February 2, 2019 - No. 3

Government Preparations for 2019 Federal Election

Mobilization of Police Powers Cannot But Deepen Crisis of Legitimacy

Bringing Political Parties into the State Security Apparatus
Canada to Lead G7 Rapid Response Mechanism

For Your Information
What the Ministers and Others Had to Say on Anti-Foreign
Interference and Anti-Fake News Plans (Excerpts)

Wet'suwet'en Heroic Defence of Hereditary Rights

BC Environmental Assessment Office Finds Coastal
GasLink in Non-Compliance

Coastal GasLink and RCMP Violating Gidimt'en
Sovereignty and Own Agreement

Unist'ot'en Demands Stop-Work Order for Coastal GasLink Pipeline

For Your Information
How the Canadian Government Imposed the
Band Council System on Indigenous Nations

The Indian Lands Act, 1924

Ontario Government Appeals Robinson Treaties Ruling
Negotiate, Don't Litigate! Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied!
- David Starbuck -

Lima Group Meeting in Ottawa February 4
No to Foreign-Inspired "Regime Change" in Venezuela by
Military or "Diplomatic" Means! Hands off Venezuela! 

- Margaret Villamizar -
Continued Opposition to Canadian Involvement in Regime Change

Statements and Resolutions

Caribbean Community
Message of Solidarity Received from the African Union
Canadian Network on Cuba
Vancouver and District Labour Council
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Union of Public Employees
World Peace Council

Government in Denial as Brexit Crisis Deepens

Canada's Withdrawal of Personnel from Embassy in Cuba
- Statement by Cuban Ambassador to Canada, Josefina Vidal -
Rapid, Organized Response to Tornado Damage in Havana
- Yaima Puig Meneses -
Sending Material or Financial Aid to Cuba

Important Developments in Latin America and the Caribbean

Government Preparations for 2019 Federal Election

Mobilization of Police Powers Cannot
But Deepen Crisis of Legitimacy

With the opening of Parliament on January 28, the campaigning for the 2019 federal election has taken centre stage. The Trudeau government and the parties which form a cartel party system in the Parliament, as well as media in their service, have usurped the role of electors in determining "the issues." Each party and party leader claims to champion "the real issues" which are allegedly on the minds of Canadians. It constitutes diversion so that electors do not work things out for themselves and remain vulnerable to factional fighting as the factions of the ruling class, which call themselves political parties, vie for power.

Along with this, in the name of protecting democracy, the government has been busy putting police forces and intelligence agencies in charge of the electoral process. The specific claim is that these police powers are to prevent foreign interference in an election and oppose "fake news." The fact that this agenda is all driven from abroad, specifically by those in charge of the U.S. war machine and its NATO political wing, the Atlantic Council, does not stop the government from claiming that it is to safeguard the Canadian democracy from foreign interference. Far from defending against "fake news," it is precisely based on repeating whatever justifications those forces see fit to provide, irrespective of the objective need to renovate the democracy in a manner which empowers the people.

The latest announcement in this regard was made on Wednesday, January 30 when the Liberal government unveiled its "anti-foreign influence "and "anti-fake news" operations for the 2019 Federal Election. The announcement was made at a "technical press briefing" in Ottawa, with Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale speaking. In a classic scene of "the lady doth protest too much," Gould made emphatic comments about how the measures being put in place have nothing to do with violating the right to freedom of speech and expression. "In no way whatsoever does this announcement limit Canadians' freedom of expression or free speech," she said at one point. At another she said, "Let me be clear, this is not about refereeing the election."

One of the measures announced by the government is the creation of an elections police task force called the "Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force." It brings together the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS); the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); the Communications Security Establishment (CSE); and Global Affairs Canada (GAC). A government backgrounder states the Task Force will "prevent covert, clandestine, or criminal activities from influencing or interfering with the electoral process in Canada by: building awareness of foreign threats to Canada's electoral process; and preparing the government to assess and respond to those threats."

The government also delineates the tasks of various intelligence and police agencies in relation to elections as follows:

"- CSE will continue to protect government systems and networks, as well as offering cyber advice and guidance to Elections Canada and political parties;

"- CSIS will continue to actively monitor and report threats to the government and provide classified briefings to political parties on potential threats; and,

"- A dedicated RCMP investigative team will continue to detect and disrupt attempted foreign interference activity and investigate criminal activity related to interfering with or attempting to influence Canada's electoral processes."

The Liberals have also announced a "Critical Election Incident Public Protocol," described as a "simple, clear and non-partisan process for informing Canadians if serious incidents threaten the integrity of the 2019 General Election." The government claims its use would be to address "egregious incidents that do not fall within Elections Canada's areas of responsibility for the effective administration of the election."

This raises more questions than it answers. Elections Canada administers all aspects of the election law, while the Commissioner of Canada Elections is responsible for investigating non-compliance with the law and pursuing prosecutions in cases of violation of the law. Each area of the law has particular prosecutorial bodies responsible. What then are the "egregious incidents" that are not covered by the election law or another body of law already in existence? What will these "egregious incidents" be violating?

Though undefined, Canadians are told that these "egregious incidents" will be dealt with by a five-member panel of senior public servants: the Clerk of the Privy Council; the National Security and Intelligence Advisor; the Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General; the Deputy Minister of Public Safety; and the Deputy Minister of Global Affairs Canada. The individuals, all appointed by the government, are described as "a group of experienced senior Canadian public servants who [...] bring together unique national security, foreign affairs, democratic governance, and legal perspectives." They will be responsible for "jointly determining whether the threshold for informing Canadians has been met, whether through a single incident or an accumulation of incidents."

In other words, because the positions on the panel are to be filled by civil servants, the panel is to be perceived as non-partisan. It will, however, be guided by a protocol established by the Liberals and whatever agencies are directing them. The protocol provides provisions for: "informing candidates, organizations or election officials if they have been the known target of an attack; briefing the group of senior public servants at the heart of the Protocol; informing the Prime Minister and other party leaders (or their designates) that a public announcement is planned; and notifying the public." To keep the appearance that the panel is an impartial, non-government related body to administer the election, the Liberals state that "the Prime Minister cannot veto the decision to notify Canadians of a critical incident." Again, we think they protest their innocence too much.

Further elaborating this conception of an impartial body, the Liberals say that the protocol and the group administering it will have a "limited scope." It will operate only during the writ period, and only for incidents not within Elections Canada's areas of responsibility. Should there be an "incident" outside of the writ period, it will be handled by "regular Government of Canada operations."

The Liberals say that this Protocol Panel, as it calls the five public servants, is in keeping with the Caretaker Convention, according to which the government is expected to restrict its activities during an election, "in matters of policy, spending and appointments ... except where absolutely in the national interest."

The Protocol Panel is said to have a "very high threshold" for intervening in the election. "It will be limited to addressing exceptional circumstances that could impair Canada's ability to have a free and fair election. As such, potential considerations could include: the potential impact of the incident on the national interest; the degree to which the incident undermines Canadians' democratic rights; the potential of the incident to undermine the credibility of the election; and the degree of confidence officials have in the intelligence." These are presumably mysteries of state about which Canadians cannot be informed because to do so would endanger national security.

According to information made available to the public, where the Protocol Panel determines that this threshold for intervention has been met, "the Clerk would direct the relevant national security agency head(s) to hold a press conference to notify Canadians of the incident(s)."

The "protocol" sets out what would be contained in the announcement. It would focus "solely on: notification of the attack; what is known about the attack (as deemed appropriate); and/or steps Canadians should take to protect themselves (e.g., ensure that they are well informed; cyber hygiene), if required."

Finally, the "protocol" stipulates that "the announcement will not address attribution (i.e. the source of the attack) and will not include classified information," and states that "while the announcement might affirm that steps are being taken to address the situation, it would not necessarily provide details of those actions."

Putting the police and the bureaucracy linked to the Privy Council in charge of dealing with the perceived threats to the elections is made to sound normal and responsible, in the public interest. However, even as police powers take charge, the Liberal government continues to present itself as the champion of an informed public. It states: "Canada's best defence is an engaged and informed public." It does not in fact provide any conditions the people require to be either engaged or informed. Their only role is to sanction others who do not represent them to rule in their name. The central point of governance is to control the decisions which affect our lives. How to achieve this is nowhere raised as a problem which requires solutions.

Within the Liberal conception of what constitutes "an engaged and informed public," the government outlines its plans to "foster a more informed public." It says: "By being aware of the tactics used online to deceive, Canadians are better equipped to think critically about what they read and share online. This is the best defence against efforts by foreign actors to manipulate opinions on social media and online platforms." What constitutes a foreign actor is another matter of concern which the government does not address seriously. The measures it takes show that their intent is to advance the striving for hegemony of dominant players and eliminate competition. It has nothing to do with protecting Canadian sovereignty and decision-making.

The government announced $7 million towards "digital, news and civic literacy programming," which will allegedly help "reduce the impact of efforts by malicious actors," as "helping Canadians better understand online deceptive practices can reduce the impact of efforts by malicious actors." The funds will be used for "skills development, awareness sessions, workshops and learning material for Canadians." Through these activities, citizens would learn to:

- critically assess online news reporting and editorials;

- recognize how and when malicious actors exploit online platforms; and

- acquire skills on how to avoid being susceptible to online manipulation.

The government will use the Department of Public Security's "Get Cyber Safe" website to address the issue of "fake news." This means matters such as how to avoid bank fraud scams will now have posted alongside them the state-defined markers for what kind of information should not be trusted.

