawsuit. These large class action suits shed light on the inherent sexist nature of these institutions which facilitate violence and other injustices against women.

The Department of Justice is now trying to have a similar class action suit against the Canadian Armed Forces thrown out of court, arguing that the government is not responsible to provide a harassment-free work environment, or to create policies to prevent sexual harassment or sexual assault. When the Justice Department's submission was brought to light, both the Minister of Defence and the Justice Minister remained silent. Trudeau expressed outrage but commentators described this as an example of the public relations strategy of "owning the problem" in order to deflect blame.

Women are in the front ranks of all those who are fighting for their rights in the context of fighting for the rights of all. Join the marches on February 14!

The Walking with our Sisters exhibition, honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women
and girls was created by Métis artist Christi Belcourt. It includes more than 1,800 pairs of hand-decorated or beaded moccasin vamps donated by family members of the missing and
murdered Indigenous women and girls. It also includes more than 100 vamps representing the children who never came home from residential schools. The exhibition has travelled to
cities and towns across Canada since it first opened in 2013. Photo is from exhibition
in Thunder Bay.

Haut de


PyeongChang "Peace Olympics"

Korean Nation's Profound Desire for
Peace and Reunification Sets Tone

Photo shows joint Korean delegation entering PyeongChang Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony, February 9, 2018, ending the parade of nations. The Korean Unification Flag takes centre stage and flashes across the stadium seats with the name "Korea."

A great sense of excitement surrounded the opening ceremonies of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics with a united north and south Korean delegation participating under the Unification Flag.

The stage was set a month before the games began, at the inter-Korean talks on January 9 to promote national reconciliation and reunification and solve all problems between themselves through bilateral dialogue and negotiations, and to dissipate mounting tensions due to U.S. threats to disrupt the Olympics with fire and fury. Representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) took the decision to "proactively cooperate in ensuring that the 23rd Winter Olympics and Paralympics in the south side area will be successfully held, providing an occasion for enhancing the prestige of the [Korean] nation," ultimately resulting in a large DPRK delegation being sent to the games and the two Koreas marching as one in the opening ceremony, among other initiatives.

Both sides have gone all out to realize this decision, contributing greatly to reducing tensions created by the U.S. imperialists, Canada and others who are meddling in the relations between the DPRK and ROK. 

The Korean people's own aim for peace and reunification, free from outside interference, has prevailed and set the tone and ensured that these Olympics will be known from now on as the "Peace Olympics."

These PyeongChang Games are the 23rd Winter Olympics and feature 102 events in 15 sports, with the participation of nearly 3,000 athletes from 92 countries and territories. It is the first Winter Olympics held in the Republic of Korea and its second Olympics overall, the first being the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Opening Ceremonies

The Parade of Nations, with Greece leading the way as the historic founding nation of the Olympics, followed by all the other countries in alphabetical order according to the Korean language. The parade concluded with the 180 athletes from the DPRK and ROK marching as
one behind the Unification Flag, to the accompaniment of the Korean folk song Arirang, the anthem of reunification in both north and south. They received a standing ovation. Above,
Korean delegation led by flag bearers Hwang Chung Guam of the DPRK, a member of the
unified Korean women's hockey team, and ROK bobsledder Won Yun-jong.

The opening ceremony took place at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on the evening of February 9, with 35,000 people in attendance. The joint presence of the athletes and leadership from the ROK and DPRK was the highlight of the opening ceremony, while the performances on stage recounted Korean mythology, history and culture, and focused on the themes of peace and harmony, with brilliance and technological prowess. The sincere aspirations of the Korean people to unite their divided nation made short shrift of the views repeated ad nauseam by the imperialist press that the united presence of the ROK and DPRK athletes was a short-lived "manipulation" or "charm offensive" by the DPRK.

President of the ROK Moon Jae-in (front left); First Lady Kim Jung-sook (front right); Kim
Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK (back left); and Kim Yo Jong, First Vice Director of the DPRK's Workers' Party Central Committee and
head of the DPRK's delegation to the Olympics (back right). The visit to the ROK
by such a high-level delegation from the DPRK is the first since the armistice that ended
the Korean War in 1953.

The hope of the peoples of the world for peace on the Korean Peninsula was officially expressed by the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach. After extending greetings to all those present and calling for good sportsmanship, he significantly highlighted the unifying role of sports and the role the Olympics can play to nurture peace:

"A great example of this unifying power [of the Olympics] is the joint march here tonight of the two teams from the National Olympic Committees of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. We thank you.

"All the athletes around me, all the spectators here in the stadium, and all Olympic fans watching around the world, we are all touched by this wonderful gesture. We all join and support you in your message of peace.

"United in our diversity, we are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us.

"Two years ago in Rio de Janeiro, with the first ever Refugee Olympic Team, the IOC sent a powerful message of hope to the world. Now in PyeongChang, the athletes from the teams of the ROK and DPRK, by marching together, send a powerful message of peace to the world."

ROK President Moon Jae-in then officially opened the games. Two members of the united Korean women's hockey team, Park Jong-ah of the ROK and Jong Su Hyon of the DPRK, had the honour of jointly carrying the Olympic torch up a majestic flight of stairs before handing it over to the heroine of Korean sport, Olympic medalist and world champion figure skater Kim Yuna from the ROK, who lit the Olympic cauldron.

Unified Korean Women's Hockey Team

The DPRK cheerleaders warm up the crowd before the Korea-Switzerland
women's hockey game, February 10, 2018.

For the first time in 65 years, south and north Korean athletes are playing in a unified Olympic team, the women's ice hockey team. The 35-member squad includes 15 players from the DPRK. The players from the ROK include players who hold dual Korean-Canadian and Korean-U.S. citizenship. The unified team is coached by Canadian Sarah Murray. The players from north and south were brought together only 10 days before their first scheduled game.

Korean-Canadian player Caroline Park said of the unified team, "I think at first you're not sure what to expect. You hear a lot from the news and you don't know what's going on, but I think that when [the north Koreans] got here, they kind of exceeded our expectations. The players are just so, so nice and they're just so eager to learn."

At a practice match on February 4, in the lead-up to the games, 1,600 south Koreans cheered the unified team in a practice match against Sweden. Waving the Unification Flags, they chanted, "Our country -- reunification! One Korea!"

Participation of Delegation from the DPRK

The DPRK cheerleaders out in full force at the opening ceremony.

