April 20, 2019 - No. 14
All Out to
Humanize the Natural
and Social Environment!
Earth Day 2019
• All Out to
Humanize the Natural and Social Environment!
Consequences on the Environment of Methods of Production
- K.C. Adams -
Alberta Election 2019
That Do Not Bode Well for Either Alberta or Canada
- Pauline Easton -
For Your Information
Indigenous Peoples Fight for the
Affirmation of Sovereignty
Charges Against Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders
Chief Says "Reconciliation Is Not at the Barrel of a Gun"
Trump Administration Enforces Title
of Helms-Burton Act
• Let Us
Sure the Government of Canada Does Not
Appease the U.S. in Its
Attempt to Strangle Cuba!
- Isaac Saney, Co-Chair and
Canadian Network on Cuba -
• Where Is
Canada's Backbone in Standing Up to the U.S. on Cuba?
- John Kirk and Stephen Kimber -
Union and Canada
Government of Venezuela
Civil War Conditions Evident in the
Federal, State and Local Clashes on Immigration
- Voice of Revolution -
Resistance to Attacks on
• New Utah
North Carolina Refuse to Cooperate with
Immigration and Customs
and Immigrants' Rights Organizations Issue
a Statewide Travel
Alert in Florida
- American Civil Liberties Union
• Action at
the National Border Patrol Museum
- Tornillo: The Occupation -
Court Blocks Trump's Forced Return to Mexico Policy
- American Civil Liberties Union -
Impunity in the Philippines Must Be
Opposition to Extra-Judicial Killings
Update on DPRK-U.S. Relations
for U.S. to Put in Place Proper
- Nick Lin -
Anniversary of Defeat of U.S.-Led Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba
• 71st Anniversary of Jeju Island Uprising in
• 76th Anniversary of Heroic Warsaw Ghetto
Earth Day 2019
Student planet strike action in Montreal, March 15, 2019.
On Earth Day, April 22, the world comes together to
that proper attention be paid to Mother Earth. Measures must be
taken to overcome the destructive effects of climate change and
end the pernicious practices of the monopolies and oligopolies such
as fracking, clear cutting, detrimental mining methods,
contamination of lakes and oceans, the privatization of water,
fraudulent environmental assessments and the dispossession of the
rightful holders of the land and all the other abuses which are
increasing as a result of neo-liberal anti-social and
The urgent need is to reverse this alarming deleterious
All over the world this is being done by the peoples' struggles
which restrict and successfully deprive the monopolies and
oligopolies and governments in their service of their ability to
pollute, destroy, super-exploit, trample on the sovereign rights
of Indigenous peoples, and wage war for self-serving aims. The
working peoples' striving for empowerment unites people from all
walks of life to become an organized force which takes stands in
defence of the rights of all.
On this occasion, the
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) states clearly that the
natural and social environment cannot live in harmony without opposing
government pay-the-rich schemes. CPC(M-L) on this occasion specifically
opposes the use of the serious issues of the environment and the
economy to justify expropriating the Indigenous peoples and going
against the expressed desire of the people on projects such as the
Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline
construction, especially when these are done in the name of "national
interest." This association is to make sure the people play no role in
determining the outcome of the decisions which affect them and so that
the issue of climate change is also not sorted out in favour of
humanizing both the natural and social environments.
There is no Chinese Wall between the interests of the environment and
the economy but they cannot be harmonized by continuing the
expropriation of the Indigenous peoples who are the stewards and
protectors of Turtle Island and holders of sovereign rights to this
vast land. The Indigenous peoples have never relinquished their
sovereign hereditary rights and bravely continue to defend Turtle
Island from the indignities of colonial pillage and ruin. On Earth Day
let everyone demand that governments enter into new arrangements that
honour Indigenous peoples' sovereign rights to their ancestral lands.
Mother Earth is one of the two pillars of all social
the other being the work of working people. Modern society cannot
be built without consciously upholding the dignity of both.
Harming Mother Earth, working people or Indigenous peoples
leads to the ruin of society.
To uphold the dignity of Mother Earth means to bring
consciousness to the fore within the socialized economy.
Activating the human factor/social consciousness to negate the
anti-human factor/anti-consciousness is the order of the day.
Only if working people themselves have a say-so and control over
the production and distribution of social product can the serious
problems facing Mother Earth and our societies be provided with
A significant act on Earth
Day is also to denounce the
U.S.-led wars of aggression and occupation, and the U.S. war
industry which is the biggest polluter in the world. Denounce the
Canadian ruling elite which has deployed the men and women of
Canada's military to participate in the U.S. wars of occupation
and NATO and UN missions carried out in the name of humanitarian
aid, peace, freedom and democracy.
Federal and provincial governments, no matter what party
power, have shown that they fully identify with the narrow stance
of private interests and the demands of the war government in the
United States. To serve these interests and speak about concern
for the environment in the same breath is absurd. It means that
concern for environmental degradation and ruination of Mother
Earth must be consciously expanded into a movement to empower the
working people, to put them in the forefront of all economic,
political and social decision-making.
CPC(M-L) supports all the actions of the youth, working
people and Indigenous peoples which restrict the monopolies and
oligopolies in their claims and in their ruinous activities. The
secret agenda of the monopolies, oligopolies and governments in
their service in the socialized economy and for war must cease.
Everything regarding the socialized economy must be public and
exposed for all to see and evaluate. Working people must persist
in stating their concerns and demands, which is the first step to
establishing a real hold on political and economic power so they
can bring to the fore the human factor/social consciousness and
lead the movement to humanize the social and natural
The people must become the decision-makers and set the
direction of the economy in a manner that protects the
environment and affirms the right to be of the peoples of the
All Out to Make Our Claims on Society
Known on Earth Day
All Out to Humanize the Natural and Social
Vancouver climate change march, September 9, 2018 calls out the Trudeau
government for its grandstanding on the environment while purchasing a
As people all over the
world take a stand to humanize
natural and social environment on Earth Day, April 22, the
grandstanding of the political parties which form a cartel party
system is nowhere more evident than on matters which concern the
economy and the environment. Liberal grandstanding over the last
four years with their feigned concern for the environment is
astounding. They are trying to convince people that they are
protectors of the environment with their carbon tax yet buy a
bitumen pipeline, which many people decry as a danger to the
environment. They assault Indigenous water and land protectors on
their sovereign land in northern BC to allow the global oil
companies to frack for natural gas in eastern BC, pipe it to the
coast, turn it into liquidified natural gas using enormous energy and
ship it to
Asia. Meanwhile, in the words of National Post columnist
Andrew Coyne, "opposition to carbon pricing is now the badge of
In this way, the ruling elite and their media have been
to frame an issue in the 2019 federal election as being for and
against a carbon tax. The aim is to keep the people spinning and
counterspinning so that they cannot work out what they themselves
need. The Trudeau Liberal government says its carbon tax is meant
to combat climate change, while the Conservatives claim nothing
should be done and the NDP are divided between those who take one
stand or the other based on nonsense about finding the right
balance between jobs and responsibility for the environment.
If governments were serious
about climate change they would
not be hell-bent on building pipelines to rip and ship raw
bitumen to the U.S. through Vancouver or another pipeline to rip
natural gas from northeast BC using the discredited fracking
method and ship it to the coast. The RCMP, a federal police
agency, would not be enforcing an injunction which violates
Wet'suwet'en hereditary rights. Enforcing the "right" of private
contractors to trespass on Wet'suwet'en land to build a pipeline
to rip and ship natural gas to Kitimat on the West Coast has
nothing to do with either the environment or a sound economy.
Claims that such projects are based on sound environmental
assessments are proven hollow time after time after time.
On April 1, federal
legislation called the Greenhouse
Pollution Pricing Act went into effect. The law levies a charge
on gasoline, other fossil fuels and on "industrial polluters." It
is said to only apply in provinces such as Ontario that have no
carbon-pricing regime of their own that meets national standards.
The Ontario Court of Appeal is currently hearing Ontario's
appeal to scrap it on the grounds that the Act is
unconstitutional as it infringes on provincial jurisdiction. It
says the federal government is grabbing new powers that would
allow it to regulate when people drive or where they live.
Federal lawyer Sharlene Telles-Langdon argued that the federal
power is merely aimed at providing a national measure because the
provinces cannot manage on their own. "There is a gap in Canada's
ability as a nation to meet the challenge as it now faces," she
said. The levy is a "regulatory charge" not a tax, Telles-Langdon
told court, because its "dominant purpose" is to modify behaviour
rather than raise revenue. If the court rejected that
explanation, she said, then the charge can be characterized as a
legitimately enacted tax.
Other provincial governments contesting the carbon tax
Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
National Post columnist Andrew Coyne writes:
Conservative governments that wouldn't dream of, say, breaking up
the bureaucratic-union stranglehold on the public schools, feel
no qualms about abolishing carbon taxes. What might have been a
choice between regulation and carbon pricing has instead become a
choice between regulation-plus-pricing, on the left, or
regulation-only, on the right: between needlessly-costly and
maximum-costly. Conservatives could and should have argued for
carbon taxes as a replacement, not only for regulation, but for
other taxes, using the revenues collected from carbon taxes to
slash personal and corporate tax rates. But that opportunity,
too, was passed up, so count higher income taxes as another cost
of the Conservative carbon tax obsession."
In this way, attempts are
made to line Canadians up pro and
con the carbon tax. In fact, the issue of the environment brings
into focus who controls the economy and who makes the important
decisions, and how the people have to turn that around by
striving for their own empowerment through democratic renewal.
This begins with representing what they themselves have to say
and speaking in their own name to lay their own claims on
society, not making themselves spokespersons for the claims of
Canadians, especially the youth, are profoundly
about the environment. They need political forums where they can
set the discussion themselves. Anything less is to permit
themselves to be deprived of their own voice and political
representation. In other words, instead of actually providing
society with an aim on the basis of which it can go into the
future on a sound basis, they remain vulnerable to being yoyo's
for whatever the political parties which form the cartel party
system in the service of the rich put forward. The aim of
political work must be to be effective in a manner which
guarantees the future of the planet and humanity. The ruling
class is self-serving in favour of paying the rich and refuses to
deal with the problems.
The federal government asserts that collecting a sales
on carbon and then distributing the revenue back to those who
paid the tax will somehow provide incentive for the development
of clean energy. This is nothing more than illusion-mongering and
To suggest that the market
and consumer decisions within that
marketplace, which the oligarchs control, will miraculously give
rise to humanizing the social and natural environment and
guarantee a new direction towards a healthy environment is an
attempt to sabotage discussion and any movement forward to deal
with the problem of climate change. Those who advocate the carbon
tax, have devised yet another measure to pick the pockets of
As far as returning the revenue to the people or for
projects, no guarantees exist as to how governments will use the
additional revenue. The people do not have any control over
government because the people have no effective power over
government. The cartel party system of governing gives those who
get elected and form party government the main task of keeping
the people's opposition in disarray so that the rich have free
rein over the public treasury.
As far as doling out public money for projects, green or
otherwise, this is routinely done for the narrow private
interests of big corporations and conglomerates. Canadians hear
endlessly of large private development projects that include
state funds of some sort as subsidies or free infrastructure.
Pay-the-rich schemes for the private interests of big
corporations have become commonplace and synonymous with being
"open for business." The people are even subjected to spectacles
of oligopolies such as Amazon demanding cities, states and
provinces make offers of public funds in a degrading competition
to land their operations.