Finally, the government says its main foreign spy agency will issue a report to update its 2017 Report on Cyber Threats to Canada's Democratic Process. It states the "report will help sensitize Canadians to cyber threats ahead of the 2019 General Election."

It is all very murky indeed and is to serve the main aim, which is to keep Canadians disinformed and thereby disempowered. Today, the idea that elections are "fair and free" is ludicrous. To add insult to injury, even though police powers are arbitrary powers, the government brazenly presents the entire scheme as a matter of rule of law. It is preposterous and sure to deepen the crisis of credibility and legitimacy in which the political process, said to be democratic, is mired. This system is said to be representative and, more and more those interests it represents are revealed for all to see. It is certainly not those of the people. This system needs renewal so that the right of the citizens to select and elect their own representatives is facilitated, equal resources are provided to inform the public about those who are presenting themselves for election and what vision they advocate for society, and that the process is funded and not the parties, which should only be permitted to spend what their members provide them with. Short of taking such measures, to repeat that elections in Canada are fair and free and that police powers form part of a civil rule of law is a hopeless cause.

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Bringing Political Parties into the
State Security Apparatus

The Liberals say that the "multi-faceted and ever-evolving tactics" of "malicious foreign actors" constitute a "serious strategic threat" to Canada. These actors want to "undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security."

Without telling anything, the backgrounder titled "Improving Organizational Readiness" the Liberal government has provided to explain away the police powers it has put in charge of elections in Canada says, "government institutions have and will continue to work together" to deal with threats of foreign interference, including taking "the necessary steps to understand the possible threats to our democratic institutions, where they come from, and how they could affect our electoral processes."

Within this context, it informs that both the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) are working with Elections Canada "to identify threats, emerging tactics and systems vulnerabilities;" CSE is also working with the House of Commons, and provides services and tools to Members of Parliament travelling abroad.

"Table-top" exercises have been and will continue to be conducted by federal departments and agencies to test plans, training and information-sharing procedures for potential threats to the 2019 Federal Election. It also announces that "whole-of-government exercises have already been conducted, including in the areas of cyber security and disinformation campaigns, and still more exercises are planned." In addition to participating in some Government of Canada exercises, Elections Canada is also undertaking its own internal simulations.

The Liberal government says it will "continue to detect and respond to foreign interference," stating that it will:

- offer technical advice, including online security measures and internal security practices, to Canadian political parties and election administrators to help them better protect their own cyber systems;

- sensitize decision-makers to the nature of foreign interference; and

- provide classified threat briefings to key political party leadership.

"Together these initiatives will work to strengthen internal security practices and build resilience against foreign interference activities in Canada."

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Canada to Lead G7 Rapid Response Mechanism

Demonstration against the G7 in Quebec City, June 7, 2018.

On January 30, at the technical briefing the Liberal government held to announce the police powers being put in charge of elections in Canada, it also informed that the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), announced at the G7 Charlevoix Summit in June 2018, will be led by Canada. The G7 RRM Coordination Unit will be housed at Global Affairs Canada, which describes itself as the government department that "manages Canada's diplomatic relations, provides consular services to Canadians, promotes the country's international trade, and leads Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance."

The 2018 G7 document "Charlevoix Commitment on Defending Democracy from Foreign Threats" stated:

"We, the leaders of the G7, share common democratic values that are central to the development of free, open, well-governed, pluralistic and prosperous societies and recognize that equality is a core component of democracy. These democratic values are essential for generating broad-based economic growth that benefits everyone, creates quality jobs and ensures opportunities for all." It contrasted this with the challenge of "authoritarianism and defiance of international norms," stating that "foreign actors seek to undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security. These malicious, multi-faceted and ever-evolving tactics constitute a serious strategic threat which we commit to confront together, working together with other governments that share our democratic values." Among other things, the Charlevoix Summit resolved to "establish a G7 Rapid Response Mechanism to strengthen our coordination to identify and respond to diverse and evolving threats to our democracies, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated response."

Canada's role will be to "manage, triage, share information and identify opportunities for a joint G7 response to threats to democratic processes." At the briefing, Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan explained that the "G7 Rapid Response Mechanism Coordinating Unit will act as a focal point for Canada and all of its G7 partners. The Coordinating Unit will be tasked with sharing information and threat analysis and critically identifying opportunities for coordinated responses when an attack occurs. [It] will provide reports and analysis on threats, threat patterns and trends. The information shared across the G7 will be used to develop a better understanding of the evolving threat environment. This will help us to better position ourselves to anticipate, identify and respond to threats across the G7."

A backgrounder on the subject states: "The RRM Coordination Unit will also play an essential role in leveraging structures across the Government of Canada by working closely with the Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Democratic Institutions Secretariat and other relevant Government of Canada departments, to ensure that information, insights and lessons learned from international partners on potential threats are efficiently shared and can be used to benefit Canada."

Is this what is leading the charge to violate international law to push regime change in Venezuela? Is this how the G-7 is desperately trying to give itself a new lease on life? To say that its system is based on "common democratic values" and produces equality is to claim precisely what it does not do. The G7 claims that these values "are central to the development of free, open, well-governed, pluralistic and prosperous societies and recognize that equality is a core component of democracy. These democratic values are essential for generating broad-based economic growth that benefits everyone, creates quality jobs and ensures opportunities for all."

This is the fantasy world which only the rich and their servants are interested in defending. That is the problem that cannot be made to go away through the police measures the Liberals are taking.

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For Your Information

What the Ministers and Others Had to Say on Anti-Foreign Interference and Anti-Fake News Plans (Excerpts)

At the technical briefing for the press Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould stated:

"Let me be clear, this is not about refereeing the election. This is about alerting Canadians of an incident that jeopardizes their rights to a free and fair election. If something happens during the campaign, Canadians will be able to trust that the right people have decided to make it public, that the information is accurate, and that the announcement is not partisan in nature because this issue rises above partisan considerations.

"In no way whatsoever does this announcement limit Canadians' freedom of expression or free speech. What we're talking about today is foreign interference activities that try to manipulate the conversation. What we saw and what we have seen around the world is incidents where what looks like legitimate domestic actors are actually masquerading -- it's actually foreign actors masquerading as domestic actors. That's not always easy to detect and it's done specifically not to be easy to detect. [...] These are covert operations to try to manipulate Canadians. What we are trying to do is if that information is available to us as a government, or the media, to ensure that Canadians have the tools to make informed choices.

"With regards to civic education and civic awareness, there is a multitude of very capable organizations who will be able to provide guidance to Canadians on how to evaluate information that comes at them. Ultimately, it is not our job to tell Canadians what is good or bad information, but to provide them the tools and the resources to, when something comes at them, to make a choice on their own and to say where this information is coming from, who is behind it and what their objective is. With regards to the money that I announced today, the objective is to have civil society organizations in Canada who can help provide some of the civic awareness and education to evaluate news, digital media, et cetera -- the information coming to Canadians -- so they can make their informed choice of how they digest this information and how they share it or not."

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale remarked, "For the first time ever, our security agencies will provide direct security briefings to key members of national political campaigns."

Immediately tied into coverage of the Liberal Government's announcement, Global Television interviewed Marcus Kolga of the McDonald-Laurier Institute, who said it is not merely a matter of "foreign actors." He said there is also the danger of "proxies here in Canada who will be used to interfere and far-left and far-right groups who have learned from Russian disinformation techniques and deploy them on their own."

The McDonald-Laurier Institute released a report on the subject. Some of the excerpts quoted in the media include:

"As Canada approaches the 2019 federal elections, the government must pay closer attention to disinformation and influence campaigns that target Canadian media, decision-makers, civil society, and other groups," said the report.

"The information warfare that the Kremlin is currently engaged in against Canada and its allies is total, and its objective is to tear apart our society and undermine our trust in our government, media institutions, and each other."

Prior to these recent announcements, on January 15, the Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale delivered a speech to the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy in Saskatchewan where he addressed Canada's "national security architecture." Goodale, in his words, addressed "the new legislation Bill C-59 designed to renovate Canada's national security architecture to reflect the realities of this tough and turbulent world; secondly, the issue of high-risk terrorist travellers and how we deal with the threats they pose; third, Canada's new Cyber Security policy and the steps being taken to protect all of us from malicious attacks; and finally, foreign interference in Canadian affairs by state actors, including those who would use malicious influence to drive wedges of confusion, fear and hate, and do damage to our democracy."

On the topic of foreign interference in elections, this is what Goodale had to say:


"From time immemorial, governments worldwide have been engaged in efforts to mold public opinion and government policy in other countries in order to advance their own interests. And as long as that is done in a peaceful, open and transparent manner, within the law, it's fine. It's called diplomacy or treaty negotiations.

"Our Team Canada efforts to provide information, shape opinions and build support in the United States for NAFTA are a good and proper example. All very public and factual. And without objection.

"But when that type of activity becomes covert and clandestine, when it's dominated by lies and disinformation aimed at misleading people, destabilizing the economy or manipulating democratic processes -- a bright red line is crossed.

"It could be espionage to steal commercial secrets, or sabotage a global competitor. It could be murder to silence a vocal critic. Or maybe foreign agents providing illegal funds to support candidates in election campaigns. It could be coercing members of a diaspora, or using social media to falsely slander a Cabinet Minister. It could be funding bots and trolls to stoke anxiety, even hysteria, around sensitive issues.

"These types of hostile state activities have become a leading topic of discussion and concern among Canadians, and between our country and our partners in the Five Eyes and the G7.