Two hundred and eighty members of the DPRK delegation arrived in south Korea on February 7. The contingent included Minister of Physical Culture and Sports Kim Il-guk and three other members of the DPRK's National Olympic Committee, 229 cheerleaders, 26 members of a taekwondo demonstration team and 21 reporters.

With broad smiles the cheerleaders greeted reporters and confidently said of their aim, "We're here to bring about unification." Asked what kind of routines they would perform, one of them responded, "You'll have to wait and see. It wouldn't be any fun to spoil the surprise!" Others assured their cheering would be "full of energy and spirit."

Minister Kim Il-guk said, "Let's all work together to do a good job at the games."

"I'm glad that the Winter Olympics are being successfully held through the cooperation of north and south Korea," said Kim Myong-chol, a member of the DPRK's National Olympic Committee. "I hope that the north and south Korean athletes will get good results during the games."

The Moranbong Band and Samjiyon Art Troupe perform in Gangneung, February 8, 2018.

The DPRK's Moranbong Band and Samjiyon Art Troupe comprised of 140 performers arrived February 6 by ship, under an exemption from the sanctions regime. On February 8, they held a performance at the 998-seat Saimdang Hall of the Gangneung Arts Centre. The south Korean government invited members of families divided by the Korean War and the socially disadvantaged to attend, while 560 seats were reserved for ordinary citizens chosen by lottery. Some 150,000 people are said to have applied online for those seats.

The Hankyoreh informs that the last time a DPRK cheerleading team visited south Korea was 12-and-a-half years ago, at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon. It also informs that previous such delegations have been very well-received in the south:

"The first time that a North Korean cheerleading squad visited South Korea was the 2002 Asian Games in Busan. From the moment they arrived in Busan's Dadaepo Harbor on the Mangyongbong 92 ship on Sept. 28, before the games' opening ceremony, they were the talk of the town. More than 2,000 South Korean well-wishers had gathered at the harbor and welcomed them under the Unification Flag, while more than 280 North Korean cheerleaders, wearing variously colored hanbok (traditional Korean attire), smiled broadly and waved at them.

"As soon as the ship reached the dock, a North Korean brass band, complete with drummers and fife players, played the North Korean song 'Pangapsumnida' ('Nice to Meet You'), while the South Korean crowd responded by shouting the slogan, 'The unified fatherland.' During an interview with the Hankyoreh at the closing ceremony of those Asian Games, one of the cheerleaders said, 'We appreciate the compliments about our beauty, but we would rather you see us as envoys to South Korea for unification than as beautiful women.'"

General Association of Korean Residents in Japan Delegation

On February 8, a 100-person delegation from the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) arrived in south Korea to take part in the PyeongChang Olympics. The Hankyoreh informs that this is the first time in 16 years that Chongryon has sent such a delegation to south Korea.

Besides the overseas Koreans arriving from Japan, many others living in the U.S., Canada and Europe arrived February 8 and 9.

Activists for Peace and Reunification Hold Action at U.S. Embassy

In Seoul on February 5, activists with Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK), held a picket and press conference in front of the U.S. Embassy. They specifically denounced the U.S. plans for a "bloody nose" pre-emptive military strike on the DPRK, saying that this would only exacerbate the situation and lead to an all-out war. They reiterated that dialogue and negotiations are the only means to resolve tensions and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and urged the U.S. to engage in dialogue with the DPRK. Later on February 9, the CBC used a small staged anti-DPRK action outside the opening ceremonies as an excuse to promote the U.S. imperialists' virulent aim to attack the DPRK and undermine  Korean reunification.

Koreans in U.S. Welcome PyeongChang Games as "Peace Olympics"

The U.S. June 15 Committee for Reunification of Korea organized a day of coordinated peace marches in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago on February 4 to show support for the joint initiatives by the DPRK and ROK at the PyeongChang Olympics. Participants reiterated the demand that peace on the Korean Peninsula requires the U.S. sign a peace treaty with the DPRK and remove its troops from Korea. A statement issued by the committee decried attempts by the U.S. government and conservative media in south Korea to present the inter-Korean efforts for peace and reunification at the Olympics as "north Korean manipulation," adding, "We in the U.S. cannot sit idly by and look on with hope and anxiousness. We have to do what we can to ensure that the PyeongChang Olympics successfully embodies a 'Peace Olympics.' And so even though we are Koreans living overseas, we aim to show our support of the PyeongChang Peace Olympics through peace marches. This is our symbolic gesture of support for our fellow Koreans of the North and South actively working to cooperate with one another."

New York City

In New York, the peace march began in front of the Permanent Mission of the ROK to the UN, where the committee delivered a bouquet of flowers to a representative of the mission. The crowd then proceeded to the Permanent Mission of the DPRK to the UN, where they were received by Ja Song-nam, the DPRK's Ambassador to the UN. He expressed his gratitude and hope that the PyeongChang Olympics will contribute to "improving relations between north and south Korea towards reunification." Ja joined the peace marchers in singing Arirang.


Marchers gather at a war memorial in Gallery Park.

Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, the march brought together Korean American and peace/anti-war organizations. Korean drummers led the march while more than 100 participants chanted, "Korea is one!"

Plans to Continue Historic Inter-Korean Summits

President Moon, Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong head to a luncheon meeting at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, February 10, 2018.

A luncheon meeting between ROK President Moon; Kim Yo Jong, head of the DPRK's delegation to the Olympics and First Vice Director of the DPRK's Workers' Party Central Committee; Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK; and others was held February 10, where the focus was inter-Korean relations. Kim Yo Jong delivered to President Moon a handwritten letter from DPRK leader Kim Jong Un formally inviting him to Pyongyang at the "earliest date possible," to which Moon responded positively, saying, "Let us make it happen by creating the necessary conditions in the future."

The last such summit took place October 2, 2007, between then-ROK President Roh Moo-hyun and the late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il.

"An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the north is needed also for the development of the south-north Korean relationship," President Moon added, a spokesman said.

A spontaneous joint practice of north and south Korean speedskaters takes place at Gangneung Ice Arena, February 8, 2018.

Meanwhile, the U.S. appears nonplussed by the dialogue between the DPRK and ROK. News media have commented that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, head of his country's Olympic delegation, has been assiduously avoiding contact with members of the DPRK delegation. In that vein, he left an Olympic dinner hosted by President Moon on February 8 shortly after arriving, where he was to have shared a table with Kim Yong Nam. On February 9, he refused to acknowledge the presence of Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong at the opening ceremonies, though seated practically in front of them. While the entire stadium was seen to give a standing ovation to the joint Korean delegation as it marched through the stadium behind the Unification Flag, Pence pointedly remained seated.