The fight over green projects is intense business
and involves the entire arsenal of the big powers including
boycotts, embargoes, threats of regime change, sabotage, war and
invasion by the private and state militaries of the big powers and
their appeasers, such as Canada. The term "green wars" has even
been coined to suggest inter-imperialist wars could be waged in
a more environmentally friendly way. All of it seeks to justify
slaughtering those they seek to control.
The global oligarchs have recklessly plundered the
exploited and killed the people of the world without blinking an
eye. The U.S. war machine is the biggest polluter on earth, yet
the Canadian establishment has no qualms about completely integrating
into and applauding every wild U.S. war adventure and
interference in the sovereign affairs of others, such as
Venezuela, Iraq and west Africa, which leave economic and
environmental devastation and death in their wake.
Canadians are expected to
believe that a carbon tax
will change the outlook and practice of the oligarchs who control
the world, and force them to take up environmental and social
responsibility. How can those who pretend to be political parties
speak of this with a straight face when they themselves just
handed over billions to U.S. oligarchs for a sixty-year-old
pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver and swear by hook or by crook
that they will force its expansion to double the capacity to rip
and ship bitumen from Alberta to the U.S. west coast to fuel its
war machine? They are utter failures as environmental stewards
and developers of an independent self-reliant Alberta and
Canadian economy. Their rip and ship mentality viewed from any
angle is anti-social and anti-environment. Their claims have no
Accountability begins at home with deeds not words. The
of the political parties which form party governments prove they
are morally bankrupt and beholden to their oligarch masters and
the U.S. war machine.
The refusal to take into account the consequences on
natural environment of methods of production arises from an
economic system and ruling elite that are narrowly focussed on
their own private gain in competition with one another for
dominance instead of cooperating for the common good of the
people, the socialized economy, the social and natural environment,
The motive of the ruling
oligarchs for maximum private profit
to benefit their empires in competition with others and in
contradiction with the working people whom they exploit, rejects
any interference in the pursuit of private profit. The
imperialist economic system, which the financial oligarchy
control, operates in the absence of social responsibility. It
cannot and does not function without a privileged few stealing
the natural resources for themselves and expropriating the value
the working people produce regardless of the social consequences,
such as economic and natural crises and war.
U.S. President Bill Clinton's Vice-President Al Gore
became a green
promoter and with his social and political connections and
through state financed pay-the-rich subsidies for the green
companies he owns became a billionaire. The oligarchs demand that
any measures to mitigate global warming must lead to private
profits for a privileged few and no loss of their control. The
desire and motivation for individual wealth and privilege exist
within an atmosphere of extreme competition amongst themselves.
The ruling elite divide into warring camps and oligopolies
according to their private interests, which they politicize
through control of the state machinery, mass media and cartel
electoral parties. Those cartel political parties likewise divide
themselves according to the oligarchs they serve and their
The oligarchs argue and fight over how to pass the
problems onto the backs of the working people in ways that favour
their own narrow private interests. They strive to control the
purse strings and power of the state and put them at the disposal
of whatever private interests they have pledged themselves to in
return for getting elected. When a problem such as global warming
becomes too big to ignore then they engage in political posturing
to influence the people and force them to line up in ways that
favour their private interests. The posturing and policy
objectives change with the wind for the desire is to serve
private interests, not to serve the people and society as a
principle by upholding social responsibility.
For example, former
Conservative Prime Minister Harper
introduced cap-and-trade of carbon derivatives as a way for
certain oligarchs to profit. The former Ontario Liberal
government did the same in cooperation with Quebec and California
carbon exchanges. But now the Ford Conservative Ontario Premier,
a professed admirer of both Harper and Scheer, denounces
cap-and-trade and carbon taxes as restrictions on his control of
Imperialist mantra asserts a boundary that the
of the financial oligarchy in government and in opposition cannot
cross. Dealing with global warming in words is fine as long as
deeds do not run afoul of and interfere with the motive of making
maximum private profit. No official imperialist politician can
even raise the issue that measures in the economy's production
and distribution process should take place that directly turn
around the problem of climate change, and that a portion of the
added-value workers produce should go towards this cause to
humanize the environment rather than into the pockets of the
rich. This would entail taking charge of private companies and
depriving those in control of engaging in damaging practices. It
would mean seeing how the problem poses itself with objectivity
of consideration not with subjective consideration of whether
such measures would harm the profits the privileged few
expropriate from the working class.
The Trudeau carbon sales tax is tied to the overall
taxation and its use to perpetuate the class privilege and
control of the financial oligarchy. The tax adds one more burden
on working people. Worker politicians demand the elimination of
all forms of individual taxation and assert that real social and
economic problems need real solutions not cynical political
posturing. They declare openly that problems in the economy such
as its contribution to global warming must be resolved through
changes to the economy and social conditions through upholding
social responsibility and consciousness that deprive the
financial oligarchy of its power and control.
Alberta Election 2019
The United Conservative Party (UCP) has formed a
majority government in the April 16 Alberta election winning 63 of 87
seats with the NDP taking the remaining 24 seats in the Legislature.
The other three parties with seats in the Legislature at dissolution,
the Alberta Party, the Liberal Party and the Freedom Conservative Party
did not win any seats. This predictable result arose because of the
lack of a workers' opposition with a consciousness of its own emerging
out of real life, synonymous with social change, and free of all
The "stop the right" mantra
of the liberal social base has proven to be totally ineffective in
Canada not only in this Alberta election but also in the recent Ontario
and Quebec elections and elsewhere around the world. The "stop the
right" liberal mantra reduces the demand of the workers' movement and
the polity itself for an end to the neo-liberal anti-social offensive
to a helpless, hopeless and humiliated state because the cartel party
system has one aim -- to keep the people
disempowered. It is not the people who decide the outcome of an
election. They exercise no control over candidate selection or those
elected or the agendas which are set. All of that is controlled by the
state of the rich and their private conglomerates and media which
deprive the people of an outlook of their own.
A workers' opposition must face with courage and
conviction the fact that no matter which party forms the government to
preserve what are called liberal democratic institutions, the party
coming into power combines with state institutions which are
anachronistic. Their role is to preserve privilege. They are totally
out of sync with the needs of the times. The political party forming a
government reflects the dysfunction of the whole and reveals in
practice the powerful economic forces the liberal democratic state
institutions serve. The corruption of the federal Liberal party in
power and the corruption that created and pushed to prominence the
Alberta UCP and its leader show they are birds of a feather.
Saying a UCP victory was predictable is not to dismiss
the fact that this does not bode well for Alberta and Canada. The
workers' opposition must face the realities of its weakness and deal
with them. In doing so, it realizes in the immediate sense that the
election of Jason Kenney as Alberta's new premier means increasing
acrimony amongst the ruling elite and further degeneration of the
cartel party system, and a continuation and possible intensification of
the anti-social offensive. The unrelentingly discordant and
disagreeable discourse of Kenney and others arises from the mostly
foreign narrow private interests he serves. These interests operate by
imposing anarchy and violence and reveal the fact that conditions no
longer exist to respect a lawful authority. This means that it is up to
the people to empower themselves and establish a rule of law which
favours them. To cover up the striving for power and control of the
international financial oligarchy, the people are blamed for being
backward and reactionary. The Liberals' demand for sunny ways has the
same source, aim and result as do any demands which appease the rich
and their agendas no matter what quarter they come from.
Kenney's victory speech following the election serves notice of the
kind of bitterness, rancor, resentment, ill feeling, ill will, bad
blood, animosity, hostility and enmity that the antagonisms and
striving for power within the financial oligarchy are bringing to the
The Blues, Man, the Blues
A media pundit renders the situation in a way that
caters to terrified liberals and social democrats for whom the matter
is "the blues, man, the blues." Andrew Coyne writes, "With this win in
Alberta, there are now six conservative provincial governments
stretching from the Rockies to the Bay of Fundy, together representing
more than 80 per cent of the country's population."
How the ruling circles represent the people and their demands is of
course a key question never discussed. What is certain is that the
corruption that occurred during the merger of the Alberta Progressive
Conservative and Wildrose parties creating the UCP with Kenney as its
leader stands second to none. Many consider that it rivals Justin
Trudeau's so-called rules-based version of how things should be done
when serving the oligarchs.
Within this morass of corruption and catering to the rich that engulfs
what are called the liberal democratic institutions and the cartel
parties, somehow the Conservatives are often portrayed as more fiscally
and even at times socially responsible than their rivals. Meanwhile
epithets of all kinds are hurled against working Canadians claiming
they are becoming populist, anti-immigrant, white supremacist,
anti-social and the like, allowing "six conservative provincial
governments stretching from the Rockies to the Bay of Fundy" to come to
Working Canadians are
concerned about having a society that looks after the economic and
social well-being of those who depend on it for their living. They hold
liberal hypocrisy, opportunism, and self-serving justifications for
what cannot be justified in utter contempt and often express themselves
bluntly in this regard. However, they also have no regard for how the
likes of Jason Kenney and his former boss Stephen Harper wield power
either. They reject the aim for society set by both the so-called right
and left wings of the ruling class. The aim of both is essentially the
same and does not include looking after the economic and social
well-being of those who depend on the economy and society for their
living. How else to explain the recurring economic crisis, the
unresolved problems, and neo-liberal, anti-social offensive attacking
the well-being of the people during the reign of all cartel parties.
fact is a matter of grave concern for the working people and why the
workers' opposition should be front and centre in presenting a
pro-social direction and agenda of its own creation.
The aim of the so-called right and left wings of the
Canadian cartel party system is to use the political power of the
so-called liberal democratic state institutions to put the assets of
the country at the disposal of the international financial oligarchy
and their oligopolies, which leave in their wake and even make worse
the unresolved economic, social and environmental problems that concern
the people. Internationally, the so-called right and left wings are
united in nation-wrecking, warmongering and destruction of the human
productive forces and the social and natural environment led by U.S.
The ruling elite have created an illusion
that somehow the so-called right and left wings of the ruling class
stand for something different and that one at one time or another at
another time is better or worse. Alberta's main newspapers, the liberal
and the conservative Calgary Herald
both supported Jason Kenney to form the next government. They
have spoken and the NDP in opposition must hold the
Kenney government to account. What is not
discussed is how the powerful economic interests which wanted this
outcome managed to rummy up the additional 200,000 voters who were
eligible in the 2015 election but did not vote at that time and
get them to vote to secure a majority for the UCP. The 63 seats
secured for the UCP is a gain
of 38 seats over the total held by Conservative and Wildrose Parties in
2015. The NDP vote remained the same as in 2015 which in that
election gave them 52 seats and in this election gave them 24. Clearly,
the NDP "held its own" but this was no contest against the
powerful private interests which put their money behind the outcome
they decided must win. The warranted conclusion to be drawn from this
is that the workers' movement and people's forces must set their own
aims and mobilize to achieve them. They must empower themselves, not
divide behind this or that faction of the rich under the pretext that
one is better than the other.
Following the Alberta election of a UCP majority government, the
so-called right and left newspapers of the ruling class have
proclaimed the agenda for working people following the election.
In essence they say workers should reduce themselves to
extra-parliamentary lobby groups and permit others to speak in their
name and do their thinking for them. Sucked into this agenda, working
people should forget about organizing a workers' opposition
independently of the ruling elite with its own agenda and analysis of
what needs to be done to defend the rights and well-being of the people
and build the new.
A Way Forward
Working people in Alberta and indeed the entire polity
of Canada cannot afford to stay in the trap of "left" versus "right."