"There is increasing determination to work in concert to uncover illicit behaviours and confront rule-breaking countries. You will have seen some of that in the past with respect to Iran and north Korea and Russia -- a country that has flouted the rule of law and acceptable norms time and again.

"As part of a coordinated response to the nerve agent attacks in the UK last spring, Canada expelled four members of Russia's diplomatic staff. Foreign Minister Freeland said 'the four have been identified as intelligence officers or individuals who have used their diplomatic status to undermine Canada's security or interfere in our democracy.'

"At last summer's G7 Summit hosted by Canada in Charlevoix, a new G7 Rapid Response Mechanism was announced to help tackle common threats. It will strengthen information sharing on foreign activities that undermine our democracies, and identify opportunities for coordinated responses.

"A very recent example in December was the collective condemnation by several countries, including Canada, of hostile cyber activity that hacked and compromised a number of IT service providers around the world. Canada's Communications Security Establishment and its counterparts in other democracies concluded that the intrusive activity was almost certainly attributable to the Ministry of State Security in China. And we all said so -- collectively and publicly, together.

"Protecting our democratic institutions and countering hostile state activity are pressing priorities for the Government of Canada -- and that includes safeguarding the integrity of this year's federal election.

"Domestically, Bill C-76 will help. It received Royal Assent in December. Among other things, this Elections Modernization Act will prohibit Canadian third-parties from partisan activities using foreign funds, whether during an election campaign or not. It also requires all organizations who sell advertising space to not knowingly accept election ads from foreign entities.

"Most importantly, Canadians themselves need to become more alert to what foreign intrusions look like, and sceptical about fake news masquerading as legitimate information, especially on social media.

"Furthermore, when our professional security and intelligence agencies become aware of illicit foreign meddling in our democracy, Canadians need to be informed. One of the key challenges yet to be resolved is this -- who blows the whistle?

"In the heated partisanship of an election campaign, for example, what trusted authority, agency or group has the credibility, respect and non-partisan credentials necessary to publicly identify and call-out corrupt activity as originating in a foreign capital for the purpose of perverting the course of our democracy?

"It's a challenging problem, but one that needs a credible answer as campaigning gets underway later this year."

Wet'suwet'en Heroic Defence of Hereditary Rights

BC Environmental Assessment Office Finds
Coastal GasLink in Non-Compliance

Office of the Wet'suwet'en Requests B.C Government
Issue Cease-and-Desist Order for Coastal GasLink

The Office of the Wet'suwet'en has written to BC Minister of Environment George Heyman to request an immediate cease-and-desist work order for Coastal GasLink pipeline project on Wet'suwet'en territories.

This comes after the Office of the Wet'suwet'en received an email from the BC Environmental Assessment Office Compliance and Enforcement Officer stating that Coastal GasLink was not compliant with the pre-construction requirements at six of the inspected locations, and has been conducting work outside of their Environmental Assessment Certificate conditions. The email further states that the Compliance and Enforcement Officer has issued a Warning of Non-Compliance to Coastal GasLink under the Environmental Assessment Act.

"Coastal GasLink has been found non-compliant in six legally-required and legally-binding conditions. This report by the BC Environmental Assessment Office Compliance and Enforcement Officer affirms our own Wet'suwet'en investigations about Coastal GasLink's willful and illegal disregard for our territories and cultural practices. The provincial government is required to uphold its own law and issue an immediate cease-and-desist work order for Coastal GasLink pipeline project on Wet'suwet'en territories. This project already does not have free, prior and informed consent under Wet'suwet'en rule of law, and now is violating BC laws," says Chief Namoks.

The Office of the Wet'suwet'en is a central office for the Wet'suwet'en Nation and is governed by the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs residing throughout the 22,000 square km of Wet'suwet'en traditional territories. Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs are the Title Holders and maintain the authority and jurisdiction to make decisions on unceded lands. Under 'Anuc niwh'it'en, Wet'suwet'en rule of law, all five clans of the Wet'suwet'en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and we have not provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal GasLink/TransCanada to do work on Wet'suwet'en lands.


Chief Namoks: 250-847-3630

(Office of the Wet'suwet'en, January 30, 2018.)

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Coastal GasLink and RCMP Violating Gidimt'en Sovereignty and Own Agreement

Over the weekend [of January 26-27] Coastal GasLink willfully, illegally, and violently destroyed Gidimt'en cultural infrastructure and personal property on Gidimt'en territory without our consent. This was our infrastructure to be on our land and exercise our land-based culture. Coastal GasLink's attack on our cultural practices -- with RCMP's active complicity -- is an attack on our sovereignty and an attack on our way of life.

This is an area, at 44 km, where Coastal GasLink have not obtained permits and is not even included in their proposed plans. Coastal GasLink did not provide any copies of permits for work to be undertaken in Gidimt'en territory, nor does our cultural infrastructure constitute an 'obstruction' within the limits of the interim injunction. Therefore, Coastal GasLink has no permits, authority, or legal rights to dismantle our cultural site or property. They illegally destroyed Gidimt'en cultural infrastructure and property with the support of the RCMP, who watched this happen and acted as industry's private bodyguards. The RCMP have been notified of Coastal GasLink's illegal activity under their own law, and the Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en territory is pursuing criminal charges into destruction of property and mischief by Coastal GasLink. 

This state and industry-enforced violence is happening just two weeks after militarized RCMP descended onto our unceded Gidimt'en territories to enforce a colonial court injunction. Unarmed and peaceful women and elders were faced with heavy assault rifles and the RCMP trespassing and invading on our unceded territories. Fourteen were arrested. One of those arrested was Gidimt'en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham. This is a form of violence against Wet'suwet'en women, that is further violence on Wet'suwet'en lands and sovereignty.

Under 'Anuc niwh'it'en (Wet'suwet'en law), all Wet'suwet'en Clans have said No to Coastal GasLink and all pipelines on unceded Wet'suwet'en territories. The 22,000 square km of Wet'suwet'en Territory is divided into five clans and 13 house groups. Each clan within the Wet'suwet'en Nation has full jurisdiction under their law to control access to their territory. The Hereditary Chiefs are the Title Holders and maintain the authority and jurisdiction to make decisions on Wet'suwet'en lands. Coastal GasLink/TransCanada has not received free, prior, and informed consent from or made any agreement with our Hereditary Chiefs to do work on Wet'suwet'en lands.

The whole world is watching and standing with us. Canada knows that its own actions are illegal. Our Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs have maintained their use and occupancy of their lands and hereditary governance system to this date despite generations of colonial policies and big industries that aim to remove us from this land, assimilate our people, annihilate our culture, and ban our governing system. We live out our laws and cultural practices on our lands. Our medicines, our berries, our food, the animals, our water, our culture are all here since time immemorial. We will never allow Gidimt'en sovereignty to be violated.

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidumt'en Territory, January 28, 2019.)

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Unist'ot'en Demands Stop-Work Order
for Coastal GasLink Pipeline

The Unist'ot'en House Group of the Gilseyhu Clan is demanding that Coastal GasLink Ltd.(CGL) cease work immediately due to non-compliance with BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) and BC Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) permits and ongoing violations of Canadian and Wet'suwet'en Law.

RCMP and the Conservation Officers' Service have refused to intervene in the destruction of active Wet'suwet'en traplines by Coastal GasLink bulldozers in blatant violation of Section 46 of the Wildlife Act. Unist'ot'en was told by the Conservation Officers' Service this weekend [January 26-27] that investigating this ongoing crime is not a priority for their office. CGL contractors have now completely bulldozed the section of trapline at Camp 9A, with many traps unaccounted for.

In this video posted January 25, 2019, Unist'ot'en member Brenda Michell
speaks to CGL contractors and the RCMP.

Under the conditions of EAO and BCOGC permits, CGL is required to have completed a site-specific archaeological survey before undertaking any clearing work on the proposed man-camp site in Unist'ot'en Territory known as Camp 9A. CGL acknowledged in their injunction application that these archaeological surveys have not been completed. The Office of Wet'suwet'en and Unist'ot'en House Group have not received evidence of these completed site-specific surveys, as is required by the BCEAO and BCOGC. Due to the Unist'ot'en House Group's prolific use of their territory since time immemorial, it is critical that proposed work sites are properly assessed to prevent destruction of historical encampments and artifacts or gravesites.

The provincial EAO, FLNRO, the BC Archaeological Branch and the BCOGC have not taken substantive action in response to Unist'ot'en and Office of Wet'suwet'en requests for an immediate stop-work order to address and investigate potential ongoing violations of the conditions of their Environmental Assessment Certificate and their BCOGC permits.

The CGL Environmental Assessment Certificate also requires CGL to notify all tenure holders in the area affected by pipeline construction a full six months before undertaking any construction activity that could impact their tenure. Chief Knedebeas holds trapline tenure for Unist'ot'en territory, and was notified by CGL that site clearing and construction on Camp 9A would not begin until 2020.

Earlier this month, under the threat of police violence, Unist'ot'en Chiefs reached an agreement with the RCMP to comply with CGL's temporary injunction. That agreement states that "there will not be any RCMP interference with our members regarding access to the territory for the purposes of trapping and/or other traditional practices." In violation of this agreement, RCMP have threatened Wet'suwet'en trappers with arrest for attempting to access their traplines, and warned healing centre patients that they could be arrested for participating in ceremony. RCMP escorted CGL into active work zones, while refusing to allow or facilitate access of Unist'ot'en members to attend the ceremony and check on the safety of participants who were beyond the active workzone. CGL workers have been citing breach of the injunction and demanding healing centre clients remove small branches and minor debris from the road way while they were collecting firewood, without causing any obstruction to CGL work. Clients have identified feeling unsafe as a result of continual RCMP presence outside the healing centre and the unwarranted, confrontational conduct of CGL work crews.