(With files from the IOC, Hankyoreh, SPARK, Zoom in Korea. Photos: Yonhap News, Hankyoreh, China Daily, Tongil News, OhmyNews, Korean Peace Alliance, U.S. June 15 Committee for Reunification of Korea, J.M. Park, agencies)

Haut de


U.S. Bullying and Threats Against DPRK

Serious U.S. Miscalculation of Korean
Desire for Reunification

  Kim Yong Nam (left, in black), President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, and Kim Yo Jong, First Vice Director of the DPRK's Workers' Party Central Committee, are warmly greeted at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, February 9, 2018, by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook.

Korea is striving for reunification, peace and to block regime change but the U.S. calculates that sanctions will ensure that Korea cannot last. The U.S. thinks that starving the people and creating ever more difficult conditions will bring the regime down. The calculations of the U.S. and countries such as Canada are based on their psychology of bullying people. But their arrogance makes them blind to a quality of the people that they cannot fathom, which is their profound motivation to reunify their country. Just as U.S. policy toward Cuba, and Vietnam before that, failed to predict the readiness of the people to persist in their national and social liberation struggles, so too in Korea, the U.S. and its allies' attempts to blackmail the Koreans do not reap the results they desire.

Since inter-Korean talks took place on January 9 and then Canada co-hosted with the U.S. the so-called Ministerial Meeting on Stability and Security in Vancouver on January 16, the U.S. has stepped up its aggressive actions towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) which threaten peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. On January 24, the U.S. announced that it would independently impose additional sanctions beyond those imposed by the UN Security Council. The following day, the U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury flew to south Korea to urge it to maintain thorough-going cooperation in imposing sanctions against the DPRK.

The U.S. then sponsored meetings with south Korean diplomatic and military officials to stress the need for them to lead the north-south dialogue discussing denuclearization. The U.S. invited high-ranking security and military officials to the U.S. to discuss the issue of intensifying "military cooperation" against the DPRK.

The U.S. has brought the nuclear aircraft carrier Carl Vinson strike groups and nuclear strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula and vicinity. Now it is asserting that, after pausing its military exercises around the Korean Peninsula for the Winter Olympics, it will resume the U.S.-south Korea joint military drills right after the games end, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) points out, adding that it has also staged a flying corps strike drill targeting the DPRK with the Japan Air "Self-Defense Force." KCNA adds:

"It is the sinister design of the U.S. to make the north and the south stand in confrontation eternally and create constant tensions on the Korean peninsula from the calculation that the better peace environment on the peninsula makes the U.S. lose its justification for igniting a nuclear war against the DPRK and puts the brakes on its drive for carrying out the strategy for dominating Asia."

KCNA says that "peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula are gravely threatened as long as the U.S. persists in carrying out its sinister purpose and interference."

"All Koreans should heighten their vigilance against the U.S. aggression and interference to bring the disaster of a fratricidal war and a nuclear war to this land, contrary to the trend of the times. They should foil the U.S. moves by building national unity," KCNA adds.

In related news, the Canadian submarine Chicoutimi is reportedly marauding the Asia-Pacific region collecting information on possible breaches of UN Security Council sanctions, the CBC reports.

The sub is said to be tracking "suspicious vessels" and activity, and training with naval vessels from "partner nations" working to monitor and enforce the economic sanctions.

The Chicoutimi is capable of "discreetly recording events on land, such as airport take-offs and landings. Its primary role revolves around tracking merchant and military vessels while submerged, and observing suspicious activity on the sea, including ship-to-ship cargo transfers far from any harbour."

Talk of monitoring "suspicious activity" is ridiculous. Canada's coasts are thousands of miles away, so it is the activities of the sub which are suspicious, not those of the DPRK.

Rather than presenting the action of Canada placing its submarine in the service of a U.S. naval blockade of the DPRK as a dangerous act of war against a sovereign nation, the CBC states that this "kind of capability is key in the region right now. The U.S. has accused China and Russia of breaching UN sanctions on North Korea by transferring oil from their ships to North Korean tankers out at sea to avoid detection."

The CBC report goes on to state that the deployment comes at a "sensitive time" when "international tensions have risen to the point where the U.S. is considering options that could include a military strike on the Korean Peninsula."

The specifics of the missions are secret, according to the report, indicating that in fact it is the Canadian submarine which is the suspicious vessel. The CBC ominously reports, "Chicoutimi's far-flung deployment is intended to send a signal to allies -- and Canadians -- that the submarines can now go anywhere they're needed."

Haut de


Letter of DPRK Foreign Minister
to UN Secretary General

Pyongyang, January 31, Juche 107 (2018)

His Excellency Mr. Secretary-General,

I address this letter to you with respect to emerging dangerous military moves antithetical to the positive changes leading to the improvement of interKorean relations and easing of tension now being manifested on the Korean peninsula.

The fact that a dramatic turning point has been made for peace and stability, national reconciliation and cooperation, and reunification on the Korean peninsula where a touch-and-go war danger was prevailing is entirely thanks to the noble love for the nation by the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, his will for reunification based on devotion to the country and people and his great and courageous determination for safeguarding peace.

Owing to our magnanimous initiative, good results are borne in the inter-Korean dialogue, thus giving joy to all fellow countrymen, and a positive atmosphere in favor of improving inter-Korean relations is created, and the international society warmly welcomes and supports this development and looks forward to seeing continued easing of tension on the Korean peninsula.

However, the U.S. authorities are misleading public opinion as if the inter-Korean dialogue is an outcome of their harshest sanctions and pressure imposed upon our country, and seeking to intentionally aggravate the situation by introducing the strategic assets including nuclear powered aircraft carrier strike groups into the vicinity of the Korean peninsula at a time when the north and south of Korea are charting a course of peace together.

In view of its nature and contents, and scope of troop and war equipment being introduced, the U.S. current moves of military reinforcements are designed to make a preemptive strike against the DPRK, and this is a primary factor which would block the inter-Korean reconciliation process and drive the situation of the Korean peninsula into an unpredictable dangerous phase.

On the other hand, the United States is openly stating that it will conduct a large-scale aggressive joint military exercise against the DPRK immediately after the Winter Olympic Games.