What exists is a cartel party system within anachronistic liberal
democratic institutions over which the people exercise no control
whatsoever. Bolstering this view are media assessments saying that now
with only two parties in the Alberta Legislature and everyone else
eliminated, Kenney's strategy to destroy the PC and Wildrose parties
and create a new "brand" has prevailed.
But what will the new brand
accomplish except more of the same. The in-fighting and squabbles are
more intense than ever and conducted ever more stridently. Kenney's
strategy and victory show
the inability of the ruling elite who serve and represent the global
oligarchs to set an aim for society consistent with the needs of
humanity and the times. They reveal the necessity of the working class
to find its own voice and set a new direction for the economy and
politics to provide the rights and well-being of the people with a
New brand or not, how will the squawking and lack of
unity be overcome? On what basis can these leaders of the ruling elite
exercise control even within their own ranks when the oligarchs they
represent are at each other's throats to the point of threatening
liberal/conservative violence against each other as we see in the U.S.
and Britain as they also engage in continuous wars abroad?
The lack of unity within the ranks of the ruling class in Alberta is
such that the Progressive Conservatives who opposed the Kenney takeover
of their party swelled the ranks of the Alberta Party. They elected
former Edmonton Mayor and Progressive Conservative Steven Mandel as
leader and gained 9.2 per cent of votes cast in the provincial
election. Despite this they failed to win a single seat and neither did
The hostile takeover of the Wildrose and PC parties virtually
eliminated the PCs who had ruled Alberta for 44 years. This mirrors the
so-called merger of the Reform Alliance and Progressive Conservative
Party federally that eliminated the former PCs and brought the
Harperites into being and power -- a foreign-inspired coup of which
Jason Kenney was a major player. His ranting against foreign
interference in elections matches that of the federal Liberal foreign
minister as do his foreign affiliations and connections.
Let Working People Themselves Turn Things Around
Working people have legitimate claims on the economy and
society. Those claims clash with those of the ruling financial
oligarchy. To express and fight in an organized way for their claims,
working people must oppose, and not become embroiled in, the rivalry
and acrimony of the ruling elite. Their first duty is to themselves and
society. They cannot allow the ruling elite to deprive them of their
own outlook and ability to work out their own vantage points and
struggle to defend their rights within the situation.
Take for example the
pathetic attempts to blame workers for electing reactionary right wing
governments when the so-called left-wing governments are virtually the
same and follow similar pay-the-rich policies. What better proof do the
people need of this than what the Trudeau federal government has done
in its years in office? The people have been subjected to reams of
words, rhetoric and grandstanding but the deeds are mostly similar to
the previous Harper regime. The aim of the Liberal Party was and
continues to be to render ineffective the worker's opposition to the
anti-social offensive, the opposition of the indigenous peoples to the
final elimination of their hereditary rights, the affirmation of the
rights of women and children, the striving of the youth for a bright
future and the people's claims for a healthy natural and social
environment. This they have not achieved. Despite putting the liberal
social base at their disposal to make sure the people's movement does
not step out of bounds, the people's striving for empowerment continues
to assert itself and gain strength. The striving for empowerment is the
present reality that working people must embrace, nurture and use to
secure the future.
Working people can turn things around by refusing the agenda set by the
ruling elites and speak directly to those matters that concern
themselves. Discussing and working out how to resolve the economic,
political, social and environmental problems in their own favour and
not in favour of the rich can lead directly to mobilizing workers in
defence of their rights and a mass movement to build the New.
Elections Alberta reports the United Conservative Party
(UCP) received 55.2 per cent of total votes cast, the NDP 32.7
per cent, and the Alberta Party 9.1 per cent. The Liberals
received one per cent of the vote; other small parties together
gained 1.9 per cent and independents 0.4 per cent.
The electoral results are quite different for Calgary,
Edmonton and the rest of the province. The NDP retained 18 of 19
seats in Edmonton, plus one seat in the Edmonton suburb of St.
In Calgary, the UCP was elected in 23 ridings, with the
elected in three ridings. With the exception of Lethbridge West
where the NDP candidate was successful in a close race, every
other seat in the province went to the UCP.
A total of 1,880,508 votes were cast. Alberta has a
of 4,334,025, an increase of more than 200,000 since the 2015
election, and 2,643,453 registered voters. Elections Alberta
estimates voter turnout at 71.1 per cent of registered voters,
compared to 57 per cent in 2015. This is the highest voter
turnout since 1935 when 82 per cent of registered voters cast a
At the time of dissolution of the Legislature and the
calling of the election, the governing New Democrats held 52 of
Alberta's 87 ridings and the official opposition UCP held 25. The
Alberta Party held four seats, the Alberta Liberals one seat, the
Freedom Conservative Party one seat, along with three Independents. One
seat was vacant.
Of the 63 UCP candidates elected, 51 are taking their
the Legislature for the first time. Of the twelve who were
previously elected including party leader Jason Kenney, only
three come from the old PC Party, which merged with the Wildrose
Party to become the UCP.
The 63 seats for the UCP is a gain of 38 seats over the
held by Conservative and Wildrose Parties in 2015. Also,
1,030,560 people voted for the UCP or 54.8 per cent of voters,
compared to the 774,118 people who voted for either the
Conservative Party or the Wildrose Party in 2015.
The NDP's 24 seats is a loss of 28, with 19 of these
being won in Edmonton. Twenty-one of the 24 elected NDP MLAs were
in the last Legislature. The NDP received 615,428 votes, or 32.7
per cent of votes cast, only slightly more than the 605,515 it
received in 2015, indicating that the increase in votes in the
2019 election went mostly to the UCP.
Indigenous Peoples Fight for the
Affirmation of Sovereignty
On April 15, the Crown dropped contempt charges against
Indigenous people, citing a lack of evidence. The 14 were arrested at a
blockade on January 7 by heavily armed RCMP officers in an act of state
terror. They were accused of failing to obey a court injunction granted
to Coastal GasLink (CGL) in December 2018 so that it could
build a pipeline on Wet'suwet'en traditional territory. BC Court
Justice Marguerite Church agreed to vacate the charges.
Molly Wickham, a spokesperson for those arrested,
pointed out that
the threat of jail time and fines "are things we should not have to
experience as Indigenous peoples holding up our own laws on our own
CGL claims that it has agreements with 20 First Nations,
number in Wet'suwet'en territory, to enable the building of the 670
km-long pipeline through their territory, that would take fracked
natural gas from northeastern BC to Kitimat on the coast. This suggests
that CGL has conducted itself lawfully and followed procedure.
However, these agreements are between elected band council chiefs and
representatives of private corporations. The jurisdiction of the band
council chiefs is strictly limited to the so-called crown lands
designated as "reserves" under the Indian Act.
This represents a very small portion of the 22,000 square kilometres of
Wet'suwet'en territory. It
is the hereditary Chiefs of the Five Houses who have the authority to
act on behalf of the Wet'suwet'en and it is they who have opposed the
building of the CGL pipeline which will traverse twenty-eight per cent
of their territory. They have repeatedly pointed out that Wet'suwet'en
not Canadian law has jurisdiction over Wet'suwet'en territory.
They also point out that Canada, or any other entity, must honour these
traditional laws and jurisdiction. Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have
also expressed their opposition to the pipeline on the basis that it
will cause damage to the environment, diminish the salmon stock and
undermine the means of livelihood of the Wet'suwet'en people.
The court injunction against the Wet'suwet'en land
remains in place, is based on CGL, with the help of the Canadian
government, trying to sidestep the key issue of who has jurisdiction on
Wet'suwet'en Territory in order to push the pipeline through.
Government agreements with the elected chiefs and councils are aimed at
splitting and dividing the Indigenous peoples, criminalizing their
defence of their right to self-determination and, when that fails,
embroiling them in legal battles to deplete their financial resources
and force them to surrender their lands and resources. This is the
modus operandi of the Canadian state today no matter which cartel party
government at either federal or provincial levels.
The Canadian people from coast to coast to coast held
and rallies to support the Wet'suwet'en blockade and denounced the
RCMP's assault and arrest of the 14 land defenders on January 7. They
will continue to stand with the Wet'suwet'en people and all Indigenous
peoples fighting for hereditary, constitutional and treaty rights
against the colonial relations the Canadian state seeks to perpetuate.
Chief Na'moks speaking in Smithers, January 16, 2019.
Chief Na'moks of the Tsayu (Beaver Clan) of the
recently noted, in the context of the ongoing Wet'suwet'en fight for
self-determination, that Canada has failed to live up to its
obligations, made in May 2016 at the United Nations, to implement the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Regarding the Prime
Minister's solemn pledge at the beginning of the Liberal government's
term in office to build a new relationship with the Indigenous peoples,
he noted, "I kept thinking of the Prime Minister and how he said there
was no more important relationship than the one with Indigenous people.
And then here comes all these guns. Reconciliation is not at
the barrel of a gun."
Na'moks pointing out where the pipeline is to cross Wet'suwet'en
Pointing out that the federal government stood by and
did nothing to
stop the RCMP from attacking the land defenders on January 7, Chief
Na'moks concluded that the federal government's refusal to act was an
instance of not following the rule of law but "the rule of corporate
Affirming Indigenous sovereignty, Chief Na'moks noted
that the band
council system created by the Canadian state was used to justify the
actions of the Coastal GasLink (CGL). "Federally and provincially
they'll only deal with their constructs, the bands, because [the
government] created them. They don't know how to deal with us, yet
been here for thousands of years. Our authority and jurisdiction on the
land will always be."
Chief Na'moks pointed out that the resistance that the
people are waging is a fight for the interests of the earth and all
peoples. The fight for Indigenous rights includes the right to refuse
development that is imposed from the outside which benefits private
interests. "You have to balance the costs and benefits ... You can't
come in with a Gold Rush mentality and then you're out of there. You're
setting yourself up for failure."
Another important point made by Chief Na'moks was that
Declaration on Indigenous Rights will only be fought for and defended
Indigenous peoples. He noted that if governments were left to interpret
the Declaration, they would do so on a self-serving basis.
Chief Na'moks is standing with the Likhts'amisyu Clan
constructing more barricades to prevent further CGL incursions into
Wets'swet'en territory. The Chief will be traveling to the UN at the
end of April to participate in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Peoples. He plans to report to this international gathering on the
of rights of Indigenous peoples by the Canadian state including the
RCMP attack and arrests of the Wet'suwet'en land defenders and the
ongoing refusal of the government to secure free, prior and informed
consent for the pipeline project on Wet'suwet'en territory.
Trump Administration Enforces Title III
of Helms-Burton Act
Monthly picket at U.S. embassy in Ottawa April 17, 2019, demands end to
blockade of Cuba.
On January 17, the U.S. State Department announced its
intention to enforce Title III of its criminal Helms-Burton
Act "[...] in light of the national interests of the United
States and the efforts to expedite a transition to democracy in
Cuba, and include factors such as the Cuban regime's brutal
oppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms and its
indefensible support for increasingly authoritarian and corrupt
regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua."
Three months later on April 17 it
announced that as of May 2 it will begin fully enforcing Title III,
which has been suspended by every President since the Act was passed in
1996, in yet another attempt to wreak revenge on Cuba, this time for
championing the cause of Venezuela's right to self-determination, while
also using it to escalate its economic war against Venezuela. Title III
gives U.S. citizens who previously owned properties in Cuba that were
nationalized after the revolution the right to sue Cuban and foreign
entities that have made use of those properties or do business with
others using those properties in U.S. courts for damages.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere
Affairs Kimberly Breier held a press briefing the same day about her
government's decision. As if brandishing a trophy,
she drew attention to the fact that the Lima Group, which had met two
days earlier in Chile, for the first time expressed "concern over
Cuba's role in Caracas" in its declaration [...] and, bizarrely,
"called on the Cuban regime to support the transition in
Also on April 17, in a speech to the Bay of Pigs
Association in Coral Gables, Florida, U.S. National Security
Advisor John Bolton announced that in addition to activating
Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the Trump
administration would begin enforcing Title IV. It provides
for the denial of visas to and exclusion from the United States
of any foreign national who, after March 12, 1996, "confiscates or
traffics in confiscated property in Cuba, a claim to which is
owned by a U.S. national."