Quotes from Freda Huson, Unist'ot'en House Group Spokesperson

"We honoured the terms of the injunction, even though we weren't given enough time to mount a proper defence at the injunction hearing. We honoured all the terms of the agreements we've made with the RCMP since the enforcement order came down.

"We are witnessing police break all of the agreements they have made with our chiefs, watching them actively protecting CGL and its contractors as they violate the Wildlife Act and the conditions of their permits, and watching the agencies responsible for enforcing these conditions do nothing. We opened our gates assuming that everyone would be treated equally under the law. We see that the RCMP, the EAO, the BCOGC, and the NDP-Green coalition government have no intentions of enforcing any part of the Canadian law that causes any inconvenience to this rich, powerful corporation.

"Coastal Gaslink is breaking all their own Canadian laws while we are upholding Wet'suwet'en laws and responsibilities to the land."

Supporting Documents

See attached supporting documents, including permit conditions and photos of Camp 9A site and destroyed trapline. Traplines are culturally significant markers of continued use, and are a source of furs and sustenance. The location of this photograph documents the destruction of the trapline by CGL on Unist'ot'en Territory. The Unist'ot'en House Group of the Gilseyhu Clan holds title to a large area in Northwestern British Columbia. The company, CGL is attempting to build a fracked gas pipeline without the Hereditary Chiefs' consent.

CGL's destruction of trap lines on Unist'ot'en territory, January 27, 2019. (M. Toledano)

1. TransCanada Notice re: Ancillary and Multi-Use Sites #9A and B.
2. Unist'ot'en Letter to BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC)  re: Occurring Violations of BCOGC, Environmental Assessment Office Permits for Camp 9A and Section 7 of Proposed CGL Pipeline, January 25, 2019.
3. Condition of Environmental Assessment regarding Trapping.

Media Contact: Freda Huson Email: tsewedielh@gmail.com

(Unist'ot'en Camp, January 27, 2019.)

Stand with the Wet'suwet'en People


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For Your Information

How the Canadian Government Imposed the Band Council System on Indigenous Nations

Posted below is an extract from Part III, Chapter 15 of the book Stolen Continents by Ronald Wright, which is a historical overview of the brutal impact of European colonization on the ancient peoples of the Americas.


When it became clear during the late nineteenth century that the United States would not invade the British colony (Canada), Indian buffer states were no longer required. Canada, knowing that native nations held Aboriginal title to large parts of North America, wanted to get rid of its Indigenous rivals. The best way, short of extermination, was to absorb them. With no Indians, there could be no Aboriginal claims; so the young Canadian parliament passed an Indian Act intended to promote assimilation.

The process could be hastened, Canada thought, by encouraging contact with "civilization" which often involved confining Indian children in missionary boarding schools, and shrinking the reserves, which it had come to regard as mere holding camps for a doomed race. Under the policy of "enfranchisement" Indians were expected to give up membership to their own nations forever in exchange for the privilege of voting in Canadian elections. Males received a lump sum and a piece of land -- essentially a bribe -- snipped from the reserve. Few took the bait. Between 1876 and 1918, only 102 did so, most of them women who had married whites. Such a marriage brought automatic "enfranchisement" even though Canadian women then had no vote.

The Indian Act also aimed to replace Indigenous governments with a uniform system of elected band councillors who would be responsive puppets of the Indian Affairs department. "Hereditary" chiefs (an inaccurate term for Iroquois sachems) would be deposed, and matrilineality -- the reckoning of descent, and hence nationality, through the female line -- would end. In short, the act's purpose was to destroy native nations from within by dissolving their political and family structures.

Canada began by overthrowing traditional governments on the smaller Iroquois territories of Ontario and Quebec. In the mid-1880s, Indian Affairs pressured the Bay of Quinte Mohawks, ostensibly on a trial basis, to replace their condoled chiefs with elected councilmen. The Indians put up with the new system for a couple of years, then rejected it -- the adversarial style of European politics ran counter to their traditions of consensus, as did the exclusion of the women's voice.

But it turned out that the "trial period" was a sham: Canada would not allow the people to restore their own system. The outraged Mohawks sent pleas to the governor general, Queen Victoria's representative in Canada:

"We... do not want our Council Fire extinguished, because it was the custom and manner of our forefathers....

"We will remind you of the Covenant Chain of Peace and Friendship between the English people and the Six Nations. When our forefathers first made the Covenant Chain with the English, both parties engaged to keep the end of it fast in their hands...

"Brother! At the time of the formations of the treaties ... the Six Nations were found and looked upon as a people, and had a systematic constitution ... It was understood by both parties. ... that each should maintain their own constitutions, but in the present instance, it appears that the Silver Chains is now tarnished upon these points.

"The Canadian Government, which does not recognize us fully looks upon the Six Nations as minors and treats them as such.

"Brother! We quote the words of Lord Dufferin, one of your predecessors, saying the people of Canada and the people of Britain will not cease to recognize these obligations ... Never shall the word of Britain, once pledged, be broken ...

"What is your power and authority to rule our people?"

What indeed? But the petitions did no good. Canada recognized only the puppet council and funnelled all rents, annuities, and other funds belonging to the Indians through that body.

Along the St. Lawrence, where the Iroquois first met Cartier and Champlain, are the large Mohawk communities of Kahnawake, opposite Montreal, and Akwesasne, between Montreal and Kingston. Although these had drawn close to the French for a century, they had helped the British conquer New France in 1759-1760 and welcomed large numbers of southern Mohawks during the Revolution.

In 1890, the people of Kahnawake protested, pointing out the Canadian government's lack of jurisdiction and its hypocrisy in opposing "hereditary" chiefs: "Every nation throughout the world retains their own customs, rites, and ceremonies, and according to the British Constitution [there are] Kings, Queens, and Lords and Peers as hereditaries. Brother! We cannot account...why we cannot adhere...to our customs, rights and ceremonies."

Canada's most brutal intervention came at Akwesasne. This territory's very location should remind the United States and Canada that the Mohawk Nation is far older than they, for the map line drawn between them runs through the middle of it. Here, in 1898, the clan mothers wrote a long letter to the governor general, explaining how their system worked and insisted that they had no wish for change. Twice the women prevented elections from being held. An official of the Canadian government, sent to investigate, made a most revealing comment: The Indians, he said in his report, "might as well look for the falling of the sky as to expect recognition of their claim to hold the position of a practically independent state." Very similar words would be uttered ninety-two years later by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. The real issue, then as now, was sovereignty. And then, as now, the affair turned violent.

In March 1899, Mounted Police arrived to enforce the holding of an election. They were soon besieged by 200 Mohawks. No Mounties were hurt, but they were sent packing. Two months later they returned. Michael Mitchell, the present elected chief of Akwesasne, wrote this account of how the council he heads, and aims to reform, was installed:

"At 4 am on May 1, 1899, Colonel Sherwood ... came to Akwesasne, leading a contingent of police across the St. Lawrence River. They occupied the Council Hall, where they sent a message to the chiefs to attend a special meeting regarding the buying of stone [to build a bridge]... As the chiefs walked into the council office, they were thrown to the floor and handcuffed. One of the women notified the Head Chief, Jake Fire, and as he came through the door demanding the release of his fellow chiefs he was shot twice, the second shot being fatal. The police marched their prisoners to the tugboat and left the village. Jake Fire was shot down in cold blood while fighting for Mohawk Indian government....

"The seven chiefs...were imprisoned. Five of them were kept in jail for more than a year....

"Immediately after this affair, the representatives of the government took fifteen Indians over to Cornwall and provided them with alcohol. The Indian agents told them each to nominate one of the others present. This was how the elective government under the Indian Act system was implemented at Akwesasne. This is the way Canada introduced our people to the principles of their democracy."

(Part III: Chapter 15 pp 316-319, Ronald Wright. Stolen Continents. Viking Press, 1992.)

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The Indian Lands Act, 1924

On April 1924, the Canadian parliament passed The Indian Lands Act, 1924 -- An Act for the settlement of certain questions between the Governments of Canada and Ontario. The architect of the law was the notorious Duncan Campbell Scott -- the same person who expanded the residential school system as Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, refused to assist Indigenous peoples when a tuberculosis epidemic broke out on a number of reserves and was determined to completely assimilate Indigenous peoples into Canada as the means of solving the "Indian Problem."

The Indian Lands Act, 1924 concerns the manner in which Canada laid claim to the resources on reserve lands. It is premised on a Memorandum of Agreement between Charles Stewart, Superintendent General of Indian Affairs for Canada, and two Ontario ministers James Lyons, Minister of Lands and Forests and Charles McCrea, Minister of Mines. This Memorandum of Agreement was signed in March 1924. Duncan Campbell Scott signed the memorandum on behalf of Canada. Through the provisions of this law, the Canadian state set the stage to lay claim to land, minerals and resources on Indian reserves.

The Indian Lands Act, 1924 notes as the first point: "All Indian reserves in the Province of Ontario heretofore or hereafter set aside shall be administered by the Dominion of Canada for the benefit of the band or bands of Indian to which each may have been or may be allotted; portions thereof may, upon their surrender for the purpose by the said band or bands be sold, leased or otherwise be disposed of by letter patent under the Great Seal of Canada..."