It is a fact acknowledged by the whole world that whenever joint military exercises took place, the peace and security of the Korean peninsula were gravely threatened and the inter-Korean mistrust and confrontation reached a peak, thus creating great difficulties and obstacles ahead of hard-won dialogues.

We will make every effort to improve inter-Korean relations in the future, too, but never sit idle with regard to a sinister act of throwing a wet blanket over our efforts.

In case the hard-won atmosphere in favour of improving the inter-Korean relations and easing the tensions is undermined due to the U.S. manoeuvres aggravating the situation by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean peninsula, the U.S. would never escape from that responsibility.

As a matter of course, the United Nations should not keep silence as to the U.S. dangerous game of aggravating the situation in and around the Korean peninsula and driving the whole world into the possible disaster of nuclear war.

I express my expectation that you pay serious attention to the U.S. deployment of nuclear war equipment and its manoeuvres to provoke a nuclear war which will undermine the improvement of inter-Korean relations and the easing of tensions, and to exert all your efforts to completely terminate these manoeuvres, in line with your mission stipulated in the UN Charter.

And as an immediate step forward, I would like to request you take up at the UN Security Council, in line with Rule 6 Chapter 2 of the UNSC Rules of Procedure, the issue of welcoming the process of improved inter-Korean relations and discouraging neighboring countries from disturbing the process.

Please accept, Mr. Secretary General, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Ri Yong Ho
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Democratic People's Republic of Korea

(Edited slightly for grammar and clarity by TML.)

Haut de


Genocidal Nature of Sanctions

UNICEF Highlights Damage to Humanitarian Work

On January 12, seventeen countries, including Canada and the United States, signed on to a U.S.-led naval blockade of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to allegedly enforce UN Security Council sanctions against the DPRK. The sanctions target the entirety of the DPRK with measures aimed at strangling the country and not permitting it to engage in normal trade with other countries.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) indicates that among other genocidal results, the sanctions are adversely impacting the survival of children in the DPRK. It indicates that one of the "unintended consequences" of the sanctions is that aid groups like themselves are having difficulties fulfilling their development aid role in the DPRK.

Appealing for donations to try to overcome the difficulties, UNICEF indicates that "due to the tense political context and the unintended consequences of United Nations Security Council sanctions, United Nations agencies and partners are facing increasing operational challenges." It states "disruptions to banking channels, delays in clearing relief items at entry ports, difficulty securing suppliers and a 160 per cent increase in fuel prices are further constraining agencies' budgets and their ability to implement interventions. This is adversely impacting the survival of children who are already suffering from acute malnutrition." It does not explain how these are unintended consequences when, for example, one of the explicit targets of the sanctions is to cut off the import of fuels. UNICEF reports that the price for a fuel coupon (15 kg of gas) increased from "U.S.$14.57 to U.S.$24.66" on April 1, 2017 and "is still rising."

UNICEF indicates that the implementation of nutrition interventions and the provision of essential medicines and oral rehydration salts is "challenged by the current political situation and sanctions, as well as the availability of funds and in-country cash." Funding constraints also led to significant underachievement against severe acute malnutrition treatment targets, UNICEF reports. It estimates that in 2018, 60,000 children under five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition and will need to be treated through inpatient and outpatient therapeutic feeding programmes, which are the type of programs being hampered by sanctions. It indicates that it expects another 140,000 children will face acute malnourishment and require assistance. It indicated that in 2017, despite a goal to provide 700,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers with multi-micronutrient supplementation, it only reached 280,000. It expects that in 2018 there will be the same need for supplementation with the stricter enforcement of sanctions.

It is immoral and inhuman that UN aid bodies such as UNICEF are having their humanitarian work hampered, with resulting harm to the people of the DPRK, while the UN Security Council continues to impose genocidal sanctions at the behest of the U.S. In truth, the U.S., Canada and the other countries that participated in the genocidal aggression against Korea in the past owe a historic debt to the Korean people for the horrific damage they caused under the UN flag.

Haut de


Genocide Conspiracy Against North Korea --
Open Letter to International Criminal Court

"The American threats against North Korea continue to mount and with them the threat of the genocide of the people of North Korea by the United States of America and its allies," writes Canadian international criminal lawyer Christopher Black in a January 26 opinion piece posted on New Eastern Outlook. He says the January 16 meeting in Vancouver of the U.S., Canada and other nations that attacked the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1950, "took on the character of a meeting of criminals who by their presence, agreement and actions made them parties to a conspiracy to commit genocide, a crime under the statute of the International Criminal Court and the Genocide Convention of 1948."

Black elaborates:

"The threats made against North Korea are due to one single fact: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea refuses to accept the world hegemony of the American Empire. It has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. It has become a ritual now to state that all the permanent members of the Security Council are armed with nuclear weapons, that the United States has used them on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that they have continuously threatened to use them to intimidate other nations since 1945, that Pakistan, India, and Israel have them, that NATO members in Europe have them at their disposal under U.S. direction, that North Korea is in violation of no international law in developing them to defend themselves, to ensure their security just as all those other nations have done, that North Korea threatens no one and seeks only to have a full and final peace with the United States.

"The nuclear weapon issue is simply the pretext that the United States is using to try to solidify its tyranny over Korea, over the world.

"The threat to world peace comes not from North Korea. It comes from the United States and its allies: the nations who have degraded themselves into subjugated vassal states ready to obey any criminal order of their masters of war in Washington."

Black also felt it necessary to jointly send the following open letter with Dr. Graeme MacQueen, founder and former Director of the Centre For Peace Studies at McMaster University, to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on January 23.

Open Letter

Dear Madame Prosecutor:

Re: Threats of Genocide Made Against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

We, the undersigned, share the desire of the Canadian people to establish and preserve peace in the world. It is therefore necessary for us to ask you to open an investigative file on the action of governments allied to the United States, including Canada, its government ministers and officials active in the on-going crisis with the DPRK.

Embarrassment and shock at President Trump's threats against North Korea have been widespread and have led to a serious discussion in the U.S. as to whether Mr. Trump is mentally fit to govern. However, the threats of Mr. Trump and his secretary of defense go well beyond the US domestic sphere and have direct implications for other countries, including Canada.

Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group:

(a) killing members of the group,

(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,

(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction, in whole or in part, of the group.