He used the occasion
as well to announce other
designed to reverse what he called "the disastrous Obama-era
policies" and "end the glamourization of socialism and communism."
These included restricting travel to Cuba from the U.S., with
only family visits allowed in order to curb what he called
"veiled tourism," reinstatement of caps on remittances to Cuba
with $1,000 allowed per person every three months, and additional
sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Bolton also took the opportunity to remind his audience
the U.S. had recently sanctioned six companies and 44 tankers
engaged in shipping "subsidized oil" from Venezuela to Cuba, and that
the previous day, for the first time, one of the ships had been denied
entry at a U.S. port. He bragged about the new
sanctions being "two-fers" that hit both Venezuela and Cuba,
taking perverse delight in declaring "No more subsidies for
The new step of the Trump administration is a criminal
revenge stemming from its failure to impose regime change in
Venezuela using all the same terrorist means it has used against
Cuba for nearly 60 years that have also failed to achieve regime
change there. Enforcing Title III of Helms-Burton will
dangerously tighten even further the blockade against Cuba. It
is directed against the people in a failed attempt to provoke
them to rebel against their government and permit the U.S.
imperialists to once again control their destiny. It represents
yet another flagrant violation of international law and a direct
attack on the sovereignty and interests of third countries.
For its part, Cuba has strongly, firmly and
categorically rejected the move to enforce Title III, which, in the
words of the statement issued by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
"it construes as an extremely arrogant and irresponsible hostile
action, and repudiates the disrespectful and slanderous language used
in the public announcement made by the State Department." President
Miguel Díaz-Canel said the U.S. announcement "will not change
our attitude towards those who are holding the sword against us. We
Cubans do not surrender, nor do we accept laws over our destiny that
are not in our Constitution. In Cuba, Cubans are in charge. [...] Title
III is not worse than Titles I or II, that are all part of the array of
actions against all the people of Cuba. Nobody is going to make us
surrender, either by allurements or by force, the Homeland that our
forefathers won standing up."
Trump and his henchmen will not have an easy go of
wielding the new weapon they have given themselves to try to further
their unpopular cause. Strong opposition is already being voiced by
sectors inside the U.S., including businesses, who stand to be directly
affected, as well as by friends of the Cuban and Venezuelan people who
are in no mood to stand idly by in the face of this latest escalation
of the economic war against both. In the case of Venezuela, activists
in the U.S., with the approval of the Venezuelan government, are
maintaining a continuous vigil and holding educational events inside
Venezuela’s embassy in Washington, DC to oppose its takeover by the
illegitimate representatives of U.S. puppet Juan Guaidó -- a
process which the U.S. government is facilitating rather than doing its
duty to uphold the inviolability of diplomatic premises.
A number of European countries, like Canada, have
business interests in Cuba. It will take a staunch stand on the
part of the Canadian and other governments to oppose what is
coming. Statements were immediately issued by representatives of
the European Union and Canada, both individually and jointly.
Canada's put a lot of emphasis on meetings Foreign Affairs
Minister Chrystia Freeland had held with her U.S. counterparts to
discuss her government's concerns with the U.S. decision, adding
that it would fully defend the interests of Canadians conducting
"legitimate" trade and investment in Cuba. In a joint statement
Canada and the EU said that they were "determined to work
together to protect the interests of our companies in the context
of the WTO [World Trade Organization] and by banning the
enforcement or recognition of foreign judgements based on Title
III, both in the EU and Canada."
It is quite possible, despite the U.S. State Department
representative saying there will be no exemptions from Title III
for anyone, that the U.S. will particularly encourage claims
against Venezuelan interests in Cuba as well as those countries
like Russia and China whom it regards as rivals with no business
operating in "its neighbourhood." This means the government must
not only act to defend Canadian interests in Cuba but take a
clear stand against the legislation being used against anyone
else as well. It will not do, for example, to stand with Europe
while letting Venezuela be thrown to the wolves, thereby helping
the U.S. achieve its aim of strangling both Cuba and Venezuela.
Canadians will stand with the government if it takes a
principled, independent stand on this matter and refuses to
appease the United States in its criminal aims.
It is a defining moment for Canada. The Communist Party
of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on
Canadians to make their voices heard and to make sure that the
Government of Canada does not appease the U.S. in its criminal
endeavour on this very important matter to the future of the
cause of peace, democracy and freedom on our continent.
1. In a sign that this
project of the U.S. and Canada to force regime change in
Venezuela is losing steam, not a single Caribbean country, of the
few CARICOM members said to be part of the Lima Group, signed
that declaration. Counted among its signatories, however, which
did not total even half the number of OAS members, was Juan
Guaidó's envoy, supposedly in representation of Venezuela. The
group's next meeting is to take place in Guatemala on a date that
has not been announced.
Vancouver monthly picket, April 17, 2019, demands end to blockade of
The U.S. Helms-Burton Act was conceived to
and tighten the economic, commercial and financial blockade
imposed on Cuba in 1962 for the purpose of subverting and
overthrowing the Cuban government and imposing a regime to the
liking of the U.S. government.
TML Weekly interviewed Isaac Saney, Co-Chair and
Spokesperson of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), to explain for
our readers what is the Helms-Burton Act and its Title III
and what is at stake.
TML Weekly: What is the Helms-Burton
Act? What is its intent and aim?
The Helms-Burton Act was
passed in 1996. It was meant to tighten and further U.S. economic
sanctions against Cuba and also to codify them as law in the
sense that this was an act of Congress rather than actions under
the purview of the U.S. President. The President had been using
the Trading with the Enemy Act
to issue political directives that
sanctioned Cuba economically. The Helms-Burton Act
specifically targeted Cuba and established a series of conditions
with regard to the Cuban economy, aimed at the destruction of the
socialist nature of the Cuban economy so as to be acceptable to
the U.S. empire.
Title III of the Act allows U.S. companies and
citizens to sue not only Cuban companies but also international
companies engaging in what the U.S. calls "trafficking in stolen
property," i.e. that very grotesque way of referring to the fact
that Cuba, when the Revolution triumphed, was within its right
under international law to nationalize property owned by foreign
companies in Cuba and that since then some of that property has
been occupied or otherwise used by those Title III targets. Cuba
offered compensation according to international law for the
properties that were nationalized at the beginning of the
Revolution. In the early years of the Revolution, every single
country which faced the nationalization of its properties --
France, Canada, Britain, you name it -- came to an agreement with
Cuba on compensation. Cuba offered compensation to U.S. companies
too, but the United States blocked the attempts of any of these
companies to accept and engage in negotiations with Cuba.
What is interesting is that under the Obama
when there was a formalization of diplomatic relations and an attempt
to move to what was said to be a different relationship, one that was
still aimed at undermining the Revolution, but in new
and less aggressive ways, U.S. companies actually began to look
at some of these approaches to compensation as well. They began
to look at what are referred to as certified cases, to actually
begin to resolve some of the cases. Of course, it is important to
understand that the Cubans themselves say that aside from
compensation for U.S. companies, there is the question of the
enormous damage caused by U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba
which totals over a trillion U.S. dollars. As well, there is the
cost of Cuban lives from all manner of terrorist acts that have
been carried out against Cuba from U.S. territory.
The United States has waged an unabated, unceasing
war against Cuba since the early '60s. The Helms-Burton Act is an
escalation of this war against Cuba and an overt attempt to
economically asphyxiate Cuba through the violation of
international law, by attempting to cut off Cuba's economic links
with other parts of the world and sources of foreign investment.
It is used to take punitive action against companies that are
doing business in Cuba, with those that also carry on business
with or have assets in the U.S. being especially vulnerable.
The Helms-Burton Act's full title is grotesque;
the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of
1996. It has nothing to do with the liberty of Cuba. In fact it is
all about returning Cuba to U.S. domination, hegemony and tutelage. It
has nothing to do with democracy because it is a fundamental violation
of the right of the Cuban people to self-determination. It also
violates the sovereignty of third countries that engage in trade with
When it comes to Canada, for example, the largest single
foreign investor in Cuba is Sherritt International which has
interests in mining, in petroleum, and in other sectors of the
TMLW: Tell us about the international
community's opposition to the Helms-Burton Act.
IS: It is opposed by the international
because it is a flagrant violation of established norms of
international trade and international law. Its aim is to make
U.S. law the law that trumps (no pun intended) and supersedes
domestic law. For example, in Canada, U.S. law would trump
Canadian law and Canadians would have to follow U.S. law to avoid
putting operations and assets they might have in the U.S. in
jeopardy. Canadian companies themselves would not be allowed to
trade with Cuba without facing some very significant economic
sanctions from the United States.
When the Helms-Burton
Act was passed in 1996, there was opposition from Canada.
There was opposition from European countries. Every U.S.
President, first Clinton and then the others, has suspended Title
III of the Helms-Burton Act every six months in order that
lawsuits cannot be launched against companies by U.S. citizens
whose properties were nationalized or by Cuban-Americans who left
Cuba and became U.S. citizens and claim that there is property
that belonged to them in Cuba for which they have a right to
claim compensation through U.S. courts. What happened under the
Trump administration was they lessened the six-month waiver of
Title III to 45 days, then to an even shorter period, creating an
increased sense of insecurity, until announcing on April 17 that
they would begin fully implementing it as of May 2.
So because of the pressure from the international
the Presidents before Trump decided that they had to waive Title
III. Why? Because at the end of the day its extraterritorial
nature represents a fundamental violation of the sovereignty of
each individual country in the world, attempting to make U.S. law
the dominant law in their countries, trumping and overriding
domestic law when it comes to companies doing business with Cuba.
For example, European countries and Canada, the largest investors
in Cuba, have legislation on the books to limit the effect
of extraterritorial measures initiated by other countries against
entities in their countries. In 1985 Canada adopted the Foreign
Extraterritorial Measures Act (FEMA), which in 1997
further strengthened specifically to deal with the Helms-Burton Act,
TMLW: Tell us something about Title III's
violation of Canadian sovereignty and how FEMA is applied.
IS: I will give you an example. In 2017,
we had the case of
Canada being fined tens of thousands of dollars for having leased
cars to the Cuban Embassy. This was seen as a violation of U.S.
sanctions against Cuba given that a U.S. company, American Honda
Finance Corporation was a majority shareholder of Honda Canada
Finance. The company was fined even though both the lessor and
the lessee were in Canada. There are other cases. Another example
is that the executives of the Canadian company Sherritt
International are barred from travelling to the United States.
Their children are barred from attending U.S. schools because
they can't get visas under Title IV of Helms-Burton.
As an example of what could happen now with the
Title III, consider the situation of Air Canada, Sunwing, and Air
Transat that are engaged in flying tourists to Cuba, involved in
setting up a whole variety of tourist packages with hotels in
Cuba as well as having airport landing rights. Ships with docking
rights in Cuban ports could also be targeted. It is a fact that
Canada provides the largest single source of tourists for Cuba.