Further, "...the Government of the Dominion of Canada should have full power and authority to sell, lease, and convey title in fee simple or for any less estate to any lands forming part of any Reserve thereafter surrendered by the Indians..."

Additionally, "Any sale, lease or other disposition made...may include or may be limited to the minerals (including precious metals) contained in or under the lands sold, leased or otherwise disposed of..."

This act also gave guidelines on any entity wanting to enter reserve land to prospect for minerals: "Any person authorized under the laws of the Province of Ontario to enter upon land for the purpose of prospecting for minerals thereupon shall be permitted to prospect for minerals in any Indian Reserve upon obtaining permission so to do from the Indian Agent for such Reserve..."

Under the band council system of governance imposed by force on reserves through the Indian Act, the Chief and Council reported to the Indian Agent who was the representative of the Canadian state on a reserve, and were accountable to him, not the members of their community. Needless to say, there was widespread resistance to the band council system, which attempted to displace age-old traditional forms of governance established by the Indigenous peoples themselves.

The law also stated that any royalties from such mining activities will be shared between Canada and Ontario on an equal basis. There is no mention in this law of Indigenous peoples getting any share of the revenues generated from the theft of the resources in their territories.

The Canadian government brought pressure to bear on the reserves in various ways and under the arbitrary rule of the local Indian Agent many Indigenous peoples lost their livelihoods because they could not leave the reserve without permission from the Indian Agent. Little by little band councils were forced to open their reserves to outside development or lost portions of their reserve through forced sales.

In recent times, one such case is the Cree community of Attawapiskat where pressure was brought to bear on the band council and members to permit the South African mining monopoly De Beers to operate a diamond mine in that community. Since the mine opened, the community has received a pittance of the profits, and promises of jobs for local people have not materialized. The same pressure is being applied to the communities surrounding the Ring of Fire in some of the Ojibway and Cree Nations in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory in Northern Ontario.

What took place through The Indian Lands Act, 1924 was the opposite of what Indigenous leaders understood when they signed treaties, such as the numbered treaties, with the Canadian state. The Indigenous peoples never viewed their lands as property to be bought and sold or that could be forfeited, and those Indigenous leaders who were forced to sign treaties with Canada never relinquished their hereditary claims. Today, the organized resistance of the sovereign Indigenous peoples to attempts by the Canadian state to impose its will on them and steal their resources or run pipelines through their territories, is broadly supported by the Canadian people. They want an end to the crimes that were, and continue to be, committed against Indigenous peoples, as the Canadian state continues to serve the biggest resource monopolies in their plunder of the lands and resources, violating the hereditary rights of the Indigenous peoples.

(The Indian Lands Act, 1924. Text taken from https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca)

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Ontario Government Appeals Robinson Treaties Ruling

Negotiate, Don't Litigate!
Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied!

On January 21, the Ontario Government served Notice to Appeal the decision of Justice Patricia Hennessey of the Ontario Superior Court on the Robinson-Huron Annuities Claim. Justice Hennessey had ruled that the $4 per person per year payment to 30,000 members of 21 Anishinaabe communities which had not been increased since 1874 must be increased. "I find that the Crown has a mandatory and reviewable obligation to increase the Treaties' annuities when the economic circumstances warrant. The economic circumstances will trigger an increase to the annuities if the net Crown resource-based revenues permit the Crown to increase the annuities without incurring a loss. The principle of the honour of the Crown and the doctrine of fiduciary duty imposed on the Crown the obligation to diligently implement the Treaties' promise to achieve their purpose (i.e. of reflecting the value of the territories in the annuities) and other related justiciable duties," wrote Justice Hennessey in her decision. Justice Hennessey did not rule on the amount of the increase in Treaty annuity payments, leaving that to the parties to negotiate, but remained seized of the matter and will hold hearings and make a ruling if the two sides cannot reach an agreement.

The Ontario Government's decision to appeal Justice Hennessey's decision is unconscionable and a denial of justice. Justice delayed is justice denied. In this case, justice has been delayed for 145 years. At the same time, the Ontario government says that it is willing to negotiate. This "willingness to negotiate" smells of a threat to the Anishihnaabek people: negotiate a settlement that is agreeable to the Ontario government or face protracted litigation to avoid resolution of the issue.

Batchewana First Nation (BFN) Chief Dean Sayers said, "The Robinson-Huron leadership believe that Madam Justice Hennessy's decision is a very solid and fair decision and identifies a clear path forward for renewal and reconciliation." BFN Councillor Gary Roach stated, "The provincial government has a fiduciary obligation to honour our Treaties and Ontario's decision to appeal the ruling is unacceptable." He added that, "We as sovereign First Nations will stand together to ensure the promises of the original Treaty are fulfilled." Former BFN Chief and current Councillor Harvey Bell commented, "Ontario's Premier Ford needs to stop politicizing our People's wellbeing. The First Nation's citizens of this province expect historic obligations to be honoured, we all deserve closure to this historic atrocity."

The victory won by the Anishinaabe in the Robinson Treaties annuities case was won because of the efforts of the Anishinaabe themselves who presented a case that Justice Hennessey had no choice but to recognize, not because the Canadian state had suddenly become reasonable and was now willing to recognize the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe people and make amends for almost a century and a half of injustice.

The federal government of Liberal Justin Trudeau announced that it was not appealing Justice Hennessey's ruling stating that it preferred to "negotiate, not litigate." These Liberal words are designed to fool the gullible. The federal government is using militarized police to try to force a pipeline through unceded Indigenous lands in BC yet it stands for "negotiation" in Ontario. Such hypocrisy! They knew that the Ontario government would almost certainly appeal and that the federal Liberal government could safely stand aside.

The Anishinaabe people have always sought to seek a negotiated settlement to the Robinson Treaties annuities issue. They sought to negotiate a solution before entering into litigation. At the time, it was the Harper Conservative government federally and the Wynne Liberal government provincially. A switch in the party in power in each jurisdiction did not matter. The Trudeau Liberal government federally and the Ford Progressive Conservative government provincially did not change the position of their predecessors but continued with litigation.

The Robinson-Huron Treaty Litigation Committee said representatives of the Indigenous communities and government officials will meet soon to discuss the way forward. "This will provide an opportunity to determine if Ontario prefers litigation to negotiations as the preferred method for achieving lasting reconciliation and, if Canada can advance rights recognition, respect and partnership with the Robinson-Huron First Nations in the existing treaty relationship," the committee said. "We look forward to a just resolution of this historic case."

While the Canadian state, and the monopolies it serves, continue to obstruct a principled, honourable and timely solution to the Robinson Treaties annuities augmentation case, Indigenous people have a firm ally in the Canadian working class, in whose ranks also militate many Indigenous people. It is the working class, which in order to liberate itself from the chains of monopoly capitalism, must emancipate all of humanity, including Indigenous peoples. It is the working class, whose interests lie with those of Indigenous peoples in the spirit of the Treaties, to share the land, and to build a modern society in which workers and Indigenous peoples live together in peace, harmony and prosperity.

Negotiate, Don't Litigate! Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied!

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Lima Group Meeting in Ottawa February 4

No to Foreign-Inspired "Regime Change"
in Venezuela by Military or "Diplomatic" Means!
Hands off Venezuela!

On Monday, February 4, Canada is hosting the 10th ministerial meeting of the group of countries said to number "more than a dozen" known as the Lima Group who since August 2017 have been operating as a private clique in cahoots with U.S. imperialism as it attempts to force regime change on Venezuela.

In a statement on its website announcing the meeting which will take place in Ottawa, Global Affairs Canada notes that foreign ministers from the Lima Group will be joined by participants "from the broader international community." It says they will discuss how to support Juan Guaidó, the hand-picked U.S. puppet who has proclaimed himself the "interim president" of Venezuela and "explore ways in which the international community can further support the people of Venezuela."

In trying to suggest that its gross interference in Venezuela's affairs is somehow a project of "the international community" the Trudeau government is being disingenuous. There are not only many countries but many more people, including people living in the U.S. and Canada, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and other countries whose governments have lined up behind the U.S. project for regime change, who oppose the dirty work their governments are engaging in against the Venezuelan people.

What the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia and certain others reveal with their pretence of representing "the international community" is that they adhere to the post-World War II racist conception of the Anglo-American imperialists that the English-speaking peoples should decide and rule over the destiny of the world. For them the "international community" includes whoever they deem to be part of it.

Under this racist world view the fact that the U.S. could not get a resolution recognizing its puppet Guaidó passed at either the Organization of American States or the UN Security Council because the majority refused to go along with violating Venezuela's sovereignty and right to self-determination, is dismissed as irrelevant. So is the fact that Russia, China, Turkey, South Africa, India, Iran, Syria, and other UN member states have refused to go along with the U.S. replacing Venezuela's president with a puppet of its own, with many expressing full support for Nicolás Maduro as the duly elected president. No importance is given either to the expression of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and President Maduro by a ranking authority of the 55-member African Union, or the fact that many countries from different parts of Asia have not weighed in thus far.

Military Intervention vs. "Diplomacy"

The scenario operating in the background is similar to the one NATO employed against Libya and before that, Yugoslavia -- just as the twentieth anniversary of NATO's precedent-setting "humanitarian" bombing of that country in March 1999 approaches: engineer the creation of a crisis and use it as the pretext for an invasion. In the case of Venezuela there has been much talk by the U.S. and those it works with of the need to "open up a humanitarian corridor" allegedly to deliver food, medicine and other necessities its economic warfare has deliberately targeted in the country. This aid would be delivered to its puppet "president" in defiance of the authority of the Bolivarian government, requiring the use of force to "open up" and maintain such a swath of territory off-bounds to the sovereign authority of the country.