Conspiracy to commit genocide is understood in international law as a concerted agreement to commit genocide which may be inferred from the conduct of the conspirators. The evidence to support the charge of genocide can be based on circumstantial evidence as well as direct evidence. Further, the concerted or coordinated action of a group of individuals can constitute evidence of an agreement.

On August 8, 2017 Mr. Trump said that North Korean threats "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." His secretary of defense, James Mattis, followed up on August 9 with the statement that, "The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

Mr. Mattis added a further comment on September 3: "We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so."

During his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly on September 19, Mr. Trump said: "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."

Finally, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during an interview on January 17, 2018 at Stanford University with Condoleeza Rice, stated approvingly in reference to deaths aboard Korean fishing boats going out to sea in winter without necessary fuel: "they [the North Koreans] are feeling the effect of our sanctions." This is direct evidence that the United States is intentionally creating conditions that will cause the death of Korean civilians on a large scale in order to achieve U.S. objectives.

Rhetorical excess ("fire and fury") is one thing, but this connected series of statements, including a threat of total destruction, constitutes a threat of genocide. Threatening genocide is, arguably, not a crime, but "public incitement to genocide" is explicitly included as a crime in the Genocide Convention to which the U.S. is party. Already, therefore, by publicly and passionately promoting genocide as a policy option, Mr. Trump and Mr. Mattis have entered dangerous territory legally. Since the U.S. is party to the Genocide Convention the provisions of the Convention have the status of U.S. law.

To successfully convict someone of genocide, proof of intention is required. The prosecution needs to show "intent to destroy." This is usually a challenge for the prosecution since perpetrators seldom telegraph their destructive intentions to the world in advance. But, as two genocide scholars have already argued in the Washington Post, the U.S. leadership has done precisely this: it has telegraphed its intentions. If, they point out, Mr. Trump does what he has threatened, prosecuting him for genocide would take a straightforward path.

The country of the undersigned, Canada, is a member of the ICC and under its jurisdiction, and Canadian leaders and officials have individual responsibility for any crimes committed under the Statute. Since there is clear evidence that the crime of genocide is being discussed openly and that plans are being made to carry it out against the people of the DPRK by U.S. leaders and since, in these circumstances and with full knowledge of these threats and plans, U.S. allies, including Canada, are cooperating with the U.S. government and meeting to discuss actions to be taken against North Korea, and since these allies of the U.S. appear to be ignoring international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the Rome Statute, it is necessary that an investigation be conducted by your office to consider the evidence and to prosecute if there is evidence of a crime.

The United States of America is no longer a member of the ICC. However, it is bound by the Charter of the United Nations to keep the world peace, is party to the Genocide Convention, and was a sponsor of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, the ICC has not only an investigative and prosecutorial role, but also the role of informing the world what criminal conduct is when it is happening; and it has a duty to make a public statement condemning it when it happens. It chose to do so with regard to Kenya for example. It should do so in the current crisis.

We ask that the Office of the Prosecutor open an investigative file in this matter and, in addition, use your voice as Prosecutor and the moral imperative your office claims to represent to avoid genocide and to condemn as grave violations of international criminal law the announced intentions and actions of the nations mentioned above.

Haut de


Asserting U.S. Hegemony Over Latin America

Engaging in Corruption in the Name of Fighting It

Just as in past decades the U.S. waged its "War on Drugs" in Latin America to defend its position as protector of the biggest drug cartels and eliminate their opponents and rivals, so too today it is posturing as the greatest anti-corruption crusader to achieve its aim of keeping corrupt pro-U.S. governments in charge.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent a week in Latin America and the Caribbean on official visits to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Jamaica from February 1 to 8. A speech he gave at the University of Texas at Austin before setting out, set the tone for his visit. His priorities revolved around asserting U.S. hegemony in its "backyard," confirmed by his comment that the infamous 19th century Monroe Doctrine was "as relevant today as it was the day it was written." In the speech he warned against what he called the growing presence of China and Russia in the region and pushed for more "market-based economic reforms" and "the opening up of more market economies."

A central aim was to get as many countries as possible onside with U.S. efforts to strangle Venezuela economically and impede the ability of Venezuelans themselves to resolve the crisis in their country, instigated from abroad, through peaceful political means. Tillerson made a point of emphasizing that his government considers the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be "a corrupt regime that steals from its own people." This attack served as a segue for him to demand that all countries in the western hemisphere make 2018 a year to "take serious action against corruption." Corruption must be "rooted out in all its forms," he said.

In recent years a preferred method of the U.S. imperialists for ousting, if not outright destroying those who refuse to come under their dictate, involves the use of manipulated legal, parliamentary and constitutional processes to accomplish their aim. Often the targeted person is accused of corruption or some other activity deemed as criminal while the regimes of the most corrupt thieves in the service of the U.S. are supported. In Brazil, former President Dilma Rousseff was forced out of office on totally spurious grounds in a parliamentary coup that was upheld by the country's Supreme Court. Today, these same usurpers, themselves covered in corruption, are attempting to get former President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva jailed for corruption in another mockery of justice. Under no circumstances do they want him to be a presidential candidate in the upcoming election, which he has a good chance of winning so long as he is allowed to run. Their fear is that another Workers' Party government will reverse the neo-liberal direction they have taken Brazil of privatizing and selling out the country's resources to foreign interests, cutting the people's social programs and attacking workers' rights.

Similar methods were used in an attempt to criminalize Argentina's former President Cristina Kirchner to ensure that a billionaire businessman could be installed to implement a similar Washington-dictated agenda of paying the rich and austerity for everyone else.

Ecuador Next?

Protest in El Carmen, February 8, 2018. Photo by Sofía Espín Reyes, a deputy in Guayas province, who writes that the government, "while looking to defend its unconstitutional consultation to international authorities, has left the country waiting for attention to really urgent issues."

Now in Ecuador we see something similar taking shape against former President Rafael Correa and the Citizen's Revolution he led during his ten years in office, which lifted more than one million people out of poverty, greatly expanded public health care and education and took important stands in defence of the sovereignty of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Shortly after current President Lenin Moreno assumed office in May 2017 he dismissed his vice president and in record time had him charged, jailed and convicted of corruption in connection with what has become known as the Odebrecht Scandal.[1] He has also accused former President Rafael Correa -- in whose government he served as vice president until being elected president himself -- of leading a "corrupt" government and trying to hide it. Correa says that is demonstrably false and accuses Moreno of betraying their Citizen's Revolution and those who elected him, by taking up the neo-liberal program of the opposition and the old ruling elite. There are those who expect changes to the country's constitution, that will be made based on the results of a national referendum held on February 4, will be used as tools to remove Correa and possibly others from the scene in line with the way Lula is being persecuted in Brazil.