Last year I think more than five million people visited the
island, and there are close to a million-and-a-half Canadians
visiting Cuba annually. Air Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing could
be accused of engaging in business in Cuba that involves what the
United States considers to be nationalized property, what they
call stolen property. Those companies could be subject to a
series of lawsuits and judgments in U.S. courts.
application of foreign laws to Canadian businesses. It enables the
Attorney General to issue orders blocking extraterritorial measures
from being taken against Canadians and Canadian entities. An individual
or corporation that breaches FEMA or an order made under FEMA, can be
subject to fines and/or imprisonment. A Blocking Order issued in 1992
requires that a Canadian corporation notify the Attorney General of any
directive or other communication it receives relating to a U.S.
extraterritorial measure being initiated against it in respect of any
trade or commerce between that corporation and Cuba. It also prohibits
Canadian corporations from complying with any such measures considered
likely to prevent, impede or reduce trade or commerce between Canada
III of the Helms-Burton
so that it now can be used to block U.S. judgments
from being enforced in Canada, restrict the production of records to
U.S. courts in Title III actions, and give Canadians the right to
counter-sue in a Canadian court to recover damages awarded against them
in the U.S. plus court costs. FEMA cannot however be used to recover
monetary damages awarded against any assets Canadian individuals or
businesses might have in the U.S. or possibly other foreign
in court so there is no case
law to consult regarding its application.
TMLW: Can you elaborate how the
enforcement of Title III will affect Canada-Cuba economic relations?
IS: Canada has significant economic
with Cuba. Are these companies going to succumb to this economic
pressure? If they persist and continue their relations with Cuba
will they be sued in U.S. courts? What will happen then? What
will be the economic impact not only on them but on the Canadian
economy? Or, importantly, will other companies now be extremely
wary of investing in Cuba, of engaging in this kind of commercial
economic practice and intercourse with Cuba for fear of facing
claims for damages under Title III? That is considered by many to
be the main aim of activating Title III.
So there are all of these factors that we have to take
consideration. For example, if a suit is brought against Air
Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing will they be able to
economically bear that burden? What will happen to tourism? Will
Canadians now find Cuba cut off for them as a tourist
destination? All of these are things for us to bear in mind. And
we also have to bear in mind that Canadians have been travelling
to Cuba in their hundreds upon hundreds of thousands and have
developed a very strong respect for what Cuba has been able to do
in the face of incredible U.S. aggression. They respect the
Cubans for having overcome the obstacles that the U.S. empire
continues to put in their path.
It is going to have a huge impact. Mark Agnew, who is
Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said that this "could affect any
company which has any relationship with Cuba." Sherritt
International Corporation has, I think, over $2 billion invested
in Cuba. We have other Canadian companies that trade with or are
investing in Cuba. We have banks like the
National Bank of Canada which has offices there. We have Quebec
and Alberta farmers who have significant interactions with Cuba.
We have the airlines. They could be facing very significant
lawsuits that could burden them with economic problems they might
not be able to overcome.
TMLW: Please elaborate on how the
Title III attacks the Cuban nation and people.
IS: This is a continuation of the war
Cuba. It is a fundamental violation of the right of Cuba to trade
with anyone in the world, engage in partnerships with foreign
entities and benefit from foreign investment. It is a violation
of the right of the Cuban people to self-determination, to
determine their political, economic, social and cultural system
without any political interference, a right enshrined in the
Charter of the United Nations and in the various covenants on
international, economic, political and civil rights. It is a
fundamental violation of Cuba's right to choose its own path and
an attempt to return Cuba to being a neo-colony of the United
States. It is an attempt to extinguish its national aspirations
to establish what José Martí, the hero of the Cuban
described as "a nation with all and for all," i.e. a sovereign
nation which is fully in the hands of the Cuban people, a nation
in which the resources are used for the benefit of every citizen,
for the benefit of the nation as a whole.
This is an attempt by the United States to destroy
nation-building project. It is also in a sense an attack on Latin
America and the Caribbean as a whole. The U.S. has clearly said
that the Monroe Doctrine applies and is showing by its actions
that it believes Manifest Destiny also applies, that it has the
right to determine the economic and political arrangements in
Latin America and the Caribbean. Not only does the U.S. say it
has the right but it will use its might to try and enforce it. So
we have what is going on in Venezuela, the attempt to overthrow
the Maduro government and replace it with one that will do U.S.
bidding. We have the declaration that Nicaragua, Venezuela and
Cuba constitute a troika of evil. We have the militarization of
Latin America, the rejection of the call to make Latin America
and the Caribbean a Zone of Peace.
But it is also important to understand what will happen
Title III is unleashed. I think there will be very
significant challenges from the European Union -- before the
World Trade Organization and using their own blocking statute.
What we may also see with Helms-Burton
Title III is the
shattering of established international arrangements. Does it mean that
might makes right? Will it gain acceptance for the use of force
in its various connotations as the dominant factor in international
relations? Will it gain acceptance for the shredding of
By opposing Helms-Burton,
necessity for the
rule of law.
TMLW: How should the Canadian government
In my opinion the Canadian government should very
vociferously, in all national and international fora, reject the
extraterritorial nature of Helms-Burton.
of Cuba. It is important to bear in mind
that since 1992 members of the UN General Assembly have
repeatedly and overwhelmingly opposed the U.S. blockade of Cuba,
and particularly its extraterritorial features, representing one
resounding victory after another for Cuba. I think that the
Canadian government and Canadian parliamentarians should not
allow Canada's policies towards Cuba or its relations with Cuba
to be targeted and undermined with this latest aggressive move by
the U.S. In fact they should stand up for Canadian sovereignty as
well as Cuba's and the sovereignty and right to
self-determination of all those potentially affected.
TMLW: Do you have any concluding thoughts?
IS: In conclusion, I would say that this
very dangerous turn in relations. The Trump administration is
obviously engaging in a policy of vindictiveness. They want to
eliminate the Cuban Revolution which has always been a concrete example
of self-determination in Latin America. The
situation is at a very critical point and we must ensure that we
do not allow this to stand.
I would also like to say that despite all of this, there
is significant confidence in the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement
that the Cuban people can and will overcome any challenges that
they face including this latest provocation by the United States,
this latest act of aggression, this latest escalation of the U.S.
economic war against Cuba. I think also that the Cuban people can
be confident, that they can count on the ongoing undiminished
support and friendship of Canadians. That support and friendship
is rooted in the overwhelming respect of Canadians for Cuba's
rights, independence and self-determination and a profound
admiration for what the Cuban people have accomplished despite
facing the unceasing aggression of the United States. This
respect and admiration have forged unbreakable ties of friendship
between the people of Canada and Cuba.
The Canadian government
should recognize this by taking a resolute, unequivocal political
stand against this latest vindictive act of the U.S. and by using
all available legal means at home and internationally to combat
its effects. It is an act of aggression not just against the
Cuban people but against the Canadian people, against the
Canadian nation and the fundamental principle of sovereignty.
In June 1996, mere months after the U.S. Congress
the Helms-Burton Act to
tighten the screws on Cuba's economy,
Canada became the first country to publicly say "no" to
Back then, Ottawa announced
it would introduce new legislation
to blunt the bully-boy impact of Title III -- an
extra-territorial section of that law that prohibits non-U.S.
companies from "trafficking" in what the United States claims is
American property confiscated after the 1959 Cuban revolution -- and
threatened to take the United States to international
Within the month, prime minister Jean Chrétien
rallied Group of Seven leaders, forcing then-U.S. president Bill
Clinton to backtrack. Mr. Clinton imposed a six-month waiver on
allowing American companies or Cuban Americans to sue for
compensation in U.S. courts.
Every U.S. president since -- Democrat and Republican --
has extended that moratorium in six-month increments,
because the law, which allows American courts to punish non-U.S.
companies simply for doing business in Cuba, violates accepted
international trade norms. Those presidents knew countries such
as Canada would raise hell if they didn't extend the waiver.
But now, keen on bringing regime change to Venezuela,
Nicaragua and Cuba (hawkish national security adviser John
Bolton's "troika of tyranny"), the Trump administration has
changed the rules.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allowed
Americans to sue the Cuban government in U.S. courts over
properties nationalized nearly 60 years ago. And he now says he
will decide by April 17 whether to expand that to allow similar
lawsuits against foreign companies, including Canadian ones.
So why is Canada's response so muted? Where is Canadian
It's not hard to understand what Mr. Trump and his
up to. Under the malign ideological influence of Mr. Bolton, Mr.
Pompeo and Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a Trump ally and
vociferous critic of the Cuban government, the United States is
deliberately intensifying tensions between Washington and Havana
even as it dismantles improvements in relations initiated by
former U.S. president Barack Obama.
While Mr. Trump muses about putting Cuba back onto the
countries Washington claims promote terrorism, Mr. Rubio wants to
bring back legislation from the George W. Bush era, overturned by
Mr. Obama, that encouraged Cuban medical staff working abroad to
defect. Earlier this month, thanks largely to his lobbying, Mr.
Trump scuttled a done-deal between Major League Baseball and its
Cuban counterpart to allow Cubans to legally play baseball in the
Perhaps most ominously for Canada, Mr. Rubio pointedly
foreign investors: "If you are dealing with stolen property in
Cuba, now would be a good time to get out."
Canada -- with historically close ties with Cuba --
has a significant stake in all of this. Like virtually every
other country in the world, Canada long ago negotiated
compensation for its citizens and companies whose properties were
nationalized after the revolution. Under Mr. Obama, even the
United States, which had previously rejected Cuban compensation
offers, began to negotiate certified claims.
Now, if Mr. Trump makes good on his threats, even the
airport and cruise terminal could become a focus of thousands of
U.S. court claims worth U.S.$8 billion.
Canada's Sherritt International Corp., the single
foreign investor in Cuba, is at risk. So are many other Canadian
companies that trade with or invest in Cuba, including banks with
offices there, Quebec and Alberta farmers, Air Canada and
possibly even charter flight companies Sunwing Airlines Inc., Air
Transat A.T. Inc. and WestJet Airlines Ltd.
No wonder Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Mark Agnew
worried recently: Title III "could affect any company which has
any, any relationship with Cuba," he declared.
While Ottawa insists Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland
quietly lobbying Washington and reassuring Canadian companies she
has their back, that muted response is telling -- and
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau desperately wants the seat
the UN Security Council that Stephen Harper failed to win in
2010. Much of Canada's foreign policy for the past four years has
been predicated on achieving that end.
That makes taking on the Americans complicated. Mr.
must deal with the implications of what his father once called
"sleeping with an elephant." Under the mercurial, unpredictable
Mr. Trump, that elephant is rampaging madly off in all manner of
dangerous directions -- from rewritten trade deals to
unjustified tariffs to personal insults.
But the reality is we already have laws in place --
1985's Foreign Extraterritorial
Measures Act (FEMA), for example -- designed specifically to
protect Canadians from being
forced to comply with illegitimate American laws. It was amended
in 1996 precisely to act as an antidote to Helms-Burton. And we
have international laws and norms on our side, too.
It's time for the Canadian government to dust off our
legislation and show some backbone, forcefully rejecting this
U.S. aggression toward Cuba -- not to mention protecting our
own national interests in the bargain.
John Kirk is a professor of
Latin American studies at
Dalhousie University, where he has worked since 1978. He is the
author or co-editor of 18 books on Latin America.