Talk of this serves another purpose as well -- to encourage speculation about the prospects of a U.S. military intervention and how and when that might take place. While preparations for an invasion are clearly being put in place, with threats of all kinds issued left and right by the U.S. bully about the military option being "on the table." (Trump just repeated on television  that it was still "an option.") It was also the main issue raised in a CBC interview with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on CBC's Power and Politics on February 1. Asked specifically if Canada was prepared to take part in a military intervention against Venezuela should it come to that, Sajjan refused to give a direct answer, making references instead to Canada's wish for a "peaceful" coup d'état, using imperialism's euphemism for it: "transition." After being pressed three times by the interviewer about what Canada was prepared to do, all he would say was, "I think it's far too premature to have any discussion regarding any type of military actions. We need to allow the diplomatic space and the experts to be able to move forward." All this speculation about whether or not foreign military action is planned diverts attention from the central fact which is that regardless of the means -- whether military or coercion and threats of other types, that Canada cynically refers to as "diplomacy" -- foreign-inspired regime change by any name and violation of a people's sovereignty and right to self-determination are crimes that deserve universal condemnation and must be unequivocally rejected. Period.

Hands off Venezuela!

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Continued Opposition to Canadian
Involvement in Regime Change

Across the country, people continue to organize actions to denounce the U.S.-led attempt at regime change in Venezuela and Canada's unacceptable involvement in this activity.


Torontonians held a spirited rally and march on January 30 to stand with the Venezuelan people in their defence of the Bolivarian Revolution under the leadership of President Nicolás Maduro. The rally was held outside the constituency office of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland to denounce her role in the infamous Lima Group that is organizing and funding the reactionaries and terrorists who make up the so-called Venezuelan opposition.

After the speeches, the protesters marched along Bloor Street chanting slogans. Many motorists and pedestrians raised their fists and gave the thumbs up to the marchers. At the end of the march, the participants pledged to speak to their neighbours and friends to inform them about the unfolding events in Venezuela, to call on them to stand with the Venezuelan people, and to say to the Canadian government of the illegal acts of aggression being carried out by Canada against Venezuela -- Not In Our Name!


Over 150 people -- activists, women, youth, solidarity groups and many others -- gathered on January 27 at Phillips Square to express their strong opposition to the coup attempt by the U.S. government against Venezuela.

Jooneed Khan, a retired journalist for La Presse, recalled the recent experience of people with regime change in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Haiti, and saluted the Venezuelan people and their determination. Christine Dandenault of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) denounced the Trudeau government's hypocrisy and its recognition of the nefarious individual who declared himself president. Claude Morin, a history teacher at the University of Montreal, elaborated the legitimacy of the presidential elections in Venezuela and the underhanded and mafia-style financing of the "opposition" and the U.S. designs on its oil resources. Marie Boti, of Anti-Imperialist Women, spoke about the role of Venezuelan women in defence of their homeland, and the pro-social changes implemented by the Bolivarian governments. Yves Engler, a Montreal-based activist and author on Canadian foreign policy issues, also spoke.

Everyone militantly marched to the U.S. Consulate and then on to the Guy Favreau Complex, a federal government building. Everyone affirmed their readiness to continue to be in action on this important matter.

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Statements and Resolutions

Caribbean Community

The Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), St Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, as well as Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, met with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on January 28 in New York to outline their position and discuss the ongoing socio-political situation in Venezuela.

A statement issued after the talks clearly outlined their fear over the fallout from an external military intervention in the Venezuelan crisis.

"The CARICOM delegation emphasized its commitment to the tenets of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter which calls on states to refrain from the threat or the use of force. CARICOM has been consistent in the critical importance it accords to the key principles of non-interference and non-intervention. CARICOM reaffirmed the view that there was an urgent need for meaningful dialogue leading to a peaceful internal solution for the Venezuelan people. The Caribbean Community is resolute in its belief that it is never too late for dialogue since the consequences of no dialogue will be dire," a joint statement issued by the body said.

The statement also emphasized "the importance of the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace," an idea first coined by Maurice Bishop, who came to power in Grenada in a revolution that toppled the government of Eric Gairy in 1979 and was later killed in a bloody invasion of the country by the United States.

"We join with our sister Caribbean nations in re-emphasizing our determination to preserve the Caribbean as a zone of peace, free from military intimidation. We demand the right to build our own processes in our own way, free from outside interference, free from bullying and free from the use or threat of force," the statement said.

The Caribbean's long-held position of "non-intervention and non-interference" has often been reiterated by many of its leaders over the last few decades. If its governments intend to stand by those principles, avoiding the overtures of the world's declining superpower to support their position, it can play an important role in charting a way forward for the hemisphere. The continued destabilization of Venezuela would create chaos and economic, military and social problems many territories are ill-equipped to manage, CARICOM leaders point out.

In related news, several Caribbean leaders decried the Trump administration's declarations of support for the person who proclaimed himself Venezuela’s “interim president,” with Saint Vincent's Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves branding it a "coup d' état" while speaking to the Miami Herald and Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Gaston Browne calling it "brazen regime change."

"The majority of countries that are in CARICOM do not accept Juan Guaidó as the interim president," Browne said. "In fact, we believe that it is an extremely dangerous precedent... which has absolutely no basis in law, it has no constitutional backing, it has no support of international law, and it's really an affront to democracy within the hemisphere."

Browne also warned the Caribbean should be careful not to be drawn into the ideological war unfolding in Venezuela with the goal of merely removing Maduro from office.

"These people are fighting an ideological war. They believe that socialism in Venezuela would plunge the people into poverty and so on. They want to get rid of these socialist regimes. Okay fine, they can fight their ideological wars, but we have to deal with the practicality and the effects [on the region]," Browne said.

Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley had strong words for U.S. officials, who have attempted to force CARICOM members into changing their position on the conflict. Rowley sent a clear message to the U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Joseph Mondello, who had said Trinidad and Tobago's continued recognition of the Maduro administration was "deeply concerning."

"We in Trinidad and Tobago under all of our governments, we have preserved the sovereign position of the people of Trinidad and Tobago," he added. "Until there is a change of government in Venezuela, as Mr. Patrick Manning said, when you pick up the phone, [whoever] answers the phone [is] in charge of Venezuela. What they are asking us to do is to take sides largely contrived by external forces. If you are going to have a change of regime in today's world post-World War Two and you want to do it properly, you're required to go through the UN and sanction it. Trinidad and Tobago will not be invited to take any interest that would damage our relations with neighbours."

(With files from TeleSUR)

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Message of Solidarity Received from
the African Union

On February 1 Venezuela's Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs informed on its website that the vice president of the African Union, Thomas Kwesi Quartey, sent a message of solidarity with the people of Venezuela and in support of the constitutional president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros. The Ministry noted that the message from the African Union, a political bloc of 55 states, was sent through the Venezuelan ambassador in Ethiopia, Modesto Ruíz.

The Ministry also reported that there were marches in support of the Venezuelan Government in Mali, Tunisia and Namibia on January 30 in which demonstrators denounced "the repeated, savage coup attempts U.S. imperialism has been plotting against Venezuela."

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Canadian Network on Cuba

The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) denounces Washington's campaign of destabilization against the sovereign and legitimate government of Venezuela. The efforts to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro is a flagrant, blatant and unconscionable violation of the right of self-determination of the people of Venezuela.

Ottawa has not been a disinterested party, an innocent bystander. Canada's shameful hand has also been revealed. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has thrown the weight of the Canadian state behind the Trump scheme to re-impose U.S. imperial dominion. The shameful and naked alignment of the Canadian state with the criminal policy of the U.S. is deeply disturbing and alarming. By playing a leading role in orchestrating subversion, Ottawa has become an unapologetic extension of the U.S. State Department, engaged in open collusion and collaboration in the violation of fundamental principles of international law.

A core guiding principle of the CNC and the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement is the affirmation of the inalienable right of all peoples and countries to determine their future and their political, economic and social system without external interference. This right is enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-Operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

Washington's frenzied effort to organize a coup has nothing to do with genuine solidarity with the Venezuelan people or democracy, but all to do with negating Venezuela's right to self-determination. The Trump regime's objective is to turn back the wheel of history by reasserting U.S. control and tutelage over that proud South American nation.

Canada's relations with all countries, especially those of the Americas, should be based on mutual respect and equality, not on outmoded colonialist ideas and practices. It is the right and only the right of the people and country of Venezuela -- as for any other people and country -- to determine without foreign intervention or the threat of foreign intervention what political and economic system they wish to live under.

The Canadian Network on Cuba calls on Canadians to reject the policy of subversion and economic aggression that Ottawa is pursuing. Please write to your member of parliament to urge Canada to reject any interference in Venezuela and for an end to economic and political interference. We call for respect for the Maduro government, democratically elected in May 2018. The Canadian people must stand with those countries who resolutely defend their sovereignty and independence rather than submit to imperial diktat and return to imperial dominion.

On behalf of the Canadian Network on Cuba

Isaac Saney, CNC Co-Chair & National Spokesperson

(January 27, 2019)

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Vancouver and District Labour Council

The Vancouver and District Labour Council (VDLC) condemns the attempted coup taking place in Venezuela, which aims to install unelected opposition figure Juan Guaidó as president of the country.

The Trudeau government's legitimization of Guaidó's absurd self-appointment to the presidency should be a matter of great concern to Canadians who respect democracy and recognize the right of nations to determine their own path.