An opinion piece on the website Mision Verdad states:

"The charge [against Vice President Jorge Glas] was based on files delivered by Odebrecht to the United States about its bribery network in the region, with the intention now being to move against Correa and his allies to bury them as a political force after an aggressive communications campaign of hatred against him for allegedly representing the 'most corrupt government in Ecuador'.

"Thus the political banishment of Correa and his almost certain judicial persecution is very similar to what was done to the leaders Lula and Cristina to whom they applied a campaign of demonization based on alleged acts of corruption, followed by a series of biased investigations that have put their future as leaders at risk, leaving them on the edge of an almost certain political death.

"Paradoxically, the three [former presidents] are additionally being used by those attacking them as the reason for re-ordering the rules of the "democratic" game of their countries. A new form of political exceptionalism where public institutions, such as justice and parliament, are instrumentalized against those who oppose free market reforms, is being fully developed in Argentina, Brazil and now Ecuador."[2]

It is the ultimate act of corruption for champions of a system based on paying the rich by fleecing the working people and violating their fundamental rights, to persecute and destroy political rivals because they implement even modest reforms that clash with this inherently corrupt agenda. No matter how much the U.S. imperialists and those in their service try to excuse such treachery as "legal" and "constitutional" it only shows that the people continue to lack the power they need to defend their interests. Despite the belief of the forces of retrogression that they can control everything using the police powers of the state, the No! of the organized people in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and now Ecuador as well as Honduras are the decisive factor in setting a course for the future for these countries.


1. Based in Brazil, Odebrecht is Latin America's largest engineering and construction company. It became an international giant using bribery to secure lucrative infrastructure and other contracts. The corruption is alleged to have reached the highest levels of government in some countries. In Brazil, Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) was opened to investigate accusations of corruption and money laundering at the state oil company Petrobras -- much of it involving Odebrecht. Company CEO Marcelo Odebrecht is currently serving house arrest for his part in the scheme. He was first sentenced to 19 years in prison for paying out $30 million in one of the many cases related to Operation Car Wash. That sentence was reduced to 10 years after he signed a leniency deal in exchange for paying a fine of nearly $2 billion, admitting guilt and providing testimony to authorities. Similar plea deals were struck by other company executives.

2. Bruno Sgarzini, "Victoria del SÍ en Ecuador: lecciones de un nuevo ciclo político regional,"  Mision Verdad, February 8, 2018.

(Translation of quotations from original Spanish by TML.)

Haut de



Fight for Lula's Right to Be
Presidential Candidate Intensifies

Mass support rally for the candidacy of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,
Sao Paulo, January 24, 2018, part of the cross-country "Lula for Brazil" caravan
underway since last year.

On January 24, as tens of thousands of Brazilians demonstrated in the streets against what they say is a judicial farce being played out against him, declaring "An Election Without Lula is a Fraud!" and demanding "Show us the Evidence!" the Fourth Regional Federal Appellate Court (TRF4) in the city of Porto Alegre upheld the conviction of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on charges of passive corruption and money laundering.[1]

The three-judge panel denied Lula's appeal by unanimous decision shortly after hearing the arguments presented by his defence lawyer. They then took the additional measure of increasing the nine-and-a-half-year jail sentence imposed by the judge who first convicted him to 12 years and one month.

The court stated it would not order Lula's imprisonment until all appeals had been exhausted, up to and including the level of the country's Supreme Court. However the day after his appeal was denied, a judge in another court barred Lula from leaving the country and ordered him to hand over his passport, forcing him to cancel a weekend trip to Ethiopia where he had been invited to participate in a panel discussion at the African Union Summit on combating hunger based on successful programs implemented in Brazil during his presidency. The order was supposedly unrelated to the appeal court decision but based on other charges of a similar nature that have yet to be heard. On February 2 a judge in a higher court overturned the lower court order saying there was no evidence Lula intended to flee Brazil.

In response to this barrage of attacks through the legal system the Workers' Party has confirmed Lula as its candidate for the presidency in the October election and has vowed to continue and intensify the fight against the violation of his rights and for the rights of the Brazilian people. In a communique the PT states:

"Lula has committed no crime. His accusers know that. His conviction is a judicial farce that embarrasses Brazil before the world. [...]

"In order to convict Lula, without any evidence and any crime, the 4th Federal Regional Court decreed that [Operation] Car Wash [the investigation headed by the judge who convicted Lula -- TML Note ] judges and prosecutors did not have to comply with the rules set forth for 'ordinary cases.' Once the state of exception was decreed, Lula's and his family's rights were violated throughout the entire process. Now, the indecent arrangement ... by the three, 8th-panel, appellate court judges of the TRF-4 to plan their votes on the defense's appeal exposed the trial's political nature.

"Lula was persecuted, accused, tried, and convicted in a process of exception that is the continuity of the 2016 impeachment coup against President Dilma Rousseff.

"The strings that moved Operation Car Wash and the Porto Alegre appellate court in a biased process to convict Lula, without evidence of a crime, are manipulated by the same sectors that have torn up the Constitution and the votes of 54 million voters in order to place a gang in the presidential Palácio do Planalto."

The communique concluded by sharing the resolution adopted "at this decisive time for the future of our country" at a public assembly by the PT National Executive, to:

1. Reaffirm the decision by the PT National Directorate that our brother Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will run for the Presidency of the Republic in the October 2018 elections;

2. Denounce to the country and the world the judicial farce against Lula: the illegal actions of [Operation] Car Wash police officers and prosecutors, the unfair and illegal sentence by Sérgio Moro, the indecent arrangement of the TRF-4 appellate judges and the connivance of [television network] Rede Globo with this farce;

3. Greet and thank the political parties, social movements, organizations, and personalities who, in Brazil and abroad, have condemned the persecution and proclaimed the democratic meaningfulness of Lula's participation in the political and electoral process;

4. Deepen dialogue and uphold unity with political parties and social forces, seeking to establish a broad and solid alliance with all those who may agree on the government platform we are building and will submit to the country;

5. Establish increasingly more People's Committees in Defense of Democracy and of Lula's Right to be a Candidate, gathering brothers and sisters with diverse political visions to dialogue with the people about the persecution against Lula.