Stephen Kimber is a
professor of journalism at the University
of King's College and the author of nine books, including most
recently, the award-winning What Lies Across the Water: The
Story of the Cuban Five.
resolute response in defense of the Revolution and socialism,
within only 72 hours, produced the first military defeat of imperialism
Government rejects, in the strongest terms possible, the decision to
now allow action to be taken in U.S. courts against Cuban and foreign
entities, and to aggravate impediments to entering the United States
faced by leaders and families of companies that legitimately invest in
Cuba, in properties that were nationalized. These are actions
established in the Helms-Burton Act
which was denounced long ago by the international community, and which
the Cuban nation has repudiated since its promulgation and
implementation in 1996, with the fundamental goal of imposing colonial
tutelage on our country.
restrict travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba, and impose additional
their nation's sovereignty. They lie
shamelessly, alleging that Cuba has thousands of military and security
troops in Venezuela, wielding influence, and determining what happens
in this sister country.
by the United States and their allies, precisely to
economically asphyxiate the country and cause suffering within the
and even to stop lending support and solidarity to Venezuela.
policy. This is an old habit among imperialism’s practices.
mass destruction in Iraq, a lie that served as the pretext
to invade this Middle Eastern country.
pretexts to unleash brutal wars in Cuba and Vietnam.
Girón invasion, to hide the fact that they were U.S. aircraft.
than any other state, to know that Cuba has no
troops in Venezuela, and does not participate in military or security
operations, even though it is the sovereign right of independent
countries to determine how they cooperate in the area of defense, which
is not a U.S. prerogative to question.
in this South American country the same work currently
being done by another 11,000 professionals from our country in 83
nations; contributing to the provision of social basic services,
fundamentally in healthcare, which has been recognized by the
a duty that is part of our tradition and among the irrevocable
principles of the Cuban Revolution’s foreign policy.
despite the devastating human and economic
damage caused by the genocidal blockade to our people.
United States supported the opprobrious
apartheid regime. Cuba was expected to renounce its solidarity
commitments with the peoples of Africa in exchange for a promise of
forgiveness, as if the Revolution needed to be pardoned by imperialism.
overcome the most difficult circumstances. Despite its
immense power, imperialism does not possess the capacity to break the
dignity of a united people, proud of its history and of the freedom
conquered with so much sacrifice."
aggressive policy of the Donald Trump government. Member
states of the United Nations rightly demand, year after year almost
unanimously, an end to this economic war. The peoples and governments
of our region must ensure that the principles of the Proclamation of
Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace prevail, for the
benefit of all.
its dignity, and also in
the strength and dignity of other sovereign, independent nations. But
Cuba also continues to believe in the people of the United States, the
homeland of Lincoln, who are ashamed of those who act beyond the
boundaries of universal law, in the name of the entire nation."
America and the Caribbean, are not negotiable.
backed by imperialism bit the dust of defeat,
the Cuban Revolution reiterates its resolute determination to confront
the aggressive escalation of the United States, and prevail.
Havana, 17 April 2019
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued the
following statement on April 17 regarding Canadian businesses
operating in Cuba and the decision by the United States not to
suspend Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic
Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996, commonly known as the Helms-Burton
"Canada is deeply disappointed with today's
will be reviewing all options in response to this U.S.
"Since the U.S. announced in January it would review
III, the Government of Canada has been regularly engaged with the
U.S. government to raise our concerns about the possible negative
consequences for Canadians -- concerns that are long-standing and
well known to our U.S. partners.
"I have met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to
register those concerns. Canadian and U.S. officials have had
detailed discussions on the Helms-Burton Act and Canada's
Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act. I have also discussed
issue with the EU.
"I have been in contact with Canadian businesses to
we will fully defend the interests of Canadians conducting
legitimate trade and investment with Cuba."
The following joint statement was issued by Federica
Mogherini, EU High Representative/Vice President; and Cecilia
Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, on April 17, regarding the
decision of the United
States to further activate Title III of the Helms Burton
"In the light of the United States Administration's
not renew the waiver related to Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton
(LIBERTAD) Act, the European Union
its strong opposition to the extraterritorial application of
unilateral Cuba-related measures that are contrary to
international law. This decision is also a breach of the United
States' commitments undertaken in the EU-U.S. agreements of 1997
and 1998, which have been respected by both sides without
interruption since then. In those agreements, the U.S. committed to
waive Title III of the Helms-Burton
Act and the EU, inter alia,
"The EU will consider all options at its disposal to
its legitimate interests, including in relation to its WTO rights
and through the use of the EU Blocking Statute. The Statute
prohibits the enforcement of U.S. courts judgements relating to
Title III of the Helms-Burton Act within
The following statement was issued April 17 by Federica
Mogherini, EU High Representative/Vice President; Chrystia
Freeland Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada; and Cecilia
Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade:
"The decision by the United States to renege on its
longstanding commitment to waive Title III of the Helms-Burton (LIBERTAD) Act
is regrettable, and will have an important impact
on legitimate EU and Canadian economic operators in Cuba. The EU
and Canada consider the extraterritorial application of
unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law.
We are determined to work together to protect the interests of
our companies in the context of the WTO and by banning the
enforcement or recognition of foreign judgements based on Title
III, both in the EU and Canada. Our respective laws allow any U.S.
claims to be followed by counter-claims in European and Canadian
courts, so the U.S. decision to allow suits against foreign
companies can only lead to an unnecessary spiral of legal
On April 17, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
that the Trump Administration will end the suspension of Titles
III and IV of the Helms-Burton Act.
The announcement comes on the 58th Anniversary of the
military invasion at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961, organized
by the CIA to overthrow the revolutionary government of Fidel
Castro. The U.S. led invasion was defeated by the Cuban people in
less than 72 hours.
The implementation of
Titles III and IV of the Helms-Burton
Act is a further intensification of the all-sided economic,
commercial and financial blockade of Cuba by the U.S. This action
is not only an attack on the Cuban people but also a direct
attack on the sovereignty and well-being of third countries
including Canada. As such it is an additional serious violation
of international law.
The Helms-Burton Act was passed by the U.S.
1996 for the sole purpose of restricting Cuba's economic,
commercial and financial relations with third countries, as well
as its capacity to attract foreign investment to develop its
Title III authorizes U.S. nationals to bring action
U.S. courts against any foreign citizen that is "trafficking" in
U.S. properties that were nationalized in Cuba in the 1960's. The
process by which these properties were nationalized was
legitimate which was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court itself.
It was found to be in full adherence to not only Cuba's national
legislation but also International Law.
Until now U.S. Presidents have used executive powers to
suspend implementation of Title III every six months. This is
because it was seen to be a gross violation of international law
and the sovereignty of other states and also because the
implementation of it hinders any further solution to claims and
compensation sought by some U.S. businesses.
This Act has been rejected almost unanimously by the
international community at the United Nations, specialized
international bodies and regional organizations, such as the
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the
African Union. Several countries of the EU as well as Canada,
Mexico have passed their own national laws to cope with the
extraterritorial effects of this Act. Both the EU and Canada have
said they will protect the businesses of their nationals harmed
by the application of Title III.
For more than 20 years, the Helms-Burton Act has
the interventionist efforts of anti-Cuban sectors in the U.S. to
attack the Republic of Cuba and undermine its sovereignty. By
virtue of its implementation, hundreds of millions of dollars
have been allocated to subvert Cuba's internal order, and
countless measures have been proposed to bring about a change of
regime. Its economic impact has seriously affected the country's
development efforts as well as the well- being of the population.
Thanks to Cuba's social programs and system of social justice,
the ramifications on people's lives have not been worse.
We join with the Cuban people and peoples of the world
categorically condemning this barbaric, hostile and illegal
attack against the Cuban nation. We stand in solidarity with the
Cuban people who have faced many difficulties and have always
fought with courage and principle to defend their freedom. Fidel
declared, "We Cubans are made of iron and can resist the most
difficult trials." This further U.S. attack destined to force
regime change in Cuba and take revenge for its continued support
of Venezuela against attempts to achieve regime change in that
country are bound to fail.
No to Helms-Burton!
End the Illegal U.S. Blockade of
Make Sure Canada Opposes Attempts to Impose Title III
Canadian Investments in Cuba!
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela strongly rejects
new obsessive and joint acts of aggression and economic war by
the U.S. government against the peoples of Cuba, Nicaragua and
Venezuela, this time under the threat of implementing illegal
mechanisms of extraterritorial prosecuting, with the purpose of
retaliating against entities making foreign direct investment in
As announced by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the
into force of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, next May
2, represents an escalation of the criminal blockade that, for
sixty years, has affected the Cuban people's sovereignty and
human rights and has been condemned, year after year, by an
overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly.
This political decision, encased in a legal instrument
of a fraudulent nature, is a judicial aberration intended to expand the
extraterritoriality of the unilateral illegal measures to affect Cuba
and third countries, in a flagrant new violation of International Law
and the United Nations Charter.
The announcement was made on the occasion of the
anniversary of the invasion in Playa Girón and reveals the
spirit of revenge of the supremacist U.S. ruling elite, who, in
complicity with the mafioso Cuban-American lobby, seeks to go back in
history to restore the terrible era of shame and exploitation of the
pro-imperialist dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Hence, apart from
the above infamous announcement, they threaten to resume restrictions
on travel and remittances to Cuba against U.S. citizens.
The People and Government of the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela express their strong support and active solidarity to
the Cuban People and Government, with the conviction that the
U.S. attempts to break the dignified, sovereign and victorious
Republic of Cuba shall fail again.
As occurred in Playa Girón, U.S. imperialism
shall be defeated once more by the unity, conscience and patriotism of
the people of Cuba guided by the immortal legacy of Jose Marti and
Venezuela shall continue exercising the Bolivarian
Diplomacy of Peace to demand the cessation of unilateral coercive
measures as an instrument of colonial domination, in defense of the
peoples’ independence and self-determination and for the triumph of
multilateralism and International Law
The Government of Mexico regrets the decision of the
States to apply for the first time in history Title III of
the Helms-Burton Act, which,
as of May 2, will allow U.S. citizens
to file lawsuits against companies that make use of properties
confiscated after the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
The measure may affect foreign companies doing business
with Cuba, so the Mexican government will protect Mexican
companies that do or have an interest in doing business with Cuba
and could be affected.
As it has done historically, Mexico rejects the
unilateral trade laws with an extraterritorial character because
they violate the norms of international law.
In this regard, Mexico reconfirms its support for the
the economic and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba.
Civil War Conditions Evident in the
The federal government is clashing with states and local
police and sheriffs as it tries to use immigration enforcement to
integrate the many policing agencies in the country into a
federal command structure. Currently at the border with Mexico,
for example, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are demanding that all the
local forces join them in immigration enforcement. At this time,
they too are to come under military control. It is a live
exercise in federal authority, including the military, over all
Along with broad united actions by the people both sides
the border and in cities and towns across the country defending
immigrant rights, various states and counties are also opposing
federal action. At times this takes the form of state laws, like
those in Utah, Colorado, New York, California and Washington
which in various ways stand against federal actions. Utah's
recently passed law, for example, blocks the federal government
from automatically deporting people convicted of misdemeanors
that carry a sentence of one year or more (see below). California
and New York are sanctuary states and have similar laws to
Elsewhere, resistance is at the
county and local area, by
sheriffs refusing to cooperate with ICE. In those situations,
along with threats, ICE and similar federal authorities work with
state legislatures to pass laws requiring cooperation. These are
being resisted, not only by the communities impacted, but by the
sheriffs themselves. North Carolina is one such example.
These clashes are significant in a situation where Trump
already declared a "national emergency" on the southern border
and could declare one more broadly. Or he could declare martial
law in the name of "national security." Then the military openly
takes control at the state and local level.