We call on the government of Canada to chart a foreign policy independent of that of the Trump government in Washington; one based upon diplomacy not interference, and which engages in dialogue rooted in respect for the sovereignty and the democratic will of the Venezuelan people. Doing so must include an immediate end to the recognition of Guaidó's presidency, an end to sanctions targeting the Venezuelan economy.

The following is a motion adopted by the November 2018 regular meeting of the VDLC.

Hands Off Venezuela

BECAUSE the Federal government joined the Trump administration in the United States in inflicting sanctions on Venezuela in Fall of 2017; and

BECAUSE these sanctions are much broader than those previously imposed by the U.S. under the Obama administration, and are clearly aimed at undermining the Venezuelan economy as a whole; and

BECAUSE these sanctions are a form of economic warfare, aimed at toppling Venezuela's democratically elected United Socialist Party government which has nationalized the country's oil industry and invested in housing, education, and social services for its people; and

BECAUSE the sanctions predominately hurt the working class and the poor, and act as a political support to the even harsher sanctions placed on Venezuela by the Trump administration, and for its ongoing support for opposition forces within Venezuela, some of which have resorted to acts or terrorism against government officials and public facilities;

BECAUSE claims that these sanctions are intended to support human rights fall flat when faced with the reality that these governments continue to support, and sell weapons to, human rights abusing regimes such as the one in Saudi Arabia;

BECAUSE Trump has also spoken on many occasions of the possibility of toppling the Venezuelan government by military force, or through support of a coup;

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL call upon the Federal government to end its sanctions against Venezuela, and promote dialogue and diplomacy instead of economic interference and threats; and

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL FURTHER acknowledge the right of all nations to self determination and respect for national sovereignty; and

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL FINALLY categorically oppose the use of military intervention, and the support of coups or other anti-democratic means of achieving "regime change" in Venezuela.

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Canadian Labour Congress

The Canadian Labour Congress, representing over 3 million Canadian workers, calls on the Government of Canada to promote dialogue to foster a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

Canada is among several countries, including the U.S. and Brazil, that endorsed Juan Guaidó, Venezuelan opposition leader and President of the National Assembly, who declared himself interim President of Venezuela last week. Canada further denounced Nicolás Maduro as President and called last year's elections in Venezuela fraudulent and illegitimate.

The CLC is alarmed at the escalation of international interference in the democratic process of a sovereign nation, including the possibility of military intervention. The CLC vehemently rejects a militarized solution to this crisis; the people of Latin America have not forgotten the brutal history of military rule in the region.

"Venezuelans need to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and democratic processes without resorting to violence," said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

International intervention is intensifying political divisions and inflaming tensions in the country. There are reports of violence and casualties, including deaths, during protests and demonstrations. The CLC calls on the Government of Canada to abstain from seeking regime change and intervening in the sovereign affairs of Venezuela. Canada's role on the world stage is better suited to promote stability through constructive dialogue with the international community.

The CLC stands in solidarity with the Venezuelan people and supports their right to peaceful self-determination.

(January 30, 2019)

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

On January 23, Juan Guaidó, Venezuelan opposition leader and president of their national assembly, declared himself to be the interim national president of Venezuela.

The Canadian government was one of the first governments in the world to declare support for Juan Guaidó. In doing so, they have chosen to side with a self-declared leader over President Nicolás Maduro, who was duly elected by the people of Venezuela. They have also chosen to side with Donald Trump and U.S. foreign policy.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) rejects any attempt by the Canadian government to interfere with the democratic processes and sovereignty of the Venezuelan people. Given the history of U.S. involvement in the region, the actions of Guaidó have all the signs of a coup d'état. We warn Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against playing any role in bringing about regime change in another country.

The people of Venezuela have the right to determine their economic and political future. CUPE believes Canada has an important role to play in the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, by providing humanitarian support. We also believe Canada should engage with the international community to foster dialogue and peace between the elected government and the opposition.

CUPE offers our solidarity to the Venezuelan people.

(January 25, 2019)

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World Peace Council

The forces of peace and democracy, constantly mobilized in support of the Venezuelan people's struggle in defence of their sovereignty, once again strongly repudiate the offensive against the legitimately elected government of President Nicolás Maduro. Showing its eagerness to take interference in Venezuela to its ultimate conclusion, Donald Trump's government on Wednesday, January 23, declared it recognizes the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, who has no popular mandate, as the country's acting president, a position that was supported by allied governments.

Such an outrageous step is an attack on the most essential norms of international relations prized by all the truly democratic forces dedicated to building a world of peace and cooperation. It should be rejected widely, not only by popular entities, but also by institutions that cherish democracy and the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.

The World Peace Council defends the sovereignty of nations and mutual respect as pillars of constructive relations between nations. Therefore, it repudiates, in the strongest terms, this outrageous announcement of the U.S. government, which is also the position taken by the countries that adhered to the arrogant statement issued on behalf of the Lima Group two weeks ago, saying it did not recognize the legitimacy of the Maduro government, whose mandate was renewed by popular vote. Most of the governments of this group, as we said then, suffer from a complete lack of competence to claim to be promoters of democracy. This is the case, among others, for the governments of Colombia and Brazil, who also declared they recognize Guaidó as president.

The coup attempts in Venezuela are incessant and the resistance has been brave, an example for the peoples committed to the defence of their nations' sovereign course. Solving the crisis in the country and correcting course is entirely up to the Venezuelan people, in a dialogue already called for by the government among those who sincerely seek a democratic solution.

The governments of Hugo Chávez and, from the outset, that of President Maduro, backed by the Venezuelan people and patriotic forces, have bravely faced those attempts. Such resistance also sheds light on the continuity of U.S. imperialism's policy of interference, and its willingness to do anything to maintain its dominion over Latin America, trampling over international law and the democracy it claims to defend.

Therefore, we urge the strengthening of international mobilization in support of the Venezuelan people's struggle in defense of their sovereignty and democracy, and of the legitimacy, guaranteed only by the popular vote, of leading the country in a frank and sovereign dialogue with the democratic opposition, and dealing with the coup plotters who have been supported by U.S. imperialism and reactionary forces in the region.

End the imperialist offensive and the coup attempts! Sovereignty and peace in Venezuela!

Socorro Gomes, President World Peace Council

(January 23, 2019. Slightly edited for style by TML.)

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Government in Denial as Brexit Crisis Deepens

British Prime Minister Theresa May keeps repeating that because she allegedly is honouring the decision of the June 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU), the only choice is between "her" deal, "no deal," or no Brexit. As a result, every move she makes deepens the crisis, chaos and turmoil over Brexit. The latest development is the postponed "meaningful vote" which took place on January 29 which was apparently not so meaningful after all. The result was a motion containing MPs’ amendments that rendered it self-contradictory, but allowed May to say that she would go back to Brussels to seek further tweaking of the Withdrawal Agreement. The EU leaders immediately said this was not possible, which led Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn to say he would talk with the Prime Minister since “no deal” was ostensibly taken off the table.

May has set a number of "red lines" which she refers to as "principles," and which she refuses to set aside in order to seek a resolution of the crisis. Meanwhile, actual principles of working out a solution that favours the people are never considered.

Jeremy Corbyn, for his part, is manoeuvring within the situation, and had demanded that May take the option of "no deal" off the table. He refused to meet with her until she did so. The experience of the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and others who have responded to the overtures of No. 10 Downing Street, including leading trade union general secretaries such as Len McCluskey of Unite, and Dave Prentis of Unison, was that May's conception of negotiation is nothing but to demand that they fall in behind her deal. Her conception was to use their influence to attempt to get her deal, her Plan B (very similar to Plan A), to scrape through the Commons vote.

As Corbyn and others have pointed out, Theresa May is in denial over the depth of the political impasse, over the wiggle-room that the EU leaders and negotiators are prepared to offer, and of the damage that the impasse and political chaos are inflicting on the polity. Not least in effect of this damage is the attempt to polarise the polity and divide it between "Remainers" and "Brexiteers." A Workers' Weekly analysis points out: "Corbyn himself cogently pointed out in his Wakefield speech that the concrete conditions facing both Remainers and Brexiteers are the same, and are not to be sorted out through what amounts to a civil war between them. Indeed, Theresa May, despite her protestations of seeking "social cohesion," is stoking the flames of unrest. It is clear that May is also prepared to use the police powers to underline that the state must preserve itself against the people's rebuke (under the slogan) "Not In Our Name!"

Workers' Weekly writes:

"Neither does May see a General Election as a way out of the impasse, as she clings onto office, having had her fingers burned the last time she was advised to go to the country. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party he leads are using the tactics provided by the Fixed-term Parliament Act 2011, brought in under David Cameron, to maximize the possibility of an imminent General Election. Certainly the ruling elite do not see a General Election as favourable to them. It does seem at this time as though a General Election would bring a Labour government to power, or, if resulting in a hung parliament, would allow Labour to form alliances with other parties at present in opposition and hence form a government. Would this resolve the political crisis? Although naturally Jeremy Corbyn and his allies argue that it would then be plain sailing, he still has vested interests and the European Union bureaucrats to contend with.

"Corbyn has the advantage of having the social movements, of which he has been part, not only as political support, but as an important reservoir of activists and vote bank. But is this sufficient to ensure his policies of 'For the Many, Not the Few' are implementable if a General Election is called and the Labour Party assumes the role of government?