With Lula and the people until victory in October!

São Paulo, 25 January 2018. National Executive Board of the Workers' Party (PT)

Support rally for Lula, Porto Alegre, January 24, 2018.


1. See "Lula Has the Right to be a Candidate for President," TML Weekly January 20, 2018.

(With files from Folha de Sao Paulo. Photos: R. Stuckert)

Haut de



U.S. Establishes Cyber Task Force to Meddle in
Cuba's Internal Affairs and Target Its Youth

On January 23 the U.S. Department of State announced the creation of the Cuba Internet Task Force to "promote the free and unregulated flow of information in Cuba. The task force will examine the technological challenges and opportunities for expanding internet access and independent media in Cuba," a news release said. It also announced its first meeting will be held February 7.

This new initiative comes in response to President Trump's June 16, 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum "Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba."

In response, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a diplomatic note that "expresses its strong protest against the pretension of the U.S. government to violate flagrantly Cuban sovereignty, with respect to national competence to regulate the flow of information and the use of mass media, while rejecting the attempt to manipulate the Internet to carry out illegal programs for political purposes and subversion, as part of their actions aimed at altering or changing the constitutional order of the Republic of Cuba."

The note demands that the Government of the United States "cease its subversive, interfering and illegal actions against Cuba, which undermine Cuban constitutional stability and order, and urges it to respect Cuban sovereignty, International Law and the purposes of and principles of the Charter of the United Nations."

In its message, the Cuban Foreign Ministry reiterates the determination of the Government of Cuba not to tolerate any type of subversive activity or interference in its internal affairs and, as a sovereign country, to continue defending itself and denouncing the interfering nature of this type of action.

"Cuba will continue to regulate the flow of information as is its sovereign right and as is practice in all countries, including the United States. Cuba will also continue advancing in the computerization of its society, as part of the development of the country and in terms of the social justice objectives that characterize its Revolution," it says.

Other programs to try and use the internet to foment regime change in Cuba have failed miserably and exposed what the U.S. means by "free flow of information." Under the administration of Obama there was the ZunZuneo, a U.S. created messaging platform similar to Twitter aimed at trying to attack the consciousness of Cuban youth who defend their sovereignty and right to self-determination.

Cuba's Expansion of Internet

Meanwhile, Cuba is steadily expanding access to the internet for its citizens according to its economic possibilities under the conditions of a brutal U.S. blockade which blocks its ability to trade freely with other countries.

A report from Rosa Miriam Elizalde indicates that "2017 will be remembered as the boom year for the expansion of internet access in our country -- with 40 per cent of Cubans now online, 37 per cent more than in 2010 -- and the establishment of internet hot spots in urban areas across the island."

Official statistics from the Cuban Telecommunication Enterprise (ETECSA) indicate that 600,000 new cell phone lines were activated last year, bringing the total number to 4.5 million. Around 250,000 connections at 500 public wi-fi hotspots were registered daily across the country. The highest growth rates were seen in two categories linked to digital connectivity, according to the report Digital in 2017: Global Overview, with over 2.7 million new users, a 365 per cent increase as compared to 2016; and an increase in the use of cell phones to access social networks, with 2.6 million new users, up 385 per cent.

Haut de


United States Returns to Failed Cuba Policies

If the Trump administration presumes to use new technologies to impose changes on Cuba's internal order, it has chosen a very timeworn route, one that has been inoperative and ineffective in the past -- not to mention that it violates the laws of the country involved, and even those of the United States.

The creation of an Internet Task Force focused on Cuba, announced by the State Department January 23, opens the doors for the continuation of a failed Cold War policy, which the two countries had stated their intention to change on December 17, 2014.

This move comes in the wake of the mistaken, poorly-advised speech given by the President in Miami, this past June 16, when he met with a group from the far-right of Cuban origin, to announce with much pomp and circumstance his changes to the country's policy toward Cuba, which can be summarized, in a few words, as more blockade and less travel between the two countries.

The battlefield chosen for this latest aggression, the internet, shows clearly Washington's true objectives when references are made to "free access" in countries it opposes, while in U.S. territory a mega-system is maintained to scan and gather data about what citizens are doing on the net.

Likewise, at the beginning of January, the U.S. Congress advanced a bill to remove the few restrictions that exist on international cyber-espionage, the extent of which was made evident by the leaks of former National Security Agency employee, Edward Snowden.

From the so-called Arab Spring -- already lost in oblivion -- to more recent plans like the promoting of protests in Iran and support to the violent opposition in Venezuela, Washington has shown a clear pattern of how it uses social networks and the internet for its hegemonic geopolitical purposes.

This is all part of the non-conventional war strategy developed to destabilize nations without the direct use of military force, increasingly deployed since the fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The activation of this new "task force" also demonstrates that, despite facing a government shutdown, there is no lack of liquidity when it comes to financing subversive projects in Cuba. There are plenty of places to find money, even though the Trump administration's budget presented to Congress for 2018 eliminates the customary 20 million dollars allocated for decades, to carry out such aggression.

The facility with which new bodies are staffed, with "government and non-government" personnel, contrasts sharply with the dramatic reduction of U.S. diplomats assigned to the embassy in Havana, which has practically paralyzed the issuing of visas and impacted services provided Cubans and their families in the United States.

Trump's new plans did not take Cuba by surprise, since the country has more than 50 years of experience in confronting all kinds of U.S. aggression.

Recent projects like ZunZuneo, Piramideo, Commotion and others run up against both the capacity of Cuban authorities to detect them and the Cuban population's unity in the face of such attacks.

They come at a time, moreover, when steps are being taken to advance in the digitalization of society, with a vision that prioritizes public access to the internet and protection of the country's sovereignty, despite economic limitations.

Since the opening of more than 500 wi-fi hotspots across the island to provide internet access, without restrictions beyond those created by the blockade and the needs of national security, the country is moving forward with internet service on cell phones -- with more than four million in use -- and expansion of home connections.

If the Trump administration is only interested in guaranteeing Cubans access to the internet, they could eliminate the blockade restrictions that hamper purchases of advanced telecommunications technologies and provide credit for their acquisition. This would perhaps be less expensive than a "task force" that is, from the start, condemned to failure.