As resistance among the people broadens and even other
policing agencies oppose federal action, the need for control, by
the Commander-in-Chief, of all the policing agencies at all
levels increases. The already continuing resistance by various
authorities, whether state legislatures or sheriffs or local
police show, these clashes are increasing. They are part of the
growing conditions of civil war, currently still hidden but
conditions that could develop into an open violent conflict among
the rulers as they vie for power.
It is a situation where every effort will be made to
intimidate and threaten resistance and call on all to instead
line up behind one or the other faction. State forces, like
Governor Cuomo, for example, presents himself as "pro-immigrant,"
while on the ground ICE and other policing agencies across the
state, but especially in New York City, are notorious for their
anti-immigrant, anti-youth stand. The solution does not lie with
the rich and their contending interests. Rather it lies with
stepping up the organized resistance defending the rights of
Utah is one of just a handful of states to pass
that helps non-citizens avoid deportation if they are convicted
of a misdemeanor. The bill, which was signed into law by Governor
Gary Herbert on March 25, clarifies that misdemeanor convictions
in Utah can no longer be interpreted as aggravated felonies for
immigration purposes, avoiding automatic deportation for a crime
as simple as shop-lifting. To make this happen, the bill reduces
the maximum possible sentence for misdemeanors in Utah by a
single day -- from 365 days to 364 days.
The federal government says any conviction, including
misdemeanors, that have a sentence of one year or more will be
categorized as an "aggravated felony," requiring deportation.
This action was taken in part to target many workers and
organizers who have lived in the U.S. for decades, often playing
leading roles in resistance at the workplace and in communities.
Many with green cards have also been deported. It is also the
case that even if the sentence the person is given is less than a
year, say 30 days, as long as the offense carries a sentence of
one year or more, the federal government still requires
deportation. And it prevents immigration judges from any
discretion in the matter -- deportation is mandatory. The law
blocks this action by the federal government by reducing the
sentence to less than a year.
Utah is not the first state to make this policy change.
joins states like Washington, California and Nevada, that have
passed so-called 364-day laws. Colorado and New York also adopted
Protest in Charlotte, North Carolina, February 18, 2019 against
Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.
In just four days in February, federal immigration
arrested more than 220 undocumented people in North Carolina.
They were retaliating against five newly elected sheriffs who had
announced they would cut certain ties with Immigration and
Mecklenburg County, which includes
Charlotte, is one of the areas in dispute. Mecklenburg County
Sheriff Garry McFadden ran and won last year on ending the
county's participation in the controversial federal 287(g)
program, which called for participation between local law
enforcement and ICE. Whenever ICE requested what are known as
"detainers," local police and sheriffs were required to hold
people for 48 hours. This was done even if they had not been
convicted, or were citizens but ICE profiled them as
undocumented, or they had paid a fine and were free to go,
North Carolina sheriffs' offices
for years had been working
hand in hand with ICE in its efforts to intimidate and arrest
undocumented people. Under the 287(g) program in Mecklenburg
county, local law enforcement have transferred more than 15,000
people to ICE over the past 13 years in Charlotte alone. ICE's
field director for the region said the mass arrests in February
were "the direct conclusion of dangerous policies of not
cooperating" with the agency.
Last year, voters in the state's seven largest counties
elected new sheriffs, all of them African American and five of
them stating they would not honour detainer requests from ICE.
Five are the first black sheriffs to be elected in their
respective county's history. Those wins were the result of
intense organizing around the 287(g) program and a united stand
against unjust policing and brutality against immigrants and
After the new sheriffs were elected, ICE's retaliation
swift. In Asheville in February, ICE agents -- wearing
identifying uniforms, but driving a vehicle resembling that of an
employment contractor, with ladders on top -- went into a
Hendersonville community and arrested four people. When the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department held a forum at a church
community centre in Charlotte and invited immigrants and
undocumented people to talk to police chiefs and McFadden, the
sheriff. ICE agents showed up to harass and bully people. Across the
state, hundreds were arrested, most not for any crime but simply
for not having documentation, a civil offense.
An ICE official made this threat: "Any local
thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a
decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local
jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to
see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as in jurisdictions
that do not cooperate with ICE the agency has no choice but to
conduct more at-large arrest operations."
In addition, with ICE's assistance, the state
intervened to assist ICE, passing a bill that would force
sheriffs to cooperate with the agency. ICE helped them to craft
it. The bill's top sponsor, state Representative Destin Hall
said, "it's no secret that we've actually worked with federal law
enforcement officers in crafting this bill." The bill, HB 370,
forces sheriff's deputies to ask people about their immigration
status regardless of the type of criminal charge they face. And
it mandates officers to report and hand people over to ICE, and
to comply with any ICE request accompanied by a detainer. The
North Carolina Sheriff's Association announced that it opposed
the bill, but it passed. The Governor has yet to sign it into
The federal government, using immigration, is striving
bring the local and state policing agencies under federal and
even military control, as is occurring now at the border.
Programs like 287(g) are one part of that, as are ICE raids
despite opposition, and efforts by the federal government to sue
sanctuary states like New York and California. These conflicts
between the states and federal government reflect the inability
of the rulers to solve these problems or lessen their conflicts,
which contribute to conditions of civil war.
The people's resistance standing up for rights -- of
immigrants, refugees and African Americans in this case -- shows
the way forward.
Civil rights and immigrants' rights leaders issued a
alert informing individuals traveling to Florida to anticipate
the possible violation of their rights if Senate Bill 168 and
House Bill 527 become Florida law.
These bills prohibit all localities in the state from
policies or procedures that limit entanglement with federal
immigration enforcement. They also require each and every Florida
county and municipality to expend already limited local resources
to enforce federal immigration law, including complying with U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) detainer requests
that could expose them to significant legal and financial
liability -- whose costs would ultimately be borne by Florida
The alert comes amid these bills' steady progress in the
Florida State legislature and cautions both Florida travelers and
residents, especially Black, brown and Latinx communities, of the
increased likelihood of racial profiling, unjust detention, and
possible deportation if these anti-immigrant bills pass.
In addition to the irreparable human cost these bills
create for immigrant communities and communities of color across
the state, these bills would also expose counties and other
government entities to potential legal and financial liabilities
by forcing local authorities to comply with ICE's flawed detainer
system. Last month, a report revealed that in just two years
after agreeing to work with ICE, Miami-Dade County records showed
that 420 people listed as U.S. citizens had false detainer
requests issued against them. Its findings came on the heels of
three lawsuits that have recently been filed against Florida
authorities for holding people on detainers. Two cases were
brought by U.S. citizens -- Garland Creedle and Peter Sean Brown
-- who were held for ICE by Miami-Dade and Monroe County
respectively. The third case is a class action against Miami-Dade
"ICE's broken detainer system has wrongfully disrupted
lives and families of Floridians," said Micah Kubic, executive
director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida. "If
either SB 168 and HB 527
become law, then we'd find this disruption occurring on a
statewide level. Forcing Florida law enforcement
agencies...threatens the civil rights of all Floridians. The
Constitution guarantees that every person should have due process
and the right to equal treatment, regardless of their
Besides issuing the travel alert, the coalition of civil
rights and immigrants' rights organizations has also issued
information on the negative economic impact of this proposed
legislation and has advised corporations doing business in
Florida of these risks as well as the increased likelihood of
constitutional violations of their clients traveling to the
"It's shameful that the state of Florida seeks to
harass immigrant communities and erode public safety," said
Thomas Kennedy, Florida Immigrant Coalition Political Director.
"Taking precious local resources away from law enforcement to
further target Floridian families for deportation comes at an
extremely high financial and moral cost. The insidious attacks
against immigrants on the national level are being amplified by
Florida lawmakers pushing for anti-immigrant policies. It's more
important than ever for immigrants to feel like they can turn to
their local elected officials and police force to protect them.
Instead, immigrant communities are being threatened, profiled,
harassed and detained in greater numbers. Florida lawmakers need
to realize that there will be consequences for attacking our
families. The world is watching Florida right now, and what we do
next as a state will determine whether people will still want to
visit us and if industry leaders still feel comfortable doing
business with us."
The protest at the Border Patrol Museum in El Paso was a
collaboration between local residents and activists from around
the country. Recognizing the interlocking nature of all our
struggles, we staged an intervention to uplift and remember both
the experiences of migrant families and the many lives that have
been lost. Since its inception in 1924 the United States Border
Patrol has expanded a colonial system that inflicts violence and
death along the U.S.-Mexico border.
We believe that the Border
Patrol and U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be held accountable for their
human rights violations. We believe all migrants deserve to be
treated with dignity and respect. We assert the only crisis on
the border is the experiences of vulnerable migrant and
undocumented populations bearing the weight of U.S. immigration
and foreign policy and Indigenous peoples who have been
terrorized and harassed by Customs and Border Patrol on Tribal
lands. We stand behind all migrant indigenous families exercising
their ancestral claim to migration in the Americas.
We took action because the museum and spaces like it
one-sided perspective of what is happening on the border. Nowhere
in the museum would you find the problematic reality of the
Border Patrol and its history of oppressive treatment towards
Indigenous peoples of this land, asylum seekers, and migrants.
Our presence in the space was to centre the voices that were
missing from this memorial and the human rights violations
inflicted upon them: Jakelin Caal Maquín, Felipe Gómez
Claudia Patricia Gómez González, and the more than 100
have died as a consequence of Border Patrol violence. They died
because of the action of Border Patrol. They deserve to be
remembered in Border Patrol spaces.
We are in a crisis of the consciousness of this country.
path towards reconciliation cannot begin unless institutions
responsible for telling this country's story take that
responsibility seriously and tell its whole truth. We must, as we
have historically, fight for the sanctity of black and brown
lives. It is irresponsible for any institution to claim to be
apolitical while erasing the entire history of a people and using
politically charged words, like "illegal alien" in their
We recognize that an injustice anywhere is an injustice
everywhere. Therefore, we will continue to resist
state-sanctioned violence that places the lives and memories of
law enforcement above those who have died as a result of systems
of oppression, whether it be at the U.S. Borders, in Palestine,
or in the streets of Ferguson, El Paso, Albuquerque/Tiwa
Territory, or Tucson. No one is free until we all are
Protesters from Museum Action Face Criminal
Sixteen activists are facing criminal charges stemming
February 2019 protest at the National Border Patrol Museum in El
Paso, Texas. The activists were part of a coalition of various
struggles that traveled from across the U.S. to El Paso to bring
attention to the inhumane detention of children at the
now-infamous Tornillo detention facility.
The sixteen activists are facing felony and misdemeanor
charges and warrants have been issued for their arrest. El Paso
police have grossly inflated the charges from this nonviolent
protest in an apparent attempt to intimidate these individuals
and stop others from standing up and speaking out against the
human rights abuses being committed at the southern
border. These sixteen activists are facing potential prison
time for their nonviolent protest. Meanwhile, the true criminals,
the people separating families and putting children in cages,
have not been brought to justice.
Stand with these advocates who are exposing the Trump
administration's violence and donate what you can here.
A federal court has temporarily blocked the Trump
administration's new policy that forced asylum seekers to return
to Mexico and remain there while their cases are considered.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern
Center, and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies successfully
sought the preliminary injunction against what the administration
calls, in an Orwellian twist, the "Migrant Protection
Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU's
Rights Project, who argued the case, had this reaction to today's
ruling from U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg:
"The court strongly rejected the Trump administration's
unprecedented and illegal policy of forcing asylum seekers to
return to Mexico without hearing their claims..."
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 11 individual asylum
seekers and organizational plaintiffs Innovation Law Lab, the
Central American Resource Center of Northern California, Centro
Legal de la Raza, the University of San Francisco School of Law
Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic, Al Otro Lado, and the
Tahirih Justice Center.
"Today's victory is especially important amidst reports
the Trump administration is planning to move toward even more
extreme immigration policies. The decision will prevent incredibly
vulnerable individuals from being trapped in
dangerous conditions in Mexico, but it is only a step in a much
larger fight. We are a nation of laws, and we cannot and will not
allow elected officials to undermine those laws in an effort to
implement an anti-immigrant agenda. We will keep fighting," said
Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney of the Southern Poverty
The lawsuit cites violations of the Immigration
and Nationality Act, the Administrative
Act, as well as
the United States' duty under international human rights law not
to return people to dangerous conditions.
"Today's ruling recognizes that the forced return policy
failed to provide adequate safeguards to protect asylum seekers
from persecution. In issuing the preliminary injunction, the
court has rejected the government's attempt to return asylum
seekers to Mexico in violation of U.S. laws as well as our
international obligations to refugees," said Karen Musalo,
director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.
The ruling is available here.
Impunity in the Philippines Must Be Ended
Actions were carried out April 10 in the Philippines and
around the world, including Canada, to condemn the brutal killing
by the Philippine state of 14 unarmed farmers on the island of
Negros in the central Visayas region of the Philippines on March
A fact-finding investigation conducted by local human
and farmers' organizations, which included interviews with family
members and eye witnesses, concluded that police officers in full
combat gear barged into the victims' houses, displayed false
warrants and then shot their victims in cold blood. Another dozen
or so people were taken into custody. The organizations are
calling for a full investigation into the murders and that those
responsible be brought to justice. This is the latest act in a
brutal campaign of state violence and terror committed by the
U.S.-backed Philippine state, which has been stepped up since the
Duterte government took power in June 2016. It is aimed at
destroying the leadership of the revolutionary movement of the
Filipino people at a time when the movement of the people under
the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the
armed struggle waged by the New People's Army is gaining in
Acts of state violence are increasing in the
U.S.-backed regime of President Rodrigo Duterte has been
responsible for the killing of more than 200 peasant and
Indigenous leaders since coming to power in June 2016. An
additional 7,000 people, including many political activists, have
been summarily executed as part of Duterte's "war on drugs."
These acts of state terror are being carried out with
at a time when the situation in the Philippines is becoming
increasingly complex with the U.S. and China challenging each
other for domination of the strategic East Sea (also known as the
South China Sea). Russia is also getting involved. In the midst
of the annual Balikatan U.S.-Philippines live-fire military
drills April 1-15, three Russian battleships arrived in Manila
for a five-day visit to "improve navy-to-navy relations." This is
the sixth time Russian battleships have visited the islands since
President Duterte came to power on June 30, 2016.
Duterte stands at the head of a small group of wealthy
powerful and their state, keeping the nation in the hands of
outsiders. Within this dangerous situation, the workers,
peasants, youth and women of the Philippines, organized and
inspired by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New
People's Army, are engaged in struggle -- armed, parliamentary
and extra-parliamentary -- to put an end to this state of
Since coming to power, the Duterte regime has been a
betrayal of the Filipino people, selling out the Philippine economy
to U.S. and foreign monopolies including Canadian mining
companies. Indigenous people face displacement from their lands.
Filipino workers are faced with continued outward migration to
Europe, Asia, and Canada and the U.S. where they are denied their
rights and become among the most exploited sections of the
working class. The remittance funds they send home have increased
to record levels and help keep the Philippine economy afloat,
while wage freezes and other measures at home deteriorate the
living standards of the people throughout the country. Political
persecution of those who resist has also markedly increased.
However, the Filipino people remain steadfast in
their nation-building project of ridding their homeland of U.S.
imperialism and all foreign domination and those who facilitate
it. They have been steeled in battle after battle since they
fought for independence against first Spain and then the U.S.
imperialists. Their revolutionary struggles over the last 50
years since they founded their communist party guide their
attempts to liberate their country from the clutches of the U.S.
imperialists and end the foreign domination of their economy and
achieve a comprehensive and just peace.
The political imprisonments and extrajudicial killings
Duterte regime are desperate attempts to maintain the status quo,
that will not succeed and have only strengthened the people's
resolve to achieve victory in their long struggle. The Filipino
people demand a just and comprehensive peace as a stepping stone
in their nation-building project of creating a new, democratic
and independent Philippines.
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Hong Kong, China
Washington, DC, USA
New York City, USA
Update on DPRK-U.S. Relations
Kim Jong Un warmly welcomed as he enters meeting of the 14th Supreme
People's Assembly April 12, 2019 to deliver speech.
The U.S. is being asked to reconsider its recent actions
its relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK) so that the process of negotiations begun in 2018, that it
derailed at the recent Hanoi Summit, can get back on track and
the issues of denuclearization, lifting of sanctions and other
work needed to normalize DPRK-U.S. relations can proceed on a
mutual and reciprocal step-by-step action-for-action basis, as
the situation requires.
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, during a speech on the second
the First Meeting of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly, on April
12 said that he is willing to meet U.S. President Donald Trump
for a third time if the U.S. were to propose such a summit, "on
the condition that [the U.S.] has the right attitude and seeks a
solution that we can share." He added that the DPRK would "wait
patiently until the end of the year for the United States to make
a bold decision."
Chairman Kim described the U.S. negotiating stance in
being aimed at disarming the DPRK with the ultimate aim of regime
change. "We don't welcome -- and we have no intention of
repeating -- the kind of summit like the one held in Hanoi," Kim
said. The U.S. approach at Hanoi was "completely
impractical," he said and he emphasized that the U.S. "won't be able to
move us a single inch nor achieve any of its desires."
Kim suggested implementing the joint statement from the
DPRK-U.S. summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018, to realize a
third summit. The U.S. needs to "abandon its current calculation
and approach us with a new one," Kim said. He noted that the June
12 joint statement was "a historical declaration by which north
Korea and the U.S., two countries with hostile relations,
announced to the world that they were going to write a new
history." This statement represented "a signpost toward the
establishment of new north Korea-U.S. relations," he added.
"Confidence building," Kim stressed, "is the fundamental key for
resolving the hostile relations between our two countries." He
added, "Both sides need to set aside unilateral demands and
conditions and look for a constructive solution that accords with
their respective interests."
While the DPRK is open to a third summit if the required
conditions are put in place, it is also prepared for stepped up
hostility and ongoing sanctions from the U.S. Chairman Kim
remarked, "Now that the U.S. describes its demands, running
counter to the fundamental interests of our country, as conditions
for the lift of sanctions, the stand-off with the U.S. will
naturally assume the protracted nature, and sanctions by the
hostile forces will also continue."
He noted that as the DPRK had developed its nuclear
to neutralize protracted nuclear threats from the U.S., it would
also find the means to "weather and foil" the unjust U.S.
sanctions regime. "We will no longer obsess over lifting
sanctions imposed by the hostile forces, but we will open the
path to economic prosperity through our own means," Kim stated.
The DPRK would achieve this, he said, by sticking to the
socialist economic nation-building project and putting the
national economy on a sound footing based on the Juche
policy of self-reliance in all fields, as well as the
modernization and ongoing development of information technology
Trump responded in a tweet on April 13 that "I agree
that a third Summit would be good."
In related news, the DPRK on April 18, expressed doubt
ongoing role of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:
"[E]ven in the case of possible resumption of the
with the U.S., I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not
Pompeo but [another] person who is more careful and mature in
communicating with us," Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the
Department of American Affairs in the DPRK's Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, was reported as saying on April 18 by the Korean Central
News Agency (KCNA). Responding to a KCNA reporter, Kwon said,
"[W]henever Pompeo pokes his nose in, the talks go wrong without
any results even from the point close to success. I am afraid
that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be
lousy once again and the talks will become entangled." These
remarks echo previous ones from the DPRK's First Vice Foreign
Minister Choe Son Hui in mid-March who criticized Pompeo and
the White House National Security Advisor for their role in Hanoi
"creating an obstacle to constructive negotiation efforts between
the two leaders with their existing feelings of antagonism and
Similarly on April 20, Vice Minister Choe criticized
remarks in a recent interview with Bloomberg News, where he said
the U.S. would need more evidence DPRK leader Kim Jong Un is
ready to give up nuclear weapons before Trump would meet with him
for a third summit. Choe described Bolton's comments as having
"no charm" and being "short-sighted," and said the United States
has nothing to gain with such remarks.
DPRK Test Launches "New Tactical Guided Weapon"
DPRK newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported on April
Chairman Kim had supervised and guided the test-firing of a
new-type tactical guided weapon conducted by the Academy of
Defence Science on April 17. The test is in keeping with the
DPRK's emphasis on self-reliance and self-defence, to provide
itself with the means to protect itself as it deems fit. The
south Korean newspaper Hankyoreh notes, "This was the
first time in five months that Kim has supervised the test of
cutting-edge weaponry, since the Rodong
Sinmun reported in a lead
story on Nov. 16, 2018, that Kim had 'supervised and guided a
test-fire of a new-type tactical guided weapon' at the Academy of
National Defence Science testing ground. But it was unrelated to
the nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles that have a
direct bearing on affairs on the Korean Peninsula, including
north Korea-U.S. negotiations."
In other words, the DPRK has made clear that it
pay first-rate attention to its self-defence, while continuing to
uphold its commitment to suspend nuclear and ballistic missile
testing to create the conditions of trust required for
negotiations with the U.S.
South Korea-U.S. Summit in Washington, DC
South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a meeting with his senior
secretaries and aides at the Blue House on April 15, 2019 stated he is
pursuing an inter-Korean summit as soon as it can be arranged.
President of south Korea Moon Jae-in and President Trump
a summit in Washington, DC on April 11. Moon stressed that his
"important task" is to "maintain the momentum of dialogue" toward
the DPRK's denuclearization while "express[ing] the positive
outlook, regarding the third U.S.-north Korea Summit, to the
international community that this will be held in the near
Moon said to Trump that a third DPRK-U.S. summit should
held in the near future, describing the second summit in Hanoi as
"part of a bigger process that will lead us to a bigger
He went on to stress the solidity of south Korea-U.S.
relations, reiterating that "the Republic of Korea is absolutely
on the same page when it comes to the end state of the complete
denuclearization of north Korea. And I can reassure you that we
will remain in such great collaboration with the United States,"
he said, adding that there would be "no daylight until we achieve
our ultimate goal."
In response, Trump noted that "a lot of progress has
made" with the DPRK and that his relationship with Kim Jong Un
was "very, very good."
"We will have further dialogue and I look forward to
said, adding, "Hopefully, it will end up in a great solution for
everybody." He also reiterated his close personal relations with
Chairman Kim. "I can truly say I want to extend my warmest wishes to
Kim Jong Un and the people of north Korea," he added. "We'll see
what happens. Hopefully, it will end up in a great solution for
everybody, and ultimately a great solution for the world."
Commenting on the south Korea-U.S. alliance, Trump said the
relationship between the two sides was closer than ever
Ahead of the summit, Moon met successively at his guest
with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House National
Security Advisor John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence, whom
he attempted to persuade of the U.S. need to quickly resume the
denuclearization talks. All three are said to have made remarks
to the effect that the U.S. remains open to negotiations.
(To access articles individually
the black headline.)
ISSUES | HOME