"And what is this European Union? The EU itself is riven with crisis, not least the European project to make the EU a single political entity. To focus on the so-called 'four freedoms', [1] as though all the 28 EU member states subscribed to a united outlook, is misleading. This project went into crisis some time ago, not least because of the people's opposition to the neo-liberal agenda of the EU. And the prospect of a 'social Europe' within the status quo is looking like a total illusion. It is partly the internal contradictions between the big powers of 'Old Europe' themselves, partly the striving of these powers to dominate the other member states, and partly the movements of the people themselves against austerity, for their rights and to demand a decisive say in the direction of society, that are besetting the EU with its own impasse. Meanwhile, the financial oligarchies demand to maraud wherever they wish, and the U.S. seeks itself to dominate and dictate the agenda for Europe, which also is arousing resistance.

"Within this situation, what should be the outlook of the working class and people of Britain? We are of the opinion that the people cannot get caught in the trap of siding with one of the two warring factions -- Leave and Remain -- in the sense that there is a matter of principle at stake in siding with one or the other, when the working people themselves are not involved in setting the agenda of what it means -- Leave or Remain -- and their consequences. The ruling elite themselves cannot find a champion that convinces the people one way or another, or that favours the private interests that dominate economic and political life, let alone a course of action that favours the people.

"Furthermore, we reject any suggestion that the people are to blame for any aspect of this crisis, whether it is the face of xenophobia, racism or chauvinism that the ruling elite represent. This reaction is being imposed on the people."

In conclusion, Workers' Weekly writes:

"Within this situation, the working class and people must participate in working out themselves what favours their interests. In our opinion, the vantage point that we must adopt is one where it is grasped that the struggle in the real world is between the forces representing what is old and deeply reactionary, and those representing the new and a progressive future in which the interests of the people are firmly put at the centre. It can be seen that the way the battle of Brexit is being fought out, causing deep rifts in the polity, starving the people of information as to what is at stake and creating diversionary categories so that the people are prevented from having their own outlook, is blocking the people from taking the stand: A plague on both houses of the ruling elite! Let us take a stand for our own interests!

"In our view, this is what Brexit is calling on the working people to do. We should fight for the New. In the face of the all-round crisis, we should organize for the alternative. What this means is to recognize how Parliament has become completely dysfunctional, not even recognising what its own norms are and certainly not capable of sorting a way out of the impasse."

The stand must defend the rights of all. It must favour people's empowerment.


1. The free movement of goods, services, capital and persons [or labour] within the EU are the famous "four freedoms" set out in the Treaty of Rome. The same principles are now extended under the "internal market" rules introduced by the Single European Act. The four freedoms are strengthened in the Lisbon Treaty, and by a special Protocol 27.

(Workers' Weekly with files from euABC.com)

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Canada's Withdrawal of Personnel
from Embassy in Cuba

Cuba understands the obligations of the government of Canada to protect its diplomatic personnel posted anywhere in the world and to try to find answers to the health symptoms reported in Cuba, however, it considers that Canada's decision made public today is incomprehensible.

Cutting Canada's staff at its Embassy in Cuba and adjusting the mission's programs are actions that do not help find answers to the health symptoms reported by Canadian diplomats, and which will have an impact on the relations.

This decision contrasts with the level, status and presence of Canadian diplomatic staff in other world capitals where they do not enjoy as much safety, tranquility, good health situation, and hospitality as in Cuba.

This behaviour favours those who in the United States use this issue to attack and denigrate Cuba. It is well known that some individuals with high-level positions within U.S. foreign policy are trying very hard to create a climate of bilateral tension seeking to portray our country as a threat.

Since the Canadian Embassy reported the first case, Cuba has offered to cooperate and has worked together with numerous entities in the Canadian government; it has requested information and has provided all evidence available; and has put at their disposal the best Cuban experts in the most diverse fields.

During the exchanges that have been held, it has become clear that there is no evidence that might reveal any brain damage, or that may explain the varied symptoms reported, or that may indicate that these symptoms occurred due to the stay of the affected diplomats in Cuba.

The symptoms reported are varied, with a common denominator which is that they are difficult to measure or verify through technical means.

Unfortunately, the decision made by the Canadian government fuels speculation and contrasts with the exchanges held by both parties on the matter.

Despite Canada's government's decision, Cuba remains committed to keeping the good state of bilateral relations and strengthening the links with a country with which we keep strong bonds of friendship and cooperation.

(January 30, 2019)

From the Party Press

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Rapid, Organized Response to Tornado
Damage in Havana

At around 8:30 pm on Sunday, January 27 a powerful tornado ripped through an area of eastern Havana, causing severe damages in four municipalities. It is reported to have been the strongest tornado to hit Cuba in nearly 80 years. Four lives were lost and 195 people were injured. The most recent report indicates that 2,699 houses were affected, with 342 of them completely destroyed.

Immediately after the tornado hit, rescue, cleanup and recovery efforts were put into motion by the Cuban government, with brigades of workers from different sectors and students mobilized to assist in the work and neighbours pitching in to help one another.  The article that follows provides information on reports given and discussions held the day after the tornado struck.


Council of Ministers' meeting, January 28, 2019.

After 8:00 pm, the evening of January 28, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez chaired another meeting of the Council of Ministers to evaluate progress being made on recovery efforts underway in Havana, after a tornado struck several capital city municipalities, the night of January 27.

"Reinforcing attention to the population at times like these is vital," the President insisted. Work was undertaken promptly, beginning immediately after the disaster, and it is imperative to explain to the people what is being done, he stated.

From this very moment, we must begin to gather all the experiences we have gained from this weather phenomenon, to incorporate them in plans for disaster prevention and risk reduction, he indicated.

Division General Ramón Pardo Guerra, head of the National Civil Defense General Staff, reported that, according to an aerial inspection conducted the morning of January 28, "The tornado developed close to the Casino Deportivo and weakened east of Alamar.

"Estimates indicate that it travelled a distance of 11.5 kilometres, at a speed of 42.6 kilometres an hour, over 16 minutes. It began with an impact diameter of 500 metres, later widening to 1,000 metres at the end of its course," he explained.

At this point, he said, significant damage has been reported, such as totally and partially collapsed buildings, fallen trees and utility poles, broken doors and windows, as well as automobiles and containers that were dragged and turned over by the strong winds. Expeditious work began early on the clearing and collection of rubble across the city, he emphasized.

The number of deaths caused by the extreme weather rose to four and a total of 195 injuries had been reported, with these individuals receiving attention in several hospitals, according to Public Health Minister José Ángel Portal Miranda. Material damage is concentrated in the municipalities of Diez de Octubre, Regla, Guanabacoa, and San Miguel, he said, in 11 health care facilities.

The most difficult situation exists at the Hijas de Galicia Maternal Hospital, from which 196 patients were evacuated, 18 of whom were released and are now at home.

Regarding housing, Minister of Construction René Mesa Villafaña confirmed that the greatest amount of damage was to roof tops, which will need to be surveyed to begin deliveries of repair materials.

Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, Party first secretary in Havana, reported that initial surveys indicate that the number of dwellings affected has reached 1,238, of which 123 have totally collapsed and 625 partially, along with 224 that have lost their roofs entirely, and 124 to a lesser degree.

Given this information, President Díaz-Canel indicated that, as soon as losses are specified, distribution of the necessary resources to the population is to begin -- via the different established means -- so that these problems can be alleviated as soon as possible.

In terms of re-establishing electrical service, Minister of Energy and Mines Raúl García Barreiro reported that the issue should be resolved by January 31. Damage is concentrated in overhead lines, including both transmission and distribution lines, while only two substations remain out of service, those in Berroa and Guanabacoa, he said.

Antonio Rodríguez Rodríguez, president of the National Water Resources Institute, reported that damage to the system has been repaired. Affected neighbourhoods are being served via tank trucks and large water storage tanks have been placed at a variety of points accessible to the population.

More than 13,000 telephone lines have been reported out of operation at this time, informed Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella, minister of Communications, while 12 brigades of 80 power line workers, with specialized vehicles, are already working to re-establish service. Work is underway, as well, on the mobile phone network and WiFi hotspots, as well as outdoor equipment, where the principal damages are concentrated.

The most significant agricultural impact was to tobacco, in the Pinar del Río municipalities of San Juan and San Luis, sector Minister Gustavo Rodríguez Rollero reported. Damage to fields and greenhouses in areas that experienced heavy rain are yet to be accurately determined, he said. Iris Quiñones Rojas, Minister of Food Industry, stated that during the early hours of January 28, bread production was resumed, to ensure the basic regulated supply, despite the fact that 36 bakeries remain without electricity.

Some 48 means of automotive transport are estimated to have suffered some type of damage, said the sector Minister, Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila. At the time of the meeting, he reported that the central rail line had been re-opened, and the Regla ferry was operating by early that morning, an important commuter service for the municipality. Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil Fernández reported that the main resources needed to begin recovery work are available.

Schools were projected to reopen January 29 at all of the city's educational institutions, with alternate sites being prepared in some cases, to avoid affecting the academic year, said Minister of Education Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella.

It was reported that as recovery work advances, the communications media will continue promptly providing the people with all details.

(Granma, January 30, 2019. Edited slightly for style and grammar by TML.)

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Sending Material or Financial Aid to Cuba

Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, has informed that material donations from outside Cuba, whether from governments, companies, non-governmental organizations or individuals are welcome, and should be made through the Cuban embassy in each country, as it is the Cuban Government which is organizing the tariff-free entry of goods to Cuba and their distribution to where need exists. Monetary donations can be made through the International Financial Bank to the account number 0300000005093523.

Questions regarding donations can be directed to: donacionxlahabana@mincex.gob.cu.

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