Subversive Projects Based on New Technologies

ZunZuneo: Financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with the objective of launching a messaging system that could reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans using "non-controversial" content, like sports news, music, weather reports, and announcements. When they had won over a following, the plan was to begin sending political messages inciting Cubans to make appeals on the network for massive demonstrations to destabilize the country.

Piramideo: Similar to ZunZuneo, this program was undertaken by the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), responsible for the infamous Radio and TV Martí. The plan was to create a network of "friends" that would offer the possibility of sending a massive message to members of a "pyramid" at the cost of a single SMS. The objective was to prepare a platform for subversion.

Conmotion: A tool to create independent wireless networks, developed by the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute (OTI), with headquarters in Washington, originally intended for military use. Although no information on its functioning in Cuba is known, government sources told the New York Times that millions of dollars had been dedicated to an effort toward that end.

Operation Surf: Unmasked by State Security agent Raúl -- Dalexi González Madruga -- this program involved the smuggling of equipment and software into the country to install illegal antennas to access the internet.

(Granma, January 26, 2018)

Haut de



Demand Immediate Release of Edwin Espinal
and All Political Prisoners

Long-time Honduran activist Edwin Robelo Espinal was arrested by police on January 19, on the eve of a week-long nationwide strike. Edwin faces a laundry list of trumped up charges: arson, property damage, and use of homemade explosive material. Edwin is also under State investigation for terrorism and criminal association related to damages to the Marriott Hotel, a multi-billion dollar U.S. chain, during a January 12 protest in Tegucigalpa.

Edwin Robelo Espinal

Thousands of Hondurans from all walks of life attended the January 12 action to protest the election fraud that robbed Opposition Alliance presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla of his victory in the November 26, 2017 general elections; the killings of more than 30 anti-fraud protesters and bystanders by state security forces; and the arrests of dozens of political prisoners during the ongoing post-electoral crisis. Edwin's arbitrary arrest occurred in the context of the election fraud endorsed by the U.S. and Canada, and designed to keep current President Juan Orlando Hernández in power.

Edwin is currently in pretrial detention. At the end of his initial hearing inside military facilities on January 22, the judge ordered pre-trial detention and sent Edwin to La Tolva, a high-security prison. The prison has extremely restricted visitor access, is run by a military colonel, and prisoners are only allowed one-hour of sunlight every two weeks amongst other horrific conditions. Although the case has been appealed by local Honduran human rights organization COFADEH, Edwin could remain in detention for two or more years waiting trial.

Edwin Espinal Has Been a Target of State Harassment for Years

Edwin is an easy-going, kind man who draws young people of all ages to him. Edwin fiercely believes in organizing, supporting all forms of resistance, and solidarity with Honduran social movements and groups. He has never lost hope for change in Honduras.

Edwin's strong and relentless conviction is what the Honduran government fears. Because of this, since the U.S.- and Canadian-backed military coup in 2009, Edwin has been a constant target of State repression and harassment.

In 2009, Edwin's partner, Wendy Elizabeth Avila, was killed after excessive exposure to tear gas when State forces violently evicted thousands of protesters gathered at the Brazilian Embassy to welcome ousted President Manuel Zelaya back into the country.

In 2010, Edwin was abducted and tortured by Honduran police, who were later acquitted -- in the corrupted legal system -- on all charges for their abuses.

One month before the fraudulent, violent 2013 elections, Honduran Military Police and canine units brought in by the Public Prosecutor's Office illegally raided Edwin's family's home, claiming that he possessed drugs, money, and weapons. At the time, Edwin was involved in a community movement to stop the privatization of public soccer fields in his neighborhood used by impoverished youth with limited recreational spaces and resources.

In 2015, Edwin's mom died in the social security hospital as a result of the $350 million dollar looting of the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS) orchestrated by the National Party, in power since 2010.

Edwin has been detained more than a dozen times since 2009 and has been beaten by security forces. The most recent beating was in December 2017 when he participated in a protest against election fraud in Tegucigalpa.

As a result of this constant persecution, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted Edwin protective measures in 2010. The measures were renewed in 2013, shortly after the illegal raid on his family's home.

Edwin has been interviewed by Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera's Fault Lines and in the documentary Resistencia. His story has also been featured in articles published by Truthout and POLITICO Magazine.

Edwin's current detention on trumped up charges is one more example of systematic political persecution and targeting of anti-fraud protesters and political opponents of the government. The illegitimate and corrupt government of Juan Orlando Hernández is targeting its own citizens -- people like Edwin -- while doing nothing to investigate the hundreds of killings and arbitrary arrests by State forces of social movement activists, protesters, journalists, lawyers, and others.

The legal proceedings against Edwin have completely violated Honduran law and due process. The case is being heard in "national jurisdiction" courts that, according to the charges against Edwin, have no jurisdiction over the case. The judge presiding over the case is the same judge that ordered the raid on Edwin's house in 2013, which, according to Honduran law, is illegal. Edwin's legal representatives were given one day (a Sunday) to prepare his defence and he was later sent to prison to await trial, which could take years. For these reasons, the trumped up charges against Edwin are a clear example of political persecution against a political opponent the Honduran government has targeted for years.

Immediate Action Is Needed for Edwin's Safety and Release

- We demand Edwin's immediate release, as well as that of the more than 40 political prisoners throughout the country, and that all the trumped up charges be dropped.

To ensure Edwin's immediate safety and access to justice, we demand that Honduran authorities immediately release Edwin. But in the meantime, we demand:

- That Edwin be transferred to a detention centre as determined by COFADEH (the Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras), which has provided long-term legal and human rights support for him since 2009. Edwin is currently being held in a jail run by a military officer, and the facility has extremely restricted access for visits by family, friends, and human rights groups. These visits are crucial to help guarantee his safety and well-being while detained. To date, his family and his lawyers have not been able to visit him.

- That Edwin's case be transferred out of the "national jurisdiction" courts and into the regular court system.

- That U.S. Congress members sign onto the Berta Caceres Act demanding suspension of U.S. military aid to Honduras.

Contact U.S., Canadian and Honduran representatives. Click here for contacts and for more information about Edwin's case and the human rights situation in the country.

Ongoing Solidarity and Action Is Also Needed

We urge human rights delegations, journalists, and investigators to visit Edwin and other arbitrarily detained political prisoners experiencing repression in the context of the post-electoral crisis and the imposition of the Juan Orlando Hernández regime.

Financial support for Edwin's family is needed as they seek justice and work to ensure his safety and demand his release.

Haut de



Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca